Privacy Breach: Millions of India’s Vaccine Database Vulnerabilities Exposed.

By Sharique

Personal information, including ID documents Aadhar card number details and phone numbers, have been released on Telegram.

In today’s digital age, the security of personal data is a growing concern, and a recent incident in India has brought this issue into sharp focus. Here’s a detailed look at the event and its implications, especially for those interested in cybersecurity and digital privacy.

A Surprising Discovery in Kerala 

On June 11, a journalist from a Kerala-based news portal, The Fourth, stumbled upon a startling discovery. A Telegram bot, nestled in a channel called “hak4learn,” was offering up private details of millions of Indians. By simply entering a phone or Aadhaar number (India’s national ID), users could obtain sensitive information like names, passport numbers, and birth dates. This massive data breach seemingly originated from the CoWIN vaccination tracking app, a major platform with over 1 billion users.

The Magnitude of the Breach 

Srikanth Lakshmanan, a researcher and head of Cashless Consumer, highlighted the enormity of this breach, potentially impacting the personal data of several hundred million users. The implications of such a widespread data exposure are challenging to assess but are undoubtedly significant.

Temporary Shutdown of the Bot 

Although local news agencies managed to access personal data of politicians through this bot, it became inactive by June 12. However, Lakshmanan warned that the disappearance of the bot doesn’t signal the end of the breach. It could have been a mere display window for the actual database breach, with the data possibly being traded elsewhere, especially on the dark web.

India’s Digital Growth and Data Security Concerns

India has seen rapid growth in digital infrastructure, including the Aadhaar identity system, digital payment systems like the United Payments Interface, and the CoWIN platform. However, this expansion has raised concerns among digital rights experts about the pace of development in cybersecurity and legal frameworks for data protection.

Legal and Policy Gaps 

Tejasi Panjiar of the Internet Freedom Foundation pointed out the significant volume of data handled by government entities and the urgent need for stringent data-security standards. Panjiar also expressed concerns over the absence of a comprehensive cybersecurity policy in India and the lack of compensation for affected users under the current data-protection framework.

Government’s Response to the Breach 

The health ministry refuted claims of the CoWIN portal being compromised, stating they were baseless. Further, India’s IT minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, suggested that the data obtained by the bot might not be directly from the CoWIN database.

CloudSEK’s Independent Analysis

CloudSEK's Independent Analysis

CloudSEK, a digital risk monitoring platform, conducted an independent investigation, suggesting that the breach might not involve the entire CoWIN database. Instead, hackers may have accessed multiple health worker credentials, providing limited record access. Rahul Sasi, CEO of CloudSEK, mentioned the possibility of an unauthenticated API being exploited, though there’s no conclusive evidence yet.

CoWIN’s Central Role in India’s Vaccination Drive 

Launched in January 2021, CoWIN became pivotal in India’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy. The platform, also available as a mobile app, was the exclusive medium for booking vaccination slots, which drew criticism for excluding those without smartphone or internet access.

Not the First Alarm Raised 

In 2021, Dark Leak Market, a hacker group, claimed to have accessed data of 150 million Indians on CoWIN. The health ministry denied these claims, assuring that all data were securely stored.


A Call for Enhanced Cybersecurity This incident underscores the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures, especially in rapidly digitizing countries like India. As we continue to embrace digital solutions for various aspects of life, ensuring the security of personal data becomes paramount. For more insights and updates on cybersecurity trends and challenges, keep following Stay informed and stay safe in this digital world! #DigitalSecurity #CoWINBreach #CyberAwareness #XpressHack

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