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“@RahulGandhi was right”, French Hacker Tweets of Aarogya App, Raises Security Concerns

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A French hacker has raised concerns of security issues with the Aarogya Setu App launched by the government in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Elliot Alderson, the “ethical;  hacker” has alleged that the issue puts the data of 90 million Indians at stake. Tagging the Aarogya Setu app handle, he tweeted, “A security issue has been found in your app. The privacy of 90 million Indians is at stake. Can you contact me in private?”

“PS: @RahulGandhi was right,” he added.

In another tweet that followed, he claimed that 49 minutes after his first tweet, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology contacted him. He claimed to have disclosed the issue to them and said that he is awaiting a response.

. Two years ago,  Alderson  found a host of issues with the mAadhaar application, the mobile security practices of the Unique Identification Authority of India, and most importantly, how third party websites are using Aadhaar data. Soon enough, the UIDAI sat up and took notice  though publoicly, it pooh-poohed his claims.

This time, Alderson  got into the act after Rahul Gandhi expressed concerns over the privacy and security of the app.Alderson began his ‘tests’ and asked for a valid Indian phone number which has never been used to create an account on the Aarogya Setu app.Three hours later, Alderson was back with a ‘verdict’ and tagged the Twitter account of Aarogya Setu, asking them to ‘DM’ him.”A security issue has been found in your app. The privacy of 90 million Indians is at stake. Can you contact me in private?” wrote Alderson.

The hacker also mentioned that Rahul Gandhi was right.

The Congress leader had earlier raised data security and privacy concerns over the Aarogya Setu mobile application. Gandhi said that the COVID-19 tracking app is a sophisticated surveillance system. Taking to Twitter, the Wayanad MP wrote, “The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvt operator, with no institutional oversight – raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent.”

Aarogya Setu, a coronavirus tracking app, launched by the Union Health Ministry on April 2 has been downloaded by 90 million people so far.

Developed by the National Informatics Centre, a part of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the app helps users identify whether they are at a risk of COVID-19 infection.

-India Legal Bureau

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