Police Biometric Data Leaks In Huge Hack

By TeeJay Small | Published

As our world becomes increasingly reliant on computerized data storage, it becomes clearer and clearer that the wars of tomorrow will be fought using leaks, hacks, and online attacks. A widespread hack of police data in India was recently conducted, releasing facial images, fingerprints, and other personal data about Indian police, and those seeking to apply for police jobs. The leaked info has also been compiled into zip files and offered for sale to criminals over the encrypted messaging app Telegram, clearly for nefarious purposes.

No Personal Data Is Safe From Hackers

This hack of police data is a sign of more cyber crimes of this kind to come, as criminals continue to become better equipped with online hacking skills with each passing day. Security researcher Jeremiah Fowler explained that he’s already uncovered numerous web servers with hundreds of gigabytes of stolen data, targeting victims from multiple countries all over the Earth. This data ranges from basic information such as birthdays, purchase history, and education certificates, to more personal documentation such as birth certificates, bank info, and social security cards.

Industry Professionals Are At Risk

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Needless to say, it would be extremely dangerous for facial and fingerprint records of police and police recruits to be on the streets, as undercover officers would be outed and potentially harmed while embarking upon secret missions. According to Fowler, the police aren’t the only ones whose data has been collected, as he has personally seen the data of railway workers, teachers, and other industry professionals for sale on shady hacker websites.

Biometric Information Is Forever

Fowler claims that the police data leak is the most dangerous, as it includes actual biometric information that cannot be changed. If you were to lose your wallet, bank information, or access to your email account, for instance, you can still cancel or change that info after leaping over a few aggravating hurdles. Your biometric signatures, however, are embedded into your personhood in a way that can never be adjusted.

The Right Data In The Wrong Hands


The documents stolen from police databases include more than 8 gigabytes of facial scans and photographs, as well as nearly 300,000 personal documents such as application forms and physical efficiency test results. India currently has the world’s largest global population, with over 1.4 billion people, so there are plenty of documents to sift through once you’ve cracked into a mainframe as large as the nation’s police force. The executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, Prateek Waghre, says that data collection of this kind is happening all over the country, and that the police data leak is simply a drop in the bucket.

How Deep Does It Go?

While there’s no way of knowing just how deep this breach goes at this point, Indian officials are already working tirelessly to assure that the country’s data protection methods become more robust. Obviously a few CAPTCHA tests and some security questions simply aren’t cutting it. Unfortunately, security researchers such as Jeremiah Fowler and Shivangi Narayan claim that breaches such as the police data leak occur so frequently that they’re not even surprised by them anymore.

Source: Wired