This reported violation comes at a time when the state government is trying to create a cross-departmental resident database.
Further data has emerged from the breach of Tamil Nadu’s public distribution system reported last week. Cybersecurity startup Technisanct founder Nandakishore Harikumar told MediaNama that the personal information of 31 million people, including addresses, was leaked as a result of the breach, in addition to the small sample of data that was available on a hacker forum last week . Technisanct said 19 million of these users’ aadhaar numbers were exposed. The government of Tamil Nadu, which has largely escaped greater control due to the large-scale hack, shut down the TNPDS website over the weekend for maintenance; However, as of the time of this writing, the site is available again.
A contractor hired to operate some of the TNPDS ‘IT systems wrote in a clarifying letter to the Tamil Nadu government that the leak was limited to one user interface level on the website. The Hindu reported. The publication did not name the contractor or the source of the letter. The report said the food and consumer affairs department that the PDS manages in Tamil Nadu has announced that it will be conducting a safety audit soon. MediaNama’s emails to the Tamil Nadu government have not yet received a response.
Tamil Nadu’s cyber initiatives are in full swing
Last week, 5 million user data was leaked from the corrupted stash. This larger leak seems to suggest that the stolen user data, which was among the richest family records a state government can have, was much larger than previously thought. It is not clear whether the 31 million available user data represent the entirety of the breached information – the dataset could very well be much larger, since a now deleted post by the hacker or hackers who breached the database offered data for sale.
Just last year, the Tamil Nadu government drafted a cybersecurity policy for the state and has taken steps to strengthen the role of digitization in governance. The state is building a cross-departmental database of its residents, a project that would greatly increase the data on residents available to the government. It also integrates various databases to possibly create profiles of residents by unifying tax data, property data, and facial recognition data.