Sensitive details belonging to 7 million debit and credit cardholders are available on a public Google Drive document that has been circulating on the dark web. The document was discovered by cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia who reached out MediaNama stating that names of cardholders along with employers’ name, income levels, phone numbers, email addresses, and Permanent Account Number were available on it.
Screenshots shared by Rajaharia reveal that the data pertains to the period between 2010 and 2019, which could be very valuable to scammers and hackers. “While the card numbers are not available, I verified the details of some names in the list including my name and details. I checked around 50-60 profiles on LinkedIn based on the name in the list, which has turned out to be accurate,” he told MediaNama. Rajaharia believes that the leak could have come from third-party service providers who are contracted by banks to sell credit cards, for example.
“Since this is financial data, it is very valuable for hackers and scammers as they can use the person contact details for phishing or other attacks,” he said.
MediaNama reviewed the data set on the Google Drive and found that the file contains several Microsoft Excel sheets, each pertaining to different Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Vadodara and Bangalore. Some of the files are also bank-specific. A perusal of a few of these files revealed that the personal details of employees for global multinational companies, consultancies, large Indian corporates and healthcare firms, for instance, were available. The files also reveal how much each person swiped on their card and if they have turned on mobile alerts.
While incidents of data breaches and personal information being sold on the dark web increasing year-on-year, the Indian government is yet to introduce a personal data protection law in Parliament. Recently, the government said it is working on a new national cyber security strategy.
Growing cyber incidents and data leaks
Cyber-crimes have been on the rise ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began early this year, due to an increased reliance on digital tools and the internet. According to a study by software firm Micro Focus, Indian organisations have experienced a 58% increase in cyber-security challenges over the last few months, while there was 51% increase in the challenge to investigate or remediate incidents. Around 98% of Indian organisations are short-staffed when it comes to security, the study said.