Sensitive card data belonging millions of Indians has been compromised and leaked on the dark web due to a security comprise at a server used by Juspay, major payment gateway provider in the country. The incident, which took place due to failure in safeguarding a cloud database back in August 2020, has led to masked card data as well as sensitive customer data being breached, the company said in a blogpost. Inc42 first reported this.
What exactly happened
- An old password for a database held within Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud servers was re-used
- On August 18, the company noticed unauthorised access to the database and the incident response team acted to stop the attack
- Data pertaining to 35 million consumers, which includes masked card data and card fingerprint data was leaked
- Partial access to meta-data from a database non-anonymised, plain-text email IDs and phone numbers was leaked
- Screenshots show 16 data fields from the type of card (debit or credit), card issuer card brand, expiry data, card token last four digits, masked card number name on the card to the merchant ID.
Cyber security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia, who alerted MediaNama about the data leak, says that the seller on darkweb has been active since January 1st or 2nd and is asking for $8,000 in Bitcoins for the complete database. “The seller says that the data is in two-files, one is with 100 million details of customers and the second with 46 million transaction data,” he said.
According to Rajaharia, while the first 6 digits and the last 4 digits of the card are available in the leaked database, the hacker can gain access to full card details through the card fingerprint data. “This data field is essentially hash (unique string of numbers) of the same card, if the hacker manages to figure out the key for this hash, they will be able to access the entire dataset. Juspay has masked only six digits of the 16-digit card,” he said.
Scale of the attack
Since Juspay provides payment gateway services for thousands of merchants including major internet companies like Swiggy, MakeMyTrip, Ola, Myntra and others, it receives transactional data of consumers who have paid for services via these apps/websites. According to its website, it processes over ₹1,000 crore transactions every day.
But unlike a breach at any of these merchants or third-party apps that uses Juspays’ services, this hack took place on the payment companies server itself as an old password meant to be recycled (or regenerated) was used to gain access to the AWS database, one of many that it uses. “The cyberattack was identified in an isolated/separate system. We can confirm that the compromised data does not contain any transaction or order information, as the intrusion was terminated before such an access,” it said in an emailed statement to MediaNama.
With regards to issues Rajaharia raises, Juspay says that the masked card data is only displayed on the merchant’s end and cannot be used for completing a transaction. “The breach was restricted to an isolated system containing non-sensitive masked card primarily used for display purposes on merchant UI and cannot be used for completing a transaction. All of the customers’ full card numbers, order information, card PINs, or passwords are secure. The compromised data does not contain any transaction or order information,” it said.
However Juspay maintains that “nonsensitive” information was leaked and the actual number of users affected is far less than 10 crore.
“Importantly, no full card numbers, no order information, no card PINs & no passwords were leaked. Some non-sensitive masked card information, card expiry information, mobile numbers and email ids of a subset of our users were compromised. We conducted a thorough audit on the day of the incident which confirmed that our ‘Secure Data Store’ which hosts the 16-digit encrypted card numbers was not accessed and remains secure,” Juspay said.
In response to the incident, Juspay says that it has upgraded its practices, invalidated old passwords and enabled 2-factor authentication across the organisation. It also plans to tighten internal access control policies and will expand its encryption practices.
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