$35 software can churn out any number of Aadhaar IDs, says report

Hackers have successfully used a software, costing only around $35, to register and create Aadhaar IDs from anywhere in the world, circumventing the authentication process, says reports citing online media networks.

The report comes on the back of unrelenting criticism over the past few years of the government’s Aaadhaar policy that requires the unique ID to be mandatory for almost all government supported schemes.
The Aadhaar ID that grants citizens access to government services and benefits like subsidized rations, pensions, and scholarships has also come under fire for lack of data security.
The report claims to have discovered a software patch that could have compromised the software used to enrol Aadhaar users and allow anyone in the world to register an ID.
Fake IDs can allow people score the benefits, while placing an additional strain on government funds and machinery. It could also lead to identity theft, leading to people being locked out of access to essential services, with little recourse for proving the authenticity of their IDs and getting back into these programmes, says the report.
The report says the software used by enrolment centers, many of which are run by private agencies, especially in rural areas in India, could be compromised by the $35 patch by allowing people to bypass the authentication processes for Aadhaar enrollment.
The iris recognition tool used to authenticate new Aadhaar users has also been watered down to allow the software check people’s photographs, instead of requiring them to be physically present for enrolment, says the report.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is in charge of the Aadhaar programme, is reported to have terminated all contracts with external enrolment centers.
UIDAI, however, claims that the Aadhaar database hasn’t been breached and it is completely secure.