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Aadhaar, OnePlus Data Breaches Discovered in January 2018


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We’re well into 2018, and yet we’re still discovering data breaches that occurred last year. In January alone, an Indian-based newspaper claimed they were able to access the personal information of 1 billion citizens, while OnePlus confirmed hackers stole credit card details from thousands of their online customers. Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the reasons why 2017 is destined to be known as the Year of the Breach.

Billions of Indians’ personal data compromised

Over the past four years, the Indian government has dedicated a tremendous amount of money and effort to Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents, which in many ways parallels Social Security numbers in the U.S. A major difference is that the Aadhaar numbers are based on an individual's biometric and demographic data. This means that the Indian government has collected photographs, fingerprints, and retina scans of over 1 billion of their citizens.

It now appears their entire system has been compromised. A groundbreaking report by The Tribune, an Indian-based newspaper, claims they were able to access over 1 billion Aadhaar records in about 10 minutes for only $8. This information reportedly included names, addresses, PINs, email addresses, and photographs. If this wasn’t terrifying enough, for an additional charge, cybercriminals will provide any user with software they can use to print out Aadhaar cards from the comfort of their home.

OnePlus data breach exposes thousands of credit cards

OnePlus, a popular smartphone manufacturer that sells mobile devices in 38 countries, including the U.S., has a long and storied history when it comes to privacy and security issues. From being accused of spying on their users to inadvertently leaving backdoors on multiple phone models, the China-based company is no stranger to controversy.

They proved that again this month when the organization confirmed a massive security breach. According to OnePlus executives, up to 40,000 customers had their credit card details and personal data stolen.

Back in 2017, hackers installed malicious JavaScript code on their checkout page and were able to steal any information that was entered. The company does say that users who paid with PayPal or stored credit card information may be safe. But, if you purchased a device or accessory on their website in the past six months, it’s probably a good idea to check your bank accounts and credit report regardless of how you paid.  

Data breaches across all industries

Even without the OnePlus and Aadhaar revelations, 2017 shaped up to be a record-breaking year for data breaches. As the table below illustrates, it seems that no industry in the U.S. was impervious to attacks.


There were nearly 1,600 data breaches in 2017, totaling almost 179 million compromised records. Of all industries, those in the business sector were most affected, accounting for 39.7 percent of all data breaches and 88.4 percent of all compromised records. The breaches occurred through a variety of means, but the most successful was hacking — which was responsible for nearly 60 percent of all breaches and 93.6 percent of all exposed records.

For more information about last year’s data breaches, be sure to check out the Identity Theft Resource Center’s official report, 2017 Annual Data Breach Year-End Review.

Be vigilant in 2018

If we can learn anything from the above examples, it’s that we must always remain vigilant. Year after year, the number of data breaches has skyrocketed, and it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Gone are the days when a simple credit monitoring service or app will suffice. Your family needs a comprehensive identity protection service.

If your company doesn’t yet offer one, talk to your HR director about providing PrivacyArmor® today.

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