Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Hacker Allegedly Sells 375M Airtel Users Data; Airtel Denies

Hacker Claims to Have Sold Database Containing Info on 375M Customers
Hacker Allegedly Sells 375M Airtel Users Data; Airtel Denies
Airtel said Friday that hackers haven't breached its systems. (Image: Shutterstock)

Indian Telecom giant Bharti Airtel denied Friday a hacker's claim of obtaining identifying data of 375 million mobile customers from company systems.

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A hacker going by the moniker "xenZen" claimed Thursday on an English-language criminal forum to have sold the dataset for $50,000. The data, xenZen said, includes fields including date of birth, email, Aadhaar number and father's name.

The hacker purports to be Chinese and to have previously hacked a database of diplomatic passport holders. The putative Airtel data is valid as of June, the hacker also said.

Airtel in a Friday statement said it hasn't experienced a data breach. "We have done a thorough investigation and can confirm that there has been no breach whatsoever from Airtel systems," the company said. It accused the hacker of undertaking "nothing short of a desperate attempt to tarnish Airtel’s reputation by vested interests."

Brief analysis of an online sample posted by xenZen shows the data does apparently include valid addresses and numbers that follow the Aadhaar Card 12-digit format. The most recent driver's license in the sample appears to have been issued in 2009.

An ethical hacker in 2019 discovered a vulnerability in an application program interface in Airtel's mobile application that could have been used by hackers to obtain subscriber information using telephone numbers, the BBC reported at the time.

With reporting by Information Security Media Group's David Perera in Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Anviksha More

Anviksha More

Senior Subeditor, ISMG Global News Desk

More has seven years of experience in journalism, writing and editing. She previously worked with Janes Defense and the Bangalore Mirror.

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