Reportedly, an Indian COVID-19 surveillance app exposed data of millions of people online.
Indian COVID-19 Surveillance App Data Exposed
Researchers from vpnMentor have discovered another leaky database, this time, exposing very sensitive information. It was an Indian COVID-19 surveillance tool app that exposed data of around 8 million people. Though, the database grew daily.
This COVID-19 tracing tool belonged to the Indian state Uttar Pradesh.
The researchers found numerous vulnerabilities and overall poor security with the app “Surveillance Platform Uttar Pradesh Covid-19”.
More specifically, they noticed an unsecured git repository that not only had the app code, but also the admin credentials. Next, they found an explicit record of 8 million people exposed to everyone’s access without requiring any password or authentication.
Anyone with the URL of the platform could access the entire git repository as well as the admin dashboard.
For an adversary, such access could also allow meddling with the data. This includes modifying patient’s data, entries, test results, closing case files, create false negative/positive results, alter quarantine scheduling, etc.
Besides, the people’s records exposed via the CSV files in the repository included personally identifiable information (PII), such as the names, gender, age, addresses, and contact numbers. Also, it included patients’ CASE IDs with medical records, diagnosis, symptoms, travel history, and place of quarantine.
What’s The Risk?
Upon discovering the exposed data and verifying the risks, the researchers reached out to the CERT-In. After some initial issues in getting a response, the team eventually connected with Prof. Triveni Sigh from the UP Cybercrime department.
Consequently, the database was secured as of September 10, 2020.
However, given that the researchers first noticed the exposure on August 1, 2020, it means the data remained exposed for over a month.
Considering the likelihood of fake news, misinformation, false reporting, and other conspiracies revolving around COVID-19, such negligence can lead to detrimental results. From miscalculations due to erroneous data to improper implementation of health policies, there could be a huge impact on everything, including the political situation.
Thus, not only India, rather every nation using or planning to use a COVID-19 surveillance tool needs to remain very careful for the security of the database. Ideally, a thorough security audit should be done for every such platform before going live.
Although such a security review is essential for every database, for COVID-19-related data, it is inevitable.