Saturday, August 8, 2020
Home News Reports How the hysteria about phones 'hacked' to add Aadhaar helpline number was spread

How the hysteria about phones ‘hacked’ to add Aadhaar helpline number was spread

Yesterday there was massive brouhaha on Social Media about the Aadhaar helpline number mysteriously appearing on people’s contact list. There were concerns raised about the security of data and how the UIDAI could possibly access people’s phonebooks and add the helpline number without requisite permission or authorisation.

Many took to Twitter including security experts to talk about the helpline number appearing on phones. The French security researcher claimed that it was “surprising and interesting” that the Aadhaar helpline number was added to people’s contact list.

Alderson had not made any assertions of phones being “hacked” to feed the helpline number. However, soon many journalists and news agencies jumped on the bandwagon and claimed that phones have been “hacked” nationally and that this was “bizarre”.

Times Now did a story that claimed that “Androids have been hacked nationally”.

- Advertisement -

Other journalists too, toed the same line.

Journalists spread rumours far and wide. Even Nidhi Razdan jumped into the mix to say that the numbers were appearing on iPhone as well.

This fear mongering also found its way to WhatsApp, ironically, right when the mainstream media has been discussing WhatsApp being used to spread panic.

Soon, UIDAI clarified that it had not asked any service provider or even Android to include the helpline numbers.

UIDAI also mentioned that the toll-free number was “invalid and outdated”.

Unfortunately, patience isn’t a virtue in journalism anymore and evidently, neither is research.

Upon investigating further, we found a tweet from a tech analyst and IT security expert from 2016 that claimed that phone makers were starting to hard code Aadhaar/UIDAI toll-free number in the contact list. He provided screenshots of the number being added on a MotoG4.

Turns out, the mass hysteria could have been averted if journalists had just done a little more research. Prasanna’s assertions back in 2016 turned out to be true when Google tweeted their clarification and apologised

The Google explanation said that since 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress number was coded into the Setup Wizard of Andriod and have remained there since. Google assured that it was not the case of any unauthorised access and apologised for any inconvenience caused. They also reiterated that users can manually delete the number if they so choose and that they are working towards fixing the upcoming version of the Setup Wizard.

Eventhough UIDAI too issued an explanation, their statement was misinterpreted by some to mean that UIDAI was disowning the number and saying that it wasn’t a toll-free helpline of Aadhaar to begin with.

UIDAI had mentioned that their new helpline was active for the past 2 years and that the number which was fed into the phone was invalid and no longer in use. Considering Google mentioned that the number was coded into the phone in 2014, the fact that UIDAI now uses a different helpline number for the past 2 years is not far-fetched.

There were also people who complained of the number mysteriously appearing on the Apple phones.

While Google explained how it was coded into the Android devices, it also mentioned that since the numbers get listed in the contacts list, it can get transferred to any new device through contacts considering Android users use Gmail to sync their contacts.

While Google has published a detailed explanation, one would imagine that the fear mongering could have been averted by more research considering news of the numbers being coded into the phone were strife from at least 2016.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

The ‘Revolutionary Poet’ and the ‘Great Scholar’: Behind the veils of the Dravidian Delusion

One of the persistent pieces of given wisdom in Indian political discourse is that the Dravidian movement was a progressive one.

The curious case of Laila Tyabji’s epic meltdown, the ‘personal saree shopper’ of Sonia Gandhi

On the eve of #NationalHandloomDay on 7th August, founder of Dastkar and textiles Prima Donna Laila Tyabji chose to rant about this govt’s decision of scrapping of the Handloom Board

Does Rajdeep Sardesai think that untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput doesn’t deserve attention because he was not a “very big star”? Seems so

Calling the investigation into death of Sushant Singh Rajput a 'circus', Rajdeep Sardesai went on to claim that the issue has now turned out to be another feud between Mumbai Police and Bihar Police.

Supreme Court Registry officials face action for ‘wrongful’ listing of Prashant Bhushan’s plea bypassing Justice Arun Mishra’s bench, listing deleted

Prashant Bhushan plea against contempt court law was listed before justices Chandrachud & Joseph violating Supreme Court guidelines

Search for ‘Burnol’ saw a huge spike during Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan, people from Northeast appeared most interested

Amidst the meltdown suffered by Liberals, several Hindus started suggested that they should apply 'Burnol' to their 'burn wounds' that have been caused by the construction of the Ram Mandir

‘He saved our lives’: Survivors of AI plane crash hail Captain Sathe, who served for ‘Golden Arrows’, which has recently been recommissioned with Rafale...

Captain Deepak Sathe was a decorated former India Air Force pilot. He passed out from AFA with the 'Sword of Honour' in 1981.

Recently Popular

Pakistan borrows $1 Billion from its all-weather ally China to repay $1 Billion Saudi Arabia loan to avoid default on international debt obligations

China tightens its grip over Pakistan, gives $1 billion loan to repay Saudi Arabia's $1 billion loan, grants 90% of $6.8 billion railway project

Pakistan: Maulvi rapes child reading Quran in mosque in Sindh province, caught on CCTV

Muslim Cleric in Sindh province in Pakistan on the run after video of hem raping a child inside a mosque emerges, case registered

Hindus, the last standing major pagan culture in the world: Hagia Sophia, AIMPLB and why secularism is a scam

While Muslim majority Turkey wants to intervene in Kashmir, AIMPLB talks about the Hagia Sophia even as it wags its finger at the Supreme Court

“Ghus ke maro salo ko”: Muslims clashed with Hindus objecting to Ram Pujas on 5th August in West Bengal

Muslims came out in large numbers in Kolkata to prevent Hindus from celebrating the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan on 5th August

‘These numbers are bewildering’: Watch how Rajdeep Sardesai refuses to believe India Today survey’s approval rating of PM Modi

Rajdeep Sardesai was rather shocked and bewildered as his own channel's survey seems to give PM Modi's handling of the economy an approval rating of 72%

‘Be a good wife’: 14-year-old Christian girl Maria Shahbaz, abducted and converted to Islam, to be returned to her abductor, rules Lahore HC

The Lahore High Court has ruled in favour of a Muslim perpetrator who abducted, forcibly converted and married an underage Christian girl.

The ‘Revolutionary Poet’ and the ‘Great Scholar’: Behind the veils of the Dravidian Delusion

One of the persistent pieces of given wisdom in Indian political discourse is that the Dravidian movement was a progressive one.

Tension in UP village after Lord Shiva Idol found vandalised by unknown miscreants during Shravan Mela

An idol of Lord Shiva was found vandalised by unknown miscreants in a Shiva Mandir in Sheikhpura Kabiruddinpur village in UP

The curious case of Laila Tyabji’s epic meltdown, the ‘personal saree shopper’ of Sonia Gandhi

On the eve of #NationalHandloomDay on 7th August, founder of Dastkar and textiles Prima Donna Laila Tyabji chose to rant about this govt’s decision of scrapping of the Handloom Board

Does Rajdeep Sardesai think that untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput doesn’t deserve attention because he was not a “very big star”? Seems so

Calling the investigation into death of Sushant Singh Rajput a 'circus', Rajdeep Sardesai went on to claim that the issue has now turned out to be another feud between Mumbai Police and Bihar Police.

Supreme Court Registry officials face action for ‘wrongful’ listing of Prashant Bhushan’s plea bypassing Justice Arun Mishra’s bench, listing deleted

Prashant Bhushan plea against contempt court law was listed before justices Chandrachud & Joseph violating Supreme Court guidelines

‘Previous govts did not pay any attention to Ayodhya, Yogi ji’s complete focus in on developing the birthplace of Ram’: Royal of Ayodhya

Bimlendra Pratap Mishra said that Ayodhya was robbed off its glory due to the absence of a Bhavya Ram Mandir.

AltNews ‘editor’ makes a hitlist of the Bollywood actors who tweeted in support of Ram Mandir after Bhoomi Pujan

Yesterday, AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair targeted a minor girl in his Twitter fight with a social media user.

Who really is Binod? Read how one Youtube comment triggered a bizarre meme fest

The name 'Binod', which has now become the talk of the town and trending on Twitter, originated from a YouTube channel 'Slayy Point'

Search for ‘Burnol’ saw a huge spike during Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan, people from Northeast appeared most interested

Amidst the meltdown suffered by Liberals, several Hindus started suggested that they should apply 'Burnol' to their 'burn wounds' that have been caused by the construction of the Ram Mandir

Connect with us

239,250FansLike
424,094FollowersFollow
293,000SubscribersSubscribe