MobiKwik investigating data breach after 100M user records found online

Image Credits: Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg / Getty Images

MobiKwik said on Tuesday it was investigating claims of data breach after a website claimed to have exposed private information of nearly 100 million users of the Indian mobile payments startup.

Over the weekend, a site on the dark web claimed it had 8.2 terabytes of MobiKwik user data. The data included phone numbers, email addresses, scrambled passwords, transactions logs and partial payment card numbers.

The website also claimed that it had “know your customer” (KYC) documents (government-issued Aadhaar card or PAN ID) of 3.5 million users, and each visit to the website displayed four random images from the data dump. KYC documents are required in India for users who want to access certain services without any limitations. Local law requires a mobile wallet firm in India, for instance, to support monthly transactions exceeding a certain limit.

The dark web site features a searchable database that allows users to look up their phone number or email to verify the authenticity of the data breach claim. TechCrunch was able to verify the accuracy of the data in several cases.

A seller on a well-known cybercrime forum claims to be selling access to the database for 1.2 bitcoin — about $70,000.

The Sequoia Capital India-backed startup says it can’t yet prove if the data actually belongs to MobiKwik users. “It is incorrect to suggest that the data available on the darkweb has been accessed from MobiKwik or any identified source,” the startup wrote in a blog post.

Rajshekhar Rajaharia, a security researcher, told TechCrunch that he alerted MobiKwik about this alleged security breach last month. In a statement, MobiKwik said the company had conducted a thorough investigation and did not find any evidence of a breach.

How to respond to a data breach

However, a screenshot leaked to TechCrunch shows a MobiKwik official asking an Amazon representative last month for logs relating to its cloud service after the startup “came to know that our S3 [cloud storage] data is downloaded by some other person outside the organization.”

The startup said its legal team will take “strict action against the so-called security researcher.” Rajaharia told TechCrunch that it’s his right as a user to know if his financial data is safe, and added that he doesn’t have the resources to fight legal battles.

MobiKwik said it was closely working with authorities and was confident that security protocols to store sensitive data are “robust and have not been breached.” It added that it was getting a third-party to conduct a forensic data security audit. “We are committed to a safe and secure Digital India.”

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