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NADRA’s biometric data has been hacked, reveals FIA

Nadra's biometric data has been compromised, FIA official. (Source: Online)

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrime wing has revealed that the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) biometric data has been hacked, the private newspaper reported on Thursday.

FIA Cybercrime Wing Additional Director Tariq Pervez made the revelation made the disclosure while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.  

“Nadra’s data has been compromised, it has been hacked,” the FIA official said, adding that fake SIM cards were also being exported. However, Tariq Pervez later clarified his remarks and said that all of Nadra’s data had not been hacked.

“During the SIM verification process involving biometric data, Nadra’s biometric system is compromised,” the Additional Director said, without providing further explanation. He told the NA body that 13,000 fake SIMs were seized during a crackdown in Faisalabad.

Tariq Pervez further stated that the wing had received 89,000 cybercrime complaints so far, and did not have a sufficient number of staff to address the complaints reported on a daily basis. “The FIA’s cybercrime wing only has 162 investigation officers,” he added.

Meanwhile, PTA Chairman retired Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa said that no mobile phone company had been given permission to sell SIMs door-to-door. “There has been a 600 percent decrease in the sale of illegal SIMs during the past one year,” he added.

He said that people’s thumbprints were taken using “illegal methods”, adding that the thumbprint system was now being phased out. Two mobile phone operators have been fined Rs100 million and Rs50m, respectively, while more than 0.5m SIMs have been blocked, he said.

On August 31, Nadra launched a mobile phone application which enabled citizens to use their smartphones for biometric verification.

Last year in April, a data breach involving the sale of data of 115 million Pakistanis on the darknet was reported. However, the interior ministry later told the Sindh High Court that no data related to Pakistani mobile users was leaked on Nadra’s part.

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