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Pakistan’s main citizenry database compromised: Federal Investigative Agency tells Parliamentary panel

Pakistan's main citizenry database compromised: Federal Investigative Agency tells Parliamentary panel

Pakistan’s main citizenry database has been compromised, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed a Parliament panel on Thursday, adding that the breach so far has been used to only issue illegal mobile SIM cards.

The FIA made the disclosure on the National Database and Registration Authority’s (Nadra) data hack while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.

“Nadra’s data has been compromised, it has been hacked,” said FIA’s Cybercrime Wing Chief, Additional Director, Tariq, while adding that fake SIM cards were also being sold after stealing the biometric data of the registration body.

The Nadra has the sole prerogative of issuing national identity cards and passports to the citizens of Pakistan after recording their complete data.

In a statement issued separately, Tariq clarified that all of Nadra’s data had not been hacked.

“During the SIM verification process involving biometric data, Nadra’s biometric system is compromised,” he said, providing no further details.

During the briefing to the Parliament panel, he said 13,000 fake SIMs were seized during a crackdown in Faisalabad region of Punjab.

Separately, Chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Retired Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa said no mobile phone company was allowed to sell SIMs door-to-door and get the thumb impression which is needed for getting a SIM card.

He said that people’s thumbprints were taken using “illegal methods”, adding that the thumbprint system was now being phased out. 

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