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EPFO shuts Aadhaar seeding portal after IB alert on data breach

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EPFO shuts Aadhaar seeding portal after IB alert on data breach

A joke doing the rounds says that according to Modi government, everything from Defence Ministry website to the most sophisticated computer can be hacked, but not EVMs or Aadhaar data.

That in fact sums up the response of the government and the joke has frequently been on the people with repeated reports of Aadhaar data breach.

This time, confidential data on subscribers of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) was found to have been stolen by hackers. The EPFO had to shut down the portal that was used to seed Aadhaar details with PF accounts.

The matter came to light when a letter from EPFO Central Provident Fund Commissioner VP Joy surfaced on Twitter.

According to a letter, which Joy wrote to Dinesh Tyagi, CEO of Common Service Centre (CSC) which managed the EPFO website with the data, Intelligence Bureau (IB) had informed the labour ministry in March about the data theft from the aadhaar.epfoservices.com website that helps link the Aadhaar numbers of subscribers with their EPF account numbers.

The website had subscribers data related to their Aadhaar number, Permanent Account Number or PAN, personal family and salary details.

“It has been intimated that the data has been stolen by hackers by exploiting the vulnerabilities prevailing in the website (aadhaar.epfoservices.com) of EPFO,” Joy wrote in the letter to Tyagi, according to LiveMint.

The letter said that the IB has advised adhering to “best practices and guidelines for securing the confidential data, re-emphasising regular and meaningful audit and vulnerability assessment and penetration testing of the entire system from competent auditors and testers stated.”

“The web portal has been closed one-and-a-half months ago, immediately after a possible data theft was reported to us during a process of routine security check,” Joy told Business Standard Wednesday, May 2.

“There was some problem in the application run by CSC and it is not related to our data centre that maintains the EPF accounts.”

After the scare over the reported breach, the EPFO on Wednesday, May 3 said in a statement, “No confirmed data leakage has been established or observed so far. As part of the data security and protection, EPFO has taken advance action by closing the server and host service through Common Service Centres pending vulnerability checks.”

However, Joy was reported as saying in an interview, “I don’t know how my letter got leaked. We shall find out,” according to LiveMint. He said EPFO has “taken care of the vulnerabilities and soon after it was warned about the vulnerability of data it stopped availing services of the CSC.”

The UIDAI also said that the breach wasn’t from its server.

However, the government sources have now confirmed that details of PF accounts were compromised for “a few weeks,” before it was detected and the portal was taken down, reported the Huff Post.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi reveals plan for ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project, says work for the project has been ongoing for last 2 years

The Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

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A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its election manifesto, which aims at building a Viksit Bharat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview with the media, outlined his vision for India’s development by 2047. He also addressed concerns raised by the opposition parties, who suggest that the BJP might seek to amend the Constitution if re-elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his assurance to the people that they do not need to fear when he said that he has big plans for the country in his election speeches. Explaining statement, the Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

Speaking to the media, PM Modi said, when he says that he has big plans, no one should be scared. He said he does not take decisions to scare or run-over anyone, he takes decisions for the wholesome development of the country. He added the government always says they have done everything.  He said he did not believe that he had done everything. He added he had tried to do everything in the right direction, yet there is so much he needed to do, because he saw that his country has so many needs.

The Prime minister asked how did he fulfill the dreams of every family? He said this is the reason why he said this has been a trailer. PM Modi said he had been working on the ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project for the past two years. And for that, he asked for opinions and suggestions from people across India.  He said he had taken suggestions from more than 15 lakh people on how they want to see India in the coming 25 years.

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Kangana Ranaut meets Dalai Lama in Dharamshala shares pictures on social media ahead of Lok Sabha elections, post goes viral

The Bollywood actor met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala and said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life.

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The Bollywood actor and BJP candidate for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala on Monday. She said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life. Kangana Ranaut also shared pictures on social media.

The Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled for June 1, marking the seventh phase of elections to elect four members of the 18th Lok Sabha. As the voting day is still over a month away, candidates contesting in the 4 constituencies are actively participating in various campaign activities. Among them, the BJP’s star candidate Kangana Ranaut, who is contesting from Mandi against Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh, is leaving no stone unturned to win the votes of the people.

Kangana Ranaut also shared what Dalai Lama told her during the meeting. She said, his Holiness ji said that he enjoys being in Himachal Pradesh and absolutely loves Bharat. She said this is such a privilege and such an honour. After her meeting with the spiritual leader, the actor told the media that it was divine. She said it was an experience which she will cherish all her life. She thought it is exceptional to be in the presence of such a being who has sheer divinity around him. She said it was very emotional for her and ex-CM Jairam Thakur. She added she will cherish this experience all her life.

Earlier, Kangana Ranaut slammed Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh for calling her the queen of controversies while she was addressing a poll rally in Mandi. She said, Yeh tumhare baap-dada ki riyasat nahin hai, ke tum mujhe dara, dhamka ke vapis bhej doge. She further added this is the new Bharat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where a small, poor boy who used to sell tea is the biggest hero and pradhan sevak of the people.

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Election Commission records highest inducement seizure of Rs 4,650 crore ahead of Lok Sabha election

The Election Commission of India records highest inducement seizure of Rs 4,650 in 75-years of history.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Monday that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections are expected to witness the highest ever seizures of inducements.

According to a notification from the poll board, enforcement agencies had already seized a record Rs 4,650 crore before the first round of polling, which is yet to start. This was a significant increase over the Rs 3,475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.

As part of a level playing field, the Election Commission said that the enhanced seizures reflect ECI’s unwavering commitment to monitor inducements and curb electoral malpractices, particularly in favour of smaller and less resourceful parties.

Significantly, narcotics and drugs, which are the Commission’s main focus, account for 45% of the seizures. The poll body continued, the seizures have been made possible by thorough planning, increased cooperation and coordinated deterrent action by agencies, proactive public participation, and optimal use of technology.

The commission also made statistics on the distribution of inducements that were seized available for public consumption by state. With a seizure of over Rs 778 crore, Rajasthan topped the list. Gujarat came in second with Rs 605 crore, and Maharashtra came in third with roughly Rs 431 crore.

When announcing the polls last month, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar highlighted money power as one of the 4M challenges, along with money, muscle, misinformation, and Model Code of Conduct violations.

Use of black money, over and above political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, may disturb the level playing field in favor of a more resourceful party or candidate in specific geographies, the panel stated in its statement released on Monday.

The poll authority claims that the seizures are an essential part of the ECI’s resolve to hold fair elections for the Lok Sabha that are free from electoral malpractices and inducements.

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