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Data Breach: Data of 168 Million Citizens Stolen and Sold, 7 Suspects Arrests

A new case of a massive data breach that would have had consequences over the national security has recently been exposed by Cyberabad Police. The investigation further led to the arrest of seven individuals hailing from a gang, allegedly involved in the theft and sale of the sensitive government data and some significant organizations, including credentials of defense personnel as well as the personal and confidential data of around 168 million citizens. 

The accused were discovered selling data on more than 140 distinct groups of individuals, including military personnel, bank clients, energy sector consumers, NEET students, government employees, gas agencies, high net worth individuals, and demat account holders. 

Another category of victims include Bengaluru women’s consumer data, data of people who have applied for loans and insurance, credit card and debit card holders (of AXIS, HSBC and other banks), WhatsApp users, Facebook users, employees of IT companies and frequent flyers. 

"When an individual calls the toll-free numbers of JustDial and asks for any sector or category related confidential data of individuals, their query is listed and sent to that category of the service provider. Then these fraudsters call those clients/ fraudsters and send them samples. If the client agrees to purchase, they make payment and provide the data. This data is further used for committing crime," stated the commissioner. 

The accused gang apparently operated via registered and unregistered organizations: Data Mart, Infotech, Global Data Arts and MS Digital Grow. 

The accused were found to have access to 2.5 lakh defense personnel's sensitive data, including their ranks, email addresses, places of posting, etc. The thieves gained access to the data of 35,000 Delhi government employees, 12 million WhatsApp users, 17 lakh Facebook users, and 11 million customers of six banks. Also, the defendants had access to information on 98 lakh applicants for credit cards. 

Main suspect Kumar in Noida, Nitish Bhushan had created a call center and obtained credit card records from Muskan Hassan, another defendant. The other suspects, Pooja Pal and Susheel Thomar were reportedly operating as tele-callers at Bhushan’s call center. While, Atul Pratap Singh's business, "Inspiree Digital," gathered credit cardholder data and profitably marketed it. Atul's workplace had employed Muskan as a telemarketer before she started her own business, "MS Digital Grow." She served as a middleman, selling data. She organized the data that Atul had provided and sold it to Bhushan. 

Sandeep Pal founded Global Data Arts and sold private consumer information to fraudsters engaging in online crimes through Justdial services and social media platforms. The seventh defendant, Zia Ur Rehman, shared the database with Atul and Bhushan and offered bulk message services for advertising.  

Utilizing an Integrated Approach for Application Security

Among every industry and organizations, application security has emerged as a progressively complex and challenging issue. Over the past few years, the rapid innovation in this field has resulted in the increase of attack surfaces, significantly where firms have shifted to modern application stacks on cloud-based security. Attack surfaces have also been expanded by the increased deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, as well as by new hybrid working patterns. 

The volume and sophistication of cybercrime attacks have sharply increased at the same time, causing concerns inside IT departments. According to the most recent study from Cisco AppDynamics, the shift to a security approach for the full application stack, 78% of technologists believe that their company is susceptible to a multi-stage cybersecurity attack that would target the entire application stack over the course of the following 12 months. Indeed, such an attack might have catastrophic results for brands. 

The major problem for IT teams is the lack of the right level of visibility and insights in order to recognize where new threats are emerging across a complicated topology of applications. More than half of engineers claim that they frequently find themselves operating in "security limbo" since they are unsure of their priorities and areas of concentration. 

IT teams can safeguard the complete stack of modern apps throughout the entire application lifecycle by using an integrated approach to application security. It offers total protection for applications across code, containers, and Kubernetes, from development to production. Moreover, with coupled application and security monitoring, engineers can assess the potential business effect of vulnerabilities and then prioritize their responses instead of being left in the dark. 

Moving to a Security Approach for the Full Application Stack 

In order to improve the organization security, tech experts are recognizing the need for adopting a security strategy for the entire application stack that provides comprehensive protection for their applications from development through to production across code, containers, and Kubernetes. 

Moreover, IT teams are required to integrate their performances and security checks to gain a better understanding of the way security flaws and incidents could impact users and organizations. Tech experts can assess the significance of risks using severity scoring while taking the threat's context into account thanks to business transaction insights. This entails that they can give priority to threats that pose a risk to an application or environment that is crucial for conducting business. 

Due to the complexity and dynamic nature of cloud-native technologies, as well as the quick expansion of attack surfaces, IT teams are increasingly relying on automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically identify and fix problems across the entire technology stack, including cloud-native microservices, Kubernetes containers, multi-cloud environments, or mainframe data centers. 

AI is already being used for continuous detection and prioritization, maximizing speed and uptime while lowering risk by automatically identifying and blocking security exploits without human interaction. Also, more than 75% of technologists think AI will become more crucial in tackling the issues their firm has with speed, size, and application security skills. 

To safeguard modern application stacks, companies must encourage much closer IT team collaboration. With a DevSecOps strategy, security teams analyze and evaluate security risks and priorities during planning phases to establish a solid basis for development. This adds security testing early in the development process. 

IT teams can be far more proactive and strategic in how they manage risk with a comprehensive approach to application security that combines automation, integrated performance, security monitoring, and DevSecOps approaches. A security strategy for the entire application stack can free engineers from their impasse and enable them to create more secure products, prevent expensive downtime, and advance into the next innovation era.