NADRA data leak


It has taken Islamabad nearly 30 months to come to terms with a nerve-wracking revelation about the personal data of millions of Pakistanis compromised, thanks to weaknesses in Nadra’s security framework.
Even today, as the investigation committee points to these particulars surfacing in Argentina and Romania, we are told to sit back and not worry because numerous steps have already been taken to ensure the optimal security of the national database. However, in a country like Pakistan, biometric data alone can provide criminals and other bad actors with opportunities to wreak havoc.
Going by the chatter on the street, the massive data breach pertained to the names, addresses, phone numbers, and even biometric data of 2.7 million citizens. The alarming magnitude of this scope should have rattled any authority out of its complacency as it tried to protect the privacy of its users and made sure that the information did not fall into the wrong hands. The consequences of this data breach are far-reaching and have serious implications for both individuals and the country as a whole.
Without immediate intervention, the compromised data can be used to manipulate elections, commit financial crimes, or even jeopardize national security. The breach not only erodes public trust in government institutions but also exposes citizens to a plethora of risks and vulnerabilities. Therefore, if the database authority has plugged all loopholes as it claims, all steps taken to strengthen the cybersecurity protocols should be shared with the masses.
Actions taken against the alleged perpetrators of the breach should also be brought to light. Time and again, our intelligence agencies have drawn links between operatives on the dark web, the establishment of other countries and militant organisations. The state would do well to thoroughly investigate how a compromise of Nadra’s sim detection technology was availed by terrorists to coordinate attacks or by our enemies to creep into Pakistan’s security institutions. This cannot be allowed to happen again.