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Security concerns exposed COVID-19 symptom checker results at Jio



Mukesh Ambani
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When the COVID-19 outbreak initially caused a havoc in late March, India’s largest cell network organization came up with a self-test symptom check app. The symptom checker allows anyone to check their symptoms from their phone or Jio’s website to see if they may have become infected with COVID-19.

However, there was a glitch which remained under the shadow for a while but once it came out, the pressure was intense on Jio to drop the app from Google Play. A security lapse exposed one of the symptom checker’s core databases to the internet without a password, as reported by TechCrunch.

A security researcher noticed this on May 1st and submitted a report to Jio, after which the company soon dropped the app and pulled their system offline. Unfortunately, it is unknown as to how many people had access to the data base during this period as only one came out and accepted it.

“Immediate action was taken” – Jio’s spokesperson

“We have taken immediate action. The logging server was for monitoring performance of our website, intended for the limited purpose of people doing a self-check to see if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.” said Jio spokesperson Tushar Pania.

The potentially leaked data base has millions of logs and records from April 17th to the date it was made offline. The data also included the person’s user agent, a small snippet of information about the user’s browser version and the operating system, often used to load the website properly but can also be used to track a user’s online activity.

Some of the records also had precise locations of some of the users and Jio’s security team managed to access locations of other users using latitude and longitude records of their logins. Most of the location data is clustered around major cities, like Mumbai and Pune. TechCrunch also claims there were users in the United Kingdom and North America.

Although the situation was worrying, Jio and RIL ensured this situation didn’t meddle its nose in their newly struck deal with Facebook, which is expected to change retail methods in the country. Facebook made a $5.7 Billion investment in Jio and are hoping to bring in more connectivity in retail industry by reaching out to small business owners.