Worried about data breaches? Lock your Aadhaar biometrics this way and know the secret of device isolation

The alleged data breach in India that reportedly leaked Aadhaar and other information of 81.5 crore individuals, may seem scary but you can still protect your data by locking your biometrics on UIDAI.

| Updated on: Nov 02 2023, 09:22 IST
Aadhaar update
Biometric locking and device isolation can be critical to protect you from any future data breaches. (REUTERS)
Aadhaar update
Biometric locking and device isolation can be critical to protect you from any future data breaches. (REUTERS)

On October 31, a report revealed that allegedly, India's biggest data breach had occurred recently, that leaked personal information, including Aadhaar card data of 81.5 crore on the dark web. Cybersecurity is becoming an important thing to be aware of in this day and age, as such breaches affect all of us, irrespective of who we are. Once such data is leaked, bad actors can use it to forge fake identities and conduct criminal activities. So, is it a hopeless cause since hackers are directly attacking the government servers and not individuals? Not really. With smart choices like locking up your Aadhaar biometric data and device isolation, you do make a difference.

Locking up your Aadhaar biometric data

As per UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), biometric locking/unlocking is a service that allows an Aadhaar holder to lock and temporarily unlock their biometrics. This facility aims to strengthen the privacy and confidentiality of the resident's biometrics data.

Once you lock your biometric, your fingerprint, iris, and face as a biometric modality will be locked. After biometric locking, the Aadhaar holder will not be able to perform the Aadhaar authentication using the above-mentioned biometric modalities.

In simple terms, if you do not plan to use biometric modality as a way to prove your identity, then it would make sense to lock up this data, and it will not be available for the hacker to steal easily, as another layer of protection will appear. Further, this protection is also helpful in cases where you feel the attacker may already have this data and might use it to illegally get into systems.

This is how you can lock and unlock your Aadhaar biometric data

1. First, you should go to UIDAI's official portal - https://resident.uidai.gov.in/bio-lock

2. Before proceeding, generate a 16-digit Virtual ID (VID), as only VID can Lock/Unlock the Aadhaar.

3. Return to the above-mentioned URL and log in with your Aadhaar and OTP.

4. Enter your UID number and the captcha code to proceed.

5. Next, you'll receive an OTP on your registered mobile. Enter that on the computer.

6. Activate the 'Enable locking feature'.

You can also disable it using the same method.

Device isolation

When you use this method, you must understand the basics of device isolation. Device isolation essentially means that you compartmentalize the tasks of a sensitive nature so that even if there is malware in either or both of your devices, it still will not be able to hack your account or get to your data. For example, device isolation in the above-mentioned task would be not to open the Aadhaar portal on your phone where you are supposed to receive the OTP. That way even if your phone has malware, it will not know the OTP and will not be able to use your ID to trigger OTP secretively to steal your data.

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First Published Date: 02 Nov, 08:59 IST