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Pakistan’s Main Citizen Database At Risk: Top Security Agency To Parliament Panel

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) warned a Parliament panel on Thursday that Pakistan’s major citizenry database had been compromised, adding that the breach had so far only been utilised to issue unlawful mobile SIM cards.

During a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, the FIA revealed the data hack at the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

“Nadra’s data has been breached, it has been hacked,” said Tariq, the FIA’s Cybercrime Wing Chief, adding that phoney SIM cards were also being sold after the registration body’s biometric data was stolen.

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The Nadra has the exclusive authority to issue national identity cards and passports to Pakistani residents after registering their entire details.

Tariq reiterated in a later statement that none of Nadra’s data had been compromised.

“Nadra’s biometric system is infiltrated during the SIM verification procedure including biometric data,” he claimed, without going into further detail.

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During his briefing to the Parliamentary panel, he stated that 13,000 bogus SIM cards were confiscated during a crackdown in the Punjab province of Faisalabad.

Separately, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Retired Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa stated that no mobile phone provider was permitted to sell SIM cards door-to-door and obtain the thumb impression required for obtaining a SIM card.

He said that people’s thumbprints were obtained through “illegal means,” and that the thumbprint system was being phased out.

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