Airtel dismisses data breach reports amid customer concerns


India’s second-largest telecom operator Airtel on Friday denied any breach in its systems after reports of an alleged security lapse triggered concerns among its customers.

The telecoms group, which also sells productivity and security solutions to businesses, said it had conducted a “thorough investigation” and found no breach of Airtel’s systems.

The telecom giant, which has about 375 million subscribers in India, dismissed media reports about the alleged breach, saying it was “a desperate attempt by vested interests to tarnish Airtel’s reputation.”

The company’s statement comes after unconfirmed reports of a possible data breach surfaced in local outlets and on social media, causing concern among Airtel’s customer base.

An alleged data broker this week emerged on a known cybercrime forum offering for sale alleged personal information of about 375 million users, including phone numbers, email addresses, Aadhaar identification numbers and residential addresses.

Earlier this week, TechCrunch reviewed a data sample shared by the broker and found some anomalies in its entries. Some security experts have also questioned the validity of the alleged incident.

“We don’t think this is Airtel’s database. It seems to be a consolidated database of multiple databases, and the actor is trying to sell it as the Airtel database,” Rahul Sasi, founder and CEO of cybersecurity startup CloudSEK, told TechCrunch based on an analysis of data samples.

Notably, the forum post was removed shortly after the incident was reported online. The forum also permanently blocked the broker’s account as it suspected “fraud”.


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