INDIA. Mumbai: The incident of hacking the CoWIN application, to obtain COVID-19 vaccination certificates, without getting vaccinated, has come to the light in Aurangabad in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra.
The CoWIN account of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), was hacked reportedly by miscreants running a racket to issue fake vaccination certificates. It’s suspected that a gang is issuing fake vaccination certificates to those who have not received the jabs using the AMC’s log-in. However, how the log-in and password were leaked is yet to be found out.
The incident was reported on Saturday from a vaccination centre at Dakshin Kesri Muni Mishrilalji (DKMM) Homoeopathic Medical College, coming under the Aref Colony Health Centre. A police complaint has been lodged and the centre has been shut till a full inquiry is held into the matter.
The vaccination centre at DKMM is being run by the AMC. On August 28, Saturday, the vaccination process was going on as usual at DKMM hospital. A total of 55 citizens, who came for the vaccination were given the token. They all had booked their slots for the day on the CoWIN portal.
After 55 people were vaccinated, data operator Shakeel Khan checked the CoWIN app to see if all the records were correct. The records in the college’s computer showed that a total of 71 persons were vaccinated, although only 55 people were vaccinated. Until now, he was registering online at the centre from his laptop. However, the fraud came to light when he logged on from the college’s computer.
Khan passed the information about the hack to Hemant Rathore, head of the technical department at the hospital. Vaccination was immediately stopped and the AMC’s Additional Commissioner B B Nemane was informed about the incident. Subsequently, Dr. Amreen Quadri, the head of the health centre, complained about the Begumpura police station. Police Inspector Prashant Potdar is investigating the case. A preliminary investigation has revealed that additional 16 names were from two families.
CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) is the official app for facilitating a massive vaccination drive against COVID-19 across India. It is available to download for free via the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. In June, the Central government refuted the media reports about CoWIN being vulnerable to hacks and data theft. It said that the portal stores all the vaccination data in a safe and secure digital environment.