A vulnerability at a CDSL subsidiary, CDSL Ventures Limited (CVL), has exposed personal and financial data of over 4 crore Indian investors twice in a period of 10 days, according to cyber security consultancy startup CyberX9.
The Central Depository Services (India) Limited (CDSL) is a SEBI registered depository and CDSL Ventures Ltd is a KYC registering agency separately registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
CDSL said that CVL has taken immediate action and the vulnerability has been mitigated now.
According to CyberX9, it reported the vulnerability on October 19, to CDSL and the securities depository took around 7 days to fix it which could have been resolved immediately.
"We verified the fix before publication and it was no longer exploitable. Later, on October 29th, our research team got to work again and within a couple of minutes they found an easy and complete bypass for the fix that CDSL implemented to patch the earlier reported vulnerability. "
"CERT-In and NCIIPC also accepted our vulnerability report for CDSL,” CyberX9 Founder and Managing Director Himanshu Pathak told PTI.
The exposed data includes investors name, phone number, email address, PAN, income range, father’s name, date of birth etc, CyberX9 said in its blog.
When contacted CDSL said that there has been no security issue or data vulnerability at CDSL.
"CVL had received a vulnerability alert on the website of CVL which has since been mitigated. We would like to state that CVL took immediate actions to mitigate the vulnerability and have worked proactively to further address any other potential security issues,” CDSL said.
Both the entities CDSL and CVL, as separate regulated entities with SEBI, have a clear arm’s length relationship, CDSL said.
CyberX9 said that the vulnerability was not highly complex the second time its team discovered it.
"We strongly suspect that the data might have already been stolen by malicious attackers. There is a need for a fair security audit of CDSL by the government,” CyberX9 blog said.
The Chandigarh-based cyber security startup said that the information exposed by CDSL could be a virtual gold mine for phishers and scammers involved in the so called business of e-mail compromise which often impersonate brokers, banks, and businesses in a bid to trick individuals and companies into transferring funds to fraudsters.
"Armed with such access to CDSL KYC data, phishers and scammers would have an endless supply of compelling scamming templates for calls and emails to use. A database like this would also give fraudsters a constant feed of new investors getting KYC to target them,” CyberX9 said.
The sensitive personal and financial data exposed to massive numbers of people can lead to things like financial fraud, identity theft, and exposing people to things like extortion, targeted attacks against people, etc.