How UIDAI Contact Got to Your Phone | Is Your Phone Hacked?
Google confirms that the UIDIA’s helpline number has been coded by Google in Android.
WhatsApp rumors follow each controversy. After UIDAI and telecom operators denied any role in including the helpline (1800-300-1947) in phonebooks for users, Google took responsibility for including the number in its Android setup wizard in 2014 on August 4, 2018.
The message asks people to check their lists of contacts and remove the UIDAI helpline as it is a number of hackers. Citing these messages is going around.
One message says,’ Please check if your phone contacts have automatically added a number starting from 1800 in the name of UIDAI. If yes, delete it right away, it’s the day’s spam.
Another message is saying, “Guys. Pls check the Ur list of contacts. And please delete the” UIDAI “name number that was automatically saved in the Ur contact list. As with the latest TV channel news. This is a number of hackers.”
As in the past, many Android users of India have found the outdated UIDAI’s helpline number and 112 distress helpline number mysteriously appearing in their contact list by default. Many people thought that their device has been breached and compromised.
Google confirmed in August 2018 that the UIDAI helpline number and 112 aid number were inadvertently coded in the Android release SetUp wizard given to OEMs for use in India in 2014. The tech giant also confirmed that it would fix the errors and that the users can delete the number if they wished to in the next update.
The tech giant even went ahead and apologized for the chaos that had occurred.
The statement said: “We are sorry that this may have caused concern and would like to assure everyone that this is not an unauthorized access situation of their Android devices. Users can remove the number from their devices manually. “
Immediately after this statement became public, COAI(Cellular Operators Association of India), a powerful lobby of telecom operators issued a statement saying that none of the telecom operators had inserted UIDAI number into any smartphone.
The matter started picking traction after French security expert Elliot Alderson raised this concern via Tweet, addressed to UIDAI, who is the same person who had accepted TRAI Chairman RS Sharma’s Aadhaar hack challenge, and had posted his publicly available information on Twitter. Soon, several people started claiming that the UIDAI helpline is visible in their address book as well, and the matter raised up.
So much heat was generated that UIDAI had to come out, and assure everyone that they haven’t inserted any helpline number in any Android phone, not they have asked any telecom operator to do so.
“UIDAI condemns the vested interests that have attempted to misuse Google’s” inadvertently “acting as an opportunity to spread rumors and go around fear-mongering against Aadhaar. Rumors are floating in some social media such as Twitter and WhatsApp that this number has mysteriously popped up on mobile devices and will be harmful, Aadhaar data has been breached, etc.
The UIDAI added that an old outdated helpline line number will and cannot cause any damage. They are also urging people to delete there to delete the old Aadhaar helpline number and update it with the new 1947 number. Business Today’s separate report claims that Google may not have acted on its own accord but on the Manmohan Singh government’s directive. DoT instructed telecommunications companies back in 2013 to map shortcode ‘ 1947 ‘ to the toll-free number of UIDAI.
Some IOS devices may also have this number but that is due to users migrating their Android contact to their IOS devices
After Google’s admission, a little after midnight, the vigilante hacker even claimed to have found the code that the company apparently used to add the UIDAI helpline number as default in devices’ contact lists.
Earlier, despite not having added it or given explicit permission, multiple people had tweeted about finding a number for UIDAI in their contact list.
Check some of the tweets below, including clarification from UIDAI on the number of the helpline: