KEA says students' data leaked

Cyber fraudsters have hacked into KEA websites and allegedly stolen data of students admitted to professional courses at various colleges.

Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) officials have registered a complaint with the Malleswaram police in Bengaluru alleging that cyber fraudsters have hacked into their websites and stolen data of students admitted to professional courses at various colleges.

The KEA action comes after complaints from parents and students that the data pertaining to their admissions to professional courses has been compromised.

According to the complaint filed by Shilpa M, the previous administrative officer of the KEA, who was reportedly transferred a few days ago, the KEA has accused a private marketing agency of hacking into the website to access the students’ data.

“A private marketing agency has hacked the data of lakhs of students available with KEA and tried to sell it to third parties. Strict action needs to be initiated against the private agency,” she stated in her complaint.

However, what has left many baffled is the inordinate delay by the KEA in filing a complaint with the jurisdictional police even though the incident had reportedly occurred on July 5. KEA officials filed a complaint only on November 21.

Sources from a student organisation revealed to DH that there have been allegations of ‘data leak’ since the beginning of the admission season to professional courses for the academic year 2019-20.

“Many students registered with KEA for engineering and other professional courses began getting calls and text messages from several private institutions and agents about the admission process.

This was a rude shock to the students and their parents raising doubts that
their personal data may have been leaked to third parties,” said an office-bearer of one of the students’ organisations.

Several parents had alleged that the leaked data was uploaded on various websites related to higher education and following complaints, KEA officials, through an internal inquiry, discovered the alleged breach of trust by the company. Personal data pertaining to the students and parents from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana have been leaked to third parties.

Reacting on the development, Suralkar Vikas Kishore, executive director, KEA assured that precautions will be taken to prevent such instances in the future.

“We are waiting for the inquiry to be completed. Once we receive the report, we will decide on the next course of action. But as far as the security of students’ data is concerned, we will adopt more stringent measures to prevent any kind of data leak,” he told DH.

 

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