Indian Railways took nearly two years to fix a security vulnerability in their ecommerce website Indian Railway Catering and Tourism e-commerce on (IRCTC). The flaw could have given hackers unrestricted access to millions of personal information of passengers.
According to The Economic Times report, in August, a security researcher Avinash Jain found the bug in IRCTC’s website as well as in the mobile app link that connects to a third-party insurance company for free travel insurance.
The data that could have been accessed by hackers include name, age, gender, and insurance nominees without their knowledge or consent.
“Within 10 minutes (after finding the bug) we were able to read almost 1,000 passenger and nominee information,” Jain told the ET.
It is estimated that the vulnerability would have at least affected 200,000 passengers and their nominee details exposed. The security reserach informed IRCTC about the bug on August 14, and Indian Railways acknowledged and fixed the bug on August 29.
“To get the personal details of a traveller, we needed a valid combination of the transaction ID and passenger name record (PNR) number,” said Jain.
“We were able to fetch details of any passenger by decoding the encrypted data (transaction ID/PNR) through brute force.”
Meanwhile, from September 1, the Indian Railways has decided to abort their free mandatory travel insurance, now users can opt-in or opt-out of travel insurance.
However, IRCTC did not reply to the questions regarding security flaw.