Privacy Tracker Retracts Paytm Mall Leak Claim, Believes Leak Was ‘Fabricated’

Privacy tracker Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) has retracted its claim that Paytm Mall was hacked in 2020, stating that it now believes the leak was ‘fabricated’. Earlier this week, the website that allows Internet users to check whether their personal data has been compromised by data breaches, had added what it claimed was personal data of 3.4 million users, allegedly sourced from the two-year-old data breach. On Friday, HIBP’s Troy Hunt revealed that he believed the data was fabricated, after a conversation with the head of Paytm’s information security team about the authenticity of the data.   

“The online platform that flagged a data breach of our systems reviewed it and has responsibly retracted its claim. This validates our earlier statement, where we stated that the data breach had no connection with us after conducting thorough investigations. We would like to reassure our users that their data is absolutely safe and protecting their information remains our topmost priority,” a Paytm spokesperson told Gadgets 360. 

On Wednesday, HIBP creator Troy Hunt tweeted an old report on the alleged breach, stating that he had received confirmation of users’ emails and phone numbers from the Paytm Mall data breach. At the time, a staff member at Gadgets 360 was also notified by the Firefox Monitor service of their email or phone number having been part of the so-called breach.

According to HIBP, the data, which has now been termed fabricated, included “unique email addresses along with names, phone numbers, genders, dates of birth, income levels, and previous purchases” from 3.4 million users compromised in the breach that was reported in 2020. 

Back in 2020, risk intelligence platform Cyble had claimed that cybercriminals had asked for ransom in the form of cryptocurrency, after Paytm Mall was hacked by a known cybercrime group called ‘John Wick’ which allegedly gained unrestricted access to Paytm Mall’s entire database using a backdoor/ Adminer. At the time, Paytm had stated that it had not found any security lapses and that all user and company data was safe and secure.

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