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November 3, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


Recent cybersecurity breaches, notably the ICMR server incident exposing the data of 81 crore vaccinated Indians, highlight the vulnerability of healthcare systems in India. This breach, following earlier CoWIN data leaks and the AIIMS ransomware attack, raises concerns about the nation’s digital health infrastructure.

What is Data Breach?

Data breaches vary concerning the methods used or the type of information targeted. Understanding these categories is crucial to fortify security measures against potential threats. The types are extensive, reflecting the varied strategies employed by attackers.

Data Breach by Attack Type:

Physical Attack:

Involves theft or unauthorized access physically, potentially compromising sensitive data, necessitating robust physical security measures alongside cyber protection.


Blocks system access or data until a ransom is paid. Employing data backups and redundancy plans helps mitigate its impact.

Insider Threats:

Originates from internal security compromises. Training employees to recognize signs of suspicious behavior and maintaining a healthy work environment are essential.


Deceptive emails pretending to be from trusted sources lure employees into disclosing sensitive information.

SQL Injection:

Exploits vulnerabilities in database inputs to execute unauthorized commands, potentially compromising data integrity and security.


Data Breach by Target Type:


Attackers target security systems, attempting to manipulate monitoring tools or bypass security measures for unauthorized access.

IT Network Security:

Aims to undermine various network layers compromising confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of information.

Security Information:

Focused on compromising systems managing data intake, storage, and organization, potentially stalling operations or holding information for ransom.

Protected Health Information (PHI):

Represents a critical target as health records’ compromise may have life-threatening implications, motivating quick ransom payments.

Breaches and Governance:

ICMR Server Breach:

Unauthorised access to personal data of 81 crore vaccinated Indians.

Data auctioned on the dark web, posing a grave threat to privacy.

Previous Breaches:

CoWIN Data Leak in June: Prompted FIR and CERT-In’s investigation.

Ransomware Attack at AIIMS: Further illustrating the vulnerability of health data.

Challenges with Digital Architecture:

Healthcare Data Sensitivity:

Healthcare data’s high sensitivity and emergency-based access make it a lucrative target for ransomware attacks.

India’s Digital Healthcare Transition:

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) aims to digitize healthcare services, linking professionals and facilities with patients.

ABDM’s federated architecture aims to facilitate data flow without centralized storage, enhancing scalability and interoperability.

Risks and Accountability:

ABDM’s Design and Risks:

ABDM’s architecture presents benefits of scale but amplifies data breach risks.

World Bank study highlights risks such as health insurers accessing patient data and manipulating premiums.

Data Protection Law Issues:

Collaboration between the government and the private sector in India’s digital public goods is affected by the sweeping exemptions provided to the government by data protection laws.

This influences cybersecurity approaches, requiring stricter oversight and government accountability for data breaches.


The ICMR breach and previous incidents underscore the imperative for stringent data protection measures and governance in India’s healthcare digitalization. Strengthening cybersecurity, revisiting data protection laws, and ensuring government accountability are crucial to safeguard sensitive health data and maintain public trust in digital health initiatives.

Mains Question:

  1. “Discuss the critical types of data breaches and the challenges faced by India’s healthcare system in light of recent cyber incidents. How can stringent data protection measures and revised governance frameworks mitigate these challenges?” (150 Words) 10M





November 3, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: