“Between August 2017 and January 2018, Aadhaar numbers, names, emails and physical addresses, phone numbers, and photos of almost 1.1 billion Indians were found susceptible to data breach.- Report by Avast“
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by UIDAI to every citizen of the country. It works as a proof of identity and it is mandatory for every individual of the country to have one. To enrol for an Aadhaar card, one needs to visit the official Aadhaar enrolment centre with the required documents to submit.
It is generated by using the personal information of the applicant and biometric data like IRIS scans, fingerprints. Any information used to generate an Aadhaar number for an applicant is sensitive to data breaches. The growing number of misuse of Aadhaar cards, data breaches and online theft made UIDAI come up with strict actions to prevent it. The action involves locking and unlocking biometric data.
By locking or unlocking the biometric data, one can prevent the information from leaking to any fraudulent source. In this blog, we will share how to prevent the misuse of Aadhaar cards in an effective manner.
How to Prevent Misuse of an Aadhaar Card?
Aadhaar card is generated by using an applicant’s demographics information and biometric data like iris scan, and fingerprints. As per the information shared by UIDAI on its official website, there hasn’t been a single instance of biometric data breach from the Aadhaar database. However, to make the Aadhaar card details protected, an applicant can lock/unlock the biometric details.
What is an Aadhaar Card Biometric?
Whenever an applicant enrols for an Aadhaar card, he/she is required to submit his/her demographic information along with the biometric data. Aadhaar card biometric consists of an iris scan of both eyes, fingerprints of all the 10 fingers and a photograph of the applicant. Upon submission, the demographic information and biometric data are verified with all entries in UIDAI’s database to detect any match. Aadhaar number is only provided to the applicant when his/her data is found unique to others. In any case, he/she cannot apply for a second Aadhaar card.
*It is to be noted that there is no need to submit the biometric details of a child below the age of 5 years; however, as and when the child attains the age of 5, his/her biometric details are taken. Senior citizens and regular Aadhaar cardholders can update their biometric details, whenever required.
How to Lock Aadhaar Card Biometrics Online?
To prevent the misuse of an Aadhaar card, UIDAI has given the flexibility to users to temporarily lock the biometric details. Given below are the steps to lock Aadhaar card biometrics details-
- Visit the official website of UIDAI
- Click on ‘My Aadhaar’, navigate to ‘Aadhaar Services’ and click on ‘Lock/Unlock Biometrics’
- Tick the declaration and click on ‘Lock/Unlock Biometrics’
- Enter your 12-digit Aadhaar number and captcha code
- Click on ‘Get OTP’. OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number and remains valid for 10 minutes only
- Once the OTP is entered, click on the locking feature
- Aadhaar biometrics will be locked
As the lock/unlock biometric feature is made to protect the privacy and confidentiality of user biometrics, locked biometrics can not be used for authentications until unlocked.
How to Unlock Aadhaar Biometrics Online?
In case a user wants to unlock Aadhaar biometrics for authentication purposes, he/she can simply unlock them online. Following are the steps to unlock Aadhaar biometrics online-
- Visit the official UIDAI website
- Click on ‘My Aadhaar’, and select ‘Lock/Unlock Biometrics’
- Tick declaration and click on ‘Lock/Unlock Biometrics’
- Enter Aadhaar number and captcha code
- Click on ‘Get OTP’, enter it to unlock biometrics
- Aadhaar biometrics will be unlocked
How to Lock/Unlock Aadhaar Biometrics via SMS?
UIDAI allows users to lock/unlock Aadhaar biometrics via SMS service too. To proceed with locking or unlocking Aadhaar biometrics, follow the given steps-
- To Lock Aadhaar biometrics
Send an OTP request as – GETOTPLast 4 or 8 Digit of Aadhaar Number. After it, send a Locking Request as- LOCKUIDLast 4 or 8 digits of Aadhaar number 6 digit OTP.
A confirmation message will be sent to the user. After locking the Aadhaar biometrics, a user will not be able to use Aadhaar biometrics for any form of authentication. However, he/she can use the latest Virtual ID for authentication.
- To Unlock Aadhaar Biometrics
To use Aadhaar number for authentication purposes, a user can unlock it by doing the following-
Send OTP request with last 6 or 10 digits of Virtual ID number as- GETOTPLast 6 0r 10 digits of Virtual ID. After, Send Unlocking Request as- UNLOCKUIDLast 6 or 10 digit Virtual ID 6 digit OTP.
How to get an Aadhaar Virtual ID?
Virtual ID is required to unlock Aadhaar biometrics. Following are the steps to get Aadhaar virtual ID-
- Visit UIDAI official website
- Click on ‘My Aadhaar’ and navigate to ‘Aadhaar Services’ and click on ‘Virtual ID (VID) Generator’
- Enter 12-digit Aadhaar number and captcha code
- Click on ‘Send OTP’, enter it to get Aadhaar Virtual ID
- Aadhaar Virtual ID is 16-digit temporary code generated against Aadhaar number
- It can be submitted instead of an Aadhaar number for the purpose of KYC
- Virtual ID protects Aadhaar card
- A user can generate a new Virtual ID to protect Aadhaar card details
Things to Keep in Mind to Prevent Misuse of an Aadhaar Card
Following are the things to take care of to prevent misuse of an Aadhaar card-
- Locking/Unlocking Aadhaar biometrics is voluntary. One cannot use an Aadhaar card for authentication once it is locked. Thus, make sure to use the lock/unlock feature wisely
- A few bank transactions might fail as the bank will not be able to verify locked Aadhaar card biometric details
- UIDAI offers the feature to lock/unlock Aadhaar card biometric details online
- Do not share OTP with anyone
- Aadhaar number cannot be tracked from a Virtual ID