In a rather shocking turn of events, Airtel India, one of the biggest telecom firms in the country, has completely dismissed rumours of database theft involving 375 million of its users. These allegations came to light on the 5th of July 2024 when a hacker with the username xenZen announced hacking Airtel and offered to sell customers’ data on a well-known cybercriminal marketplace.

The Alleged Breach: Scope and Size

XenZen, a social media account focused on tracking the dark web, reports that the actor tried to sell a large collection of personal records for 50 thousand dollars in cryptocurrency. The purported database included:

  • Mobile numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Fathers’ names
  • Aadhaar IDs
  • Email addresses

The hacker stated that this attack happened in June 2024 and the total number of Airtel India’s users that might be impacted is 375 million, which characterises approximately 27 percent of India’s population.

Airtel’s Swift Response

An Airtel spokesperson quickly responded to these allegations by saying that the firm has undertaken a detailed investigation in the matter and has reasons to believe that Airtel systems have not been breached in any way.

History and Industry Threats

This is not the first happening in the India telecom industry. In the year 2021, cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia found a data leak, which was mainly the 2,5 million Airtel users. While Airtel publicly denied the breach at the time, the situation reflected the sector’s openness.

Similarly, other large Indian telecom operators, such as Jio and Vodafone Idea, have also received similar accusations in the past years. Such incidents have happened several times, raising the question of adequately securing an industry that deals with the personal data of millions of people.

Outcomes and Cybersecurity Consequences

If the Airtel breach is true, it holds severe implications for the telecom industry. Exposed personal data can lead to:

  • Identity theft
  • Financial fraud
  • Targeted phishing attacks
  • Unauthorised marketing communications

Further, xenZen is accused of hacking attacks in the ministry of external affairs of India diplomats’ passport holders database and revealing such a thing can lead to many security threats to the country.


Even though Airtel India continues to claim that there has been no violation, this is a clear indication of current threats of cyber threats that companies and their customers continue to face. With digital dependency comes the need for strong data protection measures and proper communication between businesses and consumers on data safety.