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Aarogya Setu is now open source; govt announces reward for finding security flaws

The National Informatics Centre has also announced the bug bounty programme for developers who can find vulnerabilities in the app

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In New Delhi Last Updated: May 27, 2020 | 14:13 IST
Aarogya Setu is now open source; govt announces reward for finding security flaws
Aarogya Setu was launched by the central government on April 2

Amid security concerns over Aarogya Setu, the government has made the source code of the app open for developers. On Monday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a notice saying that the code for the Arogya Setu Android app has been uploaded on GitHub. The iOS version of the application will be released as open source within the next two weeks and the server code will be released subsequently, it added. The app has over 114 million users. Nearly 98 per cent of Aarogya Setu users are on Android platform. The National Informatics Centre has also announced the bug bounty programme for developers who can find vulnerabilities in the app.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant asserted that no other government in the world has been open source at this scale. "Transparency, privacy and security have been the core design principle of Aarogya Setu. Opening the source code to the developer community signifies the Government of India's continuing principal to these commitments. No other government anywhere in the world has been open source at this scale," Kant said.

National Informatics Centre Director General Neeta Verma said that there will be four categories of rewards for people who find a bug in the app and come up with a suggestion to improve the programming of the app. "There are three categories of securities vulnerability for which Rs 1 lakh will be given in each of the categories. Then there is a Rs 1 lakh prize for code improvement bounty," Verma said.

Aarogya Setu was launched by the central government on April 2 to help people identify the risk of contracting coronavirus by using bluetooth and location features. The people can also use the app to alert authorities if they have come in close contact with a person infected with the deadly virus. The app is available in 11 languages including English, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Kannada, among others.

The app is designed in such a way that it keeps a user informed in case she or he has crossed paths with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. A user will be alerted if they unknowingly came in close proximity with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app alerts are accompanied by instructions on how to self-isolate and what to do in case one develops coronavirus symptoms.

Also read: Coronavirus crisis: Nokia closes Tamil Nadu plant after 42 employees test positive

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