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  1. The government ID database, Aadhaar, became a victim to multiple data breaches which are reported to have compromised the database of 1.1 billion citizens of the country who were registered. In 2018, Cybercrime, more threatening than ever, instigated back to back data breaches across the world which endangered the personal records of millions of people and India is reported to be the largest victim of those breaches. The findings of the World Economic Forum's 14th edition of Global Risks Report 2019, stated the risks to which Environmental degradation is being exposed to; out of the top five most impactful global problems this year, four are related to climate. In 2019, geo-economic and geopolitical are the most vital concerns and 90 percent of experts are anticipating further conflict among the major powers. In January, the criminals were reported to be selling access to the personal records of citizens at a cost of 500 Rs for a time period of 10 minutes, while, in March, a leak allowed the names and ID numbers of the registered citizens to be downloaded by anyone. Other recent instances of data breaches include millions of users of Facebook and MyFitnessPal having their personal data compromised. The report by World Economic Forum outlined the deteriorated international relations which pose serious challenges. It highlighted the reduced ability of the world to battle urgent crises. Other aspects put forth by The Global Risks Report includes the rapid worsening of trade disputes, deterioration in economic and geopolitical conditions and worsened international cooperation. Furthermore, the findings of the reports indicated further challenges to multilateral trading rules and agreements. As per the eighty-five percent of the participants to 2019’s survey, heightened risks of "political confrontations between major powers" are expected as the year progresses. Beyond the short term, environmental dangers have continued to dominate the concerns of the survey participants for over 10 years. Referenced from the statements given by Borge Brende, President, World Economic Forum, "With global trade and economic growth at risk in 2019, there is a more urgent need than ever to renew the architecture of international cooperation. What we need now is coordinated, concerted action to sustain growth and to tackle the grave threats facing our world today," Source
  2. MUMBAI (Reuters) - A group representing online sellers in India will appeal against the Competition Commision of India’s (CCI’s) ruling in favour of Walmart-owned Flipkart, the group’s lawyer Chanakya Basa said in a release on Saturday. All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), which represents more than 3,500 online sellers, had complained that Flipkart was using its dominant position to favour select sellers. The CCI had rejected this argument in November. The CCI had said Flipkart as well as Amazon did not break regulations through their selection of merchants and brands. The AIOVA will appeal to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Monday against the CCI decision, Basa told Reuters. “We firmly believe we have filed adequate information to prove the existence of a prima-facie case which the hon’ble Commission has failed to take into account. Hence, we are filing this appeal,” Basa said in a statement. The AIOVA has also brought a similar case against Amazon, alleging it favours merchants that it partly owns, such as Cloudtail and Appario. India has a burgeoning e-commerce market, with almost 500 million Indians using the internet in 2018. The market is tipped to grow to $200 billion in a decade, according to Morgan Stanley. Source
  3. NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Global social media and technology giants are gearing up to fight sweeping new rules proposed by the Indian government that would require them to actively regulate content in one of the world’s biggest Internet markets, sources close to the matter told Reuters. The rules, proposed by the Information Technology ministry on Christmas Eve, would compel platforms such as Facebook, its messaging service WhatsApp and Twitter to remove unlawful content, such as anything that affected the “sovereignty and integrity of India”. This had to be done within 24 hours, the rules propose. The proposal, which caught many holidaying industry executives off guard, is open for public comment until Jan. 31. It will then be adopted as law, with or without changes. The move comes ahead of India’s national election due by May and amid rising worries that activists could misuse social media, especially the WhatsApp messaging service, to spread fake news and sway voters. Industry executives and civil rights activists say the rules smack of censorship and could be used by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase surveillance and crack down on dissent. Social media firms have long battled efforts by governments around the world to hold them responsible for what users post on their platforms. U.S. and India lobby groups, representing Facebook and other companies, have sought legal opinions from law firms on the impact of the federal proposal, and have started working on drafting objections to be filed with the IT ministry, four sources in the sector said. “The companies can’t take this lying down. We are all concerned, it’s fundamental to how these platforms are governed,” said an executive at a global social media company. An estimated half a billion people in India have access to the Internet. Facebook has about 300 million users in the country and WhatsApp has more than 200 million. Tens of millions of Indians use Twitter. The new rules, the sources said, would put privacy of users at risk and raise costs by requiring onerous round-the-clock monitoring of online content. Internet firm Mozilla Corp said last week the proposal was a “blunt and disproportionate” solution to the problem of harmful content online, and one which could lead to over-censorship and “chill free expression”. The IT ministry has said the proposal was aimed at only making social media safer. “This is not an effort to curb freedom of speech, or (impose) censorship,” Gopalakrishnan S., a joint secretary at India’s IT ministry said on Saturday when the ministry ran a #SaferSocialMedia campaign on Twitter. Facebook and WhatsApp declined to comment. A Twitter spokesperson said the company continues to engage with the IT Ministry and civil society on the proposed rules. “This will be like a sword hanging on technology companies,” said Nikhil Narendran, a partner specializing in technology law at Indian law firm Trilegal. TIGHT REGULATIONS Such regulations are not unique to India. Vietnam has asked tech companies to open local offices and store data domestically, while Australia’s parliament has passed a bill to force companies to give police access to encrypted data. Germany requires social media companies to remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours or face fines. Nevertheless, the proposal would further strain relations between India and global technology firms. They have been at odds since last year due to federal proposals requiring them to store more user data locally to better assist legal investigations. The new rules, called “intermediary guidelines”, also propose requiring companies with more than 5 million users in India to have a local office and a nodal officer for “24x7 coordination with law enforcement”. When asked by a government agency or through a court order, companies should within 24 hours “remove or disable access” to “unlawful” content, they stipulate. The rules also mandate companies to reveal the origin of a message when asked, which if enforced would deal a blow to WhatsApp which boasts of end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy. WhatsApp has battled criticism after fake messages about child kidnap gangs on its platform sparked mob lynchings in India last year. “You have created a monster, you should have the ability to control the monster,” a senior government official said, referring to WhatsApp. “We remain flexible in principle (to suggestions), but we definitely want them to be more accountable, especially the big companies,” the official said. Source
  4. LUCKNOW: When Ashutosh, 24, approached an online agency for a home-tuition job, he was conned into a contract and whisked into a dim-lit room surrounded by women and asked to do body massage. Three others also fell victim to this online fraud. In another bizarre case, Preeti Singh, 38, employed with a bio-fertilizer firm, received an email on resignations of top executives, firm’s bankruptcy details and new products in the pipeline. Later, it was found that mail accounts of the honchos were hacked. These cases are a window to the sudden spurt in cybercrime in 2018 in the city even as violent crimes saw a drastic dip in comparison to 2017. In fact, cybercrime cases rose by 142% over the previous year, according to a police dossier. Also, number of cybercrime cases were less than violent incidents in 2017, but skyrocketed in 2018. In 2017, at least 864 cybercrime incidents, including phishing, card cloning, financial swindling via social networking sites and job-related frauds were reported in the city, but in 2018, cybercrime cases doubled to 2,085. On the other hand, violent crimes — dacoity, murder, rape, kidnapping and loot — accounted for 910 cases in 2017 and declined by 8% in 2018 to 842 incidents. Data shows the cybercrime case count was less than violent crimes in the city till 2017. But rise in digital transactions after demonetization in 2016 and the rapid spread in net connectivity triggered a surge in cybercrime last year. In 2016, cybercrime cases dipped by 40% against violent crimes Number of cybercrime cases rose from 728 in 2016 to 864 in 2017 and galloped to 2,085 in 2018. In contrast, violent crime cases declined from 1,222 in 2016 to 910 in 2017 and further dipped to 842 in 2018. An analysis shows cybercrime cases were 40% less than violent crimes, but the gap narrowed by 5% in 2017, but surged ahead by 142% in the last calendar year. SSP Lucknow Kalanidhi Naithani said after demonetisation, more people began using e-wallets and debit, credit cards and became targets. The addition of 30% new users in the digital medium in 2017 also led to increase in cybercrime, he said. Independent cyber expert Adarsh Dubey, however, says increase in connectivity is not the sole reason. “Police force is poorly equipped. They still depend on old techniques of tracing IP address, then sending it to social media firms for tracing miscreants through ‘dark web’. Policemen are still unaware of crypto currency, block chain frauds and more such cases will be reported, he said. Source
  5. Reliance Jio, the third largest mobile carrier in India, is blocking access to several proxy and VPN sites that allow users to anonymously browse the web and sidestep internet service providers’ content restrictions online. Quartz reported the incident today, following reports from several Redditors in a thread from last week. That’s worrying, because it indicates that Jio – which claims to have 250 million subscribers (PDF) and offers some of the cheapest data plans in the world – is in violation of net neutrality principles that state that ISPs should treat all online traffic equally. The government approved these principles last August. TNW tested the sites listed – Hide.me, VPNbook, Hidester, Kproxy, Proxysite, Proxy.toolur, and Megaproxy – and found them to blocked on Jio. The same sites were accessible via other ISPs and mobile carriers like ACT and Airtel. That could mean Jio is blocking these sites without any government directives. The news follows India’s nationwide ban on more than 800 porn sites last October. At that time, Jio was believed to have begun blocking those sites before other ISPs in the country. Jio hasn’t yet shared a response to our questions about the latest site blocks; we’ll update this post when we learn more. India is notorious for blocking internet access and banning specific sites – not only because of the number of such incidents, but also because of the lack of transparency from the government when it comes to these restrictions. It’s alarming to see this sort of behavior extending to private ISPs. Source
  6. India is days away from officially unveiling what will be the world's tallest statue, standing at an incredible 182 metres tall. Dubbed The Statue of Unity, it is modelled after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was a key figure in the struggle for Indian independence from British colonial rule in the 1940s. Located alongside the Narmada River in Gujarat, on the western coast of India, it is nearly 30 metres taller than the current record holder — the Spring Temple Buddha in China — and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty. The project, which cost a reported $580 million, was by announced in 2010 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be on hand to lead the official unveiling on October 31. Mr Modi said in 2013 that the statue would be "a symbol of India rising". "I want people from all over the world to see this statue just like they go see America's Statue of Liberty or Paris's [Eiffel] Tower," he said. "This was a dream for many years. Many people added new colour to this dream, they gave suggestions and after a lot of churning, this has happened. "Many people have inspired and blessed us and I thank them today." A museum and a hotel will also open next to the statue to encourage visitors and tourism from all over the world, and the project will reportedly generate near on 15,000 jobs. Known as the "Iron Man" of India, Patel was India's first home minister and first deputy prime minister and was a major figure in the unification of the country. Ironically, while he was alive Patel was said to be against the building of statues and memorials to glorify people. Source
  7. The report also recognises India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, for the second successive time. India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift. India leapfrogged to the 77th rank in the World Bank's latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, jumping 23 notches from last year, a news that is likely to bring cheer for the Narendra Modi-government that is caught in an apparent turf battle with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The report also recognises India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, for the second successive time. India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift. The jump is significant, as it comes after last year’s 30-rung climb when India moved into the top 100 rankings among 190 countries. India has improved its rank by 53 positions in the last two years, and 65 positions in the last four years (2014-18). On the “distance to frontier metric”, a measure to gauge how far an economy’s policies are from global best practices, India’s score improved to 67.23 from 60.76 last year. This means last year India improved its business regulations in absolute terms – indicating that the country is continuing its steady shift towards global standards. The annual report, which ranks countries on business-friendliness, procedural ease, regulatory architecture and absence of bureaucratic red tape, could not have come at a more opportune time for the government that is caught in a perception battle with the RBI's autonomy. India is in the top 10 of Protecting Minority Investors (Rank 7). “India continued its reform agenda, implementing six reforms in the past year. India is now the region’s top-ranked economy,” the World Bank said, ahead of Bhutan (81) and Sri Lanka (100), Nepal (110), the Maldives (139), Pakistan (136) and Afghanistan (167) and Bangladesh (176). India has improved its rank in six out of the 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices on seven out of 10 indicators. The most dramatic improvements have been registered in the indicators related to 'Construction Permits' and 'Trading Across Borders'. In the 'Grant of Construction Permits' indicator, India’s ranking improved from 181 last year to 52 in this year’s report—a jump of 129 ranks in a single year. In the 'Trading Among Borders' indicator, India’s rank improved by 66 positions, moving from 146 in 2017 to 80 in 2018. India reduced the time and cost to export and import through various initiatives, including the implementation of electronic sealing of containers, the upgrading of port infrastructure and allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures, the World Bank said. In the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business rankings, the top 10 economies are New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, which retain their first, second and third spots, respectively, for a second consecutive year, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; United States; United Kingdom and FYR Macedonia. Many took to Twitter to celebrate the development. "Today, India’s stands at 77 in WB Doing Business 2019. In 3 years, we have improved our ranking by 65 points - no country of India’s size and complexity has achieved this. Demonstrates that in India, transformative changes are possible if we put our minds to it," says Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog. "India has done it again! Under the able leadership of Hon'ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji, India jumped the #EaseofDoingBusinessRankings by 23 this year to be ranked at 77. #IndiaMeansBusiness #EoDB," tweeted Suresh Prabhu. "We have made notable improvements in 6 important #EoDB indicators and are steadily moving towards implementation of international best practices. India is now ranked 1st among South Asian countries compared to 6th rank in 2014," he tweeted. The Commerce Minister gave out a list of tweets with graphics that say how India improved on many fronts including the ease of securing construction permits, getting an electricity connection, paying taxes and zero-fee for reducing under the shops and establishments act. Source
  8. Global Internet security firm Quick Heal Technologies has detected more than 180 million threats on desktops and laptops with Windows Operating System in India. According to the quarterly threat report released by the firm on Wednesday, more than 2 million malware, 16,000 ransomware, 13,000 crypto-mining malware, 141,000 exploits, and 40,488 potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) and adware are detected on a daily basis. “More than 18 crore threats were detected on Windows devices of individual and enterprise users between April and June 2018. May was the busiest month, with more than 74 million incidents detected, followed by April and June that witnessed 55 million and 51 million detections respectively,” a Quarterly Threat Report 2018 said. “The absence of appropriate cybersecurity measures has also made users and businesses across India more vulnerable to emerging threats,” it further added. Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Sanjay Katkar said in a statement, "Cybercriminals are at a completely different level today than they were a few years ago. They are using novel technologies to drive increasingly-complex attacks and are targeting larger user bases." "The latest threat report highlights this risk that individuals and businesses in India currently face with this evolution of the threat landscape," Katkar said. The Trojan Horse families have registered a quarter-on-quarter growth of four percent in the second quarter of 2018 and remained the most dominant malware in this quarter also. “Individual users and businesses across India need to understand the massive risk that they are exposed to at present. Ignorance is not a viable cybersecurity strategy. The need of the hour is to drive large-scale adoption of cutting-edge security solutions such as those offered by Quick Heal and Seqrite,” he said. However, the rise of cryptojacking remains the biggest worry, as it is getting direct monetary benefits to cybercriminals. “Cryptojacking attacks remain undetected for a long time and can often be used as a platform to launch other complex attacks…over 3 million cryptojacking hits were detected till May 2018, with the number of active mobile cryptojacking variants increasing to 25,” the report said. Quick Heal Quarterly Threat Report, Q2 2018 PDF http://www.quickheal.co.in/documents/threat-report/Quick-Heal-Quarterly-Threat-Report-Q2-2018.pdf Source
  9. PepsiCo really doesn’t want anyone talking shit about its corn puffs online. There is a rumor that Kurkure, a corn puff product developed by the company in India, is made of plastic. The conspiracy theory naturally thrived online, where people posted mocking videos and posts questioning whether the snack contained plastic. In response, PepsiCo obtained an interim order from the Delhi High Court to block all references to this conspiracy theory online in the country, MediaNama reports. Hundreds of posts claiming that Kurkure contains plastic have already been blocked across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, according to LiveMint, and the court order requires social networks to continue to block such posts. According to MediaNama, PepsiCo petitioned for 3412 Facebook links, 20244 Facebook posts, 242 YouTube videos, six Instagram links, and 562 tweets to be removed, a request the court has granted. Source
  10. INDIAN AUTHORITIES are putting their collective foot down with banks who are still using Windows XP in their ATMs. The Central Banking Authority of India RBI has told banks that they have one year to sort the mess out - that's June 2019 - or they will be fined. In the shorter term, banks have two months in which to upgrade to the latest version of Windows XP, add a BIOS password and disable any USB ports. All pretty obvious stuff, except that so far, there's been something of a disconnect between "obvious" and "actually doing it". Banks should have the latest operating systems up and running on at least 25 per cent of machines by the end of September, and all their ATMs by the end of June 2019. By March 2019, banks are expected to have an anti-skimming method in place to protect cards. And by the end of this year, the target is to have half of machines running up to date services, with 75 per cent by March 2019. The fact of the matter is, despite being an emerging super-state in terms of finance, the cash machine network is one area where there has been a complete failure to move with the times. As such, the banks will have to throw a lot of money at getting their systems up to code. By the time of this deadline, Windows XP will have been beyond End of Life for five years. At the time of writing, Windows XP has a 2.85 per cent market share globally (based on figures from Netmarketshare), but that covers everything from IoT right up to workstations. Nevertheless, it is still used on more machines that Windows 8.1 and significantly more than macOS versions 10.12 and 10.13 combined. The news comes as a rat was discovered last week in an ATM in the North East of India, having been out of service for over three weeks. During that time, the rat had literally eaten itself to death, gorging on 1.3m Rupees (about £14,000). We're not convinced that switching from Windows XP would have made much difference to that one. Source
  11. tao

    After the Miracle

    For a generation, Americans have been outsourcing work to India, where companies like Infosys grew bigger than Facebook and Google combined and created a new middle class. It seemed as though the boom would last forever. On March 15, a new ad campaign appeared on the trains and platforms of San Francisco’s BART system. “U.S. TECH WORKERS!” the ads exhorted in stark block letters beneath an image of a laptop screen displaying a raised fist. “Your companies think you are EXPENSIVE, UNDESERVING & EXPENDABLE. Congress, fix H-1B law so companies must Seek & Hire U.S. Workers!” There were 350 posters in all, bought for $80,000 by an organization called Progressives for Immigration Reform. Some commuters complained that the ads were hostile to immigrants. A BART spokesperson said the ads “contradict our values,” but that it had no choice but to run them. The actual target of the ads went unnamed but was easy to discern: Indian information technology outsourcing companies. Each year, the U.S. government makes available 85,000 H-1B visas, which grant renewable three-year entry for skilled workers, and Indian tech companies have typically been awarded more than two-thirds of them. It’s a small fraction of the 4 million Indians who work in the IT services industry — but a crucial one. And one company, often applying for twice as many visas as its closest competitor, dominates the H-1B process: a Bangalore-based firm called Infosys. Founded in 1981, Infosys has a deep, although usually imperceptible, presence in America. Sixty percent of Infosys’s $10 billion in annual revenue comes from the United States. Infosys operates an IT center for Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee. It built an employee-communication system for Kellogg’s in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the Obamacare exchange for the District of Columbia. For the Minnesota-based school-picture company Lifetouch, which photographs more than half of all American students, Infosys designed and runs a system for scheduling senior portraits. The names of many other Infosys clients are held in confidence — because the company handles so much proprietary information and because clients don’t always want to reveal how much they benefit from Indian labor. Although Bank of America and Apple are not named as clients in Infosys’s annual report, they are reportedly the company’s two largest contracts. Suffice it to say that if you have money in a major bank, or use an iPhone, or buy things online, you’ve almost certainly used software that Infosys designs or maintains. In the company’s early years, Infosys engineers worked as mostly invisible digital construction workers and custodians, writing and testing software code for corporations that didn’t want to do it themselves. Today, its 200,000 employees do almost anything that falls under the ever-expanding umbrella of technology services, but it specializes in bespoke software, customized or built from scratch for the particular demands of specific clients, which is why it needs so many H-1B visas. If, for instance, Infosys is designing software to help a clothing retailer manage its inventory (which it has done for companies from Reebok to Nordstrom), part of the tech team needs to embed itself with the retailer to study its operations and discover precisely what software it requires. More than any other company, Infosys is responsible for lending India its current stereotype as a nation of computer whizzes. It helped transform, for better or worse, the leafy, laid-back city of Bangalore into a gridlocked megalopolis. The company’s founder, Narayana Murthy, and his wife, the author and philanthropist Sudha Murty, are India’s Bill and Melinda Gates. “Infosys created the Indian middle class,” Kris Lakshmikanth, the founder of a Bangalore-based executive search firm, told me. The IT industry it shaped now accounts for 9.3 percent of India’s GDP. But in the past year, Infosys and its competitors entered an unprecedented era of anxiety. “The market is in flux — there’s a lot of noise and confusion,” said Phil Fersht, the founder of HfS Research, the leading analysis firm of the IT services industry. “The level of offshoring of IT services has taken a massive dip since Trump got in.” [...] If interested, please read the rather long, informative (and non-political) article < here >.
  12. The Nipah virus outbreak in southern India this week has prompted the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global alliance of governments and non-profits, to step up efforts to find a cure for the deadly disease. The virus has claimed the lives of at least 12 people over the past many days in the western coastal state of Kerala, sparking global concerns as the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the Nipah infection as a public health risk with epidemic potential. On May 24, CEPI said it would grant up to $25 million over the next five years to US pharma firms Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions to advance the development of a vaccine against the viral infection, which has proved to be fatal in 70% of cases. Over the past few weeks, many in Kerala have been kept under observation as they are suspected to have contracted the virus. Two persons in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, too, are under observation. “The current outbreak of Nipah in India, the government of which is one of CEPI’s founders, demonstrates that this is a deadly pathogen that has already travelled thousands of kilometres, (and) has serious epidemic potential and the ability to surprise us,” Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said in a statement. The Nipah virus is spread through contact with the saliva, urine, or excreta of fruit bats, which are its natural hosts. These animals are found all over south and southeast Asia. The first outbreak of the disease occurred in a Malaysian village in 1998, leading to over 100 deaths, including those of many farmers who had contracted it through their pigs. Since then, outbreaks have occurred almost every year in Bangladesh, and twice before in the Indian state of West Bengal. More worryingly, doctors found that the virus could spread among humans via contact with infected patients. Between 1998 and 2015, over 600 cases have been recorded in total, according to the WHO. In 2015, the WHO added the virus to its list of diseases that require urgent research attention. But so far there’s been no cure. The Nipah virus infection’s early symptoms are similar to those that come with influenza, notably fever and muscle ache, but it can then seriously affect the respiratory and central nervous systems, and even lead to encephalitis (brain inflammation). Without a dedicated vaccine, doctors can only treat the fever and neurological symptoms. The CEPI, set up in 2017 to fund the development of the world’s most crucial vaccines, identified the Nipah virus as one of its key targets from the start. With its funding, Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions will be working on a vaccine for humans based on virus technology developed over 15 years ago by researchers Christopher Broder and Katharine Bossart at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Since 2012, a formulation of the vaccine has reportedly been used in Australia to prevent infections in horses from the Hendra virus, which like Nipah comes under the bat-borne Henipavirus genus. But it could take many years before the vaccine is ready for humans. < Here >
  13. niTe_RiDeR_Pr0

    [POLL] Are you an Indian?

    Hi, Out of curiosity I just wanted to know how many Indians are out there in this forum? And the ratio between Indians & other country members. I am an Indian, my real name is Adithya R and I stay in Bangalore. My native place is Thrissur, Kerala, India. Jai Hind! Cheers & Regards
  14. A new data leak hits Aadhaar, India's national ID database Exclusive: The data leak affects potentially every Indian citizen subscribed to the database. By Zack Whittaker March 23, 2018 -- 20:00 GMT (13:00 PDT) India's national ID database has been hit by yet another major security lapse. Known as Aadhaar, the government ID database is packed with identity and biometric information -- like fingerprints and iris scans -- on more than 1.1 billion registered Indian citizens, official figures show. Anyone in the database can use their data -- or their thumbprint -- to open a bank account, buy a cellular SIM card, enroll in utilities, and even receive state aid or financial assistance. Even companies, like Amazon and Uber, can tap into the Aadhaar database to identify their customers. Enrolling in the database isn't mandatory, but Indian citizens who aren't subscribed are unable to access even basic government services. Other countries are set to follow India's lead. But the system has been dogged with security problems -- including, according to India's Tribune, a data breach. India's ruling Bharatiya Janata political party later called the report "fake news." Now, the database is leaking information on every Aadhaar holder, a security researcher has told ZDNet. A data leak on a system run by a state-owned utility company can allow anyone to download private information on all Aadhaar holders, exposing their names, their unique 12-digit identity numbers, and information about services they are connected to, such as their bank details and other private information. Karan Saini, a New Delhi-based security researcher who found the vulnerable endpoint, said that anyone with an Aadhaar number is affected. Yet the Indian authorities have done nothing to fix the flaw. ZDNet spent more than a month trying to contact the Indian authorities, but nobody responded to our repeated emails. We later contacted the Indian Consulate in New York and alerted Devi Prasad Misra, consul for trade and customs. Over two weeks, this issue was explained in detail, and we responded to many follow-up questions. A week passed, and the vulnerability was still not fixed. At the start of this week, we told the consul that we would publish our story on Friday and requested comment from the Indian government. The consul did not respond to that last email. At the time of publishing, the affected system is still online and vulnerable. For that reason, we're withholding specific details about the vulnerability until it's fixed. (Once it has been fixed, we will update the story with additional details.) The utility provider, which we are not naming, has access to the Aadhaar database through an API, which the company relies on to check a customer's status and verify their identity. But because the company hasn't secured the API, it's possible to retrieve private data on each Aadhaar holder, regardless of whether they're a customer of the utility provider or not. The API's endpoint -- a URL that we are not publishing -- has no access controls in place, said Saini. The affected endpoint uses a hardcoded access token, which, when decoded, translates to "INDAADHAARSECURESTATUS," allowing anyone to query Aadhaar numbers against the database without any additional authentication. Saini also found that the API doesn't have any rate limiting in place, allowing an attacker to cycle through every permutation -- potentially trillions -- of Aadhaar numbers and obtain information each time a successful result is hit. He explained that it would be possible to enumerate Aadhaar numbers by cycling through combinations, such as 1234 5678 0000 to 1234 5678 9999. "An attacker is bound to find some valid Aadhaar numbers there which could then be used to find their corresponding details," he said. And because there is no rate limiting, Saini said he could send thousands of requests each minute -- just from one computer. When Saini ran a handful of Aadhaar numbers (from friends who gave him permission) through the endpoint, the server's response included the Aadhaar holder's full name and their consumer number -- a unique customer number used by that utility provider. The response also reveals information on connected bank accounts, said Saini. Screenshots seen by ZDNet reveal details about which bank that person uses -- though, no other banking information was returned. That seems to contradict a tweet by India's Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI), the government department that administers the Aadhaar database, which said: "Aadhaar database does not keep any information about bank accounts." Another tweet on the same day by Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's minister for electronics and information technology, also said: "Aadhaar does not save the details of your bank account." The endpoint doesn't just pull data on the utility provider's customers; the API allows access to Aadhaar holders' information who have connections with other utility companies, as well. "From the requests that were sent to check for a rate limiting issue and determine the possibility of stumbling across valid Aadhaar numbers, I have found that this information is not retrieved from a static database or a one-off data grab, but is clearly being updated -- from as early as 2014 to mid 2017," he told ZDNet. "I cannot speculate whether it is UIDAI that is providing this information to [the utility provider], or if the banks or gas companies are, but it seems that everyone's information is available, with no authentication -- no rate limit, nothing." That data on the face of it may not be seen as sensitive as leaked or exposed biometric data, but it nevertheless contradicts the Indian government's claims that the database is secure. India's former attorney general Mukul Rohtagi once said that a previous leak of Aadhaar numbers is "much ado about nothing." But access to Aadhaar numbers and corresponding names increases the risk of identity theft, or could lead to impersonation. It's long been believed that identity theft is one of the biggest issues faced by both UIDAI and Aadhaar number holders. It's been reported that linking Aadhaar numbers to SIM cards has led to stolen money and fraud. The controversy surrounding the Aadhaar database has been ongoing. A month ahead of the Indian election in 2014, would-be prime minister Narendra Modi called the database's security into question. "On Aadhaar, neither the team that I met nor PM could answer my [questions] on security threat it can pose. There is no vision, only political gimmick," said Modi in a tweet. Now, his government is currently defending the identity scheme in front of the country's Supreme Court. Critics have called the database unconstitutional. Until the court rules on the case, subscribing to the database won't be mandatory for Indian citizens. But that might not be much solace for those whose information has been already collected. SOURCE
  15. Organic chemist Asima Chatterjee paved the way for Indian women in science and improved the odds of survival for patients with cancer, epilepsy, and malaria. Born in 1917, when India was still a British colony, she grew up in a relatively comfortable middle-class family in Calcutta, where she was encouraged to pursue an education -- although it's unlikely that anyone expected her to pursue it as far as she did. Chatterjee completed a Masters degree in organic chemistry at the University of Calcutta in 1938, and six years later she became the first woman in India to earn a doctorate in science. Around that time, she founded the Department of Chemistry at Lady Brabourne College, a women's college affiliated with the University of Calcutta. Throughout her long and prolific career, Chatterjee's research focused on chemical compounds produced by plants native to the Indian subcontinent. Her work on a group of chemical compounds from the Madagascar periwinkle plant, called vinca alkaloids, contributed to the development of drugs used in chemotherapy to slow the growth of some types of cancer by preventing cells from dividing. Other research led to an anti-convulsive drug called Ayush-56, which helped treat epilepsy, and several anti-malarial drugs. She published around 400 papers and several volumes on Indian medicinal plants and their chemistry. Chatterjee died on November 22, 2006. Today marks her 100th birthday. < Here > If interested, you may also like to read, "Asima Chatterjee: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
  16. Someone high up in Indian politics with something to hide? The Indian government has blocked the Internet Archive in the country - without prior warning or explanation. Users in Delhi and Bangalore, particularly those using the Airtel ISP, are being greeted by the following message when attempting to access the Wayback Machine: "Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. Please contact administrator for more information." Unfortunately, no one at the ISP seems to know either, or if they do, they aren't telling. For the uninitiated, the Wayback Machine has been taking snapshots of the internet for the past two decades and more, and can, therefore, show previous versions of web pages, of news stories and even revive the last known configuration of a web page long since offline. In total it is estimated it allows users to access 302 billion cached web pages. In the past, India has been responsible for blocking sites including Github and Wordpress (as well as the predictable stuff like porn sites). More recently it blocked video sites such as Vimeo and Daily Motion for ‘failing to control' access to what it described as "Jihadi propaganda". Some experts have speculated that the ban is because the Internet Archive allows citizens to access documents, since removed, from the Aadhaar citizen ID program (sort of like an NI number in the UK) managed by the Unique Identification Authority of India, and heavily criticised for being light on security and heavy on data leaking. "Obviously, we are disappointed and concerned by this situation and are very eager to understand why it's happening and see full access restored," Internet Archive office manager Chris Butler told Medianama. The Internet Archive has said it has had no contact with the Indian government and has had no response to its own enquiries. Inevitably, at some point, the government is either going to have to explain or lift the block. Article source
  17. PayPal’s two labs will support projects in the field of Machine Learning, AI, Data Science, IoT, AR, VR, and basic robotics Bangalore: PayPal, a global online payments provider, today announced the launch of its newest Innovation Labs at the Chennai and Bangalore Tech centres. The lab is the first by PayPal in India and its third after the USA and Singapore. The lab will serve as a platform to promote innovation which is a core value for PayPal globally. These innovation labs will actively support innovation across diverse fields including machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, data science, IoT, penetration testing, software defined radios and wireless communication, VR/AR, computer vision and basic robotics. The facility will also house a diverse range of hardware and gadgets for PayPal employees to experience and tinker. The equipment includes Raspberry Pi with full sensor kit, AlphaBot kit, IoT kit, Amazon Echo, AIY kit, Leap motion, 3D printer as well as Proxmark 3 Kit, HackRF One and Ubertooth One for computer security enthusiasts. “India is a hotbed for innovation given its evolving startup ecosystem, diverse merchant profiles and enormous talent pool. To cater to their needs in the most effective manner, we are delighted to announce the launch of our newest Innovation Lab in India, where the focus will be on fueling new age technology and giving rise to unconventional ideas with the potential to transform the ecosystem we operate in,” said Mike Todasco, Director of Innovation, PayPal. With a focus on three core areas – Productivity, Innovation, and Education, these facilities will serve as spaces to build and refine new and advanced technologies and will create a forum for employees to engage and ideate across a spectrum of themes. “With over one lakh 45 thousand registered patents between 2013-16 to its credit, India’s innovation potential is enormous and will certainly break benchmarks with the right kind of encouragement. Enabling innovation and creating amazing experiences for our customers is at the heart of PayPal’s global success and the Innovation Lab is another step to foster this spirit in our development centers in India,” said Guru Bhat, GM Technology & Head of Engineering– PayPal. These labs will also be integrated with some of PayPal’s on-going initiatives such as the PayPal Incubator, launched in 2013, with the objective of developing and nurturing the next generation of fintech startups. < Here >
  18. Mukesh Ambani telco says data safe; probe ordered Reliance Jio hacked: Reliance has said that the database is safe and that a probe has been ordered to find out what exactly had happened. Reliance Jio hacked: The company has said that the database is safe and that a probe has been ordered to find out what exactly had happened. (PTI) Reliance Jio hacked: In a major setback to Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries today, it has been revealed that its new telco arm Reliance Jio database has been hacked. The company has said that the database is safe and that a probe has been ordered t find out what exactly had happened. The numbers involved are as high as 120 mn, but their exact status is not known yet and this could well turn out to be the biggest data breach ever in India. According to a statement released by Reliance Jio spokesperson, “We have come across the unverified and unsubstantiated claims of the website and are investigating it. Prima facie the data appears to be unauthentic. We want to assure our subscribers that their data is safe and maintained with highest security. Data is only shared with authorities as per their requirement. We have informed law enforcement agencies about the claims of the website and will follow through to ensure strict action is taken. After the alleged breach, the data of customers has been uploaded on magicapk.com website, according to Indian Express Online. Among the first to report the hacking was Fonearena.com. IE spoke to Editor Varun Krish who expressed his shock at being able to find the particulars of his and those of his colleagues accounts available. The website concerned is open for search and if anyone puts in a query about any Reliance Jio account, the details are instantly made available. The traffic on the site has surged so much it is crashing frequently. Worryingly, according to Fonearena, Aadhaar numbers are being made available too. Article source
  19. In a bid to give a quantum boost to the Indian electronics and software manufacturing industry, the government is planning a new policy for electronics and software production, as well as for data protection and setting up start-up clusters. Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced this on Friday after a meeting here with industry leaders in order to launch work on the blueprint to realise a $1 trillion Indian IT economy in the next 5-7 years. "We will be shortly laying down the new electronics policy because between the old policy and now, India has changed completely. Therefore, to boost electronics manufacturing, we will come up with new policy," Prasad told reporters here. "There is need to look at inward software market. Therefore, we will come with a new software product policy and we are going to have framework for data security and protection policy," he said. The National Policy on Electronics was drawn up in 2012 and approved by the previous the UPA cabinet in 2013. Noting that India ranks third in the world in terms of the number of start-ups, the Minister said the country needed to have start-up clusters for facilitations. "India needs to have start-up clusters. In coordination with (industry body) Nasscom and the Data Security Council of India, we are working on a framework for a Start-ups Cluster Policy to help create Special Innovative Zones," he said. Besides, such an architecture for the future of Indian information technology (IT) would be incomplete without a dispute resolution mechanism as being demanded by the industry, Prasad said. "Dispute resolution needs a robust mechanism...the industry wants it," Prasad, who is also the Law Minister, said. "We have already set up a procurement policy, and we will certainly look into a framework for having a dispute resolution policy," he added. Earlier, Prasad outlined the government's vision for building the Indian IT sector into a $1 trillion economy by 2022 that would become a global hub of low-cost digital technology. Noting that it already is an industry with an estimated worth of $400-450 billion, he said Indian IT would not take long to became a $1 trillion industry. "India's digital economy has acquired a momentum of its own and its low-cost digital technology is being talked about the world over," he said. "Digital India is the technical empowerment of Indians and our vision is to create an Indian model of development that will bridge the divide between digital haves and have-nots," he added. Pointing out that 72 new mobile manufacturing units have opened in the last three years, the Minister said: "Mobile manufacturing itself will become a Rs 500 crore industry in the next few years." "The Indian IT industry has a clear potential to provide 10.5 million jobs, at a minimum," he added. Article source
  20. Snapchat users under fire after alleged comment of CEO Anonymous Indian hackers are taking revenge on Snapchat's CEO and claim to have leaked a database containing the credentials of 1.7 million users. The hackers are particularly upset after Evan Spiegel, Snapchat CEO, reportedly made a rather nasty remark regarding expansion plans. According to claims that emerged last week as an ex-employee filed a lawsuit against the company, Spiegel shut down suggestions to expand to certain international markets, saying Snapchat is for "rich people" and didn't want to expand into poor countries like India or Spain. The allegations were slammed by the company. "Obviously Snapchat is for everyone! It's available worldwide to download for free. these words were written by a disgruntled former employee. We are grateful for our Snapchat community in India and around the world," Snap said. After a widespread boycott campaign was launched, demanding Spiegel to apologize, hackers did their part. In fact, the Indian hackers claim the vulnerability they discovered in Snapchat's database allowed them to siphon details on 1.7 million users sometime last year. To make matters worse, the database has been leaked on the dark web. Snap has yet to confirm any successful hack or the veracity of the data in the leak. Finger-pointing, and nothing more It is a rather odd situation with people getting upset over unverified statements that were supposedly made by the Snap CEO, especially given the source of the allegation and the situation they are in - fired a few weeks ago, suing the company. Snap further said that the employee who made the claim was fired for poor performance, which should throw even more doubt over the situation. The boycott has spread like wildfire, however, and it continues to do so. Some reports indicate Snapchat has about 4 million users in India. It is unclear, at this point, just where the 1.7 million users targeted by the leak are from and whether Indian users were left out. Source
  21. Requirements: 4.0+ What's New: Apr 6 | v3.18.1 - new build Voice Calls are now available in India too. Apr 3 | v3.18.1 Voice calls are now available in Europe, Africa, North and South Americas. Mar 30 | v3.18 Telegram Calls are here: secure, crystal-clear, constantly improved by artificial intelligence. We are rolling them out in Europe today, the rest of the world will get calls within a few days. Choose between 5 grades of video compression and preview the quality of your video before you send it. More Info: Downloads: Note: To make use of the voice calls feature, both the end-users should have stable/beta of this version 3.18.x or later. https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/telegram-messenger-llp/telegram/telegram-3-18-1-release/
  22. At a press event today, Indian broadband provider ACT announced that it’s launching 1Gbps connections for users in the country – making it the first local ISP there to do so. The company, which claims to be the third largest broadband provider in India, is rolling out its gigabit internet service in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern state of Telangana and a major hub for IT businesses in the country. That’s the same speed offered by Google Fiber in select US cities, and 10x the speed offered to consumers by most rival Indian ISPs. It’ll come with a monthly subscription fee of Rs. 6,900 ($105, exclusive of taxes), along with a bandwidth cap of 1TB for uploads and downloads. For reference, the company’s 100Mbps plans start at Rs. 2,000 ($30) per month with a cap of 250GB, while annual subscriptions to streaming video services Netflix and Hotstar start at Rs. 6,000 ($92) and Rs. 1,200 ($18) respectively. With that, ACT has beaten megacorporation Reliance to the punch at bringing gigabit internet to India; when the multi-vertical giant launched its 4G network in the country with the promise of free voice calls last September, it also noted that it planned to roll out 1Gbps broadband services in 100 major cities. As of last December, India placed 105th in the global ranking for broadband speeds, with an average of 4.1Mbps across the country. Do you really need a 1Gbps connection though? Well, it depends. If you’ve got several family members streaming high-res video and playing games simultaneously, it might make sense to look into getting one. However, as The Verge notes, a lone user will likely not even notice a difference in speed and reliability between a 100Mbps and a 1Gbps connection – except when it comes to uploading files to cloud storage services. Additionally, you’ll need a Wi-Fi router that’s capable of delivering gigabit speeds in order to get the best performance; TechRadar has some good recommendations. Source
  23. Vodafone Joins Idea To Form India's Largest Carrier, With Nearly 400 Million Customers UK telecommunications giant Vodafone is joining forces with Idea Cellular, one of India's top mobile operators, to form the country's largest carrier, with almost 400 million customers. After China, India is the world's second largest mobile market, and the newly-merged operator will enjoy roughly 40% of the nation's mobile revenue. The new joint venture comes after a bitter domestic price war that began with the launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm's 4G network in 2016. That service was started by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who enticed customers with free and ultra-low-cost services, forcing existing rivals to rethink their approach to the market. While Vodafone and Idea merge their Indian operations, the country's second largest carrier, Bharti Airtel, is now preparing to buy Telenor's Indian mobile business. Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said that teaming up with Idea was the right move for both companies. "We are very complementary," he said today. "Idea is strong where Vodafone is weaker; Vodafone is strong where Idea is weaker." Vodafone will own 45.1% of the new $23.2 billion company, while Idea Cellular's parent firm, Aditya Birla Group, will own 26%, with the remaining amount owned by other shareholders. The deal is expected to be completed in 2018. More Info/Article source: Reuters Source
  24. Supreme court has ordered Search Engines like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft to remove all the advertisment giving information for Prenatal sex determination in India. No it’s not like every single website has to be contacted on a global scale to remove all the information on sex determination. It is an order by supreme court to all the search engines that every advertisement that is displaying content related to prenatal sex determination needs to be removed in the next 36 hours. It also has ordered Centre govt. to form a nodal agency that will look after those websites which are showing this kind of advertisement pertaining to information on Sex Determination. And this agency will then inform these search engines about the advertisements that are pertained to sex determination to remove them from the respective search engine. After that Indian representatives of the following search engines will remove those advertisements withing 36 hours. During the hearing this topic came to a conclusion after bench discussed about the declining of sex ratio in India and further said that this it is nothing to be decided whether one wants a girl or a boy. So this kind of information is not required on internet for India and needs to be removed. Article source
  25. There’s no denying that the new currency notes in India look visually appealing and come with enhanced security features. But they still don’t carry a GPS chip, despite what everyone is telling you on WhatsApp. India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley today confirmed that there’s no GPS chip embedded on the new Rs 2,000 notes. Responding to the question, an irate Jaitley said, "from where did you come to know this? I haven't heard of it." Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise address to the nation and announce the new currency notes, a rumor began circulating on WhatsApp that a new Rs 2,000 note will be issued by the Indian government and it will come embedded with a nano-GPS chip. The rumor gained steam once Modi made the new Rs 2,000 notes official and also made it to many news publications as journalists scrambled to find anything they could to write about the new currency bills. The WhatsApp rumor suggested that the "Nano GPS chip" have signal reflectors that would work even if the notes were buried at a depth of 120 meters. The move, the WhatsApp forwards suggested, were to enable the government track consignments of these notes via satellite in its bid to tackle corruption. Of course, the claims are baseless. The new Rs 2,000 notes have gone into circulation from today and people have been busy posting their selfies with the new notes on Twitter and Facebook. At a televised address on Tuesday evening, Modi said it was necessary to scrap existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and introduce new notes to curb black money flow in the nation, which remain undisclosed to the government and used in terrorism activities as well as corruption. The notes are ostensibly designed in a way to prevent counterfeiting. Article source
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