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No decision yet to bring Facebook, Twitter servers in India: Government

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Keeping the security threat in mind related to unlawful content on the internet, the central government has decided not to set up the servers of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in India, despite a large number of people using these websites.

“The government has not decided to get servers of popular social networking sites, like Hike, Facebook, Twitter, etc. established within the country,” Communications and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

The government regularly interacts with these social media giants to resolve the issues of unlawful content surfacing from time to time on Internet, said Prasad.  He said that the security agencies are facing problem while dealing with encrypted communications administered by various service providers. World over service providers are administering services like WhatAapp, Viber, WeChat, Skype, Yahoo, Gmail  for sharing audio, video, image, data, and accessing other web services anytime and anywhere in a secure manner.

Prasad added that the security of these services is achieved through encryption technology, and the citizens from all over the world are mostly availing these services. “At times these services may also be used by anti-national and criminal elements, which pose a security threat,” the Minister said. The government had ordered all the telecom service providers to provide the lawful inception and monitoring details to the security agencies for all the services including WhatsApp, Viber etc., he added.

The lawful interception facilities provided by the telecom operators are helping the security agencies to intercept these encrypted communication services, but they are not able to decrypt some of encrypted intercepted communication to readable format.

“There are multifarious aspects involved in security enforcement agencies getting such encrypted communication in readable format such as technical, international relationship, legal and regulatory policy, commercial and security requirements etc.,” Prasad added.

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‘Digital drive brings India closer to cyber attack risk’

"Countries like India are developing very fast which opens doors for more cyber attacks," MD of Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific added.

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  • India remains one of the prey of hackers
  • One of the recent attacks included WannaCrypt
  • The most vulnerable targets are the financial institutions

Rajnish Singh

Singapore, July 16: India’s growing economy and digital push have caught the attention of hackers and an increasing wave of cyber attacks could soon badly impact the country, experts from Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab have warned.

India and other South Asian countries are now on the radar of cyber attackers, said experts, adding that the government and corporates need to procure state-of-the-art, New Age security solutions to thwart their plans.

The impact of recent global cyber attacks were clearly visible in India as “WannaCrypt” — that affected 150 countries globally — and the recent “Petya” malware attack hit computers in the country.

“India’s growing economy and digitalisation are really a big concern as cyber attackers have now begun focusing on developing countries with big populations and average incomes,” Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and Chief Executive of Kaspersky Lab, told IANS on the sidelines of the recently-concluded “Interpol World 2017” conference in Singapore’s Suntec City.

His comments came as the Moscow-based cyber security firm found that the “Petya” attack hit Gateway Terminal India operated by AP Moller-Maersk at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), a facility near Mumbai which is India’s biggest container port.

Cyber attacks
There are considerable hike in malware attacks due to rampant digitization

The terminal was unable to load or unload because of the attack as it failed to identify which shipment belongs to whom.

According to Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research and Analysis Team for APAC at Kaspersky Labs, there was no cyber security threat till 2010 and India was quite safe till then.

But now, India and other “developing countries are most vulnerable, especially the financial sector. We perceive that banks are most vulnerable in India”, Kamluk told IANS.

Stephan Neumeier, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific, stressed the need to educate people to save them from becoming victims of cyber attacks.

“As India’s economy is growing fast, more and more people are now getting access to Internet. They have 4G access and Android devices are becoming popular. They need to be educated about anti-virus solutions as mandatory for devices and be made aware about not falling for phishing attacks,” Neumeier emphasised.

He suggested that malicious emails or links should also be part of the awareness process.

“Countries like India are developing very fast which opens doors for more cyber attacks,” Neumeier added.

The experts also recalled how over 200,000 users were affected in 150 countries after the “WannaCrypt” virus attack which paralysed computers — with a demand being made for a payment of $300 in bitcoins (crypto-currency or virtual currency) for a system to be unblocked.

Citing reports, Kaspersky Lab said that cyber crime costs the world $450 billion per year, which is almost the annual budget of Russia, China and Japan.

The experts said the hackers target government ministries, banks, utilities, other key infrastructure and companies nationwide, demanding ransom in crypto-currency.

Giving the example of Bangladesh, the experts said the hackers recently made a bank heist in the country and made away with $1 billion in one attack, since the security was vulnerable.

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Google gets the better of Facebook as top referral source for publishers

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

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Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017
Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017. VOA
  • Google webpage traffic increases considerably
  • Facebook went down by 26% in January as compared to last year
  • Video publishing feature might has add up to the Facebook traffic

San Francisco, Dec 12,2017: Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers’ main source of external page views over the course of 2017, a new data showed.

Google used to be the main source of referral traffic for web publishers. Then Facebook eclipsed it, ReCode reported late on Monday.

According to digital analytics company Parse.ly, Google sent more traffic than Facebook to publishers — Facebook sent 25 per cent less traffic to publishers in 2017, while Google increased its traffic by 17 per cent.

In January, Facebook provided nearly 40 per cent of publishers’ external traffic which is now down to 26 per cent.

Google web traffic
Google AMP feature has helped it to add up to the web traffic

Google, which started the year at 34 per cent, generated 44 per cent of the total traffic.

Parse.ly pointed out a number of factors for this turnaround.

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

Also, Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature, where the service hosted some publishers’ content directly but promised to send more readers to the original site as well, has declined in importance, the analytics company found.

Since users can now publish videos directly on Facebook, this might have affected how many links to web stories publishers put on their Facebook pages.

Google’s “accelerated mobile pages” (AMP) feature, which also hosts publishers’ content directly on Google’s servers, became more important over the year.

AMP stories – typically from news publishers – are surfaced at the top of mobile search results as “Top Stories,” which drives clicks. (IANS)

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Why you must uninstall these Chinese apps right away including True Caller, UC Browser

Government alarmed against use of 42 Chinese apps working as spyware, Check out and be digitally secure

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Chinese apps to uninstall
Govt issued warning against Chinese apps as spyware (Representational Image : Pexels)
  • The Government Has Named 42 mobile Chinese Apps as “Chinese Spyware”, Including Big Names Like TrueCaller, UC Browser

    The Indian government on recommendation of intelligence agencies has announced a list of mobile apps on both android and iOs which are reported as Chinese spyware. In big war of data, cyber security is a big concern these days. These Chinese apps have the potential to carry out cyber attack against India.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has warned Indian government that China could be collecting vital information about the Indian security installations through its popular mobile phone apps and devices which are widely used. Cyber breach in security is very common in this digital age we are living.

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Army and defence personnel have been asked to immediately uninstall the 42 mobile apps as well as format their smartphones. This is not the first time that the government has issued warnings against Chinese apps. Some of these Chinese apps are – Weibo, WeChat, ShareIT, True Caller, UC News, UC Browser, Beauty Plus, 360 Security, DU Cleaner, DU Battery Saver, We Sync, QQ Launcher, ES File Explorer, You Cam Makeup, SelfieCity, MI Community, Vault Hide – NQ Mobile Security, Baidu Translate and many more.

TrueCaller mobile app has replied to the issue. It said: “In response to certain reports, we would like to clarify that we are a Sweden based company. We are not sure why the app is on this list, but we’re investigating. Truecaller is not a malware, and all our features are permission based and are disabled by default.”

There is a huge possibility of these Chinese apps transmitting sensitive personal data of Indian citizens to the Chinese authorities, which could be a major security disaster, the advisory states. Defence personnels are also advised not to use Chinese manufactured phones like Xiomi.

Thus, being aware citizens we must be resilient towards cyber attacks and keep uninstalling such malicious Chinese apps. Your data is your personal information, you must be vigilant towards its theft. Stay aware, Stay alert.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik