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In a virus-hit year that kept more people hooked to their Internet-connected devices for far too long, cybercriminals saw more opportunities to push their agenda and garner profit, resulting in a huge number of ransomware attacks, data breaches, and even very sophisticated nation-state sponsored attacks.
The biggest of them perhaps came to light towards the end of the year when cybersecurity company FireEye earlier this month revealing that it became a target of hackers who accessed tools that the company uses to test its customers’ security.
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While the scale and size of the attack are still being determined, it has now emerged that this is no ordinary cyberattack affecting just one organization. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, suspected Russian hackers installed malware in the Orion software sold by the IT management company SolarWinds, and accessed sensitive data belonging to several US government agencies, at least one hospital, and a university.
At least 24 big companies including tech giants like Intel, Cisco, VMware, and Nvidia installed the software laced with malicious code, said the report. “This attack is different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years,” FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia said in a statement.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said that this latest cyber-assault is effectively an attack on the US and its government and other critical institutions, including security firms. Earlier this year, Marriott International sent shock waves when the hotel chain announced that personal information of close to 5.2 million guests may have been accessed using the login credentials of two employees at a franchise property.
The Twitter cryptocurrency hack in the middle of the year was another major incident that revealed how vulnerable cyberspace was. The social media platform revealed that it was a “coordinated social engineering attack” by people who successfully targeted some of the company’s employees with access to internal systems and tools.
In this attack, accounts of major public figures including then-US presidential candidate Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Apple, and Uber were simultaneously hacked by attackers to spread a cryptocurrency scam.
This year, British low-cost airline group EasyJet also revealed that it became a target of a “highly sophisticated cyber-attack” that affected approximately nine million customers. In August and September, the New Zealand stock exchange (NZX) was hit with several cyberattacks, forcing the exchange to even halt trading at times. Even the Covid-19 vaccine research and distribution attracted the attention of cybercriminals.
Microsoft in November revealed that it detected cyberattacks from nation-state actors targeting seven prominent companies directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, including in India.
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The targets include leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea, and the US, and came from Strontium, an actor originating from Russia, and two bad actors originating from North Korea called Zinc and Cerium. In one of the biggest attacks in the Indian healthcare sector, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories confirmed a ransomware attack this year.
There are no signs that these attacks will slow down in any manner in the coming year which only underline the importance of strengthening cyberspace with greater security with new tools and policies. (IANS)
By Md Waquar Haider
When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.
The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.
Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.
According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash
"On the other hand, there is a niche market for those new market entrants that are able to differentiate themselves from the competition in terms of features and value. "Alongside, they would need to back it with strong brand messaging to create awareness and recall amongst the target consumers," Ram added.
HP maintained its lead in the India PC market with a 33.6 per cent share as its shipments grew 54.2 per cent annually. Dell Technologies continued to hold the second position with a 22.1 per cent share and an impressive 86.1 per cent YoY growth in 2Q21. Lenovo maintained the third position with a share of 17.8 per cent in 2Q21.
Arvind Suraj, Research Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that there is always a trust issue with new brands. "You won't buy a laptop in 6 or 7 months just like smartphones. In this case, we often go for existing players. Brands like Lenovo, HP, ASUS and Acer have already gained our trust," he said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Chip, shortage, laptop, market, India, Xiaomi, hp, dell, brands
A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo, and might even increase mortality, according to a new study published in The Lancet. The research, led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, showed that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia -- and was possibly more likely to be associated with mortality than no intervention at all.
Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. Non-drug patient-centered care is the first intervention that should be offered but, when this doesn't work, clinicians may move to a drug-based alternative.
Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. | Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash
Antipsychotics have proven to increase death rates in those with dementia, along with other poor outcomes, and so mirtazapine has been routinely prescribed. This study was designed to add to the evidence base around its effectiveness. The study recruited 204 people with probable or possible Alzheimer's disease from 20 sites around the UK, allocating half to mirtazapine and half to placebo.
The trial was double-blind; meaning that neither the researcher nor the study participants knew what they were taking. The results showed that there was no less agitation after 12 weeks in the mirtazapine group than in the control group. There were also more deaths in the mirtazapine group (seven) by week 16 than in the control group (only one), with analysis suggesting this was of marginal statistical significance.
"Dementia affects 46 million people worldwide -- a figure set to double over the next 20 years. Poor life quality is driven by problems like agitation and we need to find ways to help those affected," said lead researcher Professor Sube Banerjee, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at the varsity. "This study shows that a common way of managing symptoms is not helpful -- and could even be detrimental. It's really important that these results are taken into account and mirtazapine is no longer used to treat agitation in people with dementia," Banerjee added. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Depression, antidepressant, dementia, drug, effective, life, health
Digital beauty platform Boddess.com aims to be a disrupter in the Indian beauty market segment offering a curation of products to suit customisation and individual needs. Intime for the festive season, Chandni Goyal, Training Manager at House of Beauty and Boddess, shares a few tricks to see you through endless nights of partying:
* Have fun with colour and sparkle--Move away from blacks and browns and experiment with colours complementing your outfit. The traditional smokey eye can be given a touch of glamour with a dab of glitter eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eyes. It will make your eye make-up pop and will be just what is needed for a festive look.
Move away from blacks and browns and experiment with colours complementing your outfit. | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
* Define your eyes with wing eyeliner--Don't shy from entering the negative space and go all out to draw a bold line to define your eyes and make a statement. Start from the inner corner of the top lid--keep the line thin here, extending along the lash line, going thicker, and finishing with a thick wing towards the outer corner of the eyes.
Don't shy from entering the negative space and go all out to draw a bold line to define your eyes and make a statement. | Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash
* Don't forget the lashes--They can really make or break your entire look. Add a few generous coats of volumizing mascara and if you are a pro, apply false eyelashes for added depth.
Add a few generous coats of volumizing mascara and if you are a pro, apply false eyelashes for added depth. | Photo by Perchek Industrie on Unsplash
* Glossy lips--Glossy lips are big this season. Define your lips with a nude-pink lip liner and fill in the same lip liner all over your lips. Top it up with a clear crystal gloss that gives a glass-like shine and makes your lips look fuller and plumper.
Define your lips with a nude-pink lip liner and fill in the same lip liner all over your lips. | Photo by Nojan Namdar on Unsplash
* For the cheeks--A pop of colour that imparts a flushed, radiant glow will round out your look beautifully. This can be achieved with a cream blush, on the apples of your cheeks, and a layer of highlighter that melts into the skin on your cheekbone. Pinks, peaches and corals are the colours this season.
A pop of colour that imparts a flushed, radiant glow will round out your look beautifully. | Photo by Gursimrat Ganda on Unsplash
(Article originally published on IANS life) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: beauty, party, fashion, makeup, eyeliner, mascara, blush, season, tricks