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India among nations most prone to cyberattacks

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Washington: A new report ranking various nation’s vulnerability to cyberattacks placed India among the countries most vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Data-mining experts from the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech recently co-authored a book that ranked the vulnerability of 44 nations to cyber attacks.

Lead author V S Subrahmanian discussed this research on Wednesday, March 9 at a panel discussion hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC.

The United States ranked 11th safest while several Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, and Finland) ranked the safest. China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea ranked among the most vulnerable.

Subrahmanian noted that the goal was to characterize how vulnerable different countries were, identify their current cybersecurity policies and determine how those policies might need to change in response to this new information.

The book’s authors conducted a two-year study that analyzed more than 20 billion automatically generated reports, collected from 4 million machines per year worldwide. The researchers based their rankings, in part, on the number of machines attacked in a given country and the number of times each machine was attacked.

Machines using Symantec anti-virus software automatically generated these reports, but only when a machine’s user opted in to provide the data.

Trojans, followed by viruses and worms, posed the principal threats to machines in the United States. However, misleading software (i.e., fake anti-virus programs and disk cleanup utilities) is far more prevalent in the US compared with other nations that have a similar gross domestic product. These results suggest that US efforts to reduce cyber threats should focus on education to recognize and avoid misleading software.

In a foreword to the book, Isaac Ben-Israel, chair of the Israeli Space Agency and former head of that nation’s National Cyber Bureau, wrote “People, even experts, often have gross misconceptions about the relative vulnerability [to cyber attack] of certain countries. The authors of this book succeed in empirically refuting many of those wrong beliefs.”

The book’s findings include economic and educational data gathered by UMD’s Center for Digital International Government, for which Subrahmanian serves as director.

The researchers integrated all of the data to help shape specific policy recommendations for each of the countries studied, including strategic investments in education, research and public-private partnerships. (IANS)

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  • Shriya Katoch

    This is truly terrifying . Its high time that india starts building its cyber security.

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Intel Becomes Savior Of Exploited Workers

In recent years modern slavery has increasingly come under the global spotlight

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich delivers a keynote speech at CES International, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich delivers a keynote speech at CES International, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. VOA

Intel topped a list issued on Monday ranking how well technology companies combat the risk of forced labor in their supply chains, overtaking HP and Apple.

Most of the top 40 global technology companies assessed in the study by KnowTheChain, an online resource for business, had made progress since the last report was published in 2016. But the study found there was still room for improvement.

“The sector needs to advance their efforts further down the supply chain in order to truly protect vulnerable workers,” said Kilian Moote, project director of KnowTheChain, in a statement.

Intel, HP and Apple scored the highest on the list, which looked at factors including purchasing practices, monitoring and auditing processes. China-based BOE Technology Group and Taiwan’s Largan Precision came bottom.

Workers who make the components used by technology companies are often migrants vulnerable to exploitative working conditions, the report said.

About 25 million people globally were estimated to be trapped in forced labor in 2016, according to the International Labor Organization and rights group Walk Free Foundation.

Laborers in technology companies’ supply chains are sometimes charged high recruitment fees to get jobs, trapped in debt servitude, or deprived of their passports or other documents, the report said.

It highlighted a failure to give workers a voice through grievance mechanisms and tackle exploitative recruiting practices as the main areas of concern across the sector.

In recent years modern slavery has increasingly come under the global spotlight, putting ever greater regulatory and consumer pressure on firms to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor, child labor and other forms of slavery.

From cosmetics and clothes to shrimp and smartphones, supply chains are often complex with multiple layers across various countries — whether in sourcing the raw materials or creating the final product — making it hard to identify exploitation.

Overall, large technology companies fared better than smaller ones, suggesting a strong link between size and capacity to take action, the report said. Amazon, which ranked 20th, was a notable exception, it said.

“Top-ranking brands … are listening to workers in their supply chains and weeding out unscrupulous recruitment processes,” Phil Bloomer, head of the Business & Human Rights Resource Center, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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A spokesman for Amazon said the report drew from old and incomplete information and failed to take into account recently launched anti-slavery commitments and initiatives.

HP said it regularly assessed its supply chain to identify and address any concerns and risks of exploitation.

“We strive to ensure that workers in our supply chain have fair treatment, safe working conditions, and freely chosen employment,” said Annukka Dickens, HP’s director for human rights and supply chain responsibility.

Also read: Another Security flaw is Revealed By Intel in its Chips

Intel, Apple, BOE Technology and Largan Precision did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (VOA)