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India calls for global convention on Cyber security


New Delhi: India called for a truly global convention to fight cyber crime and to ensure cyber security.

India’s Electronics and Information Technology Secretary JS Deepak told a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that various stakeholders have to be involved to face the challenges of cyber security.

Emphasising the role of “governments, which bear ultimate responsibility for essential services and for public safety”, he said there was a need to “create a global convention to address issues of cybersecurity and cybercrime”.

He said that many of the cyber security challenges were “not well understood, much less addressed” and that a “multi-stakeholder approach” across geographies and societies was required to remedy this.

The General Assembly was holding a high-level review of developments in the decade since the Tunis 2005 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS+10).

Because the next billion Internet users will come from the developing countries, policies to enable access to the internet should be formulated with full involvement of those nations, Deepak said. Of them, 500 million would be from India, he added.

While a European-initiated convention against cybercrime came into being in 2001 and has been signed by 50 countries, India has stayed away because it and most other non-Western countries were excluded.

India has not been spared cyber attacks. For example, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity company, FireEye reported in April that for over a decade a cyber operation with likely ties to China spied on Indian defence, business and media operations.

Deepak spoke of “the huge digital opportunity that lies before us, from health and education to agriculture and disaster management, from human resource development to financial inclusion and reiterated India’s commitment to sharing its expertise in information technology to help other countries. As examples of New Delhi’s efforts, he cited the Pan-African e-Network Project was undertaken by India to connect 53 nations and India using fiber-optic and satellite networks for e-education and telemedicine and the Central Asian telemedicine project.”

Extolling India’s digital prowess, Deepak said its start-up sector is the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world. “Four new technology start-ups are coming up every day and because of their speed, agility and low costs these are fast becoming preferred models of global research and development in ICT (information and communication technology)” he said.(IANS)

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Hire Hackers To Safeguard Your Data

Here's how hiring hackers can help you safeguard your data

Hackers have become an invaluable extension of the most trusted security teams. Pixabay

At a time when cyber attacks on businesses across industries are multiplying as they go digital, joining hacker-powered bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure programmes is the key to minimise such incidents and safeguard your key data, a top cyber security officer said on Tuesday.

Hacker-powered security is a technique that utilises collaboration with the hacker community to find unknown security vulnerabilities and reduce security risk. Popular examples include bug bounty programmes and vulnerability disclosure policies.

“Hackers have become an invaluable extension of the most trusted security teams, on a mission to find what others may have missed or could not see,” Alex Rice, Chief Technology Officer, HackerOne told IANS.

San Francisco-based HackerOne is a vulnerability coordination and bug bounty platform that connects businesses with cybersecurity researchers.

It develops bug bounty solutions to help organizations reduce the risk of a security incident by working with the world’s largest community of ethical hackers.

Goldman Sachs is works with hackers to identify vulnerabilities in their consumer websites. Pixabay

Back in May 2018, Goldman Sachs became the first investment bank to launch a vulnerability disclosure policy.

“In the first year of their programme, more than 23 vulnerabilities, each representing real-world risk to their customers and data, were safely resolved,” Rice noted.

Today, Goldman Sachs is working with hackers to identify vulnerabilities in their consumer websites.

“On average, their internal security team has resolved vulnerability reports within two months, and have responded to bug reports in as little as one minute, further resolving reports within one hour,” said Rice who co-founded HackerOne in 2012.

Food delivery platform Zomato has paid more than $100,000 (over Rs 70 lakh) to 435 hackers to date for finding and fixing bugs on its platform.

With the help of HackerOne’s bug bounty programme since July 2017, Zomato has successfully resolved 775 vulnerabilities report.

“Zomato security team is tasked with protecting sensitive information for over 55 million unique monthly visitors,” said HackerOne.

Hackers are no longer anonymous guns-for-hire. They are being embraced by everyone — from the insurance industry to government agencies.

In August, HackerOne revealed that hackers earned $21 million in just a year reporting vulnerabilities via various bug bounty opportunities as governments’ efforts to fix malware increased a whopping 214 per cent globally.

According to Rice, research continues to show us that most breaches occur from basic lapses in security hygiene.

“It is important that organisations have layered defences, and use basic cyber hygiene principles such as multi-factor authentication and password best practices, followed by a security programme that focuses on covering your entire attack surface,” Rice told IANS.

Software is eating the world and software has bugs.

“All organisations — financial institutions, healthcare organisations, e-commerce companies, big box stores, media companies, practically anyone — are going digital and are equally at risk. We’re all in this together and are more alike than we realize,” he maintained.

Zomato has paid more than $100,000 (over Rs 70 lakh) to 435 hackers to date for finding and fixing bugs on its platform. Pixabay

On the bright side, the number of hacker-powered security programmes is rapidly growing all over the world.

According to HackerOne’s “2019 Hacker-Powered Security Report”, Latin America saw record growth of 41 per cent over the previous year and Asia Pacific grew 30 per cent.

Today, six of the top 10 financial services organisations in North America, and companies like Goldman Sachs, PayPal and Lending Club, are working with HackerOne.

Rice said that in terms of vulnerabilities, it’s really important that organisations have an efficient system in place to identify vulnerabilities and apply patches in a timely manner.

“Unpatched machines are still the most common attack vector for cybercriminals. Outside of basic hygiene practices such as applying timely security updates, the most effective means of doing so is to leverage the power of the friendly hacker community or what we call ‘hacker-powered security’,” Rice noted.

To tackle cyber attacks from nation-state bad actors, government agencies around the world are launching bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure programmes – like the European Commission, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, Singaporean Government Technology Agency, the US Department of Defense, including the Army, the Air Force and the Marine Corp.

Also Read- Cyber Threat Landscape To Worsen In 2020

In 2018, the number of hacker-powered security programmes in the federal government sector grew an impressive 214 per cent, according to HackerOne. (IANS)