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A man takes part in a hacking contest during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 29, 2019. VOA

India is most likely to have “high” impact (58 per cent) of cybersecurity incidents on the business compared to Singapore (42 per cent) and Australia (16 per cent), a new report said on Tuesday.

The report by cloud cybersecurity company McAfee revealed that an enterprise faced up to 120 data breaches on an average in the past year, with the respondents across Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, estimating an average loss of $298,812.


Interestingly, when asked whether they could put a cost on their recent cyber incidents, Indian organizations led with 91 per cent believing that they were able to quantify the financial impact.

Owing to high hacking risk, 93 per cent organisations in India believe they are cyber-resilient, taking the top position among all the other countries in the APAC region.

“Organizations in India are most likely to have ‘high’ impact of cybersecurity incidents. Therefore, involvement of cybersecurity in digital transformation at the management level becomes critical in more developed jurisdictions such as India, where regulation and compliance are evolving and, therefore, may be more of a focus for organisations,” explained Sanjay Manohar, Managing Director, McAfee India.

Organisations in India describe their culture of cybersecurity as either “strategic” (60 per cent) or “embedded” (33 per cent).

The survey covered 480 cybersecurity decision-makers across eight Asia-Pacific countries including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.


To protect your digital self, you shouldn’t reveal your real name and data on high-risk websites. Pixabay

It revealed that 97 per cent of the organizations in India were familiar with the concept of cyber-resilience compared to Australia (73 per cent) and New Zealand (75 per cent).

“Nearly 98 per cent Indian enterprises are likely to invest more in security due to regulation, despite the maturity of their jurisdiction,” the findings showed.

Data breach (62 per cent), data tampering (49 per cent) and fraud (43 per cent), were predicted to be the top three risks enterprises will be prone to in 2021.

Investment in categories such as data protection, cloud protection technology and network protection technology were top priorities for enterprises targeting an “optimized” cybersecurity maturity posture.

Also Read: Zomato Acquires UberEats in India in an all-stock Deal

“As the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, cybersecurity is fast becoming an integral part of digital transformation, with 49 per cent ‘extremely’ involved and 41 per cent ‘very involved’ in the digital transformation process,” said the report.

Data breach (62 per cent), data tampering (49 per cent) and fraud (43 per cent), were predicted to be the top three risks enterprises in 2021.

The findings also show that in 2021, new risks will spread through a range of other potential issues such as an increase in fraud (23 per cent – 30 per cent) and defacement (24 per cent – 28 per cent).

Larger organizations were prone to more cyber incidents but organizations with more than 500 staff suffered an average of 209 incidents, which is almost 8 times higher than businesses with 50 to 100 employees, said the report. (IANS)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir may emerge as the game changer in the fight against Covid-19.

Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir may emerge as the game-changer in the fight against Covid-19 as studies suggest it can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in newly diagnosed patients, an expert says.

Distinguished cardiologist and health systems expert Dr. Krishna Reddy Nallamalla believes that Molnupiravir as an effective oral drug for the treatment of Covid-19 assumes significance as cases are still being reported despite vaccines, which are not as effective against the spread of the virus and have lower efficacy against certain variants.

Almost two years since the onset of the pandemic, the world has reported close to 250 million positive cases and 5 million deaths, while half a million cases are still being reported every day.

"We have face masks, vaccines, and steroids to fight the pandemic. We also have the expensive injectable antiviral drug Remedesivir and the monoclonal antibody cocktail for those who can afford these. Most of the oral drugs, including chloroquine, ivermectin, anti-HIV drugs, anti-hepatitis drugs.. did not stand the scrutiny of scientific studies. Some others had weak evidence to be of large-scale," said Dr. Krishna Reddy, who is also President of InOrder, a nonprofit institute working to strengthen systems to secure the health and Regional Director (South Asia) of global health non-profit, ACCESS Health International.

"Despite the development of Covid-19 vaccines in a record time period, the world continues to witness daily positive cases of half a million. While vaccines have been effective against moderate to severe illness, they have not been as effective against the spread of the virus. In addition, the efficacy is lower against certain new variants. Another growing concern has been the rapid decline in neutralizing antibodies within six months after the second dose necessitating the booster dose in people at high risk," he said.

He also pointed out that the inequity in access to vaccines has been glaring within and between countries.

On how Molnupiravir helps, Krishna Reddy said that the basic building blocks of coronavirus are ribonucleic acids (RNA), and their analogs can produce mutations that are lethal to the virus. While Remedesivir is an analog and is demonstrated to reduce hospital stay in moderately-ill Covid patients, it is expensive and has to be given through the intravenous route.

"Molnupiravir was earlier developed as an oral drug against influenza. It is also an analog of ribonucleic acids, similar to Remedesivir. In a preprint published in June, virus isolation was noted in 1.6 per cent of those patients receiving Molnupiravir compared to 16.7 per cent of those receiving placebo on day 3 and 0 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively on day 5," Krishna Reddy said.

Merck and Ridgeback have announced on October 11, the submission of an emergency use authorization application to the US FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate cases (room air oxygen saturation more than 93 per cent at rest).

The submission is based on positive results from a planned interim analysis from the phase 3 MOVe-OUT clinical trial, which evaluated Molnupiravir in non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate Covid illness who were at risk to progress to severe Covid requiring hospitalization.

In the interim analysis, there was a 50 per cent reduction in risk of hospitalization or death (7.3 per cent with drug vs 14.1 per cent with placebo) with Molnupiravir. Full results of the trial are awaited.

Merck has previously announced that it has entered into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for Molnupiravir with six established Indian generic manufacturers to accelerate the availability of the drug in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), following approval or EUA by their respective regulatory bodies.

The arrival of an effective and affordable oral drug has long been awaited in the fight against Covid-19 across the world and more so in LMIC which are yet to receive sufficient quantities of vaccines.

There is also growing concerned about the duration of efficacy of the vaccines and their efficacy against new variants. Many rich countries have started booster doses while many developing countries are still waiting for their first doses.

Krishna Reddy believes that India is in a unique position to supply the needed vaccines to countries awaiting them and also the affordable generic oral Molnupiravir, to derive significant geopolitical mileage.

"Reaching the milestone of one billion vaccine doses, India has exhibited remarkable resilience despite the devastating second wave that was driven by the Delta variant. It has restarted its vaccine exports to other countries. It is in a position to start exports of the new effective oral drug that the world has been eagerly awaiting," he added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Coronavirus, Medicines, Molnupiravir


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Char Dham Yatra resumed on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.

Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.

Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.

As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.

Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.

Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.

Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.

Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.

Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.

Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.

Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.

The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.

To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.

Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.

The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.

Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.

The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.

When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.

"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.

"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.

Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.

On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.

Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.

Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.