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As millions shun WhatsApp and download new chat platforms in search for a secure experience, mind you that security is nothing but an illusion and there is no guarantee that Telegram or Signal may not be hacked in the future, especially when nation-state actors with highly sophisticated tools and huge resources are on the prowl.
Encryption is fundamentally flawed and once hackers get to know any vulnerability or bug in the whole data travel journey — apps, mobile operating system, public Wi-Fi, Cloud and the physical data centres — your personal and sensitive information is always at their mercy.
The Telegram development team is based in Dubai. The Telegram team had to leave Russia due to local IT regulations and has tried a number of locations as its base, including Berlin, London and Singapore. It does not store data within the boundaries of India.
Signal does not own its own data centres. The company is entirely Cloud based, which puts data at risk as cyber-attacks on Cloud-based services have increased in the recent past. In case the data is compromised, India which does not have a dedicated law on privacy or on cyber security, will not be able to do much, unlike Europe which has a strong General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that treats the safety of its users’ data diligently and seriously.
According to Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts and a seasoned Supreme Court lawyer, if you are looking at complete and absolute security, you have to realise that security is a relative term. “What was secure yesterday is not secure today and what is secure today will not be secure tomorrow. Blindfoldly relying upon these platforms would not suffice. There is a need for people to incorporate cyber security as a way of life,” Duggal told IANS.
Be it Pegasus software attack on WhatsApp or the great Twitter crypto hacking last year that compromised accounts of celebrities like US President-elect Joe Biden, former US President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (you name it), people are always facing the risk of losing their data.
The latest is the SolarWinds attack that has rocked the US agencies and several tech giants. It is not that the bad actors directly compromised their networks; they used a third-party software called Orion sold by IT management company SolarWinds to infiltrate the systems even of the US Department of Justice (DoJ),
The suspected Russian hackers installed a malware in the Orion software and accessed sensitive data belonging to at least 250 US government agencies and businesses. Around 18,000 private companies and government agencies downloaded the infected Orion software. At least 24 big companies, including tech giants like Intel, Cisco, VMware Nvidia and even a cyber security firm FireEye, have suffered the ‘SolarWinds’ hack.
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Microsoft discovered its systems were infiltrated “beyond just the presence of malicious ‘SolarWinds’ code.” The hackers were able to “view source code in a number of source code repositories”, the tech giant informed.
According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, when WhatsApp discovered the Pegasus attack, it quickly fixed the vulnerability, informed users whom it could trace the hack to, informed the relevant governments and initiated legal proceedings against the spyware’s creators in the US federal court.
“Unlike WhatsApp/Facebook, competitors Signal or Telegram are unlikely to have the resources to do any or all of these in response to a bug. At the most, they’d fix the bug,” Roy told IANS. Another big worry is that the present-day situation increasingly refers to a massive policy vacuum that exists in India in the context of protection of privacy and data.
“As of today, India does not have a dedicated law on privacy or on cyber security. Further, it still does not have a legal framework in place for protecting all kinds of data. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 is pending consideration before the Joint Parliamentary Committee. Further, India does not have a dedicated policy on data localisation,” Duggal informed.
“The circumstances and ecosystem are very ripe for state and non-state actors to do activities aimed at prejudicially impacting the security, integrity, sovereignty and also cyber sovereign interests of India”. Mere switching to new chat platforms alone may not suffice.
“You will have to inculcate new life skill sets which need to be built on the foundation of cybersecurity and data privacy,” he said, adding that the present law is extremely deficient and is incapable of protecting personal and data privacy.
The current Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 leaves much to be desired and needs to be completely supplemented by an overhauled legislative framework, which can focus on the concerns and protection of rights of stakeholders concerning their data in the digital ecosystem. Next time when any of the new apps you have shifted to are compromised, which chat or social media app do you have on your mind? (IANS)
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021