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Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology Finds “Certain Gaps” in Whatsapp’s Reply on Spyware

Everything in detail is not there

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Electronics, Information, Technology
We will be reaching out to them for many gaps in their reply. Pixabay

Terming the Whatsapp’s reply having “certain gaps”, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) has decided to write to the company over its response to the government charges that the messaging company didn’t inform it on time and with details that personal data of Indians were compromised by the spyware, while WhatsApp is learnt to have countered the government.

“Whatsapp has replied. We will be reaching out to them for many gaps in their reply. Everything in detail is not there. Definitely, we will be writing to them soon”, said a senior IT Ministry official.

However, sources in WhatsApp said the company had responded to the government. The response was from the company’s global office, they said without elaborating.

Sources said in response to the Meity’s notice for explanation on the breach, WhatsApp attached the vulnerability note it filed in May and the September letter to the government.

Electronics, Information, Technology
Whatsapp has replied. Pixabay

Thus, the Facebook-owned company is learnt to have countered the government charge that it didn’t inform it about a privacy breach on the messaging platform.

It stated in the September letter that 121 Indians were compromised by the Israeli spyware Pegasus. WhatsApp didn’t comment on details of its reply to Meity.

“We are looking into their reply. When their ((WhatsApp) communications came on May 20, CERT had already issued a vulnerability report on May 17. We had taken action. Thus, their information had no relevance. Our stand on vulnerability on account of this has not changed since May 17. The government acted on information available elsewhere and CERTs of other countries, not on WhatsApp’s information,” said another official of the ministry.

The Ministry had asked WhatsApp to explain the breach. There was a revelation by WhatsApp that Indian jounalists and rights activists were among users targeted by an Israeli spyware. The disclosure followed a lawsuit filed in a San Francisco court last week where WhatsApp alleged that Israeli NSO Group targeted some 1,400 WhatsApp users with Pegasus.

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CERT-In is the nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents. It collects, analyses and disseminates information of cyber incidents.

On May 17, CERT-In said vulnerability had been reported in WhatsApp, which could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected system. “This vulnerability exists in WhatsApp due to a buffer overflow condition error”.

Giving a “high” severity rating, CERT-In suggested upgrade to latest version of WhatsApp.

Whatsapp has triggered enough political heat in India as two parliamentary standing committees — panels on home and information technology — are expected to seek details of the alleged breach from the government. (IANS)

Next Story

OnePlus Plans To Bring Premium Technology for Offline Users in India

The company is also mulling to inaugurate its largest and one-of-its-kind Experience Centre, spanning 16,000 sq ft, in Hyderabad soon

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OnePlus
This comes at a time when OnePlus is experiencing stiff competition from Apple, which has witnessed a turnaround in the highly-competitive premium smartphone market with an increased market share. Pixabay

Aiming to cement its position in the highly-congested premium smartphone market in India, Shenzhen-headquartered handset maker OnePlus is working towards bringing premium technology to more offline users in the country in 2020, a top company executive has said.

OnePlus continued to lead the premium smartphone market in India in Q3 (July-September period) last year, according to Counterpoint Research. The company, with 35 per cent market share, grew 95 per cent year-over-year (YoY).

“In 2020, we plan to scale up investments in the offline retail space and bring premium technology to more consumers who are primarily offline-based through our OnePlus Experience Centres and retail partnerships,” Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India, told IANS in an interview.

This comes at a time when OnePlus is experiencing stiff competition from Apple, which has witnessed a turnaround in the highly-competitive premium smartphone market with an increased market share.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple garnered 51.3 per cent share in the Rs 35,000 and above price segment in Q3 of 2019 that ended on September 30.

According to Agarwal, “Expansion of retail presence is one of our key focus areas this year.”

OnePlus
Aiming to cement its position in the highly-congested premium smartphone market in India, Shenzhen-headquartered handset maker OnePlus is working towards bringing premium technology to more offline users in the country in 2020, a top company executive has said. Wikimedia Commons

The company is investing heavily in creating premium service experiences for customers so that every touchpoint with the brand is a remarkable experience for its users.

“The plan is to have at least over 5,000 stores across India in 2020. We are already working to open 100 new ‘Experience Centres’ in the country’s top 50 cities this year,” the OnePlus executive informed.

In terms of offline presence, the company has collaborated with large-format retail chains including Croma, Reliance Digital, Vijay Sales, Bajaj Electronics, Poorvika Mobiles and Sangeetha Mobiles.

It currently has presence in over 2,000 retail stores.

“We will continue to expand our partnerships so that our community and OnePlus enthusiasts can walk into their nearest electronic store to experience our latest products,” added Agarwal.

The company is also mulling to inaugurate its largest and one-of-its-kind Experience Centre, spanning 16,000 sq ft, in Hyderabad soon.

Asked if OnePlus also wants to bring its concept phone with colour-shifting glass technology that makes the rear camera “invisible” to India, Agarwal said: “The OnePlus Concept One phone and its camera setup are an innovative experiment in the future of smartphone design, and OnePlus’s R&D and product teams are continuing to test and extend this technology.

“A new technology application requires valuable user and market feedback, and when the time is ripe, we will introduce it to the market.”

OnePlus
OnePlus continued to lead the premium smartphone market in India in Q3 (July-September period) last year, according to Counterpoint Research. The company, with 35 per cent market share, grew 95 per cent year-over-year (YoY). Pixabay

The handset maker unveiled the OnePlus Concept One at the CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

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Concept One is an exploration into the future form of smartphones (including camera layouts and exterior form) and ECMF (electronics’ colour, materials and finishing), and offers a breakthrough solution to the growing problem of unsightly protruding camera designs. (IANS)