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After first denying any malware attack, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) on Wednesday confirmed the presence of malware in its system at the Kudankulam nuclear plant, which has been traced to North Korea’s Dtrack.
In a press statement, the NPCIL said “identification of malware in NPCIL system was correct” but added that the “infected PC” belonged to a user “who was connected in the internet connected network used for administrative purposes”.
It said the infected PC “has been isolated from the critical internal network” and that the “networks are being continuously monitored”.
It added: “Investigation also confirms that the plant systems are not affected”.
Earlier, in the statement, it said that the matter was conveyed by CERT-in (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) when they noticed it on September 4.
“The matter was immediately investigated by DAE (Department of Atomic Energy) specialists,” the statement said.
The NPCIL is a body under the DAE, which in turn comes under the purview of the prime minister’s office.
According to Zednet, Pukhraj Singh, a former security analyst for India’s National Technical Research Organization (NTRO), pointed out that a recent VirusTotal upload was actually linked to a malware infection at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
The particular malware sample included hardcoded credentials for KNPP’s internal network, suggesting the malware was specifically compiled to spread and operate inside the power plant’s IT network.
Several security researchers identified the malware as a version of Dtrack, a backdoor trojan developed by the Lazarus Group, North Korea’s elite hacking unit.
Singh’s tweet and revelation immediately went viral because just days before, the same power plant had an unexpected shutdown of one of its reactors — with many users conflating the two unrelated incidents as one.
In a press statement on Tuesday, the NPCIL had denied any malware attack.
It said that “false information was being circulated” on the social media platform, electronic and print media on a malware attack on the Kudankulam plant.
It said that KNPP and other Indian Nuclear Power Plants Control Systems are “stand alone and not connected to outside cyber network and internet”.
“Any cyber attack on the Nuclear Power Plant Control System is not possible”, it said, and added that Kudanklam Unit 1 and 2 “are operating without any operational or safety concerns”.
Arstechnica.com, quoting Kaspersky Lab said, said in a recent article on Dtrack: “North Korea’s hermit government has developed a new strain of malware that steals data used at automatic teller machines in India”.
“One piece of malware, dubbed ATMDtrack by researchers with the Moscow-based security firm, has been targeting Indian ATMs since last summer. It allows its operators to read and store data associated with cards that are inserted into infected ATMs. As researchers with the Moscow-based security firm investigated further, they found that the ATM malware was part of a larger remote-access trojan that carries out traditional espionage activities. Dubbed “Dtrack”, it was used as recently as this month to target financial institutions and research centers.”
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “With NPCIL confirming the cyber attack on Kudankulam, the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) and NSA must address public concerns about this dangerous intrusion.”
He said that at the Combined Commanders Conference in 2014, @PMOIndia called for the creation of a Digital Armed Force. “Five years later, there is no sign of it. Is this yet another jumla? On national security, can we afford hollow promises?”
He said the “National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre is under the ‘administrative control’ of the NTRO. Under this government, why has India’s premier technical intelligence agency not been offered the resources to fight back against such attacks?”
“The North Korea-based Lazarus Group has been purportedly linked to the cyber attack. Do such mercenary groups act alone, or are they hired by bigger and more powerful states, to target India’s strategic installations?” he asked. (IANS)
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.