Monday May 27, 2019
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WhatsApp Warns Clones to Cease Bogus Operations in India: Report

The company has seen that some attackers attempt to modify WhatsApp software and trade unauthorized APK files to get around the constraints coded into the client itself

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device.

Companies in India claiming that they can help people send bulk messages on WhatsApp must cease operations, the Facebook-owned messaging app warned on Thursday.

A media report on Wednesday said how political activists and digital marketers are bypassing restrictions on forwards by using counterfeit versions of the popular messaging app and other software tools costing as little as Rs 1,000.

WhatsApp said it had sent cease and desist letters to companies claiming to offer such services.

“Ahead of the India election, we have stepping up our ability to identify and ban accounts engaged in abuse, including bulk or automated messages,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told IANS in a statement.

“We ban approximately two million accounts for such abuse and have sent cease and desist letters to companies claiming to offer such services,” the spokesperson added.

Following allegations that rumours spread on WhatsApp were linked to dozens of lynching incidents last year, the app set a limit on forwarding messages to just five chats.

WhatsApp said that the initiative reduced the amount of forwarded messages on the platform by over 25 per cent.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

But the counterfeit versions of the app appear to overcome this restriction and political activists and digital marketers are reportedly jumping at the opportunity.

Apps such as “GBWhatsApp” and “JTWhatsApp” allowed political party workers to bypass WhatsApp’s restrictions, said the report, adding that the apps resemble WhatsApp and can be downloaded for free from several tech blogs.

“We also go beyond the platform where possible. We work with providers to ban third-party apps that claim to provide unauthorised services for our platform,” said the WhatsApp spokesperson.

“In addition, when we see companies claiming they can send bulk messages on WhatsApp, we demand they cease operations and reserve all rights available to us under applicable law,” the company added.

Also Read- OYO Launches Lighter Version of its App for Android Users

The company has seen that some attackers attempt to modify WhatsApp software and trade unauthorized APK files to get around the constraints coded into the client itself.

“These modifications cannot circumvent our detection systems that run on our servers and apply to all users without exception.

“Still, we are improving our ability to detect these modified versions of WhatsApp as they both violate our Terms of Service and pose a security risk to users that have installed them on their device,” the company said in its White Paper recently. (IANS)

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India Ends all Imports of Iranian Oil, Says Washington Ambassador

Trump last year pulled out of a multinational pact under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief

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india, iranian oil
FILE - A worker walks atop a tanker wagon to check the freight level at an oil terminal on the outskirts of Kolkata, India. VOA

India has ended all imports of oil from Iran, its ambassador in Washington says, becoming the latest country to grudgingly comply with threatened U.S. sanctions.

India had already sharply decreased its imports from Iran and bought one million tonnes of crude in April, the last month before Washington stepped up its pressure campaign against Tehran and ended all exemptions to sanctions, Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla said. “That’s it. After that, we haven’t imported any,” Shringla told reporters Thursday during a briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory.

No Venezuela oil, either

Shringla said that energy-hungry India has also ended all imports from Venezuela because it considered itself a partner of the United States. But he said the shift had caused pain at home, with Iran formerly supplying 10 percent of India’s oil needs.

Calling Iran “an extended neighbor” of India with long-standing cultural links, Shringla declined to say whether New Delhi shared President Donald Trump’s concerns about Tehran. “This is an issue that has to be dealt with, really, between the United States and Iran. We are only, in many senses, looking at it as a third party,” Shringla said.

But he added: “We would not like to see a move towards any escalation in any way in that area, for the simple reason that we depend very heavily on stability in that part of the world.”

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FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after signing a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, May 8, 2018. VOA

Trump last year pulled out of a multinational pact under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief.

The Trump administration has instead ramped up economic pressure on Iran and recently deployed military assets, including an aircraft carrier strike group, to the area.
The United States as of May 2 ended exemptions it had given to eight governments from its unilateral order to stop buying Iranian oil.

Turkey stops imports

Turkey, which enjoyed a waiver and vocally disagreed with the U.S. policy, has also stopped importing oil from Iran, a Turkish official said this week. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus welcomed the news from Turkey.

ALSO READ: India, China, Turkey Silently Purchasing Iran’s Crude Oil as US Ban Begins

“We want the whole world to comply with these sanctions, and we’re grateful for our partners and allies that are respecting them,” she told reporters. The Indian ambassador, however, voiced confidence that U.S. sanctions would not affect its partnership in developing Iran’s Chabahar port.

India wants to use the port to ship supplies into Afghanistan in a detour from its archrival Pakistan, which historically backed the Taliban. “I think it is in the interest of both our countries and all others concerned to ensure that that lifeline continues for the people of Afghanistan,” Shringla said. (VOA)