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Bad passwords big cyber security threat in India, says Experts




New Delhi, May 4: Even though the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 420 million by June, there is still lack of awareness about password management among the masses, making them vulnerable to cyber attacks, experts said on Thursday, designated as World Password Day.

The first Thursday of May of each year is designated as World Password Day — an occasion to promote better password habits.

As the government’s digital India initiative accelerates across the country, cyber security experts believe that there is an urgent need to make the masses aware about the creation and management of passwords.

“Though the government has been proactive about ‘Digital India’ and digital literacy drive, on the security front, there is not much activity. There is an urgent need of mass awareness about password management,” Faisal Kawoosa, Principal Analyst (Telecoms) at CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS on Thursday.

It is also important that one password should not be used for multiple accounts, because if one password is leaked, several accounts can be hacked.

“If you can only remember one strong password, try a password manager. Change your passwords promptly if a crook might have got hold of them,” Sunil Sharma, Vice President (Sales) Sophos, India and SAARC, said.

He suggested the use two-factor authentication (2FA) that means running a special app on your mobile device to generate a single-use login code, or receiving a login code through SMS.

Around 99 per cent of children in urban areas of India use Internet and most of them use weak passwords and share them with their family and friends, a survey conducted by Telenor India revealed.

Telecom operator Telenor’s survey — conducted in 13 cities and covered 2,700 students — indicated that 54.6 per cent children in urban areas use passwords with only alphabets or numbers and which are of less than eight characters.

“Though India is home to the second largest Internet population in the world, majority of users, specially our children, are exposed to cyber threats due to weak and easy-to-guess passwords,” said Sharad Mehrotra, CEO, Telenor India, said in a statement.

The study found that over 35 per cent children have experienced their account being hacked while 15.74 over shared that they have received inappropriate messages.

A research conducted by Russia-based software security company Kaspersky Lab earlier this year showed that people across the globe still put their online safety at risk by making bad password decisions and simple password mistakes that may have far-reaching consequences.

Only 47 per cent of people use a combination of upper and lowercase letters in their passwords and only 64 per cent use a mixture of letters and numbers.

“Earlier Internet was confined to a particular socio-economic sphere but with the advent of connected smartphones, Internet has proliferated across all spheres. As such, there is a need to understand the importance of password creation and management,” Kawoosa suggested.



Never shared Indian users’ data with third parties: Paytm

A report was doing rounds on the social media that Paytm is sharing its users’s data with third parties.



Pay tm

New Delhi, May 26: Digital wallet payment company Paytm on Saturday refuted media reports that it has shared user data to third parties, saying that the data of its 300 million registered users is safe in India.

“There is a video going around on social media and it falsely claims that we shared some data with 3rd parties. Nothing can be further from the truth,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“We never share your data with anyone: any company/ any government or any country. At Paytm, your data is yours. Not ours, or of a third party, or of the government.”

Paytm reiterated that their policy allows only legally compliant data requests from the “law of the land” to get access to data for necessary investigations.

“You can be sure that no data is shared with anyone whom you would not have given us permission to share it with. This is the holy grail of trust between us.

“Any person claiming otherwise is not aware of the policy and is not authorised to speak on behalf of the company,” the company said.


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GDPR impact: Google, Facebook face over $9 bn in fines



Google Facebook

San Francisco, May 26: Withing hours of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on Friday, technology giants Google and Facebook have been hit with privacy complaints that could carry fines of up to $9.3 billion in total, a media report said.

With regard to privacy, Google, Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram are forcing people to adopt a “take it or leave it” approach which essentially amounts to demanding that users submit to intrusive terms of service, according to the the Austrian privacy-advocacy group, CNET reported on Friday.

“Tonnes of ‘consent boxes’ popped up online or in applications, often combined with a threat, that the service can no longer be used if user (s) do not consent,” the group was quoted as saying in a statement.

The group is asking regulators in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria to fine the companies up to the maximum four per cent of their annual revenue that the GDPR legislation allows.

This could potentially add up to a $4.88 billion fine for Google parent company Alphabet and $1.63 billion for each of Facebook, and its Instagram and WhatsApp services, if European regulators agree with and decide to fine the companies the full amount, the CNET report said.

GDPR, designed to designed to give individuals in the European Union (EU) more rights to control their personal information, came into effect on Friday.

Seen as a measure to by European leaders to control the powers of technology companies, GDPR violations can cost companies either 20 million Euros or four per cent of annual turnover.

As a result of the regulation, several US news outlets blocked Europeans on Friday, the report said.


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Apple received 30,000 device information requests from governments




San Francisco, May 26: The governments around the world sent requests for device information on 29,718 Apple devices, with India asking for 27 device requests in the July-December 2017 period, the iPhone maker has revealed.

Overall, the data was provided in 79 per cent of cases, Apple said in its bi-annual transparency report made available on Friday.

In case of India, the data was provided in 14 out of 27 requests (52 per cent).

The governments and private parties around the world also requested information on 3,358 Apple accounts and data was provided in 82 per cent of cases.

“Examples of such requests are where law enforcement agencies are working on behalf of customers who have requested assistance locating lost or stolen devices.

“Additionally, Apple regularly receives multi-device requests related to fraud investigations. Device-based requests generally seek details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services,” the Cupertino-based company said.

Private party request circumstances generally relate to instances where private litigants are involved in either civil or criminal proceedings.

The tech giant said that starting with the period July 1-December 31, 2018, it will “report on government requests to take down Apps from the App Store in instances related to alleged violations of legal and/or policy provisions”.

Apple requires government and private entities to follow applicable laws and statutes when requesting customer information and data.

“We contractually require our service providers to abide by the same standard for any government information requests for Apple data. Our legal team reviews requests received to ensure that the requests have a valid legal basis,a the company said.

“When we receive an account request seeking our customers’ personal information, we notify the customer that we have received a request concerning their personal data except where we are explicitly prohibited by the legal process, by a court order Apple receives, or by applicable law,” it added.


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