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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.



Social media scrolling can make you feel worse, says Facebook




San Francisco, Dec 16: Facebook has said that passively scrolling through posts on the social media platform can make people feel worse — while active engagement on the platform may have the opposite effect.

Citing scientific research on well-being and social media, Facebook on Friday highlighted the two sides of using social media — the good and the bad.

“According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology,” Facebook said in a blog post.

For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts.

“Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse,” wrote Facebook’s Director of Research David Ginsberg and its Research Scientist Moira Burke.

The researchers cited one experiment in which University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook.

A study from University of California San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey.

Why it is so is not clear, but researchers believe that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering.

Another theory is that the Internet takes people away from social engagement in person.

“On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being,” the Facebook post said.

A study Facebook conducted with Carnegie Mellon University found that people who sent or received more messages, comments and Timeline posts reported improvements in social support, depression and loneliness.

The positive effects were even stronger when people talked with their close friends online, the study found.

“In sum, our research and other academic literature suggests that it’s about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being,” Ginsberg and Burke wrote.


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Facebook adds a ‘Snooze’ feature to ‘mute’ friends




San Francisco, Dec 16: Social Media giant Facebook has rolled out “Snooze” feature in News Feed to temporarily unfollow a person, Page or group for 30 days.

The feature will mute content without unfriending, unfollowing or leaving them forever.

“By selecting ‘Snooze’ in the top-right drop-down menu of a post, you won’t see content from those people, Pages or groups in your News Feed for that time period,” Shruthi Muraleedharan, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a blog post late on Friday.

“We’ve heard from people that they want more options to determine what they see in News Feed and when they see it. With ‘Snooze’, you don’t have to unfollow or unfriend permanently, rather just stop seeing someone’s posts for a short period of time,” she added.

“The people, Pages, and groups you snooze will not be notified. You will be notified before the ‘Snooze’ period is about to end and the setting can also be reversed at any time,” the post read.

With features like Unfollow, Hide, Report and See First, Facebook has consistently been working toward helping users to manage their News Feed.

“As News Feed evolves, we’ll continue to provide easy-to-use tools to give you the most personalised experience possible every time you visit Facebook,” the post asserted.


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Ransomware biggest threat for most Indian companies: Report




New Delhi, Dec 15: As cyber attacks grow, 69 per cent of the organisations in India said that ransomware is a significant risk to them while 43 per cent revealed they have experienced ransomware attacks in the past year, a KPMG survey said on Friday.

Nearly 79 per cent organisations identified cybersecurity as one of the top five business risks while 81 per cent have cybersecurity budgets of less than 10 per cent of total planned budgets, said KPMG in India’s cybercrime survey report 2017.

“Cybercrime has moved from corporate espionage and theft of Intellectual Property to use of advanced technology and malicious software, with the intent of holding companies to ransom and the threat of sabotaging brand reputation with data security breaches,” said Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner and Head-Risk Consulting for KPMG in India.

About 58 per cent organisations have included cyber risk as part of the boardroom agenda which has moved up from 41 per cent as recorded in the 2015 KPMG survey.

The survey, that included CIOs, CISOs, CIAs, COOs, security professionals, top law enforcement officers and end users from all over India, highlighted that for 40 per cent of end users, cross-country jurisdictions being involved is a hindrance in lodging a complaint with the cyber cells.

“Not surprising then that a mere 3 per cent of the organisations have reported cyber incidents to a local law enforcement agency,” the report noted.

“Cyber breaches should no longer be looked upon as isolated incidents linked with IT or IT security. Organisations should consider it as an indicator to a potential cyber fraud and be vigilant online,” said Sudesh Anand Shetty, Partner-Risk Consulting, KPMG in India.

Organisations are increasingly adopting different measures to combat cybersecurity risks which include development of a thorough cybersecurity framework, risk assessment, cybersecurity awareness training, etc.

However, only 18 per cent organisations are of the opinion that they are fully prepared to withstand and respond to large scale cyber-attacks.

“Cyber-attacks are a reality in today’s world and there is a need for an organisation to have balance between the protect and response measures, currently the preparedness on response to cyber-attacks need to be enhanced significantly,” said Atul Gupta, Partner IT Advisory and Leader-Cyber security, KPMG in India.


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