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Marriott facing lawsuits after massive data breach

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San Francisco, Dec 3: Customers in the US have sued global hotel chain Marriott for exposing their data, with one class-action lawsuit seeking $12.5 billion in damages.

The lawsuits were filed in the state of Oregon and Maryland, ZDNet reported on Monday.

“While plaintiffs in the Maryland lawsuit didn’t specify the amount of damages they were seeking from Marriott, the plaintiffs in the Oregon lawsuit want $12.5 billion in costs and losses,” said the report.

Marriott International on November 30 revealed that its guest reservation system was hacked, exposing the personal information of approximately 500 million guests.

The hotel chain said the hack affected its Starwood reservation database, a group of hotels it bought in 2016 that included the St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, Le Méridien and Four Points by Sheraton.

“For roughly two-thirds of the guests who were possibly affected, the information in the breach included names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers and travel details,” CNN reported.

Marriott said some records also included encrypted payment card information, but it could not rule out the possibility that the encryption keys had also been stolen.

“We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves. We are doing everything we can to support our guests and using lessons learned to be better moving forward,” said Chief Executive Arne Sorenson in a news release.

Marriott said that it reported the breach to law enforcement and was also notifying regulatory authorities.

Marriot shares witnessed a maximum 8.7 per cent drop after announcing the data breach.

According to cyber security experts, questions need to be asked as to how 500 million guests have been affected by this data breach.

“While we’re still only beginning to assess the true extent of the attack, ultimately, the security solutions the Starwood Hotels and Marriott Group had in place clearly weren’t sufficient enough if it allowed an unauthorised third party to get into the system,” said David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

“The data was encrypted, but the attackers potentially stole the keys too – highlighting that an extra layer of security should have been in place to prevent this from happening. This data breach is now one of the most critical data breaches in history,” Emm said in a statement.

According to John Shier, Senior Security Advisor, Sophos, the potential fallout from the Marriott’s Starwood data breach should be alarming to anyone who has stayed at a Starwood property in the last four years.

“Not only are guests at risk for opportunistic phishing attacks, but targeted phishing emails are almost certain, as well as phone scams and potential financial fraud,” said Shier.

Unlike previous breaches, this attack also included passport numbers for some individuals who are now at increased risk for identity theft.

The experts advised people to change passwords and use electronic cards, not physical ones, for online payments.

IANS

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Dealings of European missile manufacture under scanner

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Rafale Fighter Jet

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) A leading European arms manufacturer MBDA, which supplies missiles for the Rafale jets, has come under the scanner of probe agencies here for its suspected links with lobbyist Deepak Talwar, who was extradited from Dubai last month.

The country head of MBDA, Loic Piedevache, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it on Monday in connection with the probe relating to the company’s links to Talwar, who is believed to have steered several deals with Airbus, which holds a stake in MBDA, during the UPA regime, according to sources.

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro had entered into a joint venture with MBDA to supply missiles and missile systems to the Indian armed forces.

L&T holds 51 per cent stake in the joint venture, L&T MBDA Missile Systems, and had identified defence as one of the key drivers for achieving growth in the sector.

The sources claimed that apart from questions on the company’s engagement with the Indian forces, Piedevache would also be questioned on the alleged payments to Talwar’s NGO. Advantage India, to the tune of Rs 88 crore between 2012 and 2015, from MBDA and Airbus.

Later, the entire money was said to have been withdrawn in cash by using “fake purchases”, the sources said.

Analysts said this was probably a rare occasion when the India head of a leading international firm was being summoned by a probe agency.

Piedevache has been heading the company’s operations in India for a decade. The Mirage upgrade programme and Rafale were signed during Piedevache’s tenure in India and he could be privy to information, the sources said.

“If required, the probe agency may also summon group export director Jean-Luc Lamothe. First of all, Piedevache would be asked to explain the company’s payments to Talwar’s NGO,” the sources said.

Piedevache could not be reached for his comments. An MBDA spokesperson said the company would support the authorities in their probe. It maintained that it had supported social development initiatives in India as part of corporate social responsibility, which included some payments to the NGO.

The company is involved in the Rs 30,000 crore offset programme associated with the 36 war planes.

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DoT finalising revival proposal, no shutdown: BSNL

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BSNL

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) State-run BSNL on Thursday said government is in the final stage of drafting a revival proposal for the PSU and it would shortly be sent for the inter-ministerial panel for approval.

“Department of Telecom is in the process of finalising a proposal for revival of BSNL to be considered by the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) very soon. DoT would like to see a robust BSNL, duly strengthened and financially viable, dedicated to servicing the nation and playing an important role in the telecom sector”, the PSU said in a statement.

The state carrier was responding to a media report on its closure pressurised by the mounting losses.

At present there is no proposal under consideration with the government for closure of BSNL. DoT recognises and values the inherent strengths of BSNL as a telecom services provider with huge infrastructure and reach, especially in rural areas, the PSU said.

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HAL to display is prowess at Aero India

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Bengaluru, Feb 14 : Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would showcase its prowess at the five-day 12th edition of ‘Aero India 2019’ expo, starting here on February 20, to hard sell its military aircraft and helicopters, a top official said on Thursday.

“HAL will explore opportunities at the Aero India by showcasing its fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms and technologies as an industry player in the domestic and global defence market,” said HAL Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan in a statement.

The statement was issued ahead of the biennial air show at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force on the city’s northern outskirts near the Bengaluru International Airport.

The aerospace major is also organising the present edition of the air show, where 31 aircraft will be part of the flying display and 22, static display.

HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), upgraded Hawk Mk132 named Hawk-i, Civil Do-228 (civil version of Dornier 228 aircraft), Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Rudra, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will also be part of the flying display.

The fixed and rotary wing aerobatic teams Suryakiran (Hawk aircraft) and Sarang (ALH-Dhruv) will enthrall about six lakh visitors likley to attend the carnival of aircraft.

The defence behemoth will also showcase its LUH (PT-1), LCH (TD-2), ALH Rudra and ALH Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) as part of static display, HAL said.

At the expo, 360 exhibitors — 196 from India and 164 from foreign countries — will showcase their products.

HAL’s pavilion will include technological demonstration of the tail boom folding and main rotor folding of the Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH), which is ALH customised for the Navy.

“For the first time, HAL’s Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) simulator will be at the pavilion,” the statement added.

The SPORT aircraft will be used for fighter training after advanced jet training stage and before the induction of pilots into the frontline fighter squadron.

The exhibition space will also have a Jaguar aircraft simulator, HAL said.

As part of the air show’s ‘Innovate’ theme, the aerospace major will also display the technologies of Hindustan Turbo Fan Engine (HTFE-25) and Hindustan Turbo Shaft Engine (HTSE-1200) along with rotary unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), models of avionics and mechanical system line replacement units and complex manufacturing capabilities.

Global aerospace majors, including Boeing (US), Lockheed Martin Corp (US), Dassault (France), Russian Aircraft Corp MiG, Saab (Sweden) and European aerospace firm Airbus, will also take part in the exhibition.

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