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Year 2016 exposed distant road to Digital India, amid cyber security concerns



Cyber security

New Delhi, December 17: With the country logging into the digital world to become a cashless economy, the threat of data breach loomed over both public and private enterprises, with several such cases being reported through the year — forcing the government to wake up from its slumber and prepare for digital war.

In one of the financial sector’s biggest cyber threats, millions of debit cards were compromised after a malware-related security breach was detected in a particular ATM network in October. The State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and YES Bank were among those which reported several of their customers’ debit cards being compromised.

India was also listed among the top five in the world to be attacked by ransomware — malware that forces its victims to pay a ransom through certain online payment methods to regain their data — as reported by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, a leading software security group operating in almost 200 countries and territories worldwide.

In September, Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in security software and solutions, reported that over 180 Indian companies were victims of ransomware in the first six months of 2016.

Read More: No laws in India to protect customers’ money during digital transactions

Read More: Cyber Appellate Tribunal is headless since July ’11

Indian businesses lost over $1 million from data losses and downtime in the last 12 months, a survey by EMC Corporation — the world’s largest data storage multinational — revealed in July. According to EMC, 46 per cent of organisations in India suffered unplanned system downtime and/or data loss due to external or internal security breaches.

Amid this, Pavan Duggal, the country’s leading cyber law expert, lamented that Indian Cyber law does not have adequate provisions to deal with the growing cyber threats.

“The Information Technology Act, 2000, amended in 2008, still does not comprehensively deal with all relevant issues in the cyber security ecosystem. India not being a signatory to any international treaty on cyber crime complicates the intrinsic ability of the immense law and legal frameworks to provide effective remedies against cyber crimes which are committed from abroad,” said Duggal.

With increased 4G and 3G penetration, the internet user-base in India is expected to double to 600 million users by 2020 from the current 343 million — so the threat will only grow.

“With the surge in digital transactions via e-wallets and other online payment gateways, mobile frauds are expected to grow to 60-65 per cent in the country by 2017,” warned leading industry body Assocham and global research firm EY in December.

According to Oracle India Managing Director Shailender Kumar, security breaches have moved information security from a hidden corner of the IT function to a topic of strategic importance to both business and society.

“Towards the beginning of 2016, cyber security had started to become a boardroom discussion. It has emerged to be a key concern for IT and business managers alike this year. In 2017, if security is not attended to, it will negatively impact not only the brand reputation but also the shareholders’ trust, revenue loss and result in higher risks for organisation,” Kumar told IANS.

With more and more Indians buying phones, enhanced security for the devices became another concern this year. India is the second-largest mobile phone market globally, with over one billion mobile subscriptions. Of this, smartphone users account for approximately 240 million subscriptions, which is expected to grow to 520 million by 2020, said a joint study by Assocham and Deloitte released in December.

The threat gets bigger with more and more people embracing mobile digital payments in the wake of demonetisation. “Mobile continues to be an area of exposure. As we get more and more used to transactions with mobile banking or e-commerce, mobile becomes more of a financial gateway and the implications are huge,” said Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director, South Asia, Intel Security.

Keeping this in mind, the IT industry’s apex body Nasscom and the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) launched a detailed road map for the next 10 years. Titled “Growing Cyber Security Industry, Road Map for India,” the report identifies Managed Security Service (MSS), Security and Vulnerability Management (SVM) and Network Security (NS) as attractive emerging opportunities globally.

Nasscom-DSCI have also established the Cyber Security Task Force (CSTF) initiative that aims to create one million cyber security jobs and 1,000 cyber security start-ups by 2025.

As the year drew to an end, the hacker group “Legion” broke into the Twitter accounts of the Congress Party, its Vice President Rahul Gandhi, controversial liquor baron Vijay Mallya and TV journalists Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar, threatening to leak data that will create “chaos” in India.

The government later asked the micro-blogging website to strengthen its security and announced measures like audit of the Indian IT infrastructure and setting up a task force to quicken action on cyber security.

Highlights of the Indian cyber security scene in 2016:

* The government announced it will set up the National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) to provide near real-time situational awareness and rapid response to cyber attacks; expected to be operational by March 2017.

* India poised to build a cyber security product and services industry of $35 billion by 2025 and generate a skilled workforce of one million in the security sector.

* The Ministry of Electronics and IT ordered review of the IT Act 2000 and set up a crack team to respond to cyber security incidents quickly.

* Nasscom and the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) launched a detailed road map for the next 10 years.

(Nishant AroraIANS)


Prohibitory orders in Udaipur, Rajsamand to continue



Police taking action on Supporters of Hate crime convict Shambhulal Raigar (Photo-NBT)

Jaipur, Dec 15: Prohibitory orders clamped in Rajasthan’s Udaipur and Rajsamand districts two days ago are to continue on Friday too, officials said even as 175 persons, mostly right-wing Hindu activists, were arrested and several others detained for violating orders by taking out rallies and raising slogans.

Internet services will also remain suspended in the two cities on Friday. However, schools and colleges opened.

Section 144 was imposed in Udaipur and Rajsamand after Hindu organisations declared they will take out rallies to protest a video going viral on social media by a particular community. internet services were also suspended in the two cities to avoid any untoward incident.

On Thursday, despite the prohibitory measures in place, violent protesters raised slogans and took out vehicle rallies on the streets in support of “Love Jihad” murder accused Shambhulal Raigar, who brutally killed a Muslim labourer from West Bengal earlier in the month.

Wearing saffron bandanas, the right-wing activists were seen climbing on top of buildings, raising slogans and pelting stones. Police had to resort to lathicharge to control the situation. This led to tension between police and protesters with the latter attacking the police team, leaving ASP Sudhir Chaudhary and 12 other policemen, injured.

Many protesters also sustained injuries.

The aggressiveness of the protesters forced the police team, from IG to SP, to resort to lathicharge. A few shots were also fired in air to disperse the angry mob.

Sources said that the protesters joined hands with advocates at Court Chauraha and pelted stones on the police team from the Court. They also raised saffron flags.

District Magistrate Vishu Mallick said that internet services will remain suspended till 8 p.m. on Friday. He said that adequate police force has been called in to avoid any disturbance in Udaipur and Rajsamand.

On Thursday, police detained right-wing activist Thakur Updesh Rana in Bagru at the Jaipur border on Ajmer Road to thwart a massive rally that he had called in Udaipur in support of Raigar.

There has also been a sharp rise in hate messages being exchanged on social media sites in the wake of the “Love Jihad” killing by Raigar.


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Rs 80,000 cr has come to BJP coffers in last five months, says Hazare



Guwahati, Dec 15: Noble social activist Anna Hazare on Friday hit out at the Narendra Modi-led central government saying, the country has topped the list of corrupt countries in Asia in the last three years of the NDA rule and Rs 80,000 crore has come to the coffers of the BJP in the past five months as donation.

Hazare, citing a Forbes Magazine article that quoted a Transparency International survey, said India tops the list of corrupt countries in Asia. “I am not claiming this but it being reported by Forbes Magazine after conducting a survey among the Asian countries,” he said, news agency IANS reported.

“I have been silent for the last three years. When a new government comes we must give them some time. So I remained silent, but now the time has come to speak against them. I am going to start another movement for a strong Jan Lokpal as well as for the farmers of the country from March 23 next year,” Hazare asserted.

Slamming the Centre, he revealed Rs 80,000 crore had come to the coffers of the NDA-led ruling party in the past five months as donation.

“The common people are still reeling under problems. The farmers of the country are suffering. Banks give loans to the farmers but slap interest as per their whims and fancies. The Reserve Bank of India must fix a rate of interest for all the farmers and banks should not be allowed to fix the interest for the benefit of the farmers.”

Flagging his concerns, he stated  “The farmers commit suicide as they fail to get good price for their crops to repay the loan. There is no MSP for their paddy”.

Hazare said he had written 32 letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the ltas three years but haven’t received  response to any of them from the PMO.

“I am going to involve everyone in the movement for a strong Jan Lokpal and farmers’ issues. I am going everywhere to speak to the people. We are ready to go to jail. But if they put us in jails we must ensure that every jail in the country should be filled by people,” he added.

“Earlier there was a provision which made it mandatory for the officers to declare their assets but the present government abolished it. While the companies were allowed to donate 7.5 per cent of their profit to political parties, now any amount can be donated to the political parties,” said Hazare while urging people to support the movement staring from March 23.


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Anil Ambani Group sues Congress’ Singhvi for Rs 5,000 crore




Ahmedabad, Dec 15 : The Reliance Anil Ambani group has filed a Rs 5,000-crore ($ 780 million) defamation suit here against Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, accusing him of making “false, defamatory and libellous statements”.

The suit has been filed in the Gujarat High Court.

According to company sources, the Congress leader “made false, defamatory and libellous statements against the group. We have filed a Rs 5,000-crore suit for damages against him for making these false and defamatory statements”.

Singhvi had, on November 30, attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, contending that he was “fooling” people by saying the government had not waived loans of big defaulters.

Alleging that the government had written off Rs 1.88 lakh crore debt of wilful defaulters, he had said: “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and out of those, three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Ambani Group), Adani and Essar — owe Rs 3 lakh crore.”

He had charged that the Finance Minister, instead of declaring these liabilities as NPAs, was “trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal”.

A Reliance Defence statement had earlier clarified the joint venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation was a bilateral agreement between two private companies — and had nothing to do with the government.

The statement had added: “Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd will be only one of the key players in the discharge of offset obligations. Over 500 large, medium and small Indian companies will benefit from the offsets which are nothing but an export obligation for goods and services from India. Offsets referred to are spread over a period of nearly 10 years.”


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