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Has Google failed to protect its Chrome browser? Context A few days ago, Reuters reported a “newly discovered spyware effort” targetting users of Google’s browser Chrome. The spyware, it said, has been pushed through at least 111 malicious or fake Chrome browser extensions, which have been downloaded some 32 million times. (Browser extensions are add-ons that provide additional capabilities to the user.) The report also said Google had taken off more th
Impact of ban on Chinese apps Context: * The Indian government’s move to ban 59 apps of Chinese origin. * The Indian government has banned 59 apps of Chinese origin, citing data security and national sovereignty concerns. These include popular ones such as TikTok, SHAREIt, UC Browser, CamScanner, Helo, Weibo, WeChat and Club Factory. * The government has invoked powers under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information
A quest for order amid cyber insecurity By, Syed Akbaruddin has served as India’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Cyber-attacks both by state and non-state actors Cyber-attacks amidst this pandemic has grown tremendously. In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 monitored by a single email provider, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-19-related daily spam messages. Twitter h
Data Security Council of India Data Security Council of India (DSCI), is a not-for-profit, industry body on data protection in India, setup by NASSCOM®, committed to making the cyberspace safe, secure and trusted by establishing best practices, standards and initiatives in cyber security and privacy. To further its objectives, DSCI engages with governments and their agencies, regulators, industry sectors, industry associations and think tanks for policy advocacy, thought leadership,
WhatsApp & leaks Context: Television news channels have shared leaked WhatsApp chats of film actors. This has led to concerns whether communication over platforms such as WhatsApp is secure or not. Also, these events have prompted Facebook-owned WhatsApp to come out with a statement on its use of end-to-end encryption to secure user messages. Does WhatsApp have access to chats? Since the year 2016, WhatsApp has installed an end-to-end encryption system. It claims that i
Appropriate strategy: On India banning more China apps Context The Indian government has banned more than hundred China-based apps. Reasons for this ban: It was banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act. The government has decided to block mobile apps since these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order. The release further notes that the IT Ministr
Cyber Security Cybercrime is a crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used to commit the crime and in many cases, it is also the target. Cybercrime may threaten a person or a nation’s security and financial health. In a computing context, security includes both cyber security and physical security. Currently, almost 70 categories of cyber security products have been identified. These include products used for data loss prevention, security anal
Facial Recognition System Context: GS III Internal Security-Cyber Security (UPSC Prelims and Mains) It is a biometric technology that uses distinctive features of the face to identify and distinguish an individual. Over a period of almost 6 decades, it has evolved in many ways- from looking at 3D contours of a face to recognizing skin patterns. The facial recognition system works primarily by capturing the face & its features through the camera and then using various kinds
Analysis of Deepfakes What is Deepfake? Deepfakes — synthetic media, meaning media (including images, audio and video) that are either manipulated or wholly generated by Artificial Intelligence — even have the power to threaten the electoral outcome of the world’s oldest democracy. Deepfake makes it possible to fabricate media — swap faces, lip-syncing, and puppeteers — mostly without consent and bring threat to psychology, security, political stability,
Cambridge Analytica and FB issue The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked Cambridge Analytica (U.K.) Limited and Global Science Research Limited (U.K.) for alleged illegal harvesting of personal data of about 5.62 lakh Indian users on Facebook through an application. It stems from a preliminary enquiry launched by the agency in July 2018 on a complaint from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) following media reports alleging the illegal harvesting of
Analysis of the Whatsapp and its Monopoly There are ongoing investigations worldwide, including in the European Union and the United States, on the abuse of monopolistic power by the Big Tech firms, especially Facebook and Google. Many compare this with the earlier antitrust investigations in the U.S. on the telecom industry and the break-up of the AT&T dictated by the Department of Justice in its Modified Final Judgment in 1982. What is different this time? However, there a
Government regulations and tech platforms Context The Centre has issued notice to Twitter after the micro-blogging site restored more than 250 accounts that had been suspended earlier on the government’s ‘legal demand’. The government wants the platform to comply with its earlier order of January 31 by which it was asked to block accounts and a controversial hashtag that spoke of an impending ‘genocide’ of farmers for allegedly promoting misinformation a
Jamtara district, Jharkhand- the Phishing Capital of India The Jamtara district holds the distinction of being the “phishing capital of India”. Many drop-outs of the 15-35 age group have been turning to cybercrime to earn a few quick bucks. The place has historical roots as Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar had once worked through a community library movement here.
Government’s notice to Twitter Context The Government’s notice to Twitter after it reinstated 257 handles that mentioned a controversial hashtag “#farmergenocide”, which the government wanted blocked, marks a critical point in an already uneasy relationship between a powerful government and an influential technology platform. What is the Twitter issue? A showdown seems inevitable now, what with the Government threatening Twitter with penal action und
Toolkit conspiracy case Introduction The police in India are using arrests and filing questionable cases as a tool of harassment. The Delhi Police have outdone all of them by arresting a 22-year-old climate activist (Disha Ravi) in a case that makes the incredible allegation that a social media toolkit for organisers of protests against the farm laws amounted to sedition and incitement to riots. Tool of harassment The manner in which a Delhi Police team travelled to Benga
Guidelines for online conferences-was a Bottleneck Introduction The Centre has withdrawn the Education Ministry’s ill-thought-out guidelines for holding online conferences, seminars and training sessions. Ill thought out a plan Barriers: It created a bottleneck for scientists in public universities, colleges and organisations and erected new bureaucratic barriers in a pandemic-hit phase when virtual conferences are the only viable channel for researchers to collaborate
NetWire- Infiltrated Remote Access Trojan Introduction Activist Rona Wilson, who has been imprisoned since June 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case, filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on proceedings against him and others who are co-accused. His petition referred to a report brought out by Arsenal Consulting, a digital forensics consulting company. The report states that for 22 months, Mr. Wilson’s computer was controlled by an attacke
Information Technology Rules 2021- Analysis Introduction The Government issued a set of rules under the Information Technology Act, noting that it was superseding rules issued under Section 79 of that statute in 2011. Issues Increased censorship of Internet content and mandating compliance with government demands regarding user data collection and policing of online services in India. Absence of open and public discussion of the full swathe of regulatory powers the govern
Cyber-attacks-‘Red Echo’ When did Chinese malware target Indian power grid utilities and why is it a matter of concern? Introduction Maharashtra Power Minister announced that a State Cyber Cell probe had found 14 Trojan horses in the servers of the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company. These malwares had the potential to disrupt power distribution in the State. The announcement came in the wake of a report from Recorded Future, a U.S.-based cybersecur
Recent Cyber Attacks & India's Cyber Security Agencies Recently, the Union Power Ministry said that State-sponsored Chinese hacker groups targeted various Indian power centres. India has been attacked by suspected Chinese state-sponsored groups multiple times in the past. In 2009, a suspected cyber espionage network dubbed GhostNet was found to be targeting the Tibetan government in exile in India, and many Indian embassies. There were a number of subsequent attacks that targ
Cyber Crime Volunteers Program-Lateral Surveillance Introduction to Cyber Crime Volunteers Program The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), launched the Cyber Crime Volunteers Program with the aim to allow citizens to register themselves as “Cyber Crime Volunteers’’ in the role of “Unlawful Content Flaggers”. As per the official website of the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal the programme will help
I4C - Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre What is the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)? It is set up under the newly created Cyber and Information Security (CIS) division of the MHA. 7 components of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal National Cyber Crime Training Centre Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit National Cyber Crime Research and Inn
Data on Cyber Crime The data according to National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, since its inception in Aug 2019,a total of 3,17,439 cybercrime incidents and 5,771 FIRs have been registered up to Feb 2021 in the country. The conversion of complaints received into FIRs stood at 1.81%. CERT-In says, around 1.44 lakh cases were observed between 2014-16. Cases doubled in three years. Cases The leak of Personal Information of 3.2M debit cards
Cyber Forensics What is Cyber Forensics or Computer Forensics? Computer forensics is the application of investigation and analysis techniques to gather and preserve evidence from a particular computing device in a way that is suitable for presentation in a court of law. Cyberforensics is an electronic discovery technique used to determine and reveal technical criminal evidence. It often involves electronic data storage extraction for legal purposes. Although still in its infancy, c
Personal Data Protection Bill- Issues with IT Act and Data Protection Bill Urgent need for data protection The pandemic has forced more people to participate in the digital economy. More people have taken to digital channels to fulfill a variety of needs like purchasing groceries and accessing health services. Unfortunately, the number of personal data breaches from major digital service providers has increased worryingly in the same period. The recent alleged data breach at Mo
Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace India and the U.S. are being urged to join the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace which now has 75 countries on board. It deals with the new cybersecurity threats faced in the world. About Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace: The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace was announced in 2018 by the French President. It was announced during the Internet Governance Forum held at UNESCO and the Paris Peac
Norton Report on cybercrime in India in 2020-21 The NortonLifelock recently released a report titled "2021 Norton cyber-Safety Insights Report" Key Findings of the report: 59% of Indians, that is, more than one in two adults in the country have experienced cybercrime in the last twelve months. The report says that seven in ten Indian adults believe that the remote work atmosphere created by COVID-19 has made it easier for hackers and cybercriminals Around 52% of the a
Human rights and press freedom activists are up in arms about a new report on NSO Group, the notorious Israeli hacker-for-hire company. The report, by a global media consortium, expands public knowledge of the target list used in NSO's military-grade spyware. According to the report, that now not only includes journalists, rights activists and opposition political figures, but also people close to them, the groups have decried the virtual absence of regulation of commercial surveillance t
Malware attacks in India What is malware? Malware is intrusive software that is designed to damage and destroy computers and computer systems. Malware is a contraction for “malicious software.” Examples of common malware includes viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Types of Malware Viruses are a subgroup of malware. A virus is malicious software attached to a document or file that supports macros to execute its c
Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative The Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative was launched in January 2018 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It is the first public-private partnership of its kind that leverages the expertise of the IT industry in cyber security along with MeitY’s organizations such as CDAC, CERT-In, NIC, and STQC as the knowledge partners in this training program. Aimed at creating awareness around cyber security and developing an emp
Context: "Creating safe digital spaces" is an important topic for UPSC GS Paper 3. Digital platforms must be free of cyberbullying if learners have to access quality education Recognising that school-related violence is an infringement of children’s right to education and health and well-being, UNESCO Member States have declared the first Thursday of November as the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including cyberbullying.
Ban on VLC Media Player India has outlawed access to the Video LAN Client (VLC) Media Player website. According to VLC's data, India has outlawed its website from February 2022. About the VLC When personal computers started to become more common in Indian homes as a result of information technology breakthroughs in the late 1990s, VLC became increasingly popular in that country. VLC is free and open source, supports all file types without the need for extra codecs, and
The cyber threat to Digital/Mobile banking Image Source - The Hindu Recently, the Asia Pacific area has seen an uptick in cyberattacks on Android and iOS devices, according to global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. A recent study found that more consumers are gravitating toward digital payments and that an increasing number of people are using their cell phones to engage with their banks or bank accounts. Additionally, this acceleration introduces a vulnerability: a rise in the ri
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