Convergence Plus
IT/Security
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Twitter to issue new safety rules post McGowan-sparked protest

Twitter to issue new safety rules post McGowan-sparked protestIn the backdrop of protest, #WomenBoycottTwitter, sparked by actor Rose McGowan, Twitter has decided to roll out new safety rules in the “next few weeks”. Large number of women participated in the campaign to protest the silencing of their voices on the microblogging site. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that the social media platform will be issuing new safety rules around “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.”

“Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re still not doing enough. We’ve been working intensely over the past few months and focused today on making some critical decisions. We decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them,” Dorsey tweeted.

The co-founder said that more information regarding the rules will be shared next week. #WomenBoycottTwitter gained momentum after Twitter locked McGowan’s account for violating the rules when she posted a personal phone number in one of her tweets.

The “Charmed” actor had spoken out about being raped by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. McGowan shared posts from other users who said her account was locked for speaking out against powerful male actors, such as Ben Affleck, in the wake of sexual harassment allegations surrounding Weinstein.

Alyssa Milano, Gina Rodriquez, Ava DuVernay, Kathy Griffin, Chrissy Teigen and Amber Tamblyn were among the stars who joined McGowan in the protest. Following Dorsey’s announcement, McGowan asked Twitter to set an example by revoking white supremacist leader, Richard Spencer’s verification. “Start by immediately removing Richard Spencer’s verification,” she tweeted. (Source:The Hindubusiness Line)

Estonia open to assist India on cyber security

Estonia open to assist India on cyber securityEstonia is keen to help India combat cyber-attacks by engaging with the South Asian country in joint drills. Tallinn (Estonia): Estonia is keen to help India combat cyber-attacks by engaging with the South Asian country in joint drills and offering its cutting edge technical resources in the field at a time when cyber strikes across the globe are seen as dangerous to the stability of democracies and growth economies.

Estonia is keen to help India combat cyber-attacks by engaging with the South Asian country in joint drills. Tallinn (Estonia): Estonia is keen to help India combat cyber-attacks by engaging with the South Asian country in joint drills and offering its cutting edge technical resources in the field at a time when cyber strikes across the globe are seen as dangerous to the stability of democracies and growth economies.

Tallinn, the capital of this tiny Baltic nation, may be famous for its medieval churches and quaint, cobble-stoned streets, but it is also home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, a leading international military organisation dealing with cyber conflicts. "Estonia is the cyber security training ground for NATO and the European Union, and we would be happy to exchange our knowhow and help set up similar training exercises in India," Siim Sikkut, Deputy Secretary General (IT & Telecom) in Estonia's economic affairs and communications ministry, told ET.

Estonia's cybersecurity experts, he said, are willing to suggest ways to help India operationally defend its core systems and on forge strong collaborations with critical service providers in the private sector. The Northern European Baltic nation has taken big strides in embracing digital technology and views cyber security as an integral part of broader security to protect its digital lifestyle. Talks of a potential Indo-Estonian engagement on cyber-security come ahead of the upcoming EU-India summit next month and also just days after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, suggested the creation of a stronger European cyber security agency to defend against such attacks amid growing incidence of ransomware attacks across the globe.

According to Sikkut, Estonia's former ambassador to India, Viljar Lubi was very active on the cyber security front, and more recently other Estonian experts in the field have spoken at cyber security related conclaves in India. A deeper engagement on cyber security appears on the cards between Estonia and India at a time when the next month's wide-ranging EU-India summit in Delhi is slated to also pave the way for active cooperation between India and the Europol's European Cybercrime centre on counter-terrorism operations and battling cyber crime.

The Estonian government is also keen to work closely with India to help the latter leverage its biometric Aadhaar database for delivering a host of digital services to citizens.

"India has taken big strides in setting up digital identity of citizens with Aadhaar, but we believe the digital identity (mechanism) must not be limited to just authentication or identification, but must be extended all the way to digital signatures" said Sikkut. (Source: ETTelecom)


Ditching WhatsApp encryption will help terrorists: Facebook COO

Ditching WhatsApp encryption will help terrorists: Facebook COOFacebook has 4,500 people who work to stop any attempt from extremists to hijack the website.
Responding to a call that Facebook should do away with the encryption that prevents police from accessing WhatsApp data, the company's top executive has said such a move would make it difficult to track terrorists if government gets such access. The call for ditching the WhatsApp encryption emerged after five people were killed in an attack on March 22 when Khalid Masood ploughed his car into crowds on the bridge and tried to storm the Parliament. Masood is said to have used WhatsApp minutes before carrying out the attack.

"The goal for governments is to get as much information as possible, and so when there are message services like WhatsApp that are encrypted the message itself is encrypted but the metadata is not. Meaning that when you send me a message we don't know what that message says but we know that you contacted me," Express.co.uk quoted Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer Facebook, as saying on Saturday.

"If people move off those encrypted services and go to encrypted services in countries that won't share the metadata the government actually has less information, not more. And so as technology evolves these are complicated conversations. We are in close conversations working through the issues all around the world," she added.

With the growing terror attacks in London and Europe, social media has come under severe criticism for not doing enough to curb online terrorism. Facebook hired an online army of more than 7,000 people which is assigned to crack down on terrorists using the site.

Facebook also has 4,500 people who work to stop any attempt from extremists to hijack the site and the company plans to hire 3,000 more later this year.

"Our Facebook policies are very clear. There is absolutely no place for terrorism, hate or calls for violence of any kind. Our goal is to not just pull it off Facebook but to use artificial intelligence technology to get it before it is even uploaded," Sandberg said.

"We are working in collaboration with other tech companies now so if a video is uploaded to any of our platforms we are able to fingerprint it for all the others so they can't move from platform to platform," she added.(Source: ETtelecom)

TRAI to begin consultation on mobile apps seeking user data

TRAI to begin consultation on mobile apps seeking user dataMobile apps seeking blanket access to phone users’ information — even if irrelevant to their functions — have come under the lens of TRAI, which will start consultation on data privacy and security in the telecom sector, according to a top official. “There should be a link between what an application does and information the application is asking for... You will see a consultation paper... we are working on the issue,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman, R S Sharma, told PTI. On Friday, the Centre told the Supreme Court that data of users are “integral” to the right of life and personal liberty guaranteed under the Constitution and it would come out with regulations to protect the same.

The submission by the Centre was made before a five—judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra which was examining the contentious issue of 2016 privacy policy of WhatsApp. Without referring to the case, Sharma in a recent interview emphasised that information a mobile app asks for should be relevant to its purpose and that “minimal information principle” needs to be followed in normal course. “If an app has nothing to do with your, say, gender, then it should not ask for such information. That is the broad principle,” Sharma said, citing an example.

The TRAI chief declined to specify whether the consultation would result in norms or regulations around data privacy and security, saying it is “premature“. “I will raise various issues during consultation... the form (it takes) will depend on what stakeholders say, and also how much right we have as a regulator...,” he added. At present, discussions have started internally within Trai to look at these issues of data security and privacy in the telecom sector, he noted.

Sharma said he had flagged the matter at a recent ITU global symposium of regulators and stressed on the need for regulators to come together to fix “international norms” in this regard. ”...In case I am downloading an app and it asks for 20 information, completely irrelevant... and if I don’t provide that information, it does not download... then there should some basis for information that an application can ask for,” he said.

When contacted, Pavan Duggal, advocate, Supreme Court and a cyber law expert, said there are no adequate laws to govern mobile apps.

“The current dispensation is not enough. The IT Act is India’s only legislation governing the mobile ecosystem. But it has not gone in the direction of stipulating parameters of due diligence to be done by mobile app service providers,” he said.
Consequently, people’s data are continuously being used by “rogue apps” with consumers having no effective legal remedy, Duggal claimed, adding that Indian laws must therefore stipulate cyber security parameters for mobile apps (Source : The Hindu BusinessLine)

Intel chips in with Xeon to take on competitors

Intel chips in with Xeon to take on competitorsThe data centre processor promises speed, agility, security, networking features that are multiple times ahead of previous generation hardware.
With an eye on new markets including 5G telecom networks, Artificial Intelligence (AI), drones, driverless cars and even hi-tech farming and analytics-driven retail, world’s largest chip maker Intel has launched its new Xeon scalable processors. The data centre processor promises speed, agility, security, networking features that are multiple times ahead of previous generation hardware and offer ultra-low latency to meet demands of the fast accelerating digital life.The Xeon platform was in development over the last five years.

The $59-billion Intel Corporation is pinning its hopes on the re-architected chip to ward off fierce competition from Nvidia, AMD, Freescale, ST Microelectronics and others gearing up for next gen hardware needs of modern data centres, the engine rooms of the digital economy.

Navin Shenoy, executive vice-president, Intel said, “Less than 1% of data that’s generated is used, analysed or acted upon. Therein lies the opportunity to unlock that data.”

Shenoy in his keynote address elaborated on how traditional and new industries are fast adopting technologies that put huge demands on current data centre infrastructure. For example, farmers are using drones, satellite tech to increase food production without increasing land.

Offline retailers like Wal-Mart, Tesco, are using sensors and analytics to improve inventory management and customer experience. More companies want to use AI to power their businesses and next generation services. (Source: ETtelcom)

IT companies likely to post muted growth in Q1 due to wage hikes, stronger rupee and slow deals

IT companies likely to post muted growth in Q1 due to wage hikes, stronger rupee and slow dealsIndian information technology firms are expected to report a muted growth in the first quarter hurt by wage hikes, visa fees, stronger rupee and slower pace of large deal closures amid uncertainty surrounding protectionist measures in the United States. Analysts expect the country's largest IT services company Tata Consultancy ServicesBSE 2.95 % to report a constant currency sequential growth of 2-3 per cent, while InfosysBSE 0.92 % is expected to grow between 2-2.8 per cent. WiproBSE 2.88 % is expected to post a fall of 0.8-1.4 per cent. HCL is expected to outpace most of its rivals with a growth expectation of between 2.6 and 3.3 per cent.

Last month, industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) projected software export growth in fiscal 2017-18 at 7-8 per cent in constant currency, down from 8.6 per cent last year.

"First quarter is likely to be the weakest Q1 since sub-prime crisis. However, shouldn't be a big surprise to investors," said Yogesh Aggarwal, head of research at HSBC, in a report.

"The US deal momentum is still slow with visa and protectionist noise, Europe is much stronger, but won't fully offset US weakness." The deal momentum, according to the analysts, has been weak across the board in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector as well as the retail sector. Any pushback in deals will weaken growth momentum, they say. IT services firms are hoping that digital deals will offset decline in traditional services.

"Poor large deal wins and ramps across the board should drive an uninspiring Q1 earnings season.

The June-2017 quarter is likely to miss the seasonal strength of the quarter with organic constant currency growth ranging from -3 per cent to 2 per cent," said CLSA analyst Ankur Rudra in a report titled: Dry spell in June quarter.

The market will be on a watch out for any cyclical upturn visible in the results, outlook on margins in light of rupee appreciation, pricing pressures and need to change onsite staffing given the US immigration tightening, according to Nomura analyst Ashwin Mehta. Edelweiss analysts Sandip Agarwal and Pranav Kshatriya said margins would be under pressure this quarter.

"We expect seasonal margin pressure in Q1, led by visa costs and wage hikes to be further accentuated by 3.9 per cent sequentially INR appreciation against USD. We expect margins to further decline on increase in local hirings, though its impact would be gradual," they said in a report.

"Some of the impact will be compensated by improving operating efficiencies leading to 50-120bps margin decline." (Source: Economic Times)

For IT Professionals, A New $16 Billion Opportunity Opens Up

For IT Professionals, A New $16 Billion Opportunity Opens UpBig Data analytics sector in India is expected to witness eight-fold growth by 2025 - from the current $2 billion to reach $16 billion, say industry experts.
The Big Data analytics sectoris poised for exponential growth in India, boosting job opportunities in the IT sector. The Big Data analytics sector in India is expected to witness an eight-fold growth by 2025 - from the current $2 billion to $16 billion, according to industry experts. India, according to experts, is currently among top 10 Big Data analytics markets in the world. IT trade body Nasscom has set a target of making the country one among the top three markets in the next three years.

Earlier, Nasscom had identified six areas of specialisation in the Big Data Analytics domain that are expected drive growth in the sector: business analysts, solution architects, data integrators, data architects, data analysts and data scientists. "With the rising requirement for niche competencies in AI (artificial intelligence) and analytics, the skill/expertise of the IT workforce will spearhead the analytical transformation on critical business processes across the industry," Nasscom said.

According to Nasscom, the analytics export market grew by nearly 20 per cent in FY2017, posting a much higher growth compared to overall IT exports. According to Nasscom, the emergence of big data phenomenon in corresponding technologies is giving rise to new trends in the analytics domain.

The growth in the analytics sector has also boosted job opportunities in the sector. The number of analytics jobs has nearly doubled in the past one year, according to a study by Analytics India Magazine - a platform on analytics, data science and big data - and Edvancer Eduventures - an online analytics training institute. The Analytics & Data Science India Jobs Study 2017 has estimated close to 50,000 positions related to analytics are currently available to be filled in India. This increase in the number of jobs available in analytics is nearly twice that of the previous year and "suggests increased momentum in hiring in analytics and data science in India", says the study.

The study also said that skills in R and Python remain the most sought after that companies are looking for, with almost 36 per cent of advertised analytics jobs in India demanding R as a core skill and another 30 per cent Python, followed by Hadoop, SAS and Spark, among others.

Aatash Shah, CEO and founder of Edvancer Eduventures, said: "Jobs in analytics & data science have grown by 100 per cent over the last year adding tens of thousands of employment opportunities. However, a large portion of people in IT will need to re-skill themselves in data science to make the most of this employment boom." (Source: NDTV)

Companies more prone to cyber attack; 60% software unregulated

Companies more prone to cyber attack; 60% software unregulatedOver 49% of chief information officers identified security threats from malware as a major threat posed by unlicensed software

More than 60 per cent of the software used by companies in India is unregulated which poses a threat of cyber attacks, according to business practices firm EY.

“Many organisations secure their hardware. However, they do not pay attention to the software used, which could be unregulated,” Maya Ramachandran, Partner, Advisory Services Practice, EY told PTI. “More than 60 per cent of software used by companies in India is unregulated, which can pose a threat to cyber security,” she added. As per data of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), over 50,300 cyber security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and denial of service attacks were observed in the country during 2016. Last month, over 100 countries were hit by ‘WannaCry’ ransomware in one of the most widespread cyber attacks in history.

According to a recent EY survey, over 49 per cent of chief information officers identified security threats from malware as a major threat posed by unlicensed software, while 26 per cent employees admitted to installing outside software on work computers. “Several large corporations and multinational companies have started setting up software asset management offices that would look into the leading best practices of using software including compliance and licensing terms to the software vendor,” Ramachandran pointed out.

However, middle market companies are more concerned about running the business and may ignore peripheral matters including cyber security, she added. An organisation with stringent software asset management practices can operate a secure and cost effective IT environment, she said.

Software asset management would address inadvertent downloads of malware through unauthorised software, or software of unknown vendors and use of removable media to download software that is not supported in a corporate environment.

It would also address issues like use of older versions of software, unauthorised connection of personal devices to corporate networks, among others.(Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Internet on flights likely by August-end

Internet on flights likely by August-endInternet on flights in India could soon be a reality. The Centre is likely to permit it by August-end. "We're awaiting clearance from the Department of Telecommunications," said Lalit Gupta, joint DG, Directorate General of Civil Aviation. "International airlines are in talks with the aviation ministry. Currently, they have to switch off Wi-Fi in the Indian airspace (where inflight internet is banned on security grounds)." Gupta also said that Indian carriers like Jet Airways and SpiceJet are slated to take deliveries of the Wi-Fi-fitted Boeing 737 MAX by mid-2018.

About 70 airlines across the world offer inflight internet letting passengers email, livestream, use social media, download movies and even make calls. These include carriers that fly into India like Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad.

In India, airlines like Jet Airways and Vistara offer a library of preloaded content downloadable onto electronic devices by linking to the aircraft's non-internet Wi-Fi. SpiceJet will give the facility by June-end. It must be understood that Wi-Fi is wireless local area networking. (Source: Times of India)

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