Navigating the Path to CyberPeace: Insights and Strategies
Google.org is committed to stepping ahead to enhance Internet safety and responsible online behaviour. ‘Google for INDIA 2023’, an innovative conclave, took place on 19th October 2023. Google.org has embarked on its vision for a safer Internet and combating misinformation, financial frauds and other threats that come from bad actors. Alphabet Big Tech is committed to leading this charter and engaging with all stakeholders, including government agencies. Google.org has partnered with CyberPeace Foundation to foster a safer online environment and empower users on informed decisions on the Internet. CyberPeace will run a nationwide awareness and capacity-building Initiative equipping more than 40 Million Indian netizens with fact-checking techniques, tools, SoPs, and guidance for responsible and safe online behaviour. The campaign will be deployed in 15 Indian regional languages as a comprehensive learning outcome for the whole nation. Together, Google.org and CyberPeace Foundation aim to make the Internet safer for everyone and work in a direction to ensure that progress for everyone is built on a strong foundation of trusted information available on the Internet and pursuing the true spirit of “Technology for Good”.
Google.org and CyberPeace together for enhanced online safety
A new $4 million grant to CyberPeace Foundation will support a nationwide awareness-building program and comprehensive multilingual digital resource hub with content available in up to 15 Indian languages to empower nearly 40 million underserved people across the country in building resilience against misinformation and practice responsible online behaviour. Together, Google.org and CyberPeace are on their way to creating a strong pathway of trusted Internet and a safer digital environment. The said campaign will be undertaken for a duration of 3 years, and the following key components will run at the core of the same:
- CyberPeace Corps Volunteers: This will be a pan India volunteer engagement initiative to create a community of 9 million CyberPeace Ambassadors/First Responders/Volunteers to fight misinformation and promote responsible online behaviour going far into the rural, marginalised and most vulnerable strata of society.
- Digital Resource Hub: In pursuance of the campaign, CyberPeace is developing a cutting-edge platform offering a wealth of resources on media literacy, responsible content creation, and cyber hygiene translated into 15 Indian regional languages for a widespread impact on the ground.
- Public Sensitisation: CyberPeace will be conducting an organic series of online and offline events focusing on empowering netizens to discern fact from fiction. These sensitisation drives will be taken on by start master trainers from different regions of India to ensure all states and UTs are impacted.
- CyberPeace Quick Reaction Team: A specialised team of tech enthusiasts that will work closely with platforms to rapidly address new-age cyber threats and misinformation campaigns in real-time and establish best practices and SoPs for the diverse elements in the industries.
- Engaging Multimedia Content: With CyberPeace’s immense expertise in E-Course and digital content, the campaign will produce a range of multilingual multimedia resources, including informative videos, posters, games, contests, infographics, and more.
- Fact-check unit: Fact-check units will play a crucial role in monitoring, identifying, and doing fact analysis of the suspected information and overall busting the growing incidents of misinformation. Fake news or misinformation has negative consequences on society at large. The fact-check units play a significant role in controlling the widespread of misinformation.
Fight Against Misinformation
Misinformation is rampant all across the world and requires attention. With the increasing penetration of social media and the internet, this remains a global issue. Google.org has taken up the initiative to address this issue in India and, in collaboration with CyberPeace Foundation taken a proactive step to multiple avenues for mass-scale awareness and upskilling campaigns have been piloted to make an impact on the ground with the vision of upskilling over 40 Million people in the country and building resilience against misinformation and practicing responsible online behavior.
Maj Vineet Kumar, Founder of CyberPeace, said,
"In an era in which digital is deeply intertwined with our lives, knowing how to discern, act on, and share the credible from the wealth of information available online is critical to our well-being, and of our families and communities. Through this initiative, we’re committing to help Internet users across India become informed, empowered and responsible netizens leading through conversations and actions. Whether it’s in fact-checking information before sharing it, or refraining from sharing unverified news, we all play an important role in building a web that is a safe and inclusive space for everyone, and we are extremely grateful to Google.org for propelling us forward in this mission with their grant support.”
Annie Lewin, Senior Director of Global Advocacy and Head of Asia Pacific, Google.org said:
“We have a longstanding commitment to supporting changemakers using technology to solve humanity's biggest challenges. And, the innovation and zeal of Indian nonprofit organisations has inspired us to deepen our commitment in India. With the new grant to CyberPeace Foundation, we are proud to support solutions that speak directly to Google’s DNA, helping first-time internet users chart their path in a digital world with confidence. Such solutions give us pride and hope that each step, built on a strong foundation of trusted information, will translate into progress for all.”
Google.org has partnered with government agencies and other Indian organisations with the vision of future-proof India for digital public infrastructure and staying a step ahead for Internet safety, keeping the citizens safe online. Google.org is taking its largest step yet towards online safety in India. There is widespread misinformative content and information in the digital media space or on the internet. This proactive initiative of Google.org in collaboration with CyberPeace is a commendable step to prevent the spread of misinformation and empower users to act responsibly while sharing any information and making informed decisions while using the Internet, hence creating a safe digital environment for everyone.
The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has sparked intense debates and concerns about its potential impact on humanity. Sam Altman, CEO of AI research laboratory OpenAI, and Altman, known as the father of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, hold a complex position, recognising both the existential risks AI poses and its potential benefits. In a world tour to raise awareness about AI risks, Altman advocates for global cooperation to establish responsible guidelines for AI development. Artificial intelligence has become a topic of increasing interest and concern as technology advances. Developing sophisticated AI systems raises many ethical questions, including whether they will ultimately save or destroy humanity.
Altman engages with various stakeholders, including protesters who voice concerns about the race toward artificial general intelligence (AGI). Critics argue that focusing on safety rather than pushing AGI development would be a more responsible approach. Altman acknowledges the importance of safety progress but believes capability progress is necessary to ensure safety. He advocates for a global regulatory framework similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which would coordinate research efforts, establish safety standards, monitor computing power dedicated to AI training, and possibly restrict specific approaches.
Risks of AI Systems
While AI holds tremendous promise, it also presents risks that must be carefully considered. One of the major concerns is the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) without sufficient safety precautions. AGI systems with unchecked capabilities could potentially pose existential risks to humanity if they surpass human intelligence and become difficult to control. These risks include the concentration of power, misuse of technology, and potential for unintended consequences.
There are also fears surrounding AI systems’ impact on employment. As machines become more intelligent and capable of performing complex tasks, there is a risk that many jobs will become obsolete. This could lead to widespread unemployment and economic instability if steps are not taken to prepare for this shift in the labour market.
While these risks are certainly caused for concern, it is important to remember that AI systems also have tremendous potential to do good in the world. By carefully designing these technologies with ethics and human values in mind, we can mitigate many of the risks while still reaping the benefits of this exciting new frontier in technology.
Open AI Systems and Chatbots
Open AI systems like ChatGPT and chatbots have gained popularity due to their ability to engage in natural language conversations. However, they also come with risks. The reliance on large-scale training data can lead to biases, misinformation, and unethical use of AI. Ensuring open AI systems’ safety and responsible development mitigates potential harm and maintains public trust.
The Need for Global Cooperation
Sam Altman and other tech leaders emphasise the need for global cooperation to address the risks associated with AI development. They advocate for establishing a global regulatory framework for superintelligence. Superintelligence refers to AGI operating at an exceptionally advanced level, capable of solving complex problems that have eluded human comprehension. Such a framework would coordinate research efforts, enforce safety standards, monitor computing power, and potentially restrict specific approaches. International collaboration is essential to ensure responsible and beneficial AI development while minimising the risks of misuse or unintended consequences.
Can AI Systems Make the World a Better Place: Benefits of AI Systems
AI systems hold many benefits that can greatly improve human life. One of the most significant advantages of AI is its ability to process large amounts of data at a rapid pace. In industries such as healthcare, this has allowed for faster diagnoses and more effective treatments. Another benefit of AI systems is their capacity to learn and adapt over time. This allows for more personalised experiences in areas such as customer service, where AI-powered chatbots can provide tailored solutions based on an individual’s needs. Additionally, AI can potentially increase efficiency in various industries, from manufacturing to transportation. By automating repetitive tasks, human workers can focus on higher-level tasks that require creativity and problem-solving skills. Overall, the benefits of AI systems are numerous and promising for improving human life in various ways.
We must remember the impact of AI on education. It has already started to show its potential by providing personalised learning experiences for students at all levels. With the help of AI-driven systems like intelligent tutoring systems (ITS), adaptive learning technologies (ALT), and educational chatbots, students can learn at their own pace without feeling overwhelmed or left behind.
While there are certain risks associated with the development of AI systems, there are also numerous opportunities for them to make our world a better place. By harnessing the power of these technologies for good, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and generations to come.
The AI revolution presents both extraordinary opportunities and significant challenges for humanity. The benefits of AI, when developed responsibly, have the potential to uplift societies, improve quality of life, and address long-standing global issues. However, the risks associated with AGI demand careful attention and international cooperation. Governments, researchers, and industry leaders must work together to establish guidelines, safety measures, and ethical standards to navigate the path toward AI systems that serve humanity’s best interests and safeguard against potential risks. By taking a balanced approach, we can strive for a future where AI systems save humanity rather than destroy it.
In the new age of technologies the internet and social media continue to witness a surge in deepfake videos a technological phenomenon that blurs the line between reality and fiction. The string of deepfake videos of Bollywood actors and other famous personalities has raised serious concerns. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against the risks of artificial intelligence at the G20 Virtual Summit. The central government has recently announced that it will soon set up dedicated regulations to tackle this Menace. This will include holding social media platforms and creators responsible for their actions against the rules and regulations. Very often most people shy away from initiating a legal process or taking action while being victims of misuse of fast-paced tech but the government has announced its big support to the victims and promised to stand by complaints against deepfake videos especially this includes helping individuals to report the incidents and any violations by platforms.
Social media platforms to realign their policies as per the Indian laws
The platforms will ensure harmonization and alignment of their terms & policies so that every user on every platform is aware that when they use a platform the platform intends to be a safe and trusted platform and the platform will not tolerate these 12 types of content or information that have been prohibited under the IT Act and the IT rules. The government approach is to collectively advocate for responsible and safe use of the Internet. The government has taken a proactive step in partnership with these social media platforms to ensure an era where such platforms will be a lot more responsible and a lot more responsive to the expectations under the law and more compliant.
Officer to be appointed under rule 7
As Deepfake Videos continue to surface on social media, the Government has geared up to curb such content online. Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar Minister of State, (Meity), stated that the government will soon appoint an officer to take appropriate action against deepfake videos. This statement came after the government meeting with industry stakeholders and important players held on 24 Nov 2023. He added that Meity and the government of India will nominate an officer under rule 7 (IT rules 2021) and will ensure full compliance expectations from all the platforms. An officer appointed under Rule 7, will be entrusted with building a mechanism where users can put in their complaints regarding deepfakes and MeitY may also assist such aggrieved users with filing FIRs in such cases. Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State, (Meity) also added that we will also be creating a platform where it will be very easy for netizens to bring to the attention of the government of India and notices of allegations or reports of violation of law by the platforms and the rule 7 officer will take that digital platform information and respond accordingly.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (updated as on 6.4.2023)
Ongoing Efforts Ahead of Crucial Meeting with Tech Giants
Ahead of the government meeting with online platforms such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube on Friday, 24th November 2023, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar Minister of State, (Meity) added that way back from October 2022 the government of India had been alerting them to the threat of misinformation and deepfakes which are part of misinformation. He further added that the current IT rules under the IT Act provide for adequate compliance requirements on their part to deal with deepfake.
Misinformation powered by AI becoming an even more potent force to disrupt and to mislead and to create chaos and confusion at a scale and of a type that is deeply detrimental. Deepfakes in a very simple basic way is misinformation which is powered by or enhanced by AI. Video-based deepfake misinformation is more dangerous since it has a greater reach as video consumption today is the preferred choice by users on the internet.
The Honorable Prime Minister has raised the issue that deep fakes are deeply disruptive they can create divisions and all kinds of disruptions in communities, in families and therefore misuse of deepfake technology is a very clear present danger to the safe and trusted internet.
The Government is on its way to draft a dedicated legislation dedicated to tackling deepfakes.
Even as we speak to a future regulation and a future law which is certainly required given that our IT Act is 23 years old. However current IT rules provide for compliance requirements by the platforms on misinformation patently false information and deepfakes. Followed by the recent government advisory on misinformation and deepfake.
Prime Minister alerting of the dangers of deepfakes online. The government is now in the process of starting to look very seriously into this issue and also issued guidelines for intermediaries and in a finite period of time it is hoped that the threat of deep fakes would actually no longer exist in in our system. The government made it clear that apart from people spreading deepfake videos, the platforms making them spread and not taking action will also be liable they are currently liable and will be even more so in future after new rules and regulations are brought in.
In the labyrinthine corridors of the digital world, a new spectre is haunting our collective consciousness - the spectre of deep fakes and disinformation. This phenomenon, a grotesque offspring of the technological revolution, is threatening the very fabric of our societies, endangering democracy, and putting journalists and human rights activists in the crosshairs of an invisible enemy.
Misinformation is the unwitting sharing of incorrect information, while disinformation is its more sinister sibling, the deliberate dissemination of falsehoods with malicious intent. These can take myriad forms, from memes and misattributed content to fabricated websites and news. The most insidious among them are altered and fabricated images and videos, also known as deepfakes, which are often disseminated by bots, trolls, and other AI or non-AI agents, thereby amplifying their reach and impact.
The Implications of Chicanery
The implications of this digital chicanery are far-reaching and deeply concerning. Misinformation and disinformation amplify discrimination and human bias, disproportionately affecting minority groups that are already marginalized. They also pose a significant threat to human rights, particularly during elections. Article 25 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) establishes the right of everyone to take part in the conduct of public affairs and to vote. However, mis/disinformation campaigns have been weaponized during elections or referenda to manipulate voters and shape the outcome of polls, thereby undermining this fundamental right.
The chilling effect of these campaigns on human rights defenders and journalists is particularly alarming. Computational propaganda can be used to target or troll individuals critical of governments or political movements, creating reputational damage, societal backlash, or a chilling effect that discourages the continuation of critical work. This online harassment can produce a chilling effect on the freedom of expression, association, and assembly of the targeted individuals, who may refrain from publicly expressing their views and engaging in their normal activities for fear of further verbal and physical attacks.
Governments around the world have also started using the label ‘fake news’ or ‘mis/disinformation’ to close down debates or deny allegations against them in the context of human rights violations. This strategy represses freedom of expression and avoids accountability, threatening many human rights guarantees such as the duty to investigate in the case of violation of the right to life.
A significant proportion of mis/disinformation, and memes in particular, contain hate speech: incitement to hatred, justification for, and promotion of spreading hateful messages based on intolerance, racism, and violence. This is boosted by the fact that the digital space offers the possibility to post anonymously, resulting in a lack of accountability.
In response to this growing menace, states, businesses, and international organizations have been developing responses to tackle mis/disinformation. These range from establishing expert groups and task forces, demotion/removal of content and accounts, anti-disinformation laws, and media literacy programs.
India’s Reform to combat the evil
In India, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has emphasised the government's unwavering commitment to protecting citizens from misinformation, especially that originating from misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfake technology. He asserted that the government will continue to create a framework, including new legislation if necessary, to ensure that deep fakes or misinformation at large do not pose a threat to the safety and trust of the 1.2 billion Indians who will be on the Indian Internet.
These statements follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent acknowledgement of the significant threats posed by misuse of emerging technologies like AI and deepfakes. Speaking at the Diwali Milan program on November 17 at the BJP Headquarters in New Delhi, PM Modi urged caution regarding the rising threat of AI-generated 'deepfakes.' He shared a personal experience of encountering a fake video depicting him participating in Garba, emphasising the potential for such misinformation to create turmoil and unrest in society.
The concerns raised by the government and the Prime Minister align with recent incidents, such as the deepfake video involving actor Rashmika Mandanna. The video, depicting a woman resembling Mandanna entering a lift in a black swimsuit, went viral, prompting social media users to confirm its status as a deepfake. Mandanna expressed her distress, describing the incident as 'extremely scary' and highlighting the vulnerability of individuals to harm due to the misuse of technology on social media platforms.
The government is very clear on ensuring that digital fakery must end. Ahead of the meeting with online platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube on Friday, 24th November 2023 on the issue of deepfakes, India’s IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar speaking to Financial Express Online says: “The meeting on the 24th is simply to reiterate that the current law and rules provide for platforms to take down misinformation and that deepfakes are misinformation powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).” He says, “we will lay out what the current laws and rules are and share our thinking on this and emphasize that if necessary, we will tighten rules and the law to deal with this issue.”
In the face of this global menace, tech guru and co-founder of Axilor Ventures, Kris Gopalakrishnan, feels that traditional methods to curb the menace backed by the imposition of penalties, fines or a jail term could act as important deterrents. He also suggests the use of digital watermarking as one of the many possible interventions being explored to check this problem.
The hunt for a tech-based solution to this problem is more of a continual cat-and-mouse game, says Manish Gangwar, associate professor, marketing and the executive director of the Institute of Data Science and Advanced Management Programme in Business Analytics at the Indian School of Business (ISB). He also feels that regulations that could make it imperative for online platforms to undertake the filtering process to check and curb deep fakes could be one option.
In light of digital deceit, it is crucial to remember that the battle against deepfakes and disinformation is not just a technological one. It is also a battle for our collective consciousness, a battle to preserve the sanctity of truth and advocating for technology for good. As we navigate the labyrinthine corridors of the digital world, let us arm ourselves with the weapons of awareness, critical thinking, and a steadfast commitment to truth. In the end, it is not just about winning the battle against deepfakes and disinformation, but about preserving the very essence of our democratic societies and the human rights that underpin them.
We are living in the digital age, where from ordering food to floating into a relationship everything is preferred to be digitized. It has been quite evident that in the past few years, online dating has become immensely popular due to its potential success stories. Since it has become a medium to find potential partners. Among the string of successes and pros of online dating, there seems to be a corner which is curtained that contains scams and treachery. A very recent case in Delhi puts light into the dark side of online dating where a 25-year-old journalist was trapped in an online dating scam. It portrays the threat of meeting an unknown person through an online dating app and how a person gets involved in the vicious cycle. Since the concept of online dating is all about meeting a new person and getting indulged. This incident talks about a man who met a woman through a dating app Bumble and got scammed for Rs 15000.
Unveiling the scam
It started like a fairy tale where a 25-year-old Delhi resident met with a girl on a dating app Bumble, where they spoke and found each other compatible. Followed by it the girl approaches the boy to meet at a specific restaurant situated in Delhi. The boy was away from the idea that the first meetup would turn into a nightmare which horrifying experience he would share on social media. It is not only about the financial loss but also about the emotional distress one goes through. Every coin has two sides and when surfing in the digital world one needs to keep in mind that along with the pros, there are certain cons. In the eagerness to meet someone, we should not lose our presence of mind. Continuing the incident once both reached the specified restaurant the girl made an order of various food items including beverages, shots of vodka, glasses of wine, different cuisines and hookah. Which not so surprisingly culminated in an inflated bill of Rs 15,886. After paying the hefty amount the boy went to the washroom once he came back the bill vanished followed by the girl being eager to leave the place. Till that very moment, the victim was in his dreamland where he did not get the hint that he had been scammed. Once he reached home and tried contacting the lady her account was deleted from the platform and was not reachable through calls. This incident shook the victim and pushed him to melancholy. Since he did not expect this to happen. Devastated by the fraud and treachery the man wrote about his disappointing experience on his Twitter handle addressing Delhi police to look into this.
It has been brought to the notice that similar incidents have been reported in the past as well. The trend remains the same in which the culprit insists the victim meet at a specific location decided by them, it is done with such conviction that it becomes difficult for the victim to deny. Once they accept to meet in the decided location it is followed by making the victim order expensive food and alcohol and at the time of payment giving excuses or pretending to pay. Once the payment is done the culprit rushes to leave the location or disappears without any head up. Not to be perplexed once they leave they will not leave any trace of them.
How to stay safe in the online dating world?
Online dating can bring butterflies in the stomach, and indeed it is a beautiful experience to meet someone new and fall in love but with this beauty, there comes the baggage of falling into the trap of cyber scams. While surfing online dating sites one needs to be very careful and vigilant since the highlighted incidents are relevant enough to showcase the negative impact on it.
- Use reliable platforms: With the growing digitalization, there are infinite platforms available for online dating. But here is the catch one needs to be very finicky in choosing an appropriate platform among the countless options. It is best to use authentic platforms or apps and read reviews and ratings before installing any such applications or platforms.
- Cross-verify the profiles: Once you receive a profile compatible enough to talk about it is recommended to have elaborative conversations. It is not about doubting someone but being calculative and cross-checking all the information given. Before meeting the person it is best to have a detailed conversation but not reveal much about you.
- Have control in your pocket: When it comes to paying the bill be proactive in dividing the bill. It is advisable to do so that the liability of paying a hefty bill does not come from one party. This will make sure that even if one of the people has the intention to exploit the other person they will become alarmed.
- Go with the flow: Since meeting an unknown person is all flowery and spontaneous, it is also good to follow your instinct and go with the flow if you find anything weird during the conversation or while in person. It is advisable to back off or to leave the place as soon as possible.
- Be cautious in sharing your personal information with strangers: While conversing with an unknown person online, it is very important to keep a hold on our emotions and not share any personal information which can be misused by cyber crooks. Also, it is very important that we do not discuss anything about our financial capabilities and transactions. It is imperative to note that cyber crooks exploit the many new ways to commit online fraud by targeting innocent individuals.
- Catching up in public places: When meeting for the first time it is advisable to meet a person in a public place such as a park, museums etc. It is the best way to avoid going to a place decided or being insisted. Since meeting in a public place gives a sense of security that people are around you.
- Keep your near people in Loop: No matter how private you are while meeting an unknown person keep your friends and near one aware of it.
What to do if you fall into such dating scams
- While one can be emotionally drained, it is very important to keep track of all the information shared, save all your messages, take pictures of the scammer's profile and document every small detail which can be relevant.
- Report on the platform: There would be a section called “Contact us” or “Report” on the platform where you can report against the scammer. Most dating apps have this section where you can mention your issue so that they can take action against such profiles.
- National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, 1930 Helpline: The Cybercrime reporting portal http://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ equipped with 24x7 helpline 1930 is a powerful resource available to the victims of cybercrimes to report their cases.
Online dating can become the gush of winds for someone but it is very important to keep in mind that with the potential of falling in love, there comes a threat of being trapped and getting into cyber frauds or scams. So many cases are being reported, and the recent case also highlights that not everyone on online sites is genuine. So be aware of such scams and stay informed and safe in the evolving digital environment.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ( MeitY) through its Information Security Education & Awareness ( ISEA ) came up with an advisory regarding the growing cases of e-challan fraud. Cybercriminals are exploiting the beliefs of individuals by attracting them into clicking malicious links under the impression of paying traffic fines. Cybercriminals employ sending phishing messages and impersonating official e-challan notifications as a primary method. These messages are crafted in such a way that portrays a sense of urgency, provoking individuals to click on a link for spontaneous payment. For building trust, the messages are deviously created by scammers depicting official communication, which in actuality are fake messages targeting individuals for committing online financial fraud.
Unveiling the E-Challan Scam
Scammers send a text message to your phones that closely resembles e-challan alerts. The text appears from the traffic police, informing the netizens of a traffic violation that requires a fine payment. These messages contain a link and a text message urging the recipient to settle the fine by clicking on the links to make the payment. Scammers have started trapping innocent individuals through such fake messages. These scammers are creating and sending fake messages that look like traffic challan alert messages. However, it is a completely deceptive and fake message. Such messages contain malicious links to fake website, leading users to visit the fake website and enter their bank account details, or make the payment which ultimately leads to financial loss to victims. Cyber scammers have meticulously copied the format used by the traffic authorities however a close examination can help us spot the trap. The modus operandi of such type of scam is to get the targeted individuals to click on a malicious link for payment of traffic e-challan. Once you click on such malicious payment link to pay for the e-challan the individuals unknowingly will end up paying the cyber criminals instead of the police in a bid to discharge the traffic e-challan.
How to spot a fake E-Challan?
- Verify the Vehicle Number: Make sure that the vehicle number mentioned in the message matches your vehicle’s number. Cross-check this information with your vehicle’s number plate or the smart card ( blue book) issued by the Regional Transport Office ( RTO).
- Verify the E-challan Number: Verify the validity of the e-challan number by logging into the official traffic police website or app. Legitimate e-challans will have a corresponding record that can be cross-checked for authenticity. The challan number can be verified by logging in to the official e-challan website. It is always advisable to Visit the official government website to check if you have actually been fined.
- Inspect the Message Content: Give attention to the language inculcated in the message. Hackers' messages may contain grammatical errors or unusual phrases. For example, cybercriminals might encourage victims to visit the RTO office in person. Trying to build up confidence among the victims. Also, it is important that you do not make such payments in haste. Vehicle owners must check such messages carefully before clicking on any link.
Best Practices to Stay Safe
- Be aware of unbidden messages: Be cautious when you receive unsolicited e- challan notifications. Abstain yourself by clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
- Always stick to legitimate or official websites: The scammers use links which look similar to the official link, and a casual glance can miss the difference. Hence it is strictly advisable to visit the official websites only. Also do note that government websites will always have the domain '.gov.in'. The official website of Traffic Challan is https://echallan.parivahan.gov.in/
- Get it cross-checked through official channels: Always cross-check the authenticity of an e-challan by directly accessing official channels, such as the official traffic police website or application.
- Connect with the RTO directly: If in doubt, independently connect with the Regional Transport Office ( RTO) using official contact details to verify the authenticity of the e-challan. It is best not to solely rely on information received from suspicious messages.
- Software update: Make sure that your device’s security software is up to date to protect against malware and phishing scams.
Cybercriminals are exploiting the fear of traffic fines to trick individuals into clicking on malicious links and revealing their personal and financial information. These scams can lead to significant financial losses for the victims. To stay safe, it is important to be cautious of unsolicited messages, verify the authenticity of e-challans through official channels, and avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. Awareness is the first line of defence in the evolving landscape of online threats.
In an era defined by perpetual technological advancement, the hitherto uncharted territories of the human experience are progressively being illuminated by the luminous glow of innovation. The construct of privacy, once a straightforward concept involving personal secrets and solitude, has evolved into a complex web of data protection, consent, and digital rights. This notion of privacy, which often feels as though it elusively ebbs and flows like the ghost of a bygone epoch, is now confronted with a novel intruder – neurotechnology – which promises to redefine the very essence of individual sanctity.
Why Neuro Rights
At the forefront of this existential conversation lie ventures like Elon Musk's Neuralink. This company, which finds itself at the confluence of fantastical dreams and tangible reality, teases a future where the contents of our thoughts could be rendered as accessible as the words we speak. An existence where machines not only decipher our mental whispers but hold the potential to echo back, reshaping our cognitive landscapes. This startling innovation sets the stage for the emergence of 'neurorights' – a paradigm aimed at erecting a metaphorical firewall around the synapses and neurons that compose our innermost selves.
At institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley, researchers, under the aegis of cognitive scientists like Jack Gallant, are already drawing the map of once-inaccessible territories within the mind. Gallant's landmark study, which involved decoding the brain activity of volunteers as they absorbed visual stimuli, opened Pandora's box regarding the implications of mind-reading. The paper published a decade ago, was an inchoate step toward understanding the narrative woven within the cerebral cortex. Although his work yielded only a rough sketch of the observed video content, it heralded an era where thought could be translated into observable media.
This rapid acceleration of neuro-technological prowess has not gone unnoticed on the sociopolitical stage. In a pioneering spirit reminiscent of the robust legislative eagerness of early democracies, Chile boldly stepped into the global spotlight in 2021 by legislating neurorights. The Chilean senate's decision to constitutionalize these rights sent ripples the world over, signalling an acknowledgement that the evolution of brain-computer interfaces was advancing at a daunting pace. The initiative was spearheaded by visionaries like Guido Girardi, a former senator whose legislative foresight drew clear parallels between the disruptive advent of social media and the potential upheaval posed by emergent neurotechnology.
Pursuit of Regulation
Yet the pursuit of regulation in such an embryonic field is riddled with intellectual quandaries and ethical mazes. Advocates like Allan McCay articulate the delicate tightrope that policy-makers must traverse. The perils of premature regulation are as formidable as the risks of a delayed response – the former potentially stifling innovation, the latter risking a landscape where technological advances could outpace societal control, engendering a future fraught with unforeseen backlashes.
Such is the dichotomy embodied in the story of Ian Burkhart, whose life was irrevocably altered by the intervention of neurotechnology. Burkhart's experience, transitioning from quadriplegia to digital dexterity through sheer force of thought, epitomizes the utopic potential of neuronal interfaces. Yet, McCay issues a solemn reminder that with great power comes great potential for misuse, highlighting contentious ethical issues such as the potential for the criminal justice system to over extend its reach into the neural recesses of the human psyche.
Firmly ensconced within this brave new world, the quest for prudence is of paramount importance. McCay advocates for a dyadic approach, where privacy is vehemently protected and the workings of technology proffered with crystal-clear transparency. The clandestine machinations of AI and the danger of algorithmic bias necessitate a vigorous, ethical architecture to govern this new frontier.
As legal frameworks around the globe wrestle with the implications of neurotechnology, countries like India, with their burgeoning jurisprudence regarding privacy, offer a vantage point into the potential shape of forthcoming legislation. Jurists and technology lawyers, including Jaideep Reddy, acknowledge ongoing protections yet underscore the imperativeness of continued discourse to gauge the adequacy of current laws in this nascent arena.
The dialogue surrounding neurorights emerges, not merely as another thread in our social fabric, but as a tapestry unto itself – intricately woven with the threads of autonomy, liberty, and privacy. As we hover at the edge of tomorrow, these conversations crystallize into an imperative collective undertaking, promising to define the sanctity of cognitive liberty. The issue at hand is nothing less than a societal reckoning with the final frontier – the safeguarding of the privacy of our thoughts.
Taj Hotels Group is well known for its luxurious ambience and old-world grace and charm, blended with contemporary comforts and amenities for its guests or customers. But what can make all the netizens perplexed is the recent data breach incident which took place in Tata-owned Taj hotels. The hotel suffer from a data breach that compromises nearly 1.5 million customers' data which includes addresses, membership IDs, mobile numbers and other personally identifiable information, according to sources. This news was brought to light which raised concerns about the privacy and data protection of personal data of individuals. We are living in a space influenced by advanced technology and digital communication which throws a concern or challenge to secure the personal information of individuals.
Unveiling the incident
Tata-owned Taj Hotels group has suffered a data breach that compromise information of over 1.5 million customers, according to a news report. A bad actor or entity going by the name “Dnacookies” claimed data set contains data from the 2014-2020 period and has not been disclosed anywhere till now. Such personal data includes name, address, customer ID, mobile number and other personally identifiable information. This shows the risks or challenges of data protection and security. The incidents raise an alarm about the risks and vulnerabilities that might be faced even by the big corporate giants. The bad actor with the handle “Dnacookies” also demanded a ransom of a sum of about Rs 4.16 lakh from the Taj hotel group. In response to the incident, a spokesperson from the concerned hotel group said that we have been made aware of someone claiming possession of a limited data customer data set, which is non-sensitive in nature. Investigation is underway and relevant authorities have been notified about the incident.
A demand for ransom
The report from CNBC-TV18 clears that the bad actor not only purloined the data but also demanded around 4.16 lakh as a ransom for the database. Along with this, the bad actor kept three conditions ahead. Firstly there has to be a middleman for a negotiable deal secondly the data cannot be split either the entire data has to be taken with the ransom demand or no data at all. Thirdly additional samples of data will not be provided. Further, the spokesperson of Indian Hotel Company Limited mentioned that they have been escalated with the fact that someone is claiming authority in a limited data set. The bad actor claimed that the database contains information from 2014- 2020 which has been kept confidential till now. The audacity of the bad actor went to such an extent that the sample containing one thousand rows of unique entries from the bad actor dataset was also provided by the bad actor as proof of the deed. This incident underlines the growing threat in cyberspace and the urgency for individuals, organizations or entities to priorities data security measures and maintain cyber resilience.
Personal Data on Stake
Such data is the personal information of the individuals and also constitutes the personal tastes and preferences of individuals which can be exploited. The biggest gush of winds the hotel and individuals face by such a data breach is not only the volume of data compromised but also the potential ways it can get misused and exploited against the hotel or its customers by cyber crooks. This paves the way for cybercriminals to put forward any demand knowing the sensitivity of the data. Followed by creating a dilemmatic situation for the affected entities to either accept the ransom demands or to stand against ransom. Since the risks are high, going ahead with any of these situations can have an adverse impact on the security of personal data. The organisation or entities holding the personal data need to make sure that data under their realm is well protected and secured.
While the organisation has to sail through the aftermath of this breach, such incidents also pose a challenge for the organisation to maintain the trust and reputation of the organization since these incidents question the cyber security posture of the organisation. It is suggested to be transparent with its stakeholders, and open about the vulnerabilities and steps taken against this. They should also discuss the amplified step added for safeguarding their customer's personal data. Since Taj is well known for its out-of-the-box luxury and for providing comfort to its customers it should take a step ahead to reinforce its digital infrastructure to ensure the security of data.
Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023
The newly enacted Digital Personal Data Act, 2023 put certain obligations on data fiduciaries to take reasonable measures to maintain the security of personal data. The Act also requires to inform about the data breach to the data protection board constituted under the Act. The Act aims to protect the individual's digital personal data. The Act casts certain obligations on data principals and data fiduciaries. The Act provides penalty upto 250 crores in case of a data breach. The Act aims to provide consent-based data collection techniques. The Act also establishes the Data Protection Board to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act and address grievances.
Data breach in such a big giant in the market serves as an alarming concern to be more cautious and proactively take precautionary measures to protect the security of data and compliance with data protection laws and regulations. We are living in an era where digital security is as important as the basic fundamental rights of an individual. Taj Hotels Group has actively taken steps to handle the aftermath of the data breach by informing the incident to law enforcement agencies and taking necessary steps. It is also on our part to be more aware, and vigilant about our personal data. Entities need to ensure compliance and measures to protect personal data and overall ensure a true cyber-safe & digital environment.
In the multifaceted world of international trade and finance, cross-border transactions constitute the heart of economic relationships that span the globe. The threads that intertwine forming the fabric of global commerce are ceaselessly dynamic and exhibit an intricate pattern of complexity especially when it comes to the regulated movement of capital. It's a domain where economies connect, where businesses engage in sublime commerce, and where technology and regulation intersect at critical juncture. These guidelines will play a critical role in the regulation of capital, fortification of financial integrity, and transparency of regulatory and cross-border payments. The key highlights of this regulation include strict pre-authorization for non-bank entities, mandating specific accounts for import and export PA-CBs and a transaction ceiling of 25,00,000 Rupees.
The Vigilance of RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), ever vigilant in its shepherding role over the nation's financial stability and integrity, has taken decisive strides to dispel the haze that once clouded this critical sector. With the issuance of a revelatory circular dated October 31, 2023, the RBI has unveiled a groundbreaking framework that redefines the terrain for these pivotal financial entities, aptly christened as Payment Aggregators – Cross Border (PA-CB). In deploying this comprehensive array of regulations, the RBI demonstrates a robust commitment to harmonizing and synchronizing the oversight of payments within the country's financial fabric, extending its meticulous regulatory weave from domestic Payment Aggregators (PAs) to the PA-CBs, a sector previously undistinguished in formal oversight.
The prescriptive measures announced by the RBI are nothing short of a regulatory beacon that cuts through the fog of uncertainty, illuminating a clear path forward for entities dedicated to facilitating cross-border payment transactions pertaining to the import and export of permissible goods and services in India through online modes. Inclusiveness is a hallmark of the RBI’s directive, encompassing a diverse cadre of financial actors, ranging from Authorized Dealer (AD) banks and conventional Payment Aggregators (PAs), to the emergent breed of PA-CBs actively engaged in processing these critical international payment transactions.
Key Aspects of Regulation
One of the most striking aspects of this new regulatory regime is the RBI's insistence on pre-authorization. All non-bank entities providing PA-CB services are impelled to apply to the apex bank for authorisation by April 30, 2024. This is far from a perfunctory gesture; it represents a profound departure from the bygone era when these entities functioned under a patchwork of provisional guidelines and ad-hoc circulars. Indeed, with this resolute move, the RBI signals its intention to embrace these entities within its direct regulatory gambit, an acknowledgement of the shifting tides and progressive intricacies characteristic of cross-border payments.
The tapestry of new rules is complex, setting forth an array of prerequisites for entities aspiring for authorization. For instance, non-bank PA-CBs are obliged to register with the Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) as a preliminary step before commencing the application process. Moreover, the financial benchmarks set are notably rigorous. Non-banks must boast a minimum net worth of ₹15 crores at the time of the application—a figure that escalates to a robust ₹25 crores by the fiscal deadline of March 31, 2026.
As if these requirements weren't indicative enough of the RBI’s penchant for detail and precision, the guidelines become yet more granular when addressing specific types of PA-CBs. Import-only PA-CBs are mandatorily obliged to maintain an Import Collection Account (ICA) with an AD Category-I scheduled commercial bank, while export-only PA-CBs are instructed to maintain an Export Collection Account (ECA), which can be maintained in Indian Rupees (INR) or any permissible foreign currency. The nuance here is palpable; payments for import transactions must be received in a meticulously managed escrow account of the PA, prior to being funneled into the ICA for smooth settlement with overseas merchants.
Conversely, export-only PA-CBs' proceeds from international sales must be swiftly credited to the relevant currency ECA. This meticulous accounting ensures that the flow of funds is both transparent and traceable, adhering to the utmost standards of financial probity.
Yet, perhaps the most emphatic of the RBI's pronouncements is the establishment of a transaction ceiling. PA-CBs have their per-transaction limit capped at ₹25,00,000 for each unit of goods or services exchanged. This calculated move is transparent in its objective to mitigate risk—a crucial aspect when one considers the potential implications of these transactions on the country’s fiscal health and the integrity of its financial systems.
It is no exaggeration to declare that with these guidelines, the RBI is effectuating a seismic shift in the regulation of cross-border payment transactions. There's a fundamental transformation taking place—a metamorphosis—from a loosely defined existence of PA-CBs to one of distinct clarity, under the direct and unswerving supervisory gaze of the regulator. The compliance burden, indeed, has become heavier, yet the return is a compass that points decisively towards secure harbours.
As we embark upon the fresh horizons that these rules bring into view, it is imperative to acknowledge that the RBI's regulatory innovations represent far more than a mere codification of dos and don'ts. They embody a visionary stride towards safeguarding and fortifying the architecture of international payments, a critical component of India's burgeoning presence on the world economic stage.
The journey ahead, as we navigate these newly charted waters with the RBI's guidelines as our steadfast North Star, will no doubt be replete with challenges, adaptations and learning curves for the array of operational entities. But it is with confidence we can say, the path is set; the map is clear. The complex labyrinth of cross-border financial transactions is now demystified, and the RBI's clarion call beckons us towards a future marked by regulation, security, and above all else, reliability in the cosmopolitan tapestry of global trade. RBI’s guidelines provide a comprehensive framework for standardizing cross-border financial transactions in India. This decision is a monumental step towards maintaining cyber peace in cyberspace.
Against the dynamic backdrop of Mumbai, where the intersection of age-old markets and cutting-edge innovation is a daily reality, an initiative of paramount importance has begun to take shape within the hallowed walls of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This is not just a tweak, a nudge in policy, or a subtle refinement of protocols. What we're observing is nothing short of a paradigmatic shift, a recalibration of systemic magnitude, that aims to recalibrate the way India's financial monoliths oversee, manage, and secure their informational bedrock – their treasured IT systems.
On the 7th of November, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India, that bastion of monetary oversight and national fiscal stability, unfurled a new doctrine – the 'Master Direction on Information Technology Governance, Risk, Controls, and Assurance Practices.' A document comprehensive in its reach, it presents not merely an update but a consolidation of all previously issued guidelines, instructions, and circulars relevant to IT governance, plaited into a seamless narrative that extols virtues of structured control and unimpeachable assurance practices. Moreover, it grasps the future potential of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Management, testaments to RBI's forward-thinking vision.
This novel edict has been crafted with a target audience that spans the varied gamut of financial entities – from Scheduled Commercial Banks to Non-Banking Financial Companies, from Credit Information Companies to All India Financial Institutions. These are the juggernauts that keep the economic wheels of the nation churning, and RBI's precision-guided document is an unambiguous acknowledgment of the vital role IT holds in maintaining the heartbeat of these financial bodies. Here lies a riveting declaration that robust governance structures aren't merely preferred but essential to manage the landscape of IT-related risks that balloon in an era of ever-proliferating digital complexity.
The directive's structure is a combination of informed precision and intuitive foresight. Its seven chapters are not simply a grouping of topics; they are the seven pillars upon which the temple of IT governance is to be erected. The introductory chapter does more than set the stage – it defines the very reality, the scope, and the applicability of the directive, binding the reader in an inextricable covenant of engagement and anticipation. It's followed by a deep dive into the cradle of IT governance in the second chapter, drawing back the curtain to reveal the nuanced roles and defiant responsibilities bestowed upon the Board of Directors, the IT Strategy Committee, the clairvoyant Senior Management, the IT Steering Committee, and the pivotal Head of IT Function.
As we move along to the third chapter, we encounter the nuts and bolts of IT Infrastructure & Services Management. This is not just a checklist; it is an orchestration of the management of IT services, third-party liaisons, the calculus of capacity management, and the nuances of project management. Here terms like change and patch management, cryptographic controls, and physical and environmental safeguards leap from the page – alive with earnest practicality, demanding not just attention but action.
Transparency deepens as we glide into the fourth chapter with its robust exploration of IT and Information Security Risk Management. Here, the demand for periodic dissection of IT-related perils is made clear, along with the edifice of an IT and Information Security Risk Management Framework, buttressed by the imperatives of Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing.
The fifth chapter presents a tableau of circumspection and preparedness, as it waxes eloquent on the necessity and architecture of a well-honed Business Continuity Plan and a disaster-ready DR Policy. It is a paean to the anticipatory stance financial institutions must employ in a world fraught with uncertainty.
Continuing the narrative, the sixth chapter places the spotlight on Information Systems Audit, delineating the precise role played by the Audit Committee of the Board in ushering in accountability through an exhaustive IS Audit of the institution's virtual expanse.
And as we perch on the final chapter, we're privy to the 'repeal and other provisions' of the directive, underscoring the interplay of other applicable laws and the interpretation a reader may yield from the directive's breadth.
To proclaim that this directive is a mere step forward in the RBI's exhaustive and assiduous efforts to propel India's financial institutions onto the digital frontier would be a grave understatement. What we are witnessing is the inception of a more adept, more secure, and more resilient financial sector. This directive is nothing less than a beacon, shepherding in an epoch of IT governance marked by impervious governance structures, proactive risk management, and an unyielding commitment to the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement. This is no ephemeral shift - this is, indisputably, a revolutionary stride into a future where confidence and competence stand as the watchwords in navigating the digital terra incognita.
In the pulsating heart of the digitized era, our world is rapidly morphing into a tightly knit network of interconnections. Concurrently, the vast expanse of the cyber realm continues to broaden at an unparalleled pace. As we, denizens of the Information Revolution, pioneer this challenging new frontier, a novel notion is steadily gaining traction as an essential instrument for tackling the multifaceted predicaments and hazards emanating from our escalating dependency on digital technology. This novel notion is cyber diplomacy.
Recently, a riveting discourse unraveling the continually evolving topography of cyber diplomacy unfolded on the podcast 'Patching the System.' Two distinguished personalities graced the conversation - Benedikt Wechsler, Switzerland's Ambassador for Digitization, and Kaja Ciglic, Senior Director of Digital Diplomacy at Microsoft. This thought-provoking dialogue provides a mesmerizing peek into the intricate maze of this freshly minted diplomatic domain - a landscape still in the process of carving out its rules against an ever-escalating high stakes backdrop.
Call for Robust International Norms
During their enlightening exchange, Wechsler and Ciglic shed light on the dire need of robust international norms and regulations in dynamic cyberspace. The drew comparison with well established norms governing maritime and airspace activities, suggesting a similar framework to maneuver the intricacies of the digital realm. The necessity of this mammoth task is accentuated by swift technological development and the unique nature of the internet where participation is diverse.
Their discourse also underscores the critical argument that cyberspace cannot be commoditized. It has evolved into critical infrastructure that demands collective supervision. Wechsler also advocated for collaboration and the importance of a united front composed of big tech giants and the government working in tandem for creation of a resilient and secured digital landscape.
Dual Edged Sword
Their conversation courageously plunged into the more sinister depths of the digital world and dissected the rising tide of cyberspace militarisation. Illustrative case point, recent cyber operations in Ukraine starkly underscore how malevolent elements have exploited digital tools to disastrous effect. Ciglic astutely pointed out the inherent dual nature of this scenario - while malignant entities will persistently manipulate technologies like AI, these identical tools can simultaneously serve as critical allies in reinforcing cyber defenses.
In finality, the dialogue unspools a potent call to arms. Both Wechsler and Ciglic fervently endorse the inception of a permanent body under the United Nations' purview specifically designed to tackle cyber-related quandaries. They also amplified the significance of an inclusive engagement process involving diverse stakeholders cutting across sectors - private entities, academia, civil society.
In India, this strategy is very practical. India has been making proactive investments in cybersecurity and digital resilience due to its rapidly developing digital ecosystem and strong IT industry. The government of the country, business executives, and academic institutions understand how strategically important it is to protect vital digital infrastructure and data. For example, India has seen a number of high-profile assaults on its vital infrastructure, like the Mumbai power outage in 2020, which emphasizes the necessity for extensive cybersecurity protections. The security components of the digital ecosystem have been given top priority by the Indian government's "Digital India" project, which aims to promote digital inclusion. This program has improved cybersecurity while simultaneously making great progress toward closing the nation's digital gap, especially in rural areas.
India's growing influence on global affairs and its prowess in the digital realm highlight how important it is to incorporate Indian viewpoints into the larger plan. By doing this, it guarantees a thorough and all-encompassing strategy that negotiates the intricacies of the Indian and global digital ecosystems. This strategy enhances cybersecurity at the national level and establishes India as a key global partner in the endeavor to make the internet a safer and more secure place for everyone. The whole community may benefit greatly from India's experiences and activities in combating cyber dangers and enhancing resilience in an increasingly interconnected world.
As we meticulously chart our trajectory across the cyber wilderness, the wisdom disseminated by Wechsler and Ciglic emerges as a priceless navigational aid. They inspire us to remember that while the gauntlet we face may be daunting, the opportunities unfurling before us are equally, if not more, monumental in their potential. By embracing a multi-faceted, synergistic approach, we set the stage for a shared journey towards a safer, resilient digital habitat.
The timeless words of Albert Einstein echo these sentiments: 'Technology advances could have made human life carefree and happy if the development of the organizing power of men [and women] had been able to keep pace with its technical advances.' As we grapple with the perplexities and burstiness of the digital age, let these words guide our collective endeavor as we strive to balance our organizing prowess with our rapid technological advancements.
In the vast, interconnected cosmos of the internet, where knowledge and connectivity are celebrated as the twin suns of enlightenment, there lurk shadows of a more sinister nature. Here, in these darker corners, the innocence of childhood is not only exploited but also scarred, indelibly and forever. The production, distribution, and consumption of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) have surged to alarming levels globally, casting a long, ominous shadow over the digital landscape.
In response to this pressing issue, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has unfurled a comprehensive four-part advisory, a beacon of hope aimed at combating CSAM and safeguarding the rights of children in this digital age. This advisory dated 27/10/23 is not merely a reaction to the rising tide of CSAM, but a testament to the imperative need for constant vigilance in the realm of cyber peace.
The statistics paint a sobering picture. In 2021, more than 1,500 instances of publishing, storing, and transmitting CSAM were reported, shedding a harsh light on the scale of the problem. Even more alarming is the upward trend in cases reported in subsequent years. By 2023, a staggering 450,207 cases of CSAM had already been reported, marking a significant increase from the 204,056 and 163,633 cases reported in 2022 and 2021, respectively.
The Key Aspects of Advisory
The NHRC's advisory commences with a fundamental recommendation - a redefinition of terminology. It suggests replacing the term 'Child Pornography' with 'Child Sexual Abuse Material' (CSAM). This shift in language is not merely semantic; it underscores the gravity of the issue, emphasizing that this is not about pornography but child abuse.
Moreover, the advisory calls for the definition of 'sexually explicit' under Section 67B of the IT Act, 2000. This step is crucial for ensuring the prompt identification and removal of online CSAM. By giving a clear definition, law enforcement can act swiftly in removing such content from the internet.
The digital world knows no borders, and CSAM can easily cross jurisdictional lines. NHRC recognizes this challenge and proposes that laws be harmonized across jurisdictions through bilateral agreements. Moreover, it recommends pushing for the adoption of a UN draft Convention on 'Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes' at the General Assembly.
One of the critical aspects of the advisory is the strengthening of law enforcement. NHRC advocates for the creation of Specialized State Police Units in every state and union territory to handle CSAM-related cases. The central government is expected to provide support, including grants, to set up and equip these units.
The NHRC further recommends establishing a Specialized Central Police Unit under the government of India's jurisdiction. This unit will focus on identifying and apprehending CSAM offenders and maintaining a repository of such content. Its role is not limited to law enforcement; it is expected to cooperate with investigative agencies, analyze patterns, and initiate the process for content takedown. This coordinated approach is designed to combat the problem effectively, both on the dark web and open web.
The role of internet intermediaries and social media platforms in controlling CSAM is undeniable. The NHRC advisory emphasizes that intermediaries must deploy technology, such as content moderation algorithms, to proactively detect and remove CSAM from their platforms. This places the onus on the platforms to be proactive in policing their content and ensuring the safety of their users.
Platforms using end-to-end encryption services may be required to create additional protocols for monitoring the circulation of CSAM. Failure to do so may invite the withdrawal of the 'safe harbor' clause under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000. This measure ensures that platforms using encryption technology are not inadvertently providing safe havens for those engaged in illegal activities.
NHRC's advisory extends beyond legal and law enforcement measures; it emphasizes the importance of awareness and sensitization at various levels. Schools, colleges, and institutions are called upon to educate students, parents, and teachers about the modus operandi of online child sexual abusers, the vulnerabilities of children on the internet, and the early signs of online child abuse.
To further enhance awareness, a cyber curriculum is proposed to be integrated into the education system. This curriculum will not only boost digital literacy but also educate students about relevant child care legislation, policies, and the legal consequences of violating them.
NHRC recognizes that survivors of CSAM need more than legal measures and prevention strategies. Survivors are recommended to receive support services and opportunities for rehabilitation through various means. Partnerships with civil society and other stakeholders play a vital role in this aspect. Moreover, psycho-social care centers are proposed to be established in every district to facilitate need-based support services and organization of stigma eradication programs.
NHRC's advisory is a resounding call to action, acknowledging the critical importance of protecting children from the perils of CSAM. By addressing legal gaps, strengthening law enforcement, regulating online platforms, and promoting awareness and support, the NHRC aims to create a safer digital environment for children.
In a world where the internet plays an increasingly central role in our lives, these recommendations are not just proactive but imperative. They underscore the collective responsibility of governments, law enforcement agencies, intermediaries, and society as a whole in safeguarding the rights and well-being of children in the digital age.
NHRC's advisory is a pivotal guide to a more secure and child-friendly digital world. By addressing the rising tide of CSAM and emphasizing the need for constant vigilance, NHRC reaffirms the critical role of organizations, governments, and individuals in ensuring cyber peace and child protection in the digital age. The active contribution from premier cyber resilience firms like Cyber Peace Foundation, amplifies the collective action forging a secure digital space, highlighting the pivotal role played by think tanks in ensuring cyber peace and resilience.
With the advent of the internet, the world revealed the promise of boundless connection and the ability to bridge vast distances with a single click. However, as we wade through the complex layers of the digital age, we find ourselves facing a paradoxical realm where anonymity offers both liberation and a potential for unforeseen dangers. Omegle, a chat and video messaging platform, epitomizes this modern conundrum. Launched over a decade ago in 2009, it has burgeoned into a popular avenue for digital interaction, especially amidst the heightened need for human connection spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic's social distancing requirements. Yet, this seemingly benign tool of camaraderie, tragically, doubles as a contemporary incarnation of Pandora's box, unleashing untold risks upon the online privacy and security landscape. Omegle shuts down its operations permanently after 14 years of its service.
The Rise of Omegle
The foundations of this nebulous virtual dominion can be traced back to the very architecture of Omegle. Introduced to the world as a simple, anonymous chat service, Omegle has since evolved, encapsulating the essence of unpredictable human interaction. Users enter this digital arena, often with the innocent desire to alleviate the pangs of isolation or simply to satiate curiosity; yet they remain blissfully unaware of the potential cybersecurity maelstrom that awaits them.
As we commence a thorough inquiry into the psyche of Omegle's vast user base, we observe a digital diaspora with staggering figures. The platform, in May 2022, counted 51.7 million unique visitors, a testament to its sprawling reach across the globe. Delve a bit deeper, and you will uncover that approximately 29.89% of these digital nomads originate from the United States. Others, in varying percentages, flock from India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Germany, revealing a vast, intricate mosaic of international engagement.
Such statistics beguile the uninformed observer with the lie of demographic diversity. Yet we must proceed with caution, for while the platform boasts an impressive 63.91% male patronage, we cannot overlook the notable surge in female participation, which has climbed to 36.09% during the pandemic era. More alarming still is the revelation, borne out of a BBC investigation in February 2021, that children as young as seven have trespassed into Omegle's adult sections—a section purportedly guarded by a minimum age limit of thirteen. How we must ask, has underage presence burgeoned on this platform? A sobering pointer finger towards the platform's inadvertent marketing on TikTok, where youthful influencers, with abandon, promote their Omegle exploits under the #omegle hashtag.
The Omegle Allure
Omegle's allure is further compounded by its array of chat opportunities. It flaunts an adult section awash with explicit content, a moderated chat section that, despite the platform's own admissions, remains imperfectly patrolled, and an unmoderated section, its entry pasted with forewarnings of an 18+ audience. Beyond these lies the college chat option, a seemingly exclusive territory that only admits individuals armed with a verified '.edu' email address.
The effervescent charm of Omegle's interface, however, belies its underlying treacheries. Herein lies a digital wilderness where online predators and nefarious entities prowl, emboldened by the absence of requisite registration protocols. No email address, no unique identifier—pestilence to any notion of accountability or safeguarding. Within this unchecked reality, the young and unwary stand vulnerable, a hapless game for exploitation.
Threat to Users
Venture even further into Omegle's data fiefdom, and the spectre of compromise looms larger. Users, particularly the youth, risk exposure to unsuitable content, and their naivety might lead to the inadvertent divulgence of personal information. Skulking behind the facade of connection, opportunities abound for coercion, blackmail, and stalking—perils rendered more potent as every video exchange and text can be captured, and recorded by an unseen adversary. The platform acts as a quasi-familiar confidante, all the while harvesting chat logs, cookies, IP addresses, and even sensory data, which, instead of being ephemeral, endure within Omegle's databases, readily handed to law enforcement and partnered entities under the guise of due diligence.
How to Combat the threat
In the final analysis, Omegle emerges as a microcosm of the greater web—a vast, paradoxical construct proffering solace and sociability, yet riddled with malevolent traps for the uninformed. As digital denizens, our traverse through this interconnected cosmos necessitates a relentless guarding of our private spheres and the sober acknowledgement that amidst the keystrokes and clicks, we must tread with caution lest we unseal the perils of this digital Pandora's box.
In the tapestry of our modern digital ecosystem, a silent, pervasive conflict simmers beneath the surface, where the quest for cyber resilience seems Sisyphean at times. It is in this interconnected cyber dance that the obscure orchestrator, StripedFly, emerges as the maestro of stealth and disruption, spinning a complex, mostly unseen web of digital discord. StripedFly is not some abstract concept; it represents a continual battle against the invisible forces that threaten the sanctity of our digital domain.
This saga of StripedFly is not a tale of mere coincidence or fleeting concern. It is emblematic of a fundamental struggle that defines the era of interconnected technology—a struggle that is both unyielding and unforgiving in its scope. Over the past half-decade, StripedFly has slithered its way into over a million devices, creating a clandestine symphony of cybersecurity breaches, data theft, and unintentional complicity in its agenda. Let's delve deep into this grand odyssey to unravel the odious intricacies of StripedFly and assess the reverberations felt across our collective pursuit of cyber harmony.
The StripedFly malware represents the epitome of a digital chameleon, a master of cyber camouflage, masquerading as a mundane cryptocurrency miner while quietly plotting the grand symphony of digital bedlam. Its deceptive sophistication has effortlessly skirted around the conventional tripwires laid by our cybersecurity guardians for years. The Russian cybersecurity giant Kaspersky's encounter with StripedFly in 2017 brought this ghostly figure into the spotlight—hitherto, a phantom whistling past the digital graveyard of past threats.
How Does it work
Distinctive in its composition, StripedFly conceals within its modular framework the potential for vast infiltration—an exploitation toolkit designed to puncture the fortifications of both Linux and Windows systems. In an emboldened maneuver, it utilizes a customized version of the EternalBlue SMBv1 exploit—a technique notoriously linked to the enigmatic Equation Group. Through such nefarious channels, StripedFly not only deploys its malicious code but also tenaciously downloads binary files and executes PowerShell scripts with a sinister adeptness unbeknownst to its victims.
Despite its insidious nature, perhaps its most diabolical trait lies in its array of plugin-like functions. It's capable of exfiltrating sensitive information, erasing its tracks, and uninstalling itself with almost supernatural alacrity, leaving behind a vacuous space where once tangible evidence of its existence resided.
In the intricate chess game of cyber threats, StripedFly plays the long game, prioritizing persistence over temporary havoc. Its tactics are calculated—the meticulous disabling of SMBv1 on compromised hosts, the insidious utilization of pilfered keys to propagate itself across networks via SMB and SSH protocols, and the creation of task scheduler entries on Windows systems or employing various methods to assert its nefarious influence within Linux environments.
The Enigma around the Malware
This dualistic entity couples its espionage with monetary gain, downloading a Monero cryptocurrency miner and utilizing the shadowy veils of DNS over HTTPS (DoH) to camouflage its command and control pool servers. This intricate masquerade serves as a cunning, albeit elaborate, smokescreen, lulling security mechanisms into complacency and blind spots.
StripedFly goes above and beyond in its quest to minimize its digital footprint. Not only does it store its components as encrypted data on code repository platforms, deftly dispersed among the likes of Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitLab, but it also harbors a bespoke, efficient TOR client to communicate with its cloistered C2 server out of sight and reach in the labyrinthine depths of the TOR network.
One might speculate on the genesis of this advanced persistent threat—its nuanced approach to invasion, its parallels to EternalBlue, and the artistic flare that permeates its coding style suggest a sophisticated architect. Indeed, the suggestion of an APT actor at the helm of StripedFly invites a cascade of questions concerning the ultimate objectives of such a refined, enduring campaign.
How to deal with it
To those who stand guard in our ever-shifting cyber landscape, the narrative of StripedFly is a clarion call. StObjective reminders of the trench warfare we engage in to preserve the oasis of digital peace within a desert of relentless threats. The StripedFly chronicle stands as a persistent, looming testament to the necessity for heeding the sirens of vigilance and precaution in cyber practice.
Reaffirmation is essential in our quest to demystify the shadows cast by StripedFly, as it punctuates the critical mission to nurture a more impregnable digital habitat. Awareness and dedication propel us forward—the acquisition of knowledge regarding emerging threats, the diligent updating and patching of our systems, and the fortification of robust, multilayered defenses are keystones in our architecture of cyber defense. Together, in concert and collaboration, we stand a better chance of shielding our digital frontier from the dim recesses where threats like StripedFly lurk, patiently awaiting their moment to strike.
In a distressing incident that highlights the growing threat of cyber fraud, a software engineer in Bangalore fell victim to fraudsters who posed as police officials. These miscreants, operating under the guise of a fake courier service and law enforcement, employed a sophisticated scam to dupe unsuspecting individuals out of their hard-earned money. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, as several cases of similar fraud have been reported recently in Bangalore and other cities. It is crucial for everyone to be aware of these scams and adopt preventive measures to protect themselves.
Bangalore Techie Falls Victim to ₹33 Lakh
The software engineer received a call from someone claiming to be from FedEx courier service, informing him that a parcel sent in his name to Taiwan had been seized by the Mumbai police for containing illegal items. The call was then transferred to an impersonator posing as a Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), who alleged that a money laundering case had been registered against him. The fraudsters then coerced him into joining a Skype call for verification purposes, during which they obtained his personal details, including bank account information.
Under the guise of verifying his credentials, the fraudsters manipulated him into transferring a significant amount of money to various accounts. They assured him that the funds would be returned after the completion of the procedure. However, once the money was transferred, the fraudsters disappeared, leaving the victim devastated and financially drained.
Best Practices to Stay Safe
- Be vigilant and skeptical: Maintain a healthy level of skepticism when receiving unsolicited calls or messages, especially if they involve sensitive information or financial matters. Be cautious of callers pressuring you to disclose personal details or engage in immediate financial transactions.
- Verify the caller’s authenticity: If someone claims to represent a legitimate organisation or law enforcement agency, independently verify their credentials. Look up the official contact details of the organization or agency and reach out to them directly to confirm the authenticity of the communication.
- Never share sensitive information: Avoid sharing personal information, such as bank account details, passwords, or Aadhaar numbers, over the phone or through unfamiliar online platforms. Legitimate organizations will not ask for such information without proper authentication protocols.
- Use secure communication channels: When communicating sensitive information, prefer secure platforms or official channels that provide end-to-end encryption. Avoid switching to alternative platforms or applications suggested by unknown callers, as fraudsters can exploit these.
- Educate yourself and others: Stay informed about the latest cyber fraud techniques and scams prevalent in your region. Share this knowledge with family, friends, and colleagues to create awareness and prevent them from falling victim to similar schemes.
- Implement robust security measures: Keep your devices and software updated with the latest security patches. Utilize robust anti-virus software, firewalls, and spam filters to safeguard against malicious activities. Regularly review your financial statements and account activity to detect any unauthorized transactions promptly.
The incident involving the Bangalore techie and other victims of cyber fraud highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and adopting preventive measures to safeguard oneself from such scams. It is disheartening to see individuals falling prey to impersonators who exploit their trust and manipulate them into sharing sensitive information. By staying informed, exercising caution, and following best practices, we can collectively minimize the risk and protect ourselves from these fraudulent activities. Remember, the best defense against cyber fraud is a well-informed and alert individual.
Deepfakes are artificial intelligence (AI) technology that employs deep learning to generate realistic-looking but phoney films or images. Algorithms use large volumes of data to analyse and discover patterns in order to provide compelling and realistic results. Deepfakes use this technology to modify movies or photos to make them appear as if they involve events or persons that never happened or existed.The procedure begins with gathering large volumes of visual and auditory data about the target individual, which is usually obtained from publicly accessible sources such as social media or public appearances. This data is then utilised for training a deep-learning model to resemble the target of deep fakes.
Recent Cases of Deepfakes-
In an unusual turn of events, a man from northern China became the victim of a sophisticated deep fake technology. This incident has heightened concerns about using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to aid financial crimes, putting authorities and the general public on high alert.
During a video conversation, a scammer successfully impersonated the victim’s close friend using AI-powered face-swapping technology. The scammer duped the unwary victim into transferring 4.3 million yuan (nearly Rs 5 crore). The fraud occurred in Baotou, China.
AI ‘deep fakes’ of innocent images fuel spike in sextortion scams
Artificial intelligence-generated “deepfakes” are fuelling sextortion frauds like a dry brush in a raging wildfire. According to the FBI, the number of nationally reported sextortion instances came to 322% between February 2022 and February 2023, with a notable spike since April due to AI-doctored photographs. And as per the FBI, innocent photographs or videos posted on social media or sent in communications can be distorted into sexually explicit, AI-generated visuals that are “true-to-life” and practically hard to distinguish. According to the FBI, predators often located in other countries use doctored AI photographs against juveniles to compel money from them or their families or to obtain actual sexually graphic images.
- Lensa AI.
- Deepfakes Web.
- Deep Art.
- Face Swap Live.
There are numerous high-profile Deepfake examples available. Deepfake films include one released by actor Jordan Peele, who used actual footage of Barack Obama and his own imitation of Obama to convey a warning about Deepfake videos.
A video shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussing how Facebook ‘controls the future’ with stolen user data, most notably on Instagram. The original video is from a speech he delivered on Russian election meddling; only 21 seconds of that address were used to create the new version. However, the vocal impersonation fell short of Jordan Peele’s Obama and revealed the truth.
The dark side of AI-Generated Misinformation
- Misinformation generated by AI-generated the truth, making it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.
- People can unmask AI content by looking for discrepancies and lacking the human touch.
- AI content detection technologies can detect and neutralise disinformation, preventing it from spreading.
Safeguards against Deepfakes-
Technology is not the only way to guard against Deepfake videos. Good fundamental security methods are incredibly effective for combating Deepfake.For example, incorporating automatic checks into any mechanism for disbursing payments might have prevented numerous Deepfake and related frauds. You might also:
- Regular backups safeguard your data from ransomware and allow you to restore damaged data.
- Using different, strong passwords for different accounts ensures that just because one network or service has been compromised, it does not imply that others have been compromised as well. You do not want someone to be able to access your other accounts if they get into your Facebook account.
- To secure your home network, laptop, and smartphone against cyber dangers, use a good security package such as Kaspersky Total Security. This bundle includes anti-virus software, a VPN to prevent compromised Wi-Fi connections, and webcam security.
What is the future of Deepfake –
Deepfake is constantly growing. Deepfake films were easy to spot two years ago because of the clumsy movement and the fact that the simulated figure never looked to blink. However, the most recent generation of bogus videos has evolved and adapted.
There are currently approximately 15,000 Deepfake videos available online. Some are just for fun, while others attempt to sway your opinion. But now that it only takes a day or two to make a new Deepfake, that number could rise rapidly.
The distinction between authentic and fake content will undoubtedly become more challenging to identify as technology advances. As a result, experts feel it should not be up to individuals to discover deep fakes in the wild. “The responsibility should be on the developers, toolmakers, and tech companies to create invisible watermarks and signal what the source of that image is,” they stated. Several startups are also working on approaches for detecting deep fakes.
In recent years, the city of Hyderabad/Cyberabad has emerged as a technology hub, a place with the strong presence of multi corporations, Startups, and research institutions, Hyderabad has become a hub of innovations and technological advancement. However, this growing land of cyber opportunities has also become a hub for cybercriminals as well. In this blog post, we shall explore the reasons why professionals are being targeted and the effects of cyber fraud on techies. Through this investigation, we hope to raise awareness about the seriousness of the problem as well as give vital insights and techniques for Cyberabad’s computer workers to defend themselves against cyber theft. We can work together to make Cyberabad’s technology ecosystem safer and more secure.
Defining Cyber Fraud
In today’s age, where everything has an interconnected digital world, cyber fraud cases are increasing daily. Cyber fraud encompasses a wide range of threats and techniques employed by bad actors, such as Phishing, Ransomware, identity theft, online scams, data breaches, and fake websites designed for users. The sophistication of cyber fraud techniques is constantly evolving, making it challenging for individuals and organisations to stay ahead. Cybercriminals use software vulnerabilities, social engineering tactics, and flaws in cybersecurity defences to carry out their harmful operations. Individuals and organisations must grasp these dangers and tactics to protect themselves against cyber fraud.
Impact of Cyber Frauds
The consequences of Falling victim to cyber fraud can be devastating, both personally and professionally. The emotional and financial toll on individuals may be a challenge. Identity theft may lead to damaged credit scores, fraudulent transactions, and years of recovery work to rehabilitate one’s image. Financial fraud can result in depleted bank accounts, unauthorised charges, and substantial monetary losses. Furthermore, being tricked and violated in the digital environment can generate anxiety, tension, and a lack of confidence.
The impact of cyber fraud goes beyond immediate financial losses and can have long-term consequences for individuals’ and organisations’ entire well-being and stability. As the threat environment evolves, it is critical for people and organisations to recognise the gravity of these repercussions and take proactive actions to protect themselves against cyber theft.
Why are Cyberabad Tech Professionals Targeted?
Tech professionals in Cyberabad are particularly vulnerable to cyber due to various factors. Firstly, their expertise and knowledge in technology make them attractive targets for cybercrooks. These professionals possess valuable coding, Software, and administration skills, making them attractive to cybercriminals.
Secondly, the nature of work often involves enormous use of technology, including regular internet contacts, email exchanges, and access to private information. This expanded digital presence exposes them to possible cyber dangers and makes them more vulnerable to fraudsters’ social engineering efforts. Furthermore, the fast-moving nature of the tech industry, with many deadlines and work pressure to deliver, can create a distraction. This can let them click on some malicious links or share sensitive information unknowingly all these factors let the cyber criminals exploit vulnerabilities.
Unveiling the Statistics
According to various reports, 80% of cyber fraud victims in Hyderabad are techies; the rest are the public targeted by cyber crooks. This surprising number emphasises the critical need to address the vulnerabilities and threats this specific segment within the IT community faces.
Going further into the data, we can acquire insights into the many forms of cyber fraud targeting tech workers, the strategies used by cybercriminals, and the impact these occurrences have on individuals and organisations. Examining precise features and patterns within data might give important information for developing successful preventative and protection methods.
Several reasons contribute to the elevated risk of cyber fraud among ICT professionals in Cyberabad. Understanding these aspects helps explain why this group is specifically targeted and may be more vulnerable to such assaults.
Technical Expertise: Tech workers frequently have specialised technical knowledge, but this knowledge may only sometimes extend to cybersecurity. Their primary concentration is writing software, designing systems, or implementing technologies, which may result in missing possible vulnerabilities or a lack of overall cybersecurity understanding.
Confidence in Technology: IT workers have a higher level of confidence in technology because of their knowledge and dependence on technology. This trust can sometimes make individuals more vulnerable to sophisticated frauds or social engineering approaches that prey on their faith in the services they utilise.
Time Constraints and Pressure: Tech workers frequently operate under tight deadlines and tremendous pressure to reach project milestones. This may result in hurried decision-making or disregarding possible warning signals of cyber fraud, rendering them more exposed to assaults that prey on time-sensitive circumstances.
Cybercriminals know that technology workers have valuable knowledge, trade secrets, and intellectual property that may be economically profitable. As a result, they are attractive targets for attacks aiming at stealing sensitive data or gaining unauthorised access to critical systems.
The best practices that cyber techies can apply to safeguard their personal and professional data by following these simple tips:
Strong Passwords: create a strong password, using passwords for all your online accounts and changing them regularly. Remember to use unique combinations!
MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication): Enable MFA wherever possible. This provides an extra degree of protection by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code texted to your mobile device and your password.
Use Secured WiFi: Use secure and encrypted Wi-Fi networks, especially while viewing sensitive information. Avoid connecting to public or unprotected networks, as they can be readily exploited. Recognising Red Flags and Staying Ahead
Social Engineering: Be sceptical of unwanted solicitations or offers, both online and offline. Cybercriminals may try to persuade or fool you using social engineering tactics. Before revealing any personal or private information, think critically and confirm the veracity of the request.
Secure Web Browsing: Only browse trustworthy websites with valid SSL certificates (look for “https://” in the URL). Avoid clicking on strange links or downloading files from unknown sources since they may contain malware or ransomware.
Report Suspicious actions: If you encounter any suspicious or fraudulent actions, report them to the relevant authorities, such as the Cyber Crime Police or your organisation’s IT department. Reporting events can assist in avoiding additional harm and aid in identifying and apprehending hackers.
Stay Current on Security Practises: Stay up to speed on the newest cybersecurity risks and best practices. Follow credible sources, participate in cybersecurity forums or seminars, and remain current on new threats and preventative measures.
The rise in cybercrimes and fraud cases among tech experts in Cyberabad is a disturbing trend that requires prompt intervention. We can establish a safer tech cluster that lives on creativity, trust, and resilience by adopting proactive actions, raising awareness, and encouraging cooperation. Let us work together to prevent cybercrime and ensure the future of Cyberabad’s IT ecosystem.
In an alarming event, one of India’s premier healthcare institutes, AIIMS Delhi, has fallen victim to a malicious cyberattack for the second time in the year. The Incident serves as a clear-cut reminder of the escalating threat landscape faced by the healthcare organisation in this digital age. In the attack, which unfolded with grave implications, the attackers not only explored the vulnerabilities present in the healthcare sector, but this also raised the concern about the security of patient data and the uninterrupted delivery of critical healthcare services. In this blog post, we will explore the incident, what happened, and what safety measures can be taken.
The cyber-security systems deployed in AIIMS, New Delhi, recently detected a malware attack. The nature and scope of the attack were both sophisticated and targeted. This second hack acts as a wake-up call for healthcare organisations nationwide. As the healthcare business increasingly depends on digital technology to improve patient care and operational efficiency, cybersecurity must be prioritised to protect sensitive data. To minimise cyber-attack dangers, healthcare organisations must invest in robust defences such as multi-factor authentication, network security, frequent system upgrades, and employee training.
The attempt was successfully prevented, and the deployed cyber-security systems neutralised the threat. The e-Hospital services remain to be fully secure and are functioning normally.
Impact on AIIMS
Healthcare services have been under hackers’ radar worldwide, and the healthcare sector has been impacted badly. The attack on AIIMS Delhi’s effects has been both immediate and far-reaching. The organisation, which is recognised for delivering excellent healthcare services and performing breakthrough medical research, faced significant interruptions in its everyday operations. Patient care and treatment processes were considerably impeded, resulting in delays, cancellations, and the inability to access essential medical documents. The stolen data raises serious concerns about patient privacy and confidentiality, raising doubts about the institution’s capacity to protect sensitive information. Furthermore, the financial ramifications of the assault, such as the cost of recovery, deploying more robust cybersecurity measures, and potential legal penalties and forensic analyses, contribute to the scale of the effect. The event has also generated public concerns about the institution’s ability to preserve personal information, undermining confidence and degrading AIIMS Delhi’s image.
Impact on Patients: The attacks not only impact the institutes but also have serious implications for the patients and here are some key highlights:
Healthcare Service Disruption: The hack has affected the seamless delivery of healthcare services at AIIMS Delhi. Appointments, surgeries, and other medical treatments may be delayed, cancelled, or rescheduled. This disturbance can result in longer wait times, longer treatment periods, and potential problems from delayed or interrupted therapy.
Patient Privacy and Confidentiality are jeopardised because of the breach of sensitive patient data. Medical data, test findings, and treatment plans may have been compromised. This breach may diminish patient faith in the institution’s capacity to safeguard their personal information, discouraging them from seeking care or submitting sensitive information in the future.
As a result of the cyberattack, patients may endure mental anguish and worry. Fear of possible exploitation of personal health information, confusion about the scope of the breach, and concerns about the security of their healthcare data can all have a negative impact on their mental health. This stress might aggravate pre-existing medical issues and impede total recovery.
Trust at stake: A data breach may harm patients’ faith and confidence in AIIMS Delhi and the healthcare system. Patients rely on healthcare facilities to keep their information secure and confidential while providing safe, high-quality care. A hack can doubt the institution’s ability to safeguard patient data, affecting patients’ overall faith in the organisation and potentially leading to patients seeking care elsewhere.
To avoid future hacks and protect patient data, AIIMS Delhi must prioritize enhancing its cybersecurity procedures. The institution can strengthen its resistance to changing threats by establishing strong security practices. The following steps can be considered.
Using Multi-factor Authentication: By forcing users to submit several forms of identity to access systems and data, multi-factor authentication offers an extra layer of protection. AIIMS Delhi may considerably lower the danger of unauthorised access by applying this precaution, even in the case of leaked passwords or credentials. Biometrics and one-time passwords, for example, should be integrated into the institution’s authentication systems.
Improving Network Security and Firewalls: AIIMS Delhi should improve network security by implementing strong firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and network segmentation. These techniques serve to construct barriers between internal systems and external threats, reducing attackers’ lateral movement within the network. Regular network traffic monitoring and analysis can assist in recognising and mitigating any security breaches.
Risk Assessment: Regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments are required to uncover possible flaws and vulnerabilities in AIIMS Delhi’s systems and infrastructure. Security professionals can detect vulnerabilities and offer remedial solutions by carrying out controlled simulated assaults. This proactive strategy assists in identifying and addressing any security flaws before attackers exploit them.
Educating and training Healthcare Professionals: Education and training have a crucial role in enhancing cybersecurity practices in healthcare facilities. Healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses, administrators, and support staff, must be well-informed about the importance of cybersecurity and trained in risk-mitigation best practices. This will empower healthcare professionals to actively contribute to protecting the patient’s data and maintaining the trust and confidence of patients.
Learnings from Incidents
AIIMS Delhi should embrace cyber-attacks as learning opportunities to strengthen its security posture. Following each event, a detailed post-incident study should be performed to identify areas for improvement, update security policies and procedures, and improve employee training programs. This iterative strategy contributes to the institution’s overall resilience and preparation for future cyber-attacks. AIIMS Delhi can effectively respond to cyber incidents, minimise the impact on operations, and protect patient data by establishing an effective incident response and recovery plan, implementing data backup and recovery mechanisms, conducting forensic analysis, and promoting open communication. Proactive measures, constant review, and regular revisions to incident response plans are critical for staying ahead of developing cyber threats and ensuring the institution’s resilience in the face of potential future assaults.
To summarise, developing robust healthcare systems in the digital era is a key challenge that healthcare organisations must prioritise. Healthcare organisations can secure patient data, assure the continuation of key services, and maintain patients’ trust and confidence by adopting comprehensive cybersecurity measures, building incident response plans, training healthcare personnel, and cultivating a security culture. Adopting a proactive and holistic strategy for cybersecurity is critical to developing a healthcare system capable of withstanding and successfully responding to digital-age problems.
The advent of AI-driven deepfake technology has facilitated the creation of explicit counterfeit videos for sextortion purposes. There has been an alarming increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence to create fake explicit images or videos for sextortion.
What is AI Sextortion and Deepfake Technology
AI sextortion refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, particularly deepfake algorithms, to create counterfeit explicit videos or images for the purpose of harassing, extorting, or blackmailing individuals. Deepfake technology utilises AI algorithms to manipulate or replace faces and bodies in videos, making them appear realistic and often indistinguishable from genuine footage. This enables malicious actors to create explicit content that falsely portrays individuals engaging in sexual activities, even if they never participated in such actions.
Background on the Alarming Increase in AI Sextortion Cases
Recently there has been a significant increase in AI sextortion cases. Advancements in AI and deepfake technology have made it easier for perpetrators to create highly convincing fake explicit videos or images. The algorithms behind these technologies have become more sophisticated, allowing for more seamless and realistic manipulations. And the accessibility of AI tools and resources has increased, with open-source software and cloud-based services readily available to anyone. This accessibility has lowered the barrier to entry, enabling individuals with malicious intent to exploit these technologies for sextortion purposes.
The proliferation of sharing content on social media
The proliferation of social media platforms and the widespread sharing of personal content online have provided perpetrators with a vast pool of potential victims’ images and videos. By utilising these readily available resources, perpetrators can create deepfake explicit content that closely resembles the victims, increasing the likelihood of success in their extortion schemes.
Furthermore, the anonymity and wide reach of the internet and social media platforms allow perpetrators to distribute manipulated content quickly and easily. They can target individuals specifically or upload the content to public forums and pornographic websites, amplifying the impact and humiliation experienced by victims.
What are law agencies doing?
The alarming increase in AI sextortion cases has prompted concern among law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups, and technology companies. This is high time to make strong Efforts to raise awareness about the risks of AI sextortion, develop detection and prevention tools, and strengthen legal frameworks to address these emerging threats to individuals’ privacy, safety, and well-being.
There is a need for Technological Solutions, which develops and deploys advanced AI-based detection tools to identify and flag AI-generated deepfake content on platforms and services. And collaboration with technology companies to integrate such solutions.
Collaboration with Social Media Platforms is also needed. Social media platforms and technology companies can reframe and enforce community guidelines and policies against disseminating AI-generated explicit content. And can ensure foster cooperation in developing robust content moderation systems and reporting mechanisms.
There is a need to strengthen the legal frameworks to address AI sextortion, including laws that specifically criminalise the creation, distribution, and possession of AI-generated explicit content. Ensure adequate penalties for offenders and provisions for cross-border cooperation.
Proactive measures to combat AI-driven sextortion
Prevention and Awareness: Proactive measures raise awareness about AI sextortion, helping individuals recognise risks and take precautions.
Early Detection and Reporting: Proactive measures employ advanced detection tools to identify AI-generated deepfake content early, enabling prompt intervention and support for victims.
Legal Frameworks and Regulations: Proactive measures strengthen legal frameworks to criminalise AI sextortion, facilitate cross-border cooperation, and impose offender penalties.
Technological Solutions: Proactive measures focus on developing tools and algorithms to detect and remove AI-generated explicit content, making it harder for perpetrators to carry out their schemes.
International Cooperation: Proactive measures foster collaboration among law enforcement agencies, governments, and technology companies to combat AI sextortion globally.
Support for Victims: Proactive measures provide comprehensive support services, including counselling and legal assistance, to help victims recover from emotional and psychological trauma.
Implementing these proactive measures will help create a safer digital environment for all.
Misuse of Technology
Misusing technology, particularly AI-driven deepfake technology, in the context of sextortion raises serious concerns.
Exploitation of Personal Data: Perpetrators exploit personal data and images available online, such as social media posts or captured video chats, to create AI- manipulation violates privacy rights and exploits the vulnerability of individuals who trust that their personal information will be used responsibly.
Facilitation of Extortion: AI sextortion often involves perpetrators demanding monetary payments, sexually themed images or videos, or other favours under the threat of releasing manipulated content to the public or to the victims’ friends and family. The realistic nature of deepfake technology increases the effectiveness of these extortion attempts, placing victims under significant emotional and financial pressure.
Amplification of Harm: Perpetrators use deepfake technology to create explicit videos or images that appear realistic, thereby increasing the potential for humiliation, harassment, and psychological trauma suffered by victims. The wide distribution of such content on social media platforms and pornographic websites can perpetuate victimisation and cause lasting damage to their reputation and well-being.
Targeting teenagers– Targeting teenagers and extortion demands in AI sextortion cases is a particularly alarming aspect of this issue. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to AI sextortion due to their increased use of social media platforms for sharing personal information and images. Perpetrators exploit to manipulate and coerce them.
Erosion of Trust: Misusing AI-driven deepfake technology erodes trust in digital media and online interactions. As deepfake content becomes more convincing, it becomes increasingly challenging to distinguish between real and manipulated videos or images.
Proliferation of Pornographic Content: The misuse of AI technology in sextortion contributes to the proliferation of non-consensual pornography (also known as “revenge porn”) and the availability of explicit content featuring unsuspecting individuals. This perpetuates a culture of objectification, exploitation, and non-consensual sharing of intimate material.
Addressing the concern of AI sextortion requires a multi-faceted approach, including technological advancements in detection and prevention, legal frameworks to hold offenders accountable, awareness about the risks, and collaboration between technology companies, law enforcement agencies, and advocacy groups to combat this emerging threat and protect the well-being of individuals online.
The information of hundreds of thousands of Indians who received the COVID vaccine was Leaked in a significant data breach and posted on a Telegram channel. Numerous reports claim that sensitive information, including a person’s phone number, gender, ID card details, and date of birth, leaked over Telegram. It could be obtained by typing a person’s name into a Telegram bot.
What really happened?
The records pertaining to the mobile number registered in the CoWin portal are accessible on the Malayalam news website channel. It is also feasible to determine which vaccination was given and where it was given.
According to The Report, the list of individuals whose data was exposed includes BJP Tamil Nadu president K Annamalai, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, and former BJP union minister for health Harsh Vardhan. Telangana’s minister of information and communication technology, Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, is also on the list.
MEITY stated in response to the data leak, “It is old data, we are still confirming it. We have requested a report on the matter.
After the media Report, the bot was disabled, but experts said the incident raised severe issues because the information might be used for identity theft, phishing emails, con games, and extortion calls. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the government’s nodal body, has opened an investigation into the situation
The central government declared the data breach reports regarding the repository of beneficiaries against Covid to be “mischievous in nature” on Monday and claimed the ‘bot’ that purportedly accessed the confidential data was not directly accessing the CoWIN database.
According to the first complaint by CERT-In, the government’s cybersecurity division, the government claimed the bot might be displaying information from “previously stolen data.” Reports.
The health ministry refuted the claim, asserting that no bots could access the information without first verifying with a one-time password.
“It is made clear that all of these rumours are false and malicious. The health ministry’s CoWIN interface is entirely secure and has sufficient data privacy protections. The security of the data on the CoWIN portal is being ensured in every way possible, according to a statement from the health ministry.
Meity said the CoWin program or database was not directly compromised, and the shared information appeared to be taken from a previous intrusion. But the hack again highlights the growing danger of cyber assaults, particularly on official websites.
Recent cases of data leak
Dominos India 2021– Dominos India, a division of Jubilant FoodWorks, faced a cyberattack on May 22, 2021, which led to the disclosure of information from 180 million orders. The breach exposed order information, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information. Although Jubilant FoodWorks acknowledged a security breach, it refuted any illegal access to financial data.
Air India – A cyberattack that affected Air India in May 2021 exposed the personal information of about 4.5 million customers globally. Personal information recorded between August 26, 2011, and February 3, 2021, including names, dates of birth, contact information, passport information, ticket details, frequent flyer information from Star Alliance and Air India, and credit card information, were exposed in the breach.
Bigbasket – BigBasket, an online supermarket, had a data breach in November 2020, compromising the personal information of approximately 20 million consumers. Email IDs, password hashes, PINs, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, localities, and IP addresses were among the information released from an insecure database containing over 15 GB of customer data. BigBasket admitted to the incident and reported it to the Bengaluru Cyber Crime Department.
Unacademy – Unacademy, an online learning platform, experienced a data breach in May 2020, compromising the email addresses of approximately 11 million subscribers. While no sensitive information, such as financial data or passwords, was compromised, user data, including IDs, passwords, date joined, last login date, email IDs, names, and user credentials, was. The breach was detected when user accounts were uncovered for sale on the dark web.
2022 Card Data- Cybersecurity researchers from AI-driven Singapore-based CloudSEK found a threat actor offering a database of 1.2 million cards for free on a Dark Web forum for crimes on October 12, 2022. This came after a second problem involving 7.9 million cardholder records that were reported on the BidenCash website. This comprised information pertaining to State Bank of India (SBI) clients. And other well-known companies were among those targeted in high-profile data breach cases that have surfaced in recent years.
Data breach cases are increasing daily, and attackers are mainly attacking the healthcare sectors and health details as they can easily find personal details. This recent CoWIN case has compromised thousands of people’s data. The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences’ systems were compromised by hackers a few months ago. Over 95% of adults have had their vaccinations, according to the most recent data, even if the precise number of persons impacted by the CoWin privacy breach could not be determined.
Social media has become integral to our lives and livelihood in today’s digital world. Influencers are now strong people who shape trends, views, and consumer behaviour. Influencers have become targets for bad actors aiming to abuse their fame due to their significant internet presence. Unfortunately, account hacking has grown frequently, with significant ramifications for influencers and their followers. Furthermore, the emergence of social media platforms in recent years has opened the way for influencer culture. Influencers exert power over their followers’ ideas, lifestyle choices, and purchase decisions. Influencers and brands frequently collaborate to exploit their reach, resulting in a mutually beneficial environment. As a result, the value of influencer accounts has risen dramatically, attracting the attention of hackers trying to abuse their potential for financial gain or personal advantage.
Instances of recent attacks
Places of worship
The hackers have targeted renowned temples for fulfilling their malicious activities the recent attack happened on The Khautji Shyam Temple, a famous religious institution with enormous cultural and spiritual value for its adherents. It serves as a place of worship, community events, and numerous religious activities. However, since technology has invaded all sectors of life, the temple’s online presence has developed, giving worshippers access to information, virtual darshans (holy viewings), and interactive forums. Unfortunately, this digital growth has also rendered the shrine vulnerable to cyber threats. The hackers hacked the Facebook page twice in the month, demanded donations and hacked the cheques the devotes gave to the trust. The second event happened by posting objectional images on the page and hurting the sentiments of the devotees. The Committee of the temple has filed an FIR under various charges and is also seeking help from the cyber cell.
Social media Influencers
Influencers enjoy a vast online following worldwide, but their presence is limited to the digital space. Hence every video, photo is of importance to them. An incident took place with leading news anchor and reporter Barkha Dutt, where in her youtube channel was hacked into, and all the posts made from the channel were deleted. The hackers also replaced the channel’s logo with Tesla and were streaming a live video on the channel featuring Elon Musk. A similar incident was reported by influencer Tanmay Bhatt, who also lost all the content e had posted on his channel. The hackers use the following methods to con social media influencers:
- Social engineering
- Brute Force Attacks
Such attacks on influencers can cause harm to their reputation, can also cause financial loss, and even lose the trust of the viewers or the followers who follow them, thus further impacting the collaborations.
Social media influencers need to be very careful about their cyber security as their prominent presence is in the online world. The influencers from different platforms should practice the following safeguards to protect themselves and their content better online
Secure your accounts
Protecting your accounts with passphrases or strong passwords is the first step. The best strategy for doing this is to create a passphrase, a phrase only you know. We advise choosing a passphrase with at least four words and 15 characters.
To further secure your accounts, you must enable multi-factor authentication in the second step.
To access your account, a hacker must guess your password and provide a second authentication factor (such as a face scan or fingerprint) that matches yours.
Be careful about who has access
Many social media influencers collaborate with a team to help generate and post content while building their personal brands.
This entails using team members who can write and produce material that influencers can share themselves, according to some of them. In these situations, the influencer is the only person who still has access to the account.
There are more potential weak spots when more people have access. Additionally, it increases the number of ways a password or account access could fall into the hands of a cybercriminal. Only some staff members will be as cautious about password security as you may be.
Stay up-to-date on the threats
What’s the most significant way to combat threats to computer security? Information.
Cybercriminals constantly adapt their methods. It’s crucial to stay informed about these threats and how they can be utilised against you.
But it’s not just threats. Social media platforms and other service providers are likewise changing their offerings to avoid these challenges.
Educate yourself to protect yourself. You can keep one step ahead of the hazards that cybercriminals offer by continuously educating yourself.
As influencers, cyber security should be preached, no matter your agenda.
This will also enable users to inculcate best practices for digital hygiene.
This will also boost the reporting numbers and increase population awareness, thus eradicating such bad actors from our cyberspace.
Acknowledge the risks
Keeping a blind eye will always hurt the safety aspects, as ignorance always causes issues.
Risks should be kept in mind while creating the digital routine and netiquette
Always inform your users of risk existing and potential risks
After the acknowledgement, it is essential to monitor threats.
Active lookout for threats will allow you to understand the modus Operandi and the vulnerabilities to avoid criminals
Threats monitoring is also a basic netizens’ responsibility to ensure that the threats are reported as they emerge.
Interpret the data
All cyber nodal agencies release data and trends of cybercrimes, understand the trends and protect your vulnerabilities.
Data interpretation can lead to an early flagging of threats and issues, thus protecting the cyber ecosystem by and large.
Create risk profiles
All influencers should create risk profiles and backup profiles.
This will also help protect one’s data as it can be stored on different profiles.
Risk profiles and having a private profile are essential to safeguard the basic cyber interests of an influencer.
As we go deeper into the digital age, we see more technologies emerging, but along with them, we see a new generation of cyber threats and challenges. The physical, as well as the cyberspace, is now inter twinned and interdependent. Practising basic cyber security practices, hygiene, netiquette, and monitoring best practices will go a long way in protecting the online interests of the Influencers and will impact their followers to engage in best practices thus safeguarding the cyber ecosystem at large.
Devices and interconnectivity are the pipelines which drive the data into cyberspace, and in turn, the users consume this data to perform different tasks in the digital age. The security of devices and networks is essential as they are the first defenders of cyberspace. Bad actors often target systems and networks with malware and ransomware, these attacks are differently motivated, but all wreak havoc upon the system and can impact individuals and organisations alike. Mobile users worldwide prefer iOS or Android, but both operating systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks these days. Some of these attacks go undetected for a long time.
As reported by Kaspersky, While monitoring the network traffic of their own corporate Wi-Fi network dedicated to mobile devices using the Kaspersky Unified Monitoring and Analysis Platform (KUMA), Kaspersky noticed suspicious activity that originated from several iOS-based phones. Since it is impossible to inspect modern iOS devices from the inside, they created offline backups of the devices in question, inspected them using the Mobile Verification Toolkit’s mvt-ios and discovered traces of compromise. This is known as Operation Triangulation and has been in action since 2019 and got detected in 2023.
A portion of the filesystem, including some of the user data and service databases, is included in mobile device backups. The files, directories, and database entries’ timestamps make it possible to reconstruct the events that happened to the device roughly. The “timeline.csv” file created by the mvt-ios software contains a sorted timeline of events that is comparable to the super-timeline utilised by traditional digital forensic tools. Pinpointing particular artefacts that show the compromise using this timeframe. This made it possible to advance the research and reassemble the broad infection sequence:
Through the iMessage service, a message with an attachment containing an exploit is delivered to the target iOS device.
The message initiates a vulnerability that results in code execution without any user input.
The exploit’s code downloads multiple additional stages, including additional exploits for privilege escalation, from the C&C server.
After successful exploitation, a fully functional APT platform is downloaded as the final payload from the C&C server.
The first message and the attachment’s exploit are removed
The lack of persistence support in the harmful toolset is most likely a result of OS restrictions. Multiple devices’ timeframes suggest that after rebooting, they might get infected again. The earliest signs of infection that we found date to 2019. The most recent version of the devices that have been successfully attacked as of the time of writing in June 2023 is iOS 15.7.
The final payload analysis is still ongoing. The programme executes with root rights, implements a set of commands for gathering user and system data, and can run any code downloaded as plugin modules from the C&C server.
Using the forensic artefacts, it was possible to identify the domain name set used by the exploits and further malicious stages. They can be used to check the DNS logs for historical information and to identify the devices currently running the malware:
Safeguards for iOS users
Despite its world-class safety and privacy architecture, iOS is vulnerable to a few attacks; the following steps can be undertaken to safeguard iOS users –
Keeping Device updated
Disabling iMessage would prevent Zero clicks exploits or the Triangulation attacks
Paying zero attention to unwanted, unsolicited messages
The user should make sure that any application they are downloading or installing; it should be from a trusted source ( This Zero click attack does not occur by any other means, It exploits / it targets software vulnerabilities in operating systems networks and applications)
Being cautious with the messaging app and emails
Implement device restrictions (management features like parental control and restrictions over using necessary applications)
Operation Triangulation is one of the recent operations combating cyber attacks, but such operations are launched nearly daily. This is also due to a rapid rise in internet and technology penetration across the world. Cyberattacks have taken a new face as they have evolved with the new and emerging technology. The influence of the Darknet has allowed many hackers to remain on the black hat side due to easy accessibility to illegal tools and material over the dark net, which facilitates such crimes.
All citizens are using tech to their advantage, and so we see a lot of upskilling among the population leading to innovation in India. As we go deeper into cyberspace, we must maintain our cyber security efficiently and effectively. When bad actors use technology to their advantage, we often see data loss or financial loss of the victim, In this blog, we will shine light upon two new forms of cyber attacks, causing havoc upon the innocent. The “Daam” Malware and a new malicious app are the two new issues.
Since 2021, the DAAM Android botnet has been used to acquire unauthorised access to targeted devices. Cybercriminals use it to carry out different destructive actions. Using the DAAM Android botnet’s APK binding service, threat actors can combine malicious code with a legitimate application. Keylogging, ransomware, VOIP call records, runtime code execution, browser history collecting, incoming call recording, PII data theft, phishing URL opening, photo capture, clipboard data theft, WiFi and data status switching, and browser history gathering are just a few of the functions offered by the DAAM Android botnet. The DAAM botnet tracks user activity using the Accessibility Service and stores keystrokes it has recorded together with the name of the programme package in a database. It also contains a ransomware module that encrypts and decrypts data on the infected device using the AES method.
Additionally, the botnet uses the Accessibility service to monitor the VOIP call-making features of social media apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, and others. When a user engages with these elements, the virus begins audio recording.
CERT-IN, the central nodal institution that reacts to computer security-related issues, claims that Daam connects with various Android APK files to access a phone. The files on the phone are encrypted using the AES encryption technique, and it is distributed through third-party websites.
It is claimed that the malware can damage call recordings and contacts, gain access to the camera, change passwords, take screenshots, steal SMS, download/upload files, and perform a variety of other things.
Safeguards and Guidelines by Cert-In
Cert-In has released the guideline for combating malware. These were issued in the public interest. The recommendations by Cert-In are as follows-
Only download from official app stores to limit the risk of potentially harmful apps.
Before downloading an app, always read the details and user reviews; likewise, always give permissions that are related to the program’s purpose.
Install Android updates solely from Android device vendors as they become available.
Avoid visiting untrustworthy websites or clicking on untrustworthy
Install and keep anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date.
Be cautious if you see mobile numbers that appear to be something other than genuine/regular mobile numbers.
Conduct sufficient investigation Before clicking on a link supplied in a communication.
Only click on URLs that clearly display the website domain; avoid abbreviated URLs, particularly those employing bit.ly and tinyurl.
Use secure browsing technologies and filtering tools in antivirus, firewall, and filtering services.
Before providing sensitive information, look for authentic encryption certificates by looking for the green lock in your browser’s URL information, look for authentic encryption certificates by looking for the green lock in your browser’s URL bar.
Any ‘strange’ activity in a user’s bank account must be reported immediately to the appropriate bank.
New Malicious App
From the remote parts of Jharkhand, a new form of malicious application has been circulated among people on the pretext of a bank account closure. The bad actors have always used messaging platforms like Whatsapp and Telegram to circulate malicious links among unaware and uneducated people to dupe them of their hard-earned money.
They send an ordinary-looking message on Whatsapp or Telegram where they mention that the user has a bank account at ICICI bank and, due to irregularity with the credentials, their account is being deactivated. Further, they ask users to update their PAN card to reactivate their account by uploading the PAN card on an application. This app, in turn, is a malicious app that downloads all the user’s personal credentials and shares them with the bad actors via text message, allowing them to bypass banks’ two-factor authentication and drain the money from their accounts. The Jharkhand Police Cyber Cells have registered numerous FIRs pertaining to this type of cybercrime and are conducting full-scale investigations to apprehend the criminals.
Malware and phishing attacks have gained momentum in the previous years and have become a major contributor to the tally of cybercrimes in the country. DaaM malware is one of the examples brought into light due to the timely action by Cert-In, but still, a lot of such malware are deployed by bad actors, and we as netizens need to use our best practices to keep such criminals at bay. Phishing crimes are often substantiated by exploiting vulnerabilities and social engineering. Thus working towards a rise in awareness is the need of the hour to safeguard the population by and large.
In today’s time, everything is online, and the world is interconnected. Cases of data breaches and cyberattacks have been a reality for various organisations and industries, In the recent case (of SAS), Scandinavian Airlines experienced a cyberattack that resulted in the exposure of customer details, highlighting the critical importance of preventing customer privacy. The incident is a wake-up call for Airlines and businesses to evaluate their cyber security measures and learn valuable lessons to safeguard customers’ data. In this blog, we will explore the incident and discuss the strategies for protecting customers’ privacy in this age of digitalisation.
Analysing the backdrop
The incident has been a shocker for the aviation industry, SAS Scandinavian Airlines has been a victim of a cyberattack that compromised consumer data. Let’s understand the motive of cyber crooks and the technique they used :
Motive Behind the Attack: Understanding the reasons that may have driven the criminals is critical to comprehending the context of the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault. Financial gain, geopolitical conflicts, activism, or personal vendettas are common motivators for cybercriminals. Identifying the purpose of the assault can provide insight into the attacker’s aims and the possible impact on both the targeted organisation and its consumers. Understanding the attack vector and strategies used by cyber attackers reveals the amount of complexity and possible weaknesses in an organisation’s cybersecurity defences. Scandinavian Airlines’ cyber assault might have included phishing, spyware, ransomware, or exploiting software weaknesses. Analysing these tactics allows organisations to strengthen their security against similar assaults.
Impact on Victims: The Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) cyber attack victims, including customers and individuals related to the company, have suffered substantial consequences. Data breaches and cyber-attack have serious consequences due to the leak of personal information.
1)Financial Losses and Fraudulent Activities: One of the most immediate and upsetting consequences of a cyber assault is the possibility of financial loss. Exposed personal information, such as credit card numbers, can be used by hackers to carry out illegal activities such as unauthorised transactions and identity theft. Victims may experience financial difficulties and the need to spend time and money resolving these concerns.
2)Concerns about privacy and personal security: A breach of personal data can significantly impact the privacy and personal security of victims. The disclosed information, including names, addresses, and contact information, might be exploited for nefarious reasons, such as targeted phishing or physical harassment. Victims may have increased anxiety about their safety and privacy, which can interrupt their everyday life and create mental pain.
3) Reputational Damage and Trust Issues: The cyber attack may cause reputational harm to persons linked with Scandinavian Airlines, such as workers or partners. The breach may diminish consumers’ and stakeholders’ faith in the organisation, leading to a bad view of its capacity to protect personal information. This lack of trust might have long-term consequences for the impacted people’s professional and personal relationships.
4) Emotional Stress and Psychological Impact: The psychological impact of a cyber assault can be severe. Fear, worry, and a sense of violation induced by having personal information exposed can create emotional stress and psychological suffering. Victims may experience emotions of vulnerability, loss of control, and distrust toward digital platforms, potentially harming their overall quality of life.
5) Time and Effort Required for Remediation: Addressing the repercussions of a cyber assault demands significant time and effort from the victims. They may need to call financial institutions, reset passwords, monitor accounts for unusual activity, and use credit monitoring services. Resolving the consequences of a data breach may be a difficult and time-consuming process, adding stress and inconvenience to the victims’ lives.
6) Secondary Impacts: The impacts of an online attack could continue beyond the immediate implications. Future repercussions for victims may include trouble acquiring credit or insurance, difficulties finding future work, and continuous worry about exploiting their personal information. These secondary effects can seriously affect victims’ financial and general well-being.
Apart from this, the trust lost would take time to rebuild.
Takeaways from this attack
The cyber-attack on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is a sharp reminder of cybercrime’s ever-present and increasing menace. This event provides crucial insights that businesses and people may use to strengthen cybersecurity defences. In the lessons that were learned from the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault and examine the steps that may be taken to improve cybersecurity and reduce future risks. Some of the key points that can be considered are as follows:
Proactive Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Management: The cyber assault on Scandinavian Airlines emphasises the significance of regular risk assessments and vulnerability management. Organisations must proactively identify and fix possible system and network vulnerabilities. Regular security audits, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessments can help identify flaws before bad actors exploit them.
Strong security measures and best practices: To guard against cyber attacks, it is necessary to implement effective security measures and follow cybersecurity best practices. Lessons from the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault emphasise the importance of effective firewalls, up-to-date antivirus software, secure setups, frequent software patching, and strong password rules. Using multi-factor authentication and encryption technologies for sensitive data can also considerably improve security.
Employee Training and Awareness: Human mistake is frequently a big component in cyber assaults. Organisations should prioritise employee training and awareness programs to educate employees about phishing schemes, social engineering methods, and safe internet practices. Employees may become the first line of defence against possible attacks by cultivating a culture of cybersecurity awareness.
Data Protection and Privacy Measures: Protecting consumer data should be a key priority for businesses. Lessons from the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault emphasise the significance of having effective data protection measures, such as encryption and access limits. Adhering to data privacy standards and maintaining safe data storage and transfer can reduce the risks connected with data breaches.
Collaboration and Information Sharing: The Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault emphasises the need for collaboration and information sharing among the cybersecurity community. Organisations should actively share threat intelligence, cooperate with industry partners, and stay current on developing cyber threats. Sharing information and experiences can help to build the collective defence against cybercrime.
The Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault is a reminder that cybersecurity must be a key concern for organisations and people. Organisations may improve their cybersecurity safeguards, proactively discover vulnerabilities, and respond effectively to prospective attacks by learning from this occurrence and adopting the lessons learned. Building a strong cybersecurity culture, frequently upgrading security practices, and encouraging cooperation within the cybersecurity community are all critical steps toward a more robust digital world. We may aim to keep one step ahead of thieves and preserve our important information assets by constantly monitoring and taking proactive actions.
WhatsApp has become the new platform for scams, and the number of cases of WhatsApp scams is increasing daily. Just like that, a new WhatsApp scam has been started, and many WhatsApp users in India have reported receiving missed calls from unknown international numbers. Worse, one does not even have to answer the call to be scammed. A missed call is sufficient to be scammed.
Millions of populations switch from normal SMS to WhatsApp, usually, people used to get fake messages and marketing messages, but the trend of scamming has been evolving now. Most people get calls from different countries, and they are concerned about how these scammers got the numbers. WhatsApp works through VoIP networks, so no extra charges from any country exist. And about 500 million WhatsApp users are getting these scam calls, the calls are mainly on job-scams of promising part-time employment and opportunities. These types of job scam calls have been started reporting in 2023.
People reporting missed calls from countries like Ethiopia (+251), Malaysia (+60), Indonesia (+62), Vietnam (+84), etc.
The agenda of these calls are still unclear. Still, in some cases, the scammers ask for confidential information from WhatsApp users, like bank details, so the users must not reveal their personal information. Also, it is important to note that if you get any calls from a particular country, it necessarily does not mean it is from that country. Various agencies sell international numbers for WhatsApp calls.
Why has WhatsApp become a hub scam?
The generation has evolved and dumped the old SMS into WhatsApp. From school to college and offices, people use WhatsApp for their official work, as it is very easy and user-friendly, so people avoid safety measures. Generally, users need to understand the consequences of technology and use it with safeguards and awareness. Many people lose money and become victims of scams on WhatsApp as they share their confidential information. And the worse is that one does not even have to answer the call to be scammed. A missed call is sufficient to be scammed.
Before these international calls scam, the user received a call from the scam that they were from KBC, and the user won something. Then sought confidential information by the excuse that they would transfer the money to the user, and because of that user got scammed by the scammers. These scams have risen rapidly lately.
Safeguards users can use against these scam calls
WhatsApp responds to complaints regarding international calls to “block and report.”
If you have already received such calls, the best thing you can do is report and block them right away. As a result, the same number does not return to your phone, and numerous identical reports may persuade WhatsApp to delete the number entirely.
WhatsApp is also working on an update allowing users to block calls from unknown numbers on the service.
Users must modify their phone’s and app’s fundamental privacy settings to protect themselves from data breaches. The calls are directed toward app users who are actively using the app. However, by modifying the account’s appearance, a user can lessen the likelihood of being added to the scammers’ attack lists.
Begin by modifying WhatsApp’s ‘who can see’ settings. If your profile photo, last seen, and online status are visible to anybody, restrict them to persons on your contact list only. Change the About and Groups options as well.
Turn on two-factor authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication on WhatsApp adds more security to your data. In addition, the app also supports biometric protection in case of theft or loss.
The users should report as soon as they see something odd or suspicious activity.
A typical question that users have is, ‘Where do the scammers acquire my phone number from?’
The answer is a little more complicated than we thought. Your data is retained on the company database from the time you sign up on a website or reveal your phone number at a store in order to take advantage of promotional offers and promotions. Due to a lack of technological infrastructure and legislation to protect personal data, a scammer can simply obtain your information.
According to Palo Alto research, India is the second most vulnerable country in the APAC region in terms of cyberattacks and data breaches. A data protection law is essential in the face of increasing calls and data breaches.
The Digital Personal Data Protection bill is set to be introduced in the parliament’s monsoon session. The bill has the potential to protect data, which will help to eliminate scams.
Several people had tweeted on tweeter about receiving fake calls on WhatsApp from international numbers more than once. WhatsApp encrypts calls and messages, making it difficult to track the person, and it appears that hackers are taking advantage of this to swindle customers. If you receive a WhatsApp call from any of the above ISD codes, we strongly advise you not to answer it and to block the number so the bad actors do not call you again. Report & block immediately that’s what WhatsApp has been responding to the complainants.
A recent massive scam has been uncovered in the Indian state of Gujarat, where the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has blacklisted 30,000 SIM cards that were used for illegal activities. The scam has created a huge uproar in the state, and its implications are significant. In this blog, we will discuss the details of the Gujarat scam and its impact on the state.
What is sim card fraud?
Sim card fraud occurs when someone uses a fake or cloned sim card to impersonate someone else. This allows the fraudster to gain access to sensitive information or conduct transactions on behalf of the victim. The use of fraudulent sim cards has become increasingly common in recent years, with scammers targeting individuals and businesses around the world.
The Gujarat Scam: The Gujarat scam involves the use of SIM cards for illegal activities such as extortion, blackmail, and cybercrime. The CID has identified that the SIM cards were obtained using fake documents and were used for illegal activities. The scam has been happening for a while, involving several individuals, including businessmen, politicians, and government officials.
The CID has conducted raids across the state and has arrested several individuals involved in the scam. They have also seized a significant amount of cash, mobile phones, and other electronic devices used for illegal activities. The investigation is ongoing, and more arrests are expected in the coming days.
The Gujarat scam is not an isolated incident, as similar scams have been reported in other parts of the country. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also reported that several telecom operators are not following the regulations and are not verifying the authenticity of documents used to obtain SIM cards.
Impact on the State: The Gujarat scam has caused significant damage to the state’s reputation, and it has also affected the economy. The scam has highlighted the lack of regulation in the telecom industry, and it has exposed the loopholes in the system that criminals are exploiting.
The blacklisting of 30,000 SIM cards will affect several individuals who may have obtained them legally but were unaware of their use for illegal activities. The blacklisting may also impact businesses that rely on mobile phones for their operations.
The scam has also raised concerns about personal information and data safety. With the use of fake documents to obtain SIM cards, it is evident that personal information is not secure and can be easily misused. The government needs to take steps to ensure that personal information is protected and that the telecom industry is regulated to prevent such scams from happening in the future.
Steps Taken by the Government: The Gujarat scam has prompted the government to take action to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. The government has announced that it will implement stricter regulations in the telecom industry to prevent the misuse of SIM cards. The government has also announced that it will introduce a system to verify the authenticity of documents used to obtain SIM cards.
The government has also urged citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity related to the misuse of SIM cards. The government has assured citizens that it will take strict action against those involved in the scam and that it will ensure the safety of personal information and data.
The TRAI has also taken steps to address the issue. It has directed telecom operators to verify the authenticity of documents used to obtain SIM cards and to follow the regulations. The TRAI has also introduced a new system to identify and deactivate inactive SIM cards.
Here are some key takeaways from the Gujarat Sim scam: These takeaways should be kept in mind to prevent such incidents from happening in the future and to ensure the safety of citizens and businesses.
Need for Stricter Regulations: The Gujarat Sim scam has highlighted the need for stricter regulations in the telecom industry. The government needs to ensure that telecom operators follow the regulations and verify the authenticity of documents used to obtain SIM cards. This will help prevent the misuse of SIM cards and illegal activities.
Importance of Personal Information Security: The scam has raised concerns about personal information and data safety. It is important to ensure that personal information is protected and that the telecom industry is regulated to prevent such scams from happening in the future.
Impact on Reputation and Economy: The Gujarat scam has caused significant damage to the state’s reputation, and it has also affected the economy. The blacklisting of 30,000 SIM cards will impact several individuals who may have obtained them legally but were unaware of their use for illegal activities. The scam has also raised concerns about the safety of businesses that rely on mobile phones for their operations.
Need for Vigilance: The government has urged citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity related to the misuse of SIM cards. It is important for citizens to be aware of the regulations and to report any illegal activities to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
Strong Action Against Criminals: The blacklisting of 30,000 SIM cards and the arrests made by the CID sends a strong message to those involved in illegal activities that they will not be spared. It is important for the government to take strict action against those involved in the scam to deter others from engaging in such activities.
The Gujarat scam has exposed vulnerabilities in the telecom industry and highlighted the need for stricter regulations to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. The blacklisting of 30,000 SIM cards has sent a strong message to those involved in illegal activities that they will not be spared. The government’s efforts to implement stricter regulations and ensure the safety of personal information and data are commendable. It is now up to the citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
The telecom industry plays a vital role in the country’s development, and it is important to ensure that it is regulated to prevent the misuse of its services. Overall, the Gujarat Sim scam has highlighted the need for stricter regulations, personal information security, vigilance, and strong action against criminals.
The two-day Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2023, which was held on the 6th & 7th of June, has become an essential and highly anticipated part of our calendar as frequently as the trend. This year’s keynote announcements will include all of the usual enhancements for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and more. However, this year is also unique due to the unveiling of the Vision Pro headset, a brand-new Apple product.
In this blog, we will examine the exciting announcements made at Apple WWDC 2023, which was a ground-breaking event.
macOS Sonoma, the new presentation of macOS disclosed at the WWDC full of exciting features. It comes with stunning video screensavers that show stunning scenes from all over the world. Gadgets can now be added genuinely to the work area and adjusted totally based on the client’s action. Also, it changes variety and blurring out of the spotlight while utilising applications. In addition, Death Stranding: Directors Cut for Mac announced that the Game Mode is added to make Macs more suitable for gaming. A presenter overlay enhances video presentations, and viewers can respond to them with interactive responses. Updated Safari is also included in the WebApp feature that turns frequently used websites into dedicated windows, a new Profile system for separating browsing history, and secure password sharing. Currently, the developer beta is available and the public beta will be available in July, and the final release is anticipated for the fall.
Apple WWDC 2023 shows the following iOS, and iOS 16 replication, offering plenty of energising highlights for iPhone and iPad clients. Apple maintains its commitment to privacy with iOS 16, which introduces enhanced privacy settings that give users even more control over their data and online privacy. Users can also personalise their devices according to their preferences thanks to the new operating system’s refinement and customisable user interface.Improved multitasking capabilities like redesigned Files app and advanced note-taking features are just a few of the productivity enhancements included in the iOS 16. With iOS 16, Apple also improves its AR capabilities, allowing developers to develop even more immersive and interactive AR experiences.
Apple WWDC 2023 carried energising updates to the Apple Watch with the presentation of watchOS 9. The Apple Watch is an essential companion for sustaining a healthy lifestyle because the most recent version of the operating system includes cutting-edge health and fitness features. WatchOS 9 gives users unprecedented control over their health, offering personalised fitness recommendations and advanced sleep tracking.
Additionally, new watch faces were added, enhancing communication capabilities and improving app performance in watchOS 9, making the Apple Watch even easier to use daily.
Rather than focusing on major features, Apple focused on quality-of-life enhancements when it announced iOS 17 at WWDC 2023. Live Voicemail with real-time transcripts of voicemails, personalised personal contact “posters,” and video voicemails for FaceTime are all part of the update. Search filters, a catch-up arrow, live location sharing, and a safety feature called Check-In are all available in Messages. AirDrop now supports NameDrop for transferring contact information; stickers have been expanded. The autocorrect and recording features on the keyboard have been improved for accuracy. Standby in the lock screen is an intelligent home display that shows the weather, upcoming appointments, and notifications. Siri works on Standby and adjusts itself for the night. The developer beta is currently available now, and a public beta will take place next month before the full release is in the fall.
Vision Pro VR Headset
Apple unveiled the Vision Pro AR headset, their first foray into virtual reality (VR), during the WWDC keynote. The Vision Pro is a virtual reality headset that competes with PlayStation VR2 and Meta Quest 3. This is in contrast to the long-awaited Apple smart glasses. Apple put a lot of effort into making a thin and light headset by using premium materials when needed. Voice, hand, and eye commands are all used to operate the Digital Crown-equipped device. The showcases offer extraordinary clarity, which is fueled by Apple’s M2 processor with a committed R1 chip. The Vision Pro combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), enabling users to interact with Apple apps and gain access to the company’s existing ecosystem. The expanded reality space created by the headset’s sensors and cameras allows users to place apps in real-world environments and adjust their level of concentration. Optic ID is a security and unlocking eye-tracking technology that is incorporated into the Vision Pro. It allows for a more immersive screen experience because it is compatible with Apple accessories like Magic Keyboard and Mac. At launch, the Vision Pro supports over a hundred Apple game galleries. Disney gave a hint that Apple and Disney might work together in the future by announcing support for the Vision Pro and making the Disney Plus app available immediately. The show highlighted the headset’s lightweight plan and recommended Apple clients wear it for extended periods. However, widespread adoption may be difficult due to the high price of $3,499 (₹289,093.01 approx). Apple is expected to release the Vision Pro for public use in 2024.
15-inch MacBook Air
At the WWDC event, Apple revealed a new MacBook Air with a larger 15-inch model instead of the standard 13-inch model. The 15-inch MacBook Air features a powerful Apple M2 processor, a thin, light, and long-lasting design, and a stunning 15.3-inch Retina display. It comes in four colours and has a headphone jack, two USB-C ports, and MagSafe charging. The display has six spatial speakers, a 1080p webcam, and 500 nits of brightness. Apple claims a battery life of up to 18 hours.
At Apple’s 2023 WWDC, the company demonstrated its commitment to developing technology that is user-friendly and accessible to all. Apple’s commitment to improving the user experience across all of its products is demonstrated in the updates to operating systems, improvements of Siri, breakthroughs in augmented reality, and enhancements to health and fitness.By making complex innovations more like-minded and easy to understand, Apple is enabling people to use the maximum capacity of their gadgets. Apple’s innovations at WWDC 2023 are expected to shape the future of technology, simplifying everyday tasks and revolutionising how we interact with the digital world.As we push ahead, it is exciting to guess what these advancements will proceed to develop and decidedly mean for our lives. The future holds even more incredible possibilities for all of us because of Apple’s focus on privacy, user-centric design, and pushing the boundaries of innovation. Thus, prepare to embrace a future where innovation flawlessly incorporates into our lives because of the endeavours displayed at Apple WWDC 2023.
In recent years, India has witnessed a significant rise in the popularity and recognition of esports, which refers to online gaming. Esports has emerged as a mainstream phenomenon, influencing players and youngsters worldwide. In India, with the penetration of the internet at 52%, the youth has got its attracted to Esports. In this blog post, we will look at how the government is booting the players, establishing professional leagues, and supporting gaming companies and sponsors in the best possible manner. As the ecosystem continues to rise in prominence and establish itself as a mainstream sporting phenomenon in India.
Factors Shaping Esports in India: A few factors are shaping and growing the love for esports in India here. Let’s have a look.
Technological Advances: The availability and affordability of high-speed internet connections and smart gaming equipment have played an important part in making esports more accessible to a broader audience in India. With the development of smartphones and low-cost gaming PCs, many people may now easily participate in and watch esports tournaments.
Youth Demographic: India has a large population of young people who are enthusiastic gamers and tech-savvy. The youth demographic’s enthusiasm for gaming has spurred the expansion of esports in the country, as they actively participate in competitive gaming and watch major esports competitions.
Increase in the Gaming community: Gaming has been deeply established in Indian society, with many people using it for enjoyment and social contact. As the competitive component of gaming, esports has naturally gained popularity among gamers looking for a more competitive and immersive experience.
Esports Infrastructure and Events: The creation of specialised esports infrastructure, such as esports arenas, gaming cafés, and tournament venues, has considerably aided esports growth in India. Major national and international esports competitions and leagues have also been staged in India, offering exposure and possibilities for prospective esports players. Also supports various platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook gaming, which has played a vital role in showcasing and popularising Esports in India.
Government support: Corporate and government sectors in India have recognised the potential of esports and are actively supporting its growth. Major corporate investments, sponsorships, and collaborations with esports organisations have supplied the financial backing and resources required for the country’s esports development. Government attempts to promote esports have also been initiated, such as forming esports governing organisations and including esports in official sporting events.
Growing Popularity and Recognition: Esports in India has witnessed a significant surge in viewership and fanbase, all thanks to online streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube which have provided a convenient way for fans to watch live esports events at home and at high-definition quality social media platforms let the fans to interact with their favourite players and stay updated on the latest esports news and events.
Esports Leagues in India
The organisation of esports tournaments and leagues in India has increased, with the IGL being one of the largest and most popular. The ESL India Premiership is a major esports event the Electronic Sports League organised in collaboration with NODWIN Gaming. Viacom18, a well-known Indian media business, established UCypher, an esports league. It focuses on a range of gaming games such as CS: GO, Dota 2, and Tekken in order to promote esports as a professional sport in India. All of these platforms provide professional players with a venue to compete and establish their profile in the esports industry.
India’s Performance in Esports to Date
Indian esports players have achieved remarkable global success, including outstanding results in prominent events and leagues. Individual Indian esports players’ success stories illustrate their talent, determination, and India’s ability to flourish in the esports sphere. These accomplishments contribute to the worldwide esports landscape’s awareness and growth of Indian esports. To add the name of the players and their success stories that have bought pride to India, they are Tirth Metha, Known as “Ritr”, a CS:GO player, Abhijeet “Ghatak”, Ankit “V3nom”, Saloni “Meow16K”.Apart from this Indian women’s team has also done exceptionally well in CS:GO and has made it to the finale.
Government and Corporate Sectors support: The Indian esports business has received backing from the government and corporate sectors, contributing to its growth and acceptance as a genuine sport.
Government Initiatives: The Indian government has expressed increased support for esports through different initiatives. This involves recognising esports as an official sport, establishing esports regulating organisations, and incorporating esports into national sports federations. The government has also announced steps to give financial assistance, subsidies, and infrastructure development for esports, therefore providing a favourable environment for the industry’s growth. Recently, Kalyan Chaubey, joint secretary and acting CEO of the IOA, personally gave the athletes cutting-edge training gear during this occasion, providing kits to the players. The kit includes the following:
Advanced gaming mouse.
Keyboard built for quick responses.
A smooth mousepad
A headphone for crystal-clear communication
An eSports bag to carry the equipment.
Corporate Sponsorship and Partnerships
Indian corporations have recognised esports’ promise and actively sponsored and collaborated with esports organisations, tournaments, and individual players. Companies from various industries, including technology, telecommunications, and entertainment, have invested in esports to capitalise on its success and connect with the esports community. These sponsorships and collaborations give financial support, resources, and visibility to esports in India. The leagues and championships provide opportunities for young players to showcase their talent.
Challenges and future
While esports provides great job opportunities, several obstacles must be overcome in order for the industry to expand and gain recognition:
Infrastructure & Training Facilities: Ensuring the availability of high-quality training facilities and infrastructure is critical for developing talent and allowing players to realise their maximum potential. Continued investment in esports venues, training facilities, and academies is critical for the industry’s long-term success.
Fostering a culture of skill development and giving outlets for formal education in esports would improve the professionalism and competitiveness of Indian esports players. Collaborations between educational institutions and esports organisations can result in the development of specialised programs in areas such as game analysis, team management, and sports psychology.
Establishing a thorough legal framework and governance structure for esports will help it gain legitimacy as a professional sport. Clear standards on player contracts, player rights, anti-doping procedures, and fair competition policies are all part of this.
Esports in India provide massive professional opportunities and growth possibilities for aspiring esports athletes. The sector’s prospects are based on overcoming infrastructure, perception, talent development, and regulatory barriers. Esports may establish itself as a viable and acceptable career alternative in India with continued support, investment, and stakeholder collaboration
BharOS’s successful testing grabbed massive online attention after Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Communications and Electronics & IT, and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan unveiled the new mobile operating system. On Data Privacy Day, January 28, it’s appropriate to discuss the safety factors.
The OS is developed by JandKops, which has been incubated by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation. It is claimed that BharOS will ensure the prevention of the “execution of any malware” and “execution of any malicious application”.
Even though it is called a Made in India OS, there are many people who disagree with this. It is because the OS is based on an AOSP (Android Open Source Project). It includes similar methodologies, functionalities, and basics used in Google Android.
Global safety factor
Security and data safety has been worldwide issue. A few years ago, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also testified in front of US Congress while facing questions related to privacy, data collection, and location tracking.
While experts say that Android’s app ecosystem is a privacy and security disaster, a study that examined 82,501 apps pre-installed on 1,742 Android smartphones sold by 214 vendors concluded that users are woefully unaware of the significant security and privacy risks posed by pre-installed applications.
Even Apple, which takes cybersafety issues as a top priority, sometimes finds itself in a vulnerable situation. For example, last year Apple users were advised to update their devices to protect against a pair of security flaws that could allow attackers to take complete control.
It was said that one of the software flaws affected the kernel, the deepest layer of the OS shared by all Apple devices, while the other had an impact on WebKit, the technology that powers the Safari web browser.
Security researchers, including NordVPN, said that Apple’s closed development OS makes it more difficult for hackers to develop exploits, while Android raises the threat level since anyone can see its source code to develop exploits.
BharOS is not like iOS but it is kind of similar to Android and based on AOSP. So the question is, how safe would this OS be?
Sandip Kumar Panda, Co-founder and CEO of InstaSafe, told News18: “BharOS acts as a security blanket for devices. The framework is designed in a manner that it prevents the execution of any malicious app and verifies each app on the devices before making it live on the BharOS platform.”
There are no apps without any vulnerabilities, he said. “As the app development progresses, vulnerabilities get introduced either in the form of insecure coding practices or third-party software vulnerabilities integrated with the platform. Since several Android vulnerabilities were discovered over the years, all those bugs would have been fixed now and updates would already have been for AOSP, which will be much more mature now,” he added.
Vineet Kumar, Founder and President of CyberPeace Foundation, believes that “the use of AOSP as the foundation for BharOS is a positive step” as it is a robust platform.
But according to him, it is important to note that no OS can be completely immune to all forms of cyber threats. “The key to staying safe online is to stay vigilant, use security software, keep your software updated, and be mindful of the apps you install and the websites you visit,” he said,
Furthermore, the expert stated that it is possible to make an OS more secure by implementing a variety of security features and technologies such as sandboxing, whitelisting, and application control, as well as rigorous testing and code review processes.
Kumar said: “It would be important for an independent, reputable security firm to evaluate BharOS and test its security features before it can be stated with certainty that it is more secure than other OSs.”
It is difficult to say whether the BharOS will be free of cybersecurity issues without more information about the specific features and security measures that have been implemented, he noted while adding that this OS has to go through a rigorous testing and certification process.
“It will be important to see how it measures up against established security standards and how well it can withstand real-world attacks,” the expert stated.
The world has been surfing the wave of technological advancements and innovations for the past decade, and it all pins down to one device – our mobile phone. For all mobile users, the primary choices of operating systems are Android and iOS. Android is an OS created by google in 2008 and is supported by most brands like – One+, Mi, OPPO, VIVO, Motorola, and many more and is one of the most used operating systems. iOS is an OS that was developed by Apple and was introduced in their first phone – The iPhone, in 2007. Both OS came into existence when mobile phone penetration was slow globally, and so the scope of expansion and advancements was always in favor of such operating systems.
Ever since the advent of the iPhone, iOS has seen many changes since 2007. The current version of iOs is iOS 16. However, in the course of creating new iOS and updating the old ones, Apple has come out with various advancements like the App Store, Touch ID & Face ID, Apple Music, Podcasts, Augmented reality, Contact exposure, and many more, which have later become part of features of Android phone as well. Apple is one of the oldest tech and gadget developers in the world, most of the devices manufactured by Apple have received global recognition, and hence Apple enjoys providing services to a huge global user base.
The OS has been famous for using the software version names on the food items like – Pie, Oreo, Nougat, KitKat, Eclairs, etc. From Android 10 onwards, the new versions were demoted by number. The most recent Android OS is Android 13; this OS is known for its practicality and flexibility. In 2012 Android became the most popular operating system for mobile devices, surpassing Apple’s iOS, and as of 2020, about 75 percent of mobile devices run Android.
Android vs. iOS
1. USER INTERFACE
One of the most noticeable differences between Android and iPhone is their user interface. Android devices have a more customizable interface, with options to change the home screen, app icons, and overall theme. The iPhone, on the other hand, has a more uniform interface with less room for customization. Android allows users to customize their home screen by adding widgets and changing the layout of their app icons. This can be useful for people who want quick access to certain functions or information on their home screen. IOS does not have this feature, but it does allow users to organize their app icons into folders for easier navigation.
2. APP SELECTION
Another factor to consider when choosing between Android and iOS is the app selection. Both platforms have a wide range of apps available, but there are some differences to consider. Android has a larger selection of apps overall, including a larger selection of free apps. However, some popular apps, such as certain music streaming apps and games, may be released first or only available on iPhone. iOS also has a more curated app store, meaning that all apps must go through a review process before being accepted for download. This can result in a higher quality of apps overall, but it can also mean that it takes longer for new apps to become available on the platform. iPhone devices tend to have less processing power and RAM. But they are generally more efficient in their use of resources. This can result in longer battery life, but it may also mean that iPhones are slower at handling multiple tasks or running resource-intensive apps.
When it comes to performance, both Android and iPhone have their own strengths and weaknesses. Android devices tend to have more processing power and RAM. This can make them faster and more capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously. However, this can also lead to Android devices having shorter battery life compared to iPhones.
Security is an important consideration for any smartphone user, and Android and iPhone have their own measures to protect user data. Android devices are generally seen as being less secure than iPhones due to their open nature. Android allows users to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store, which can increase the risk of downloading malicious apps. However, Android has made improvements in recent years to address this issue. Including the introduction of Google Play Protect, which scans apps for malware before they are downloaded. On the other hand, iPhone devices have a more closed ecosystem, with all apps required to go through Apple‘s review process before being available for download. This helps reduce the risk of downloading malicious apps, but it can also limit the platform’s flexibility.
The debate about the better OS has been going on for some time now, and it looks like it will get more comprehensive in the times to come, as netizens go deeper into cyberspace, they will get more aware and critical of their uses and demands, which will allow them to opt for the best OS for their convenience. Although the Andriod OS, due to its integration, stands more vulnerable to security threats as compared to iOS, no software is secure in today’s time, what is secure is its use and application hence the netizen and the platforms need to increase their awareness and knowledge to safeguard themselves and the wholesome cyberspace.
Cyberspace is the new and the fifth dimension of warfare as recognised by the UN. In recent times we have seen a significant rise in cyber attacks on nations’ strategic interests and critical infrastructure. The scope of cyberwarfare is increasing rapidly in contemporary times. Nations across the globe are struggling with this issue. The Ministry of Defence of the Government of India has been fundamental to take preventive measures towards all attacks on the Republic of India. The ministry is the junction for all three forces: Airforce, Navy and Army and creates coordination between the forces and deploys the force at strategic locations in terms of enemy threats.
The new OS
Governments across the world have developed various cyber security measures and mechanisms to keep data and information safe and secure. Similarly, the Indian Government has been very critical in deploying cybersecurity strategies, policies, measures, and bills to safeguard the Indian cyber-ecosystem. The Ministry of Defence has recently made a transition in terms of the Operating System used in the daily functions of the ministry. Earlier, the ministry was using an OS from Microsoft, which has now been replaced with the indigenous OS named “Maya” based on open-source Ubuntu. This is the first time the ministry will be deploying indigenous operating software. This step comes at a time of global rise in cyber attacks, and the aspect of indigenous OS will prevent malware and spyware attacks.
What is Maya?
Users will not notice many differences while switching to Maya because it has a similar interface and functionality to Windows. The first instruction is to install Maya on all South Block PCs with Internet access before August 15. In these systems, a Chakravyuh “endpoint detection and protection system” is also being installed. Maya isn’t yet installed on any computers connected to the networks of the three Services; instead, it is solely used in Defence Ministry systems. It had also been reviewed by the three Services and would shortly be adopted on service networks. The Army and Air Force were currently reviewing it after the Navy had already given its approval.
OS Maya was created by government development organisations in less than six months. An official from the ministry has informed that Maya would stop malware attacks and other cyberattacks, which have sharply increased. The nation has recently experienced a number of malware and extortion attacks, some of which targeted vital infrastructure. The Defence Ministry has made repeated attempts in the past to switch from Windows to an Indian operating system.
How will the new OS help?
The OS Maya is a critically developed OS and is expected to cater to the needs of all cybersecurity and safety issues of contemporary threats and vulnerabilities.
The following aspects need to be kept in mind in regard to safety and security issues:
- Better and improved security and safety
- Reduced chances of cyberattacks
- Promotion of Inidegenous talent and innovation
- Global standard OS
- Preventing and precautionary measures
- Safety by Design for overall resilience
- Improved Inter forces coordination
- Upskilling and capacity building for Serving personnel
Finally, the emergence of cyberspace as the fifth dimension of warfare has compelled countries all over the world to adopt a proactive stance, and India’s Ministry of Defence has made a significant move in this area. The significance of strengthened cybersecurity measures has been highlighted by the rising frequency and level of complexity of cyberattacks against key assets and vital infrastructure. The Ministry’s choice to use the local Maya operating system is a key step in protecting the country’s cyber-ecosystem. Maya’s debut represents a fundamental shift in the cybersecurity approach as well as a technology transition. This change not only improves the security and protection of confidential data but also demonstrates India’s dedication to supporting innovation and developing homegrown talent. Government development organisations have shown their commitment to solving the changing difficulties of the digital age by producing cutting-edge operating systems like Maya in a relatively short amount of time.
Criminal justice in India is majorly governed by three laws which are – Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act. The centre, on 11th August 2023’ Friday, proposes a new bill in parliament Friday, which is replacing the country’s major criminal laws, i.e. Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act.
The following three bills are being proposed to replace major criminal laws in the country:
- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 to replace Indian Penal Code 1860.
- The Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, to replace The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, to replace The Indian Evidence Act 1872.
Cyber law-oriented view of the new shift in criminal lawNotable changes:Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 Indian Penal Code 1860.
Way ahead for digitalisation
The new laws aim to enhance the utilisation of digital services in court systems, it facilitates online registration of FIR, Online filing of the charge sheet, serving summons in electronic mode, trial and proceedings in electronic mode etc. The new bills also allow the virtual appearance of witnesses, accused, experts, and victims in some instances. This shift will lead to the adoption of technology in courts and all courts to be computerised in the upcoming time.
Enhanced recognition of electronic records
With the change in lifestyle in terms of the digital sphere, significance is given to recognising electronic records as equal to paper records.
The criminal laws of the country play a significant role in establishing law & order and providing justice. The criminal laws of India were the old laws existing under British rule. There have been several amendments to criminal laws to deal with the growing crimes and new aspects. However, there was a need for well-established criminal laws which are in accordance with the present era. The step of the legislature by centralising all criminal laws in their new form and introducing three bills is a good approach which will ultimately strengthen the criminal justice system in India, and it will also facilitate the use of technology in the court system.
Data protection has been a critical aspect of advocacy and governance all across the world. Data fuels our cyber-ecosystem and strengthens the era of emerging technologies. All industries and sectors are now dependent upon the data of the user. The governments across the world have been deliberating internally to address the issue and legality of Data protection and privacy. The Indian government has witnessed various draft bills and policies focusing on Data protection over the years, and the contemporary bill is the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, which was tabled at the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) on 03 August for discussions and parliamentary assent.
What is DPDP, 2023?
The goal of the complete and comprehensive Digital Personal Data Protection Bill of 2023 is to establish a framework for the protection of personal data in India. The measure acknowledges the significance of protecting personal data and seeks to strike a balance between the necessity to process personal data for legitimate purposes and the right of individuals to do so. The bill establishes a number of crucial expressions and ideas associated with the protection of personal data, including “data fiduciary,” “data principal,” and “sensitive personal data.” It also emphasises the duties of data fiduciaries, including the need to establish suitable security measures to preserve personal data and the need to secure data principals’ consent before processing their personal information. The measure also creates the Data Protection Board of India, which would implement its requirements and guarantee data fiduciaries’ compliance. The board will have the authority to look into grievances, give directives, and impose sanctions for non-compliance.
Key Features of the Bill
The bill tabled at the parliament has the following key features:
- The 2023 bill imposes reasonable obligations on data fiduciaries and data processors to safeguard digital personal data.
- Under the 2023 bill, a new Data Protection Board is established, which will ensure compliance, remedies and penalties.
- Under the new bill, the Board has been entrusted with the power equivalent to a civil court, such as the power to take cognisance in response to personal data breaches, investigate complaints, imposing penalties. Additionally, the Board can issue directions to ensure compliance with the act.
- The 2023 bill also secures more rights of Individuals and establishes a balance between user protection and growing innovations.
- The bill creates a transparent and accountable data governance framework by giving more rights to individuals.
- There is an Incorporation of Business-friendly provisions by removing criminal penalties for non-compliance and facilitating international data transfers.
- The new 2023 bill balances out fundamental privacy rights and puts reasonable limitations on those rights.
- The new data protection board will carefully examine the instance of non-compliance by imposing penalties on non-compiler.
- The bill does not provide any express clarity in regards to compensation to be granted to the Data Principal in case of a Data Breach.
- Under 2023 Deemed consent is there in its new form as ‘Legitimate Users’ pertaining to the conditions in regard to Sovernity and Intergrity of India.
- There is an introduction of the negative list, which restricts cross-data transfer.
Additionally, the measure makes special provisions for the processing of children’s personal data and acknowledges the significance of protecting children’s privacy. Additionally, it highlights the rights of the data subjects, including their right to access their personal information, their right to have wrong information corrected, and their right to be forgotten.
A campaign was undertaken by CyberPeace to gain a critical understanding of what people understand about Data privacy and protection in India. The 4-month long campaign led to a pan-India interaction with netizens from different areas and backgrounds. The thoughts and opinions of the netizens were understood and collated in the form of a whitepaper which was, in turn, presented to Parliamentarians and government officials. The whitepaper laid the foundation of the recommendations submitted to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as part of the stakeholder consultation.
Overall, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill of 2023 is an important step towards safeguarding Indian citizens’ privacy and personal data. It creates a regulatory agency to guarantee compliance and enforcement and offers a thorough framework for data protection. The law includes special measures for the protection of sensitive personal data and the personal data of children and acknowledges the significance of striking a balance between the right to privacy and the necessity of data processing.
The appeal is to be heard by the TDSAT (telecommunication dispute settlement & appellate tribunal) regarding several changes under Digital personal data protection. The Changes should be a removal of the deemed consent, a change in appellate mechanism, No change in delegation legislation, and under data breach. And there are some following other changes in the bill, and the digital personal data protection bill 2023 will now provide a negative list of countries that cannot transfer the data.
New Version of the DPDP Bill
The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill has a new version. There are three major changes in the 2022 draft of the digital personal data protection bill. The changes are as follows: The new version proposes changes that there shall be no deemed consent under the bill and that the personal data processing should be for limited uses only. By giving the deemed consent, there shall be consent for the processing of data for any purposes. That is why there shall be no deemed consent.
- In the interest of the sovereignty
- The integrity of India and the National Security
- For the issue of subsidies, benefits, services, certificates, licenses, permits, etc
- To comply with any judgment or order under the law
- To protect, assist, or provide service in a medical or health emergency, a disaster situation, or to maintain public order
- In relation to an employee and his/her rights
The 2023 version now includes an appeals mechanism
It states that the Board will have the authority to issue directives for data breach remediation or mitigation, investigate data breaches and complaints, and levy financial penalties. It would be authorised to submit complaints to alternative dispute resolution, accept voluntary undertakings from data fiduciaries, and advise the government to prohibit a data fiduciary’s website, app, or other online presence if the terms of the law were regularly violated. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal will hear any appeals.
The other change is in delegated legislation, as one of the criticisms of the 2022 version bill was that it gave the government extensive rule-making powers. The committee also raised the same concern with the ministry. The committed wants that the provisions that cannot be fully defined within the scope of the bill can be addressed.
The other major change raised in the new version bill is regarding the data breach; there will be no compensation for the data breach. This raises a significant concern for the victims, If the victims suffer a data breach and he approaches the relevant court or authority, he will not be awarded compensation for the loss he has suffered due to the data breach.
Need of changes under DPDP
There is a need for changes in digital personal data protection as we talk about the deemed consent so simply speaking, by ‘deeming’ consent for subsequent uses, your data may be used for purposes other than what it has been provided for and, as there is no provision for to be informed of this through mandatory notice, there may never even come to know about it.
The bill requires changes to meet the need of evolving digital landscape in the digital personal data protection 2022 draft. The removal of deemed consent will ultimately protect the data of the data principal. And the data of the data principal will be used or processed only for the purpose for which the consent is given. The change in the appellate mechanism is also crucial as it meets the requirements of addressing appeals. However, the no compensation for a data breach is derogatory to the interest of the victim who has suffered a data breach.
A message has recently circulated on WhatsApp alleging that voice and video chats made through the app will be recorded, and devices will be linked to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s system from now on. WhatsApp from now, record the chat activities and forward the details to the Government. The Anti-Government News has been shared on social media.
- The fake WhatsApp message claims that an 11-point new communication guideline has been established and that voice and video calls will be recorded and saved. It goes on to say that WhatsApp devices will be linked to the Ministry’s system and that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all other social media platforms will be monitored in the future.
- The fake WhatsApp message further advises individuals not to transmit ‘any nasty post or video against the government or the Prime Minister regarding politics or the current situation’. The bogus message goes on to say that it is a “crime” to write or transmit a negative message on any political or religious subject and that doing so could result in “arrest without a warrant.”
- The false message claims that any message in a WhatsApp group with three blue ticks indicates that the message has been noted by the government. It also notifies Group members that if a message has 1 Blue tick and 2 Red ticks, the government is checking their information, and if a member has 3 Red ticks, the government has begun procedures against the user, and they will receive a court summons shortly.
WhatsApp does not record voice and video calls
There has been news which is spreading that WhatsApp records voice calls and video calls of the users. the news is spread through a message that has been recently shared on social media. As per the Government, the news is fake, that WhatsApp cannot record voice and video calls. Only third-party apps can record voice and video calls. Usually, users use third-party Apps to record voice and video calls.
Third-party apps used for recording voice and video calls
- App Call recorder
- Call recorder- Cube ACR
- Video Call Screen recorder for WhatsApp FB
- AZ Screen Recorder
- Video Call Recorder for WhatsApp
In 2022 there was a fake message spreading on social media, suggesting that the government might monitor WhatsApp talks and act against users. According to this fake message, a new WhatsApp policy has been released, and it claims that from now on, every message that is regarded as suspicious will have three 3 Blue ticks, indicating that the government has taken note of that message. And the same fake news is spreading nowadays.
WhatsApp Privacy policies against recording voice and video chats
The WhatsApp privacy policies say that voice calls, video calls, and even chats cannot be recorded through WhatsApp because of end-to-end encryption settings. End-to-end encryption ensures that the communication between two people will be kept private and safe.
WhatsApp Brand New Features
- Chat lock feature: WhatsApp Chat Lock allows you to store chats in a folder that can only be viewed using your device’s password or biometrics such as a fingerprint. When you lock a chat, the details of the conversation are automatically hidden in notifications. The motive of WhatsApp behind the cha lock feature is to discover new methods to keep your messages private and safe. The feature allows the protection of most private conversations with an extra degree of security
- Edit chats feature: WhatsApp can now edit your WhatsApp messages up to 15 minutes after they have been sent. With this feature, the users can make the correction in the chat or can add some extra points, users want to add.
The spread of misinformation and fake news is a significant problem in the age of the internet. It can have serious consequences for individuals, communities, and even nations. The news is fake as per the government, as neither WhatsApp nor the government could have access to WhatsApp chats, voice, and video calls on WhatsApp because of end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption ensures to protect of the communications of the users. The government previous year blocked 60 social media platforms because of the spreading of Anti India News. There is a fact check unit which identifies misleading and false online content.
Microsoft has unveiled its ambitious roadmap for developing a quantum supercomputer with AI features, acknowledging the transformative power of quantum computing in solving complex societal challenges. Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionise AI by enhancing its capabilities and enabling breakthroughs in different fields. Microsoft’s groundbreaking announcement of its plans to develop a quantum supercomputer, its potential applications, and the implications for the future of artificial intelligence (AI). However, there is a need for regulation in the realms of quantum computing and AI and significant policies and considerations associated with these transformative technologies. This technological advancement will help in the successful development and deployment of quantum computing, along with the potential benefits and challenges associated with its implementation.
What isQuantum computing?
Quantum computing is an emerging field of computer science and technology that utilises principles from quantum mechanics to perform complex calculations and solve certain types of problems more efficiently than classical computers. While classical computers store and process information using bits, quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits.
Quantum computing promises to significantly expand AI’s capabilities beyond its current limitations. Integrating these two technologies could lead to profound advancements in various sectors, including healthcare, finance, and cybersecurity. Quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are two rapidly evolving fields that have the potential to revolutionise technology and reshape various industries. This section explores the interdependence of quantum computing and AI, highlighting how integrating these two technologies could lead to profound advancements across sectors such as healthcare, finance, and cybersecurity.
- Enhancing AI Capabilities:
Quantum computing holds the promise of significantly expanding the capabilities of AI systems. Traditional computers, based on classical physics and binary logic, need help solving complex problems due to the exponential growth of computational requirements. Quantum computing, on the other hand, leverages the principles of quantum mechanics to perform computations on quantum bits or qubits, which can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This inherent parallelism and superposition property of qubits could potentially accelerate AI algorithms and enable more efficient processing of vast amounts of data.
- Solving Complex Problems:
The integration of quantum computing and AI has the potential to tackle complex problems that are currently beyond the reach of classical computing methods. Quantum machine learning algorithms, for example, could leverage quantum superposition and entanglement to analyse and classify large datasets more effectively. This could have significant applications in healthcare, where AI-powered quantum systems could aid in drug discovery, disease diagnosis, and personalised medicine by processing vast amounts of genomic and clinical data.
- Advancements in Finance and Optimisation:
The financial sector can benefit significantly from integrating quantum computing and AI. Quantum algorithms can be employed to optimise portfolios, improve risk analysis models, and enhance trading strategies. By harnessing the power of quantum machine learning, financial institutions can make more accurate predictions and informed decisions, leading to increased efficiency and reduced risks.
- Strengthening Cybersecurity:
Quantum computing can also play a pivotal role in bolstering cybersecurity defences. Quantum techniques can be employed to develop new cryptographic protocols that are resistant to quantum attacks. In conjunction with quantum computing, AI can further enhance cybersecurity by analysing massive amounts of network traffic and identifying potential vulnerabilities or anomalies in real time, enabling proactive threat mitigation.
- Quantum-Inspired AI:
Beyond the direct integration of quantum computing and AI, quantum-inspired algorithms are also being explored. These algorithms, designed to run on classical computers, draw inspiration from quantum principles and can improve performance in specific AI tasks. Quantum-inspired optimisation algorithms, for instance, can help solve complex optimisation problems more efficiently, enabling better resource allocation, supply chain management, and scheduling in various industries.
How Quantum Computing and AI Should be Regulated-
As quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, questions arise regarding the need for regulations to govern these technologies. There is debate surrounding the regulation of quantum computing and AI, considering the potential risks, ethical implications, and the balance between innovation and societal protection.
- Assessing Potential Risks: Quantum computing and AI bring unprecedented capabilities that can significantly impact various aspects of society. However, they also pose potential risks, such as unintended consequences, privacy breaches, and algorithmic biases. Regulation can help identify and mitigate these risks, ensuring these technologies’ responsible development and deployment.
- Ethical Implications: AI and quantum computing raise ethical concerns related to privacy, bias, accountability, and the impact on human autonomy. For AI, issues such as algorithmic fairness, transparency, and decision-making accountability must be addressed. Quantum computing, with its potential to break current encryption methods, requires regulatory measures to protect sensitive information. Ethical guidelines and regulations can provide a framework to address these concerns and promote responsible innovation.
- Balancing Innovation and Regulation: Regulating quantum computing and AI involves balancing fostering innovation and protecting society’s interests. Excessive regulation could stifle technological advancements, hinder research, and impede economic growth. On the other hand, a lack of regulation may lead to the proliferation of unsafe or unethical applications. A thoughtful and adaptive regulatory approach is necessary, considering the dynamic nature of these technologies and allowing for iterative improvements based on evolving understanding and risks.
- International Collaboration: Given the global nature of quantum computing and AI, international collaboration in regulation is essential. Harmonising regulatory frameworks can avoid fragmented approaches, ensure consistency, and facilitate ethical and responsible practices across borders. Collaborative efforts can also address data privacy, security, and cross-border data flow challenges, enabling a more unified and cooperative approach towards regulation.
- Regulatory Strategies: Regulatory strategies for quantum computing and AI should adopt a multidisciplinary approach involving stakeholders from academia, industry, policymakers, and the public. Key considerations include:
- Risk-based Approach: Regulations should focus on high-risk applications while allowing low-risk experimentation and development space.
- Transparency and Explainability: AI systems should be transparent and explainable to enable accountability and address concerns about bias, discrimination, and decision-making processes.
- Privacy Protection: Regulations should safeguard individual privacy rights, especially in quantum computing, where current encryption methods may be vulnerable.
- Testing and Certification: Establishing standards for the testing and certification of AI systems can ensure their reliability, safety, and adherence to ethical principles.
- Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation: Regulatory frameworks should be dynamic, regularly reviewed, and adapted to keep pace with the evolving landscape of quantum computing and AI.
Integrating quantum computing and AI holds immense potential for advancing technology across diverse domains. Quantum computing can enhance the capabilities of AI systems, enabling the solution of complex problems, accelerating data processing, and revolutionising industries such as healthcare, finance, and cybersecurity. As research and development in these fields progress, collaborative efforts among researchers, industry experts, and policymakers will be crucial in harnessing the synergies between quantum computing and AI to drive innovation and shape a transformative future.The regulation of quantum computing and AI is a complex and ongoing discussion. Striking the right balance between fostering innovation, protecting societal interests, and addressing ethical concerns is crucial. A collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to regulation, considering international cooperation, risk assessment, transparency, privacy protection, and continuous monitoring, is necessary to ensure these transformative technologies' responsible development and deployment.
With the increasing frequency and severity of cyber-attacks on critical sectors, the government of India has formulated the National Cyber Security Reference Framework (NCRF) 2023, aimed to address cybersecurity concerns in India. In today’s digital age, the security of critical sectors is paramount due to the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. Cybersecurity measures are crucial for protecting essential sectors such as banking, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, strategic enterprises, and government enterprises. This is an essential step towards safeguarding these critical sectors and preparing for the challenges they face in the face of cyber threats. Protecting critical sectors from cyber threats is an urgent priority that requires the development of robust cybersecurity practices and the implementation of effective measures to mitigate risks.
Overview of the National Cyber Security Policy 2013
The National Cyber Security Policy of 2013 was the first attempt to address cybersecurity concerns in India. However, it had several drawbacks that limited its effectiveness in mitigating cyber risks in the contemporary digital age. The policy’s outdated guidelines, insufficient prevention and response measures, and lack of legal implications hindered its ability to protect critical sectors adequately. Moreover, the policy should have kept up with the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape and emerging technologies, leaving organisations vulnerable to new cyber-attacks. The 2013 policy failed to address the evolving nature of cyber threats, leaving organisations needing updated guidelines to combat new and sophisticated attacks.
As a result, an updated and more comprehensive policy, the National Cyber Security Reference Framework 2023, was necessary to address emerging challenges and provide strategic guidance for protecting critical sectors against cyber threats.
Highlights of NCRF 2023
Strategic Guidance: NCRF 2023 has been developed to provide organisations with strategic guidance to address their cybersecurity concerns in a structured manner.
Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR): The policy is based on a CBDR approach, recognising that different organisations have varying levels of cybersecurity needs and responsibilities.
Update of National Cyber Security Policy 2013: NCRF supersedes the National Cyber Security Policy 2013, which was due for an update to align with the evolving cyber threat landscape and emerging challenges.
Different from CERT-In Directives: NCRF is distinct from the directives issued by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) published in April 2023. It provides a comprehensive framework rather than specific directives for reporting cyber incidents.
Combination of robust strategies: National Cyber Security Reference Framework 2023 will provide strategic guidance, a revised structure, and a proactive approach to cybersecurity, enabling organisations to tackle the growing cyberattacks in India better and safeguard critical sectors. Rising incidents of malware attacks on critical sectors
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in malware attacks targeting critical sectors. These sectors, including banking, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, strategic enterprises, and government enterprises, play a crucial role in the functioning of economies and the well-being of societies. The escalating incidents of malware attacks on these sectors have raised concerns about the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.
Banking: The banking sector handles sensitive financial data and is a prime target for cybercriminals due to the potential for financial fraud and theft.
Energy: The energy sector, including power grids and oil companies, is critical for the functioning of economies, and disruptions can have severe consequences for national security and public safety.
Healthcare: The healthcare sector holds valuable patient data, and cyber-attacks can compromise patient privacy and disrupt healthcare services. Malware attacks on healthcare organisations can result in the theft of patient records, ransomware incidents that cripple healthcare operations, and compromise medical devices.
Telecommunications: Telecommunications infrastructure is vital for reliable communication, and attacks targeting this sector can lead to communication disruptions and compromise the privacy of transmitted data. The interconnectedness of telecommunications networks globally presents opportunities for cybercriminals to launch large-scale attacks, such as Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks.
Transportation: Malware attacks on transportation systems can lead to service disruptions, compromise control systems, and pose safety risks.
Strategic Enterprises: Strategic enterprises, including defence, aerospace, intelligence agencies, and other sectors vital to national security, face sophisticated malware attacks with potentially severe consequences. Cyber adversaries target these enterprises to gain unauthorised access to classified information, compromise critical infrastructure, or sabotage national security operations.
Government Enterprises: Government organisations hold a vast amount of sensitive data and provide essential services to citizens, making them targets for data breaches and attacks that can disrupt critical services.
The sectors of banking, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, strategic enterprises, and government enterprises face unique vulnerabilities and challenges in the face of cyber-attacks. By recognising the significance of safeguarding these sectors, we can emphasise the need for proactive cybersecurity measures and collaborative efforts between public and private entities. Strengthening regulatory frameworks, sharing threat intelligence, and adopting best practices are essential to ensure our critical infrastructure’s resilience and security. Through these concerted efforts, we can create a safer digital environment for these sectors, protecting vital services and preserving the integrity of our economy and society. The rising incidents of malware attacks on critical sectors emphasise the urgent need for updated cybersecurity policy, enhanced cybersecurity measures, a collaboration between public and private entities, and the development of proactive defence strategies. National Cyber Security Reference Framework 2023 will help in addressing the evolving cyber threat landscape, protect critical sectors, fill the gaps in sector-specific best practices, promote collaboration, establish a regulatory framework, and address the challenges posed by emerging technologies. By providing strategic guidance, this framework will enhance organisations’ cybersecurity posture and ensure the protection of critical infrastructure in an increasingly digitised world.
Established in the US, one of the world’s largest cab networks came into existence in 2010 and, since its inception, has expanded all over the globe with operations in 10,000 cities across 71 countries. It made a remarkable start in India in 2017 and, since then, has seen a rise in the customers and drivers for the company. India is among the largest markets for Uber, with 600,000 monthly drivers and 8.5 million monthly riders.
Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a one-stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common-use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organizations / PSUs. GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverses e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate government users achieve the best value for their money. Government e-Marketplace owes its genesis to the recommendations of two Groups of Secretaries to the Prime Minister in January 2016. They recommended setting up a dedicated e-market for different goods & services procured or sold by Government/PSUs besides reforming DGS&D. Subsequently, the Finance Minister, in his Budget speech for FY 2016-17, announced setting up of a technology-driven platform to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various Ministries and agencies of the Government. The portal was launched on 9th August 2016 by the Commerce & Industry Minister.
The cab network giant has registered on the portal of the Government E-marketplace and has declared that it will offer its services to Government officials from Ministries and PSUs. The project is currently in its pilot phase and shall be executed systematically to cover all the ministries and PSUs in the nation. The officials can book cabs at a fixed price with no cancellation or surge fees on the rides. The authorised officials will be able to book a cab from the portal and select from the list of drivers available. It will be a cashless/cardless ride for the officials; additional vehicle categories for government riders have been added, namely, GeM Yatraa Hatch and GeM Yatraa Sedan, and there will be hourly rentals for multiple-stops, allowing the government officials to enjoy the flexible and easily accessible network of cabs in major cities.
Such collaboration between Government institutions and corporates will go a long way to secure a stable equilibrium in the market. Uber, a US-based company, enjoys a vast user base in India and has created new job avenues. The advantages of the collaboration between GeM and Uber are as follows-
This will undoubtedly provide ease in accessibility in terms of being in a new place, and language barriers will no longer exist with such options for Government officials.
Increased jobs for drivers
With more cabs being engaged with ministries and PSUs, it is pertinent that the requirement for drivers will grow, thus increasing the employability rate in India and allowing the user to have an uninterrupted experience.
Ease of travel and commuting
This move will provide flexibility, thus leading to more ease in travel in cases of emergencies or places inaccessible by trains or other modes of transport.
Rise in travel and tourism
Coupled with the other factors, the opportunities for the users to visit different places will be an added advantage which will help boost the tourism industry, thus creating a balance in the market.
Sustainable Government corporate relationship
Such collaborations between the government and corporates will be substantial, signifying the ease of doing business in India. They will also act as a beacon of example for compliance with opportunities for the other companies and stakeholders.
Opportunities for collaboration with ingenious start-ups
With such major corporate joining hands with the government, the indigenous start-ups will have various opportunities to engage with companies and recreate similar businesses rooted in India, thus transforming the economy.
Transportation and communication play a vital role in our lives, thus, such collaboration will go a long way in creating a better and more uniform user experience in the country. This also goes a long way to showcase that the Governmental platforms also offer services of a global standard. Such portals exist in South Korea, Singapore, the US and Europe. The network of cabs can only be sustained using the locals as drivers, hence these collaborations are win-win for all as the market dynamics are improving, employability will increase, and improved user experience will be seen.
THREE CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:
India’s Finance Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, with a vision of ‘Make AI for India’ and ‘Make AI work for India, ’ announced during the presentation of Union Budget 2023 that the Indian Government is planning to set up three ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Artificial Intelligence in top Educational Institutions to revolutionise fields such as health, agriculture, etc.
Under the ‘Amirt Kaal,’ i.e., the budget of 2023 is a stepping stone by the government to have a technology-driven knowledge-based economy and the seven priorities that have been set up by the government called ‘Saptarishi’ such as inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure investment, unleashing potential, green growth, youth power, and financial sector will guide the nation in this endeavor along with leading industry players that will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, developing cutting edge applications and scalable problem solutions in such areas.
The government has already formed the roadmap for AI in the nation through MeitY, NASSCOM, and DRDO, indicating that the government has already started this AI revolution. For AI-related research and development, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) has already been formed, and biometric identification, facial recognition, criminal investigation, crowd and traffic management, agriculture, healthcare, education, and other applications of AI are currently being used.
Even a task force on artificial intelligence (AI) was established on August 24, 2017. The government had promised to set up Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for research, education, and skill development in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), digital manufacturing, big data analytics, quantum communication, and the Internet of Things (IoT) and by announcing the same in the current Union budget has planned to fulfill the same.
The government has also announced the development of 100 labs in engineering institutions for developing applications using 5G services that will collaborate with various authorities, regulators, banks, and other businesses.
Developing such labs aims to create new business models and employment opportunities. Among others, it will also create smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and healthcare applications, as well as new pedagogy, curriculum, continual professional development dipstick survey, and ICT implementation will be introduced for training the teachers.
POSSIBLE ROLES OF AI:
The use of AI in top educational institutions will help students to learn at their own pace, using AI algorithms providing customised feedback and recommendations based on their performance, as it can also help students identify their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to focus their study efforts more effectively and efficiently and will help train students in AI and make the country future-ready.
The main area of AI in healthcare, agriculture, and sustainable cities would be researching and developing practical AI applications in these sectors. In healthcare, AI can be effective by helping medical professionals diagnose diseases faster and more accurately by analysing medical images and patient data. It can also be used to identify the most effective treatments for specific patients based on their genetic and medical history.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionise the agriculture industry by improving yields, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency. AI algorithms can collect and analyse data on soil moisture, crop health, and weather patterns to optimise crop management practices, improve yields and the health and well-being of livestock, predict potential health issues, and increase productivity. These algorithms can identify and target weeds and pests, reducing the need for harmful chemicals and increasing sustainability.
ROLE OF AI IN CYBERSPACE:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a crucial role in cyberspace. AI technology can enhance security in cyberspace, prevent cyber-attacks, detect and respond to security threats, and improve overall cybersecurity. Some of the specific applications of AI in cyberspace include:
- Intrusion Detection: AI-powered systems can analyse large amounts of data and detect signs of potential cyber-attacks.
- Threat Analysis: AI algorithms can help identify patterns of behaviour that may indicate a potential threat and then take appropriate action.
- Fraud Detection: AI can identify and prevent fraudulent activities, such as identity theft and phishing, by analysing large amounts of data and detecting unusual behaviour patterns.
- Network Security: AI can monitor and secure networks against potential cyber-attacks by detecting and blocking malicious traffic.
- Data Security: AI can be used to protect sensitive data and ensure that it is only accessible to authorised personnel.
Introducing AI in top educational institutions and partnering it with leading industries will prove to be a stepping stone to revolutionise the development of the country, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to play a significant role in the development of a country by improving various sectors and addressing societal challenges. Overall, we hope to see an increase in efficiency and productivity across various industries, leading to increased economic growth and job creation, improved delivery of healthcare services by increasing access to care and, improving patient outcomes, making education more accessible and effective as AI has the potential to improve various sectors of a country and contribute to its overall development and progress. However, it’s important to ensure that AI is developed and used ethically, considering its potential consequences and impact on society.
It’s a proud moment for Indians that India will host the G- 20 administration, which will bring the world’s 20 largest profitable nations together on a single platform during the post-economic recovery and the Russia- Ukraine conflict, which has increased geopolitical pressures among nations over the last many times and made the G- 20 a precedence of nations. With this administration, India has to make cybersecurity precedence, as the security and integrity of the critical structure and digital platforms are top precedence in 2023. The necessity for a secure cyberspace is pivotal given the exponential increase in the volume and kind of cyber-attacks, particularly to crucial structures the most recent illustration is the ongoing interruption at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical lores caused by a ransomware assault. It has been observed that the mode of attacks are more sophisticated and targets communication structure, critical structure, transport systems, and especially the information technology sector and fiscal system.
The structure that enables the delivery of government services to be more effective. As a result,cyber-secured critical structures and digital public forums are necessary for public security, bettered governance, and, most importantly, maintaining people’s trust. The G20 can be enhanced and contribute towards securing digital public platforms and the integrity of the critical structure. This time, in 2023, digital security is the top precedence.
G20 cybersecurity enterprises and politic sweat
The emphasis on cybersecurity was maintained throughout the Italian and Indonesian regulations in 2021 and 2022, independently, by emphasizing the significance of cyberspace during Digital Economy Working Group addresses. Specifically, under the Indonesian Presidency, the prominent cybersecurity focus was clear in the recent Bali Leaders’ protestation, which noted, among other effects, the significance of fighting misinformation juggernauts and cyber attacks, as well as guaranteeing connectivity structure security. The cyber incident report by the Financial Stability Board on carrying further uniformity in cyber incident reporting In 2016, a G20 digital task force was created under the Chinese administration to understand digital technology issues. Under the Saudi administration, the cybersecurity gap at the G20 was bridged by addressing the issues of MSMs. India has also refocused on the significance of creating secure, secure, and stronger-friendly digital platforms.
G20- India’s digital invention alliance( G-20-DIA) a cyber-secure Bharat
- Under India’s administration, the G20’s Digital Economy Working Group is led by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology( MeitY, DEWG).
- The Ministry concentrated on three major areas during India’s G20 administration digital skill development, digital public structure, and cyber security.
- The EWG’s DIA and Stay Safe Online enterprise further the ideal of lesser digital metamorphosis by guaranteeing a safe and creative cyber terrain. They want to offer a smooth and secure delivery of public services.
The G20 Digital Innovation Alliance
(G20- DIA) strives to find, admit, and encourage the relinquishment of innovative and poignant digital technologies produced by invited G20 startups and-member governments.
- These technologies must meet humanity’s conditions in six crucial areas husbandry, health, education, finance, secure digital structure, and indirect frugality.
- The inventions created around these motifs will be supported by the Digital Public Goods structure, allowing them to be espoused encyclopedically, closing the digital gap and icing sustainable and indifferent growth.
- The G20 Digital Innovation Alliance( G20- DIA) conference will be held on the perimeters of the Digital Economy Working Group( DEWG) meeting in Bengaluru.
- Top-nominated entrepreneurs from each order will present their ideas to a worldwide community of investors, instructors, pots, and other stakeholders at this event.
India’s” Stay Safe Online crusade”
The” Stay Safe Online” crusade attempts to raise mindfulness about the significance of remaining safe in the online world amid our adding reliance on it. With the fast expansion of the technical terrain and the growing number of internet druggies in India, new difficulties are arising. The Stay Safe Online crusade aims to educate individuals about cyber pitfalls and how to avoid them. The time-long crusade will target children, women, scholars, and aged citizens, as well as individuals with disabilities, preceptors, and government officers in particular. It’ll be done in Hindi, English, and indigenous languages to reach a larger followership. It’ll distribute mindfulness information in infographics, short pictures, cartoon stories, and so on through extensively employed social media platforms and other channels. The primary stakeholders will be government agencies, civil societies, and NGOs.
To wind up, it can be said that cyber security has become the most essential part of transnational affairs. As India hosts the G20 administration in 2023, the docket relating to cybersecurity gains a global stage, where cyber-related issues are addressed and honored encyclopedically, and nations can combat these issues; also, India aims to raise cyber mindfulness among its citizens.
The year, 2022 has been a year of transition and change for the gaming industry. This year esports and gaming including the industry’s greater increased acceptance by the sports authorities and higher prize pools for top players, has been more commercial than ever, according to research by the year 2025 the industry will witness growth by 5 million dollars and around 420 million active gamers from India. Since, India is on the way to become world’s largest gaming market, with revenue earned in 2021 increasing by up to 28%, or 1.2 billion dollars, and predicted to reach 2 billion dollars by 2024 as a result of the COVID-19 expanding internet access throughout the country.
After a lengthy debate, the government has finally decided to bring online gaming under the purview of the law. The President of India has changed the rules governing e-sports and requested that the Sports Ministry and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) include e-sports in multi-sport competitions. India’s gaming sector has reached new heights this year, with the country winning its first bronze medal in the first esports event organized by this year’s Commonwealth Games, and this is only the beginning.
Indian government takes on E-sports
The Indian government has given esports a huge boost. It has been introduced into the traditional sports disciplines of the nation. Droupadi Murmu, the President of India, changed the regulations governing eSports using the authority “conferred by clause (3) of Article 77 of the Constitution,” and requested that “e-Sports be included as part of multi-sports events” from the Ministries of Electronics and Information Technology and Sports. Some crucial points will clarify the government’s position on e-sports.
- E-sports were added as a demonstration sport to the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, which meant that medals earned in the sport were not counted in the official total of medals.
- There is a greater desire for Esports to be integrated with school curricula.
- E-Sports (Electronic Sports) have been acknowledged by the Indian government as a component of multi-sport tournaments.
Why is e-sports important?
The Indian Esports Industry has worked hard to distinguish Esports from the broader category of “Gaming.” Esports is a competitive sport in which esports athletes compete in specific video game genres in a virtual, electronic environment using their physical and mental prowess, according to the industry.
According to studies, as individuals have gotten more screen aware and online gaming has become a part of their life, internet gaming not only improves fine motor skills but also sharpens the mind. The industry has the most users and stakeholders, and it has become critical to governing it; consequently, legislation is required to regulate it.
The online regulation bill 2022
The Online Gaming (Regulations) Bill, 2022, was recently filed in the Lok Sabha to create an effective regulatory mechanism for the online gaming business to prevent fraud and misuse of things related to or incidental to it. There are 20 sections spread throughout three chapters. It intends to establish an Online Gaming Commission, the authority, mandate, and jurisdiction of which will be specified by the Bill. An online gaming server will be licensed, relinquished, revoked, or suspended by the Commission’s key highlights of the bill to make it more clear
- The Bill establishes a regulating agency, the Online Gaming Commission (“OGC”), comprised of five members chosen by the Central Government, each with at least one specialist in the fields of law, cyber technology, and law enforcement experience.
- The OGC will be able to oversee the functions of online gaming websites, issue periodic or special reports on Online Gaming issues, recommend appropriate measures to control and curb illegal Online Gaming, grant, suspend, and revoke licenses for online gaming websites, and set fees for license applications and renewals.
- Without a website and a non-transferable and non-assignable license, the Bill proposes to make online gambling illegal. Anyone operating an online gaming server or website without a license risks up to three years in prison and a fine. The permission will be good for a six-year term.
- The license intended to be given under the Bill may be terminated or canceled if the licensee violates any of the license’s requirements or any of Bill’s provisions. However, the Bill does not apply to anybody providing backend services in India, including hosting and maintenance for any international gaming website situated outside of India.
- The bill also mentions the Foreign Direct Investment and Technology Collaboration in Online Gaming
Few misses in the bill that can be addressed to make it stronger and a better version
- The law does not address Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, customer complaint procedures, advertising and marketing restrictions, user data protection, responsible gaming guidelines, and other concerns.
- In the bill, there is no clear distinction between money involved in the game. This is a matter of concern and needs to be addressed so the money laundering aspect can be determined.
- The distinction between “games of chance” and “games of skill” is not addressed in the Bill. Furthermore, the Bill does not specify whether its prohibitions apply only to for-real-money games or to free games.
Despite the bill’s flaws, it has offered optimism to the burgeoning gaming sector, which desperately needs a robust regulatory and legal framework free of ambiguity, allowing players to play safely, and encouraging entrepreneurs to enter the field with safety and security. An improved regulatory framework will increase job prospects while also assisting the government. A transparent framework will also aid in the protection of the rights of actors and stakeholders.
With the increasing reliance on digital technologies in the banking industry, cyber threats have become a significant concern. Cyberlaw plays a crucial role in safeguarding the banking sector from cybercrimes and ensuring the security and integrity of financial systems.
The banking industry has witnessed a rapid digital transformation, enabling convenient services and greater access to financial resources. However, this digitalisation also exposes the industry to cyber threats, necessitating the formulation and implementation of effective cyber law frameworks.
Recent Trends in the Banking Industry
Digital Transformation: The banking industry has embraced digital technologies, such as mobile banking, internet banking, and financial apps, to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency.
Open Banking: The concept of open banking has gained prominence, enabling data sharing between banks and third-party service providers, which introduces new cyber risks.
How Cyber Law Helps the Banking Sector
The banking sector and cyber crime share an unspoken synergy due to the mass digitisation of banking services. Thanks to QR codes, UPI and online banking payments, India is now home to 40% of global online banking transactions. Some critical aspects of the cyber law and banking sector are as follows:
Data Protection: Cyberlaw mandates banks to implement robust data protection measures, including encryption, access controls, and regular security audits, to safeguard customer data.
Incident Response and Reporting: Cyberlaw requires banks to establish incident response plans, promptly report cyber incidents to regulatory authorities, and cooperate in investigations.
Customer Protection: Cyberlaw enforces regulations related to online banking fraud, identity theft, and unauthorised transactions, ensuring that customers are protected from cybercrimes.
Legal Framework: Cyberlaw provides a legal foundation for digitalisation in the banking sector, assuring customers that regulations protect their digital transactions and data.
Cybersecurity Training and Awareness: Cyberlaw encourages banks to conduct regular training programs and create awareness among employees and customers about cyber threats, safe digital practices, and reporting procedures.
The RBI, as India’s central banking institution, has issued comprehensive guidelines to enhance cyber resilience in the banking industry. These guidelines address various aspects, including:
Technology Risk Management
Cyber Security Framework
Cyber Crisis Management Plan
Incident Reporting and Response
Recent Trends in Banking Sector Frauds and the Role of Cyber Law
Phishing Attacks: Cyberlaw helps banks combat phishing attacks by imposing penalties on perpetrators and mandating preventive measures like two-factor authentication.
Insider Threats: Cyberlaw regulations emphasise the need for stringent access controls, employee background checks, and legal consequences for insiders involved in fraudulent activities.
Ransomware Attacks: Cyberlaw frameworks assist banks in dealing with ransomware attacks by enabling legal actions against hackers and promoting preventive measures, such as regular software updates and data backups.
Master Directions on Cyber Resilience and Digital Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators (PSOs)
Draft of Master Directions on Cyber Resilience and Digital Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators (PSOs) issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The directions provide guidelines and requirements for PSOs to improve the safety and security of their payment systems, with a focus on cyber resilience. These guidelines for PSOs include mobile payment service providers like Paytm or digital wallet payment platforms.
Here are the highlights-
The Directions aim to improve the safety and security of payment systems operated by PSOs by providing a framework for overall information security preparedness, with an emphasis on cyber resilience.
The Directions apply to all authorised non-bank PSOs.
PSOs must ensure adherence to these Directions by unregulated entities in their digital payments ecosystem, such as payment gateways, third-party service providers, vendors, and merchants.
The PSO’s Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring adequate oversight over information security risks, including cyber risk and cyber resilience. A sub-committee of the Board may be delegated with primary oversight responsibilities.
PSOs must formulate a Board-approved Information Security (IS) policy that covers roles and responsibilities, measures to identify and manage cyber security risks, training and awareness programs, and more.
PSOs should have a distinct Board-approved Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP) to detect, contain, respond, and recover from cyber threats and attacks.
A senior-level executive, such as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), should be responsible for implementing the IS policy and the cyber resilience framework and assessing the overall information security posture of the PSO.
PSOs need to define Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to identify potential risk events and assess the effectiveness of security controls. The sub-committee of the Board is responsible for monitoring these indicators.
PSOs should conduct a cyber risk assessment when launching new products, services, technologies, or significant changes to existing infrastructure or processes.
PSOs, including inventory management, identity and access management, network security, application security life cycle, security testing, vendor risk management, data security, patch and change management life cycle, incident response, business continuity planning, API security, employee awareness and training, and other security measures should implement various baseline information security measures and controls.
PSOs should ensure that payment transactions involving debit to accounts conducted electronically are permitted only through multi-factor authentication, except where explicitly permitted/relaxed.
The relationship between cyber law and the banking industry is crucial in ensuring a secure and trusted digital environment. Recent trends indicate that cyber threats are evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Compliance with cyber law provisions and adherence to guidelines such as those provided by the RBI is essential for banks to protect themselves and their customers from cybercrimes. By embracing robust cyber law frameworks, the banking industry can foster a resilient ecosystem that enables innovation while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders or users.
The insurance industry is a target for cybercriminals due to the sensitive nature of the information it holds. This makes it essential for insurance companies to have robust cybersecurity measures to protect their data and customers’ personal information.
Cyber fraud in India’s insurance industry is increasing. It is reported that the Indian insurance sector has witnessed a surge in cyber-attacks, with several instances of data breaches, identity thefts, and financial fraud being reported. These cybercrimes not only pose a significant threat to the financial stability of the insurance industry but also to the privacy and security of policyholders.
Cyber Frauds in the Insurance Industry
The insurance industry in India has been the target of increasing cyber fraud in recent years. With the growing digital transformation trend, insurance companies have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber frauds in the insurance industry are initiated by hackers who use various techniques such as phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering to gain unauthorised access to policyholders’ personal data and sensitive information
Kinds of cyber frauds in the insurance industry
It is essential for insurers and policyholders alike to be aware of these kinds of cyber-attacks on insurance companies in today’s digital age. Staying educated about these threats can help prevent them from happening in the future.
Identity theft– One common type of cyber fraud that occurs in the insurance industry is identity theft. In this type of fraud, criminals steal personal information such as name, address, date of birth and social security numbers through phishing emails or fraudulent websites. They then use this information to open fraudulent policies or access existing ones.
Payment fraud- Another type of cyber fraud that is on the rise is payment fraud. In this type of fraud, hackers intercept electronic payments made by policyholders or agents using fake bank accounts or compromised payment gateways. The money is then siphoned into untraceable accounts, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to identify and arrest the perpetrators.
Phishing attacks- Where the fraudsters posed as company officials and sent emails to policyholders requesting their account details. The unsuspecting customers fell for this scam and shared their sensitive information, which was then used to access their accounts and steal funds.
Hacking- Where hackers breach the company’s system to gain access to policyholder data. The hackers’ stoles personal records, including names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and financial information, which they later sell on the dark web.
Fake policies scam- Fraudsters create fake policies using stolen identities and collect premiums from innocent customers. The insurer then voided these policies due to fraudulent activity leaving those people without valid coverage when they needed it most. The victims suffer significant financial losses due to this scam.
Fake Insurance Websites- Discuss the creation of deceptive websites that imitate well-known insurance companies, where unsuspecting individuals provide their personal details, leading to identity theft or financial losses.
Prevention of Cyber Frauds in the Insurance Industry- Best practices to follow
Prevention is better than cure, which also holds true in the case of cyber fraud in the insurance industry. The industry must take proactive steps to prevent such frauds from occurring in the first place. One of the most effective ways to do so is by investing in cybersecurity measures that are specifically designed for the insurance sector.
Insurance companies must conduct regular employee training programs on cybersecurity best practices. This includes educating employees on how to identify and avoid phishing emails, create strong passwords, and recognise potential cyber threats. Companies should also establish a reporting mechanism for employees to report suspicious activity or incidents immediately.
Having proper access controls in place is also necessary. This means limiting access to sensitive data only to those employees who need it, implementing two-factor authentication, and regularly monitoring user activity logs. Regular audits can also provide an extra layer of protection against potential threats by identifying vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked during routine security checks.
Another essential step is encrypting all data transmitted between different systems and devices. Encryption scrambles data into unreadable codes that can only be deciphered using a decryption key, making it difficult for hackers to intercept or steal information in transit.
Legal Framework for Cyber Frauds in the Insurance Industry
The legal framework for cyber fraud in the insurance industry is critical to preventing such crimes. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued guidelines for insurers to establish a cybersecurity framework. The guidelines require insurers to conduct regular risk assessments, implement security measures, and ensure compliance with data privacy laws.
The Information Technology Act 2000, is another significant piece of legislation dealing with cyber fraud in India. The act defines offences such as unauthorised access to a computer system, hacking, and tampering with data. It also provides for stringent penalties and imprisonment for those found guilty of such offences.
The IRDAI’s guidelines provide insurers with a roadmap to establish robust cybersecurity measures to help prevent cyber fraud in the insurance industry. Stringent implementation of these guidelines will go a long way in safeguarding sensitive customer information from falling into the wrong hands.
Best Practices for Insurers and Policyholders
Implementing Strong Authentication: Encouraging the use of multi-factor authentication and secure login processes to safeguard customer accounts and prevent unauthorised access.
Regular Employee Training: Conduct cybersecurity awareness programs to educate employees about the latest threats and preventive measures.
Investing in Advanced Technologies: Utilizing robust cybersecurity tools and systems to promptly detect and mitigate potential cyber threats.
Vigilance and Awareness: Policyholders must stay vigilant while sharing personal information online and verify the authenticity of insurance websites and communication channels.
Regular Updates and Patches: Advising individuals to keep their devices and software up to date to minimise vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.
Secure Online Practices: Encouraging the use of strong and unique passwords, avoiding sharing sensitive information on unsecured networks, and exercising caution when clicking on suspicious links or attachments.
As the Indian insurance industry embraces digitisation, the risk of cyber scams and data breaches becomes a significant concern. Insurers and policyholders must collaborate to ensure robust cybersecurity measures are in place to protect sensitive information and financial interests.
It is essential for insurance companies to invest in robust cybersecurity measures that can detect and prevent fraud attempts. Additionally, educating employees on the dangers of cyber fraud and implementing strict compliance measures can go a long way in mitigating risks. With these efforts, the insurance industry can continue to provide trustworthy and reliable services to its customers while protecting against cyber threats. As technology continues to evolve, it is imperative that the insurance industry adapts accordingly and remains vigilant against emerging threats.
The European Union has fined the meta $ 1.3 billion for infringing the EU privacy laws by transferring the personal data of Facebook users to the United States. The EU fined Meta’s business in Ireland. As per the European Union, transferring Personal data to the US is a breach of the General data protection Regulation or European Union law on data protection and privacy.
The terms of GDPR promise to gather users’ personal information legally and under strict conditions. And those who collect and manage personal data must protect users’ personal data from exploitation. The GDPR restricts an organisation’s capacity to transfer personal data outside the EU if the transfer is solely based on that body’s evaluation of the sufficiency of the personal data’s protection. Transfers should only be made where European authorities have determined that a third country, a territory within that third country, or an international organisation provides acceptable protection for data protection.
Violation by Meta
The punishment, announced by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, might be one of the most significant in the five years since the European Union passed the landmark General Data Protection Regulation. According to regulators, Facebook failed to comply with a 2020 judgment by the European Union’s top court that Facebook data transferred over the Atlantic was not sufficiently safeguarded from American espionage agencies. However, whether Meta will ever need to encrypt Facebook users’ data in Europe is still being determined. Meta announced it would appeal the ruling, launching a potentially legal procedure.
Simultaneously, European Union and American officials are negotiating a new data-sharing pact that would provide legal protections for Meta and scores of other companies to continue moving information between the US and Europe. This pact could overturn much of the European Union’s Monday ruling.
Article 46(1) GDPR Has been violated by the meta, And as per the Irish privacy.
What is required by the GDPR before transferring personal information across national boundaries?
Personal data transfers to countries outside the European Economic Area are generally permitted if these nations are regarded to provide a sufficient degree of data protection. According to Article 45 of the GDPR, the European Commission evaluates the degree of personal data protection in third countries.
The European Union judgment demonstrates how government rules are upending the borderless way data has traditionally migrated. Companies are increasingly being pressed to store data within the country where it is acquired rather than allowing it to transfer freely to data centres around the world as a result of data-protection requirements, national security laws, and other regulations.
The US internet giant had previously warned that if forced to stop using SCCs (standard contractual clauses) without a proper alternative data transfer agreement in place, it would be compelled to shut down services such as Facebook and Instagram in Europe.
What will happen next for Facebook in Europe?
The ruling includes a six-month transition period before it must halt data flows, meaning the service will continue to operate in the meantime. (More specifically, Meta has been given a five-month transition period to freeze any future transfer of personal data to the United States and a six-month deadline to terminate the unlawful processing and/or storage of European user data it has previously transferred without a legitimate legal basis. Meta has also stated that it will appeal and appears to seek a stay of execution while it pursues its legal arguments in court.
The GDPR places restrictions on transferring personal data outside the European Union to third-party nations or international bodies to ensure that the GDPR’s level of protection for individuals is not jeopardised. But the meta violated the European Union’s privacy laws by the user’s personal information to the US. Under the compliance of GDPR, transferring and sending personal information to users intentionally is an offence. and presently, the personal data of Facebook users has been breached by the Meta, as they shared the information with the US.
Recent advances in space exploration and technology have increased the need for space laws to control the actions of governments and corporate organisations. India has been attempting to create a robust legal framework to oversee its space activities because it is a prominent player in the international space business. In this article, we’ll examine India’s current space regulations and compare them to the situation elsewhere in the world.
Space Laws in India
India started space exploration with Aryabhtta, the first satellite, and Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut, and now has a prominent presence in space as many international satellites are now launched by India. NASA and ISRO work closely on various projects
India currently lacks any space-related legislation. Only a few laws and regulations, such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Act of 1969 and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Guidelines of 2011, regulate space-related operations. However, more than these rules and regulations are essential to control India’s expanding space sector. India is starting to gain traction as a prospective player in the global commercial space sector. Authorisation, contracts, dispute resolution, licencing, data processing and distribution related to earth observation services, certification of space technology, insurance, legal difficulties related to launch services, and stamp duty are just a few of the topics that need to be discussed. The necessary statute and laws need to be updated to incorporate space law-related matters into domestic laws.
India’s Space Presence
Space research activities were initiated in India during the early 1960s when satellite applications were in experimental stages, even in the United States. With the live transmission of the Tokyo Olympic Games across the Pacific by the American Satellite ‘Syncom-3’ demonstrating the power of communication satellites, Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of the Indian space programme, quickly recognised the benefits of space technologies for India.
As a first step, the Department of Atomic Energy formed the INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research) under the leadership of Dr Sarabhai and Dr Ramanathan in 1962. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed on August 15, 1969. The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national needs. It is one of the six largest space agencies in the world. The Department of Space (DOS) and the Space Commission were set up in 1972, and ISRO was brought under DOS on June 1, 1972.
Since its inception, the Indian space programme has been orchestrated well. It has three distinct elements: satellites for communication and remote sensing, the space transportation system and application programmes. Two major operational systems have been established – the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for telecommunication, television broadcasting, and meteorological services and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) for monitoring and managing natural resources and Disaster Management Support.
The global space race has been on and ever since the moon landing in 1969, and it has now transformed into the new cold war among developed and developing nations. The interests and assets of a nation in space need to be safeguarded by the help of effective and efficient policies and internationally ratified laws. All nations with a presence in space do not believe in good for all policy, thus, preventive measures need to be incorporated into the legal system. A thorough legal framework for space activities is being developed by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). The “Outer Space Treaty,” a collection of five international agreements on space law, establishes the foundation of international space law. The agreements address topics such as the peaceful use of space, preventing space from becoming militarised, and who is responsible for damage caused by space objects. Well-established space laws govern both the United States and the United Kingdom. The National Aeronautics and Space Act, which was passed in the US in 1958 and established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to oversee national space programmes, is in place there. The Outer Space Act of 1986 governs how UK citizens and businesses can engage in space activity.
India must create a thorough legal system to govern its space endeavours. In the space sector, there needs to be a legal framework to avoid ambiguity and confusion, which may have detrimental effects. The Pacific use of space for the benefit of humanity should be covered by domestic space legislation in India. The overall scenario demonstrates the requirement for a clearly defined legal framework for the international acknowledgement of a nation’s space activities. India is fifth in the world for space technology, which is an impressive accomplishment, and a strong legal system will help India maintain its place in the space business.
On 20th October 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,337.76 crores on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android Mobile device ecosystem, apart from issuing cease and desist orders. The CCI also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline. Smart mobile devices need an operating system (OS) to run applications (apps) and programs. Android is one such mobile operating system that Google acquired in 2005. In the instant matter, the CCI examined various practices of Google w.r.t. licensing of this Android mobile operating system and various proprietary mobile applications of Google (e.g., Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube, etc.).
Google was found to be misusing its dominant position in the tech market, and the same was the reason behind the penalty. Google argued about the competitive constraints being faced from Apple. In relation to understanding the extent of competition between Google’s Android ecosystem and Apple’s iOS ecosystem, the CCI noted the differences in the two business models, which affect the underlying incentives of business decisions. Apple’s business is primarily based on a vertically integrated smart device ecosystem that focuses on the sale of high-end smart devices with state-of-the-art software components. In contrast, Google’s business was found to be driven by the ultimate intent of increasing users on its platforms so that they interact with its revenue-earning service, i.e., online searches, which directly affects the sale of online advertising services by Google. It was seen that google had created a dominant position among the android phone manufacturers as they were made to have a set of google apps preinstalled in the device to increase the user’s dependency on google services. The CCI felt that Google had created a dominant position to which they replied that the same operations are done by Apple as well, to which the commission responded that apple is a phone and app manufacturer and they have Apple-owned apps in Apple devices only, but Google here in had made a pseudo mandate for android manufactures to have the google apps pre-installed which is, in turn, a possible way of disrupting the market equilibrium and violative of market practices. The CCI imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,337.76 for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in India, CCI delineated the following five relevant markets in the present matter –
- The market for licensable OS for smart mobile devices in India
- The market for app store for Android smart mobile OS in India
- The market for general web search services in India
- The market for non-OS specific mobile web browsers in India
- The market for online video hosting platforms (OVHP) in India.
Supreme Courts Opinion
In October 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ruled that Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, exploited its dominant position in Android and told it to remove restrictions on device makers, including those related to the pre-installation of apps and ensuring exclusivity of its search. Google lost a challenge in the Supreme Court to block the directives, as the learned court refused to put a stay on the imposed penalty, further giving seven days to comply. The Supreme Court has said a lower tribunal—where Google first challenged the Android directives—can continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by March 31.
Counterpoint Research estimates that about 97% of 600 million smartphones in India run on Android. Apple has just a 3% share. Hoping to block the implementation of the CCI directives, Google challenged the CCI order in the Supreme Court by warning it could stall the growth of the Android ecosystem. It also said it would be forced to alter arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers if the directives kick in. Google has been concerned about India’s decision as the steps are seen as more sweeping than those imposed in the European Commission’s 2018 ruling. There it was fined for putting in place what the Commission called unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device makers. Google is still challenging the record $4.3 billion fine in that case. In Europe, Google made changes later, including letting Android device users pick their default search engine, and said device makers would be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser.
As the world goes deeper into cyberspace, the big tech companies have more control over the industry and the markets, but the same should not turn into anarchy in the global markets. The Tech giants need to be made aware that compliance is the utmost duty for all companies, and enforcement of the law of the land will be maintained no matter what. Earlier India lacked policies and legislation to govern cyberspace, but in the recent proactive stance by the govt, a lot of new bills have been tabled, one of them being the Intermediary Rules 2021, which has laid down the obligations nand duties of the companies by setting up an intermediary in the country. Such bills coupled with such crucial judgments on tech giants will act as a test and barrier for other tech companies who try to flaunt the rules and avoid compliance.
What are Wi-Fi attacks?
Wi-fi is an important area of cyber security and there is no need for physical cable for the network. Wi-Fi has access to a network signal radius everywhere. The devices and systems can have a network without physical access due to Wi-fi. But everything comes with cons and pros, and if we talk about cybersecurity, it has been established that Wi-fi networks are extremely vulnerable to security breaches and it is very easy to be hacked by hackers. Wi-Fi can be accessed by almost every device in the modern day: it can be smartphones, tablets, computers, and laptops. To know whether someone has been tampering with your personal Wi-Fi there are certain signs that can prove it. The first and most important sign is that your internet speed gets slower, as someone else is using your Wi-Fi surf.
Why would anyone hack someone’s Wi-Fi network?
Usually, hackers hack the network because they want access to the confidential data of someone and they can observe all the online activities and data that have been sent through a network. An unauthorize hacker will pretty much be able to see everything you do online. Wi-Fi allows hackers o view information on sites. Any financial information which is saved in the browser can be accessed by hackers and they can alter it and can alter the content you see online. And all the information saved in Wi-fi networks can be used by hackers for their own benefit, they can sell it, impersonate you, or even take money out of your bank through Wi-Fi.
Avoiding vulnerable Wi-Fi networks
The first and foremost rule of protection is that you should not use public networks if that network is easily open to you then that is also available to others and from others, and someone can who wishes to use your confidential and sensitive information, can access that. If you really need to access the public network in an urgent situation, then you must make sure to limit your activities while connected. And avoid accessing your online banking or pages that require login information. Also, a good measure to take as well is to always delete your cookies after using public WIFI.
How To Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network
Your home’s wireless internet connection is your Wi-Fi network. Typically, a wireless router is used, which broadcasts a signal into the atmosphere. You can connect to the internet using that signal. However, if your network is not password-protected, any nearby device can grab the signal off the air and connect to your internet. The benefit of Wi-Fi? Wireless access to the internet is possible. The negative? Your internet activity, including your personal information, may be visible to neighboring users who connect to your unprotected network. Furthermore, if someone uses your network to conduct a crime or send out unauthorized spam, you might be held accountable.
Wi-Fi or Li-Fi? –
The common consensus is that Li-Fi technology is more secure than Wi-Fi. Li-Fi systems can be made more secure by integrating a variety of security features. Although these qualities might appear when Li-Fi is widely used in the near future, it is already thought to be safer because of a number of security features. Since the connection’s characteristics make it simpler to lock connections, limit access, and track users even in the absence of encryption and other security features, Li-Fi is seen as being safer. Li-Fi systems will be able to support new security protocols, which will not only enable high-speed networking but also open the door for innovative security techniques to strengthen connections.
A hacker can sniff the network packets without having to be in the same building where the network is located. As wireless networks communicate through radio waves, a hacker can easily sniff the network from a nearby location. Most attackers use network sniffing to find the SSID and hack a wireless network.
Any wireless network can theoretically be attacked in a number of different ways. Use of the default SSID or password, WPS pin authentication, insufficient access control, and leaving the access point available in open locations are all examples of potential vulnerabilities that could allow for the theft of sensitive data. Kismet’s architecture in WIDS mode may guard against DOS, MiTM, and MAC spoofing attacks. routine software updates on the other hand, the use of firewalls may help defend the network against outside intrusion. The act of finding infrastructure issues that could allow harmful code to be injected into a service, system, or organization is known as ethical hacking. They use this technique to prevent invasions by lawfully breaking into networks and looking for weak spots.
Recently, a Consultation Paper on Regulatory Mechanisms for Over-The-Top (OTT) Communication Services was published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The paper explores several OTT regulation-related challenges and solicits input from stakeholders on a suggested regulatory framework. We’ll summarise the paper’s main conclusions in this blog.
Structure of the Paper
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s Consultation Paper on Regulatory Mechanism for Over-The-Top (OTT) Communication Services and Selective Banning of OTT Services intends to solicit comments and recommendations from stakeholders about the regulation of OTT services in India. The paper is broken up into five chapters that cover the introduction and background, issues with regulatory mechanisms for OTT communication services, issues with the selective banning of OTT services, a summary of the issues for consultation, and an overview of international practices on the topic. Written comments from interested parties are requested and may be sent electronically to the Advisor (Networks, Spectrum and Licencing) at TRAI. These comments will also be posted on the TRAI website.
Overview of the Paper
- Chapter 1: Introduction and Background
- The first chapter of the essay introduces the subject of OTT communication services and argues why regulatory frameworks are necessary. The chapter also gives a general outline of the topics and the paper’s organisation that will be covered in the following chapters.
- Chapter 2: Examination of the Issues Related to Regulatory Mechanism for Over-The-Top Communication Services
- The second chapter of the essay looks at the problems with OTT communication service regulation. It talks about the many kinds of OTT services and how they affect the conventional telecom sector. The chapter also looks at the regulatory issues raised by OTT services and the various strategies used by various nations to address them.
- Chapter 3: Examination of the Issues Related to Selective Banning of OTT Services
- The final chapter of the essay looks at the problems of selectively outlawing OTT services. It analyses the justifications for government restrictions on OTT services as well as the possible effects of such restrictions on consumers and the telecom sector. The chapter also looks at the legal and regulatory structures that determine how OTT services are prohibited in various nations.
- Chapter 4: International Practices
- An overview of global OTT communication service best practices is given in the paper’s fourth chapter. It talks about the various regulatory strategies used by nations throughout the world and how they affect consumers and the telecom sector. The chapter also looks at the difficulties regulators encounter when trying to create efficient regulatory frameworks for OTT services.
- Chapter 5: Issues for Consultation
- This chapter is the spirit of the consultation paper as it covers the points and questions for consultation. This chapter has been classified into two sub-sections – Issues Related to Regulatory Mechanisms for OTT Communication Services and Issues Related to the Selective Banning of OTT Services. The inputs will be entirely focused on these sub headers, and the scope, extent, and ambit of the consultation paper rests on these questions and necessary inputs.
An important publication that aims to address the regulatory issues raised by OTT services is the Consultation Paper on Regulatory Mechanisms for Over-The-Top Communication Services. The paper offers a thorough analysis of the problems with OTT service regulation and requests input from stakeholders on the suggested regulatory structure. In order to make sure that the regulatory framework is efficient and advantageous for everyone, it is crucial for all stakeholders to offer their opinion on the document.
Cert-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) has recently issued the “Guidelines on Information Security Practices” for Government Entities for Safe & Trusted Internet. The guideline has come at a critical time when the Draft Digital India Bill is about to be released, which is aimed at revamping the legal aspects of Indian cyberspace. These guidelines lay down the policy framework and the requirements for critical infrastructure for all government organisations and institutions to improve the overall cyber security of the nation.
What is Cert-In?
A Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a group of information security experts responsible for the protection against, detection of and response to an organisation’s cybersecurity incidents. A CERT may focus on resolving data breaches and denial-of-service attacks and providing alerts and incident handling guidelines. CERTs also conduct ongoing public awareness campaigns and engage in research aimed at improving security systems. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) oversees CERT-In. It regularly releases alerts to help individuals and companies safeguard their data, information, and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) infrastructure.
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been established and appointed as national agency in respect of cyber incidents and cyber security incidents in terms of the provisions of section 70B of Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
CERT-In requests information from service providers, intermediaries, data centres, and body corporates to coordinate reaction actions and emergency procedures regarding cyber security incidents. It is a focal point for incident reporting and offers round-the-clock security services. It manages cyber occurrences that are tracked and reported while continuously analysing cyber risks. It strengthens the security barriers for the Indian Internet domain.
India is fast becoming one of the world’s largest connected nations – with over 80 Crore Indians (Digital Nagriks) presently connected and using the Internet and cyberspace – and with this number is expected to touch 120 Crores in the coming few years. The Digital Nagriks of the country are using the Internet for business, education, finance and various applications and services including Digital Government services. Internet provides growth and innovation and at the same time it has seen rise in cybercrimes, user harm and other challenges to online safety. The policies of the Government are aimed at ensuring an Open, Safe & Trusted and Accountable Internet for its users. Government is fully cognizant and aware of the growing cyber security threats and attacks.
It is the Government of India’s objective to ensure that Digital Nagriks experience a Safe & Trusted Internet. Along with ubiquitous applications of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) in almost all facets of service delivery and operations, continuously evolving cyber threats have become a concern for the Government. Cyber-attacks can come in the form of malware, ransomware, phishing, data breach etc., that adversely affect an organisation’s information and systems. Cyber threats leading to cyber-attacks or incidents can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organisation’s information and systems and can have far reaching impact on essential services and national interests. To protect against cyber threats, it is important for government entities to implement strong cybersecurity measures and follow best practices. As ICT infrastructure of the Government entities is one of the preferred targets of the malicious actors, responsibility of implementing good cyber security practices for protecting computers, servers, applications, electronic systems, networks, and data from digital attacks, also remain with the ICT assets’ owner i.e. Government entity.
What are the new Guidelines about?
The Government of India (distribution of business) Rules, 1961’s First Schedule lists a number of Ministries, Departments, Secretariats, and Offices, along with their affiliated and subordinate offices, which are all subject to the rules. They also comprise all governmental organisations, businesses operating in the public sector, and other governmental entities under their administrative control.
“The government has launched a number of steps to guarantee an accessible, trustworthy, and accountable digital environment. With a focus on capabilities, systems, human resources, and awareness, we are extending and speeding our work in the area of cyber security, according to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics, Information Technology, Skill Development, and Entrepreneurship.
- Various security domains are covered in the standards, including network security, identity and access management, application security, data security, third-party outsourcing, hardening procedures, security monitoring, incident management, and security audits.
- For instance, the rules advise using only a Standard User (non-administrator) account to use computers and laptops for regular work regarding desktop, laptop, and printer security in the workplace. Users may only be granted administrative access with the CISO’s consent.
- The usage of lengthy passwords containing at least eight characters that combine capital letters, tiny letters, numerals, and special characters; Never save any usernames or passwords in your web browser. Likewise, never save any payment-related data there.
- They include guidelines created by the National Informatics Centre for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and staff members of Central government Ministries/Departments to improve cyber security and cyber hygiene in addition to adhering to industry best practises.
The government has been proactive in the contemporary times to eradicate the menace of cybercrimes and therreats from the Indian cyberspace and hence now we have seen a series of new bills and polices introduced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and various other government organisations like Cert-In and TRAI. These policies have been aimed towards being relevant to time and current technologies. The threats from emerging technologies like web 3.0 cannot be ignored and hence with active netizen participation and synergy between government and corporates will lead to a better and improved cyber ecosystem in India.
Twitter Inc.’s appeal against barring orders for specific accounts issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology was denied by a single judge on the Karnataka High Court. Twitter Inc. was also given an Rs. 50 lakh fine by Justice Krishna Dixit, who claimed the social media corporation had approached the court defying government directives.
As a foreign corporation, Twitter’s locus standi had been called into doubt by the government, which said they were ineligible to apply Articles 19 and 21 to their situation. Additionally, the government claimed that because Twitter was only designed to serve as an intermediary, there was no “jural relationship” between Twitter and its users.
In accordance with Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, the Ministry issued the directives. Nevertheless, Twitter had argued in its appeal that the orders “fall foul of Section 69A both substantially and procedurally.” Twitter argued that in accordance with 69A, account holders were to be notified before having their tweets and accounts deleted. However, the Ministry failed to provide these account holders with any notices.
On June 4, 2022, and again on June 6, 2022, the government sent letters to Twitter’s compliance officer requesting that they come before them and provide an explanation for why the Blocking Orders were not followed and why no action should be taken against them.
Twitter replied on June 9 that the content against which it had not followed the blocking orders does not seem to be a violation of Section 69A. On June 27, 2022, the Government issued another notice stating Twitter was violating its directions. On June 29, Twitter replied, asking the Government to reconsider the direction on the basis of the doctrine of proportionality. On June 30, 2022, the Government withdrew blocking orders on ten account-level URLs but gave an additional list of 27 URLs to be blocked. On July 10, more accounts were blocked. Compiling the orders “under protest,” Twitter approached the HC with the petition challenging the orders.
Additionally, the government claimed that because Twitter was only designed to serve as an intermediary, there was no “jural relationship” between Twitter and its users.
Government attorney Additional Solicitor General R Sankaranarayanan argued that tweets mentioning “Indian Occupied Kashmir” and the survival of LTTE commander Velupillai Prabhakaran were serious enough to undermine the integrity of the nation.
Twitter, on the other hand, claimed that its users have pushed for these rights. Additionally, Twitter maintained that under Article 14 of the Constitution, even as a foreign company, they were entitled to certain rights, such as the right to equality. They also argued that the reason for the account blocking in each case was not stated and that Section 69a’s provision for blocking a URL should only apply to the offending URL rather than the entire account because blocking the entire account would prevent the creation of information while blocking the offending tweet only applied to already-created information.
The evolution of cyberspace has been substantiated by big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon and many more. These companies have been instrumental in leading the spectrum of emerging technologies and creating a blanket of ease and accessibility for users. Compliance with laws and policies is of utmost priority for the government, and the new bills and policies are empowering the Indian cyberspace. Non Compliance will be taken very seriously, and the same is legalised under the Intermediary Guidelines 2021 and 2022 by Meity. Referring to Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, which pertains to an exemption from liability of intermediary in some instances, it was said, “Intermediary is bound to obey the orders which the designate authority/agency which the government fixes from time to time.”
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a consultation paper titled “Encouraging Innovative Technologies, Services, Use Cases, and Business Models through Regulatory Sandbox in Digital Communication Sector. The paper presents a draft sandbox structure for live testing of new digital communication products or services in a regulated environment. TRAI seeks comments from stakeholders on several parts of the framework.
What is digital communication?
Digital communication is the use of internet tools such as email, social media messaging, and texting to communicate with other people or a specific audience. Even something as easy as viewing the content on this webpage qualifies as digital communication.
Aim of Paper
- Frameworks are intended to support regulators’ desire for innovation while also ensuring economic resilience and consumer protection. Considering this, the Department of Telecom (DoT) asked TRAI to offer recommendations on a regulatory sandbox framework. TRAI approaches the issue with the goal of encouraging creativity and hastening the adoption of cutting-edge digital communications technologies.
- Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, edge computing, and other emerging technologies are revolutionizing how we connect, communicate, and access information, driving the digital communication sector to rapidly expand. To keep up with this dynamic environment, an enabling environment for the development and deployment of novel technologies, services, use cases, and business models is required.
- The regulatory sandbox concept is becoming increasingly popular around the world as a means of encouraging innovation in a range of industries. A regulatory sandbox is a regulated environment in which businesses and innovators can test their concepts, commodities, and services while operating under changing restrictions.
- Regulatory Sandbox will benefit the telecom startup ecosystem by providing access to a real-time network environment and other data, allowing them to evaluate the reliability of new applications before releasing them to the market. Regulatory Sandbox also attempts to stimulate cross-sectoral collaboration for carrying out such testing by engaging the assistance of other ministries and departments in order to give the starting company with a single window for acquiring all clearances.
What is regulatory sandbox?
- A regulatory sandbox is a controlled regulatory environment in which new products or services are tested in real-time.
- It serves as a “safe space” for businesses because authorities may or may not allow certain relaxations for the sole purpose of testing.
- The sandbox enables the regulator, innovators, financial service providers, and clients to perform field testing in order to gather evidence on the benefits and hazards of new financial innovations, while closely monitoring and mitigating their risks.
What are the advantages of having a regulatory sandbox?
- Firstly, regulators obtain first-hand empirical evidence on the benefits and risks of emerging technologies and their implications, allowing them to form an informed opinion on the regulatory changes or new regulations that may be required to support useful innovation while mitigating the associated risks.
- Second, sandbox customers can evaluate the viability of a product without the need for a wider and more expensive roll-out. If the product appears to have a high chance of success, it may be authorized and delivered to a wider market more quickly.
Digital communication sector and Regulatory Sandbox
- Many countries’ regulatory organizations have built sandbox settings for telecom tech innovation.
- These frameworks are intended to encourage regulators’ desire for innovation while also promoting economic resilience and consumer protection.
- In this context, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had asked TRAI to give recommendations on a regulatory sandbox framework.
- Written comments on the drafting framework will be received until July 17, 2023, and counter-comments will be taken until August 1, 2023. The Authority’s goal in the digital communication industry is to foster creativity and expedite the use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and edge computing. These technologies are changing the way individuals connect, engage, and access information, causing rapid changes in the industry.
According to TRAI, these technologies are changing how individuals connect, engage, and obtain information, resulting in significant changes in the sector.
The regulatory sandbox also wants to stimulate cross-sectoral collaboration for carrying out such testing by engaging the assistance of other ministries and departments in order to give the starting company with a single window for acquiring all clearances. The consultation paper covers some of the worldwide regulatory sandbox frameworks in use in the digital communication industry, as well as some of the frameworks in use inside the country in other sectors.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed all telcos to set up detection systems based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) technologies in order to identify and control spam calls and text messages from unregistered telemarketers (UTMs).
The TRAI Directed telcos
The telecom regulator, TRAI, has directed all Access Providers to detect Unsolicited commercial communication (UCC)by systems, which is based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to detect, identify, and act against senders of Commercial Communication who are not registered in accordance with the provisions of the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (TCCCPR-2018). Unregistered Telemarketers (UTMs) are entities that do not register with Access Providers and use 10-digit mobile numbers to send commercial communications via SMS or calls.
TRAI steps to curb Unsolicited commercial communication
TRAI has taken several initiatives to reduce Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC), which is a major source of annoyance for the public. It has resulted in fewer complaints filed against Registered Telemarketers (RTMs). Despite the TSPs’ efforts, UCC from Unregistered Telemarketers (UTMs) continues. Sometimes, these UTMs use messages with bogus URLs and phone numbers to trick clients into revealing crucial information, leading to financial loss.
To detect, identify, and prosecute all Unregistered Telemarketers (UTMs), the TRAI has mandated that Access Service Providers implement the UCC.
Detect the System with the necessary functionalities within the TRAI’s Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 framework.
Access service providers have implemented such detection systems based on their applicability and practicality. However, because UTMs are constantly creating new strategies for sending unwanted communications, the present UCC detection systems provided by Access Service providers cannot detect such UCC.
TRAI also Directs Telecom Providers to Set Up Digital Platform for Customer Consent to Curb Promotional Calls and Messages.
Unregistered Telemarketers (UTMs) sometimes use messages with fake URLs and phone numbers to trick customers into revealing essential information, resulting in financial loss.
TRAI has urged businesses like banks, insurance companies, financial institutions, and others to re-verify their SMS content templates with telcos within two weeks. It also directed telecom companies to stop misusing commercial messaging templates within the next 45 days.
The telecom regulator has also instructed operators to limit the number of variables in a content template to three. However, if any business intends to utilise more than three variables in a content template for communicating with their users, this should be permitted only after examining the example message, as well as adequate justifications and justification.
In order to ensure consistency in UCC Detect System implementations, TRAI has directed all Access Providers to deploy UCC and detect systems based on artificial intelligence and Machine Learning that are capable of constantly evolving to deal with new signatures, patterns, and techniques used by UTMs.
Access Providers have also been directed to use the DLT platform to share intelligence with others. Access Providers have also been asked to ensure that such UCC Detect System detects senders that send unsolicited commercial communications in bulk and do not comply with the requirements. All Access Providers are directed to follow the instructions and provide an update on actions done within thirty days.
The move by TRAI is to curb the menacing calls as due to this, the number of scam cases is increasing, and now a new trend of scams started as recently, a Twitter user reported receiving an automated call from +91 96681 9555 with the message “This call is from Delhi Police.” It then asked her to stay in the queue since some of her documents needed to be picked up. Then he said he works as a sub-inspector at the Kirti Nagar police station in New Delhi. He then inquired whether she had recently misplaced her Aadhaar card, PAN card, or ATM card, to which she replied ‘no’. The scammer then poses as a cop and requests that she authenticate the last four digits of her card because they have found a card with her name on it. And a lot of other people tweeted about it.
TRAI directed the telcos to check the calls and messages from Unregistered numbers. This step of TRAI will curb the pesky calls and messages and catch the Frauds who are not registered with the regulation. Sometimes the unregistered sender sends fraudulent links, and through these fraudulent calls and messages, the sender tries to take the personal information of the customers, which results in financial losses.
Online Gaming has gained popularity over the past few years, attracting young players worldwide and global concerns. In response to the growing fame of this industry, the Indian government has recently announced introducing a set of regulations to address various concerns and ensure a safer and more regulated online gaming environment. In this blog post, we will explore the critical aspects of these regulations and their impact on the gaming industry.
Why are Regulations needed?
Recently some games faced a ban in India – games that involve betting, games that can be harmful to the user, and games that involve a factor of addiction. Furthermore, with rising popularity, With the exponential rise of online gaming platforms in India, extensive laws to safeguard players and ensure fair gameplay needs to be implemented. Players’ protection is one of the critical factors addressing the issues which involve online addiction, underage involvement, fraud, and data privacy has become critical for the well-being of Indian gamers.
Regulatory Ambiguity: The previous legislative structure, such as the outmoded Public Gambling Act of 1867, required an update to fit the digital gambling age fully.
Outline of the New Regulations
Implementing new regulations for online gaming in India represents the government’s commitment to addressing different issues and ensuring a safer and more regulated gaming sector. Let’s have a look at these rules in detail:
National-Level Standards: The Indian government is currently working on creating national-level standards to standardise online gaming practices across all states. These rules attempt to create a uniform platform for both operators and participants. The government has also made an announcement to set SRO within 90 days to regulate online gaming.
Licencing and Compliance: To legally operate in the Indian market, online gaming firms must secure licences. The operator’s financial soundness, security measures, and adherence to responsible gaming practices will be scrutinised throughout the licencing process. Operators will need to comply with the regulations in order to maintain operations.
Measures to Promote Ethical Gaming: The new regulations emphasise player protection and ethical gaming practices. This includes steps like age verification to prevent underage involvement, self-exclusion choices for gamers who want to limit their gaming activities, and adopting tools like session limits and reality checks to promote responsible gaming.
Data Privacy: Recognising the importance of data privacy, the laws are intended to contain protections for protecting user data. To safeguard sensitive player information from unauthorised access or exploitation, online gambling operators must comply with data protection regulations and deploy strong security measures.
Restrictions on Advertising and Marketing: The legislation may limit the advertising and marketing of online gaming platforms. The emphasis will be on eliminating aggressive marketing tactics that target vulnerable people, such as kids. Stricter standards for ad content and placement may be implemented.
Anti-Fraud and Anti-Money Laundering Measures: To combat criminal activity within the gaming ecosystem, the new legislation will almost certainly force online gambling companies to employ anti-fraud and anti-money laundering measures. Operators may need to set up mechanisms to detect fraud, report suspicious activity, and work with law enforcement.
Consumer Grievance Redressal: The legislation may emphasise the construction of efficient channels for resolving consumer complaints. Players should be able to report difficulties, seek resolution, and offer feedback on their play experiences through channels. The objective is to create a transparent and accountable conflict resolution mechanism.
Impact on Online Gaming Ecosystem
Adopting new laws for online gambling in India will likely have several consequences for the gaming industry. Let us look at some of these consequences:
Increased Player Trust: Implementing restrictions will increase player confidence in online gaming platforms. Establishing clear rules and procedures and steps to safeguard participants’ interests will develop a sense of trust and transparency. This can lead to increased participation and engagement in the gaming community.
Industry Consolidation: Stricter restrictions may result in industry consolidation. Compliance with the new legislation would need resources and investments, which might favour more prominent and more established gambling firms. Smaller and more non-compliant operators may find it challenging to fulfil regulatory standards, resulting in a more consolidated gaming sector.
Technological Progress: The requirement to comply with rules could lead to technological advancements in the online gambling sector. Operators may invest in modern identity verification systems, fraud detection methods, and responsible gaming solutions to satisfy their regulatory requirements. This can result in technological breakthroughs that improve gamers’ overall gaming experience.
Foreign Investment and Collaboration: Clear laws might entice overseas investors to enter the Indian gaming business. The regulated environment may appeal to international gambling enterprises looking to enter or extend their presence in India. Collaborations between Indian and foreign gaming firms may also expand, resulting in the sharing of experience, resources, and the production of high-quality gaming products.
Legal Clarity: Implementing particular laws would give online gambling operators and users clearer legal standards. This transparency can eliminate ambiguity and possible legal issues, allowing stakeholders to navigate the gaming ecosystem with better confidence and knowledge.
Contribution to the Indian Economy: A well-regulated online gaming business has the potential to contribute to the Indian economy. It has the potential to create jobs, attract investment, and produce tax money for the government. The economic effect of the gaming ecosystem is expected to increase as it grows under the new restrictions.
Challenges and Future Approach
One of the toughest challenges will be the efficient implementation and enforcement of the new regulations. Consistency in applying the legislation across multiple jurisdictions and guaranteeing compliance by all operators would necessitate comprehensive monitoring and regulatory measures. Developing suitable enforcement organisations and transparent standards for reporting and dealing with noncompliance will be critical. Besides this, online gaming is open to more than area-specific and many gaming platforms and operates internationally. Ensuring cross-border operations is a big challenge in addressing jurisdictional challenges will be complex. Collaborative efforts between nations can regulate cross-border online gaming. There may be increased collaboration between Indian and foreign gaming firms, resulting in the exchange of information, skills, and resources. This partnership can help the Indian gaming sector flourish while attracting foreign players and investments.
Esports Development: Esports have grown in popularity worldwide, and India is no exception. The Indian esports business has the potential to thrive with proper regulation and support, drawing both players and viewers. Esports-specific factors like player contracts, tournament integrity, and licencing requirements may be addressed in the regulations.
Despite obstacles, India’s new online gambling legislation can potentially establish a safer and more regulated gaming sector. the future depends on successful implementation, adjusting to a shifting landscape, finding the correct balance between regulation and innovation, and promoting ethical gaming practices. The Indian online gaming business can develop sustainably with the appropriate strategy, benefiting gamers and the broader economy.
To combat the problem of annoying calls and SMS, telecom regulator TRAI has urged service providers to create a uniform digital platform in two months that will allow them to request, maintain, and withdraw customers’ approval for promotional calls and messages. In the initial stage, only subscribers will be able to initiate the process of registering their consent to receive promotional calls and SMS, and later, business entities will be able to contact customers to seek their consent to receive promotional messages, according to a statement issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Saturday.
TRAI Directs Telecom Providers to Set Up Digital Platform
TRAI has now directed all access providers to develop and deploy the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) facility for creating a unified platform and process to digitally register customers’ consent across all service providers and principal entities. Consent is received and maintained under the current system by several key entities such as banks, other financial institutions, insurance firms, trading companies, business entities, real estate businesses, and so on.
The purpose, scope of consent, and the principal entity or brand name shall be clearly mentioned in the consent-seeking message sent over the short code,” according to the statement.
It stated that only approved online or app links, call-back numbers, and so on will be permitted to be used in consent-seeking communications.
TRAI issued guidelines to guarantee that all voice-based Telemarketers are brought under a single Distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform for more efficient monitoring of nuisance calls and unwanted communications. It also instructs operators to actively deploy AI/ML-based anti-phishing systems as well as to integrate tech solutions on the DLT platform to deal with malicious calls and texts.
TRAI has issued two separate Directions to Access Service Providers under TCCCPR-2018 (Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations) to ensure that all promotional messages are sent through Registered Telemarketers (RTMs) using approved Headers and Message Templates on Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) platform, and to stop misuse of Headers and Message Templates,” the regulator said in a statement.
Users can already block telemarketing calls and texts by texting 1909 from their registered mobile number. By dialing 1909, customers can opt out of getting advertising calls by activating the do not disturb (DND) feature.
Telecom providers operate DLT platforms, and businesses involved in sending bulk promotional or transactional SMS must register by providing their company information, including sender IDs and SMS templates.
According to the instructions, telecom companies will send consent-seeking messages using the common short code 127. The goal, extent of consent, and primary entity/brand name must be clearly stated in the consent-seeking message delivered via the shortcode.
TRAI stated that only whitelisted URLs/APKs (Android package kits file format)/OTT links/call back numbers, etc., shall be used in consent-seeking messages.
Telcos must “ensure that promotional messages are not transmitted by unregistered telemarketers or telemarketers using telephone numbers (10 digits numbers).” Telecom providers have been urged to act against all erring telemarketers in accordance with the applicable regulations and legal requirements.
Users can, however, refuse to receive any consent-seeking messages launched by any significant Telcos have been urged to create an SMS/IVR (interactive voice response)/online service for this purpose.
According to TRAI’s timeline, the consent-taking process by primary companies will begin on September 1.According to a nationwide survey conducted by a local circle, 66% of mobile users continue to receive three or more bothersome calls per day, the majority of which originate from personal cell numbers.
There are scams surfacing on the internet with new types of scams, like WhatsApp international call scams. The latest scam is targeting Delhi police, the scammers pretend to be police officials of Delhi and ask for the personal details of the users and the calling them from a 9-digit number.
A recent scam
A Twitter user reported receiving an automated call from +91 96681 9555, stating, “This call is from Delhi Police.” It went on to ask her to stay in the queue since some of her documents needed to be picked up. Then he said he is a sub-inspector at New Delhi’s Kirti Nagar police station. He then questioned if she had lately misplaced her Aadhaar card, PAN card, or ATM card, to which she replied ‘no’. The fraudster then claims to be a cop and asks her to validate the final four digits of her card because they have discovered a card with her name on it. And so many other people tweeted about this.
The scams are constantly increasing as earlier these scammers asked for account details and claimed to be Delhi police and used 9-digit numbers for scamming people.
TRAI’s new guidelines regarding the consent to receive any promotional calls and messages to telecommunication providers will be able to curb the scams.
The e- KYC is an essential requirement as e-KYC offers a more secure identity verification process in an increasingly digital age that uses biometric technologies to provide quick results.
The aim is to prevent unwanted calls and communications sent to customers via digital methods without their permission. Once this platform is implemented, an organization can only send promotional calls or messages with the customer’s explicit approval. Companies use a variety of methods to notify clients about their products, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media. Customers, however, are constantly assaulted with the same calls and messages as a result of this practice. With the constant increase in scams, the new guideline of TRAI will also curb the calling of Scams. digital KYC prevents SIM fraud and offers a more secure identity verification method.
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Announces to Centre Government to Plan to Certify Permissible Online Games.
In a recent update to the notification released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on April 6, MeitY has requested gaming entities to establish self-regulatory organisations (SROs) within a timeframe of 30 days or a maximum of 90 days from the date of the notification, which is April 6, 2023. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has further announced that the central government will certify which online games are permissible until the SROs are officially established. The intention behind establishing SROs is to assist intermediaries, such as Apple or Google, in determining what constitutes a permitted online game, but the SRO will take 2-3 months to complete. In the meanwhile, the Central government will step in and determine what is a permissible online game.
Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 & Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Amendment Rules, 2023
By enacting these rules, the Indian government has taken decisive action to protect Indian gamers and their financial resources against scams and fraud. The rules also serve to promote responsible gaming while preventing young and vulnerable users from being exposed to indecent or abusive content.
Amendment Rules developed the concept of a “Permissible online real money game.” This designation is reserved for games that have passed a review process conducted by a self-regulatory body (SRB). Amendment rules indicate that Online Gaming Intermediaries must ensure that they do not permit any third party to host non-permissible online real money games on their platforms. This development is important because it empowers us to distinguish between legitimate and illicit real money games.
The Amendment Rules define an online gaming provider as an “intermediary” under the Information Technology Act of 2000, creating a separate classification called ‘Online Gaming Intermediary’.
Central government to certify what is an ‘Online Permissible Game’
The industry has been wondering what games come under wagering and will be banned. So, until the SROs are officially established, the government, in the interim, will certify what is a permissible game, what is wagering, and what is not wagering. Games that involve elements of wagering are going to be barred. The new regulations prohibit wagering on any outcome, whether in skill-based or chance-based games. Hence gaming applications involving wagering and betting apps will be barred.
Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs)
According to the new regulations by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), online gaming intermediaries must establish a Self-Regulatory Body (SRO) to approve games offered to users over the Internet. The SRO must be registered with the Ministry and develop a framework to ensure compliance with the IT Rules 2021 objectives. An ‘online game’ can be registered by the SRO if it meets specific criteria, which include that the game is offered by an online gaming intermediary that is a member of the self-regulatory body, the game is not containing any content harmful to India’s interests, and complying with all relevant Indian regulations. If these requirements are met, the intermediary can display a visible registration mark indicating its registration with the self-regulatory authority.
MeitY found that with the rapid growth of the gaming industry, the real money gaming (RMG) sector had to be regulated properly. Rules framed must be properly implemented to stop gambling, betting, and wagering apps.
The IT Rules 2021, along with the Amendment Rules 2023, are created to take concrete action to curb the proliferation of gambling, betting, and wagering apps in India. These rules empower to issue of directives to ban specific apps that facilitate or promote such activities. The app ban directive allows the government to take decisive action by blocking access to these apps, making them unavailable for download or use within the country. This measure is aimed at curbing the negative impact of gambling, betting, and wagering on individuals and society, including issues related to addiction, financial loss, and illegal activities. Rules aim to actively combat the spread and influence of such apps and provide a safer online environment for gaming users.
The self-regulatory body in the context of online gaming will have the authority to grant membership to gaming intermediaries, register online games, develop a framework for regulation, interact with the Central Government, address user complaints, report instances of non-compliance, and take necessary actions to safeguard online gaming users.
India has been a nation where technology penetration has been a little slower in the previous decades; however, that has changed now. Cyberspace has influenced and touched every country and has significantly diminished the gap between developing nations, developed nations, and underdeveloped nations. This has also been substantiated and strengthened during the Covid-19 pandemic as the world went into lockdown and the cyberspace was the only medium of communication and information. India witnessed a rise of 61% in terms of internet users, and a significant part of this number represented rural India.
These standards have been released in threefold aspects covering – Digital Television Receivers, USB Type-C chargers, and Video Surveillance Systems, thus streamlining the use of gadgets and reduction of e-waste for the country.
1. Digital Television Receivers
The Indian standard IS 18112:2022 specification for digital television, and this standard would enable reception of free-to-air TV and radio channels just by connecting a dish antenna with LNB mounted on a suitable area with good signal reception. This will help in the transmission of knowledge about government initiatives and schemes, the educational content of Doordarshan, and the repository of Indian cultural programs. Doordarshan is in the process of phasing out analog transmission, and free-to-air channels will continue to be broadcast using digital satellite transmission. The keen aspects of educational and awareness programs run by the Govt and CSOs will impact more Indians than before as the Ministry of Information and Broadcast intends to increase their free channels of Doordarshan from 55 to 200 by the end of this year, which shows the importance of developments in the mass media industry.
2. USB Type C
Standard (IS/IEC 62680-1-3:2022) for USB Type-C receptacles, plugs, and cables adopting the existing global standard IEC 62680-1-3:2022. This standard provides for the requirements for USB type C ports and cables for use in various electronic devices like laptops, mobile phones, and other gadgets. This standard is similar to the new European standard, which is also aimed at the reduction of carbon emissions and e-waste; this move will result in ease for the industry and the end users. This will also contribute towards the strengthening of the cyber security aspects and prevent threats like ‘Juice Jacking’ to a massive extent.
3. Video Surveillance System
IS 16190, this standard provides a detailed outline of the aspects of a video surveillance system, such as requirements for its components like camera devices, interfaces, system requirements, and tests to ascertain the camera’s image quality on different devices. This series of standards would assist customers, installers, and users in establishing their requirements and determining the appropriate equipment required for their intended application and also provide means of evaluating the performance of the VSS objectively. This will also help in the improvement of surveillance by the individuals, and this will also help in the better investigation by Law enforcement agencies and faster apprehension of criminals, thus contributing to an overall safe society.
These standards are in power with the Internationally prevalent standards, thus taking the safety factors to the global aspect. This will also allow the Indian industry to create world-class products which can be shared all across the globe. This will open India to various opportunities and job avenues, thus opening the world to invest in India. The aspect of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Digital India will be strengthened to a new level as the nation will be able to deliver products in power with quality in developed countries. The end Indian consumer will benefit the most from these upgraded standards in terms of Digital Televisions, Type ‘C’ USB chargers, and Video surveillance systems, as these impacts the consumers’ daily activities in terms of security and access to information.
- Reduction in Carbon Emission
- Production of World Class components and devices
- Boost to the economy and Atmanirbhar Bharat
- New avenues and opportunities for startups and MSMEs
- Better transmission of Knowledge
- Boosting FDI
- Improved quality of products for the end consumer
- New innovation hubs and exposure to global talents
This government move simply shows how India is working toward securing the Sustainable development Goals (SDG) by United Nations. This clearly shares the message to the world that India is ready for the future and will also be a helping hand to various developing and underdeveloped nations in the times to come.
These standards will significantly contribute towards the reduction of E-Waste and unnecessary accessories for daily use gadgets. This strengthens the reduction in carbon emissions and thus contributes towards the perseverance of the environment and working towards sustainable development goals. Such standards will lead the future towards securing the netizens and their new and evolving digital habits. In the current phase of cyberspace, the most essential aspect of establishing Critical Infrastructure as the same will act as a shield against the threats of cyberspace.