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Private Details of 73 Lakh Indians Exposed in BHIM Data Leak, NPCI Issues Denial

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

According to vpnMentor, the data was exposed due to a misconfigured server, hence exposing users who signed up for BHIM between February 2019 and May 2020.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 1, 2020, 8:29 PM IST

An independent cyber security research firm has disclosed that almost 73 lakh Indians were left opened to the possibility of data-based fraud, due to lax security standards maintained in the official UPI app, BHIM. According to the researchers at vpnMentor, CSC e-Governance Services, which is the private firm that was contracted to develop and maintain user data associated with the BHIM app, left one of its Amazon Web Services S3 cloud data storage bucket uncsecured, and hence open to the public. The data storage misconfiguration was for a period between February 2019 and May 2020, when it was patched. However, with a total of about 73 lakh users exposed for over a year, it isn’t clear as to how big an impact did the security lapse actually have.

According to vpnMentor, the kind of data that was accessible through the AWS S3 bucket include Aadhaar cards, “caste certificates”, residential address proofs, educational degrees, banking and financial transcripts, and PAN details. As a result, for all the 73 lakh users exposed in this situation, all information including residential address and biometric authentication info were revealed online. vpnMentor has also offered some examples of identification documents as proof of their findings.

However, an Economic Times report on the matter states that the National Payments Council of India (NPCI) has categorically denied any data breach of UPI users. The statement says, “We have come across some news reports which suggest data breach at BHIM App. We would like to clarify that there has been no data compromise at BHIM App and request everyone to not fall prey to such speculations. NPCI follows high level of security and an integrated approach to protect its infrastructure and continue to provide a robust payments ecosystem.”

vpnMentor has revealed that the unsecured data bucket was 409GB in size, and was discovered by the agency on April 23. Following the discovery, the firm reported the data breach to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) on April 28, and received an initial response on April 29. It also attempted to directly contact CSC e-Gov on May 5, but says that no response was received from the company’s end. It then contacted CERT-In again on May 22, and the unsecured bucket was finally patched soon after.

While the vulnerable data bucket no longer remains in public domain, given that it was open for anyone for over one year, it will remain unclear as to whether any malicious user may have gotten their hands on such data. Despite the NPCI’s denial of the incident, any such lapse in security standard will raise alarm regarding the cyber security status of government-backed digital initiatives.




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Is THIS The New Earth That We Have Been Searching For All Along? Is Proxima b Our Big Hope?

An artist's impression of Proxima b from the surface. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An artist’s impression of Proxima b from the surface. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Researchers say that while the Proxima b is about 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun, the amount of energy that it receives is comparable.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 29, 2020, 10:03 AM IST

As the search for a new Earth continues, we have the latest in the saga that indicates a planet called Proxima b could be our next big hope. This planet sits 4.2 light years away from the sun. It has a has a mass that is 1.17 times the mass of the Earth, sits in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri and orbits it ever 11 days. While this planet was first discovered in 2016 using the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) spectrograph based in Chile, they have been able to now gather more information about the planet using the Swiss-manufactured ESPRESSO spectrograph.

Researchers say that while the Proxima b is about 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun, the amount of energy that it receives is comparable. Therefore, it is believed that the surface temperature would also be similar, and that gives hope of water being present on the Proxima b, which could also mean there may be life on the planet.

“We were already very happy with the performance of HARPS, which has been responsible for discovering hundreds of exoplanets over the last 17 years,” says Francesco Pepe, a professor in the Astronomy Department in UNIGE’s Faculty of Science and leader of ESPRESSO. “We’re really pleased that ESPRESSO can produce even better measurements, and it’s gratifying and just reward for the teamwork lasting nearly 10 years,” he added.

There is however some potential bad news. Scientists say that the Proxima Centauri tends to bombard planets near it with X-rays about 400 times more than what sun sends towards the Earth we live on. A lot will therefore depend on the atmosphere around the Proxima b and whether it is able to shield the surface from these rays. “Is there an atmosphere that protects the planet from these deadly rays?” ass co-author Christophe Lovis, a researcher who worked on ESPRESSO, in the statement. The answers could be provided by the next generation spectrographs. It turns out that RISTRETTO, which will be ESPRESSO’s successor, is already being developed.




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Jio Fiber Annual Subscription Plans Now Offer Double Data: Check Details Here

Jio Fiber has made some changes to its fiber broadband offering by introducing additional data benefits for its annual subscription plans. According to the Jio Fiber website, all the plans now offer additional double data on annual subscription.

This essentially means that the Bronze plan now offers 350GB of data which is an addition of 100GB monthly data, if one opts for the annual plan subscription. If users opt for the monthly subscription, the data benefit is 250GB that includes 100GB plan benefit, 100GB double data benefit due to the lockdown, and 50GB introductory data benefit.

Similarly the Silver annual plan subscribers also get the data benefits which means the annual subscription will now offer 800GB of total monthly data, which includes an additional benefit of 200GB. This plan includes 200GB plan benefit, 200GB double data benefit, 200GB introductory data, and 200GB of annual plan benefit. Moving up, the Gold plan offers a total of 1,750GB of monthly data for annual subscribers which includes 500GB of annual plan benefit, 250GB of introductory data, 500GB of double data benefit due to the lockdown, and 500GB of plan benefit.

The Jio Fiber Diamond plan now offers 4,000GB of high-speed monthly data benefit if you opt for the annual subscription. The updated plan now offers the addition of 1,250GB of monthly data benefit. The plan basically offers 250GB of introductory data benefit, 1,250GB of double data during the lockdown, and 1,250GB of plan benefit. The Platinum plan now offers a total of 7,500GB monthly data benefits for annual subscribers with 2,500GB of additional benefit. This plan includes 2,500GB of plan benefit, 2,500GB of double data benefit during the lockdown, and 2,500GB of annual data benefit. Notably there is no introductory data benefit on this plan.

The top of the line Jio Fiber Titanium plan now offers 15,000GB of monthly data benefits. This includes 5,000GB of plan benefit, 5000GB of double data during the lockdown, and 5,000GB of annual plan benefit. The introductory data to some of the plans are valid only up to six months while the double data added to all plans is temporary, and will most likely be removed once the lockdown has been lifted.

jio-fiber-plans-double-data

Disclaimer: News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited that also owns Reliance Jio.



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Work From Home: Best 3GB Data Prepaid Plans From Reliance Jio, Airtel & Vodafone

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has forced most of us to stay at home. The pandemic has also left most of us to work from home to maintain social distance. To meet the needs of such users, telcos have introduced new plans with increased data.

Here we have listed some of the best prepaid plans from Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone offering a minimum of 3GB daily data with additional benefits:

Reliance Jio

Jio is currently offering two plans for its customers with 3GB daily data. The Rs 999 plan offers 84 days of validity with a total of 252GB high-speed data (3GB/day) along with free unlimited Jio to Jio calls, 3000 minutes of calling to non-Jio numbers, 100 SMS per day and subscription to Jio apps.

Similarly, Jio also offers the Rs 349 plan offering similar benefits as the Rs 999 but with 28-days validity. So you get a total of 84GB high-speed data (3GB/day) along with free unlimited Jio to Jio calls, 1000 minutes of calling to non-Jio numbers, 100 SMS per day and subscription to Jio apps.

Airtel

Airtel also offers a bunch of prepaid recharge plans offering 3GB of daily data. First is the Rs 398 plan that offers 3GB daily data along with 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls. The total validity of this plan is 28 days. The Rs 598 plan also brings 3GB of high-speed daily data, 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls but is valid for 84 days. There is also the Rs 558 plan that brings 3GB of high-speed daily data, 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls with a validity of 56 days.

Vodafone

If you have a Vodafone prepaid connection, there are a bunch of 3GB data plans for you. There is the Rs 558 plan that brings 3GB of high-speed daily data, along with 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls with 56 days validity. To get slightly longer validity, the Rs 599 plan brings 3GB of high-speed daily data, 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls with 84 days validity.

Similarly, the Rs 398 plan brings 3GB of high-speed daily data, 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls with 28 days validity. There is also the Rs 399 plan that offers 3GB of high-speed daily data, 100 SMS per day, and unlimited calls with 56 days validity.



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Hacker Selling 80,000 Users' Data Stolen From Cryptocurrency Wallets

Hacker Selling 80,000 Users' Data Stolen From Cryptocurrency Wallets

Details such as user names, emails, phone numbers, residential addresses were stolen from leading cryptocurrency wallets, and are now being sold online.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 25, 2020, 11:06 AM IST

A hacker who was behind the cyber attack on Ethereum.org is now selling data tied to key cryptocurrency wallets like Keepkey, Trezor, Ledger and online investment platform Bnktothefuture. The hacker has three large databases with information pertaining to at least 80,000 customers. This includes the customer’s email address, name, phone number, residential address and other data.

Data of customers who allegedly purchased products using Shopify from these crypto wallets have been compromised, according to data breach monitoring and prevention service called Under the Breach. “The hacker doesn’t seem to have any passwords, but is offering detailed information that was stolen from an alleged Shopify breach like email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers,” reports Bitcoin News.

Ledger, however, tweeted: “Rumours pretend our Shopify database has been hacked through a Shopify exploit. Our ecommerce team is currently checking these allegations by analyzing the so-called hacked DB, and so far it doesn’t match our real (database) DB. We continue investigations and are taking the matter seriously”.

A Shopify spokesperson told Bitcoin.com: “We investigated these claims and found no evidence to substantiate them, and no evidence of any compromise of Shopify’s systems.” The hacker has advertised the databases of 18 virtual currency exchanges and forums, in addition to the email lists of two crypto tax platforms.




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Tata Sky Broadband Now Offers up to 300Mbps Speeds, But Unlimited Data Plans Get New Prices

Tata Sky Broadband Now Offers up to 300Mbps Speeds, But Unlimited Data Plans Get New Prices

The existing plans now get a slightly higher price tag and there is a new 300Mbps speed plan available as well. And while Tata Sky Broadband calls these ‘Unlimited’, they do have a fair usage policy (FUP) in place.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 24, 2020, 10:36 AM IST

At a time when home broadband lines are being used more than ever by people working from home, and most internet service providers (ISPs) are supporting them with more data, higher speeds and the promise of faster service, Tata Sky Broadband is also making changes to its broadband tariff plans. In the sense, this is yet another change in the space of a month. The existing plans now get a slightly higher price tag and there is a new 300Mbps speed plan available as well. And while Tata Sky Broadband calls these ‘Unlimited’, they do have a fair usage policy (FUP) in place.

The new Tata Sky Broadband’s unlimited plans now have four options in place, instead of the three earlier. The first is priced a Rs 950 instead of Rs 900 and offers speeds up to 25Mbps. Then there is the Rs 1050 plan which cost Rs 1,000 earlier and offers 50Mbps. The erstwhile Rs 1100 plan now costs Rs 1150 and will get you 100Mbps speed. Now there is a flagship plan for Rs 1900 which offers 300Mbps speed. This brings it closer to the similar speed home broadband plans offered by the likes Airtel Broadband and Spectra, for instance. Earlier, Tata Sky Broadband’s options capped out at 100Mbps speeds.

Tata Sky Broadband also different FUP tiers, depending on which plan you subscribe to. For the 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans, the monthly data cap for these unlimited plans is set at 1500GB after which the speed reduces to 2Mbps for the rest of the billing cycle. If you opt for the 300Mbps speed plan, your FUP limit is much higher at 3300GB data per month, before you run the risk of having the speed reduced to 2Mbps for the rest of the billing cycle.

Tata Sky Broadband also has Fixed GB plans which are available between Rs 790 per month to Rs 1050 per month, with 50Mbps and 100Mps speed options.




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Vodafone Rs 98 Prepaid Recharge Now Offers 12GB 4G Data Instead of 6GB

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The Rs 98 pack from Vodafone previously offered only 6GB data for 28 days.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 1:38 PM IST

Vodafone India has revised its prepaid recharge pack priced at Rs 98, to now offer twice the amount of data in comparison to what it offered before. While the Rs 98 prepaid recharge previously offered 6GB of 4G data for 28 days, it has now been revised to offer double data, i.e. 12GB, at the same price. The move comes after market rival Bharti Airtel updated their own Rs 98 prepaid recharge pack to offer 12GB data to users for a 28-day period, instead of 6GB.

According to reports, the Rs 98 prepaid plan is presently available only in select circles. However, News18 could confirm that the plan is already available in major metropolitan circles such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, which indicates that the double data benefit with the Rs 98 plan may be rolled out as a cross-country plan, soon. With Vodafone and Idea being partner operators now, the revision has also been reflected on Idea’s website, where the Rs 98 prepaid plan is now stated to offer 12GB of data, instead of 6GB.

The Vodafone Rs 98 prepaid recharge pack does not come with any calling minutes or SMS benefits. Hence, it only acts as a data top-up plan that can offer users an additional amount of data on top of a base recharge, which itself may come with integrated data benefits. The Rs 98 pack also does not offer any complementary content benefits such as Zee5 or Vodafone Play, which typically come bundled with many prepaid plans.




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Aarogya Setu Downgraded to 1 Out of 5 by MIT for Collecting More Data Than it Needs

Aarogya Setu Downgraded to 1 Out of 5 by MIT for Collecting More Data Than it Needs

The Aarogya Setu app was rated a lowly 2 out of 5 initially for failing to meet numerous ideal privacy guidelines, and has now been hit even further.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 1:04 PM IST

Aarogya Setu has been embroiled in data and privacy debates right from the onset, and was initially handed a rating of 2 out of 5 stars by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based on its privacy and data principles. Now, in a detailed report published by MIT Technology Review, which has rated all the Covid-19 contact tracing apps in the world, the Aarogya Setu app rating has been downgraded to 1 out of 5 stars, with only ‘data destruction’ being the parameter that it has ticked. The revised rating comes after MIT researchers evaluated the app and found that it in the parameter of ‘data minimisation’.

In other words, as per MIT researchers, the Aarogya Setu asks for and collects far more data than what it needs to implement contact tracing of Covid-19. Data minimisation is a key aspect of a good app, where services are ideally recommended to collect as little of the user’s information as possible. The reason behind this is to reduce the app’s liability to protect user data, and give the users themselves an assurance that their information will not be misused for any third party purposes.

Ever since introduction, Aarogya Setu has often come under fire from privacy advocacy bodies for breaching consumer trust, not establishing a standard operating procedure, and being mandated for download without a supporting legal framework. In response, the Ministry of Home Affairs on May 11 published a data protocol for the app that aims to certify that user data being collected through the app will not be used or viewed by anyone other than those that are absolutely necessary.

That said, still more have questioned the efficacy of contact tracing in India, since a vast number of individuals are not smartphone users. Going forward, it remains to be seen how the revised MIT rating may affect the Aarogya Setu app, and if this, coupled with Apple and Google’s rolling out of the privacy-focused Exposure Notification API, leads to fundamental operational changes in the app.




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Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition is Built Like a Tank And Offers Two Layers of Data Encryption

Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition (Pic Source: Samsung Newsroom)

Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition (Pic Source: Samsung Newsroom)

With its 64-bit Octa-Core processor, the Galaxy S20 supports the running of multiple mission applications in the field so operators can access the intelligence they need.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 21, 2020, 11:54 AM IST

Leaving Apple behind, Samsung Electronics has introduced a new rugged version of its Galaxy S20 smartphone, dubbed as Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition (TE), for US government and Department of Defense (DoD). According to the company, with a highly customized software and feature set, the Galaxy S20 TE can operate seamlessly with a range of existing peripherals and supports the requirements of tactical and classified applications, especially those designed to help operators navigate complex terrain, expansive distances, and the potential loss of communication with command units.

Galaxy S20 TE introduces ‘DualDAR’ architecture, which delivers two layers of data encryption based on the NSA standards to secure up to top-secret level data for classified missions. “The Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition provides the warfighter with the technology that will give them an edge in the field, while providing their IT teams with an easy-to-deploy, highly secure solution that meets the demands of their regulated environment,” Taher Behbehani, Head of the Mobile B2B Division, SVP and General Manager, Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement.

With its 64-bit Octa-Core processor, the device supports the running of multiple mission applications in the field (ATAK, APASS, KILSWITCH, BATDOK) so operators can access the intelligence they need. It also includes Samsung DeX software, which offers a PC-like experience when connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. With DeX, operators can use the device for completing reports, training or mission planning when in-vehicle or back at the base.

Galaxy S20 TE features a 6.2-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2.0 display with 3200 x 1440 Resolution with up to 120Hz refresh screen. It runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor coupled with 12GB of RAM and 128GB storage. In terms of optics, it has 12MP, 64MP, and 12MP camera sensors on the back. On the front, it houses a 10MP camera. The device runs Android 10-based OneUI 2 and houses 4,000mAh battery.




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easyJet Data Breach by Chinese Hackers Reportedly Compromises 9mn Users' Data

Photo: AFP Relaxnews/easyJet

Photo: AFP Relaxnews/easyJet

With the hackers mainly targeting travellers’ transit data, easyJet might just be imposed with a fine if they do not offer a suitable response.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: May 20, 2020, 12:30 PM IST

Chinese hackers are suspected of accessing email and travel details of about nine million easyJet customers, said two sources familiar with the investigation into a cyberattack disclosed by the British airline on Tuesday. The sources said the hacking tools and techniques used in the January attack pointed to a group of suspected Chinese hackers that has targeted multiple airlines in recent months.

The news of the data breach could result in a hefty fine for the budget airline, which has already been forced to ground its flights because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is battling its founder and biggest shareholder in a long-running dispute over the carrier’s business strategy. An easyJet spokeswoman declined to comment on who was responsible for the attack and Reuters could not determine on whose behalf the hackers were working. The Chinese embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment. Beijing has repeatedly denied conducting offensive cyber operations and says it is frequently the victim of such attacks itself.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive, said there was heightened concern about personal data being used for online scams as more people worked from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As a result, and on the recommendation of the ICO (watchdog), we are contacting those customers whose travel information was accessed and we are advising them to be extra vigilant, particularly if they receive unsolicited communications,” he said.

Targeting travel records

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the same group of hackers had previously targeted travel records and other data to track the movement of specific individuals, as opposed to stealing credit card details for financial gain.

“Interest in who is travelling on which routes can be valuable for counter-intelligence or other tracking of persons of interest,” said Saher Naumaan, a threat intelligence analyst at BAE Systems, who has investigated similar attacks. EasyJet said that credit card details of more than 2,000 customers had also been compromised but it did not look like any personal information had been misused. The company said it had engaged forensic experts to investigate the issue and also notified Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

An NCSC spokesman said: “We are aware of this incident and have been working with easyJet from the outset to understand how it has affected people in the UK.” Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it was also investigating the attack and urged anyone affected by data breaches to be particularly vigilant for phishing attacks and scam messages. “People have the right to expect that organisations will handle their personal information securely and responsibly. When that doesn’t happen, we will investigate and take robust action where necessary,” it said.

The ICO protects information rights and has the power to impose fines. British Airways, owned by airlines group AIG, is still appealing against a 183.4 million pound ($225 million) fine it received from the ICO after hackers stole credit card details of hundreds of thousands of its customers in 2018. EasyJet shares, which have lost 64% of their value in three months, were down almost 1% at 1640 GMT.



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