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UNICEF won't convert Bitcoin and Ethereum : will accept donations in cryptocurrency

UN's children's agency UNICEF has launched a Cryptocurrency Fund Programme, in this all donations will be made through cryptocurre...

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How 5G Network would Change the IoT and the Challenges Ahead



Extremely fast and effective, 5G mobile networks would increase the exposure to attacks as every internet of things (IoT) when connected to fifth-generation technology can potentially become a tempting target for attackers and cybercriminals.

The efficiency would allow for improved interconnectivity and greater control over devices and machines ranging from automobiles to traffic lights and everything in between which have internet-connected sensors embedded in it. The number of such items is reported to rise from 14.2bn to 25bn by 2021, according to global research and advisory firm, Gartner.

Major home appliance company, Whirlpool is all set to have one its factories run on 5G technology. The factory puts to use a lot of metal and as 5G penetrate through walls and doesn't reflect off metal unlike Wi-Fi, Douglas Barnes, Whirlpool's North American regional IT and OT manufacturing infrastructure applications manager, says, "This will allow us to go to truly autonomous vehicles throughout the entire plant, for maintenance, for delivery, for everything that supports the manufacturing operations. That business case carries so much weight and so much in cost savings. The payback for 5G is very favorable."

With encryption of data becoming more secure than ever, 5G technology will massively change the way users communicate over the internet, browse, watch videos and play games. However, the increased speed and effectiveness, low latency, high Gbps data transfer rates, and greater capacity also accompany more security challenges as compared to the current mobile networks. It would mean that threat actors while breaching a machine running on a 5G network, will be able to download and hence steal the data much faster than the current networks allow. It would also make it easier for criminals to execute bigger cyber attacks by utilizing the increased engagement of software required to smoothly run 5G technology.

Did hackers exploit IoT before?

Earlier in 2016, in the "Mirai botnet" cyber attack, where hackers took advantage of vulnerable IoT devices to take down major websites including Reddit, Twitter, Spotify and left much of the internet inaccessible, the incident witnessed the involvement of a large number of routers, cameras, and video recorders to take down a large chunk of the internet for the Eastern coast.

Commenting on the matter, Cesar Cerrudo, chief technology officer at IOActive, a cybersecurity consultancy, said, "I think 5G will be a more tempting target for nation-state actors than . . . hackers, as 5G will be a core communication technology for most countries,” 

An App Helping Scammers Hack into Bank Accounts on the Rise in Bengaluru


An app called AnyDesk, utilized by telecallers pretending to be officials from legitimate banks is clearly on the rise in Bengaluru, helping hackers effectively access to the bank accounts of clueless customers.

AnyDesk is said to be a tool that gives remote access to digital devices and can be downloaded from Google Play and App Store. In February this year, the Reserve Bank of India cautioned of a digital banking fraud that utilizes AnyDesk as the main attack route.

Bengaluru cyber police have registered 25 cases over the last two months and as per a senior cybercrime investigator people have lost between Rs 15,000 and Rs 2 lakh subsequent to downloading the application.

The fakes talk about complimentary gifts, coupons and limits to draw their exploited people. “They use these to bait people into sharing their pin, and then access OTPs and credit card and CVV numbers saved on their phones,” he says.

The callers essentially persuade the victim to share their pin saying it is important to enact free insurance or extra credit. OTPs are their greatest weapons as they can be utilized to get to photos and recordings as well as personal data, which is now and then used to compromise and blackmail people, the official says.

“They can also see your chats and get passwords you may have stored on your phone,” the officer says. Reasons given by scam telecallers to extract information from the customers:

  1. Your ATM card has expired. 
  2. Your ATM card needs to be reactivated. 
  3. Your reward points need to be upgraded. 
  4. Your reward points can be cashed. 
  5. Your Aadhar and PAN need to be linked to your ATM card.

And so the banks have warned the people to remain cautious regarding certain parameters like:

  1. No bank ever asks you to share your OTP, CVV and Internet banking details over the phone. 
  2. People calling from banks based in Karnataka first speak in Kannada, and not in Hindi or English. Bank employees don’t ask you to deposit money through Google Pay. 
  3. Don’t install any app that allows remote access to your phone.

Bengaluru: Passport offices alerts public against fake websites


Bengaluru: Passport offices throughout the country are apprehensive about the increase in fake websites that masquerade as official portals for passport related services and siphon off applicant's data and money.

The ministry has been issuing advisories and alerts on its social media handles to caution the public against such fraudulent websites. The crime branch, working with the ministry has also started awareness drives in order to prevent passport applicants from being duped by bogus.

 The fake websites that the offices caught were-
 www.indiapassport.org,
 www.online-passportindia.com,
 www.passport-seva.in,
 www.passport-india.in,
 www.passportindiaporlal.in and www.applypassport.org. (Sc.TOI)

Whereas, the official website to apply for a passport is- "www.passportindia.gov.in" and the official mobile application to avail passport related services is - "mPassport Seva".

Victims who were cheated by these bogus websites and mobile applications approached the passport office and filed complaint at the local police station, said Officials at the Regional Passport Office, Bengaluru. Not only websites but mobile applications and brokers outside the passport offices also demand more payment and could be stealing personal data like Adhaar Card, Voter Id, resident proof and birth certificate to partake in more serious crimes like identity theft or selling the data to immigrants.

The officials said they came across websites that charged unwarranted prices for filling up online forms for a new passport and other services and even people who were highly educated fell victim to the fraud. Where the real cost for a passport is Rs.1,500 for normal and Rs.3, 500 for tatkal, these fraudsters are charging from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 6,000. And money is the lighter concern, the bigger threat is the theft of personal data like Adhar Number, Voter ID and phone connections.

These websites used logos of other government schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to appear more genuine and true. Even on Google Play Store, at least eight unauthenticated and false applications were found.

This problem is not centrist to Karnataka, as cases from all over the country have been popping up, for instance, NCR and Bhuvaneshwar being two of the areas. Bharath Kumar Kuthati, regional passport officer, Bengaluru, says "they are creating awareness by issuing warnings on social media. It is a pan-India problem and the department is taking steps to counter it."

Blockchain will become a part of the Russian economy


The Ministry of Communications published a document of the new project according to which the introduction of blockchain will bring the state 1635 million rubles (25 million $). This result will be achieved thanks to the fight against counterfeit products and cost savings.

According to the document, "total investments will amount to 23.1 million rubles ($360 000)... Private investors are expected to raise funds in the amount of 50.17 million rubles ($780 000)".

Through the introduction of blockchain, it is planned to reduce the turnover of counterfeit drugs, ensure the security of storage and exchange of personal medical data and increase the availability of financial services for the poorest segments of the population. According to forecasts of the Ministry of communications, 100% of the population will use banking services upon completion of the project.

The project should be implemented by 2024 and the network throughput will be 100 thousand transactions per second. The average throughput of Bitcoin at the moment is 4 transactions per second.

However, the Chairman of the Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina argues that investing in cryptocurrency is a casino game, because such investments are risky and not protected by the state. She agreed with the comparison of digital money with the 17th-century tulip fever in Holland and added that everyone knows "how it all ended."

"Easily earned money quickly goes away. Here, the state does not protect your investments in cryptocurrencies in any way, unlike investments in banks. But here you risk very much," says Nabiullina.

She added that the people who invested in digital money at the peak of value have now lost a lot. According to the head of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, those who want to "make money very quickly and easily" are investing in a new type of asset.

Earlier, Nabiullina said that the Bank of Russia is studying the sphere of cryptocurrencies, but can’t yet assess the advantage of issuing national digital money. The Chairman of the financial regulator noted that the new type of assets carries a lot of risks.