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Facebook Makes Its Largest Bet on the Developing Market; Invests $5.7 Billion in Indian Internet Giant Jio


“The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation, and organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online. With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses.”

This is what Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said in a post to his Facebook page on the occasion of the social media giant making its biggest single investment by putting $5.7 billion into Jio Platforms of India on Tuesday.

Adding later on that the move indicates its 'commitment' to India, as approximately more than 388 million people in India have been in a solid connection with the internet service over the past four years via Jio.

While numerous businesses have been harmed by the aftermath from the Covid-19 pandemic, huge technology companies are positioned to profit over the long haul as more people resort to their services while keeping indoors.

Facebook is thusly making preparations to move ahead with vital and strategic investments at a very 'fragile' time in the global economy.

David Fischer, Facebook's chief revenue official, and Ajit Mohan, Facebook's managing director in India, in a blog-entry by-lined by the former said that “One focus of our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy. For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop, and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”

With more than 400 million Indian citizens utilizing WhatsApp and more than 300 million people utilizing the company's core social network, therefore Facebook sees a lot of chance with Jio.

Apart from this, last week India's Economic Times revealed that Facebook and Reliance were intending to use WhatsApp and Jio administrations to make a WeChat-style "super-app" for India.

Tencent's WeChat has enormous penetration in China, with in excess of a billion users and numerous independent businesses utilizing it for payments, promotion, and communication. Yet, it is to be noticed this isn't Facebook's first swoop into the Indian market.

Quite a long while ago, it attempted to offer free internet connectivity to Indian users in a program called Free Basics. Yet, that initiative hit a lot of obstacles until it was ultimately banned in the nation by the telecom regulator TRAI, in 2016.

What's more, is that the regulators concluded that businesses couldn't offer free internet services that supported only a few companies over the others. Facebook has been at a disagreement with the Indian government over WhatsApp for quite some time recently.

The government had demanded that WhatsApp change its encryption to trace messages back to their source, which WhatsApp refused to comply with. Simultaneously, regulators have over and over again thwarted WhatsApp's request to offer a payments service to its Indian users.

Here are some of the reaction tweets by people on the Jio-Facebook collab.







Be careful with whom you share your Jio Hotspot!

If you are sharing your Jio internet with others via mobile hotspot, you should know what is the risk that you are taking.  Our research shows that sharing your Jio with others puts your sensitive information in their hands.

The person who is using your Jio Internet can easily log into your Jio account. All they have to do is download the MyJio app and click "SIGN IN WITH SIM". 

Steps to replicate:
Step 1:
    You should have two phones - one with Jio Sim and another one with non-Jio SIM(make sure you have not installed Jio app in the second phone yet).

Step 2:
    Turn on Wi-Fi hotspot in the Jio phone and connect from your non-Jio phone

Step 3:
    Install Jio app from playstore and open.  When it is asking for authentication, click "SIGN IN WITH SIM". Now you will be able to access the Jio account from your non-Jio mobile.

View/Modify Details:
After logging in, it is possible to view sensitive information including name, date of birth, mobile number, alternate contact work, address, photo, usage details.  Also, some of the details can be edited.



Once you are logged in, the session is getting maintained even if you are disconnected from the Jio network.

Account lockout:
If you mistakenly log out from the Jio-phone when it is logged in the non-Jio phone, you won't be able to log in to your Jio app unless the other person logs out from the app.

If the victim has installed Jio Security app, it is possible for an attacker to track the current location or see the last location details.

Let's say that you are in public place and a stranger(attacker) asking for Internet connection to check his email.  If you share the Internet, it is enough for the attacker to steal your sensitive information.

The issue can be resolved by adding OTP Check when doing authentication.

We thank Suriya Prakash from Cyber Security & Privacy Foundation(CSPF) for helping us with this research.