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The Central Bank of Russia considers the introduction of the digital ruble as a new form of money

The Bank of Russia announced that it is studying the problem of issuing a digital ruble. The initiative has been discussed for several years, and there has always been a lot of controversy around it

The Central Bank is considering the possibility of issuing a digital ruble in Russia in order to increase the competitiveness of the domestic economy. On October 13, the regulator presented a report according to which the so-called digital ruble will become an additional form of money along with cash and non-cash.

It is expected that such a payment system will appear in 2021.

The digital ruble can be used for online payments, as well as in offline mode, without access to the Internet and mobile communications. The Central Bank indicated that the digital ruble will increase the stability of the Russian payment system,  but additional infrastructure will be needed for its turnover.

According to the regulator, the digital ruble can make payments faster, easier and safer. At the same time, its use will reduce the cost of payment services, money transfers, and increase competition among financial organizations.

While cash has a unique number, and non-cash money exists in the form of records on accounts, the digital ruble will receive a unique digital code that will move from one user to another when paying.

The Central Bank will become the Issuer of the digital ruble. The digital ruble will be stored in a special electronic wallet. The regulator emphasizes that its digital currency is an equivalent form of national currency. All three forms of the ruble will be equal and equivalent to each other.

This currency will be introduced into circulation gradually. As the head of the State Duma Committee on the financial market Anatoly Aksakov noted, the law on digital financial assets was adopted in July. The document will come into force on January 1, 2021.

WhatsApp to Allow Users to Sync Chat Between iOS and Android


When switching devices from Android to iOS or the other way round, users were not able to retain the chat histories despite the backup option as WhatsApp didn’t provide a means to synchronize chat histories between the two platforms. Although, for the iOS users the chat histories are backed up on the iCloud and similarly, for Android, Google’s cloud gets the work done as long as the platform remains unchanged, having a method to drag the backup to a new platform would add a lot more convenience to both the universes.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been working on a new feature aiming to resolve the issue pertaining to the syncing of chats across platforms; the company is planning to come up with a functionality that will allow users to use a single phone number, i.e., one account on multiple devices, as per the sources.

Reports suggest that WhatsApp could allow users to use a single account on four different devices simultaneously. However, as per the idea revolving around this new feature, a Wi-Fi facility will become a must for users as a lot of data will be required for the uploading and downloading of all the multimedia along with the messages, while syncing the chat histories between devices.

Notably, the development came in the wake of users' complaints and demand regarding being able to use one account on multiple devices. Once WhatsApp will securely copy the chat history to the other device, users will finally be able to use their account from it. During the process, the encryption keys will be changed and all active chats will be notified about the same.

Referencing from the report by WABetainfo, “When the user wants to use WhatsApp on a second device, there is the need to copy the chat history. In this case, WhatsApp always requires a Wi-Fi connection, because it may use a large amount of your data plan,”

“Note that any message will be delivered to all your family devices, so your chat history will be always synced across platforms, and when you use or remove a device, your encryption key changes,”

“In this case, WhatsApp Desktop was used for the test, but it will work on a second mobile device too, but it’s really possible that WhatsApp will allow mobile devices to be connected to your main device later than WhatsApp Desktop. Note that, using this feature, an Internet connection on your device will no longer be needed to use WhatsApp Desktop,” read the report. 

OCA Launches First Open Source Language to Connect Security Tools


On Monday, The availability of OpenDXL Ontology - the first open-source language for connecting cybersecurity tools via a common messaging framework has been announced by the Open Cybersecurity Alliance (OCA). The OCA comprises of like-minded individuals, cybersecurity vendors, thought leaders, end-users from across the globe with the mission of finding solutions to the problem of interoperability via tooling, coding and employing procedures and technology they all agree upon. The Project has IBM Security and McAfee as its initial contributors.

As the open-source code is made freely accessible in the cybersecurity ecosystem, OpenDXL Ontology allows any tool to acquire the ability to interoperate and communicate with various other technologies on its own by employing this language. Once this language is released, the need for custom integrations between individual products will be effectively eliminated, reducing the number of engineering resources spent on integration. These saved resources can be efficiently redeployed for other parts amounting to higher value functionality.

OpenDXL, also known as The Open Data Exchange Layer is an adaptive messaging system utilized by more than 4,100 vendors and enterprises to communicate and share intelligence to make accurate and informed security decisions. Any level of integration has to face a common challenge of accuracy and timeliness; when a product is refreshed, it requires all its integrations to be refreshed too. Now, the number of integrations a product will have depends upon the size of the product. More and more integrations given away for free of cost or a very low cost in the open-source space leads to a lot of dead code and hence creates a complex scenario.

In regard of that, the OCA claims that the release of the OpenDXL Ontology now provides, “ a single, common language for these notifications, information, and actions across security products that any vendor can adopt in order to communicate in a standard way with all other tools under this umbrella. This provides companies with a set of tooling that can be applied once and automatically reused everywhere across all product categories, while also eliminating the need to update integrations as product versions and functionalities change.”

While putting the whole idea into perspective, Brian Rexroad, Vice President of Security Platforms at AT&T, told “With the adoption of public cloud and explosion of connected devices, the ability for enterprises to quickly respond to threats across ever-changing technologies, and even beyond perimeters, is critical,"

“OCA is driving an industrial shift in interoperability with the OpenDXL Ontology to support security at scale.” he further added.

India Invites Huawei and ZTE to Participate in 5G Trials


The demands for bringing fifth-generation (5G) technology of mobile networks in India are on a rise and the government is looking forth to begin the 5G trials, The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has invited all applicants to show use-cases of 5G network in India, including Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and ZTE. On Monday, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was specifically asked about Huawei, wherein he told that at this stage, all stakeholders are invited.

“5G trials will be done with all vendors and operators,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told media. “We have taken an in-principle decision to give 5G spectrum for trials.”

Amid all the ongoing economic and diplomatic tensions between the US and China, the invitation for the 5G trial comes as the very first official stance taken by India on the matter. It also offered Huawei some breathing space after the global scrutiny it has been subjected to regarding network security concerns. The claims made by the US put into perspective the probable exploitation of the equipment, that China can do to spy onto other nations; meanwhile, to its defense, Huwaei constantly denied the allegations.

The US has also alerted the Indian government about the potential risks that will come along with these Chinese companies being allowed to deploy next-generation technology in India, Morgan Ortagus, the US state department’s spokesperson while acknowledging the important role 5G networks will be playing in the upcoming era, also told how high are the stakes of letting companies under the command of authoritarian regimes deploy technology in other nations. “All countries should adopt national security policies in order to prevent untrusted companies from misusing any part of their future 5G network plans,” Ortagus further added.

As India is yet to finalize the framework and devise a clear plan for 5G technology, Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha that, “The government is creating an enabling framework for the deployment of affordable and secure 5G services in India.”

Referencing from the statements given by Vimal Wakhlu, a former chairman of Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd., “Whether it is Huawei or Ericsson or any other company, India needs to build a system, which can detect any malware and not depend on the brand of a company or a country."

“Any country is capable of snooping on us. The reason some people have been advocating a ban on Huawei is that if it is barred, the market for equipment becomes slightly less competitive and hence it can be sold at higher prices."

Business representatives proposed scheme to legalise eSIM in Russia


Large business representatives proposed a scheme to legalise eSIM in Russia. Innovative virtual SIM cards will be available to Russians next year.

In addition, Russia began work on the creation of remote identification of mobile subscribers by face and voice. This will speed up the implementation of virtual SIM cards (eSIM), which are now being tested by Russian operators. When the system works, it will be possible to register on the network by taking a picture on a computer or phone camera and saying a few words into the microphone. People don’t have to come to the office of a mobile operator with a passport.

eSIM is a module built into the mobile device that allows people to change the tariff and the mobile company without buying and replacing a physical SIM card. People can get a new connection by scanning, for example, a QR code in the operator's personal account.

Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov in early September in an interview on the timing of the implementation of virtual SIM-cards in Russia said: "We will do for sure."

After all, the SIM card is also a small chip. If this chip is a combination of algorithms that can be built into the phone, why it is needed separately, said the Deputy Prime Minister.

Last week, Tele2 resumed eSIM test connections in several of its stores. According to the representative of the mobile operator MegaFon, the company is worried about how to ensure the security of Russian data when using eSIM.

The introduction of eSIM can lead to serious changes in the Russian mobile market, said Konstantin Ankilov, CEO of TMT Consulting.

The use of eSIM will have a positive impact on the Telecom market, as it will lead to the development of competition and, as a result, improve user service, believes the representative of Tele2.

It is interesting to note that since the end of 2018, eSIM technology has been working in the US and European countries. Now there are more than 40 eSIM-supporting operators in the world. The technology is available in new Apple smartphones, Google Pixel devices, Samsung and Apple smartwatches, and iPad tablets