Archive for December 31, 2019

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."

Microsoft Enters 2020 with Two New Products


Microsoft plans to come up with two products with the advent of the New Year, Windows 10X-powered Surface Neo and Android-powered Surface Duo and this could be an indication of 2020 being the year of foldable and dual-screen devices from smartphone and PC creators.

Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 10 X, is set to power the main rush a.k.a the first wave of foldable and dual-screen equipment scheduled for holiday 2020 and Surface Neo is said to have been the primary equipment to be dispatched with Windows 10 X, however, the Redmond giant is additionally preparing the OS for dual-screen PCs from accomplices.

Windows 10 X is additionally expected to power the dual-screen PCs created by Microsoft OEM accomplices like HP, Dell, and Lenovo. A leak as of late affirmed that Windows 10 X will be coming to workstations and other customary PC form factors in the future, however apparently the operating system is as yet 'immature'.


Anyway because of the moderate-paced advancement of the operating system and inadequate adaptable panel supply as per another report, Intel probably won't promote foldable notebooks in the future.

Despite the fact that Intel's dual-screen model highlights a 17-inch display and it would run Windows 10 X, the company will postpone the unveiling which was initially planned for CES 2020 because of issues with “immature OS support”.

The report refers to 'upstream supply chain' as the source of the talk likewise including that Intel won't promote foldable notebooks until mid-2020.

Windows 10 X was announced at the October 2019 occasion and Microsoft has ever since protected it under much 'secrecy' and still hasn't uncovered when it intends to launch Windows 10 X, yet the operating system is reputed to finalize at some point in 2020, a couple of months or weeks before the launch of Surface Neo and other much-awaited foldable devices.

Alert! USB Flash Drive Malware: Threats Decoded!


The cybercriminals have gotten all the savvier when it comes to finding out new ways of administering malware into the victims’ devices.

The next in the list happens to be “Malicious USB sticks”. These are employed whenever an attacker needs a “physical” entrance to a computer or any device for that matter.

The first related incident goes back a decade when the highly malicious, “Stuxnet” worm was disseminated to attack Iranian networks by means of USB sticks.

An “unattended” USB flash drive might as well cause an equally malicious problem if plugged into a host network or system. These drives could be carrying viruses or even ransomware.

The ultimate motive of these drives could range from easy-going hacking into systems to disrupting major businesses and their operations.

These USB sticks are extremely malicious and could lead to major setbacks and cyber harm for victim organizations and their clients and other individuals at large.

Reportedly, there are several other malware that are carried and transmitted through USB flash drives and per sources they encompass of:

1. The “Flame” modular computer malware
2. The “Duqu” collection of computer malware


There are numerous things, threats, and risks that a malicious USB flash drive poses to its users. Backdoors, Trojans, ransomware attacks and information stealing are common endeavors.


As per sources, browser hijackers could also be installed to mislead the users to the hackers’ website where adware, grey ware, malware or spyware could be injected in the device.

The users could follow the following safety and protection mechanisms to steer clear of the contingencies of the aforementioned attacks:

1. Updating the computer and other device software on a regular basis is a must. All the essential patches must be downloaded to clear the vulnerabilities.
2. Enable all the security features on the devices. Fingerprint authentication is a good option in such cases.
3. Keep all your USB flash drives absolutely secure and safe and prepared against hackers.
4. Never plug in unauthorized or unknown USB flash drives in your business devices especially those at your workplace.
5. Keep separate drives for work and home devices.

Hackers Bypass the 2-step Verification to Invade Government Systems and Industries


2-step verification is an extra security measure that an application uses when connecting to a service or a device. But the 2-step authentication was avoided by a group of hackers from China known as APT20. The government, industries, and various corporations across the world are concerned about the issue. This is disturbing news for the world of cybersecurity. APT 20, a criminal hacking organization from China was able to avoid the important 2-step verification, that is used as a safety precaution by vast services on the internet such as Google, Whatsapp, Instagram, etc. But above all this, this issue is a major concern for banking institutions that rely on internet services for their conduct.



The APT20 group was caught avoiding the 2-step Verification: 

After successfully breaking the verification process, APT20 was able to get access to some government agencies, corporate databases, and servers of various industries. The activity was discovered by Fox-It, a Dutch security specialist, when it received a complaint from one of the victims and upon investigation, it was able to identify the criminal group responsible for the attack. The corporations hit by the attack are spread over 10 nations and different sectors, some of which include Germany, Britain, France, the US, and China. The sectors affected are flight, architecture, banking, power, security, transportation, HR services, etc. The attack, however, doesn't affect the general public, as it focuses much on the corporations.

What is a 2-step verification?

Today, 2-step verification has become an official security order and is used worldwide by the users as an assurance of security (even if the users are unaware, their systems rely on this method). The safety method comes along with an extension to the typical login-password credentials process. 2-step verification operates when the user enters his credentials while logging into a device, following which he is sent a temporary code.

The 2-step verification asks the user a temporary code that he has to enter while logging in to the device. For instance, Google systems like Gmail retrieves the user back to his device for confirming the identity. Only after making sure that the user is authenticated and not a fraud, he is allowed access into the specified device. After filling in the code, the user verifies his identification to the system.   

The Russian President created a new Department for information security


Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree increasing the number of departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia from 41 to 42.  According to the Facebook page of the Department, the new 42nd Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry will deal with international information security, including the fight against the use of information technologies for military-political, terrorist and other criminal purposes.

The decree came into force on December 27, 2019.  The number of employees of the Central office of the Russian Foreign Ministry increased from 3,358 people to 3,391 people. The decree establishes a staff payroll for a year in the amount of 3,521,914.7 thousand rubles ($57,000).

Employees of the Department will have to propose measures to improve legislation to make it easier to cooperate with other countries and international organizations on the topic of information security.

"The main idea of the department is the development of generally accepted rules for conducting a cyber environment and for a collective response to challenges,” said Maria Zakharova, an official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Earlier, at the end of 2018, the Permanent Representative of Russia in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, announced that a new information security division would appear in the structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He noted that the decision was made due to the fact that information threats have recently become more relevant.

Recall that on December 28, it became known that the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proposed by Russia to combat cybercrime.  The US did not support the initiative, considering the document redundant, as there is already an agreement on cybercrime, it's the Budapest Convention

The American side believes that the resolution is beneficial to Russia to create the necessary "type of control over the Internet space."

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the adopted resolution a new page in the history of the fight against cybercrime, stressing that the document actually secured the digital sovereignty of States over their information space.