Science and Technology (S&T) Current Affairs 2017

Latest Science & Technology Current Affairs 2015-2016; current developments in Science and Technology 2015-2016 all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2015-2016.

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Government launches Bharat QR code

The Union Government has launched Bharat QR code, a quick response (QR) code to enable digital payments without card swiping machines.

It is world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution launched by Indian Government to move towards less-cash economy.

Key facts
  • Bharat QR code has been developed by jointly by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa, MasterCard and American Express under instructions from Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • It works as common interface for the MasterCard/Visa/RuPay platforms and also facilitate acceptance of Aadhaar-enabled payments and Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
  • It enables person to make payments to retailers without using the merchant’s ID or number. It eliminated need of using card swiping machines making digital payments.
  • Using, BharatQR code merchants will be required to only display one QR code instead of multiple ones. Users can make payment by scanning the code.
  • BharatQR code is of two types static and dynamic. In static QR code, first code need to be scanned and then amount is entered to make payment.
  • In case of dynamic QR code, new QR code will be generated in real time for every transaction. In this case there is no need to enter the amount. The payment is just made by scanning and entering the PIN.
 What is QR code?
  • QR code (Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional (matrix) machine-readable bar code made up of black and white square. This code can be read by the camera of a smartphone.
  • It is used for storing URLs or other information that link directly to text, emails websites phone numbers. It is capable of 360 degrees (omni-directional), high speed reading.
  • QR Code can store up to 7089 digits as compared to conventional bar codes which can store max 20 digits. It encodes same amount of data in one-tenth the space of a traditional bar code.
  • It carries information both horizontally and vertically. It has error correction capability and data stored in it can be restored even if it is partially damaged or dirty.

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Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi for Botnet cleaning and Malware analysis.

It was launched by Union Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad as part of Union Government’s ambitious digital India initiative to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections.

Besides, minister also launched some cyber security tools. They are

  • USB Pratirodh: It is a desktop security solution to protect from USB mass storage device threats.
  • AppSamvid: It is a desktop solution to protect systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. It helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.
  • M-Kavach: It is an indigenously developed mobile application to address the security threats in mobiles.

About Cyber Swachhta Kendra

  • The centre mission is to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections in India and to notify, enable cleaning and securing systems of end users so as to prevent further infections.
  • It is being operated by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under provisions of Section 70B of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
  • The centre complies with the objectives of the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 which aims at creating a secure cyber eco-system in the country.
  • It operates in close coordination and collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), academia, banks and Product and Antivirus companies.

Botnet: It is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. Such infected computer is referred to as a zombie. It is used to steal data, send spam. Botnet is a combination of the words robot and network.The popular attacks that happen these days using botnets are called the Distributed Detail of Service (DDOS) attacks.

Malware: It is malicious software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorized access to a computer system. It is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive malicious softwares including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, ransomware, adware, scareware etc.

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Scientists discover four new miniature frog species in Western Ghats

Scientists have discovered four new species of miniature night frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail in Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot.

These species were discovered among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and Kerala Forest Department.

Key Facts
  • Four new species of miniature night frogs are (i) Athirappilly Night Frog: It was discovered close to the Athirappilly waterfalls. (ii) Sabarimala Night Frog: It was discovered near the Sabarimala hill shrine.  (iii) The Radcliffe’s Night frog and (iv) Kadalar Night Frog: They were reported from plantation areas.
  • Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus, endemic to the Western Ghats. They make a distinctive chirping sound comparable to that of a cricket.
  • These tiny amphibians are present in abundance in the region but were overlooked in the past because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls.
  • They were confirmed as the new species with the help of integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed bioacoustics and morphological comparisons.
  • Threats: Over 32% of the frog species in the Western Ghats are threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, 5 face considerable anthropogenic extinction threats and require immediate conservation.
  • Ancient Group: Night Frogs represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago.
  • Total Nyctibatrachus species: This discovery has taken the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species to 35, of which 20% are less than 18 mm in size (i.e. they are diminutive).
  • As many as 103 new amphibian species were discovered from biodiversity rich Western Ghats region between 2006 and 2015.

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