International Current Affairs - 2019

Latest International Current Affairs 2019 with news summaries and current events in International developments, geopolitical, organizations, groupings and fora related updates for India and world with all important national news updates and events for the year 2019.

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WhatsApp confirms ‘Targeted’ Spyware Attack

WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging apps in the world with about 1.5 Billion users worldwide confirmed a targeted spyware attack on its platform.

Key Highlights

  • Threat: A security flaw in WhatsApp acted as a vulnerability, which allowed hackers to insert malicious software on user’s phones by calling the target using the app.
  • This latest exploit impacts Android devices and Apple’s iPhones, among others. It was discovered by company in early May and WhatsApp quickly attempted to fix it and even rolled out an update within 10 days.
  • Concern: WhatsApp is a “secure” communications app as the messages shared on platform are end-to-end encrypted, which means they should only be displayed in a readable form on sender or recipient’s device. However, the surveillance software used in spyware would have let an attacker read messages on potential target’s device.
  • Impact: Such attacks are designed to compromise users data stored on mobile device and thus puts information stored by billions of people at risk.
  • Potential Attacker: As per a spyware dealer, the hacking tool was developed by ‘NSO Group’, a shadowy Israel-based firm, which has earlier been accused of helping governments from Middle East to Mexico snoop on activists and journalists. Several security researchers also found similarities between the malicious codes with other tech which have been developed by the firm.
  • Restraint: to protect against potential targeted exploits, WhatsApp encouraged its users to upgrade to latest version of its app, and to also keep their mobile operating system (OS) updated as an added precaution.

About NSO Group

  • The group gained prominence in 2016 when several researchers accused it of helping to spy on an activist in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • In past it has been referred as a “cyber-arms dealer”.
  • ‘Pegasus’, a highly invasive tool is NSO’s flagship software. It is capable of switching on a target’s phone camera and microphone, gather location data and can even access and collect data from it.
  • But, the firm denied any participation in potential spyware.

Month:  Categories: International

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India to co-chair Consultative Group of GFDRR

India was unanimously chosen by member countries as next co-chair of Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for fiscal year 2020. This decision was taken during Consultative Group meeting of GFDRR 2019 held from 13 May- 17 May in Geneva, Switzerland.

Key Highlights

  • About: The Consultative Group meeting held in Geneva was the 6thSession of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2019.
  • Co-Chair of 2019: The CG Meeting 2019 was co-chaired by the European Union (EU), Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and World Bank.
  • In addition to this, GFDRR in cooperation with UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and EU also organized 4thedition of World Reconstruction Conference (WRC) on May 13-14, 2019 in Geneva.
  • Participants: includes experts, policy makers, leaders, and practitioners from various government, international organizations, academia, private sector and NGOs from both developing and developed countries.
  • Significance: This is the first time that India has been given opportunity of co-chairing CG meeting of GFDRR.
  • Importance: Co-Chairing will give India an opportunity to work with other member countries and organizations of GFDRR. India can contribute with a focused contribution towards advancing disaster risk reduction (DRR) agenda during its term as co-chair.
  • Way Forward: India must pursue a focused agenda and develop synergies with currently ongoing work streams of GFDRR. As per India, Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI) will be its central theme of engagement with GFDRR partners and stakeholders.

Background

  • In 2015, India became member of Consultative Group (CG) of GFDRR.
  • At the 5th session of GFDRR held in October 2018, India expressed its interest to co-chair the meet.
  • India’s candidature was backed by member countries because of India’s consistent progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and also various initiatives it has undertaken to form a coalition on disaster resilient infrastructure.

About GFDRR

  • It is a global partnership which helps developing countries to better understand and reduce their vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards.
  • It involves a grant-funding mechanism, which is managed by World Bank. This grant funding supports disaster risk management projects throughout the world.
  • At present it is working on ground with more than 400 international, national, local and regional partners. It provides funding, knowledge, and technical assistance to them.

About World Reconstruction Conference (WRC)

  • It is a global forum which provides a platform to assess, collect, and share experiences about disaster recovery and reconstruction and also to take forward the policy dialogue.
  • Theme for 4th edition of WRC was “ Inclusion for Resilient Recovery,”

Month:  Categories: International

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