cyber security Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
- 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.
The 19th meeting of Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The meeting was attended by RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R. Patel, SEBI chairman, IRDAI Chairman along with heads and other senior officers of Government and financial sector regulators.
Key Highlights of Meeting
- Economic Review: It reviewed health of economy, both domestic and global, financial sector performance and issues due to rising oil prices. It also discussed issue of real interest rate, current liquidity situation, including segmental liquidity position in NBFCs and mutual fund space.
- Cyber Security in Financial Sector: It also reviewed developments regarding strengthening of Cyber Security in Financial Sector and progress made towards setting up of Computer Emergency Response Team in the Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) under Statutory Framework. It also deliberated on need for identifying and securing critical information infrastructure in financial sector.
- Crypto Currency: It also deliberated on issues and challenges of Crypto Assets and Currency. It was briefed about deliberations of High-level Committee chaired by Secretary (Economic Affairs) to devise appropriate legal framework to ban use o fprivate crypto currencies in India and encouraging use of distributed ledger technology (blockchain), as announced in Budget 2018-19.
- RegTech and SupTech: It also discussed market developments and financial stability implications of use of RegTech and SupTech by financial firms and regulatory and supervisory authorities. It also discussed implementation of recommendations of Sumit Bose Committee on measures, such as promoting appropriate disclosure regime for financial distribution costs.
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)
- FSDC is super regulatory body for regulating financial sector which is vital for bringing healthy and efficient financial system in economy of the country. It was set up in 2010 by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
- Mandate: To strengthen and institutionalise mechanism of maintaining financial stability, financial sector development, inter-regulatory coordination along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy and promoting financial sector development.
- Composition: Union Finance Minister is chairman of FSDC. Its members are heads of all financial sector regulatory authorities (i.e, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, PFRDA), Chairman of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board, Finance Secretary and Secretary, Department of Economic Affair; Secretary, Department of Financial Services and Chief Economic Adviser.