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Centre must give a categorical response to Pegasus row: Justice B N Srikrishna | Latest News India

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


Retired Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna, who authored the first draft of the data protection bill in 2018, says the Narendra Modi government should probe the alleged phone hacking of ministers, politicians, activists and journalists, and also explicitly state if any of its agencies uses Israeli military-grade spyware Pegasus.

Justice Srikrishna, who was appointed by this government to identify and address issues in data protection in India in 2017, described the response of the government, which has thus far denied its involvement in any illegal surveillance as “unsatisfactory”.

“Even the French government has ordered an inquiry so we need to do that too,” said Justice Srikrishna. “I am not at all satisfied with the government’s response. They need to give a categorical answer about who’s behind the hacking.”

As unearthed by a collaborative investigation involving 17 media organisations, and reported by The Wire, which is one of the 17, the phone numbers of Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Patel, opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Abhishek Banerjee, activists, and 38 journalists, including three from HT and one from its sister publication Mint, were potential targets of spyware.

While NSO Group, the Israeli firm that makes Pegasus, has maintained that only governments are its clients, India’s IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has called the investigation an “attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”.

Home minister Amit Shah has questioned the timing of the revelations that came out just a day before the start of the monsoon session of Parliament. “Aap chronology samajhiye! (Understand the chronology) This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers. Disrupters are global organisations which do not like India to progress. Obstructers are political players in India who do not want India to progress,” he had said.

“It has nothing to do with timing. That is irrelevant,” said Justice Srikrishna. “An important question is being asked in Parliament and they (government) should answer it. That is how democracy is strengthened. They should give an open answer so that such issues are frankly dealt…

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Exclusive: U.S. to give ransomware hacks similar priority as terrorism

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


The U.S. Department of Justice is elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack and mounting damage caused by cyber criminals, a senior department official told Reuters.

Internal guidance sent on Thursday to U.S. attorney’s offices across the country said information about ransomware investigations in the field should be centrally coordinated with a recently created task force in Washington.

“It’s a specialized process to ensure we track all ransomware cases regardless of where it may be referred in this country, so you can make the connections between actors and work your way up to disrupt the whole chain,” said John Carlin, principle associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.

Last month, a cyber criminal group that the U.S. authorities said operates from Russia, penetrated the pipeline operator on the U.S. East Coast, locking its systems and demanding a ransom. The hack caused a shutdown lasting several days, led to a spike in gas prices, panic buying and localized fuel shortages in the southeast.

Colonial Pipeline decided to pay the hackers who invaded their systems nearly $5 million to regain access, the company said.

The DOJ guidance specifically refers to Colonial as an example of the “growing threat that ransomware and digital extortion pose to the nation.”

“To ensure we can make necessary connections across national and global cases and investigations, and to allow us to develop a comprehensive picture of the national and economic security threats we face, we must enhance and centralize our internal tracking,” said the guidance seen by Reuters and previously unreported.

The Justice Department’s decision to push ransomware into this special process illustrates how the issue is being prioritized, U.S. officials said.

A person fills a fuel container at a Shell gas station, after a cyberattack crippled the biggest fuel pipeline in the country, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

“We’ve used this model around terrorism before but never with ransomware,” said Carlin. The process has typically been reserved for a short…

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Blockbuster ransomware hacks — never give in, never pay out and always stay safe

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


Hackers are getting more aggressive — and asking for big bucks.

The increase of monetary demands in cybersecurity incidents (such as ransomware exposure) continues on the uptick.

Instead of tens of thousands, hackers now ask for hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars from those infected with this type of malware.

Hospitals and schools in Florida are the most lucrative targets for these criminals. One recent case was the Broward County School District, the target of ransomware just last month.

In this case, hackers behind the attack asked for a whopping $40 million to hand over the decryption keys to the school — allowing them to unlock their frozen files and network.

This type of crime starts when a criminal targets someone in the organization, usually by way of a seemingly innocent-looking email from someone they know or from an organization they do business with (spoofed, it’s not really them) containing a link.

Click the link and, bam! The threat is unleashed, and all computers are encrypted.

If you pay the ransom, the criminals say they will give you (maybe) the encryption keys to unlock your frozen system.

Broward Schools issued a statement saying they will not pay the ransom, but the ask is out there, and it is off the charts.

There are also some strange facts in this scenario.

The difference between the Broward attack and those in Rivera and other spots in Florida (where they paid a relatively small six-figure ransom of $600,000), the criminals priced those ransoms in a range the target could afford.

But in Broward, negotiations began. The school offered the hackers $500,000, but they said no, saying they know about the “royal family (?).”

Meanwhile, the school system chose to recover on its own; we will see if the hackers leak any data in the coming days/week. That is what they threaten to do if you don’t pay the ransom.

Unless there’s an “Earl of Ft. Lauderdale” I don’t know about, I think these criminals are a bit confused.

So regardless of the oddities with the Broward situation, why do these ransoms continue to go up?

Because people keep paying these “ransomware gangs.

Just like anything else, if there were no profits, people would stop…

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LG Rollable and other new rolling, folding phones give me something to look forward to

T-Mobile is Warning that a data breach has exposed the names, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license/ID information of more than 40 million current, former or prospective customers who applied for credit with the company. Get Secured Now with Norton 360


lg-rollable

Rollables represent the next evolution of smartphones. 


Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

It may have been just a fleeting glimpse from LG at its CES 2021 press conference, but that tease of a smartphone with a screen that rolls out hints at a comeback for mobile devices looking to shake up the conventional metal and glass slate. Despite the introduction of a few new foldable phones in 2020 — notably the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold 2, plus the wider release of the Motorola Razr, few people were in the mood to spend as much as $2,000 in the midst of a global pandemic. 


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At CES, phone screens roll out into table size



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It’s 2021 and, well, little has changed. The hope, however, is that a rapid dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccine — still a big if at this point — may bring some normalcy to our lives, as well as a renewed appetite and appreciation for more creative and dynamic phones.

Because let’s face it, we could all use something to excite us again.

LG did its best with its…

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