Cyber criminals threaten to dampen New Year celebrations

Hackers use their best schemes during holidays to steal people's money, credit card or net-banking information. Following seasonal trends, these thieves create holiday-related websites and other convincing emails that can trick even the most cautious Internet user

Shopping online for a New Year gift? Or clicking on that New Year e-greeting link? Be careful this time around as cyber criminals armed with a new set of Web threats, including viruses, spam and cyber-scams, would be on the prowl to trap gullible Internet users, reports PTI.

Hackers use their best schemes during holidays to steal people's money, credit card or net-banking information. Following seasonal trends, these thieves create holiday-related websites and other convincing emails that can trick even the most cautious Internet user, say experts.

"Spam and phishing attacks usually see a surge during this time of the year as an increasing number of people use the Internet to shop, send e-cards, greetings or even simply surf. Cyber criminals take advantage of increased traffic online to send spam and manipulate search engines in order to draw victims to their websites," Roger Thompson, chief research officer of security software maker AVG Technologies said.

In the run-up to New Year, shoppers often fail to check the authenticity of websites which claim to offer gifts at throwaway prices before simply vanishing a few weeks later, he said.

According to a recent report by online market research company Juxtconsult, the burgeoning online landscape has a population of 49 million Internet users in India; out of which 44 million use emails and close to 25 million browse the Internet every day.

With the advent of the holiday season, the density of online shopping and Internet usage goes up manifold and so do online security threats, a spokesman for software manufacturing giant Microsoft said.

Before a consumer enters his credit card number, he should make sure that the company website requires only personal information like card number, address and telephone number to complete the purchase. They should be wary if the site asks for other information such as bank account numbers, or their mother's maiden name, etc, said the spokesman.

Observing that most of the Web threats are carried out through emails, Rakshit Tandon, a cyber security consultant with the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), warned about fake New Year e-greeting cards.

"When you load that e-card, a malicious code enters your computer compromising your security. They might hijack your computer and install a key-logger into it, through which whatever you type into your computer would be seen by the attacker. So you lose all your privacy and even passwords," he said.

On any given day, AVG estimates that around 8 to 14 million unique users worldwide are exposed to social engineering scams. "More troubling is the speed with which these threats take place. Our research shows that an average of 60% of poisoned websites disappear in less than 24 hours," Mr Thompson says.

"Users cannot assume that the pages they know and visit everyday are safe from threats to their personal and financial well-being. Increasingly, it is legitimate websites, compromised by criminals, that pose threats," he added.

Charity-phishing scams in which hackers dupe unsuspecting citizens by taking advantage of their generosity during the festive season is also a major threat. "Charity-phishing scams will be bigger this time. Hackers send emails that appear to be from legitimate charitable organisations. They also create fake Web pages and the poor user ends up giving them his credit card information or net-banking password," said Mr Tandon, who also works with the cyber complaint redressal cell of the Uttar Pradesh police.

Hackers are also sending out fake mails saying that the person's bank is doing a security upgrade during New Year and request him to update his personal information through a false Web link.
 

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SEBI may allow higher stake for buyers

While any changes are expected to take effect from the next fiscal only, the SEBI committee is said to be seriously looking at increasing the open offer size from 20% to as high as 100%

Corporate acquisitions in India could become costlier with market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), mulling over making it mandatory for acquirers to make an offer of up to 100% stake in any listed company, reports PTI.

As of now, an open offer for a minimum of 20% in the target company is required to be made by any entity that has purchased 15% equity, either from the promoters or the open market.

SEBI has set up a Takeover Regulatory Advisory Committee, with former Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) presiding officer C Achuthan as chairman, which is looking into suitable changes in the existing takeover regulations.

While any changes are expected to take effect from the next fiscal only, the committee is said to be seriously looking at increasing the open offer size from 20% to as high as 100%, while it might also increase the open offer trigger limit from 15%, sources said.

While an increase in open offer size could mean larger cash outgo for the acquirers, the step is being considered in larger interest of retail and other public shareholders.

As per the current practice, all the public shareholders do not necessarily get an exit option even if the ownership of a company changes hands, as the open offer size need not be more than 20%.

In most of the merger and acquisition (M&A) deals, the promoters sell off their stake to the acquirer, which later makes a 20% open offer for public shareholders.

Accordingly, an acquirer can get away with acquisition of just 35% stake in a listed company— 15% from promoters or open market and further 20% from public open offer—thus leaving as much as 65% equity holders without any option but to sell their shares.

The SEBI committee is currently holding talks with various stakeholders on the issue, sources added.

The acquisition of shares and control of a company are currently governed by the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeover) Regulations, 1997, commonly known as the Takeover Code.

There have been many amendments to the code, whenever there has been any need, which could pertain to any particular deal.

Experts have been saying that some parts of the code needed to be changed and an urgent attention was needed in the open offer trigger and size-related provisions.

They have been asserting that an open offer trigger of as low as 15% restricts the companies, mostly private equity firms, from making any larger investment in a company. The current rules restrict any investment to below 15%, unless the investor is willing to go for as high as 35% investment.

Globally, many countries such as the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore, have a higher open offer trigger limit.

The demands for a higher open offer size, compared with 20% currently, is mostly based on the fact that many shareholders get stuck in a company even if they want to exit in cases like change in control of a company.

As per the current regulations, an acquirer who intends to acquire shares which along with his existing shareholding would entitle him to exercise 15% or more voting rights, can acquire such additional shares only after making a public offer to acquire at least additional 20% of the voting capital of the target company from the shareholders through an open offer.

The price for the open offer is derived after taking into consideration the negotiated price under the agreement which triggers the open offer and the price paid by the acquirer for acquisition.

Besides, it needs to take into account the average of weekly high and low of the closing prices of the shares of the target company during the 26 weeks, or the average of the daily high and low prices during the two weeks preceding the date of public announcement, whichever is higher.
 

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Top 10 companies add Rs70,000 crore in market capitalisation

A strong market rally triggered by the government's encouraging economic growth forecast helped the country's top 10 companies add over Rs70,000 crore to their market capitalisation in the past week

A strong market rally triggered by the government's encouraging economic growth forecast helped the country's top 10 companies add over Rs70,000 crore to their market capitalisation (m-cap) in the past week, reports PTI.

The country's most-valued firm, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), was the biggest gainer with its m-cap soaring by Rs21,314.70 crore, taking its total valuation to Rs3,53,373 crore for the week ended 26th December. Shares of RIL gained 6.40% to close at Rs1,075.20 at the end of Thursday's trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

On Wednesday, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed hope that the economy would grow by 7.5%-8% during the current financial year.

The stock market traded only for four days, Friday being a holiday for Christmas.

RIL is followed by oil major ONGC which saw its valuation surging by Rs2,609 crore to Rs2,56,172.50 crore.

Power utility major NTPC inched up to third place by adding Rs18,840.80 crore to its valuation, while another State-run trading company MMTC Ltd slipped to fourth place from third even after adding Rs3,702.80 crore to its m-cap. The total m-cap of NTPC stood at Rs1,89,563.10 crore and MMTC at Rs1,74,566.80 crore.

The country's largest iron ore producer NMDC's valuation surged by Rs7,314.20 crore taking its total m-cap to Rs1,64,198.10 crore.

IT companies Infosys Technologies and TCS together added Rs7,807.61 crore to their market valuation. At the end of the week, the m-cap of Infosys Technologies that retained its last week ranking at the sixth position, swelled to Rs1,48,507.10 crore while TCS ranked at seventh position with Rs1,46,535.60 crore.

The country's largest State-run lender State Bank of India (SBI) which is at eighth position, added Rs4,644.10 crore to its m-cap, taking its total valuation to Rs1,40,822.70 crore.

Private telecom service provider Bharti Airtel was at ninth position rising by Rs1,446.58 crore and power equipment maker BHEL—at the 10th spot—added Rs2,420.67 crore to its m-cap. Bharti Airtel's total valuation stood at Rs1,21,844.50 crore and BHEL's m-cap stood at Rs1,15,972.20 crore.

Meanwhile, the 30-share index Sensex surged nearly 4% or 640.78 points to close at 17,360.61 points on the BSE during the past week.

RIL, the numero uno in the list, is followed by ONGC (Rs2,56,172.50 crore), NTPC (Rs1,89,563.10 crore), MMTC (Rs1,74,566.80 crore), NMDC (Rs1,64,198.10 crore), Infosys (Rs1,48,507.10 crore), TCS (Rs1,46,535.60 crore), SBI (Rs1,40,822.70 crore), Airtel (Rs1,21,844.50 crore), and BHEL (Rs1,15,972.20 crore).
 

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Deden Sulaiman

7 years ago

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