Citizens' Issues
Decade-long cyberspying likely tied to China-targeted Indian defence
The Chinese government has denied it was involved in the cyberspying operation
 
For over a decade, a cyber operation with likely ties to China spied on Indian defence, business and media operations, using malware hidden in emails or documents on topics of interest to the targets, according to a Silicon Valley-headquartered cyber-security company.
 
“A decade-long operation focused on targets -- government and commercial -- who hold key political, economic, and military information about the region,” FireEye said on Sunday in a report on cyber espionage that covered India and South-East Asia.
 
The spying “centred on Indian defence and military materiel topics”, the report said. “In particular, a number of spear phishing subjects have related to Indian aircraft carrier and oceanographic monitoring processes.”
 
Tracking the cyberspying that started in 2005, FireEye said: “Such a sustained, planned development effort, coupled with the group’s regional targets and mission, lead us to believe that this activity is state-sponsored -- most likely by the Chinese government.”
 
However, the Chinese government has denied it was involved in the cyberspying operation. 
 
"The Chinese government resolutely forbids and cracks down on all forms of hacker attacks. This position is consistent and clear," foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in Beijing on Monday. 
 
"Hacker attack is a global issue which requires cooperative response from the international community rather than groundless finger-pointing and suspicion," Hong said.
 
Contending that the cybersnoops were an advanced persistent threat (APT), FireEye dubbed them APT30.
 
FireEye is a key player in international initiatives against cyberthreats. It announced the launch of the Global Threat Intelligence Sharing initiative at the White House Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit in February. The programme aims at helping businesses and organisations share information about cyberthreats.
 
“Advanced threat groups like APT 30 illustrate that state-sponsored cyber espionage affects a variety of governments and corporations across the world,” according to Dan McWhorter, FireEye's vice president for threat intelligence.
 
An important element of APT30's threat, FireEye said, is how they have been able to operate successfully for so long using similar "tools, tactics, and infrastructure since at least 2005”.
 
FireEye said it has identified alerts about APT30 malware from its Indian customers, including an aerospace and defence company and a telecommunications firm.
 
The report noted that India's bilateral ties were of interest to the hackers and one of the targets was the India-Asean New Delhi summit in 2012.
 
“Another recurring theme in APT30’s decoy documents relates to regionally contested territories, including Bhutan and Nepal,” it said. “Nepal and Bhutan are important buffer states in China-India border conflicts and represent an opportunity to assert regional military dominance in Asia.”
 
Outlining the APT30 strategy, FireEye said it uses legitimate documents like reports or news articles that are embedded with malware as decoys to lure them. Once the victims access the email or the article, the malware infects them and allows the group to monitor the targets and gain access to their computers.
 
“APT30 leveraged the text of a legitimate academic journal on China’s border security challenges in one of its decoy documents,” it said. 
 
Another example it cites is an article on “the actual building and launch of India’s first Indian-built aircraft carrier”.
 
One of the tactics used by APT30 is creating fake websites with addresses similar to legitimate ones to trick internet users -- with some registered as far back as 2004. 
 
“APT30 frequently registers their own DNS domains for use with malware command and control,” the report said and cited aseanm.com, which appears to resemble the ASEAN's official site, asean.org, as an example.
 
FireEye said Indian researchers also have discovered APT30 snooping, suggesting that Indian researchers discovered APT30’s suspicious activity at Indian organisations as well. 
 
“India-based users of VirusTotal have submitted APT30 malware to the service, suggesting that Indian researchers discovered APT30’s suspicious activity at Indian organisations as well,” it said. VirusTotal is a service that provides free scanning for viruses and malware.
 
Journalists reporting on issues like the economy, corruption and human rights were also targeted by APT30, the report said. These, it added, were “considered to be focal points for the Chinese Communist Party’s sense of legitimacy”.

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A tool for the lazy home cook (Food Trend)
This is the perfect tool for the lazy kind or for those short on time as it caters to all the predicament of preparing for a cooking session
 
There are two kinds of people in this world - one who would like to cook and the other who wish they could. The latter comprises people who are either too busy in their hectic lives or too lazy to go through the arduous task of prepping for a meal.
 
I often wonder why the Master Chef series on TV is so popular; most of us can't even imagine cooking dishes of that complexity and finesse. The obvious conclusion: there is a dormant feeling that calls out to us, in some way or the other, to indulge in the act of cooking; to embrace that overwhelming feeling of power and joy that come from making something so tasty out of things that individually are not.
 
Most of us rarely, if ever, dare to take on the challenge of cooking. Questions like who will go out to buy the ingredients; who will prepare, chop and dice the vegetables; who will find the time to prepare for a dish that might turn into a disaster without the proper recipe et al, arise.
 
Setting out to find the answers, I came across just what I was looking for: CookFresh.in, an online site that provides ready-to-cook prepped meals with high quality ingredients along with a recipe right at your doorstep.
 
This is the perfect tool for the lazy kind or for those short on time as it caters to all the predicament of preparing for a cooking session. You can prepare a wide variety of dishes ranging from classics like cheesecake and chilly chicken to gourmet meals like chicken chettinad or Burmese chicken khow suey.
 
To learn more about CookFresh and the response to it, I interacted with the owner and co-founder, Aayush Narang.
 
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
 
A: We're a group of three foodies from different backgrounds. Me, Anshul and Raghav have one common thing between us: we are all food lovers and love to cook gourmet meals at home.
 
Q: What is the idea behind Cook Fresh?
 
A: As foodies, we loved cooking. But the idea of doing all the legwork for the veggies, condiments and the meat, and then spending time preparing the dishes after digging out a recipe often deterred us from cooking. So we thought why not help people buy dishes instead of groceries and deliver a ready-to-cook, healthy and hygienically packed food box to enable them cook at home. It's basically what we'd have wished for and we decided to provide it to others.
 
What has the response been so far?
 
The response has been amazing as the customers have loved what we put up for them.
 
At the same time, we're looking to get the Indian market used to "buying dishes to get the groceries" instead of "groceries to think of the dishes to make".
 
Q: What is in store for Cook Fresh in the future?
 
A: We plan to add subscription plans in the future to provide people with the freedom to plan their meals a week ahead instead of worrying about what to make and how to make every meal. We also want to provide the people the liberty to just request what they would like and have it delivered in 30 minutes at their doorstep.
 
So, the next time you find yourself in a fix when you have overestimated your ability to prepare the perfect meal from scratch, count on Cookfresh.in.
 
Learn to cook, love to cook and don't be afraid of making those elusive gourmet meals we all shy away from attempting.

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Shiv Sena demands 'ghar wapsi' of Kashmiri Pandits
The Shiv Sena has demanded proper and honourable rehabilitation of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits of Jammu and Kashmir who were forced to flee their home-state over 25 years ago.
 
"Jammu and Kashmir now has a stable government of the BJP and the PDP, and a strong administration led by Narendra Modi at the centre. Since Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's government has been formed with the BJP support, he must take a decision on 'ghar wapsi' of displaced Kashmiri Pandits," it urged in an edit in Saamana on Tuesday.
 
The Shiv Sena said the decisions by Sayeed to release extremists and speak about their rehabilitation have raised doubts about what exactly he proposes to do to ensure the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland.
 
"Sayeed has said developing separate areas for Kashmiri Pandits...does this mean creating a slum or slum development project for the 'sons of the soil'? Even this proposal has been opposed by the separatists," the party pointed out.
 
Referring to the controversy over the party's (Shiv Sena) demand to take away the voting rights of the Muslim community, it asked how many Kashmiri Pandits managed to vote in the last election in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
"Many people are crying themselves hoarse over the voting rights of the Muslims, but no 'Owaisi' (Asaduddin Owaisi) or other secularists ever raised the same question (of voting rights) for Kashmiri Pandits. To ensure the victory of candidates on religious lines or Pakistan supporters in Jammu and Kashmir, the voting rights of Kashmiri Pandits have been crushed," the party alleged.
 
The fact that not a single Hindu legislator was elected in the last election is an ominous sign in this direction, as Kashmiri Pandits have been uprooted from their own homes and outsiders have usurped them, it added.
 
Lauding a suggestion by Bollywood actor Anupam Kher to set up the first 'Smart City' for Kashmiri Pandits in their home state, the party said these original 'owners' of Jammu and Kashmir, now reduced to nomadic beggars, must get their voting rights restored.
 
"People are concerned about the voting rights of Muslims, but in this country of Hindus, nobody is bothered about the same for Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir or Assam. India is also their motherland," it urged.

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