World
How a USD15 device can hack US presidential election
During its "Hack the Vote" election simulation, cyber security firm Symantec has revealed three easy ways an attacker with the right level of intelligence and motivation could impact the US presidential election and it will cost just $15.
 
To analyse the ecosystem of an election -- from electronic voting machines to data transfers, vote tabulation and broadcasting the results -- the company tested the actual direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines and other equipment to simulate a real-world voting system. 
 
According to the general process, voters use a chip card to cast their vote. Once someone has voted, the same card is re-used by the next voter. 
 
"Just like credit cards, these cards are essentially a computer with its own RAM, CPU and operating system. Which means they can be exploited like any computing device," the company said in a statement.
 
"In examining the election process for vulnerabilities, we discovered that there's an opportunity for a hacker to modify the code put on a voter's chip card. Anyone who knows how to programme a chip card and purchases a simple $15 Raspberry Pi-like device, could secretly reactivate their voter card while inside the privacy of a voting booth," added Symantec.
 
The card can be faked in two different ways -- one, reset the card to allow someone to vote multiple times using the same chip card and second, programming the card to allow multiple vote casting. 
 
"There was no form of encryption on the internal hard drive of the voting machines we purchased, which were running an outdated operating system to display the ballots and record votes," Symantec found.
 
The second method to influence the votes is tampering with tabulation. 
 
All the votes are registered in the voting and attackers could compromise the integrity of the voting data by manipulation of cartridges as these storage cartridges function like a USB drive which stores data in plain text with no embedded encryption. 
 
Thirdly, by propagating misinformation on social media networks, a hacktivist or attacker could also change voter behaviour.
 
Symantec said that these vulnerabilities can easily be fixed by installing security software at all points of the process. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Beware: Scamsters duping people in the name of ICICI Bank NRI services!
Fraudsters who used to send us offers of massive lotteries or promised income tax refunds are now using far more sophisticated techniques, posing an even bigger risk to gullible and careless people. Many people may have received an email recently purportedly regarding ICICI Bank's non-resident Indian (NRI) services. The email is created so cleverly that unless you have a keen eye, technically savvy or are a regular reader of Moneylife, you could easily fall for it and mistake it for a genuine mail sent by the Bank!
 
Three things that should ring alarm bells for anyone, especially an NRI, who receives this mail. First, the use of capital letters in between the sentences. For example, it says, "..to cancel the Request & Validate your Email ( &email& ) with us...". Here the excess capitalisation for R, V, E is not required. So, this is the first sign.
 
 
Secondly, there is no 's' in the http, which denotes that the link is not secured. (Read: Netbanking and ECS are safe. Use them to reduce effort and earn more)
 
Third, the link given is very cleverly camouflaged. The scamsters, instead of using 'i' in the bank name inside the URL, have used 'l' (L in small letter) that looks like capital 'I'. This is where most people are likely to be duped into believing this scam mail is genuine and end up sharing their details on the special website created by the fraudsters. As a precaution, it is always better not to click on any links you receive through emails or any other medium, like message. Better still is to visit the original site by typing the name in the URL space and from there go to the required page.   
 
 
Below is how the ICICI Bank web page for NRI banking looks like. Check the ‘s’ in https and the bank name in small letters. 
 
 
The top and bottom part, including name and signature of the sender are simply ripped off from ICICI Bank's original email, probably sent to its customers for some other purpose.
 
 
If you receive such mails, do not pay any heed and simply mark it as "spam" and press delete. In case, you still believe this email as sent by your bank, simply pick up the phone and call your branch to check if they had indeed sent such email. This will save you a lot of trouble and from potential financial loss.
 
 

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COMMENTS

Ramesh Mehta

2 months ago

Thumb rule: Any email or call asking u to share your details should be considered a fraud...
Never use a link provided in a email
always directly go to the required web site by typing the url in browser

ROSHAN SHAHANI

2 months ago

Thanks Moneylife for cautioning us about such scamsters. Your detailed and clear explanation of their duping methods aids us readers greatly in identifying fraudulent emails from dubious bank websites.

Meenal Mamdani

2 months ago

Thank you for warning us and giving clear example of how the scam operates.

I am very grateful to ML Foundation for being vigilant and caring about its readers' well being.

kishore jagtiani

2 months ago

This should be given wide coverage in the press.

Dams close to glacial lakes in Himalayas under flood threat
Of the 177 hydropower projects (HPP) located close to Himalayan glaciers over a fifth -- including many in India -- could be under threat from floods caused by the outbursts of glacial lakes, European researchers have warned.
 
The researchers, from various universities, have charted out a new method for locating the minimum exposure that hydropower sites in the Himalayas have to glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) -- a type of outburst flood that occurs when the dam containing a glacial lake fails.
 
Himalayan water resources attract a rapidly-growing number of HPPs to satisfy Asia's soaring energy demands. Yet, the projects now operational or at a planning stage in steep, glacier-fed mountain rivers face hazards of GLOFs that can damage hydropower infrastructure, alter water and sediment yields and compromise livelihoods downstream.
 
The researchers evaluated the regional exposure of 257 Himalayan HPPs to GLOFs and assessed the flood risk to them from 2,359 moraine-dammed glacial lakes.
 
Moraines are dirt and rock debris that have been pushed along by glaciers as they move. The moraines form a dam containing lakes when the glaciers recede. But as glaciers further recede and the lake becomes larger, they are susceptible to giving way -- unleashing a flood that could threaten HPPs downstream.
 
"The number of hydroelectric power projects in the Himalayas has been increasing during the last decades and many more are planned. This trend has led to increasing implementation of the projects on rivers higher up and closer to glaciers," the study's lead author, Wolfgang Schwanghart, a geologist at the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Potsdam, Germany, told IANS in an email interaction.
 
"Our key result is that the majority of the projects are currently planned or constructed where these uncertainties become relevant and potentially dangerous," he added.
 
Most of the sampled hydropower projects are in the Indian Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, and some in Nepal and Bhutan.
 
"Our database encompasses 257 HPPs, 177 of which are located on potential GLOF tracks. In 56 HPP (one fifth of 177), the volume of floodwater may exceed the limit they are designed to withstand," explained Schwanghart.
 
The striking factor, said Schwanghart, is the density of dams in Sikkim in northeast India.
 
"Particularly, Sikkim stands out as a region combining abundant glacial lakes, long potential GLOF tracks, and pronounced hydropower development. Several regions in Eastern Nepal and Bhutan also host lakes that could give rise to far-reaching GLOFs," he said.
 
Strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the sub-national level are currently prepared by Indian Himalayan states (State Action Plans on Climate Change), and identify GLOFs as a major climate change-related threat to hydropower development (Government of Uttarakhand, 2014), the study says.
 
At the same time, however, hydropower is being harnessed in a major way in these states to meet the increasing power demand and advance low-carbon economies.
 
"Disregarding the current upstream increase of uncertainties about GLOF discharges for HPP to be located in headwaters may undermine some of the coordination between climate-change mitigation, adaption, and energy plans," the study warns.
 
Published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the analysis also involves experts from the University of Geneva and University of Switzerland.
 
The experts used high-resolution remote sensing imagery from Google Earth for mapping glacial lakes, as well as publicly available digital elevation models.
 
Run-off data are scarce in the Himalayas due to restrictive data policies. Data on HPPs were mined from various sites in the internet including those of many hydropower companies, the Indian Power Ministry, the UN, and the World Bank, Schwanghart said, adding the study does not factor in climate change.
 
The scientists used computer simulations to determine how much floodwater might be released from such lakes, if the moraine embankments fail and how far the water would travel.
 
"India has a great share of its hydropower in the Himalayas. This share is likely to increase in the future. The high vulnerability to flash floods during the Indian floods suggests a high vulnerability to GLOFs, too.
 
"However, large parts of the Indian Himalayas are not among those areas that experience the strongest glacier retreat rates. However, this might change in the future and highlights the necessity for reliable climate change projections and its influence on Himalayan glacier retreat, and ultimately the development of glacial lakes," Schwanghart cautioned.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  

 

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