Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
'Indian films missing out on on-demand internet viewing'
Digital platforms like BongFlix and Netflix are popular for their on-demand availability of movies
 
To generate revenues from movies, Indian filmmakers need to follow the US model and make them available on the internet so that fans can watch the content on the device they choose, anytime, everywhere, experts said.
 
With regard to Bengali cinema, despite the profusion of films made nowadays, there's a "disconnect" in availability of the movies for the three-and-a-half million Bengalis living abroad, according to the experts.
 
"From a technology perspective, the US has taken on the rest of the world. With internet replacing linear TV, your content should be really be viewable on any device, anytime and everywhere and every filmmaker, in order to monetise, needs to follow that path," Oney Seal, CEO, Databazaar India Pvt Ltd said at a panel discussion here.
 
Digital platforms like BongFlix and Netflix are popular for their on-demand availability of movies.
 
However, Vikramjit Roy of National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) said filmmakers are missing out on "winning the moment".
 
"His or her film needs to be watched on every medium. The investment on promotions and content online is ridiculously low. Web platforms cost one-tenth of the investments needed for traditional concepts like posters, etc and ensures more visibility," Roy, general manager (film production), NFDC said.
 
The panel discussion on `The Future of Monetizing Films - Learning From US Trends' was organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce here on Monday evening.
 
Seal said while Bengali filmmakers are concerned about losing money, fans worldwide are demanding more content and the online market is yet to be tapped.
 
"There is a disconnect. There's about three and a half million Bengalis worldwide who are dying to watch the content and on the other hand we have producers here who are thinking how do we make up that revenue to break even," Seal said.
 
Roy said markets like France and Germany in Europe, where Bengali cinema has high demand, has to be targeted by producers and directors.

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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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