Citizens' Issues
Open public Wi-Fi networks boon for hackers to steal sensitive data
If you are a frequent business traveller and spend most of your time away from the safe internet boundaries of your office or home, be warned. Public Wi-Fi networks -- at the hotel lobby, in the spa, at the poolside or inside a shopping mall -- are not at all secure for official work, sensitive data sharing or transferring funds.
 
According to a latest report by Russia-based software security group Kaspersky Lab, business travellers, particularly senior executives, are more likely to be deprived of valuable private and corporate data than money as they travel abroad.
 
One in five persons has been a target of cyber crime while abroad and a third (31%) of them are senior business managers, the report said.
 
"The biggest threat to public Wi-Fi security is the ability for the hacker to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of talking directly with the Wi-Fi network, you are sending key information to the hacker who then relays it on," Lucknow-based social media analyst Anoop Mishra told IANS.
 
There have been numerous cases where vulnerabilities in public Wi-Fi networks have been routinely reported.
 
"Hackers have time and again demonstrated that breaking into public Wi-Fi networks is very easy. In fact, hackers often use public Wi-Fi networks for the purposes of hacking into confidential information and data of users who log into these Wi-Fi networks without understanding the cyber security ramifications of the same," Pavan Duggal, one of the nation's top cyber law experts, told IANS. 
 
The Kaspersky Lab report found the pressure from work to get online is clouding the judgment of business travellers when connecting to the internet.
 
Three in five (59%) persons in senior roles said they try to log on as quickly as possible upon arrival abroad because there is an expectation at work that they will stay connected. By the time business travellers reach the arrivals' terminal, one in six is using their work device to get online.
 
According to experts, open Wi-Fi networks are generally unencrypted because you don't have to enter a passphrase key when connecting. "While working in this setup, the hacker has access to every piece of information you're sending out on the internet -- important emails, credit card information and even security credentials to your business network," Mishra said.
 
This was illustrated most sensationally with Firesheep, an easy-to-use tool that allows hackers sitting in coffee shops to snoop on other people's browsing sessions and hijack them via open Wi-Fi networks.
 
"More advanced tools like Wireshark could also be used to capture and analyse traffic on public Wi-Fi networks," Mishra added.
 
Another report from EMC Corporation -- the world's largest data storage multinational -- revealed last week that Indian businesses lost over $1 million from data loss and downtime in the last 12 months.
 
According to Duggal, also a Supreme Court advocate, company executives need to adopt various cyber hygiene methodologies in order to avoid online data stealing while travelling abroad.
 
"Having in place an updated anti-virus software on your computer system is a critical component. There are several encrypted data services available which can be used abroad. Company executives should only access HTTPs sites being secure sites," he suggested.
 
"If you're accessing something sensitive on public Wi-Fi, try to do it on an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypted websites. The Https browser extension can reduce the risk by redirecting you to an encrypted page when available," Mishra explained.
 
A VPN (virtual private network) connection can also protect you online.
 
"A VPN connection is a must when connecting to your business or banking through an unsecured connection like an open Wi-Fi hotspot. Even if a hacker manages to position himself in the middle of your connection, the data here will be strongly encrypted. Since most hackers are after an easy target, they'll likely discard stolen information rather than put it through a lengthy decryption process," Mishra pointed out.
 
Remember that any device could be at risk -- be it laptop, smartphone or tablet.
 
Treat all Wi-Fi links with suspicion, turn off file/computer/network sharing and avoid using specific websites where there's a chance that cyber criminals could capture your identity, passwords or personal information.
 
"Protect your device against cyber attacks by making sure that these have a strong and updated anti-malware and security solution. Keep Wi-Fi off when you do not need it," noted Mishra.
 
In case data is stolen abroad, a person can report a matter in the relevant country where the data theft has taken place for the purposes of nabbing the hacker and data retrieval.
 
"We must know that there is no single global law on data protection or on cyber crime. The Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe is one such international initiative that is aimed at international co-operation in cyber crime-related matters," Duggal explained.
 
If you choose to be silent and do not report the same, the chances of your coming back to your own country and then reporting the matter would be substantially diminished.
 
"This is important as the law-enforcement agencies in your country may not want to register and prosecute the said matter," Duggal said.
 
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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Taj Hotels sells Boston property for $125 mn
Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), which runs the brand of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, here on Wednesday announced completion of the sale of its Taj Boston hotel to a consortium comprising New England Development, Eastern Real Estate, Rockpoint Group, Lubert-Adler and Highgate for $125 million.
 
"We are pleased to inform...the divestment of the hotel for an aggregate consideration of $125 million. The net sale proceeds will be utilised largely to retire outstanding debt," the company said in a Bombay Stock Exchange filing.
 
"The sale was in line with Taj’s global business strategy. We are excited about our relationship with our new partners, who are all recognised leaders in real estate development and have deep roots and expertise in this market. We will work together to ensure that the hotel will maintain unparalleled guest service standards of Taj while celebrating Boston culture and history,” Rakesh Sarna, MD and CEO of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, said. 
 
“While this partnership will take over the ownership of the 90-year old, 273-key hotel, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces will retain its brand presence in Boston through a long-term management services agreement,” the company said in a statement.
 
As part of the transaction, New England Development, Eastern Real Estate and Highgate will serve as asset managers, working closely with the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces team, Rockpoint Group and Lubert Adler, the statement added.
 
All current bookings for hotel rooms, restaurants and banquets will be honoured, and guests can continue to book the hotel through existing channels, it said.
 
“We are thrilled to join with Eastern Real Estate, Rockpoint, Lubert-Adler and Highgate in acquiring this legendary hotel property - located in one of the country’s most famous shopping districts," Stephen R. Karp, Chairman of New England Development, said.
 
"Taj Boston is an internationally acclaimed hotel due to its rich heritage, superb location and grand architecture,” he added. 
 
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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The Pune Way: Solution to food waste with the bonus of eco-fuel
The Pune Municipal Corp (PMC), has, in many ways, become the model corporation when it comes to disposal of waste through multiple solutions that follow the 4R principle of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. 
 
A part of this is to treat foodwaste generated by bulk users separately, not only to reduce and recycle waste but to recover valuable energy by converting it into valuable bio fuel that will soon power the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) buses with fuel that is claimed to be cleaner and more cost effective than CNG. 
 
 
Noble Exchange Environment Solutions Pvt Ltd (NEX), which is funded by Adar Poonawala’s Clean City Movement supported by the promoters of the Serum Institute. This is a Rs65 crore project that has begun to deliver results in an impressive 11 months after it was granted approvals, through its 300 tons per day (TPD) biomethanation (also known as methanogenesis) plant at Talegaon’s industrial zone just 35 kms from Pune. 
 
A group of activists, concerned citizens and journalists met with Pune’s Joint Municipal Commissioner Suresh Jagtap and visited the Noble Exchange facilities in an effort to understand why the city’s solid waste model is able to deliver results, while Mumbai, which has a bigger budget and more space earmarked for waste disposal does not seem to have found a viable solution. One of the key observations of this self-funded study tour was that the PMC led by Mr Jagtap ensures citizen engagement and awareness building, stakeholder participation and adoption of multiple, scientific and decentralised waste processing options. 
 
 
This article will limit itself to one aspect of the overall waste management with amazing results at a low cost with the PMC merely providing 15,000 square feet of space within the city for the initial sorting, processing and conversion of foodwaste into an easily transportable slurry, which is carried to Talegaon. PMC of course, backed the project by ensuring support, approvals, permissions, proper segregation and collection of foodwaste from bulk users such as hotels, restaurants, gardens and markets in Pune. 
 
 
The slurry, that is produced after manual sorting of food waste at Baner in Pune is transported to Talegaon, where a state of the art facility has been set up. 
 
 
A few unique features of the environmentally efficient NEX waste processing plant include odourless and noiseless operation with zero discharge, which is essentially based on the anaerobic digestion system with water-based cleaning, scrubbing, and compression system that converts the organic waste slurry into compressed biogas (CBG). The plant helps in better digestion and circulation of the slurry inside the digester and avoids settling of the solids inside the digester and is designed to handle all biodegradable waste. By-products generated from the process will be organic fertilizers that replace chemical fertilizers for farming. Compressed Biogas (CBG) produced at the processing plant will be marketed to institutional clients to replace conventional energy - LPG, diesel etc. 
 
 
The project transforms waste liabilities into new profit centres, eliminates the cost of pick-up, transportation and landfill site expenses for the municipal corporation over a period, while providing high quality compressed Bio-Gas to replace a wide range of fossil fuels.
 
 
 
 
Drawing 1: An artists impression of the Noble Exchange Environment Solutions Plant at Talegaon
 
 
 
Drawing 2: A simple chart to illustrate the speed and advantage of waste management
 
 

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COMMENTS

Basavaraj m Angolkar

5 months ago

Should Be Implemented in all the Cities of India

GOPALKRISHNA LOYALKA

5 months ago

Should be adopted by others

Anand Vaidya

5 months ago

Brilliant. Let us all impress upon out local municipalities to implement such systems too

Jyoti Dua

5 months ago

Excellent work. Other ULB should follow this.

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