Citizens' Issues
Win XP's extended life to end on Tuesday

Win XP customers, will no longer receive new security updates, hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options for their OS from Tuesday

Windows XP, one of the most popular operating system (OS) ever emerged from software giant Microsoft's stable will no longer receive any technical support from the company starting Tuesday. This brings down curtains on the longest running OS from Microsoft. In January 2014, Net Application reported a market share of 29.23% for XP, while W3Schools reported a share of 11.0%. Windows XP was the most widely used operating system until August 2012, when Windows 7 overtook it.


From Tuesday, customers will no longer receive new security updates, hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates for their XP OS.


Windows XP, which was launched in October 2001, is three generations behind the latest operating system Windows 8 that hit markets in October 2012. The current XP version is called Windows XP Service Pack 3.


Microsoft will also stop automatic updates and Microsoft Security Essentials for XP from 8th April.


In a blog posting, Tim Rains, director of trustworthy computing division at Microsoft, said, "There is a sense of urgency because after April 8, Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates."


This means that running Windows XP when the product is obsolete (after support ends) will increase the risk of technology being affected by cybercriminals attempting to do harm, he had said.


In February this year, the US-based company had said its PC install base for large enterprises in India is about 4 million units, of which around 84% migrated from Windows XP.


The tech giant had indicated that a number of ATMs are yet to upgrade and such cash vending machine may face security risk.


The number of ATMs using Windows XP is higher as compared to 16% PCs which need upgradation.


There are roughly about 1 lakh ATMs in India and many of them are running Windows XP. They have the same support policy and will be out of support, something which the RBI guidelines also referred.


Last month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had warned that banking operations, including ATM services, may be hit as support from Microsoft for Windows XP operating system will end from April 8 and had asked banks to take immediate steps.


However, Indian Banks Association (IBA) chief executive MV Tanksale had said only old ATMs might face some problems, while the newer machines run on other platforms.


Coming back to Win XP, on 14 April 2009, the OS exited mainstream support and entered the extended Support phase; Microsoft continued to provide security updates every month for Windows XP; however, free technical support, warranty claims, and design changes were no longer being offered. Extended support will end on 8 April 2014, over 12 years since the release of XP; normally Microsoft products have a support life cycle of only 10 years.


Following the end of support, XP will officially be declared end-of-life, and no more security patches or new support information will be provided for free. However, "critical patches" will still be created, and made available only to customers subscribing to a paid "Custom Support" plan.


FinMin detects unauthorised access of online I-T returns, denies hacking

Income tax online return accounts of certain people have been accessed by unauthorised people but there was no hacking or breach of its security system involved, the Finance Ministry says

The Finance Ministry has said that certain online return accounts for income tax filings have been accessed by unauthorised persons.


Replying to an query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Ministry said a process of “multifunctional authentication” has been designed and will be in place shortly to address any illegal access to e-filers’ accounts.


Last year, Mumbai Police, which was probing the alleged hacking into Anil Ambani’s e-filing of Income-Tax (I-T) returns account by a Hyderabad-based chartered accountant (CA) student, found that another CA student has hacked into I-T accounts of Sachin Tendulkar, Mahindra Singh Dhoni, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.


According to Police, during the probe of the case of a Hyderabad-based young CA student hacking into the IT account of Ambani, it had emerged that the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) chairman’s account was also fraudulently accessed from Noida. The probe took the police to Vishal Kaushal Company, an accountancy firm in Noida, where CA student Sanchit Katiyal (22) was found to have hacked into Ambani’s account as well.


Like the Hyderabad based girl, Sanchit had also for curiosity had hacked into Ambani’s account on 26th June. He first accessed the accounts of Shah Rukh and Salman on 22nd June, Dhoni’s account on 24th June and then broke into Ambani’s account. He again accessed Dhoni’s account on 28th June and Sachin’s account on 4th July.


The Finance Ministry, however, had said no instance of “hacking”, which implies a breach of security whereby the hackers can obtain passwords by entering into the system, has happened or reported in the case of e-filling website.


“However, there have been instances when the authentication details of certain class of e-filers have been obtained by persons from sources other than the website and then the passwords were reset and the e-filing account accessed,” the Ministry said.


To address the issue, a process of multi-functional authentication has been designed and shall be in place shortly. Details thereof, cannot be provided due to security reasons, it said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.


The Ministry was asked to give details on hacking of income tax returns filing accounts of individuals and measures being taken by it to check such activities.


As many as 2.96 crore have filed income tax returns online during 2013-14, according to a data available on the website.


The Income Tax department is encouraging online filing of tax returns in order to digitise all tax payers related information.


CVC Kumar seeks SC nod to withdraw from coalgate scam monitoring

CVC Pradeep Kumar requested the Supreme Court to allow him to withdraw from the coal scam cases as he had worked with the coal ministry as a joint secretary during 2003-06

Pradeep Kumar, the chief of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has requested the Supreme Court to allow him to withdraw from coal scam case monitoring. Kumar along with two other vigilance commissioners was asked by the apex court to help in monitoring coal blocks allocation scam probe.


The Chief Vigilance Commissioner submitted before a Bench headed by Justice RM Lodha that he be allowed to withdraw from the cases as he had worked with the coal ministry as a joint secretary between 2003-06.


The apex court said that it would consider the plea made by CVC when the special bench, which is hearing coalgate cases, assembles.


The court had on 28th March sought assistance of CVC to examine all cases in coal blocks allocation scam in which there were divergent views between the investigating officer and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s head office on filing charge sheets.


It had asked CVC and two vigilance commissioners to give their suggestions whether the cases can be closed or CBI can go ahead with the filing of charge sheets in them.


The apex court had passed the order after it was informed that the agency had filed closure reports in two cases despite there being difference of opinion among CBI officials.


The CBI had informed the court that there were till date 20 such cases where officers had differed on what further action needed to be taken.


The court had directed the agency to place the documents of all 20 cases within five days before CVC for its perusal and the corruption watchdog was asked to file its report in four weeks.


It had said CVC, along with other two vigilance commissioners, will examine the documents and file their report in a sealed envelope on what should be done in those cases.


DIG Ravi Kant Sharma, who supervises the coal scam probe, along with other two officers of the same rank, had said that the investigating officer (IO) had opined to close one of the cases which was rejected by him but his officers approved the opinion of IO after which closure report was filed.


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