DSCI Focuses on Cyber-Security for Digital Transformation

Security architects, senior security managers and decision makers brainstormed on a number of issues, including technology and cyber-security, during the seventh edition of Data Security Council of India (DSCI) best practices meet Bengaluru.Participants spoke on policy matters, proposed industry steps, market response, globally evolved practices, technology innovation, industry standards, architectural designs and others.

“In the current landscape, the industry is witnessing wide-scale adoption of new technology solutions that are leading to building complex digital business models around technological breakthroughs,” said Nandkumar Saravade, CEO, DSCI on Friday, at the two day meet held on July 9 and 10.

“Cyber criminals take benefit of the scale and complexity brought about by the Digital transformation to attack these business models. Hence, cyber-security becomes crucial while architecting the security of these models,” added Saravade at the meet themed as ‘Architecting Security for Digital Transformation’.

“As digital technologies on the one hand creates immense opportunities, it gives rise to considerable vulnerabilities that can weaken the security posture,” said K.K. Natarajan, CEO, Mindtree.

The best practices meet focused on Cyber Insurance, Management of Legal Risks in IT-enabled businesses, The Wearables: Relevance to Enterprise and cyber and national security.

As many as 300 participants attended the event featuring 50 eminent speakers from the industry.

National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) which set up DSCI says it is committed to making cyberspace safe, secure and trusted by establishing best practices, standards and initiatives.

Narendra Modi Congratulates Isro on Successful Satellite Launch

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for the successful launch of its PSLV variant that put five British satellites into orbit, saying it was a moment of “immense pride” for India.”Successful launch of PSLV with five UK satellites is a moment of immense pride and joy for India. Congratulations to the Isro team,” he said.

India successfully put into orbit five British satellites with its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s XL variant (PSLV-XL) on Friday night in copy book style.

The rocket blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

This was the first commercial mission for Isro in 2015.

Exactly at 9.58pm IST, the PSLV-XL rocket, standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 320 tonnes, with a one way ticket tore into the night skies bearing fierce orange flames on its tail.

The expendable rocket carrying five British satellites cumulatively weighing around 1,440kg as its luggage slung them into their intended orbit just over 19 minutes into its flight.

A.S. Kiran Kumar, Isro Chairman, said: “An entirely successful launch for a customer. This time a set of new tool was developed. Five satellites were put into orbit for a customer.”

It was the heaviest commercial mission for the PSLV rocket till date though its total carrying capacity for such a mission is around 1,750kg.

Skype Translator now speaks German, French

Skype translator

The Skype Translator beta app now can help people say “guten tag” to their friends in Germany, thanks to an update it received on Thursday.

Microsoft’s real-time translation app can now provide live voice and text translations for conversations involving people who speak German and French, in addition to English, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.

For example, someone who speaks English can call up another Skype Translator user who speaks German, and each will have their side of the conversation translated into the other’s native language in real time. The app will provide both a computerized voice translation and a running text transcript that allows users to read what’s being said.

All of that comes in addition to Skype Translator’s existing support for live translation of instant messages sent in 50 different languages, including Arabic, Catalan, Japanese, Polish and even Klingon.

German support has been a long time coming. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadellademonstrated the app at the Code Conference in 2014 by showing off a conversation that took place between two company employees in German and English. The app was first launched in a closed beta program in late 2014.

Skype Translator has been widely available to the public as an open beta on Windows 8.1since May. It’s a project that shows off Microsoft’s new strategy under Nadella of quickly moving innovations out of its internal Research division and into products that can be used by consumers.

Twitter’s Project Lightning will showcase event tweets visually, kind of like Snapchat

twitter logo

If you had to use one word to describe Twitter’s strategy over the last year, that word would be experimentation. Later this year, the mobile app is planning its boldest change to date: a new way to display tweets from big events as fullscreen collections of photos and videos.

According to BuzzFeed, Twitter’s super-secret Project Lightning will bring a new button on the Twitter app home screen that will take you to curated feed of events—like Coachella or a riot breaking out in Russia—featuring fast-loading photos and auto-playing videos. You’ll be able to follow event collections to get updates on your Twitter feed without having to follow every Twitter user whose content is featured in the collection. That’s helpful so your feed won’t be cluttered with tweets after the big event ends.

Each tweet, photo, or video featured in a Project Lightning collection will be selected by an editor on Twitter’s media team and will appear fullscreen on your smartphone. Project Lightning will also include Vines and Periscope streams in these collections, and it all will be visible even to non-Twitter users or when you’re not logged in to the platform. The new Twitter format will debut in the next few months.

“It’s a brand-new way to look at tweets,” Twitter’s VP of product Kevin Weil told BuzzFeed. “This is a bold change, not evolutionary.”

Over the last year, the Twitter experience has slowly been evolving with a bunch of small product upgrades and features, from curtailing harassment to experimenting with messaging. Twitter loudly declared it had entered a new era of experimentation, and Project Lightning seems to be its most drastic upgrade in years. But is it really going to blow your mind? If you’re already on Snapchat, most likely not.

At its core, Project Lightning is very similar to Our Stories, the Snapchat feature that curates an event-based stream out of snaps (video clips) from users who were at the event. In the year since it launched, Our Stories has featured photos and videos from music festivals, fashion weeks, sporting events, and gaming conventions. Each of these collections is reportedly generating about 25 million views.

Outgoing Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was in charge of getting Project Lightning off the ground. Even though Costolo resigned last week, interim CEO and Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey told BuzzFeed that the company was still fully committed to Costolo’s baby. While Project Lightning is in the clear, we don’t know how Costolo’s departure and Dorsey’s return will affect the overall fate of the company. Twitter’s success has long been associated with event coverage and breaking news, so the fact that this feature has taken this long to come to fruition is not very reasurring.

Why this matters: “Immersive multimedia.” “Innovative storytelling.” The visual web is coming to mobile, and social apps are all trying to create “experiences” that will make users fawn over pretty pictures and lure advertisers who love getting that type of eye-popping treatment.

The thing that could set Twitter’s feature apart from the Snapchat’s version (and even Facebook’s standalone Paper app) is that Project Lightning’s event-based collections will be embeddable across the web, and will be updated automatically if more photos and videos are added to the collection. Project Lightning hopes to break Twitter content out of its walled garden and in front of more eyeballs—even to people who’ve never created a Twitter account or are intimidated to jump into the constant frenzy happening on the platform every second.

Reddit defaults to HTTPS as Internet titans rush to embrace encryption

Better web security has become so commonplace that most sites don’t make a big deal about it anymore. Reddit quietly announced on Tuesday it would soon move all users over to HTTPS encryption by default.

The switch over officially begins on June 29 for the self-declared front page of the Internet. Reddit has offered its complete site via HTTPS as an option since September 2014.

Reddit is just the latest major website to move to HTTPS by default, a movement that has been ongoing for at least five years but accelerated following the Snowden leaks. Microsoft’s Bing announced on Monday it would encrypt all search traffic by default this summer. A few days earlier Wikimedia, the organization behind Wikipedia, revealed asimilar effort. Netflix also plans to add HTTPS for all its pages before the end of the year, and Plex announced HTTPS for all users earlier in June.

While it’s far from perfect, many sites are tightening up their security. In March 2014, Google removed the option to turn off HTTPS encryption for Gmail. That same year, Yahoo encrypted all connections between its data centers—a move Google made in 2013—making good on its promise to encrypt everything, including Yahoo Mail. Google also began giving sites without HTTPS lower search rankings.

More recently, Congress began looking at SSL and its potential weaknesses.

Why this matters: Knowing how expansive online government surveillance is, HTTPS is a critical tool for retaining privacy. It can’t stop your ISP from knowing which sites you visit, but it can stop anyone from passively reading your traffic. Privacy isn’t the only reason to add HTTPS, however, as HTTPS can help defend against malicious attacks such as session hijacking.

More to come

On top of all the HTTPS activity, many companies are also making other efforts to encrypt data. Both Google and Yahoo are working on user-enabled PGP encryption forGmail and Yahoo Mail, and Facebook added an OpenPGP option to its notification emails earlier in June.

While HTTPS encryption is common among sites with sensitive logins such as banks, email services, search engines and social networks, many sites and blogs don’t support HTTPS largely due to the technical and financial hurdles involved. That may change later this year, however, as the Let’s Encrypt project begins offering free SSL/TLS certificates this fall.

Amazon may soon look to you for package delivery

Amazon logo

The person who delivers your next Amazon order could be you, or your nosy neighbor. The online retailer is working on a new service, currently dubbed On My Way, that would pay everyday people to deliver packages in some circumstances, The Wall Street Journal reports. There’s no word on when the new service might come out. There’s also a chance Amazon will kill the idea, like Walmart did in 2013.

Many other companies are also turning to the crowd to enlist a fleet of couriers includingPostmates, TaskRabbit, and, most recently, Uber.

Similar to Uber, Amazon’s On My Way service will be based around an app, according to the Journal. Presumably, the app will alert registered couriers to packages that are available for pick-up.

In order to facilitate a wave of independent couriers delivering goods in their hatchbacks, Amazon hopes to set-up storage facilities at retailers in urban areas, the Journal says. It’s not clear if that means Amazon hopes big box stores will rent out space to a competitor, or if drivers would pick-up deliveries at Amazon Locker locations such as 7-Eleven.

The impact on you at home: Amazon hopes to get control of its shipping costs with On My Way, but it’s anybody’s guess if the crowdsourced scheme would also translate into cheaper shipping costs for customers. For all we know, On My Way could be yet another perk for Prime members. For anyone pondering a life as an Amazon courier, however, you might want to slow down. The Journal says Amazon hasn’t decided yet whether it would pay drivers cash or credits for Amazon purchases.

Amazon pulls popular video app Kodi from its store, blames piracy


Amazon has drawn a line in the sand on piracy by banning the popular Kodi media player from its app store.

Kodi, an open-source program formerly known as XMBC, disappeared from the Amazon Appstore last week. When the Kodi team asked for an explanation, Amazon emailed several days later to explain that the app “can be used to facilitate the piracy or illegal download of content,” AFTVnews reports .

Keep in mind that Kodi doesn’t come with any illegal content. Out of the box, it’s simply a way to view video and music files, either on the device itself or streamed over a local Wi-Fi network. You can certainly use Kodi to watch illegally-downloaded movies or ripped DVDs, but in that regard it’s no different from Plex, another popular media app that Amazon welcomes in its store. And while Kodi offers a list of add-ons for streaming Internet music and video, none of its built-in options come from pirated sources.

Perhaps the sticking point for Amazon involved the more illicit add-ons that you can acquire from outside the main Kodi app. These add-ons, such as Phoenix and Genesis, pull in copyrighted movies and TV shows from various web sources for extremely easy access. But again, Kodi doesn’t include these add-ons in its app. Installing them involves downloading the add-ons to a computer, transferring them to the Kodi device, and then loading them up within the Kodi software.

That seems like a fine distinction to make—after all, any web browser or file manager can facilitate piracy on some level—though it’s worth noting that Amazon has made similar judgments in the past. The Appstore is now clean of emulators (apparently banned in the last year or so) and apps for downloading torrent files.

Meanwhile, Google doesn’t seem to have any issue with letting these apps in its Google Play Store for Android. In fact, an official version of Kodi just arrived on Android last week, complete with Android TV support.

The impact on you at home: While the move makes Amazon’s position on pirate-friendly apps clear, it won’t have much practical effect if you’re tech-savvy enough to use Kodi and install outside add-ons. Sideloading Android apps onto Amazon Fire tablets isn’t much more complicated, and even before the ban, you still had to sideload Kodi onto Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. While you’re at it, you can even pick up a customized version with all the legally questionable add-ons pre-loaded.

New modems to fuel superfast broadband over copper

Alcatel-Lucent and chipmaker Sckipio Technologies are debuting modem technology that will help make speeds of hundreds of megabit per second over copper cables a reality.

The technology that makes it possible is called g.Fast. Step-by-step, chipmakers and equipment manufacturers are getting it ready for large-scale commercial services. They are expected to arrive next year.

After getting the network equipment to work, vendors are increasingly focusing on the modems.

Alcatel-Lucent has launched the 7368 ISAM residential gateway, which uses g.Fast and 802.11ac to offer speeds surpassing 750Mbps, it said. The product has four Gigabit ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports. It can also be used to deliver broadband over VDSL2. The thinking is that operators can offer VDSL2 today and then upgrade to G.fast.

Sckipio, meanwhile, has announced a new line of G.fast reference designs to support G.fast modems inside an SFP (small form-factor pluggable) module. This approach lets modem manufacturers develop products that aren’t tied to one access technology, and also makes upgrades easier. Sckipio has also developed a reference design for an affordable modem.

Neither company offered any details on pricing and shipping.

The speed increase offered by g.Fast is needed for applications such as streaming 4K video (and in the future, 8K video), IPTV, cloud-based storage, and HD video calls. At the International CES trade show in January, Sckipio demonstrated G.fast’s ability to carry 4K TV.

Operators backing g.Fast include British Telecom, Telekom Austria and Swisscom.

Last month, Swisscom said it was testing G.fast data transmission under real conditions for the first time, offering speeds up to 500Mbps. The operator is planning to use G.fast for all its FTTS (fiber to the street) and FTTB (fiber to the home) connections from 2016. Because g.Fast performs at its best over short distances, the technology will be used in combination with fiber.

Telekom Austria also expects to launch commercial services next year. BT is a bit more cautious and has stated its first services will come next year or in 2017.

Google is preparing a virtual, online Pride parade with Androidify app update

androidify pride parade

Google’s Androidify app got bumped to version 4.0 Wednesday, which includes lots of LGBT-themed content and other customizations.

The Androidify site teases an online Pride parade to coincide with the festivities taking place in many cities June 27 and 28. To get your character included, you need to create one before then and submit it to the Android gallery.

The update includes many Pride-themed clothing accessories, like wigs, pants, and hairstyles. You can also outfit your robot with a Pride-themed shirt and the trademark rainbow flag to make it stand out in the parade.

You can get the update when it rolls through the Google Play Store. Or an updated build is available now from APK Mirror.

The impact on you: Google likes to have a lot of fun with its Android characters, and this is the most recent gift that you can play around with. The company, like many in Silicon Valley, is also a strong supporter of LGBT causes. So offering everyone a playful way to show their support for the annual Pride event is a natural fit.

Airbus is making internet-beaming satellites, just like SpaceX

Story image for internet from The Register

Airbus is officially throwing its hat into the ever more crowded “internet from space” arena. Yesterday at the Paris Air Show, the aircraft-manufacturing company announced it will be designing and manufacturing 900 internet-beaming satellites for OneWeb Ltd, the global information project funded by Richard Branson. The satellites could launch as early as 2018, forming OneWeb’s constellation that will provide LTE, 3G, and Wi-Fi to rural communities across the globe.

The Airbus announcement, however, is seemingly more than just a way for the company to capitalize on the competitive field of providing internet from space; the move appears to be yet another attempt by Airbus to compete with SpaceX, which is often regarded as the leading innovator and cost saver in the private sector. The spaceflight juggernaut is also charging ahead with its plan of enveloping the world in internet access from space — a goal CEO Elon Musk first trumpeted in January. And just last week, SpaceX requested permission from the FCC to begin testing the special antenna technology on its satellites that will deliver high-speed internet to the ground. According to Musk, a total of 4,000 satellites will be used to create the company’s internet infrastructure in lower Earth orbit.


Musk hasn’t given any indication, however, of when we can expect to see his satellites up and running, so the announcement from Airbus adds some heat to the internet space race. According to Airbus, its satellites will weigh less than 330 pounds each; the plan is to send 700 of the micro-satellites up into lower Earth orbit by 2018, while the other 200 will stay on the ground and serve as replacements if necessary. Since OneWeb is receiving funding from Virgin Galactic, the satellites are expected to go up on Launcher One (that is, if the rocket stays on schedule for its planned 2016 launch). OneWeb says that when operational, the entire constellation will provide a data transfer rate of 10 terabits per second to rural communities.

This is the second recent announcement from Airbus that seems to pose a direct challenge to SpaceX. Last week at the Paris Air Show, Airbus revealed that it has been secretly working on a partially reusable rocket design for the past five years. Dubbed Adeline, the concept is meant to offer a cheaper alternative to SpaceX’s (soon to be) reusable Falcon 9 rocket, although Airbus has yet to move the project beyond prototype phase.

Meanwhile, the quest to create a comprehensive internet service from space has been eyed hungrily by many these past few years, with various tech companies hoping to be the first to make it happen. Along with Musk and Branson, Google is also working on a vast infrastructure of weather balloons that will provide internet service from the stratosphere. And even Facebook has plans of bringing internet to the masses, albeit from an army of drones instead of space satellites. First to provide internet service from the near Earth vacuum wins.