Nation
CBI raids Chidambaram's residences
The premises of two top opposition leaders, P. Chidambaram and Lalu Prasad, were on Tuesday raided by CBI and IT officials with Karti Chidambaram accused of getting pay-offs for helping a media company get FIPB clearance, while the former Bihar Chief Minister was accused of "benami" land deals -- actions the opposition denounced as vendetta by the BJP-led central government.
 
The day began with raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi, Chennai, Gurugram and Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu, while the Income Tax raided 22 locations in Delhi and Gurugram on a number of premises said to be owned by Lalu and kin.
 
The CBI raided the residence of Chidambaram and his son Karti in Nungambakam in Chennai, after registering an FIR on Monday night in which it was alleged that his son could have benefited to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore for helping in the clearance of an FIPB proposal of media company INX Ltd when his father was at the helm in the North Block.
 
The CBI FIR alleged that invoices for approximately Rs 3.5 crore were raised by the INX Ltd in favour of companies in which Karti was having "sustainable interests" either directly or indirectly.
 
The FIPB clearance was given to Mumbai-based INX Media (now called 9X Media) when it was run by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, and Chidambaram was then the Finance Minister.
 
The FIR does not mention the name of Chidambaram, though it states that he had cleared the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval for Rs 4.62 crore Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the FIPB meeting on May 18, 2007.
 
Both Chidambaram and his son denied there was any misconduct on their part and said the whole action was aimed at "muzzling" the voice of Chidambaram senior, who has been writing against the NDA government. 
 
Karti said he had committed no crime and the case against him was foisted on account of political vendetta.
 
Chidambaram said FIPB clearance is given in hundreds of cases and there is no allegation against officials, who are members of the FIPB, or against him.
 
Besides Karti, those named in the FIR include INX Director Indrani Mukherjea and her husband Peter Mukherjea, both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, and some unknown officials of the ministry. 
 
In the other case, the Income Tax Department conducted raids at 22 places in and around Delhi in connection with alleged "benami" property deals allegedly to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad. 
 
Besides the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo, the IT raids were also carried out on the premises of party MP P.C. Gupta's residence as well as several businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi and Haryana's Gurugram and Rewari.
 
The raids started around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, in which over 100 officials were involved. 
 
Income Tax officials also searched over 10 premises of some government officials.
 
The IT Department's action comes in the wake of the allegations made by former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
 
Sushil Modi has accused Lalu Prasad and his children - Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and Rajya Sabha Parliamentarian Misa Bharti - of being involved in corrupt land deals. 
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said if there was documentary proof or solid evidence against the RJD chief and his family then the central government should take legal action.
 
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier alleged that the RJD chief's daughter Misa Bharti has not disclosed these assets in her election affidavit and demanded that the Election Commission take action against her. 
 
The BJP leader also alleged that the land deals were done during Lalu Prasad's tenure as Union Railway Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. 
 
Following the IT raids, Sushil Kumar Modi told the media in Patna that his stand has been "vindicated".
 
Senior RJD leader and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said the IT raids are part of the BJP's political vendetta against rivals. "BJP has been conspiring against Lalu Prasad for his vocal criticism and his bid to unite all non-BJP parties ahead of the 2019 general elections," Singh said.
 
More than a dozen senior RJD leaders have visited Lalu Prasad at 10, Circular Road, his official residence, in high security zone, not far away from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's official residence in Patna, since Tuesday morning after the IT conducted raids. 
 
Reacting to the raids on Chidambaram and his son, the Congress said: "The truth is that revenge has become a DNA of the BJP. Neither Chidambaram nor any Congress leader or any other leader of opposition will be deterred, would be cowed down or would fear the politics of revenge and vendetta."
 
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to take action against its leaders such as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam, and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who allegedly helped former cricket administrator Lalit Modi leave the country.
 
"The entire landscape of BJP is mired by one scam after another. If yardstick is morality then why is he (Modi) shying away from ordering an inquiry into the Sahara-Birla Computer Excel sheets, in which none other but the Prime Minister himself has been named repeatedly about having taken bribe," Surjewala 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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COMMENTS

SRINIVAS SHENOY

4 months ago

I personally feel that the Prime Minister is not involved in any misdeeds whatsoever.

Ransomware threat: Get patched, find a firewall or upgrade fast
It was coming. On March 14 this year, Microsoft released a security update which addressed the vulnerability in the 16-year-old Windows XP operating system that the hackers behind the massive ransomware attack exploited and created havoc in 150 countries.
 
The vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows software -- exploited by "WannaCrypt" -- crippled computers from hospitals in Britain to police stations in India, with hackers demanding hundreds of dollars from the users for them to regain control over their data.
 
Once Microsoft released the patch for the vulnerability -- exploited by hacker group "Shadow Brokers" after stealing a software from the US National Security Agency (NSA) -- some Window XP users installed the update called "Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010" on their desktops and laptops. 
 
But several didn't. 
 
There are nearly 150 million computers running Windows XP operation system globally. Those who didn't pay heed to the Windows XP patch are the ones who have fallen prey to the world's biggest ransomware attack.
 
Microsoft which had discontiued security updates to its out-of-date software, has also provided a security update for all customers using Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, anticipating further attacks on these earlier platforms being used by millions.
 
According to the company, "customers who are running supported versions of the operating system (Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016) will have received the security update MS17-010 in March. 
 
"If customers have automatic updates enabled or have installed the update, they are protected. For other customers, we encourage them to install the update as soon as possible," said Phillip Misner, Principal Security Group Manager, Microsoft Security Response Centre, in a statement.
 
Meanwhile, "WannaCrypt" locked up machines, encrypted files and demanded approximately $600 in Bitcoin for a recovery key.
 
According to global cyber security firms, paying heed to updates can only save your data from being put to ransom.
 
"Install the official patch from Microsoft that closes the vulnerability used in the attack. Ensure that security solutions are switched on all nodes of the network. If Kaspersky Lab's solution is used, ensure that it includes the 'System Watcher', a behavioural proactive detection component and that it is switched on," Altaf Halde, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS.
 
"Run the 'Critical Area Scan' task in Kaspersky Lab's solution to detect possible infection as soon as possible (otherwise it will be detected automatically, if not switched off, within 24 hours)," he added.
 
According to Subhendu Sahu, Acting Country Manager for India, FireEye, the ransomware poses high risks to organisations using potentially vulnerable Windows machines. 
 
"We can certainly expect follow-on attacks. Organisations seeking to take risk management steps related to this campaign should install the latest Windows patches. They should also use the indicators of compromise which are associated with this activity. FireEye has also taken steps to help secure its customers," Sahu told IANS.
 
As investigators were working to track down those responsible for the ransomware attack, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the governments should treat this attack as a "wake-up call".
 
The news led software security providers to ramp up anti-malware software.
 
"Upon learning of these incidents, McAfee quickly began working to analyse samples of the ransomware and develop mitigation guidance and detection updates for its customers. McAfee has subsequently provided DAT (that contain data in text or binary format) updates to all its customers and provided them and the public further analysis on the attacks," Ian Yip, Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific, McAfee, told IANS.
 
If you are a home Windows XP user, patch immediately follow up with an upgrade. If you are running a vulnerable system and cannot install the patch for some reason, try doing the following:
 
"Disable SMBv1 (a server component) with the steps documented at 'Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2696547' and as recommended previously. Consider adding a rule on your router or firewall to block incoming Server Message Block (SMB) traffic on port 445," said a report in the technology website Engadget.
 
"This is big and set to get bigger. We haven't seen anything like this since Conficker in 2008," Amit Nath, Head of Asia Pacific-Corporate Business at cyber security firm F-Secure Corporation, told IANS.
 
The Conficker worm infected millions of computers including government, business and home computers in over 190 countries.
 
Always make sure your files are backed up. 
 
"That way, if they become compromised in a ransomware attack, you can wipe your disk drive clean and restore the data from the backup. Using Cloud storage with anti-virus scanning abilities to share files will help users to mitigate any possible threats," suggested Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director, South Asia, McAfee.
 
Remember this: "WannaCrypt" probably won't work across the internet for PCs behind a firewall or router.
 
"But if a server is connected directly to the internet or a PC is on the same network as an infected computer, it can spread quickly -- which is exactly what has happened," the Engadget report 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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Ransomware emerges as most dangerous cyber threat yet
As the world struggles to tame the massive "WannaCrypt" attack, ransomware has emerged as the most dangerous cyber threat for both organisations and individuals in recent months, with global losses now likely running into hundreds of millions of dollars.
 
Ransomware is a malicious software that locks a connected device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone and then demands a ransom to unlock it.
 
According to Norton by Symantec, one of the global leaders in cyber security software, there was a 36 per cent increase in the ransomware attacks in 2016 and the ransomware families have grown three times -- from 30 in 2014 to 101 in 2016.
 
"In 2016, we identified over 100 new malware families released into the wild, more than triple the amount seen previously, and a 36 per cent increase in ransomware attacks worldwide," Tarun Kaura, Director, Solutions Product Management, Asia Pacific & Japan, Symantec told IANS.
 
India alone faces 4 per cent of the total ransomware attacks while the US is most affected, with 34 per cent of the ransomware attacks globally.
 
India has been ranked fifth in terms of global threat rank by destination, with 3.8 per cent global threat detection.
 
"Over 180 Indian companies were victims of 'ransomware' -- or online extortion schemes -- in the first six months of 2016," said Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in security software and solutions.
 
While most major ransomware groups tend to be indiscriminate in their attacks, consumers are often less likely to have robust security in place, increasing the possibility of falling victim. 
 
"The average ransom demanded globally by attackers also saw an upward spike this year. The average ransom demanded to date in 2016 more than doubled from Rs 19,670 in 2015 to Rs. 45,428," a recent Norton by Symantec study highlighted.
 
"WannaCrypt" -- the ransomware malware used in Friday's massive cyber attack -- has the ability to spread itself within corporate networks, without user interaction, by exploiting a known vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. 
 
Computers which do not have the latest Windows security updates are at the risk of infection.
 
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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