Technology
Interlinking IDs Is Dangerous
During a recent workshop, one of the participants asked me whether it is a good idea to link his Aadhaar number to all his bank accounts. The idea of having a single point of existence (Aadhaar) and linking it with everything else appears good, on paper.
 
Going a step ahead, the government will also try to link this instrument or identification (ID) with everything like bank accounts, all types of connections, social media and various apps. There are news reports that WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging apps in India, is planning to offer peer-to-peer payments from its platform. Some banks had already explored the idea of using other social media, like Facebook, for payments; but the response to this is not so encouraging. However, all this may prove costly, in case there is a data breach or somebody steals the single point, ‘everything’, ID. 
 
At present, we have two-factor authentication (2FA) for financial transactions conducted online. This includes the user’s password and a one-time password (OTP) which help in protecting the customer. For example, if I want to buy and pay for something online, I will have to use my login ID, password and the OTP that is sent to my registered mobile number and/or email ID. This helps to avert misuse, to a large extent. Therefore, anyone who wants to misuse my credentials will need to know my login ID, password and access to my mobile phone or email ID. Obtaining all these details is difficult under normal circumstances. 
 
However, when you use a single or random number assigned to you as login and use fingerprint as authentication, there is a big danger. This was exposed in a recent case, where some people looted around Rs25 crore from Bank of Maharashtra through the unified payment interface (UPI) app. Although, it was blamed on a bug in the app, the fact is that not one of the customers from the Bank had any presence during the transactions. Their bank account numbers and authentications were simply bypassed. 
 
In an article, Anand Venkatanarayanan, a senior engineer at Netapp says, “...systems that use biometrics for authentication, usually are deployed in controlled environments, which limit their usage to two- or three-factor authentication and not as a primary means of authentication... How would a normal user know that their biometrics is being stolen by a fake, certified scanner from standardisation testing and quality certification (STQC) agency? The answer is probably ‘never’, until it is too late.”
 
This is exactly the danger; it multiplies several-fold when you interlink everything under the sun, be it your bank accounts, driving licence, permanent account number (PAN) or passport. With the flood of payment apps based on UPI and linking (all) bank accounts with Aadhaar, your Aadhaar number would be floating around and it is quite easy for a cybercriminal to steal money from your account. In addition, one can even receive or seek payment through the UPI apps. All you need to do is to send a request from the UPI app. Considering the literacy level, and our behavioural biases, a majority of people would happily touch the ‘Yes’ button for any such payment request. The person will come to know about the loss only when he reaches the bank or checks the account statement. 
 
So, what is the solution? Try not to link every bank account of yours with a single ID. Make sure you enable email and SMS alerts for all your bank accounts and ask the bank to alert you for every transaction. Do not share your Aadhaar or mobile number, especially for financial transactions.
 

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COMMENTS

shrikant sundaram

2 months ago

When the govt itself is forcing such a dangerous move means there is much to lose now in this nation of virtual authocracy. Well timed article but with this new policy to link every bank ac with aadhar just as a means to track money transactions, banks forcing cust. to pay charges even for closing accounts in order to bring even order to scattered financials, forcing single tax 'reforms' seems we are moving back to jazia tax times.. God, if there is one, save Indians

Vijaykumar Kilar B

4 months ago

OTP seems to be the only protection provided it is with you or one is not under duress. Need one more protection from another mobile for large transactions

Sand Mining: Need estimates and mapping of demand and supply
The film ‘Line in the Sand’, on the rampant scam of illegal sand mining across the country was screened for the first time in Mumbai on Saturday. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has produced the 20-minute documentary. The screening was attended by its Indian Director Savitri Chaudhury and three Activists, which it featured, Sumaira Abdulali, Aakash Chauhan and Brijmohan Yadav. The film tells their stories while taking on the sands mafia including attacks, which all three of them faced.
 
The screening was followed by a panel discussion. The panelists included Dr Praveen Gedam, who, as District Collector at Solapur developed the sand mining approval and tracking system (SMAT) that has been adopted across India as the National Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines.  Other panelists included Yashwant Sontakke from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Joy Thakur from Environment Department, activists Aakash Chauhan, Brijmohan Yadav and Nandakumar Pawar, an activist from Bhandup in Mumbai. Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation moderated the discussion. 
 
All panellist and participants agreed that the government must take steps to stop illegal sand mining that is endangering environment and livelihood of lakhs of people.
 
Mining of sand is considered a necessity under current situation where there are few alternatives available. However, little effort is made to find and implement such alternatives and the State has left it up to individual builders to use such technology if suitable. No efforts to map available sand stocks and match them with requirements for building requirements of the Development Plan –DP are made and the draft Regional Plan currently under circulation does not map the source of sand to supply the quantities needed to execute the DP. 
 
 
Solapur has always been notorious for the illegal sand mining and mafia gangs that operate without fear due to support from politicians. Describing his action against illegal sand mining, Dr Gedam, who is the Transport Commissioner at present, says, "The District Administration received good support from Police. We levied heavy fine on illegal sand mining, and also filed cases against those involved in this. We impounded the sand, vehicles and other equipment used in illegal sand mining.  These efforts from district administration also saw about 425 first information reports (FIRs) filed against the illegal cartels of sand mafias in FY2013-14 alone. In addition, the District Administration also intimated the Income Tax and Sales Tax department about these people involved in illegal sand mining. In short, we pounded from all sides and this helped us to curb illegal sand mining and boost revenues from sand mining to Rs78 crore in FY2013-14 from Rs22 crore a year ago."
 
Nandkumar Pawar, who works for protection of mangroves , wetlands and welfare of coastal community across Mumbai Metropolitan Region, feels people from his fishermen community are involved in illegal sand mining out of compulsion to survive. "With increased pollution, encroachment and killing of mangroves and wetlands, our community is unable to continue fishing for its livelihood. In the absence of any other alternative, they are now working in the illegal sand mining at lower rung," he says. They need rehabilitation into alternate legal activities.
 
 
Mr Sontakke from MPCB felt that complete ban on sand mining is not possible, but we need to think about alternatives to raw materials used in construction industry.
 
According to Mr Thakur, the builder is required to apply for permission stating his requirement for raw materials. "The Environment Department has allowed manual mining with use of suction pumps in exceptional cases. However, many a times, suction pumps are used for sand mining. In these matters, the District Collector as authority is vested with powers to take action," he said.
 
Ms Chaudhry talked about some of the dangers, loneliness and isolation faced by the activists such as Brijmohan Yadav and Akash Chauhan in remote areas. 
 
The audience, comprising students and senior academics, activists and concerned citizens signed a memorandum to the Prime Minister ‘technology is now available to create alternatives to sand, the government must take a lead by mandating the use of aggregates for its own projects, or explain where the sand is coming from.”
 
The event was organized by Awaaz Foundation along with Moneylife Foundation and Global Enviro Solutions.
 

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Nifty, Sensex Still Under Pressure - Weekly closing report
We had mentioned in last week’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex may remain under pressure. The market closed in the red every day of the week, except for Tuesday, when the benchmarks ended with marginal gains. On Friday, the markets remained closed for Good Friday. Overall, for the whole week, the major indices closed with losses. The trends of the major indices in the course of the week’s trading are given in the table below:
 
 
Indian Equity markets closed in the red on Monday for the third consecutive session due to lack of any major triggers and apprehensions about the March quarter results. The S & P BSE Sensex ended 131 points lower, at 29575.74, with Infosys (-2.88%), Reliance Industries (-1.74%) and HDFC being the major contributors to the fall. The broader Nifty 50 Index closed below the 9200 levels, at 9,181.45. 
 
Tata Motors rose 1.51% after the company said group global sales, including Jaguar Land Rover, rose 9%, at 1.29 lakh units, in March 2017 over March 2016. The global sales of all commercial vehicles and Tata Daewoo range fell 6%, at 42,596 units, in March 2017 over March 2016. This was compenasated by 19% rise in global sales of all passenger vehicles. Breaking the three-day falling streak, markets closed in green on Tuesday, with S & P BSE Sensex rising by 213 points and Nifty ending above the 9,200 mark.  ITC was the leading contributor to the gains of both Sensex and Nifty, rising by over 3%, followed by Infosys, ICICI bank and Power Grid Corporation of India. 
 
Riddled with crippling debt and a tough operating environment, telecom companies have been laying off employees over the last six months. While bigger players like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India are managing to cut losses through consolidation, it is the smaller companies that are suffering the most. According to a CNBC-TV18 report, nearly 3,400 job losses have been reported in the last six months by telcos to cut down on costs and support falling margins.The head-finance of Asian Granito, Himanshu Shah, in an interview said that the promoters of the company have a acquired 5% stake in the open market in the fourth quarter.
 
The Indian equity benchmarks reversed gains of the previous day on Wednesday, despite positive global cues, as investors preferred to book profits ahead of Infosys earnings on Thursday and factory and retail inflation data to be released later today. S&P BSE Sensex fell 144.87 points, or 0.49%, to settle at 29,643.48. The Nifty 50 index shed 33.55 points, or 0.36%, to settle at 9,203.45.
 
IT major Infosys edged higher ahead of its Q4 March 2017 results on the next day, 13 April 2017. Vedanta and Cairn India advanced after Vedanta and Cairn India announced that the merger of Cairn India with Vedanta, pursuant to the scheme of arrangement, has become effective.
 
Tata Power Company was flat in volatile trade after the company announced that the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 11 April 2017, conveyed its judgment on the Compensatory Tariff mailer on the Mundra Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP). The announcement was made after market hours, 11 April 2017.The order, verbally conveyed, set aside the previous favourable order of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), which had allowed compensatory tariff on account of ‘Forced Majeure’ conditions in Indonesia. It did not mention the use of Regulatory Powers of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) in adjudicating compensatory tariff as per previous order. The final order got uploaded in the evening and the company is studying it. The company will continue to pursue all alternative options at Coastal Gujarat Power (CGPL), including sourcing of competitive coal from other relevant geographies.
 
The all-India general CPI inflation increased to 3.65% in February 2017 (new base 2012=100), compared with 3.17% in January 2017. The Indian Equity benchmarks ended in the red on Thursday, for the second consecutive day, ending at their two-week closing lows. Sensex fell by 182.03 points, closing at 29,461.45, and Nifty slipped 52.65 points to 9,150.80, dragged by technology, metals, infrastructure and auto stocks. However, buying in Reliance Industries and banking & financials controlled the fall. 
 
IT major Infosys fell 3.86% after the company reported weak Q4 March 2017 results before market hours today. Infosys's consolidated net profit fell 2.8%, to Rs3603 crore, on 0.9% decline in revenues, to Rs17120 crore, in Q4 March 2017, over Q3 December 2016. Consolidated operating profit fell 2.8%, to Rs4,212 crore, in Q4 March 2017, over Q3 December 2016. Infosys said that its consolidated revenue is expected to grow 6.5%-8.5% in constant currency terms in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2018, under IFRS. CEO Dr. Vishal Sikka said that unanticipated execution challenges and distractions in a seasonally soft quarter affected the company's overall performance. 
 
The BSE market breadth was bearish, with 1,793 declines, 1,115 advances and 128 unchanged. On NSE, there were 1,090 declines, 590 advances and 61 unchanged.

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