Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (19th December)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. The urban heat island effect

Prelims: Climate change impact
Mains: GS paper 1

Rapid and unplanned urbanisation of cities and concomitant reduction in vegetation results in increased rise in temperature compared to non-urban areas.

Image result for urban heat island


2. Focus on income mobility

The World Inequality Report 2018 released by the World Inequality Lab last week says that income inequality in India has increased since economic liberalisation.

3. For a safe cyberspace

Performance of India with respect to Digital and Knowledge-based economy

  1. India is one of the key players in the digital and knowledge-based economy, holding more than a 50% share of the world’s outsourcing market.
  2. Pioneering and technology-inspired programmes such as Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market, DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities are propelling India towards technological competence and transformation.
  3. India is already the third largest hub for technology-driven startups in the world and its Information and Communications Technology sector is estimated to reach the $225 billion landmark by 2020.

 Vulnerabilities of India with respect to cyberspace

  1. India is the fifth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of cybersecurity breaches.
  2. According to the Internal Security Threat Report of 2017 by Symantec. Till June 2017, 27,482 cybersecurity threats had been reported in the country.

Which Types of Attacks are most common in recent years?

  1. Ransomware attacks have been the most common in the last few years (Ransomware is a type of software that threatens to publish a person’s data or block it unless a ransom is paid).
  2. Apart from WannaCry and Petya, other Ransomware attacks that made news globally were Locky, Cerber, Bucbi, SharkRaaS, CryptXXX and SamSam.
  3. In India, in May 2017, a data breach at the food delivery App, Zomato, led to personal information of about 17 million users being stolen and put for sale on the Darknet. The company had to negotiate with the hacker in order to get it taken down.

Which devices are more vulnerable for attacks?

  1. While Windows operating systems were the most vulnerable to cyberattacks, a number of Android threats have been reported in the last couple of years, including potent crypto-ransomware attacks on Android devices.
  2. The attacks aren’t limited to mobile phones and e-Pads. All devices, including televisions that use Android, are also potentially vulnerable.
  3. In 2016, the first known Ransomware, named KeRanger, targeting Mac userswas also reported.
  4. The Mirai botnet malware affected 2.5 million home router users and other Internet of Things devices

What should India do?

  1. Given the huge number of online users and continued efforts on affordable access, cybersecurity needs to be integrated in every aspect of policy and planning.
  2. India needs to quickly frame an appropriate and updated cybersecurity policy, create adequate infrastructure, and foster closer collaboration between all those involved to ensure a safe cyberspace.
  3. There is a need for a Geneva-like Convention to agree on some high-level recommendations among nations to keep the Internet safe, open, universal and interoperable.

4. Raja Mandala: India and China — Rebuild the trust

Sino-Indian relations are in a state of disrepair 

  1. 2016 was marked by China’s decision to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group
  2. 2017 was defined by an extended military confrontation in the Doklam plateau

Not sweeping differences under the carpet

  1. Beijing and Delhi are finally acknowledging the deeply problematic nature of the relationship
  2. This public admission of trouble is a welcome departure from the entrenched habit of sweeping differences under the carpet
  3. Also from masking problems with grandiose rhetoric on “building a new Asian century” and “promoting multipolar world”

Critical issue in bilateral relations

  1. It is the absence of mutual trust
  2. Since 2008, there has been a steady accumulation of problems — tensions on the boundary, an imbalance in trade, strategic competition in the region and the divergence on international issues
  3. These problems, in turn, deepened distrust

Turn to a new page

  1. This idea has been articulated frequently, in recent times by the Chinese ambassador to India
  2. One of his proposals is to sign a “treaty of good neighborliness and friendly cooperation”
  3. India and China have had a tradition of hoary declarations that created an illusion of mutual understanding but deepened mutual distrust
  4. The declaratory approach was of no help in addressing the real disputes over territorial sovereignty

Panchsheel of no use

  1. The Panchsheel agreement signed in 1954 was of no help in resolving the difficulties over Tibet and the boundary that emerged in the late 1950s
  2. This was despite the idea of “five principles of peaceful coexistence” that Delhi and Beijing claim to be their unique contribution to modern international relations

Focus areas

  1. First is the urgent need to distill lessons from the Doklam crisis and prevent the recurrence of another such incident
  2. One of the main lessons from Doklam is that more confidence-building measures on the border are not going to guarantee stability
  3. The context in which the CBMs were put since the 1990s has fundamentally changed
  4. The second area of focus is on President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative
  5. Unconditional bilateral discussions on the BRI make good sense
  6. Both Delhi and Beijing say they are eager to promote connectivity in their shared neighborhood

Way forward

  1. As the stronger power today, China might think it can afford to be unilateral — on the frontier as well regional economic initiatives
  2. Without a return to genuine bilateralism that takes into account the interests of both parties, Beijing will find the chasm with Delhi continue to deepen

5. West Bengal govt mulling ‘blockchain’ to protect records stored online

Blockchain technology to protect documents from cyber attacks

  1. The West Bengal government is planning to introduce the blockchain technology to protect its documents from cyber attacks
  2. Earlier this year, computers at some offices of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited were crippled by ‘WannaCry’ virus, a global ransomware
  3. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid

Wannacry Ransomware attack

  1. It infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service
  2. The WannaCry attack struck more than 150 nations in May, locking up digital documents, databases and other files and demanding a ransom for their release
  3. The WannaCry ransomware exploited a vulnerability in mostly older versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system
  4. Security experts traced the exploitation of that weakness back to the U.S. National Security Agency; it was part of a cache of stolen NSA cyberweapons publicly released by a group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers

Blockchain technology

  1. Blockchain is an online ledger of digitally recorded transactions which is encrypted in the form of blocks, each of which is connected by a network of computers


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