Telangana- Will the state resolution be ignored?

telanganaWith the number of MLAs from the Seema-Andhra region more compared to those from Telangana, it is very likely that the resolution favouring Telangana will be struck down in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly. Kiran Kumar Reddy and his men are waiting for the resolution to reach the legislative assembly so that they can create a ruckus before striking it down thanks to the numbers they have.

The Union Cabinet is likely to meet on September 19th and issue a note proposing the formation of Telangana. This would be placed before the Parliament for debate and needs to be passed in both houses. At the moment, A K Antony is briefing senior leaders in New Delhi about the developments and agitations in Telangana. However the Congress leadership is firm about its decision on Telangana. Continue reading “Telangana- Will the state resolution be ignored?”

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Stay there, we will come- Congress High Command

The front runner for the post of Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah has been instructed by the Congress high command to stay put in Bangalore. He has been told that two senior leaders, Ambika Soni and A K Antony will visit Bangalore late tonight and decide on when to convene the Congress Legislature party meeting to elect a new leader. Continue reading “Stay there, we will come- Congress High Command”

Naval command hacking-the probe

Pic: hackitparadise.in

Defence Minister,Naval command hacking-the probe recently told the Lok Sabha that steps had been taken to strengthen the security of the network at the Eastern Naval Command at Vishakapatanam in the wake of intelligence inputs regarding possible hacking. He also said in a written reply that the matter has been investigated and steps have been taken.
The first signs of this very important network being hacked came to light in the month of November 2011 when Indian Intelligence agencies suggested that there were attempts being made to hack into this network which contains sensitive information. Following this input a Board of Inquiry comprising experts was set up and it had been found that some of the systems in the naval command had been bugged by hacker groups.

During the inquiry it was found that some Chinese hackers had managed to bug the systems, but it was also discovered that not much damage had taken place and no sensitive information had gone out. The bigger worry for India was that the incident took place at the Eastern Naval Command which houses the nuclear submarine, INS Arihant.

The Defence Minister made his statements in the Lok Sabha based on the inquiry conducted by the Board of Inquiry which found that very little data had been lost as a result of the bugs.

This is however the second time that there has been an incident of this nature being reported in the Indian navy. The first time around it was found that some officers had deliberately leaked some information and action had been recommended against them. This time around it appeared to be a bit more serious and had the Indian agencies not reacted soon, then the data that could have been leaked could have become a serious problem.

During the inquiry it was also found that the main culprits behind the latest incident was a group from China. They had managed to break into some of the systems, plant bugs in it and get the information relayed to an IP address in China.

Although there is strong proof of a foreign hand being involved in this incident, the bigger problem that Indian agencies found was that some persons within the base could have also played a role in this. During the inquiry, 5 officers (mid level) were questioned. Although their role in this issue cannot be attributed directly, it was found that there were some procedural lapses which led to such an incident in the first place. It was found that some of these officers had carried with them their pen drives. It was the virus from these pen drives which helped the hackers enter into the systems. These officers are under scrutiny and action is being proposed against them. Whether it was a mere procedure lapse or was there more to it is something that further inquiry will reveal.

The inquiry also found that the virus that was on the pen drives managed to collect data and transmit data which was later found on a Chinese IP address. The virus which infected the systems created folders which were hidden and collected documents.

Sources say that the biggest threats to our networks in India come from China and Pakistan. Although Pakistan has been found to hack into government sites, when it comes to secret defence related information it is the Chinese who are the cause for worry. According to Cyber Forensic agencies involved in this probe, China has been creating cyber battalions who are specifically trained to break into networks. They hack into the networks with the help of the various kinds of virus that they create and they wait for some procedural lapses within the system to attack.

The National Technical Research Organisation had recently warned that India will need to create a stronger system in order to counter this threat. China has probably one of the biggest cyber armies and their dominance over the internet space is not a secret. China has an annual budget of 60 million dollars for such activities and it is said that there are nearly 10000 people who comprise the horrific cyber battalion. It is almost state funded terrorism against India says an official. The Chinese over the years have improvised a great deal in hacking and they use everything right from bots, malicious codes, key loggers and Trojans to gain access to Indian systems.

Today the Chinese have found the social network to be a useful tool to further their goals. With the advent of the social media, many officers have been creating accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The updates that they post with their location has been a source of great information for the Chinese hackers. They are constantly pulling out the lists of names and keep a track on these officers. Although the officers do not post sensitive information on these sites, the hackers still manage to gain access to their location and other personal details. These hackers also look for detailed information on social networking sites such as political affiliation or religious beliefs of these officials and based on that they at times have tried to approach them and enter into a conversation with them. India would now like to ensure that officials working at such sensitive installations dealing with defence should not be on social networking sites as they are being monitored and watched for very different reasons.

The NTRO which is under the Prime Minister of the country has its job cut out. Although it has managed to neutralize scores of such attacks, there have been cases where it has also found that the system in question has been under the control of a foreign agency for quite some time. This leads to the debate of setting up a full fledged cyber command and also enhancing the strength of India’s cyber army. However the general complaint is that India is not yet ready to hire the services of ethical hackers. Many such ethical hackers have backed out since they feel that the government does not spend enough on them an there is hardly a line of protection. Hacking is still considered as a very bad word in India and unless the importance of ethical hacking is considered seriously, India has its task cut out.

Apart from China, India also faces a great deal of risk from the Pakistan cyber army. Some 112 Indian sites have been hacked and defaced in the past couple of years and it was found that a large part of it happened thanks to Pakistan. The cyber war between Indian and Pakistan began in the year 1998 when the latter hacked into the website of the Bhabha Atomic Research centre. This was done more to establish technological supremacy and from then onwards it has become a game for these people.

Experts say that the threat from the Chinese is however much greater when compared to Pakistan. The Chinese are only looking to dish out important information from our defence mechanisam while Pakistan is more about defacing websites to show supremacy.

Bharadwaj and his goof-ups

Photo caption: The Hindu

The question on everyone’s mind is whether it is the end of the road for Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj. Even as the Congress in the state have decided to block all highways in the state between 11 and 12 today demanding that the centre implement the recommendations made by the Governor, Bharadwaj finds himself in a lonely position.

There are many factors here that are being debated about his latest course of action where he went ahead and recommended President’s rule in Karnataka. At yesterday’s cabinet committee meeting he did not find the required support for his letter. Three senior leaders, P Chidambaram, A K Antony and Kapil Sibal had literally discarded the report stating that the situation in Karnataka did not mandate President’s rule. A final decision in this matter is expected today when the Cabinet meets expectedly today.

Rumour is already afloat that Bharadwaj may either quit or also be recalled if the Government of India does not go ahead with his recommendation or accepts his report. This would be the second time in less than a year that his report is being rejected by the Centre, something that not many governors have faced in the past. The last time he had sent such a report was in October 2010 following the controversial trust vote in Karnataka, but the report was rejected.

Although Raj Bhavan sources are mum about the Governor’s future course of action, his actions make it clear that he has decided to stay put within the four walls of the Raj Bhavan until there is a clear cut picture in this matter. The Governor was supposed to attend a function at the St Johns Hospital on Monday, but cancelled the same abruptly after the developments in Karnataka started to heat up.

Going by the developments, many in the political circles especially in the Congress indicate that he may step down or even be recalled. In all probability he is likely to step down if the Government does not implement his recommendation and the deadline for the same is the end of the week.

Many other believe that he has hit the nail on his own head. He has acted in haste and as far as our information goes, he has not really consulted the centre before shooting off the report. Sources say that he had just informed the centre in principle that things are not looking good in Karnataka and also stated that if the state government continues to tamper with the constitutional provisions then one may have to act.

It is also being pointed out that the Governor in a bid to act touch ended up acting in haste. If at all he wanted to act, he ought to have acted immediately after the verdict of the Supreme Court and stated that the government was in minority now. However he waited nearly two days to send out a report and that too at a time when the rebels and the BJP had kissed and made up. Moreover Bharadwaj also found himself crippled when it came to playing the number card since the Bommai verdict clearly mentions that any such case shall be decided on the floor of the House.

However the biggest bit of criticism which the Governor continues to face is the fact that he did not let the rebel MLAs into Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening. He had made it clear to the rebels who had gone with letters of support to the Yeddyurappa government that it is Sunday and due to the fact that the staff are on leave, he cannot meet them. However he acted in contradiction and ended up sending the report later that evening. Now this threw up the question as to how he managed to dictate the report when it was Sunday and he did not have the staff to work. Another factor that will play truant for the governor is that at the same time the rebels wanted to meet him, he was in a meeting with Congress leaders, Siddaramaiah and Parameshwar who had called on him seeking dismissal of the BJP government which at that point of time was in a minority.

A lot would depend on the Union Government and how they would act on his report. The Prime Minister has assured that nothing unconstitutional would be done in the case of Karnataka. What transpires during the course of the day is to be seen.