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Key IT security trends that are expected to shape 2021: Sophos

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NEW DELHI: British security software and hardware company Sophos said that it has published the Sophos 2021 Threat Report, which flags how ransomware and fast-changing attacker behaviors, from advanced to entry level, will shape the threat landscape and IT security in 2021.

The report, written by SophosLabs security researchers, as well as Sophos’ threat hunters, rapid responders, and cloud security and AI experts, provides a three-dimensional perspective on security threats and trends, from their inception to real-world impact.

Three key trends analyzed in the Sophos 2021 Threat Report include:

1. The gap between ransomware operators at different ends of the skills and resource spectrum will increase. At the high end, the big-game hunting ransomware families will continue to refine and change their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to become more evasive and nation-state-like in sophistication, targeting larger organizations with multimillion-dollar ransom demands. In 2020, such families included Ryuk and RagnarLocker. At the other end of the spectrum, Sophos anticipates an increase in the number of entry level, apprentice-type attackers looking for menu-driven, ransomware-for-rent, such as Dharma, that allows them to target high volumes of smaller prey.

Another ransomware trend is “secondary extortion,” where alongside the data encryption the attackers steal and threaten to publish sensitive or confidential information, if their demands are not met. In 2020, Sophos reported on Maze, RagnarLocker, Netwalker, REvil, and others using this approach.

“The ransomware business model is dynamic and complex. During 2020, Sophos saw a clear trend towards adversaries differentiating themselves in terms of their skills and targets. However, we’ve also seen ransomware families sharing best-of-breed tools and forming self-styled collaborative ‘cartels,’” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos. “Some, like Maze, appeared to pack their bags and head for a life of leisure, except that some of their tools and techniques have resurfaced under the guise of a newcomer, Egregor. The cyberthreat landscape abhors a vacuum. If one threat disappears another one will quickly take its place. In many ways, it is almost impossible to predict where ransomware will go next, but the attack trends discussed in Sophos’ threat report this year are likely to continue into 2021.”

2. Everyday threats such as commodity malware, including loaders and botnets, or human-operated Initial Access Brokers, will demand serious security attention. Such threats can seem like low level malware noise, but they are designed to secure a foothold in a target, gather essential data and share data back to a command-and-control network that will provide further instructions. If human operators are behind these types of threats, they’ll review every compromised machine for its geolocation and other signs of high value, and then sell access to the most lucrative targets to the highest bidder, such as a major ransomware operation. For instance, in 2020, Ryuk used Buer Loader to deliver its ransomware.

“Commodity malware can seem like a sandstorm of low-level noise clogging up the security alert system. From what Sophos analyzed, it is clear that defenders need to take these attacks seriously, because of where they might lead. Any infection can lead to every infection. Many security teams will feel that once malware has been blocked or removed and the compromised machine cleaned, the incident has been prevented,” said Wisniewski. “They may not realize that the attack was likely against more than one machine and that seemingly common malware like Emotet and Buer Loader can lead to Ryuk, Netwalker and other advanced attacks, which IT may not notice until the ransomware deploys, possibly in the middle of the night or on the weekend. Underestimating ‘minor’ infections could prove very costly.”

3. All ranks of adversaries will increasingly abuse legitimate tools, well known utilities and common network destinations to evade detection and security measures and thwart analysis and attribution. The abuse of legitimate tools enables adversaries to stay under the radar while they move around the network until they are ready to launch the main part of the attack, such as ransomware. For nation-state-sponsored attackers, there is the additional benefit that using common tools makes attribution harder. In 2020, Sophos reported on the wide range of standard attack tools now being used by adversaries.

“The abuse of everyday tools and techniques to disguise an active attack featured prominently in Sophos’ review of the threat landscape during 2020. This technique challenges traditional security approaches because the appearance of known tools doesn’t automatically trigger a red flag. This is where the rapidly growing field of human-led threat hunting and managed threat response really comes into its own,” said Wisniewski. “Human experts know the subtle anomalies and traces to look for, such as a legitimate tool being used at the wrong time or in the wrong place. To trained threat hunters or IT managers using endpoint detection and response (EDR) features, these signs are valuable tripwires that can alert security teams to a potential intruder and an attack underway.”

Additional trends analyzed in the Sophos 2021 Threat Report include:

· Attacks on servers: adversaries have targeted server platforms running both Windows and Linux, and leveraged these platforms to attack organizations from within

· The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on IT security, such as the security challenges of working from home using personal networks protected by widely varying levels of security

· The security challenges facing cloud environments: cloud computing has successfully borne the brunt of a lot of the enterprise needs for secure computing environments, but faces challenges different to those of a traditional enterprise network

· Common services like RDP and VPN concentrators, which remain a focus for attacks on the network perimeter. Attackers also use RDP to move laterally within breached networks

· Software applications traditionally flagged as “potentially unwanted” because they delivered a plethora of advertisements, but engaged in tactics that are increasingly indistinguishable from overt malware

· The surprising reappearance of an old bug, VelvetSweatshop – a default password feature for earlier versions of Microsoft Excel – used to conceal macros or other malicious content in documents and evade advanced threat detection

· The need to apply approaches from epidemiology to quantify unseen, undetected and unknown cyberthreats in order to better bridge gaps in detection, assess risk and define priorities

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Yotta’s Cloud Data Center in GIFT City, Gujarat goes live

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NEW DELHI: Yotta Data Services, an end-to-end Digital Transformation service provider, has announced that its state-of-the-art data centre facility, “Yotta G1”, located in GIFT city, Gandhinagar is ready for service (RFS).

The opening of this data center marks the debut of Yotta in Gujarat and progresses the company’s mission to provide digital services in India’s high-growth markets.

G1 is Yotta’s fifth data center facility in the country. It joins four large operational data centers, two of which, at Navi Mumbai and Greater Noida are part of hyperscale campuses. Yotta G1 is uniquely located inside the International Financial Services Center (IFSC) zone of Gandhinagar’s Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT city).

G1 represents an investment of more than INR 500 cr. over five years across critical non-IT and IT / Cloud / AI compute infrastructure. The data center has a capacity of over 350 high-density racks and 2 MW power (which can be scaled further as per demand). The facility is designed to meet the most demanding digital needs of its customers, who may be located within GIFT City or anywhere in the world, by seamlessly delivering fault-tolerant facility infrastructure, high-performance Cloud compute and storage infrastructure, advanced physical and cyber security, unmatched connectivity, and steadfast sustainability.

For large global enterprises operating in the GIFT City IFSC zone, the G1 data center functions as a potential data embassy, whereby their data stored is subject to the laws and regulations of their home country, thus allowing them to maintain sovereignty over their data, even when stored in India. By storing data in a physically different location, global enterprises can ensure continuity of operations in case of major disruptions within their borders. The data center’s location also ensures compliance with the IFSC regulations, providing businesses in the zone with distinct advantages like free foreign exchange convertibility, a liberalised regulatory environment, and business-friendly policies. It also helps enterprises adhere to IFSC’s compliance requirements, including being mandated to host their data within the IFSC zone.

Commenting on the announcement, Darshan Hiranandani, Co-founder and Chairman, Yotta Data Services, said, “The state of Gujarat, with GIFT City, has been at the forefront of providing a viable and sustainable platform for global businesses to set up base in India. The setting up of the IFSC zone is a further testament to their vision for financial services companies. We are proud to support this vision of the Gujarat government with a state-of-the-art data center within the IFSC zone, providing the latest and best in cutting-edge technologies to help businesses set up and scale their businesses while also adhering to all regulatory requirements.”

Adding to this, Sunil Gupta, Co-Founder, MD & CEO, Yotta Data Services, said, “Yotta’s G1 marks a pivotal milestone in delivering high-end data center, Cloud, AI compute, storage, connectivity and cybersecurity services to enterprises both on a global and local scale in the Gujarat region. Besides serving the domestic enterprises within and outside GIFT City, our data center shall serve as a potential data embassy for global enterprises, enabling them to adhere to their respective country’s laws while offering a dependable and secure locale for offshore data storage.”

G1 data centre stands distinct in GIFT city for being a data center offering more than just colocation services. True to Yotta’s stature as the end-to-end digital transformation partner of choice for enterprises, G1 brings forth a suite of key features, ranging from advanced data security and customised business solutions to an indigenous hyperscale cloud offering, AI-GPU compute offering, state-of-the-art infrastructure, cybersecurity expertise, seamless integration with managed IT services, 24/7 customer support, cost optimisation, and an overall competitive edge.

This announcement follows on the heels of Yotta’s recent launch of its cloud services – Shakti Cloud and Yntraa Cloud. Powered by NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line GPUs, Shakti Cloud is India’s largest & fastest AI-HPC supercomputer, delivering cutting-edge GPU computing infrastructure, platforms, and services, including Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service. Yntraa Cloud, on the other hand, is a truly indigenous hyperscale cloud platform at par with global cloud platforms, offering an exhaustive range of cloud products and services.

 

 

 

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Optiemus Infracom joins hands with Corning International

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NEW DELHI: Domestic contract manufacturer Optiemus Infracom has entered into a joint venture with US-based speciality glassmaker Corning International to set up India’s first manufacturing facility for producing high-quality finished cover glass parts for the mobile consumer electronics industry.

The collaboration between both the companies will help expand India’s electronics manufacturing ecosystem, as the Indian government strengthens its Make in India initiative. As a part of the joint venture, the companies strategically aim to set up a world-class manufacturing facility in India, powered by cutting-edge technologies and processes.

Driven by a shared commitment to innovation and technological excellence, this collaboration will pave the way for the manufacturing of “Made in India” finished cover glass parts for use in mobile consumer electronic devices, and other cover glass applications, to meet the needs of next-generation mobile consumer electronic devices.

The joint venture signifies a powerful synergy between Optiemus’s deep domestic industry and manufacturing knowledge of electronics and telecom market and Corning’s globally-acclaimed expertise in advanced glass technology. By combining these strengths, the joint venture aspires to not only establish cover glass manufacturing capabilities and capacity in India, but also to contribute significantly to the creation of jobs and skill development within India’s thriving technology sector, the companies said in a statement.

Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairman, Optiemus Infracom, said, “It is a matter of great pride for us to actively contribute to the growing manufacturing ecosystem in the country. With this joint venture, initiated in line with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India of ‘Make in India’ programme and the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative, we are committed to make available world-class high-quality products for global and local brands.”

“Embarking on this new journey, we intend to emerge as one of the top manufacturers of finished cover glass parts for use in mobile consumer electronic devices in the next five years. Our collective expertise in innovation, design, and manufacturing, will provide holistic solutions for the brands,” Gupta added.

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MediaTek Catch-up with Tech: Infinix Zero 30 5G with Dimensity 8020 launched

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NEW DELHI: Chipset maker MediaTek, which claims to power more than two billion connected devices every year, hosted ‘Catch-up with Tech’ in collaboration with handset brand Infinix on August 28 to share insightful and engaging conversations about the new-age smartphones and innovative technologies powering everyday lives.

The meet-up threw the spotlight on the MediaTek Dimensity Auto, Satellite solutions and Generative AI along with an extensive showcase of newly-launched Infinix Zero 30 5G powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8020, Infinix GT 10 Pro powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8050, and Infinix QLED TV powered by MediaTek.

In terms of specs, the Infinix Zero 30 5G is tailored for young storytellers and creators, featuring the first-ever smartphone to deliver 4K 60fps video recording from its 108 MP OIS rear camera and ultra-high resolution 50MP front camera. The Zero 30 series powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8020 is said to be a game changer for the front camera vlogging experience along with being the slimmest curved AMOLED smartphone in the segment with glass and a vegan leather back panel. It also claims to be one of the most premium-looking devices in the segment.

The event witnessed a panel discussion moderated by Anuj Sidharth, Deputy Director Marketing & Corporate Communications, MediaTek and included expert panelists from Infinix, MediaTek and two renowned professional photographers.

“With the fifth edition of Catch-up with Tech, we aim to bring consumers closer to the technology and enable them to make informed buying decisions based on their diverse needs. In collaboration with Infinix, this meet-up is in-line with MediaTek’s vision of technology democratization and making innovative technology accessible to everyone,” said Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India. “The MediaTek Dimensity 8020 in Infinix Zero 30 5G brings faster displays, brilliant cameras and ultra-fast performance. Further, MediaTek Imagiq technologies enrich the capture experience by combining dedicated AI, imaging processors and accelerators to provide incredible results,” he added.

Anish Kapoor, CEO, Infinix Mobile India, said, “Featuring India’s first 50MP 4K 60 fps video recording, Infinix Zero 30 5G is primed to redefine smartphone imaging capabilities, setting a new standard for the creators and vlogging enthusiasts. Our collaboration with MediaTek has played a pivotal role in shaping our exceptional smartphone portfolio, and the Zero 30 5G stands as evidence of our unwavering commitment to innovation and delivering unmatched experiences to our users. The display and design of the device represent a leap forward in smartphone technology. As Infinix Zero 30 5G hits the shelves, we are positive that our customers will find this new offering as exhilarating as we do, further empowering creators to capture their story like never before.”

Radhakrishnan Chakyat, a photography evangelist, founder and host of Pixel Viilage, said, “Infinix Zero 30 5G smartphone powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8020 chipset has amazing hardware features, an excellent camera, dual-view video mode and is primed for optimal content creation and saves a tremendous amount of editing time.”

Aarzoo Khurana, a wildlife photographer, said, “Over the last few days, I clicked various pictures and recorded a few videos with the newly-launched Infinix Zero 30 5G powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8020, and the experience has been truly inspiring. Infinix’s smartphone’s OIS feature helps content creators click shake-free pictures and the front camera, which is extremely sharp and detailed, enables content creators to click countless selfies.”

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