Connect with us

Uncategorized

Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet Registers India Unit, Targets Rural Districts

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 3 November 2021

Starlink, the satellite Internet division of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX, registered its business in India on Monday, company documents filed with the government showed, as it gears up to launch Internet services in the country.

Having a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited, will allow the company to apply for licenses which it needs from the government before it can provide broadband and other satellite-based communication services.

“Pleased to share that SpaceX now has a 100 percent owned subsidiary in India,” country director for Starlink in India, Sanjay Bhargava, said in a LinkedIn post.

“We can now start applying for licenses, open bank accounts, etc,” said Bhargava, who according to his LinkedIn profile joined the company only in October.
Ads by

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbiting network to provide low-latency broadband Internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas that terrestrial Internet infrastructure struggles to reach.

Its competitors include Amazon’s Kuiper and OneWeb which is co-owned by the British government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.

In India, Starlink plans to “carry on the business of telecommunication services” including satellite broadband Internet services, content storage and streaming, multi-media communication, among others, according to the company filing.

It will also deal in devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception equipment, it said.

Starlink separately said it will focus on “catalysing rural development” in India through its broadband services, according to a company presentation shared by Bhargava on LinkedIn over the weekend.

Once it is allowed to provide services, Starlink will, in the first phase, give 100 devices for free to schools in Delhi and nearby rural districts. It will then target 12 rural districts across India.

The company aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, 80 percent of which will be in rural districts, it said in the presentation. Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Uncategorized

iPhones of At Least 9 US State Officials Said to Be Hacked by NSO Group Spyware

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 4 December 2021

Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department employees were hacked by an unknown assailant using sophisticated spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The hacks, which took place in the last several months, hit US officials either based in Uganda or focused on matters concerning the East African country, two of the sources said.

The intrusions, first reported here, represent the widest known hacks of US officials through NSO technology. Previously, a list of numbers with potential targets including some American officials surfaced in reporting on NSO, but it was not clear whether intrusions were always tried or succeeded.

Reuters could not determine who launched the latest cyberattacks.

NSO Group said in a statement on Thursday that it did not have any indication their tools were used but canceled access for the relevant customers and would investigate based on the Reuters inquiry.

“If our investigation shall show these actions indeed happened with NSO’s tools, such customer will be terminated permanently and legal actions will take place,” said an NSO spokesperson, who added that NSO will also “cooperate with any relevant government authority and present the full information we will have.”

NSO has long said it only sells its products to government law enforcement and intelligence clients, helping them to monitor security threats, and is not directly involved in surveillance operations.

Officials at the Uganda embassy in Washington did not comment. A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment.

A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the intrusions, instead pointing to the Commerce Department’s recent decision to place the Israeli company on an entity list, making it harder for U.S. companies to do business with them.

NSO Group and another spyware firm were “added to the Entity List based on a determination that they developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used this tool to maliciously target government officials, journalists, business people, activists, academics, and embassy workers,” the Commerce Department said in an announcement last month.

Easily identifiable

NSO software is capable of not only capturing encrypted messages, photos and other sensitive information from infected phones, but also turning them into recording devices to monitor surroundings, based on product manuals reviewed by Reuters.

Apple’s alert to affected users did not name the creator of the spyware used in this hack.

The victims notified by Apple included American citizens and were easily identifiable as U.S. government employees because they associated email addresses ending in state.gov with their Apple IDs, two of the people said.

They and other targets notified by Apple in multiple countries were infected through the same graphics processing vulnerability that Apple did not learn about and fix until September, the sources said.

Since at least February, this software flaw allowed some NSO customers to take control of iPhones simply by sending invisible yet tainted iMessage requests to the device, researchers who investigated the espionage campaign said.

The victims would not see or need to interact with a prompt for the hack to be successful. Versions of NSO surveillance software, commonly known as Pegasus, could then be installed.

Apple’s announcement that it would notify victims came on the same day it sued NSO Group last week, accusing it of helping numerous customers break into Apple’s mobile software, iOS.

In a public response, NSO has said its technology helps stop terrorism and that they’ve installed controls to curb spying against innocent targets.

For example, NSO says its intrusion system cannot work on phones with U.S. numbers beginning with the country code +1.

But in the Uganda case, the targeted State Department employees were using iPhones registered with foreign telephone numbers, said two of the sources, without the U.S. country code.

Uganda has been roiled this year by an election with reported irregularities, protests and a government crackdown. U.S. officials have tried to meet with opposition leaders, drawing ire from the Ugandan government. Reuters has no evidence the hacks were related to current events in Uganda.

A senior Biden administration official, speaking on condition he not be identified, said the threat to U.S. personnel abroad was one of the reasons the administration was cracking down on companies such as NSO and pursuing new global discussion about spying limits.

The official added that the government has seen “systemic abuse” in multiple countries involving NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

Sen. Ron Wyden, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “Companies that enable their customers to hack U.S. government employees are a threat to America’s national security and should be treated as such.”

Historically, some of NSO Group’s best-known past clients included Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense must approve export licenses for NSO, which has close ties to Israel’s defense and intelligence communities, to sell its technology internationally.

In a statement, the Israeli embassy in Washington said that targeting American officials would be a serious breach of its rules.

“Cyber products like the one mentioned are supervised and licensed to be exported to governments only for purposes related to counter-terrorism and severe crimes,” an embassy spokesperson said. “The licensing provisions are very clear and if these claims are true, it is a severe violation of these provisions.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

WhatsApp Pushes Privacy Update to Comply With Irish Ruling, Will Show Details on Its Data Collection Process

Published

on

By Associated Press | Updated: 22 November 2021

WhatsApp is adding more details to its privacy policy and flagging that information for European users, after Irish regulators slapped the chat service with a record fine for breaching strict EU data privacy rules.

Starting Monday, WhatsApp’s privacy policy will be reorganised to provide more information on the data it collects and how it’s used. The company said it’s also explaining in more detail how it protects data shared across borders for its global service and the legal foundations for processing the data.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, now renamed Meta Platforms. With the update, users in Europe will see a banner notification at the top of their chat list that will take them to the new information.

WhatsApp is taking the action after getting hit with a record EUR 225 million (roughly Rs. 1,890 crore) fine in September from Ireland’s data privacy watchdog for violating stringent European Union data protection rules on transparency about sharing people’s data with other Facebook companies.

The chat service said it disagreed with the decision, but it has to comply by updating its policy while it appeals. The update doesn’t affect how data is handled, and users won’t have to agree to anything new or take any other action.

Ireland’s Data Privacy Commission is the lead privacy regulator for WhatsApp under European Union rules because its regional headquarters is in Dublin.

WhatsApp was embroiled in a separate privacy controversy earlier this year when it botched a different update to its privacy policy that raised concerns users were being forced to agree to share more of their data with Facebook. That update sparked a backlash from users who switched to rival services like Telegram and Signal, an investigation by Turkey’s competition watchdog, a temporary German ban on gathering data, and a complaint by EU consumer groups.

A six-hour outage of Facebook services last month highlighted how vital WhatsApp has become for its more than 2 billion users worldwide.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Urges Countries to Cooperate to Make Cryptocurrencies Safe

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 18 November 2021

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged cooperation between the world’s democracies to ensure cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin do not “end up in the wrong hands”, delivering the comments while his government drew up new rules for digital currencies.

PM Modi did not elaborate on those fears in his speech delivered virtually to the Sydney Dialogue, a forum focused on emerging, critical, and cyber technologies.

But authorities in India and elsewhere have flagged the dangers of cryptocurrencies being used by terrorist groups and organised crime, and the destabilising risk they posed to national economies.

After extolling the opportunities presented by cyber age technology, PM Modi sound a note of caution regarding digital currencies.

“Take cryptocurrency or Bitcoin, for example. It is important that all democratic nations work together on this and ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands, which can spoil our youth,” PM Modi said. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 48.8 lakh as of 11:30am IST on November 18.

Indian officials currently drafting regulations are likely to propose a ban on all transactions and payments in cryptocurrencies, while letting investors hold them as assets like gold, bonds, and stocks, the Economic Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

PM Modi chaired a meeting to discuss India’s approach to cryptocurrencies on Saturday, and the Economic Times said his cabinet could receive the draft regulations for review within two to three weeks.

In September, regulators in China banned all cryptocurrency transactions and mining of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, is hovering around the $60,000 (roughly Rs. 44.5 lakh) -level, having more than doubled its value since the start of this year.

India’s digital currency market was worth $6.6 billion (roughly Rs. 48,920 crore) in May 2021, compared with $923 million (roughly Rs. 6,840 crore) in April 2020, according to blockchain data platform Chainalysis.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

SMIC Says Vice-Chairman Chiang Shang-Yi Has Resigned Months After Chairman’s Exit

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 12 November 2021

China’s largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, said its vice-chairman has resigned in a leadership reshuffle less than a year after he took the role.

Chiang, a former research director at Taiwan’s TSMC, joined SMIC in late December. The company said he had resigned from his vice-chairman position as well as from the board with effect from Thursday in order to spend more time with his family.

His departure comes just two months after SMIC’s chairman, Zhou Zixue, also resigned citing health reasons.

China’s largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, said its vice-chairman has resigned in a leadership reshuffle less than a year after he took the role.

Chiang, a former research director at Taiwan’s TSMC, joined SMIC in late December. The company said he had resigned from his vice-chairman position as well as from the board with effect from Thursday in order to spend more time with his family.

His departure comes just two months after SMIC’s chairman, Zhou Zixue, also resigned citing health reasons.

The company is on a US blacklist that denies it advanced manufacturing equipment from US suppliers due to its alleged ties to China’s military, claims SMIC rejects.

The measures disrupted the company’s plans to move into high-end chip making, but its financial performance has been strong as a global chip shortage has boosted demand.

Its third-quarter profit rose 22.6 percent.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Apple Business Essentials Service Launched to Help Small Businesses Manage Employee Devices

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 11 November 2021

Apple on Wednesday launched a new subscription service aimed at helping small-business owners manage the Apple devices used by their employees.

Business Essentials, as Apple is calling the service, is similar to management software that companies such as Microsoft or VMware sell to large business for setting up and keeping secure their fleets of phones, laptops, and tablets. But Apple’s version is simplified for businesses with between 50 and 500 employees that have either a small IT department or none at all.

The service will cost between $2.99 (roughly Rs. 222) and $12.99 (roughly Rs. 966) per month per user depending on how many devices a business wants to manage for each employee and how much cloud storage the business wants.

For an additional monthly cost, Apple will also offer a service to repair or replace broken hardware at a business within four hours, though the company said it has not yet determined pricing for that service.

“Time is of the essence – for small businesses, it’s one of their most valuable resources,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, told Reuters in an interview. “As they start to grow, there are more demands on their time. And that can be in lieu of running the business doing the things they need to do.”

Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said the pairing of management software with a repair service subscription is unique in the industry.

For an additional monthly cost, Apple will also offer a service to repair or replace broken hardware at a business within four hours, though the company said it has not yet determined pricing for that service.

“Time is of the essence – for small businesses, it’s one of their most valuable resources,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, told Reuters in an interview. “As they start to grow, there are more demands on their time. And that can be in lieu of running the business doing the things they need to do.”

Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said the pairing of management software with a repair service subscription is unique in the industry.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Sony Says Strong Electronics Sales Offset Fall in Gaming Profit in Q2, Claims 13.4 Million PS5 Units Sold

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 28 October 2021

Sony on Thursday reported a 1 percent rise in operating profit for its second quarter, beating estimates, as a stronger performance in its electronics business offset a fall in gaming profit. The Japanese tech giant says that it has sold over 13 million units of PlayStation 5.

Sony reported profit of JPY 318.5 billion (roughly Rs. 20,970 crore) for July-September. That compared with the JPY 222 billion (roughly Rs. 14,620 crore) average of six analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Sony, a conglomerate spanning entertainment, sensors, and financial services, switched to IFRS accounting standards from US GAAP in the current financial year.

Sony aims to sell 14.8 million of its PlayStation 5 gaming console this financial year — a target that takes into account the global semiconductor shortage.

The company said in its latest earnings release that 3.3 million units of PS5 in fiscal Q2, notably higher than the 2.2 million units sold last quarter. Total sales of PS5 now stands at 13.4 million units.

To meet long-term demand, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co plans to build a chip plant in Japan. Sony is considering being a partner in the factory, Nikkei reported earlier this month.

Across its business, Sony is enmeshed in a global battle for consumer attention as entertainment giants look beyond the United States for growth and mine non-English-language creators for content.

In a blow to Sony’s pop culture credentials, South Korea’s top cultural export, boy band BTS, said last week it has dropped its Columbia Records label for a deal with Universal Music Group NV.

Other challenges include an investor attempt to oust the management of India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises, casting a shadow over merger talks with Sony’s local unit.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Continue Reading

Trending