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India’s Robust Tech Ecosystem to See Spring, Not Winter; Digital Economy Ready for Strong 2023, MoS IT Says

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Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said innovation and startup momentum will continue despite certain corrections now and then.
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 2 January 2023

India’s digital prowess will grow in 2023 and over the next five years, driven by technology, start-ups, semiconductors, electronics and computing, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said allaying any concerns over tech winter, and predicting spring for the country’s booming innovation ecosystem.

The comments by the IT minister are significant given the backdrop of slowdown headwinds in the West, recent spate of layoffs by US tech giants, global market turmoil, and talks of tech winter.

Chandrasekhar, who is the Minister of State for Electronics and IT, told PTI that global and domestic opportunities for digitisation continue to be “very strong”.

He exuded confidence that India’s trillion dollar digital economy vision is “well within our grasp” and “an absolutely incontrovertible fact”.

The momentum of digital economy will continue in 2023, backed by enabling rules and laws that offer catalysing framework for technological growth and innovation, he promised.

It is pertinent to mention here that while India has tightened IT rules for the safety of digital and social media users, and work has started on new law for data protection, the norms for online gaming and contours of the draft Digital India Act are expected to be out soon.

“We see no winter…if anything, it is summer and spring for the next five years,” Chandrasekhar asserted, citing the tech potential.

Demand for Indian talent, as well as products and technology that are designed in India and Made in India, continues to be robust, he pointed out.

“India as a market for consuming digital products and digital services is one of the biggest markets for the next 5-10 years. So all these (factors) point to India continuing its digital economy expansion to reach one trillion dollars in the next 4-5 years,” Chandrasekhar said.

According to the minister, innovation and the start-up momentum will continue despite certain corrections now and then.

At the same time, companies cannot merely sit and relax, but will have to upskill and brace new business models to be relevant amid market disruptions, the minister noted.

Companies that do not innovate with agility, or adjust to changes will face challenges “created not by the market, but related to their own preparedness for this digital opportunity,” he cautioned.

“…that trillion dollar digital economy is well within our grasp, and that we have a very reasonably high opportunity to reach the trillion dollar digital economy, firing on all cylinders, is an absolutely incontrovertible fact,” Chandrasekhar said.

Since 2014 when India’s digital might meant only IT and IT-enabled services, the country had taken rapid strides, diversifying and expanding into new areas.

Now while IT and ITES sector continue to grow at 15-20 percent per annum, there is also world-class startup and innovation ecosystem. While India has made a mark in electronics manufacturing, emerging as a production powerhouse, the year 2023 will also see rapid strides in deep tech innovation, semiconductor design, electronics design, blockchain, supercomputing, open compute initiatives, automotive, 5G and other emerging areas.

“In the coming five years, all these will continue to chug along at high rates of growth,” Chandrasekhar said adding these new and emerging areas will attract investments, create digitalisation products, and services opportunity for the country.

“In those five years, will there be some corrections? Yes, this is the nature of tech…because tech is so disruptive and changes are so rapid, a company that was doing, say, something in the classic Web2' area, will find itself totally irrelevant in theWeb3′ space 1-2 years from now,” he said underlining the need for companies to keep pace with technological changes.

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Australia Inc roiled by string of cyber attacks since late 2022

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By Reuters | Updated: 29 September 2023

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Australian firms have suffered many cyber attacks since September 2022, putting the spotlight on the country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry that experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, endangering sensitive information of people.

Here is a list of companies that have been hit by data breaches:

OPTUS
Australia’s second-largest mobile operator and a unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) was the first to report a data breach in September that affected up to 10 million customers, about 40% of the nation’s population. The exposed data included home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers.

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Australian firms have suffered many cyber attacks since September 2022, putting the spotlight on the country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry that experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, endangering sensitive information of people.

Here is a list of companies that have been hit by data breaches:

OPTUS
Australia’s second-largest mobile operator and a unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) was the first to report a data breach in September that affected up to 10 million customers, about 40% of the nation’s population. The exposed data included home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers.

WOOLWORTHS
Australia’s biggest grocer Woolworths Group Ltd (WOW.AX) said in October its majority-owned online retailer MyDeal identified that a “compromised user credential” was used to access its systems, exposing email addresses, phone numbers and delivery addresses of about 2.2 million customers.

FORCENET
Australia’s Assistant Minister For Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said on Oct. 31 that hackers targeted a communications platform used by the country’s military personnel and defence staff with a ransomware attack but that no data was compromised.

DAILOG
IT services consulting firm Dailog, another unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI), faced a cyber attack that potentially affected 1,000 current and former employees and fewer than 20 client, the company said on Oct. 10.

AUSTRALIAN CLINICAL LABS
Medlab, a unit of Australian Clinical Labs Ltd (ACL.AX), one of the country’s largest pathology providers, suffered a breach in the same month that exposed data of about 223,000 patients.

MEDIBANK
Health insurer Medibank Private (MPL.AX), which covers about one-sixth of Australians, said in November that personal and significant amounts of health claims data of around 9.7 million of its current and former customers were compromised, forcing it to flag a hit to earnings and withdraw forecast for a key metric.

On June 20, Medibank confirmed that a file containing names and contact details of staff members had been compromised after its building manager faced a cybersecurity breach.

TELSTRA
Australia’s largest telecoms operator Telstra (TLS.AX) in early October suffered what it called a small data breach, which exposed data of about 30,000 current and former employees dating back to 2017.

On Dec. 11, Telstra said 132,000 customers were affected by an internal error which led to the disclosure of certain customer details.

BWX
Skin and hair care products maker BWX Limited said in November a malicious code was “unlawfully” entered onto one of its websites that may have compromised credit card numbers and expiry dates of about 2,500 customers.

TPG TELECOM
Australia’s No.2 internet service provider TPG Telecom (TPG.AX) said in December it had been notified of unauthorised access to a hosted exchange service that hosts email accounts of up to 15,000 business customers.

CBA
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX) said on March 8 its Indonesian unit, PT Bank Commonwealth (PTBC), had been hit by a cyber incident involving unauthorised access of a web-based software application used for project management.

IPH
Days later, Australian intellectual property services provider IPH Ltd (IPH.AX) said it had detected unauthorised access to a portion of its IT environment, compromising information including administrative documents and some client documents.

LATITUDE
Australian digital payments and lending firm Latitude Group Holdings Ltd (LFS.AX) said on March 16 a hacker had stolen personal information held by two service providers, compromising about 103,000 identification documents and 225,000 customer records.

On April 11, the firm said it will not pay a ransom to the hackers as it saw no assurance that the payment would result in the return or destruction of the stolen data, and it did not want to reward criminal behaviour.

TECHNOLOGYONE
Australia’s TechnologyOne Ltd (TNE.AX) said on May 10 it had detected an unauthorised third-party access to its back-office systems, becoming the latest target in a series of cyber attacks that has bogged companies in the country since last year.

SMARTPAY
New Zealand-based Smartpay Holdings (SPY.NZ) disclosed a ransomware attack confirming the theft of information from customers in Australia and New Zealand, making it the latest victim in a slew of cyberattacks in the region.

SHELL
Shell Plc (SHEL.L) said on Sept 15 that it has identified a cybersecurity incident involving some employees who worked with its unit BG Group in Australia before the merger, becoming the latest victim of the MOVEit hack.

ENERGY ONE
Australian software supplier Energy One (EOL.AX) said on Sept. 29 it has not uncovered any evidence of malicious activity on its customer systems after the company identified a cyber incident in August. The company’s investigations found no evidence of compromise of personal information of its current and former employees, it said, adding that Energy One continues to securely trade.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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OpenAI, Jony Ive in talks to raise $1 billion from SoftBank for AI device venture, Financial Times reports

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

Sept 28 (Reuters) – ChatGPT maker OpenAI is in advanced talks with former Apple designer Jony Ive and SoftBank’s (9984.T) Masayoshi Son to build the “iPhone of artificial intelligence”, fuelled by more than $1 billion in funding from the Japanese conglomerate, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief, has tapped Ive’s company LoveFrom to develop the ChatGPT creator’s first consumer device, the report said.

Discussions are said to be “serious” but no deal has been agreed on, and it could be several months before a venture is formally announced, the report said, adding that Son, Altman and Ive have discussed creating a company that would draw on talent and technology from their three groups.

SoftBank declined to comment on the FT report. OpenAI did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Ive and LoveFrom could not be reached for comment.

Tech website The Information first reported on Tuesday that Ive and Altman have been discussing building a new AI hardware device and that Softbank’s Son has also been involved in some aspects of the conversation.

Ive was a close creative collaborator with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He spent more than two decades at the tech giant and led the design of the candy-colored iMacs that helped Apple re-emerge from near death in the 1990s as well as the design of the iPhone.

SoftBank has been looking for deals in AI, including a potential investment in OpenAI, after the blockbuster listing of its Arm unit, the FT reported earlier this month, adding that Son was looking to invest tens of billions of dollars in the technology.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Leonardo’s air booking system resumes after cyberattack, Rostec says

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

MOSCOW, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Russian state conglomerate Rostec said on Thursday it had restored normal operations at its Leonardo air booking system following what it called a “massive cyberattack from abroad”.

“The cyberattack has been successfully repelled,” Rostec said in a statement.

It described the incident as a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack”, in which the attacker floods a server with internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services and sites.

Rostec gave no further information. The company controls much of Russia’s weapons industry.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Micron shares fall as demand recovery ‘off to slow start’

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

Sept 28 (Reuters) – Micron Technology’s (MU.O) first-quarter loss forecast has triggered concerns of a sluggish recovery in the memory chip maker’s end-markets such as data centers, sending its shares down about 5% in premarket trading on Thursday.

The company on Wednesday forecast a bigger loss than analysts had expected and a return to positive gross margin in the second half of fiscal 2024, later than Wall Street expectations for the first half.

Micron has been under-utilizing its production capacity to match supply with a slump in demand for memory chips that started last year, but analysts have said excess inventory appears to have cleared in most of its end-markets such as smartphones and personal computers.

Low memory prices since early last year have also been hurting Micron’s profit margin.

“The recovery path is off to a slow start,” analysts at Evercore ISI said in a note.

Still, analysts were hopeful that the artificial intelligence (AI) boom should boost overall prospects for the company, which expects “several hundred million” dollars worth of revenue from its new high-bandwidth chips, meant for AI work, next year.

Micron is also working to become a supplier to AI chip giant Nvidia (NVDA.O), it said on Wednesday.

The company forecast adjusted loss per share of $1.07 for the current quarter, steeper than analysts’ estimates for a 95 cents-per-share loss.

Citigroup now expects Micron to post a loss of $1.79 per share in fiscal 2024, compared with its earlier estimate of a 99 cent profit.

A correction across the semiconductor industry had sent Micron’s shares roughly 50% lower last year. Those losses have largely been recouped, with its shares rising about 36% in 2023 as investors hoped for a recovery.

Micron’s price-to-earnings ratio for the trailing 12-month period is a negative 16.3, per data from LSEG.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Citadel ready to battle SEC over WhatsApp probe, Bloomberg reports

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Citadel ready to battle SEC over WhatsApp probe, Bloomberg reports
By Reuters | Updated: 27 September 2023

Sept 27 (Reuters) – Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel will take a tougher stance against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is willing to take the regulator to court over its WhatsApp probe, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday citing people familiar with the matter.

The SEC has collected thousands of staff messages from more than a dozen major investment companies, escalating its probe into Wall Street’s use of private messaging apps to discuss work, Reuters had reported earlier this week.

The firms targeted by the SEC include Carlyle Group (CG.O) , Apollo Global Management(APO.N), KKR & Co (KKR.N), TPG (TPG.O), and Blackstone(BX.N), as well as some hedge funds such as Citadel.

A spokesperson from the SEC declined to comment. Citadel did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The Miami-based firm would be the first to take the SEC to court over allegations of untracked communications, the report added, in contrast to almost two dozen banks that have chosen to pay hefty settlements over the last couple of years.

Reporting by Pritam Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Apple’s App Store Missing From List Mobile Storefronts Submitting Filings to China’s CAC Under New Rules

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A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority.
By Reuters | Updated: 27 September 2023

China’s cyberspace regulator released on Wednesday names of the first batch of mobile app stores that have completed filing business details to regulators, signalling it has begun to enforce new rules that expand its oversight of mobile apps.

A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Ant Group, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Apple’s App Store is not among the app stores on the list. Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

China’s cyberspace regulator released on Wednesday names of the first batch of mobile app stores that have completed filing business details to regulators, signalling it has begun to enforce new rules that expand its oversight of mobile apps.

A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Ant Group, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Apple’s App Store is not among the app stores on the list. Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

In August this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published another notice requiring mobile apps to complete filing by the end of March.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that app stores operated by companies including Tencent and Huawei have started demanding apps on their app stores comply with the new rules.

Apple has not disclosed how its app store in China will comply with Beijing’s new rules. Experts said Apple’s compliance could lead to tens of thousands of apps being removed from Apple’s App Store in China.


© Thomson Reuters 2023

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