Bharat Bytes: Tech Council; Atos moves to India; Data info on Google Play; Oil companies targeted; Ransomware attack increase

Bharat Bytes is Computerworld India’s regular round-up of news from the world of IT.

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EU-India Trade and Technology Council to be launched

India and the European Union have together agreed to launch the EU-India Trade and Technology Council. According to a statement, the council will tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology, and security, and thus deepen cooperation in these fields between the EU and India.

This is the first time that India is setting up a trade and technology council with its partners. The EU already has one such council with the US. According to the statement, the rapid changes in the geopolitical environment highlight the need for joint in-depth strategic engagement.

“The Trade and Technology Council will provide the political steer and the necessary structure to operationalise political decisions, coordinate technical work, and report to the political level to ensure implementation and follow-up in areas that are important for the sustainable progress of European and Indian economies,” the statement said.

Atos to move its Russian services to India

French IT firm Atos has announced that it will exit all of its Russia-based operations as a symbol of solidarity with Ukraine. According to a statement from the company , Atos will be moving its services, which are currently being delivered from Russia, to other countries, including India and an expanded Turkish SAP Centre of Excellence.

Atos delivers digital services to its clients outside Russia and the feasibility of exiting Russia required significant planning in terms of business operations and human implications.

App developers to disclose data usage on Google Play

With an eye on enhancing cybersecurity, Google has asked developers to give people more information about how their apps collect, share, and secure users’ data. The newly-designed data safety section will allow developers to mark what data is being collected and for what purpose it's being used. Users will also be able to see if the data collected is critical to the function of the app or if it’s optional.

While users can already see the data safety section in Google Play, developers are required to complete this section for their apps by 20 July 2022.

The data safety section will also have details including if the developer is sharing data with third parties, the app’s security practices like encryption of data in transit, whether users can ask for data to be deleted, whether the app has committed to Google Play’s Families Policy, and if the developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard.

Indian oil companies hit by cyberattacks

Around 3.6 lakh (36,000) attacks were detected on Indian oil companies between October 2021 and April 2022, according to a report that showed a growing number of cyberattacks on the critical infrastructure of Indian companies. October had the highest number of attacks at 117,000. Threat actors mostly used FTP, HTTP, s7comm, Modbus, SNMP, and BACnet as the attack vectors.

State-run oil company Oil India’s Assam headquarters was hit by a major cyberattack in early April 2022, causing a shutdown of its IT systems. However, the company said its operations remained unaffected and it had taken necessary precautions.

India sees a 70% increase in ransomware attacks

Cybersecurity firm Trellix has recently come out with a study examining cybercriminal behaviour over the last six months. According to the report, India has witnessed an increase in ransomware attacks by 70% in the fourth quarter of 2021 alone. It also finds an escalation in cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure.

Of all advanced persistent threat (APT) activity Trellix observed in Q4 2021, APT29 — believed to be backed by the Russian government — accounted for 30% of the detections.

Individual consumers are cybercriminals’ main target followed by the healthcare industry. Transportation, shipping, manufacturing, and information technology industries have also had a sharp increase in threats.

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