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Daily Tech Briefing: Google Warns Of State-Backed Cyberattacks In India, Microsoft Backs IIT Solutions & More

Daily Tech Briefing: Google Warns Of State-Backed Cyberattacks In India, Microsoft Backs IIT Solutions & More

Google says activity from “hack-for-hire” firms based in India has gone up

Microsoft India is supporting two Covid-19 tech solutions made in IIT Delhi

In other news, SoftBank has invested in Chinese-ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing’s self-driving unit

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has revealed that over 270 national government-backed cyberattack groups have been active in April 2020, launching attacks on individuals in more than 50 countries. The cybersecurity group detected phishing and hacking attempts on Google accounts of 50 to 100 individuals in India in April. The individuals have been informed by Google about the attacks.

According to Google, government-backed or state-sponsored attacker groups have varying objectives. While some are due to law enforcement and intelligence activities, others may be related to intellectual property disputes or, governments could be targeting dissidents or activists, as seen in the past in the case of WhatsApp-based hacks. Overall, Google found 1755 instances of such state-sponsored backing

Google TAG team also said, “We’ve seen new activity from “hack-for-hire” firms, many based in India, that have been creating Gmail accounts spoofing the WHO. The accounts have largely targeted business leaders in financial services, consulting, and healthcare corporations within numerous countries including, the U.S., Slovenia, Canada, India, Bahrain, Cyprus, and the UK. ”

These emails used links to direct targets to malicious websites with fake login pages and then prompt them to give up their Google account credentials.

Microsoft Backs IIT Delhi Student Projects

Microsoft India has announced that it is offering financial and technical support, in the form of resource and infrastructure, to two Covid-19 solutions developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.

The first solution is by Kusuma School of Biological Sciences at IIT Delhi, which has developed a probe-free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based Covid-19 detection assay. RT-PCR is a nuclear-derived method of detecting the presence of specific genetic material including a virus.

IIT Delhi, in collaboration with the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, is looking to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based diagnostic serological assay to fight Covid-19. If successful, it will create an economical and commercial process for manufacturing the antigens used in ELISA.

India Chooses YouTube Kids, Google Classroom Over BYJU’s

As per SensorTower report of April, YouTube Kids and Google Classroom were among the most downloaded apps in India for the month. YouTube Kids, which registered 10.6 Mn installs in April, got 16.8% of the total downloads from India. Notably, Google Classroom, which got over 28.2 Mn downloads, saw the most downloads from the US (15%), followed by India (13%).

While there are no Indian startups in the overall list of most downloaded edtech applications, BYJU’s was among the most downloaded app on Google Play Store. The Bengaluru-based startup was the 10th most downloaded application on the Google Play Store.

NASSCOM Support For Innovation In Healthcare

Siemens Healthineers and Nasscom’s Center of Excellence for IoT & AI (internet of things and artificial intelligence) will work with the Indian startup ecosystem to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. 

The technology accelerator in India will facilitate collaboration between business lines of Siemens Healthineers and the startups through proof-of-concept or co-creation projects with a potential to result in joint development, commercial partnership or supplier engagement. Siemens Healthineers will support the startups in further validating their solutions, providing domain expertise and enabling access to technology building blocks.

Other International Developments

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has invested $500 Mn in Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing’s autonomous driving division. It would use the investment to continue funding research and development and “accelerate” the launch of driverless vehicle services in China and abroad. Didi plans to roll out a “robo-taxi” service in Shanghai soon. Once the product is live, the idea is that users will be able to hail self-driving cars through Didi app.

Facebook’s R&D group, NPE Team, has now launched Venue, a new app for engaging fellow fans around live events. The commentators for a given event hosted in Venue will only include well-known personalities — like journalists, current or former athletes or aspiring “fan-analysts.” Facebook will first test Venue with NASCAR’s Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 race on May 31.