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Cyber Cops Alert: Your Data Is at Risk! (Hackers in Lockdown)

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Hackers in Lockdown = Cyber cops alert

Have you been careful? Are you sure you are safe? While we were all in lockdown amidst this COVID 19 pandemic, those cyber criminals were busy draining bank accounts and stealing valuable data. It is scary how so many people globally have reported malicious activities and scams of all sorts in the past two months.

While the world was busy dealing with monstrous Coronavirus, the heartless cyber criminals used it as a tool to lure us, and commit financial frauds worth millions. Right from the little apps that helped us stay connected to digital payment wallets to even our bank accounts that tricked us into shady subscriptions and suspicious transactions – they didn’t spare the common man, not even the big wigs!

Also read: Zoom is a privacy nightmare. Are you aware of zoombombing?

Hackers targeted PM’s, COVID Fund.

Did you know? In April, a stern warning was sent out to Cyber Criminals by India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) from the Prime Minister’s Office. “More than 4000 fraud portals associated with Coronavirus were created in India to entice innocent citizens to fall into the hacker’s trap.” said Lt General Pant.

Attacks on Corporates for Ransom

A bigger threat than Coronavirus, is the frequent cyber-attacks, enterprises are facing globally.

Attacks on Corporates for Ransom
Source: Wikipedia

The darkest part is, it cost nearly Rs. 60 lakh ($80,000) to pay these cyber-attackers who demanded ransom to restore data. About 1500 global companies reported the issue in May ‘20. Imagine a company like Apple, so tight on security, being hacked by TikTok. This brings us to the obvious question: You have been working from home for two months. Have you unknowingly been targeted?

Fake VPNs?

Yes! Last month, NordVPN, a known VPN service provider, reported a 165% global rise in their services. Adversaries hiding behind these VPNs spread fake reviews so that their rankings jump & they get more downloads. Experts and researchers shared that hackers’ groups manipulated users into downloading and installing perfectly innocent-looking malware posing as legitimate VPN clients. Some of fake VPNs are now even available for download on the Android play store, iOS store, and Chrome store.

Fake VPN
Source- Makeuseof

Sensitive information such as credentials of bank accounts, crypto currency wallets, desktop files, intellectual property of the employers & billions of users, got compromised without their knowledge.

hacked
Source- Wpblog

Is Your Tax Info Safe?

On March 26th, a hacker “Bassterlord” claimed to access 800 GB data from a network

, based out of Gujarat Government Tax Department desktops. The Hacker was willing to sell confidential information showing off screenshots such as PAN card and GST IDs, mobile number and email IDs of the citizens to Russian Hacker Forum. The official authorities rejected the report, but CloudSek confirmed the breach.

OMG! Even the Stock Market Got Hacked

When you and I were figuring out about the red, orange, and green containment zones, these attackers targeted the stock market at the end of April. Do you trade in the stock market, too, like us? Well, then check this out!

After the government, corporates, and banks, here is what happened next. The vicious modus operandi set up scammy fake trading websites , looking identical to leading brokerage houses and send tempting emails, chats, and SMS, capturing  credentials of the people and making a trade on behalf of their accounts. These scary incidents left users creating losses over Rs 60,000/- each, in a blink!

Is Zoom App Vulnerable to Hackers?

While Zoom has been in the spotlight and won many hearts during the lockdown, many users have raised privacy concerns, asking, “How safe is it to leave your webcam uncovered?” and so on.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a strict advisory stating security concerns about Zoom’s safety asking users to be super cautious. With all of us working from home and attending these zoom meetings, it makes us wonder, “Have I been pawned?”

Ministry of Home Affairs says Zoom is not a safe platform
Source: Twitter

What Hacking? Over WhatsApp!?

In April ’20, many users reported suspicious activities of their WhatsApp accounts being used from another device. Women & IT professionals from Pune reported to the Deputy Commissioner of Police in cyber cell that their WhatsApp numbers are being hacked. They further said many hackers impersonating as Municipal Corporation Surveyors areclaiming to collect personal information. After hacking the accounts, they would blackmail the victim by posting abusive content to extort money.

Hacking Through Games

While there was so much chaos during the lockdown, we swayed our kids to play games to let us work from home peacefully. But who knew those evil-minded hackers would trap our innocent children? Recently 12 billion attacks worldwide were targeted alone in the gaming industry misusing vulnerabilities of online gamers.

Leading international names of the gaming industry, such as Webkinz World, were hacked and accounts of over 23 million players were compromised. The king of the gaming industry, EA Sports, was also forced to pull the plug and go offline affecting service disruption in Canada, South Africa, and Egypt. Nearly 1.1 million users were endangered after SCUF Gaming platform was attacked, along with a demand for a considerable ransom.

Fake Netflix & Disney pages. Seriously!

Cybercriminals clung on rich pickings such as Netflix and Disney viewers. In April, over 700 fake websites mimicked entertainment giants such as Disney & Netflix’s sign-up pages and jeopardized billions of subscribers during the pandemic lockdown. Through these spoofy websites, they attracted viewers through some free subscription offers and robbed users’ personal information.

Even Microsoft Warned Us!

Corporate VP Rob Lefferts from Microsoft 365 Security warned us about the threat during COVID 19. They reported breach through COVID 19 keyword into our inboxes, mobile alerts, and pop-up bots acting as a backdoor entry through malware, making billions exposed. Many enterprises got caught up in the cross-fire with their intellectual property, accessible to these ruthless thieves.

Technology is transforming our lives in every way. TheBossMonk suggests that your systems and places  are in check by adopting the following measures:

  • Set up fixed processes for data control measures in your organization. Identify & fix any deviations immediately. Proactive monitoring is the key!
  • Restrict information access to authorized professionals only. Define information levels in the organization. Account credentials should not be shared with anyone else.
  • Be wary of any malicious phishing links. Keep your security software and other apps updated.
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Finance

CIF Number – The Only ‘Aadhar’ Of Your Bank Account

The ‘know how’ and ‘DIYs’ of the CIF number

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CIF Number - The Only ‘Aadhar’ Of Your Bank Account

If you have a bank account, you might have come across the term CIF number; at least once in your lifetime, surely.

If you don’t know what the CIF number is, then you are at the right place.

We’ve got you covered.

Let us dive deep into what a CIF number is and how it is important for the prompt working of the banking system.

What Is The CIF Number?

What Is The CIF Number

CIF stands for ‘Customer Information File’. As the name suggests, the file has a number which is known as the CIF number.

The format of the number varies with the banks i.e. different banks follow different formats for this number.

For example:

  • SBI: 11-digit
  • Central Bank of India:10-digit
  • AXIS Bank: 4-digit
  • HDFC: 8-digit

This number is highly essential for mobile banking or internet banking as this number works as the user ID. The user ID can be changed later on, but the CIF number is the digital virtual identity to every username changed in the future as well.

This customer information file carries all the banking information of the account holder in a digital form. So yes, your banker has all your banking information, that too, in detail.

So, does it imply- “Do not share your CIF number with anybody”?

Well not at all. It is not like a secret ATM pin. It is mentioned in every document related to your banking identity.

It contains information about the owner of the account, ongoing as well as previous loans, demat services, account type, account balance, and transaction information.

All the accounts you have with the bank can be linked to one single CIF number. This is useful in growing your Total Relationship Value (TRV) or Customer Relationship Value (CRV).

It is used by banks to determine how much minimum balance you can maintain, or how much credit can be given to you.

Just like the Aadhar card number gives you a unique identity, a CIF number gives you a unique banking code for all your banking needs.

This code cannot be changed as it is specially coded with all your information.

Also read: Private Company vs Public Company

Where Can You Find Your CIF Number?

There are various ways of finding your CIF number. Both offline and online.

It doesn’t matter in which bank you have your account, the process is the same for every bank.

Let’s get to it.

Offline Mode:

Passbook

This is the easiest way to find your CIF number.

The CIF number is printed on the first page of your passbook, just above the account number.

CIF number in SBI passbook
Source

Checkbook

Just like the passbook, the CIF number is printed on the first page of your checkbook. You won’t find it on the cheques.

Customer care

You can always go old school and contact the customer care number to know your CIF number.

Online Mode:

Internet banking

  1. Log in to your internet banking.
  2. Select the ‘e-statement’ option.
  3. Choose the period for e-statement.
  4. The account summary page will show your CIF number.
CIF number in SBI Online account
Source

Mobile app

Nowadays, every major bank has their app for the comfort of its customers.

You can easily find the CIF number in the app of your respective bank.

SMS E-statement

Every bank provides an e-statement at your will, it is usually through SMS, but you can opt for email.

Just send a request to customer care. The automated operator will guide you through the process.

Do You Need The CIF Number Often?

You won’t require the CIF number often, as it is mainly for bank administrative purposes.

You will need it if you wish to change your bank branch or if you wish to access mobile banking and internet banking.

Every bank you change will pass on the CIF number to the next bank. The new bank will fetch the data from this CIF number.

A loan, mutual fund, fixed deposit is managed through the existing account number usually; hence producing your CIF number all the time is not required.

CIF Number- The Aadhar For The FinTechs

The FinTech companies are evolving.

CIF Number for FinTech Companies

The services of personalized bank accounts, personal and health insurance solutions, loans, and peer-to-peer transfer of assets are being made easy and fast for the customers.

Hence, the information of the CIF number is like gold dust for the FinTech companies.

The CIF number with self-learning algorithms can do wonders to transform the financial services sector. 

In today’s world, where online frauds are the order of the day, financial data security is the need of the hour. It is time to segregate data and work more upon data privacy. CIF number is the key here.

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Cryptocurrency

Turkey Bans Cryptocurrency. Will India Follow?

Is this the beginning of the end of cryptocurrency? Or are the Turks just joking around?

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Turkey Bans Cryptocurrency. Will India Follow

Cryptocurrency is seeing a new high every single day.

A cryptocurrency like Dogecoin, which was started as a joke around the meme origin ‘doge’, is worth more than Ford today.

Morgan Stanley to Elon Musk’s Tesla- all the big companies, are overhauling their asset cycles to accommodate for cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency is custodian to more than $1.3 trillion of wealth by its investors.

All was going well for the cryptocurrencies. But the Turks spilled the beans to the world.

Is the ban on cryptocurrencies by Turkey an eminent move to disrupt and defame cryptocurrencies at the world stage?

Or is it just a passing shower?

Will this move by Turkey, possibly followed by a few others, send tremors down the spine of the Indian cryptocurrency exchanges?

Does the ever-confused Indian government on cryptocurrency see Turkey as the torchbearer?

Before diving into so much, we first need to know what exactly transpired in Turkey.

What if the Turks still hold cryptocurrencies after this ban? Can they still hold it?

If yes, then is the Turkish government just joking around with this ban?

Lets see.

Turkey Bans Cryptocurrency Payments

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) decided to ban the use of cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment. This was declared on April 16, 2021, and will be effective from April 30, 2021.

Turkey Bans Cryptocurrency Payments
Source

The ban was imposed because the Turkish government feared that cryptocurrencies could be used for illegal activities.

The Turkish central bank mentioned the following points in its press release, citing the reasons provoking this ban.

No Regulation

Well, this is hysterical.

The regulator itself has said that there are no regulations.

And hence, it wants to ban payments in cryptocurrencies.

“Cryptocurrencies are neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority”, is what the first point of the press release reads.

The inclusion of this point, that too, as the first one, signifies the uncertainty and indecision that is around in the world regarding cryptocurrencies.

It is like saying- ‘we want to ban it because we don’t know what it is and how to regulate it’.

A few intelligent points followed next.

Volatility

The cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile in their price.

This is because there is uncertainty over supply of a cryptocurrency as it is in the hands of the miners. The demand fluctuates when an influential person vouches for a particular crypto coin.

Hence, the equilibrium between demand and supply of cryptocurrencies is always disrupted.

“Their market values can be excessively volatile”, says the CBRT press release.

Illegal Activities

Illegal activities due to use of crypto
Source

Cryptocurrencies have been used for funding terrorist activities and other illegal acts in the past.

This is a concern worldwide and Turkey, too, has given emphasis on it due to the cryptocurrencies’ “anonymous structure”, as per the CBRT.

But one can argue, “Is fiat currency not involved in terrorist activities?”

Every good thing that scales up to a larger proportion invites some trouble with it.

The internet is used worldwide for good purposes. But, the same internet enables a terrorist sitting in Afghanistan to coordinate with another in the USA.

Hence, though important, this stance of the Turkish government can be questioned.

Security Of The User’s Funds

The CBRT believes that “the wallets can be stolen or used unlawfully without the authorization of their holders.”

This is a valid observation, as all the cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges are hosted by a third party user-interface provider, or a server, or a website hosting service; whatever you want to call it, without bothering to be technically correct.

These platforms or exchanges can vanish away from the internet anytime. And it has happened in the past.

Scrupulous activities in user’s cryptocurrency wallets is not a new thing.

This has nothing to do with the blockchain technology- the inherent technology on which cryptocurrencies are based. The blockchain technology is foolproof in nature.

Irrevocable Transactions

“It is considered the use in payments may cause non recoverable losses for the parties to the transactions due to the above-listed factors, and they include elements that may undermine the confidence in methods and instruments used currently in payments,” the CBRT said.

The inherent blockchain technology makes it impossible for the transactions to be reversed once executed.

Now, this is a good facet of any transaction, isn’t it?

Reversible or revocable transactions are the medium for financial scams and frauds.

This is again one of those points which raises questions over the CBRT’s decision to ban cryptocurrency transactions.

What Did Turkey Ban?

Turkey has banned cryptocurrency from being used as a medium of exchange for digital transactions. Making payments to buyers and sellers in cryptocurrencies is banned.

Turkey has banned cryptocurrency from being used as a medium of exchange for digital transactions

Nothing else.

You can still buy, hold, trade and earn cryptocurrencies in Turkey.

What kind of a ban is this- you might wonder?

“This looks like a fuzzy ban”, you might say.

And that is what it is.

“Users won’t have a hard time making investments in digital currencies, business will go as usual”, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition party CHP said. “This mainly targets electronic payment systems”, he added.

This ban is like handcuffing the chauffeur of a killer. And getting praises from the victim’s family.

The Turkish cryptocurrency enthusiasts (sarcastically) must be like- “So the Turkish government thinks that Turkey is the only place in the world which can accept cryptocurrency payments” and “Elon Musk is a fool”.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu criticized the government in a tweet for failing to discuss the ban with the opposition and all other cryptocurrency participants before announcing it.

The regulation should have been “communicated in a better way given the level of disinformation,” said Ozgur Guneri, chief executive officer of BtcTurk, one of Turkey’s largest cryptocurrency platforms in terms of number of clients.

Ways Out For Turkish Cryptocurrency Holders

It is not the end of the world for the Turkish cryptocurrency holders.

Cryptocurrencies can be transferred to any other user- be it from any other country.

Payments in cryptocurrency can still be made if you are purchasing goods or services from any other country where cryptocurrency payments are accepted.

If you happen to travel in any such country, you can spend your cryptocurrencies there, keeping your Turkish fiat currency intact.

Will India Follow?

As per reports, India is planning to ‘ban’ cryptocurrencies in the ‘near future’.

Will RBI, India ban use of Cryptocurrency

But there are two questions looming over:

What will the ‘ban’ really ban? And how near is ‘near future’?

Trading and buying of cryptocurrencies was banned in India for a brief period till March 2020. But Indians still held their existing cryptocurrencies safely in Indian as well as international crypto wallets during this period of ban.

The cryptocurrencies could also be transferred to one another, and also to foreign goods and services providers as a medium of exchange during this period.

This ban was lifted by the Supreme Court of India in March 2020.

But, something more is in the making this time around.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has drafted a bill proposing to ban buying, trading and holding of cryptocurrency. If this bill is passed by the Indian Parliament, India will become the first leading nation of the world to ban holding of crypto assets.

This will be a big setback for the cryptocurrency investors. This will be like a bombing on the booming cryptocurrency industry in India.

The Reserve Bank of India has plans to come up with an inhouse cryptocurrency and wants to tap on the blockchain technology.

Confusion, confusion! So you want to ban cryptocurrencies; but you also want to have your own cryptocurrency.

Well, let’s wait and watch how things unfold.

Blockchain – The Technology

Blockchain Technology

Source: fullvector

Uncertainty looms over the future of cryptocurrencies in India. But, the same cannot be said for blockchain as a technology.

All cryptocurrencies run on blockchain.

The world wants to move to a decentralized platform to transact. And blockchain is the answer to it.

Also, it must be noted that blockchain, or even cryptocurrencies are not country specific. They are universal and global.

So, it is like the internet. Countries can ban a few websites on the internet, but no country can ban the internet.

Something similar can happen in the cryptocurrency space as well.

Countries can ban a few cryptocurrencies, or modify a few as per their use-cases. But, no country will ban the blockchain. And cryptocurrencies are good friends with blockchain.

Infact, it is a ‘jeeyenge to sath me, marenge to sath me’ relation between the two.

So, it is a vicious circle.

Though banned, cryptocurrencies will keep on evolving. It is a global issue which the nations want to deal with individually. How long will it sustain?

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Artificial Intelligence

An ‘Alexa’ for Doctors? Why Not? Said This Techie

He is the mastermind behind the clinical voice assistant tool. And he has a vision of having healthcare professionals with no burnouts.

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Suki, clinical voice assistant tool

Hey Google!

Hey Siri!

Hey Alexa!

Hey Suki!

We’re sure that most of you are aware of the first three voice assistants and are using those in your day-to-day life.

Now, you might be wondering what this fourth one is?!

Well, you will get to know about that in no time but before that; do you know, 

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine states that physicians spend 27% of their time consulting patients?

And do you know where do physicians spend 49.2% of their remaining time?

It is in doing paperwork! And it also includes the use of the EHR (Electric Health Record) system.

The primary reasons behind physicians’ burnout could be:

  • No help available for doctors and physicians to do paperwork
  • Clinics and hospitals are reluctant to invest in clerical and administrative support

Well, it is! It is totally related to our talks.

There is a technology that can assist the doctors in the monotonous documentation work; saves the precious time of the patients’ as well as their own.

And that technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Leveraging this same technology, a US-based startup founded by Punit Soni has developed a clinical voice assistant named Suki.

Suki app on appstore
Source

It is aiming to help doctors and physicians with documentation work, and create more time for doctors to treat their patients, which is indeed their primary job.

A brilliant move of technology into the healthcare system, don’t you think?

Also read: Top Impactful Crypto Projects in 2021

The Beginning of Suki

Suki Co founder, Punit Soni
Source

The co-founder of Suki, Punit, is a techie guy who has served as lead project manager for 8 years in Google, and chief product officer in Flipkart.

He was mainly into the development of mobile applications and games.

So, how did this nerdy techie get introduced into the healthcare system?

It was when he shadowed the doctors in a clinic.

When he was in the clinic, there was a stressful situation wherein many patients were getting treated, and many intense works were taking place.

In such a situation, the most distracted persons he could find were the doctors!

Why?

Because he found them immersed in the documentation work instead of treating the patients.

This was when he came up with the thought of creating a tool that can assist the healthcare professionals in doing the paperwork. And hence they could focus on their patients with more care and empathy.

And in 2016, Punit started his journey in the healthcare industry by launching Suki.

A Much-Needed Tool for Physicians

A Much-Needed Tool for Physicians

How does Suki work?

This clinical voice assistant records, transcribes, and organizes doctors’ conversations with their patients. And then, it completes the data entry that is required for EHR.

By taking care of this tedious documentation process, Suki has enhanced the relationship between a doctor and a patient.

As per a recent white paper published by Suki, this voice assistant has increased the time spent by the doctors with their patients by 12% by cutting down the note-taking time by 76%.

This is undoubtedly a win-win situation for both patients and doctors.

How?

When a happy and stress-free physician spends more time with the patients, treatment would be more effective. And that would cause faster recovery.

And for the doctors, the application of voice assistant brings a financial benefit of  $30,000 or more a year on average.

And hence, Suki, as a tool, has improved the healthcare system by  :

  • Structuring the format of the healthcare management
  • Happier physicians with no burnout
  • Increase in the profit of healthcare organization, and
  • A better outcome for patients

In one of his interviews, Punit expressed that the feedback from the CIO (Chief Information Officer), CMIO (Chief Medical Informatics Officer), and administrators were critical for Suki.

But what mattered to him the most was how Suki would help physicians work professionally and make their lives easier.

He is undoubtedly the rarest technology professional who realized that physician burnout is the most critical public health crisis that had to be addressed.

The Challenges He Had to Face

The Challenges faced by Suki founders
Source

The journey of Suki was not a cakewalk.

Punit, and his technology team, had little to no idea about how a day would be like in a physician’s life, or they couldn’t spare time to observe and study their workflow.

So, to get access to the data that would help him develop Suki, he took physicians onboard as his colleagues.

Was it an effortless task for him to recruit and keep physicians in his team?

No, not at all.

It became difficult for Punit to create a workspace that could be ideal for both physicians and techies.

But he knew that to make Suki a success, both technologists and physicians had to work hand in hand. Therefore, even though it was challenging to understand each other’s work culture, ethics, and process, it was all worth it in the end.

The next challenge ahead of him was getting permission from physicians to introduce Suki in clinics and hospitals.

But most of the physicians did not agree to use the tool that was built only for them.

Why?

Before Suki, the technology field had developed many tools for physicians but not keeping them in mind.

These tools, instead of easing their work, added more burden on them. They used these tools only because the system forced them to do so.

When Punit approached them with Suki, most of the physicians were hesitant. But he assured them, saying that, if they used it, from day 1, their time spent on paperwork would reduce by 50 – 70%.

And guess what?

Physicians and the healthcare system agreed to welcome Suki.

And hence, it got its entry into the healthcare industry.

Even after Suki’s successful launch, Punit had to address questions regarding his intention behind this tool.

“Are you going to replace doctors with Suki?”, many curious people couldn’t resist but ask him.

He replied with an explanation that Suki has no intention of replacing doctors. But only to assist them so that they could do their job of treating their patients in the best way possible.

How could anyone think of replacing our super strong-minded professional folks, isn’t it?

What’s New in Suki?

Suki gets constant updates
Source

“It was a tough job to make Suki a reliable, seamless, perfect and consistent tool for healthcare, where one can not entertain mistakes,” says Punit.

He has plans of scaling up Suki and making it even more reliable and efficient.

In this direction, Suki has come up with a newly updated platform that incorporates data collected by Suki and teaches the AI to respond to the users faster and accurately.

And that is S3 or the Suki Speech Service platform. With this new upgrade, doctors can communicate with Suki casually, without confusing it.

Punit has a vision of making Suki an invisible and assistive tool to the healthcare professionals, and hopes that many technologies would show up to upgrade the healthcare industry.

We, at TBM, wish the team of Suki all the best for future endeavours. And hope that Suki would bring a smile on each physicians’ face because they deserve it.

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