Universities Switch to Online Learning but Is it Enough? – Disposable mail news

With there being no apparent end in view of the pandemic, everyone has been forced to live within a confined space and spend their days not doing anything that needs going out.

Especially students all over the world are having a hard time managing things without the actual physical classes to dote on. Not that online lectures and a virtual education aren’t lucrative but most students find a lack of motivation a common problem.

With the dearth of options, available students are managing to adjust to the online learning life given most institutions have switched to various online mediums like Zoom, which is a great step, globally.

Universities are trying their best to make do with all the possible resources they have at their disposal. But is it okay to consider that online classes shall suffice?

What the students need at such a gloomy time is a way to make education and learning which could provide them technologically rich experience and not just a mere imitation of what otherwise happens in their classes.

The tech-world is overflowing with contemporary ideas of learning. There are hundreds of ways to create and design interactive sessions via podcasts, and virtual reality. Students, from the comfort of their homes, could be better learners if they encourage the right way and could induce better responses.

Online learning or online lectures shouldn’t just be a professor, going on and on for hours like in a physical class. There is such a variety of avenues to follow when it comes to technology-based learning that too, online.

During the past months, the number of students enrolled in online courses has increased substantially. There has also been a rise in the number of students joining full-time online courses.

People who weren’t as tech-savvy as all that lost their jobs and had to get back to studying for any possible chances of a career change.

Per sources, FutureLearn and UofPeople(University of People) have experienced a hike in demand for online courses because of people wanting to be productive in the days of quarantine by acquiring new skills.

According to reports, there has been seen a significant rise in the demand for online courses for the English language, health-related subjects, and mental health topics.

This culture of interactive online learning if does not limit itself to the pandemic times could lead to a better learning mechanism that would prove to be extremely efficacious for students all across the globe.

The availability of online platforms for students to begin or continue their education is massively contributing to lessening the number of chances of students deferring.

Even though the initial online courses that went and probably still do, by the name Moocs (Massive open online courses) weren’t so much of a big hit, but given the times of the “pandemic induced confinement”, people are warming up to them.

The current predicament has everyone bursting with uncertainty. There is no telling if universities would even begin their next sessions any time soon.

Everything can’t certainly be taught online, especially practical-learning which prompts a huge question mark to which no one has the right answer.

Realizing that there is no way to know when the universities would open and commence their normal operations with the added factor of social distancing, ‘the internet is all we have.’


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Cybercriminals Spreading Node.js Trojan Promising Relief from the Outbreak of COVID-19 – Disposable mail news

A java downloader going by the extension “Company PLP_Tax relief due to Covid-19 outbreak CI+PL.jar” has been recently detected. Drawing inferences from its name, researchers suspected it to be associated with COVID-19 themed phishing attacks.

Running this file led to the download of an undetected malware sample that is written in Node.js; Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, Javascript runtime environment that executes Javascript code outside of a browser and as it is primarily designed for web server development, there’s a very less probability of it being already installed onto systems.

The trojan that is suspected of employing the unconventional platform for bypassing detection has been labeled as ‘QNodeService’. The malware has been designed to perform a number of malicious functions including uploading, downloading, and executing files.

It is also configured to steal credentials stored in web browsers and perform
file management etc. Currently, the malware appears to be targeting Windows systems only, however, the code signifies a potential for ‘cross-platform compatibility’, researchers concluded a possibility of the same being a ‘future goal’ for cybercriminals.

Cybercriminals are devising new methods all
the time to design malware such as trojans to infect as many machines as possible without getting noticed.

To stay on a safer side, users are recommended to block malware from acquiring access via all the possible doorways like endpoints, networks, and emails.


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French Cyber security Analyst Claims He Could Access Details Of Corona-Infected Persons Via The Government-Mandated Aarogya Setu App – Disposable mail news

A French cybersecurity analyst by the pseudonym ‘Elliot Alderson’ on Twitter claims he could access details of Corona infected people via the government-mandated Aarogya Setu app.

Robert Baptiste wrote on Twitter that it was feasible for a remote attacker to know
“who is infected, unwell, make a self-assessment in the area of his (attacker’s) choice.” He was able to see “if someone was sick at the PMO office or the Indian Parliament” even with the most recent variant of the Covid-19 contact tracing application.

The creators of Aarogya Setu albeit even issued a statement accordingly in response to dismissing Baptiste’s prior claims.

The French cybersecurity analyst asserted that he could gain access to the details of positive cases at a location of his choice. He didn’t present any confirmation in this regard however guaranteed a point by point report about the alleged security flaws.

The official statement released by Aarogya Setu said “no personal information of any user has been proven to be at risk by the French ethical hacker”.

The statement earlier gave by the creators of the application said it was feasible for a user to get information for various places by changing the latitude/longitude, which is, at any rate, an accessible data.

The creators, notwithstanding, demanded that mass assortment of this information was unrealistic as “the API call is behind a Web Application Firewall”.

However all this has given rise to a raging debate on the utilization of contact tracing applications by governments, Eivor Oborn, Professor of Healthcare Management at Warwick Business School, UK, says “I think a real breach is made if the professionals are forced to use the app and then are not allowed to discontinue the monitoring after the threshold of the pandemic is over; this to me is a greater concern.”

He included that in a democratic nation like India, citizens ought to have transparency with respect to what, when, and how the information is being utilized. “I think it is good for the governments concerned to tangibly show benefits that accrue from data use,” Prof Oborn stressed.

Nonetheless, the government’s chief scientific advisor, Prof K VijayRaghavan, says that the source code of the application will be made open very soon, “India is the only democracy which has made the use of contact tracing app mandatory, so steps should be taken to make the codebase of the app open source, and users should be given the option to delete their data, even from the servers.”


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The UK Government Vs Apple & Google API on the New COVID-19 App That Tells Who Near You is Infected! – Disposable mail news

Reportedly, the United Kingdom declared that their coronavirus tracing application is being run via centralized British servers and that’s how they are planning to take things forward and not via the usual “Apple-Google approach” which is a preferred one for most.

Per sources, the CEO of the Tech unit of the National Health Service mentioned that their new smartphone app will have its launching in the upcoming weeks, with the hopes of helping the country return to normalcy by beating coronavirus.

According to reports, the UK government believes that the contact-tracing protocol created by Apple and Google protects user privacy “under advertisement only”. Hence the British health service supports a system that would send the data of who may have the virus to a centralized server giving all the controls in the hand of the NHS.

The way of the NHS and that of Apple and Google, work via Bluetooth by putting a cell-phone on the wireless network, having it emit an electronic ID that could be intercepted by other phones in the vicinity. If a person tests positive for COVID-19 their ID would be used to warn the others near them.

Meaning, if you were near an affected person, your phone would show flags about their being infected, you’d be notified about it and if you may have caught the novel coronavirus you’d be alerted about that too, mention sources.

Per reports, Google and Apple especially had created an opt-in pro-privacy API for Android and iOS. The feature allows the user’s phone to change its ID on other phones near them and store it across different intervals of time.

Per sources, if a person is discovered to have COVID-19 they can allow the release of their phone’s ID to a decentralized set of databases looked over by healthcare providers and the nearby users would be notified about it.

The above-mentioned approach works best to help ensure that the users aren’t tracked by exploiting the above information. Google and Apple say that their protocol would make it next to impossible for them, the governments, and mal-actors to track people. The data wouldn’t leave the user’s phone unless they want it to, that too anonymously if and when.

A person, to declare themselves infected must enter a specific code from a healthcare provider after being tested positive which is a great way to curb fraudulent announcements about being infected.

The NHS, on the other hand, thought of proposing a centralized approach that makes the government, the party that has the coronavirus related details of all the users on their database for further analysis.

Per sources, for this application to be successful 60% of a population would have to download it and opt for it. Trust plays a major role here, if the users don’t trust the app it would be of no use to others either.

Reports mention that most countries prefer the Google and Apple method better, including Switzerland, Austria, and Estonia. Germany too is in strong support of a decentralized line whereas France had to face criticism for its inclination towards the centralized approach.

Nevertheless, the NHS is hell-bent on going forward with the centralized approach and is adamant that it will safeguard the privacy of people no matter what. In the centralized way of things, the NHS would capture all the IDs of phones with the app active on them and store the details on their database. Later on, if a user is found to be infected the NHS would make the call about all the hows, whens, and ifs of the warning procedure on the other phones.

If things were to work out the way NHS wants it to, the application would advise users to take steps to help them save themselves against the virus, like self-isolating if need be. The advice notified would be customized per the situation. They would also build a better database and help people with first-hand updates. People could also voluntarily provide detailed information about themselves to make the app’s experience more comprehensive.

Moreover, the centralized system would be way easier for conducting audits and analysis of the data that has been stored in the databases for further research about users that are at most risk.

But regardless of all the superficial advantages, the NHS would still be creating a database bursting with people’s personal information like their health statuses, their movements, and that too with the government having complete control of it.

The success of the entire operation dwells on the people’s trust in the NHS, the UK government, and the governments of all the countries for that matter who have opted for the centralized system.


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Residents in China under Surveillance amid the Coronavirus Pandemic – Disposable mail news


According to recent reports, China is alleged for surveilling its residents’ homes among the coronavirus epidemic. However, there is no official rule that says China can keep quarantined residents under watch. The incident has been happening since February in China, where few residents have reported cases of security camera equipped right in front of their homes. Three people have already informed of this incident, whereas other similar cases have appeared on social media.

Currently, China doesn’t have any national law that allows it to watch its people through surveillance cameras, but still, the cameras are equipped in various public areas in China. According to sources, the authorities are continually keeping a watch on people, whether they are in malls, eating in a restaurant, boarding transport, or even in schools and colleges.
According to data by CNN, around 20 Million cameras were installed across china in the year 2020, and this is only a rough estimate. According to some other sources, the numbers can go even higher. As per the reports of IHS Markit Technology, which currently works under Informa Tech, China had around 350 Million surveillance cameras installed in the year 2018, which is five times than of the USA.


What will happen by 2021? 

According to the data, the projection suggests that by the year 2021, China will have equipped six times more surveillance cameras than the US.
According to Comparitech, a UK based research organization, “Estimates vary on the number of CCTV cameras in China, but reports range from 200 million up to 626 million in use by 2020. Based on the country’s current population of 1.4 billion people, that would mean nearly one camera for every two people. Although this projection might seem vast, it may be a fraction of the actual number.”

In the present times, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the Chinese authorities to keep a watch on its residents’ private life. According to these residents, it is a complete breach of privacy. Knowing that this issue might appear, the Joint Civil Society issued a statement earlier this month that said, “the COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency that requires a coordinated and large-scale response by governments worldwide. However, States’ efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to usher in a new era of greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance.”


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Facebook’s Messenger”s Latest Update Supports 50 Participants In a Video Chat Room! – Disposable mail news

During these ungodly hours of the pandemic with everyone stuck at home and yearning for some one-on-one time with friends and family stuck elsewhere, Facebook has come through like a Knight in shining armor.

It has booted up Messenger and WhatsApp with fresh and much-needed video-calling features in light of the obvious hike in the “need” for video-calls via social media.

In the areas that are affected to the greatest degrees by Coronavirus, researchers have seen an acute escalation in the usage of Messenger and its video calling feature, as much as double the earlier rate.

With the latest WhatsApp update increasing the number of participants in its video/audio calls, Messenger has made available an update that could let users add up to 50 people in the Messenger Rooms.

Turns out that these fresh features were always on the list of updates but they were rolled out to the users a little earlier than planned because of the pandemic and lock-downs.

This update is scheduled to start reaching people soon and would eventually reach all the users but it is bound to take time.

Per sources, Facebook had been working towards preventing ‘unrequired’ and ‘unneeded’ guests from popping in the chats, as well.

There is no dearth of applications willing to help users get through these tough times by connecting virtually with their loved ones. Zoom, another app that has seen crazy growth in the number of its active users to an astonishing 300 Million.

Houseparty is another one that hit the download charts hard when the news of the lock-down first surfaced everywhere in March.

Much like in the formerly mentioned app, until the Messenger Room is ‘open’, guests can drop in and out per their wishes in the group video chats.

With a very thoughtful idea, Facebook had reportedly wanted to create a realistic atmosphere for the video chat users where people could “bump into each other”.

In fact, rumor has it that Facebook is planning to add the group video chat room feature to WhatsApp and Instagram as well but there is no evidence as to when.

The chat rooms that are open to the public shall be listed at the top of the feed. The person creating the chat room would have control over the privacy of the room, about sending the invitations to people who aren’t on Facebook, who gets added and blocking unwanted participants. Participants could also change their backgrounds in real time, mention sources.

Per reports, the feature was first tested in Argentina and Poland where Messenger is supposed to be used the most. The results showed that up to 20 participants could be added at once, but the number is would increase to 50 according to Facebook.

Having uninvited participants show up in their chat rooms has only caused inconvenience to the users especially in the case of Zoom. Facebook has definitely learned from that.

The chats wouldn’t be encrypted end-to-end at least at the beginning of the launching but it’s surely on the to-do list. Monitoring and listening in on the video calls, says Facebook, is absolutely out of question.

The tech giant has also promised that it will keep working towards making Facebook better in every way possible by collecting data from the users about the overall experience, mention sources.

Premium features are being made available for free by the Microsoft teams for some of their apps owing to the Coronavirus outbreak, per sources.

Per reports, usually, the most whopping product launches of Facebook are done via the blog post by Mark Zuckerberg which in this case was used to announce the Messenger Room’s latest update.

To know about the latest feature update of WhatsApp check out the following link:
WhatsApp’s Latest Feature Lets You Add More People To Video Calls!


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Digital passes will be introduced in 21 regions of Russia – Disposable mail news

The Ministry of Communications announced on April 22 that digital passes following Moscow will be introduced in 21 regions. On April 27, the Department plans to start the same in another 14 regions of Russia.

Recall that digital passes began to operate in Moscow and Moscow region on April 15. More than 900 thousand permanent digital passes were issued, and about 400 thousand one-time passes are issued daily.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced last Saturday about additional changes in access control in Moscow due to the situation with coronavirus.

Since April 22, the rules have been tightened by introducing automated surveillance of cars and fines for their unregistered owners. Cameras for the photo-video recording of traffic violations will track the presence of a special pass. Car owners, in order not to get a fine for violation of the pass regime, must include the car’s license plate in the digital pass. Cars that are not included in digital passes will automatically be considered violators.

In addition, control over travel by public transport was introduced. Trips on public transport can now only be made if you have a digital pass with a Troika transport card linked to it.
The Moscow Transport Department reported that 15% of motorists drove on the capital’s roads without special passes on April 22, while more than 4 million motorists in Moscow have already linked their car numbers to a digital pass.

In addition, about 2.5 thousand people were unable to use the metro in Moscow due to the lack of a pass linked to the card.

The Ministry indicates that a specialized mobile app is used to check passes. The digital pass is valid only upon presentation of an identity document.

Earlier, Disposable mail news reported that the system of electronic tracking of people is being introduced into mass use in Moscow right now. And the epidemic is a good reason for such actions.


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Around 25,000 Email Addresses and Passwords Belonging to NIH, WHO, World Bank and Others Posted online – Disposable mail news

The SITE Intelligence Group, a non-governmental US-based consultancy group that monitors online activities of international terrorist groups and tracks global extremism, recently discovered around 25,000 email addresses and passwords being posted online by unidentified activists. Reportedly, these credentials belong to the World Health Organisation, National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation, and various other organizations united in the global battle against COVID-19 – working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

The data of unidentified origins was exposed on Sunday and Monday and straight away used by cybercriminals to make attempts at hacking and take advantage of the posted information by causing incidents of harassment led by far-right extremists.
The information made its first appearance on 4chan, an imageboard website where people anonymously post their opinions on subjects ranging from politics, anime, music, video games to sports and literature. It then subsequently appeared on Pastebin, Twitter, and Telegram groups belonging to far-right extremists.

However, the authenticity of the email addresses and passwords is still in question as the SITE said it was unable to verify the data. As per Robert Potter, an Australian cybersecurity expert, the 2,732 emails and passwords belonging to WHO were found to be authentic.

The biggest victim of the incident was NIH with a total of 9,938 emails and passwords being exposed, following NIH was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the second largest number i.e., 6,857 and the World Bank with a total of 5,120, according to the report by SITE. All three organizations were quick to decline the requests of making any comment on the matter.

While providing insights, SITE’s executive director, Rita Katz said, “Neo-Nazis and white supremacists capitalized on the lists and published them aggressively across their venues.”

“Using the data, far-right extremists were calling for a harassment campaign while sharing conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic. The distribution of these alleged email credentials was just another part of a months-long initiative across the far right to weaponize the covid-19 pandemic.” She further added.

Meanwhile giving assurance, Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough said, “We’re aware of this account activity and are taking widespread enforcement action under our rules, specifically our policy on private information. We’re also taking bulk removal action on the URL that links to the site in question.”


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Android users may face hacker attacks under the guise of applications about coronavirus – Disposable mail news

Cybercriminals attack users of Android mobile devices using malicious applications disguised as legitimate information software about the new COVID-19 coronavirus infection. After installing the malicious app, the hacker gained control of the victim’s Android device through access to calls, SMS, calendar, files, contacts, microphone, and camera.

Hackers continue to exploit people’s fear of spreading the virus: malicious applications were found by experts on sites with domains associated with the coronavirus. Researchers have not yet discovered such applications on the Google Play Store.

Experts report that the apps were created using the Metasploit tool used for penetration testing. This software allows anyone with basic computer knowledge to create malicious applications in just 15 minutes: it’s enough to configure Metasploit for your goal, select the exploit and payload.

Such applications can easily gain control of the device. After launching on a device running on the Android operating system, the application hides the icon from the screen so that it is more difficult to detect and remove it.

Vasily Diaghilev, head of Check Point Software Technologies representative office in Russia and the CIS, says that in the current situation, the most alarming thing is how quickly and easily malicious applications can be created and reminds us of the need to follow the rules of digital hygiene.

Check Point researchers previously reported that more than 30,103 new coronavirus-related domains were registered in the past few weeks, of which 0.4% (131) were malicious and 9% (2,777) were suspicious. In total, since January 2020, more than 51 thousand domains associated with the coronavirus have been registered.


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