Tuesday, 20 November 2018


Intel's Haswell chips have been quite well-recieved. According to DigiTimes, Intel will be expanding its Haswell line-up with new processors in September. The report states that the company will be unveiling 13 new processors for desktops and 24 for notebooks.

Intel has separated its mobile processors in several categories, which includes the M series mainstream chips, H series high-performance chips and Y and U series for low power-consumption chips.

Despite its expansion of Haswell, Intel won't be abandoning its previous-generation Ivy Bridge chips. The company will be bringing out four Ivy Bridge chips in September. The company is also expected to unveil its Bay Trail T platform chips for tablets, M platform for entry-level notebooks and D platform for entry-level desktops.

Intel had launched its Haswell chips back in June. In contrast to the buzz regarding the launch, Intel has made relatively modest microarchitecture improvements with Haswell, especially when compared to Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge release, which is the name given to 22nm shrunk die of the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture based on 3D transistors.

The release was in line with Intel’s ‘tick-tock’ product development and release strategy adopted since 2007. Every 'tick' is a shrinking of process technology of the previous microarchitecture and every 'tock' is a new microarchitecture. Intel’s Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, introduced in early 2011, was a ‘tock’ built using a 32nm manufacturing process, the Haswell release too is a ‘tock’ and it uses the 22nm manufacturing process as Ivy Bridge.


Monday, 29 October 2018

Data & cyber security may come under Trai, Telecom Commission

MUMBAI: The remits of the telecom regulator and the Telecom Commission are in the process of being widened that may see them overseeing issues such as data privacy, security and cybercrime, which are currently being looked into by the IT ministry, people familiar with the matter said.

According to officials in the Department of Telecommunications and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), these changes, which will come through an amendment in laws, underline the fact that consumers access most of their data via mobile phones, and hence the telecom department will need to get involved.

“We have to realise that subjects such as data privacy and security all flow through the telecom network. In fact, 93% of all such data is consumed on telecom networks, for example ecommerce, etc,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be named.

“Aspects of data privacy etc should all come under one ambit, and that should be the Digital Commission and the Digital Communications Regulator,” the official said.

Any change in the regulatory ambit of one of the two institutions — the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) or the TC — needs to be complemented by a similar widening of the scope of the other. This, since all of the regulator’s recommendations need to be cleared by the Telecom Commission (TC).

Recently, the cabinet approved renaming the Telecom Commission to the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) while industry watchdog Trai became Digital Communications Regulatory Authority of India. “These cannot be just name changes. One needs to keep in mind that this will be the policy of the government, not of any ministry. Some changes need to be made in the remit of the Digital Commission and the Trai Act as well. It’s a work in progress,” said another senior official of the telecom ministry. Currently, the TC—an inter-ministerial body, which is the highest decision-making authority of the DoT—is headed by the telecom secretary.

The full-time members of the commission are member (finance), member (production), member (services) and member (technology). Part-time members of the TC are CEO of Niti Aayog, secretary (Department of Economic Affairs), secretary, ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) and secretary (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion). The TC was set up via a government resolution in 1989. Trai, on the other hand, is governed by the Trai Act of 1997.

An inter-ministerial team was formed three months ago which is working on ways in which many aspects related to data privacy and data security are moved under telecom, said another DoT official. The official added that the team of experts includes officials of MeitY and the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B).

“We have instructions from the top officials in the government to see how all privacy and datarelated issues can be seamlessly looked into under the governance of TC,” the official said.

A senior Trai official also confirmed that meetings are on and this would also lead to additional responsibility for the sector regulator, which currently regulates all matters related just to the sector, with consumer interests at the heart of its actions. “The jurisdiction of TC will increase keeping cybercrime in mind. It is still in the planning stage but talks are on to ensure that all the work that is done by DoT in dealing with data safety is put forward,” said another official aware of the developments.

The government plans to table the draft personal data protection bill submitted by Justice BN Srikrishna Committee in Parliament by December after holding consultations with different ministries, industry representatives and the public.

The bill, submitted to the IT ministry, recommends a layered consent architecture and bringing in key principles of personal data processing, whereby companies should collect only the required data from an individual, state the purpose of its use explicitly, and store it only for as long as it is required.

As per the draft bill, citizens and internet users will have the final say on how and for what purpose personal data can be used, and they will also have the right to withdraw consent.

The Trai, on its own, in mid-July had released its recommendations on the subject titled ‘Privacy, Security and Ownership of Data in the Telecom Sector’, which are applicable for apps, browsers, operating systems and handset makers.


Saturday, 27 October 2018

Fake bank apps may have stolen data of thousands of customers: Report

Fake apps of SBI, ICICI, Axis Bank, Citi and other leading banks are available on Google Play, which may have stolen data of thousands of bank customers, claims a report by IT security firm Sophos Labs.

These fake android apps have logo of respective banks which makes it difficult for customers to differentiate between the fake and original apps, it said.

The report further said that the deceptive malware in these apps may have stolen thousands of customers' account and credit card details.

When contacted some of the banks mentioned in the report said they have not come across any such fake apps.

However, some banks have started inquiry and also informed the CERT-In -- the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incident.

The fake apps target total seven banks like SBI, ICICI, Axis, Indian Overseas, BoB, Yes Bank and Citi Bank, the report said.

Another lender Yes Bank said it has informed the bank's cyber fraud department about the matter.

However, the country's largest lender State Bank of India's response was awaited.

There were no immediate comments from ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.

According to the report, the apps lured victims to download and use them, either by masquerading as Internet apps or e-wallets, promising rewards, including cash back on purchases, free mobile data or interest free loans.

Some even claimed to be providing a too-good-to-be-true service, enabling users to withdraw cash from an ATM and have it delivered to their doorstep.

"Deceptive malware may have stolen thousands of Indian sub-continent bank customers account data or credit card numbers," said Pankaj Kohli, threat researcher, SophosLabs.

Fake apps are not new to Android and this sort of malware will continue to find its way into the android app store, it said.

"Some are blatant copies of real apps, while a few are much more dangerous as they seed malware and steal data from user accounts. Users should always use antivirus software, which provides malware protection and internet security to keep users protected and stop these fake apps from stealing data," it said.

Friday, 26 October 2018

AI will cause role changes, not necessarily job losses: Studies

More than half of generic work profiles are facing the risk of disruption over the next two years due to automation, according to an estimate by Teamlease Services.

However, this does not necessarily imply job losses as automation would throw up new job profiles for those getting substituted, experts said.

A Teamlease Services study, based on data from secondary sources, estimates 52-69% of repetitive and predictive roles in sectors including IT, financial services, manufacturing, transportation, packaging and shipping to get exposed to the risk of automation in the next couple of years.

“The data implies risk of automation. However, that does not mean it would lead to a job loss necessarily,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of Teamlease Services, discrediting the oft-quoted premise that automation would lead to job loss.

“There’s a nuance that most people lose out on—jobs disappearing and substitution of jobs,” said Debabrat Mishra, partner at Deloitte. “This is not the first time we are witnessing the impact of technology and automation. For example, ATMs were supposed to do away with cashiers (at banks) but both coexist today. In fact, ATMs created more jobs in the backend in the form of call centres,” he explained.

Though employment-related concerns due to automation cannot be altogether ruled out, it would allow humans to get more involved in tasks that need higher specialisation and critical thinking, experts said.

As much as 49% companies that responded to a recent survey by the All India Management Association (AIMA) and PwC on how artificial intelligence is reshaping jobs said they had implemented AI solutions in their businesses and were reaping productivity benefits.

Roles getting rapidly disrupted include data-entry clerk, cashier, financial analyst, telemarketer, customer-service executive, manual work operator/executive, factory worker, computer support specialist, market research analyst, retail salesperson and advertising sales person.

However, several of the people getting replaced by automation will find higher-value-added jobs, said experts. Mishra qualified the substitution of jobs predicted as disruption. For instance, the role of a data-entry clerk will be taken over by machines but the role will be substituted by a data-validation clerk.

A cashier’s role would be substituted by a query handler, a financial analyst by an adviser, a telemarketer by a personal adviser or marketing algorithm builder, a customer service executive by a customer interaction executive and a retail salesperson by a retail adviser, style adviser or shopping assistant.

The AIMA survey stated that as AI systems continue to disrupt traditional industrial practices with their increasing prowess at tackling complex problems, they continue to raise employment-related concerns.

While 36% of decision-makers stated that overall, advancements in automation and technology had not displaced jobs, 46% said these would have a severe impact on employment in India. Further, nearly half the participants surveyed felt job automation was reasonably probable; however, it was likely to be partial, with humans retained for specific expertise.

“Based on the views of professionals working across different industrial sectors, we can conclude that most of the sectors are likely to be partially automated, but the chances of complete automation in the next five years are the highest in the manufacturing sector (38%), followed by the finance sector (31%),” the survey stated.

“There will be some impact on jobs in the short-term and jobs will not grow in massive numbers. However, in the next five years or so, the impact will even out as there will be new job creations and role substitutions,” said Pankaj Bansal, chief executive at PeopleStrong.

Salary levels will go up due to specialisation of skillsets and the acute dearth of talent qualified in new capabilities in India and the world over, he said.

According to a survey on the Future of Jobs in India by EY and Nasscom, there will be a change in workforce mix by 2022 due to increased adoption of technologies. By then, 9% of the workforce will be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today, 37% will be in jobs that have radically changed skillsets and 54% will fall under the unchanged jobs category.

Experts also stated that the impact of automation is no longer restricted to junior and middle level as creation of new categories of businesses is leading to senior-level jobs being redesigned with rapid adoption of AI, robotics, blockchain, etc. One recent instance of this was seen a couple of weeks ago, when Cognizant Technology Solutions let go of 200 employees at the senior level.

This was part of the company’s plan to align its talent pool to new digital requirements, replacing those who have not adopted to the new technology landscape with those with new skills.

“Organisations need the senior leadership positions to support these requirements—which could either happen through senior leadership upskill and leadership ability changes or hiring talent from outside,” said Anurag Malik, partner at EY.

The good news is that while technology is making inroads at a rapid pace and as new job profiles get created, there is an increasing demand for professionals trained in new skills who can help companies navigate through the transformation.