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Pakistan’s snooping agency ISI is spying on Indian security forces using malware embedded in mobile gaming and music applications such as Top Gun, mpjunkie, vdjunky, talking frog, the government said on Tuesday.



Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary also said Pakistan’s spy agency was making efforts to trap ex-servicemen in the garb of providing job opportunities and financial aid for spying.

“There are reports that Pakistan intelligence agencies are spying on Indian security forces by sending malware in mobile apps such as Top Gun (game app), mpjunkie (music app), vdjunkey (video app), talking frog (entertainment app,” the minister said.

He said during the period 2013-16, seven ex-servicemen were arrested/ detected for espionage activities for the ISI.

“The Indian security forces have been sensitised about Pakistan ISI using dubious applications on smartphones,” he said.

“Besides, the government has circulated Computer Security Policy and Guidelines to all the ministries/departments on taking steps to prevent, detect and mitigate cyber-attacks which includes sanitisation of staff and officers, installations of CCTV and biometric for electronic surveillance with well defined crisis management plan for countering cyber-attacks and cyber-terrorism for implementation,” Chaudhary said.


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Soon after their launch at MWC 2016, the price of the Xperia X and Xperia XA had been revealed by listings on Amazon Germany. Soon after, official pre-orders also began. However, the pricing of the Xperia X Performance – the third phone Sony had unveiled at its MWC event and its flagship for 2016 – remained a mystery.



The Japanese giant this week however has started taking pre-orders for the Sony Xperia X Performance in France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The smartphone has been priced at EUR 699 (roughly Rs. 53,500), and will be available from early July.

All three of the Xperia X smartphones unveiled at MWC 2016 feature similar specifications. All three run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and come in single and dual-SIM models. The Sony Xperia X Performance bears a 5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) Triluminos display; a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC; a 23-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS sensor, predictive hybrid autofocus, and pulse LED flash; 13-megapixel front camera with an f/2.0 aperture; 3GB of RAM; 32GB inbuilt storage, expandable storage support up to 200GB via microSD card, and 4G LTE support.

The Sony Xperia X Performance measures 143.7×70.4×8.7mm and weighs 164 grams. It packs a 2700mAh battery. Sony says that the predictive hybrid autofocus feature in the Xperia X Performance has been developed in close collaboration with the company’s Alpha camera engineers. The feature lets users choose subject and then predict its motion.

To recall, the Sony Xperia X has been priced as low as EUR 599 (roughly Rs. 45,800) in some countries, and will become available later this month. The Sony Xperia XA on the other hand has been priced as low as EUR 299 (roughly Rs. 23,000) in some countries, and will go on sale in late-June.


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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – actor in the Fast and Furious franchise and semi-retired pro wrestler – is a firm believer in inspirational messages and getting up in the wee hours of the morning, so naturally he wants to extend that life motto to his fans. Or one half of it, at least.



To aid that particular mission of his, Johnson has launched a new alarm clock app for Android and iOS. It’s called The Rock Clock, and it’s meant to help serve as motivation for your life goals. What you get are 25 custom alarm tones “created” by Johnson himself, in addition to “exclusive daily video messages” straight from Johnson to your phone. And if you’re interested in waking up at the same time as The Rock, the app can help you do that too: a feature called Rock Time will set your alarm to his choosing, which is normally between 4am and 5am.

The Rock Clock’s focus is on motivation and goals, which means there is no place for a snooze button. “The Rock is not a fan of that button,” the app description notes. And when you open the app for the first time, it will ask you to set a goal: be it run more, finish a novel or anything really. It’s your goal, after all.
If all of that is okay by you, you can download it for free without worrying about in-app purchases, because there aren’t any.
The alarm clock app is the second thing to come out of Johnson’s Project Rock venture, the first being a bag that sold out in minutes after launch and will never be made again, according to The Rock. With over 110 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, he has an established social following that looks up to him, helped in part by his appearances in big budget productions from Fast & Furious to disaster movie San Andreas.


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Opera on Wednesday announced that its Opera Mini browser for Android now has an integrated ad-blocker. Opera was earlier the first major browser maker to integrate a built-in ad-blocker on the desktop and now the company has extended the feature to its Android browser as well.



The company also announced a free VPN bundled with its desktop browser last month, and at the time, the company had stated that it would be launching a free VPN for mobile users soon as well.

Ad-blockers are a category that’s generating a lot of interest at the moment – Samsung’s preloaded browser for Android also added ad-block support, and there are a number of ad-blocking apps available right now.

“Opera is the first browser company to offer an native ad blocker across devices. We do this because we want to provide people with the fastest browsers in the market. Our speed test shows that online ads slow down the browsing experience. Now, with Opera, you can browse a lot faster than, for example, in Chrome,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera.

According to the company, Opera Mini with the integrated ad-blocker loads webpages 40 percent faster by blocking ads, and this also reduces the data consumption for loading a page by around 14 percent.

The mobile VPN is still in development, however it will not be bundled with the Opera browser on mobiles – according to the company, the way people access the Internet is a little different on mobiles, and people rely on apps a lot more than just browsers. For this reason, Opera will be rolling out its free VPN as a standalone app that will work with all the apps installed on your phone.


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India has rejected a plan by Apple Inc to import used iPhones, government officials said, a blow to the US tech giant which has been seeking to revive flagging sales of its flagship smartphones.


Apple sells what it calls refurbished iPhones at a discount in some countries including the United States, and extending this practice to India would have likely helped it gain market share against competitors with much cheaper offerings.

India, which has been pushing a ‘Make in India’ initiative to enhance the competitiveness of its manufacturing industry, rejected the proposal citing rules against importing used electronics.

“India does not encourage dumping or recycling of hazardous materials,” NN Kaul, a spokesman for telecom ministry said.

An Apple spokeswoman in Singapore did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

In India, the average smartphone sells for less than $150. By contrast, the newly launched iPhone SE sells for a suggested retail price of 39,000 rupees ($585) in India – also much higher than its US price of $399 due to import duties and distribution costs.

Refurbished iPhones are usually devices that have been returned by buyers or are repaired to factory condition after damage.

Apple’s proposal was opposed by domestic phone makers who claim selling used iPhones would breach India’s anti-dumping rules. The Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association had written to India’s telecom ministry to stall the move.


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Yahoo Inc has shortlisted close to 10 bidders in the auction for its core Internet assets, including Verizon Communications Inc, with most offers involving cash rather than a combination with another company, according to people familiar with the matter.



The shortlist comprises mainly large companies and big private equity firms including TPG Capital LP, and excludes many small companies that proposed some kind of combination, such as privately held Yellow Pages owner YP LLC, the people said this week.

The sources declined to divulge the full list.

Some bidders that did not make the shortlist because their first-round offers were not specific enough are still being kept close to the process by Yahoo’s advisers, the people said. One of those bidders is Liberty Media Corp Chairman John Malone, who has proposed a tax-efficient merger with one of the companies he controls, the people said.

The sources asked not to be identified because details of the sale process were confidential. Yahoo, Verizon, TPG and YP declined to comment. Liberty Media did not respond to a request for comment.

A sale of Yahoo’s Internet assets for cash, followed by a divestment of its 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, would leave the company owning just its 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

In December, Yahoo scrapped plans to spin off its Alibaba stake, after investors fretted over whether that transaction could have been carried out on a tax-free basis.

Yahoo has been laying off employees and seeking to cut costs as its core Internet business shrinks.

Earlier this week, Yahoo said that activist hedge fund Starboard Chief Executive Jeffrey Smith and three independent directors associated with him would join its board immediately. A truce with Smith, its most vocal activist investor, helps Yahoo clear the way for the auction of its core businesses, analysts said.

Yahoo’s four new directors were on a slate that Starboard proposed last month to oust Yahoo’s entire board.

Analysts see Verizon, which bought AOL last year for $4.4 billion, as the candidate likely to prevail in the auction.

Verizon is being advised by three investment banks, Guggenheim Partners LLC, LionTree LLC and Allen & Company, as reported by Reuters.

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A Facebook Inc shareholder filed a proposed class action lawsuit on Friday in a bid to stop the company’s plan to issue new Class C stock, calling the move an unfair deal to entrench Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg as controlling shareholder.



The lawsuit, filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, followed the social networking company’s announcement on Wednesday of its plan to issue the shares.

The rejiggering of Facebook’s share structure is effectively a 3-for-1 stock split. Zuckerberg’s said in December that he intends to put 99 percent of his Facebook shares into a new philanthropy project focussing on human potential and equality.

The lawsuit contends that a Facebook board committee which approved the share deal “did not bargain hard” with Zuckerberg “to obtain anything of meaningful value” in exchange for granting Zuckerberg added control.

In a statement, Facebook said the plan “is in the best interests of the company and all stockholders.” The company has said keeping Zuckerberg at the helm is key to its future success.

Facebook plans to create a new class of shares that are publicly listed but do not have voting rights. Facebook will issue two of the so-called “Class C” shares for each outstanding Class A and Class B share held by shareholders. Those new Class C shares will be publicly traded under a new symbol.

Zuckerberg “wishes to retain this power, while selling off large amounts of his stockholdings, and reaping billions of dollars in proceeds,” the lawsuit said.

“The issuance of the Class C stock will, in effect, have the same effect as a grant to Zuckerberg of billions of dollars in equity, for which he will pay nothing,” it said.

Google settled a lawsuit in 2013 shortly before trial which cleared the way for that company to execute a similar plan.


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Micro-blogging website Twitter has retired “Magic Recs” an effective bot account that used to send users direct messages (DM) recommending viral accounts or Tweets to follow.



The bot used to run an algorithm to measure how many others a user knows that were following an account or Tweet in quick succession and used to send instant, personalised recommendations for users and content, a report on TechCrunch said.

However, Twitter said “Magic Recs” would send recommendations through push notifications.

“@MagicRecs is no longer regularly sending recommendations through Direct Message. Recommendations that were previously shared via Direct Message are now delivered via push notification,” a Twitter spokesperson was quoted as saying.

“Magic Recs” was launched in 2013 and the push notifications alerts that are not tweets but appear in the notifications tab on mobile were first activated some months later.

This could be another blow to the company as at a time when bots are starting to become a thing, “Magic Recs” bot is being retired.

“Magic Recs” was a bot that worked when some have flopped. Magic Recs was accurate in predicting interesting accounts to follow and tweets to watch, the report said.

On Friday, the micro-blogging website was re-categorised under the “news” section of the App Store rather than “social networking”.

The change was due to the fact that Twitter, which was famous for real time news feeds and events, was preferred less when it came to keeping in touch with friends.

The company reported a sharp fall in shares about 12 percent after the micro-blogging website, which managed to add 5 million people to take its monthly active user base to 310 million, missed the first quarter revenue estimates this week.

The company posted $595 million (roughly Rs. 3,949 crores) revenue in the first quarter ending March 31. It was up 36 percent from $435.9 million (roughly Rs. 2,893 crores) in the same quarter last year but missed the $607.9 million (roughly Rs. 4,034 crores) expected on average among analysts, Forbes reported.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that “we remain focused on improving our service to make it fast, simple and easy to use”.

Twitter has predicted revenue for the second quarter between $590 million (roughly Rs. 3,916 crores) and $610 million (roughly Rs. 4,048 crores) much lower than the $678 million analysts expected.

Twitter’s stock has fallen over 20 percent this year amid sluggish growth.


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Indian security agencies are unable to decrypt some of the communication on platforms like WhatsApp to readable formats for various reasons such as technical as well as legal and regulatory policy, Parliament was informed Friday.



“Security/law enforcement agencies face difficulty while dealing with encrypted communications by various application service providers including end to end encrypted communication message provided by WhatsApp,” Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

He added that such applications make use of encryption technology and proprietary authentication protocols to secure messages.

“However, security agencies are able to intercept these encrypted communication services through the lawful interception facilities provided by the telecom service providers,” he said.

Prasad said mobile applications like WhatsApp have extraordinary reach, particularly in the field of information sharing and dissemination and these services are mostly availed by the citizens across the world throughout Internet.

“…but they (security agencies) are not able to decrypt some of encrypted intercepted communication to readable format as there are multifarious aspects involved in security/law enforcement agencies getting such encrypted communication in readable format such as technical, international relationship, legal and regulatory policy, commercial and security requirements etc,” he added.

The government, he said, regularly interacts with telecom service providers and other stakeholders, including social media providers to address the issues and implement the solution to resolve the issues arising from time to time to the extent possible keeping in view security, service and developmental needs of the country.

Recently, Facebook-owned WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption for all its services, meaning that the messages can now be read only by the intended recipients.

“Encryption is one of the most important tools, governments, companies and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement,” WhatsApp, which has more than a billion users, said in a blog post.

It added that while it recognises the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, “efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing peoples information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states”.

Following WhatsApp, another messaging platform Viber also introduced end-to-end encryption of messages.

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On a day the ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect, taxi aggregator Uber on Sunday brought back surge pricing in Delhi, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to warn the operators of “strong action”.



Uber had introduced the provision during odd-even scheme, which was objected to by commuters and Kejriwal had asserted that such demand-linked hikes would be banned permanently.

A day after the second phase of odd-even ended, commuters across the city, who availed the services of the app-based cab firm Sunday, found that surge pricing, where fares are raised when demand is higher than the available cabs, was back.

When contacted, an Uber spokesperson confirmed the development saying that suspension of surge pricing was only a “temporary” measure.

Uber’s move came on a day a ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect in Delhi, affecting nearly 27,000 vehicles.

“Some taxis hv started charging surge. Surge not allowed under law. They r warned that strong action will be taken against them,” Kejriwal tweeted.

A senior Delhi government official said that action will be taken against these companies based on complaints.

“We will impound their cabs,” the official said. While an immediate confirmation could be obtained from Ola, another app-based service, its app displayed a message saying peak time charges may be applicable during high demand hours and will be conveyed during the booking which “enables us to make more cabs available to you”.

Ola displayed the disclaimer during the odd-even period as well although it did not invoke peak-pricing till Saturday.

The Delhi government had cracked its whip on these companies on the first week of the second phase of odd-even after Kejriwal termed the concept as “daylight robbery”.

The authorities had also impounded cabs for overpricing.


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