Daily Current Affairs-22nd February 2017
Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi for Botnet cleaning and Malware analysis.
Besides, minister also launched some cyber security tools. They are
- USB Pratirodh: It is a desktop security solution to protect from USB mass storage device threats.
- AppSamvid: It is a desktop solution to protect systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. It helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.
- M-Kavach: It is an indigenously developed mobile application to address the security threats in mobiles.
About Cyber Swachhta Kendra
- The centre mission is to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections in India and to notify, enable cleaning and securing systems of end users so as to prevent further infections.
- It is being operated by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under provisions of Section 70B of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
- The centre complies with the objectives of the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 which aims at creating a secure cyber eco-system in the country.
- It operates in close coordination and collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), academia, banks and Product and Antivirus companies.
Botnet: It is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. Such infected computer is referred to as a zombie. It is used to steal data, send spam. Botnet is a combination of the words robot and network.The popular attacks that happen these days using botnets are called the Distributed Detail of Service (DDOS) attacks.
Demonetisation to pull down India’s GDP by 1%: IMF
- India’s growth is projected to slow to 6.6 % in 2016-17 fiscal due to the strains that have emerged in the economy as a result of “temporary disruptions” caused by demonetisation, the IMF said.
- In its annual report, however, the International Monetary Fund said demonetisation would have only short term impact on the economy and it would bounce back to its expected growth of more than 8% in the next few years.
- The post-November 8, 2016 cash shortages and payment disruptions caused by the currency exchange initiative have undermined consumption and business activity, posing a new challenge to sustaining the growth momentum, the IMF said in its annual country report on India.
- Tailwinds from a favourable monsoon, low oil prices and continued progress in resolving supply-side bottlenecks, as well as robust consumer confidence, will support near-term growth as cash shortages ease.
- The investment recovery is expected to remain modest and uneven across sectors, as de-leveraging takes place and industrial capacity utilisation picks up, the report said.
- In their report, the IMF Directors supported the Indian efforts to clamp down on illicit financial flows, but noted “the strains that have emerged” from the currency exchange initiative.
- They called for action to quickly restore the availability of cash to avoid further payment disruptions and encouraged prudent monitoring of the potential side-effects of the initiative on financial stability and growth
- Noting India’s strong economic performance of the past few years, the IMF Executive Directors commended New Delhi for its strong policy actions, including continued fiscal consolidation and an anti-inflationary monetary policy, which have underpinned macroeconomic stability.
As such, the IMF recommended continued vigilance to potential domestic and external shocks and urged the authorities to further advance economic and structural reforms to address supply bottlenecks, raise potential output, create jobs, and ensure inclusive growth.
- The IMF feels that on the external side, despite the reduced imbalances and strengthened reserve buffers, the impact from global financial market volatility could be disruptive, including from U.S. monetary policy normalization or weaker-than-expected global growth.
- In the absence of disruptive global financial volatility, slower growth in China, Europe and the United States would have only modest adverse spillovers to India, given weak trade linkages,” the IMF said.
- A key domestic risk stems from the government’s currency exchange initiative, where the near-term adverse economic impact of accompanying cash shortages remains difficult to gauge, while it may have a positive economic impact in the medium term,” the report said.
7 Earth-like planets spotted
- Low temperatures make possible the presence of liquid water on their surface.Scientists have spotted seven Earth-sized planets, with mass similar to Earth, orbiting around a dwarf star the size of Jupiter, just 39 light years from the Sun. The planets’ temperature is low enough to make possible the presence of liquid water on their surface.
- In May last year, scientists found three planets passing in front of TRAPPIST-1, the dwarf star. Based on further monitoring of the star from the ground and space, scientists have found four more ‘exo-planets’ orbiting TRAPPIST-1.
Habitable zone of star
- This is the first time we have so many Earth-like planets found around a star. The star is low-mass and small,” Dr. Gillon said during a press briefing.
- The seven stars could have some liquid water and maybe life. These planets are found in the habitable zone of the star. This is the first time we have found so many planets in the habitable zone of a star.
- The scientists have been able to make precise mass measurement for six of the seven planets. Though the mass measurements are preliminary, they do indicate that the planets are terrestrial with liquid water. The seven planets are suitable for detailed atmospheric study.
Five planets have sizes similar to that of the Earth, while the remaining two are intermediate in size — between Mars and Earth. Based on the mass estimates, the six inner planets may have a rocky composition. The sixth planet has low density suggesting a volatile rich composition. The volatile content could be either ice layer and/or atmosphere.
Microplastic particles clogging oceans
- Micro particles account for 15-31% of the estimated 9.5 million tonnes dumped in oceans, says IUCN .
- Unlike the shocking images of country-sized garbage patches floating in the oceans, the microplastic particles that wash off textiles and roadways leave the waterways looking pristine.
- But they constitute a significant part of the “plastic soup” clogging our waters — accounting for around 15-31 percent of the estimated 9.5 million tonnes of plastic released into the oceans each year, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- In its report “Primary Microplastics in the Oceans”, IUCN found that in many developed countries in North America and Europe, which have effective waste management, tiny plastic particles are in fact a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste.
- In addition to car tyres and synthetic textiles, such particles stem from everything from marine coatings and road markings, to city dust and the microbeads in cosmetics.
While microplastics are hard to spot, they can seriously harm marine wildlife and as they enter the global food and water supplies they are believed to pose a significant risk to human health.
IUCN is calling on the makers of tyres and clothing especially to shift their production methods and make products that pollute less.
What are exoplanets?
Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars other than our sun.
When was the first exoplanet discovered?
The first exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, was discovered in 1995 by Michael Mayor and Didier Queloz.
Do these exoplanets support life?
The search for exoplanets is also the search for alien life and habitable spaces beyond our star system. NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions have identified several such candidates. To be considered habitable, exoplanets must orbit within a distance of their stars in which liquid water can exist on the planet’s surface, receiving about as much sunlight as Earth. This distance is called the “Goldilocks” zone.