Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 30 November 2022

Great Barrier Reef Be Put On 'In Danger' List

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef should be listed as a world heritage site that is “in danger”, a UN panel recommended on 29 November 2022, saying the world’s biggest coral reef ecosystem was significantly impacted by climate change and warming of oceans.

What the UN panel said

  1. Frequent bleaching events are threatening the reef, including four over the last seven years and the first during a La Nina phenomenon, which typically brings cooler temperatures, this year.
  2. Australia's Great Barrier Reef should be listed as a world heritage site that is "in danger", a UN panel recommended, saying the world's biggest coral reef ecosystem was significantly impacted by climate change and warming of oceans.
  3. Bleaching happens when the water warms too muchcausing corals to expel the colourful algae living in their tissues and turn white.
  4. The resilience of the (reef) to recover from climate change impacts is substantially compromised.

Australian Government stand

  1. The government would push UNESCO to not list the reef as endangered because climate change was threatening all coral reefs across the world.
  2. "UNESCO in the past has singled out a place as at risk because they wanted to see greater government investment or greater government action.
  3. Australia's recently elected Labor government has pledged to spend A$1.2 billion ($800 million) in coming years to protect the reef.
  4. The parliament in September passed legislation for net zero emissions by 2050.
  5. Canberra has lobbied for years to keep the reef - which contributes A$6.4 billion ($4.3 billion) to the economy - off the endangered list as it could lead to losing the heritage statustaking some shine off its attraction for tourists.
  6. Last year, Australia dodged an "in danger" listing for the reef after heavy lobbying by the previous government led UNESCO to postpone a decision to this year.


India’s first privately built launch pad

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

Space-tech start-up Agnikul said it has established India’s first launchpad designed and operated by a private player. The facility, situated at Sriharikota, was inaugurated by Isro chairman S Somanath. The facility which was designed by Agnikul and executed with support from Isro and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) has two sections to it — the Agnikul launchpad (ALP) and the Agnikul mission control centre (AMCC).

More about the launchpad

  1. Critical systems connecting these two sections, which are 4km away from each other, are redundant to ensure 100% operationality during countdown.
  2. The launchpad is specifically built keeping in mind the ability to support liquid stage controlled launches, while also addressing the need for Isro’s range operations team to monitor key flight safety parameters during launches.
  3. Additionally, it has the ability to, as necessary, share data and other critical information with Isro’s mission control centre.
  4. Agnikul’s first launch, which will be a controlled-and-guided mission, having a vertical launch, using its patented engine will happen from this launchpad.
  5. The mission would be a technology demonstrator that will mirror Agnikul’s orbital launch but at a reduced scale.
  6. Agnibaan is a highly customizable2-stage launch vehicle, capable of taking up to 100kg payload to orbits around 700km high (low Earth orbits) and enables plug-and-play configuration.
  7. Agnilet is the world's first single-piece 3D-printed engine fully designed and manufactured in India and was successfully test-fired in early 2021 & became the first company in the country to test its engines at Isro.


Blue bugging and hacking of Bluetooth-enabled devices

GS-3 (Information and Communication Technology)

Cyber security experts note that apps that let users connect smartphones or laptops to wireless earplugs can record conversations, and are vulnerable to hacks. Even the most secure smartphones like iPhones are vulnerable to such attacks. Any app with access to Bluetooth can record a user's conversations. Through blue bugging, a hacker can gain unauthorised access to these apps and devices and control them as per their wish.

What is bluebugging?

  1. It is a form of hacking that lets attackers access a device through its discoverable Bluetooth connection.
  2. Once a device or phone is bluebugged, a hacker can listen to the calls, read and send messages and steal and modify contacts.
  3. It started out as a threat for laptops with Bluetooth capability. Later hackers used the technique to target mobile phones and other devices.

How does it work?

  1. It attacks work by exploiting Bluetooth-enabled devices. The device’s Bluetooth must be in discoverable mode, which is the default setting on most devices.
  2. The hacker then tries to pair with the device via Bluetooth. Once a connection is established, hackers can use brute force attacks to bypass authentication.
  3. They can install malware in the compromised device to gain unauthorised access to it.
  4. It can happen whenever a Bluetooth enabled device is within a 10-metre radius of the hacker. According to a blog by VPN service provider NordVPN, hackers can use booster antennas to widen the attack range.
  5. Users must also watch out for suspicious activities on their devices, NordVPN suggested.

India cyber security measures:

The Information Technology (Amendment) Act of 2008:

  1. It was passed by Parliament in December 2008. It was prohibited to transmit offensive messages or any information through a computer resource and communication system to cause discomfort, inconvenience, etc.
  2. It allowed the central government and the state governments to issue directions for intercepting or monitoring information under section 69 based on recommendations from the standing committee on IT.
  3. Through the revised sectionadditional safeguards, such as the Information Technology Rules, 2009 (“Interception Rules”), are also introduced for the issuance of such interception orders.

National Cyber Security Policy of 2013:

1.    Under the country’s nodal agency, NCIIPC (National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre):

2.    Cyber-security multilateralism development, as India and the US did in 2016 was to coordinate best cyber security practices and exchange real-time information about malicious cyber-attacks.

  1. Establishing the National Cyber Coordination Centre (“NCCC”) to gain a comprehensive understanding of cyber security threats.
  2. To enable timely information sharing between individual entities for preventative action.


'Harimau Shakti-2022' begins

GS -2 (International Relations)

joint military exercise involving troops of India and Malaysia began with an aim to enhance inter-operability in the planning and execution of various operations in the jungle terrain, the defence ministry said. The India-Malaysia joint military exercise, 'Harimau Shakti-2022', commenced at Pulai, Kluang, Malaysia.

More about the news:

  1. The exercise is an annual training event between the Indian Army and the Malaysian Army being held since 2012.
  2. This year Combat-experienced troops of the Garhwal Rifles Regiment of the Indian Army and the Royal Malay Regiment of the Malaysian Army are participating in the exercise to share experiences gained during operations in order to enhance inter-operability in planning and execution of various operations in jungle terrain.
  3. The scope of this exercise involves command planning at the battalion level and company-level field training on sub-conventional operations in jungle terrain.
  4. The joint exercise schedule includes the establishment of a joint command post, joint surveillance centre, and sharing expertise in the employment of aerial assets, technical demonstrations, casualty management, and casualty evacuation apart from planning logistics at the battalion level.
  5. It will culminate with a two-day validation exercise where a special emphasis will be on enhancing tactical skills and enhancing inter-operability between the forces and promoting army-to-army relations.
  6. The exercise will enhance the level of defence cooperation between the Indian Army and the Malaysian Army, which in turn will further foster the bilateral relations between the two nations.
  7. Also, exercise GarudaShakti 2022 Troops from Indian Army ‘SpecialForces’ and Indonesian Kostrad undergoing 96 hours validation exercise in jungle terrain during the on-going joint exercise.