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Binayak Dasgupta

Binayak reports on information security, privacy and scientific research in health and environment with explanatory pieces. He also edits the news sections of the newspaper.

Articles by Binayak Dasgupta

Hacked PM Modi’s Twitter account to make a point on PayTM Mall breach: Hackers

On August 30, cyber security firm Cyble reported that a hacking group identifying itself as John Wick “was able to gain unrestricted access to the entire databases” of PayTM Mall

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 03, 2020 12:23 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Antisocial media: Why Facebook’s missteps threaten internet and society

Experts say company has wielded policies opaquely, pushing the case of regulator role that could change the nature of the internet.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg(AP file photo)
Updated on Sep 03, 2020 05:20 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Virus spreads in aircraft but transmission risk low: Study

Closed indoor spaces have become a particular worry for the spread of the Sars-Cov2, which can linger on as aerosols; people usually breathe out microscopic viral particles even when they speak but the volume increases drastically if someone coughs or sneezes.

A passenger wears personal protective equipment on a Delta Airlines flight after landing at Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport, in Minneapolis.(AP)
Updated on Aug 22, 2020 06:18 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Why Delhi sero survey findings do not mean you’re safe

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said the findings indicate the city was inching towards the herd immunity threshold, but cautioned that a resurgence of the coronavirus disease cannot be ruled out.

Migrant workers arriving from other states sit for rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 at Anand Vihar bus terminal in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 21, 2020 05:29 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

New immunity insights a boost against Covid-19

In a study, the researchers tested 15 people who had Covid-19, once between the first 20 days since they had the disease and for a second time around 86 days later, when the researchers found stable levels of B and T memory cells.

BMC Health worker and doctor conduct thermal screening and pulse test of a resident at Dharavi during Covid 19 pandemic in Mumbai(Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 19, 2020 04:00 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Antibodies can ward off second infection: Study

HT Image
Updated on Aug 17, 2020 08:21 AM IST
By, New Delhi

People recovered from Covid-19 protected from virus, finds study

The findings are significant since they are the closest confirmation yet that the world’s main strategy of using vaccines to trigger immune response could indeed work to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

A health worker of Pune district council collects a swab sample from test for Covid-19 infection at Sharad Pawar Bahudheshiya Bhavan, Dhankavadi in Pune on Sunday.(Rahul Raut/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 17, 2020 03:10 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Report on Facebook’s leniency to BJP members’ communal posts causes row

In an article published late on Friday, the Wall Street Journal cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders to claim that the company’s senior India policy executive Ankhi Das intervened in internal content review processes to stop a ban on BJP’s Telangana MLA T Raja Singh, who made communally charged posts targeting the Muslim community.

A party functionary, who asked not to be named, said the BJP does not subscribe to the views of Singh and has distanced itself from comments that call for violence or are not in line with the party’s stance.(AFP)
Updated on Aug 16, 2020 08:31 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBinayak Dasgupta , Aurangzeb Naqshbandi and Sunetra Choudhury, New Delhi

Dial-up dreams to Wi-Fi wonderland

Today, internet connectivity is at least 4,000 times as fast, and costs a fraction of what it did 25 years ago. It had in 1995 all of 23,500 websites (compared to 1.8 billion now, according to Internet Live States).

India’s internet journey began with slight trepidation, heaps of excitement, and the collective efforts of a small but a driven group of people.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Aug 14, 2020 12:25 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Aarogya Setu vulnerable? Drama over data firm’s contention

The blog post refers to events that happened in late June, and added that the issue was fixed a day after Shadow Map pointed it out to the relevant authorities.

The blog post refers to events that happened in late June, and added that the issue was fixed a day after Shadow Map pointed it out to the relevant authorities.(AP)
Updated on Aug 13, 2020 12:52 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

In its fight against coronavirus, Capital has turned a corner: CM Kejriwal

“We should be prepared if there is another difficult situation,” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in an interview with HT, citing the example of the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918 (when subsequent peaks were worse than the initial one) to urge people not to become complacent

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal identified increased testing as a crucial step other states must replicate in order to control the epidemic.(Raj K Raj/ HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 19, 2020 11:52 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySweta Goswami and Binayak Dasgupta

Use data to predict upcoming hotspots, says epidemiologist who predicted million cases in mid-July

“The first million has happened in four months, the next million will happen before the end of next month if we give in,” says Bhramar Mukherjee, the head of the Biostatistics department at University of Michigan in an interview to HT.

Healthcare workers register names of people for Covid-19 testing, at Sane Guruji Smarak, during lockdown, Sinhagad road, in Pune.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 18, 2020 04:29 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

1 million Covid-19 infections in India, toll nears 25,600

On Thursday, India had 343,268 active cases and the case fatality rate (CFR) — the proportion of people who succumbed to the illness from among known infections — was 2.5%.

A BMC health care worker checks the temperature of the resident at Dharavi during Covid-19 pandemic in Mumbai on Thursday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 17, 2020 12:56 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Sanchita Sharma, New Delhi

Hackers post NHAI data online, say there’s more

The information was posted online on July 2, two days day after NHAI denied any sensitive information was compromised.

NHAI is responsible for building and maintaining the country’s highways. The agency manages contracts worth millions of rupees in a year, and its network systems are used for sensitive data, including toll management.(ANI file photo)
Updated on Jul 04, 2020 07:22 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Anisha Dutta

Mass surveillance risk real with Chinese apps: Experts

One of the strongest hints came last year when Dutch cybersecurity experts discovered billions of messages of users of Chinese apps WeChat and QQ, which were stored in a manner that suggested they were part of a massive dragnet that was used to censor content on these platforms.

A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration(REUTERS)
Updated on Jul 01, 2020 11:32 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Hackers dump trove of IndiaBulls data as first ransom deadline ends

The data dump came at the end of a 24-hour deadline and was followed by a threat to leak another tranche of sensitive information, Singapore-based Cyble said, identifying the alleged hackers as a group deploying what is known as the CL0P ransomware.

The leak included scans of customers’ KYC (know your customer) documents such Aadhaar cards, voter ID, PAN cards and passports, employees’ official ID details and phone numbers.(Bloomberg file photo)
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 03:50 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Cyber attack: At least nine rights activists targeted

Among the targets were lawyers representing the activists arrested over the Bhima Koregaon case and some of who were subject to attacks through the Pegasus spyware that was delivered through WhatsApp.

Spearphishing is a sophisticated cyber attack compared that is tailored to gain the target’s trust by, say, impersonating a known contact.
Updated on Jun 16, 2020 03:24 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Twitter takes down China-linked disinfo campaign on Covid-19, Hong Kong protests

Digital information researchers said such operations can have a particularly harmful effect in the middle of a pandemic like Covid-19.

Demonstrators wearing protective masks shine lights from their smartphones during a protest in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong, China on Friday.(Bloomberg)
Updated on Jun 13, 2020 01:45 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is ‘very rare’, says WHO

WHO official epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove made the statement at a briefing in Geneva, where officials from the global health agency said that new coronavirus cases had their biggest daily increase ever and countries must continue with efforts to contain the virus.

Last week, China announced results from its population-wide testing of residents in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, where they found 300 asymptomatic coronavirus patients among the city’s 9.98 million residents.(Reuters)
Updated on Jun 09, 2020 07:10 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Study links respiratory illness during Covid to blood groups

The study, published on preprint server medRxiv, is yet to be peer reviewed. The researchers carried out a genome-wide association analysis to determine what genes were common among those that developed a severe respiratory illness after being infected by Sars-Cov-2.

The ABO blood group locus refers to a set of genes that determine which blood group an individual has.(Reuters)
Updated on Jun 05, 2020 04:01 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Lockdown avoided Covid fatalities, but may cost lives indirectly: Study

The working paper titled Interim Report on India’s Lockdown, submitted to American non-profit research agency National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), analyses the philosophy of the lockdown in the Indian context, its impact, as well as the administration’s response to mitigate these consequences.

The lockdown has been marked by a widespread return of low-paid urban migrants, who undertook gruelling journeys by foot, on illegally running trucks and crammed into special trains.
Updated on Jun 04, 2020 04:59 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Coders flag host of issues, offer tips to improve Aarogya Setu

A review of issues posted by people varied from concerns over the way the app deployed Bluetooth, typos in the text displayed by the application and suggestions for improvements.

The code of Aarogya Setu for Android phones was shared at 12am on Wednesday on code-sharing website GitHub.(Reuters)
Updated on May 29, 2020 08:40 AM IST
Hindustan Times | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Deeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi

Protection or threat? Experts say Aarogya Setu poses national security risk

Indian government officials reject these concerns, saying their encryption standards have adequate protection against data or network breaches.

Data of millions of Indians, collected through the Aarogya Setu app, could be vulnerable to threats from adversarial state and non-state actors and pose a national security challenge, according to cybersecurity experts and former intelligence officials.(AP fie photo)
Updated on May 23, 2020 12:35 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

French researcher flags Aarogya flaws, govt denies

According to French researcher Elliot Alderson, the Aarogya Setu application’s location functionality can be paired with a technique called triangulation, which could allow anyone who can manipulate the programme at a technical level to determine who is infected in a specific, 1-metre area.

The developers of the Aarogya Setu application dismissed the findings of Elliot Alderson.(File Photo)
Updated on May 07, 2020 03:58 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBinayak Dasgupta and Amrita Madhukalya

Restaurants stare at uncertain future as customers may not have the stomach to dine out

Nightclubs, bars and the banqueting business will be particularly affected, the NRAI president said, since these depend on large crowds.

A combination of risks has made this segment of the hospitality business particularly vulnerable to the crisis, with infections feared to spread in closed, indoor spaces (Photo: Shivam Saxena/Hindustan Times)
Updated on May 04, 2020 05:30 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Private vehicle use may surge after crisis

The risk of an outbreak linked to mass transit grows when people spend more time in a bus or a train, and use or pass through stations that typically see a heavy rush of passengers, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Environmental Health.

Most experts believe that for the time being, and possibly over the next few years, people may pivot to using personal vehicles.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Updated on May 23, 2020 10:11 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRisha Chitlangia and Binayak Dasgupta, New Delhi

Social distancing here to stay, small groups may be key

A vaccine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is at least a year – if not two or more -- away. The most successful of therapies identified till now have limited benefits at best.

Achieving herd immunity could possibly lead to millions of deaths worldwide – 246,827 had already succumbed till Sunday – and hence not realistically possible.(ANI)
Updated on May 23, 2020 10:10 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Test health workers, hospital staff once a week to reduce transmission risk: Study

In India, according to the Union health ministry’s testing protocols, only symptomatic health care workers will be eligible for a Covid-19 test.

On Sunday, at least 29 health workers – including 12 doctors and 11 nurses -- tested positive for Covid-19 at a single hospital in New Delhi.(Satish Bate/HT file photo)
Updated on May 23, 2020 10:11 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
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