- Pegasus Spyware:Malicious software
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Moon’s Wobble Effect
- NASA and Hubble Space Telescope
- Lokpal and Director of Inquiry
- Mangal Pandey Jayant
1.Pegasus Spyware:Malicious software
#GS3:Cyber Security,Cyber Warfare,Challenges to Internal Security Through Communication Networks#GS Paper – 2:Government Policies & Interventions
- It was recently reported that Pegasus, the malicious software, was allegedly used to secretly monitor and spy on a large number of public figures in India.
- It is a type of malicious software or malware classified as a spyware.
- It is designed to gain access to devices, without the knowledge of users, and gather personal information and relay it back to whoever it is that is using the software to spy.
- Pegasus has been developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group that was set up in 2010.
- The first version of Pegasus discovered, which was captured by researchers in 2016, infected phones via spear-phishing – text messages or emails that trick a target into clicking on a malicious link.
- However, NSO’s attack capabilities have evolved since then.Pegasus infections are possible through so-called “zero-click” attacks, which do not require any interaction from the phone’s owner to succeed.
- These will frequently exploit “zero-day” vulnerabilities, which are flaws or bugs in an operating system that the manufacturer of the mobile phone is unaware of and thus has not been able to fix.
- An Israeli surveillance firm has targeted human rights activists, journalists, and lawyers all over the world with phone malware sold to authoritarian governments.
- Indian ministers, government officials, and opposition leaders are among those whose phones may have been infiltrated by the spyware.
- WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in a US court in 2019 against Israel’s NSO Group, alleging that the company was incorporating cyber-attacks on the app by infecting mobile devices with malicious software.
Steps Taken in India:
- Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative: It was launched in 2018 with the goal of raising awareness about cybercrime and increasing the capacity of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.
- National Cyber security Coordination Centre (NCCC): The NCCC was established in 2017 to scan internet traffic and communication metadata (small snippets of information hidden within each communication) entering the country in order to detect real-time cyber threats.
- Cyber Swachhta Kendra: This platform was launched in 2017 to help internet users clean their computers and devices of viruses and malware.
- Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): I4C was recently inaugurated by the government.
- National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal has also been launched pan India.
- Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-IN): It is the nodal agency which deals with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing.
- Information Technology Act, 2000.
- Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.
- International Mechanisms:
- International Telecommunication Union (ITU):It is a specialised agency within the United Nations which plays a leading role in the standardisation and development of telecommunications and cyber security issues.
- Budapest Convention on Cybercrime: It is an international treaty that seeks to address Internet and computer crime (cybercrime) by harmonising national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations. It came into force on 1st July 2004.
- India is not a signatory to this convention.
Types of Cyber Attacks
- It is an abbreviation for malicious software, which refers to any type of software that is intended to cause harm to a single computer, server, or computer network. Malware includes ransomware, spyware, worms, viruses, and Trojans.
- Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks:
- Eavesdropping attacks occur when attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction.
- Once the attackers have disrupted the traffic, they can filter and steal data.
- It is the practise of attempting to obtain personal information through deceptive e-mails and websites.
- Social Engineering:
- It is an attack that relies on human interaction to trick users into breaking security procedures in order to gain sensitive information that is typically protected.
- Denial of Service attacks:
- A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is an attempt to bring a machine or network to a halt, rendering it inaccessible to its intended users.
- DoS attacks achieve this by flooding the target with traffic or sending it information that causes it to crash.
- SQL Injection:
- SQL is an abbreviation for Structured Query Language, a programming language used to interact with databases.
- SQL is used to manage the data in many of the servers that store critical data for websites and services.
- A SQL injection attack specifically targets such servers, employing malicious code to force the server to divulge information it would not normally divulge.
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS):
- This attack, like a SQL injection attack, involves injecting malicious code into a website, but in this case the website itself is not being attacked. Instead, the malicious code injected by the attacker only runs in the user’s browser when they visit the attacked website, and it targets the visitor directly rather than the website.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Moon’s Wobble Effect
#GS1: Physical Geography, Important Geophysical Phenomena
- Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has highlighted Moon’s Wobble as a potential problem in the near future.
- When the Moon makes its elliptical orbit, its velocity varies and alters causing our perspective of the “light side” to appear at slightly different angles. This is what it calls the Moon’s wobble or that is how it appears to our eyes.
- It is a cyclical shift in the moon’s orbit, as well as a regular swaying (Oscillation) of the moon’s orbit.
- It was first documented way back in 1728. This wobble takes over an 18.6-year period to complete. It acts as a background of sea level rise.
Impact of Wobble on Earth:
- The moon wobble affects the moon’s gravitational pull and thus indirectly influences the ebb and flow of tides on Earth.
- Each wobble cycle has the ability to both amplify and suppress Earth’s tides.
- The Earth’s regular tides are suppressed during half of the Moon’s orbit of 18.6 years, i.e. high tides are lower than normal and low tides are higher than normal (Current situation).
- In the other half, the effect is reversed, which is called the tide-amplifying phase of the Moon.
- The lunar cycle is expected to shift again by mid-2030, and the tides will amplify once more.
- The upcoming lunar cycle changes will pose a serious threat, as amplified high tides combined with rising sea levels will increase the risk of flooding across all coastal regions around the world.It raises the baseline, and the more the baseline is raised, the smaller the weather event to cause flooding.
- It raises the baseline, and the higher the baseline, the less likely a weather event is to cause flooding.
- High tide-related floods, also known as nuisance floods or sunny day floods, can occur in clusters that can last months or even years.
- The position of the Moon, Earth, and Sun will be closely associated with this surge.
· Tides can be defined as the alternate rise and fall of the ocean water.
· It is caused by the combined effects of the gravitational force exerted on Earth by the Sun, the gravitational force exerted on Earth by the Moon and rotation of the Earth.
· Spring Tide:
· It occurs on full moon and new moon days when the sun, moon, and earth are in the same line twice a lunar month, all year long, regardless of season.
· Neap Tide:
· When the moon is in its first and last quarters, the ocean waters are drawn in opposite directions by the gravitational pull of the sun and the earth, resulting in low tides.
Stages of Tidal Changes:
· When the tidal crest arrives at a specific location on the shore, it raises the local sea level.
· The trough arrives at low tide, lowering the local sea level.
· A flood tide is a rising or incoming tide that occurs between low and high tide.
· Ebb tide is a falling or outgoing tide that occurs between high and low tide.
· The vertical distance between high tide and low tide is the tidal range.
· Tides have an impact on other aspects of oceanic life, such as fish and ocean plant reproduction.
· The use of high tides aids navigation. They raise the water level close to the shores which helps the ships to arrive at the harbour more easily.
· Tides stirr the ocean water that makes habitable climatic conditions and balance the temperatures on the planets.
· The fast movement of water during the inflow and outflow will provide a source of renewable energy to communities living along the coast.
- NASA and Hubble Space Telescope
#GS 3: Space Technology
- NASA has returned the science instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to operational status, almost a month after suspending their work due to trouble with its payload computer.
About Hubble Space Telescope
- It takes its name from the astronomer Edwin Hubble.
- Since its launch, the observatory has made groundbreaking discoveries in the field of astronomy as the first major optical telescope to be placed in space (into Low Earth orbit in 1990).
- It is described as the “most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope.”It is part of NASA’s Great Observatories Program, which consists of four space-based observatories that each observe the Universe in a different way.
- The visible-light Spitzer Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory are among the other missions in the programme (CXO).
Large and Versatile:
- It is larger than a school bus (13.3 metres in length) and has a 7.9-foot mirror.
- It captures images of deep space, which aids astronomers in understanding the universe by observing the most distant stars, galaxies, and planets.
Data Open to People:
- On any given day, anyone in the public can search the Hubble database to see which new galaxy was discovered, what unusual features of our stars, solar system, and planets it discovered, and what patterns of ionised gases it discovered.
Important Contribution of HST:
- The Universe’s expansion was accelerating in the 1990s, leading to the conclusion that the majority of the cosmos was made up of a mysterious “stuff” known as dark energy.
- Southern Ring Nebula Snapshot (1995), it showed two stars, a bright white star and a fainter dull star at the nebula’s centre, where the dull star was indeed creating the entire nebula.
- Two dwarf galaxies collided in 1998, one of which is I Zwicky 18. This resulted in the birth of a new star.
- Colorful gas patterns in the ‘Circinus Galaxy,’ a black hole-powered galaxy (1999).
- Collision between two galaxies UGC 06471 and UGC 06472 (2000).
- Snapshot of Neptune (2011):
- The most distant planet’s image revealed the formation of high-altitude clouds made of methane ice crystals.
- In 2012, the disc surrounding the star ‘Beta Pictoris,’ discovered in 1984, was discovered to be made up of two planets, light-scattering dust, and debris.
- It captured the ‘Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744’ in 2013. It is 3.5 billion light-years away and has several clusters of small galaxies in it.
- It also poses a strong gravitational field which acts as a lens to reflect the light of almost 3,000 background galaxies.
- Captured an encounter of a comet named C/2013 A1 with Mars in 2014.
- The ‘Gum 29’, a vibrant stellar being ground, which is 20,000 light-years away, consisting of a giant cluster of 3,000 stars was captured in 2014.
- This behemoth cluster of stars is called ‘Westerlund 2’.
- Captured the disintegration of an ancient comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami in 2016.
- The Triangulum Galaxy was snapped depicting the specific areas of star birth with a bright blue light spreading across the galaxy in beautiful nebulas of hot gas in 2017.
- Picture of ‘Galaxy ESO 243-49, which had a medium-sized black hole in 2012.
|Successor of HST:
· The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Hubble’s successor, is set to launch later this year.
· Many astronomers, however, believe that the two will be able to coexist for some time.
James Webb Space Telescope
· The James Webb Space Telescope (also known as JWST or Webb) will be a large infrared telescope with a primary mirror measuring 6.5 metres in diameter.
· In 2021, the telescope will be launched from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket.
· It will investigate every stage of our Universe’s history, from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets such as Earth, as well as the evolution of our own Solar System.
· Webb is a joint venture between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
- Lokpal and Director of Inquiry
#GS 2: Statutory, Regulatory & Various Quasi-judicial Bodies
- The Centre is yet to appoint a director of inquiry as prescribed by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
- A director of inquiry is required by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013.
- Between April and June of this year, the Lokpal received 12 complaints of corruption, eight of which were against senior officials, according to official data.
- During 2020-21, the Lokpal received 110 complaints, including four against MPs, a decrease of more than 92 percent from the 1,427 complaints received in 2019-20.
- The term “Lokpal” is derived from the Sanskrit words “loka,” which means “people,” and “pala,” which means “protector or caretaker.” It means “protector of people” when put together.
- The ombudsman system originated in Scandinavian countries.
- It first appeared in Sweden in 1713, when the king appointed a “chancellor of justice” to act as an invigilator to investigate the functioning of a wartime government.
- The institution of the ombudsman grew and developed most significantly during the twentieth century.
- Ombudsman institutions grew in number, particularly after World War II, when nearly a hundred of them were established.
- The ombudsman is known as lokpal or lok-ayukta in India.
- The concept of a constitutional ombudsman was first proposed in parliament by then-law minister Ashok Kumar Sen in the early 1960s.
- L.M.Singhvi coined the terms lokpal and lokayukta to describe the Indian model of an ombudsman for the redressal of public grievances.
- It was passed in lok sabha In the year 1968 but it was lapsed with dissolution of lok sabha and since then has lapsed in the lok sabha many times.
Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013
- The goal of enacting such a law is to eliminate corruption at all levels of the Indian government.
- A failure of the administrative structure has ramifications for the overall growth of the state; the main reason for the failure of the administration can be attributed to the negative effects of corruption.
- To combat the threat of corruption, the institution of “ombudsman” was created, and it has played a significant role in fighting it.
Act will provide:
- Mandates to establish a Lokpal for the Union and a Lokayukta for each state
- To look into allegations of corruption against certain public officials, as well as other related matters.
- The act covers the entire country of India and applies to “public servants” both inside and outside the country.
- The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011 and passed by the House on 27 December. Finally, it received assent on January 1, 2014, and went into effect on January 16, 2014.
Structure of lokpal:
- The institution of Lokpal is a statutory body without any constitutional backing.
- Lokpal is a multi member body, made up of
- one chairperson and
- maximum of 8 members.
- Eight members will be divided as such:
- Half will be judicial members.
- Minimum fifty per cent of the Members will be from SC / ST / OBC / Minorities and women.
- The judicial member of the Lokpal should be either a former Judge of the Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a High Court.
- The non-judicial member should be an eminent person with impeccable integrity and outstanding ability, having special knowledge and expertise of minimum 25 years in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management.
- The person who is to be appointed as the chairperson of the Lokpal should be either the former Chief Justice of India Or the former Judge of Supreme Court Or an eminent person with impeccable integrity and outstanding ability, having special knowledge and expertise of minimum 25 years in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management.
- The members are appointed by the president on the recommendation of a selection committee, composed of:
- The Prime Minister who is the Chairperson;
- Speaker of Lok Sabha ,
- Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha ,
- Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him / her, and
- One eminent jurist.
- According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, there shall be a Director of Inquiry,
not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, who shall be appointed by the Central government for conducting preliminary inquiries referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by the Lokpal.
Powers of Lokpal
- It has the authority to superintend and direct the CBI.
- If it has referred a case to the CBI, the investigating officer cannot be transferred without Lokpal’s approval.
- Powers to authorise CBI for search and seizure operations connected to such cases.
- The Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal has been vested with the powers of a civil court.
- In exceptional circumstances, Lokpal has the authority to seize assets, proceeds, receipts, and benefits derived or obtained through corruption.
- Lokpal has the authority to recommend the transfer or suspension of public employees involved in allegations of corruption.
- Lokpal has the authority to issue orders to prevent the destruction of records during the preliminary investigation.
Jurisdiction of lokpal:
- Prime Minister included: The jurisdiction of the Lokpal will include the Prime Minister except on:
- Allegations of corruption relating to international relations, security, the public order, atomic energy and space and
- Also, unless a Full Bench of the Lokpal and at least two-thirds of members approve an inquiry.
- It will be held in-camera and if the Lokpal so desires, the records of the inquiry will not be published or made available to anyone.
- Ministers and MPs: The Lokpal will also have jurisdiction over Ministers and MPs except not in the matter of anything said in Parliament or a vote given there.
- Public Servants: Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants.
- Group A, B, C or D officers defined as such under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 will be covered under the Lokpal but any corruption complaint against Group A and B officers, after inquiry, will come to the Lokpal.
- However, in the case of Group C and D officers, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner will investigate and report to the Lokpal.
- However, it provides adequate protection for honest and upright Public Servants.
- Also any person who is or has been in charge (director / manager/ secretary) of any body / society set up by central act or any other body financed / controlled by central government and any other person involved in act of abetting, bribe giving or bribe taking.
Need for Lokpal
- Lack of Independence: Most of our agencies, such as the CBI, state vigilance departments, internal vigilance wings of various departments, the Anti-corruption Branch of the state police, and so on, are not independent. In many cases, they must report to the same people who are either themselves accused or are likely to be influenced by the accused.
- Powerless: Some bodies, such as the CVC or Lokayuktas, are independent, but they have no powers. They have been designated as advisory bodies. They advise governments on two options: imposing departmental penalties on any officer or prosecuting him in court. Experience has shown that when a minister or a senior officer is involved, their advice is rarely heeded.
- Lack of Transparency and internal accountability: In addition, there is the problem of internal transparency and accountability of these anti-corruption agencies. Presently, there isn’t any separate and effective mechanism to check if the staff of these anti-corruption agencies turns corrupt. That is why, despite the existence of numerous agencies, corrupt individuals are rarely prosecuted. Corruption has become a high-paying profession.
- Political Influence: The appointing committee of Lokpal consists of members from political parties that put Lokpal under political influence.
- No criteria to decide eminent Jurist: There are no criteria to decide who is an ‘eminent jurist’ or ‘a person of integrity’ which manipulates the method of the appointment of Lokpal.
- No proper immunity to Whistle Blowers: The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 failed to provide any kind of concrete immunity to the whistleblowers. The provision related to the initiation of inquiry against the complainant, in cases where the accused is found innocent, leads to discouraging people from making complaints.
- Judiciary excluded: One of the biggest lacunae is the exclusion of the judiciary from the ambit of the Lokpal.
- No constitutional backing: The Lokpal does not have any constitutional backing.
- No provisions of appeal: There are no adequate provisions for appeal against the actions of Lokpal.
- Time period for filing Complaint: The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act also mandates that no complaint against corruption can be registered after a period of seven years from the date on which the mentioned offense is alleged to have been committed.
- The establishment of lokpal was a watershed moment in Indian politics.
- The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 has the potential to provide a fruitful solution to the never-ending problem of corruption.
- The Lokpal should be granted constitutional status in order to increase its functional autonomy and effectiveness.
- Any manpower shortages caused by administrative lapses must be addressed.
5.Mangal Pandey Jayanti
#GS1: Modern Indian History, Significant Events, Personalities
- Many politicians paid tribute to Mangal Pandey, the first revolutionary Indian freedom fighter, on his 194th birth anniversary.
Early Life of Mangal Pandey
- He was born on July 19, 1827, in a town near Faizabad, what is now eastern Uttar Pradesh state in northern India, although some give his birthplace as a small village near Lalitpur (in present-day southwestern Uttar Pradesh).
- He was from a high-caste Brahman landowning family that professed strong Hindu beliefs.
- He joined the army of the British East India Company in 1849 and he was made a soldier (sepoy) in the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, which included a large number of Brahmans.
- In India, Pandey has been remembered as a freedom fighter against British rule.
- A commemorative postage stamp with his image on it was issued by the Indian government in 1984.
- In addition, a movie and stage play that depicted his life both appeared in 2005.
Revolt of 1857 (Sepoy Mutiny or First War of Independence)
- It was the widespread rebellion against British rule in India in 1857–59 which began in Meerut by Indian troops (sepoys) in the service of the British East India Company; it spread to Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, and Lucknow.
- It was a major upheaval against the British Rule in which the disgruntled princes, to disconnected sepoys and disillusioned elements, participated.
- Since the East India Company’s inception, there has been a slew of opposition from disparate sections of the subcontinent.
- There were a slew of civil unrests and local uprisings that were scattered, localised, and extremely violent. The majority of these movements arose as a result of popular dissatisfaction with British rule.
Rebellion against EIC:
- He revolted against the East India Company for introducing cartridges greased with animal fat, which offended the soldiers’ religious sensibilities.
- This rebel movement eventually spread to other parts of India, resulting in a mass revolt against the government.
- The protest and rebellion became known as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, also known as the First War of Independence.
- Pandey and his fellow sepoys rose up in rebellion against the British officers on March 29, 1857, and even attempted to shoot them. As a result, he was executed in Barrackpore on April 7, 1857.
- The entire 34th Bengal Native Infantry was disbanded ‘with disgrace’ on May 6th. This was done after an investigation revealed that the soldiers had failed to restrain a mutinying soldier.
- Although Revolt began as a military uprising there were several Political, administrative, socio-cultural, economic, religious, cultural and immediate causes of the revolt.
- Subsidiary Alliance: As a result of the British policy of territorial annexation, a large number of rulers and chiefs were displaced. The vigorous implementation of Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse policies enraged the ruling classes.
- Discontent and dissatisfaction were especially strong in regions thought to have lost their independence.
- India was Governed from Foreign Land: India was being governed from a foreign country which meant that the rulers of India were carrying on their administration in India while sitting at a distance of thousands of miles away from this country.
- Suspension of Pension: Suspension of pensions of some of the Indian chiefs and who were disposed of by the company.
- Doctrine of Lapse: The practical application of Lord Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse caused unprecedented discontent in the directly affected states.
- Humiliating and Rush Policy Towards Mughal Successors: The British never kept their written or verbal promises, which naturally resulted in hatred and revolts.
- Loss of Benefits and Privileges: The East India Company’s annexation policy deprived Indian aristocrats of economic and social privileges they had previously enjoyed.
- Exclusion of Indians from Higher Administrative Positions: Indians were barred from all jobs in the new administrative machinery, both civil and military.All the Higher posts in British administration were kept reserved for the English people to the exclusion of the Indians.
- Economic exploitation of all sections: The Company’s only interest was to collect as much revenue as possible with as little effort as possible. As a result of their colonial economic exploitation policies, industry, trade, commerce, and agriculture declined, and India became de-industrialized, impoverished, and indebted.
- Ruin of the Mercantile Class: The British purposefully hampered Indian trade and commerce by levying high tariffs on Indian goods.
- Destruction of Indian Manufacturers: The British policy of promoting the import of cotton goods from England to India destroyed all Indian cotton textile manufacturers.
- Pressure on Land: The demise of Indian industry and commerce rendered many people unemployed, and a lack of alternative occupational opportunities forced a large portion of the urban population to rely on the village economy.
- Social Exclusiveness: Indians were dissatisfied with the British policy of social exclusivity and arrogance toward them.They had been infected with a sense of racial superiority.
- Social Legislation: The British social legislation was also a cause of the Revolt of 1857. The British attempted to eradicate social evils such as the practise of Sati and infanticide.
- They also encouraged widow marriage, for which they passed various social legislation, such as Lord William Bentinck’s abolishment of Sati in 1829, with the support of educated and enlightened Indians such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
- General Service Enlistment Act (1856): As they were forced to go on expeditions to Burma and Afghanistan, which violated their religious scruples, Indian soldiers harboured grievances against the British.
- Disparity in pay between Indian soldiers and British soldiers
- The Immediate Cause Is Greased Cartridges
- It was in 1856 that sepoys were required by regulation to bite the end of the cartridge before using it.
- There was a rumour that the cartridges for the new Enfield rifles were greased with cow and pig fat.
- The British Government denied the truth of this allegation due to their ignorance. However, after a secret investigation, it was discovered that cow and pig fat had been used. As a result, the sepoys became enraged. These factors contributed to the immediate start of the Great Mutiny of 1857.