Zoom: The Interior Ministry (MHA) has issued a notice that Zoom is not a secure platform. Zoom is an American company. But the software used on the online platform is said to have been manufactured in China and some calls were also routed through servers in China. Following a recent public debate on surveillance and theft of private data during these calls, the MHA Cyber Coordination Center has issued a series of guidelines for safe use by individuals. The guidelines were not intended for government offices and government officials, Interestingly, a note shared on April 2 by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) said that several vulnerabilities have been reported on the video conferencing platform “that could allow an attacker to obtain elevated privileges or obtain confidential information.”Regarding the guidelines, users are recommended to set strong passwords and activate the” waiting room “function so that call administrators can better control participants. They ask users to avoid using personal meeting IDs to organize events, and to use randomly generated meeting IDs for each event instead of sharing the link on public platforms. However, for many, including senior officials from key departments, the notification may have arrived too late. On April 1, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh posted photos of a virtual meeting with officials where he was seen using Zoom. The departments of civil aviation, road transport and small and medium-sized industries also used Zoom after the closure was imposed on March 24. On Thursday, even after the notice was published, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) used the platform for a videoconference with around sixty journalists. The Union’s Department of Health, which coordinates with the states during COVID-19, also used Zoom for videoconferencing. A Ministry of Health official said he would suspend the use of Zoom after notification from MHA.
- Covid Watch : The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India shot up to 13,032 with the death toll at 436. Globally, more than 2,083,820 people are infected, with the casualty count standing at 137,500.
- Rapid test kits : Speaking of tests, India received 5 lakh rapid COVID-19 testing kits from China today. These are basically antibody tests. The Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR, Dr. Raman R. Gangakhedkar, said these will be used for surveillance and to monitor whether coronavirus hotspots in the country are increasing or decreasing. Rapid antibody tests are for monitoring and surveillance rather than for diagnosis. Regarding concern over the efficacy of the rapid antibody testing kits, Gangakedhkar said that if an antibody test of a person turns out to be positive, one cannot necessarily be sure the person would not get infected again. “This means, even if an antibody is present, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be able to fight off the virus.”
- Quarantine after pizza: A 19-year-old pizza delivery boy tested positive for the new coronavirus in Delhi, prompting authorities to quarantine 89 people, including 72 people in south Delhi whose homes he had delivered. “A total of 17 people, including the store owner and other delivery people, were placed in institutional quarantine.