India’s cybersecurity agency warns people of credit card skimming via e-commerce sites

Agencies
July 18, 2020

New Delhi, Jul 18: India's national cybersecurity agency CERT-in, has warned people of credit card skimming spreading across the world through e-commerce platforms.

Attackers are typically targeting e-commerce sites because of their wide presence, popularity and the environment LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) said in a notice on Thursday.

Recently, attackers targeted sites which were hosted on Microsoft's IIS server running with the ASP.NET web application framework, it said.

Some of the sites affected by the attack were found to be running ASP.NET version 4.0.30319, which is no longer officially supported by Microsoft and may contain multiple vulnerabilities, CERT-In said.

The notice also included a list of best practices for website developers including the use of the latest version of ASP.NET web framework, IIS web server and database server.

The advisory is based on research by Malwarebytes which found that this skimming campaign likely began sometime in April this year.

Credit card skimming has become a popular activity for cybercriminals over the past few years, and the increase in online shopping during the pandemic means additional business for them, too, Malwarebytes said in a blog post, adding that attackers do not need to limit themselves to the most popular e-commerce platforms.

Researchers from global cybersecurity and anti-virus brand Kaspersky had warned in December last year that more cybercriminal groups will target online payment processing systems in 2020. 

It said that over the past couple of years, so-called JS-skimming (the method of stealing of payment card data from online stores), has gained immense popularity among attackers. 

Kaspersky researchers in their report said they are currently aware of at least 10 different actors involved in these type of attacks.

Their number will continue to grow during the next year, the report said, adding that the most dangerous attacks will be on companies that provide services such as e-commerce as-a-service, which will lead to the compromise of thousands of companies.

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Agencies
September 15,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 15: The small cap index posted its biggest single day gain in over six years on Monday after the SEBI circular on multi cap mutual funds triggered buying.

The estimates by analysts and brokerage houses indicate that the net inflow from large caps would be around Rs 27,000 crore into the small caps and around Rs 13,000 crore into the mid caps following the SEBI circular to invest 25 per cent each of assets of multi cap funds into large, mid and small cap stocks.

The huge rally in small cap stocks has come even after fund managers asked investors not to rush to buy small cap stocks in haste and there were clarifications that mutual funds have several options apart from rebalancing their schemes including a merger of schemes to comply with the circular.

Siddhartha Khemka, Head - Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services said mid-cap and small cap stocks gained sharply.

He said investors were attracted towards Mid/small caps due to the SEBI mandate to Multicap mutual funds to invest a minimum of 25 per cent each in large, mid and small cap stocks. Small Cap Index posted its biggest 1-day gain in over six years.

Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities said that the recent SEBI circular on allocation by Multicap schemes spurred buying in a lot of small and midcaps in anticipation of fund buying that could emerge later to adhere to the new regulation. The Nifty midcap index ended 2.6 per cent higher while the smallcap index gained 5.6 per cent - the most since May 2014.

Nifty has ended the first day of the week in the negative while the broader market has reacted positively to the latest SEBI circular, he added.

In a note to investors, Sage One has said that SEBI had done a big re-categorization of mutual funds (MFs) in early 2018 which triggered initial rotation from small/midcaps to large caps, and the falling prices created their own snowball effect resulting in the small cap universe correcting by 40-60 per cent. During this period the large cap indices delivered positive returns. In the latest re-categorization of multi-cap MFs, a small part of the 2018 action has been reversed.

As per the note, institutional shareholding (SH) in large cap space is currently 20 per cent above the December 2017 levels whereas it's 41 per cent lower for the small cap space.

The total institutional holding has increased by 10 per cent during this period. Small cap companies make up 10% of the total market capitalization, but the institutional holding is only at 5.3 per cent of their total holding. In December 2017 small cap companies made 16 per cent of the total market capitalization. The biggest contribution in the market drop was the forced selling by the domestic institutions. As prices dropped, it forces other investors to move out and seek performing asset classes such as the large caps, the note said.

The note said that whether MFs actually do the entire re-allocation or whether they merge their multi cap schemes into the large cap schemes is an unknown.

"Irrespective of the amount that actually gets re-allocated, just the anticipation could bring in fresh capital in small/mid cap schemes under MFs, PMS' and AIFs. It doesn't take much inflow to move stocks in this universe," the note said.

The research notes that the impact cost of actual exits was as high as 15 times in the small cap space. This means that if one was to invest fresh capital of Rs 1,000 crore in the small cap companies, on an average their market cap would go up by Rs 15,000 crore. There will not be enough sellers available when the expectation is that this space would do well in presence of forced buyers.

"Even if we assume that only half (Rs 13,500 crore) the capital would be re-allocated by the MFs and assume that there will be no fresh inflows in the small cap companies by other investors and in addition even if we assume that the buying impact would be half (7.5x), the increase in the market cap of the small cap universe would be more than Rs 1 lakh which is around 36% increase in total market cap (currently Rs 2.80 lakh crore) of the small cap companies," the research said.

This step would benefit more than 1000 companies compared to just 100 companies that benefited by the 2018 circular. In an environment when debt raising is multiple times difficult for the smaller companies, this SEBI triggered change would help equity raising capability of these companies.

HDFC Securities said in a note that given the size of multicap funds and higher allocation especially to smallcap stocks; some concerns have been raised about achieving the prescribed investment limits without creating a bubble in small and midcap stocks.

The AUM of smallcap stocks across equity categories (excluding sectoral) as on July 2020 is Rs 68,109 crore – compare this with Rs 28,000 crore worth fresh buying required.

"These stocks have less free float availability, relatively lower volumes, corporate governance issues and higher impact cost (both at the time of getting in and getting out). Also, liquidity issues in smallcap stocks could get compounded in bear markets when these funds face redemption pressure and are required to sell small cap stocks where impact costs could be large," it said.

Schemes requiring the least reshuffling include multicap funds from Invesco, IDFC and Nippon, while schemes requiring the most reshuffling include Kotak Standard, HDFC Equity, Motilal Multicap 35, Axis and Canara Robeco Eq diversified fund, HFDC Securities said.

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News Network
September 21,2020

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Noida, Sept 21: Financial services app Paytm has accused Google of making policies that are over and above the laws of India after it was briefly delisted from the Playstore last week.

"As a startup, we are running law-abiding businesses and building for India. Google and its employees are making policies which are over and above the laws of our country, and are arbitrarily implementing them," it said in a blogpost.

Paytm said Google owns Android which is the operating system on which over 95 per cent of smartphones in India run. Google, as a result, has enormous control over which apps you download through its Playstore policies.

"It also makes billions of dollars in advertising revenues from the Indian startups that make these apps. In many cases like maps, email, payments, shopping and cloud storage, Google also has apps that compete with other apps, including, of course, the apps that are made by Indian startups."

Paytm said it had launched a campaign where users could collect cricket stickers and scratch cards to earn UPI cashback. The offer was applicable on recharges, utility payments, UPI money transfers and adding money to Paytm wallet.

On September 18, it got an email from Google Play Support informing that the Paytm Android app had been delisted.

This was the first time that Google was sending it a notification regarding its UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign.

"Contrary to accepted practise, we were not given any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth our views. We maintain that our cashback campaign was within guidelines, as well as all laws of the land. We did not break any rules and there was no violation. It is not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever," said Paytm.

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Agencies
September 25,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 25: Vodafone Group Plc has won an international arbitration case against the Indian government in a ₹14,200 crore retrospective tax dispute, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The tribunal ruled that the Indian government's imposition of a tax liability on Vodafone is in breach of the investment treaty agreement between India and the Netherlands, one of the sources said.

The British telecom giant moved the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2016.

Vodafone in 2013 had invoked India-Netherlands bilateral investment treaty seeking resolution to the tax demand imposed on it by enacting a tax law with retrospective effect to sidestep a Supreme Court judgement that went in the company’s favour.

Conciliatory proceedings were initiated to resolve the dispute but differences led to a breakdown following which arbitration was initiated.

The government had initially slapped a tax demand of ₹7,990 crore on Vodafone for failing to deduct tax on capital gains made over its $11-billion acquisition of 67% stake in the mobile phone business owned by Hutchison Whampoa in 2007.

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