Foreign tech firms pose threat on Internet; World’s largest Internet hacker


Foreign Tech firms_ThreatsCompanies asked by Washington to use online services to spy on customers

Foreign technology services providers such as Google and Apple can become cybersecurity threats to Chinese users, security analysts said, one week after China announced that it will put in place a security review on imported technology equipment.

Other major tech companies, such as Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft and Facebook, were required by the US National Security Agency to transfer their users’ information, according to Wan Tao, founder of Intelligence Defense Friends Laboratory, an independent institution focusing on cybersecurity in China.

Wan said that online services have become a major way for the US to steal information globally.

Foreign tech firms pose threat on Internet

Foreign tech firms pose threat on Internet

Ning Jiajun, a senior researcher at the Advisory Committee for State Informatization, said, “Previously, the US asked companies to install wiretapping software on their technological products, but if users found and shut down related functions, its ‘plan’ would fail,” he said.

For instance, information on a Chinese organization can be stolen when it places an order on an international shopping website, he said.

With technologies such as cloud computing and big data getting popular, information can be collected and analyzed immediately, which means the damage can be much greater and more difficult to prevent, analysts said.

“It can be said that those who master online services can get more information in cyberspace,” said Du Yuejin, director at the National Engineering Laboratory for Cyber Security Emergency Response Technology.

Last month, China’s Internet Media Research Center issued a report saying the NSA makes use of large technology companies for its wiretapping plans, including Prism, which was unmasked by former NSA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, asking them to collect information on their users and urging them to hand in the data regularly.

The report also said that the NSA has taken iOS and Android, two leading mobile operating systems applied to iPhone and Samsung, as the “gold mine” of data.

The NSA grabbed users’ information and stored most of it for analysis by invading database and communication networks of Yahoo and Google, while it has also controlled applications on smartphones with Britain, said the report released at the end of May.

“The US, in fact, could get these users’ information or conduct the wiretapping by attacking the network instead of ‘cooperating’ with the enterprises, but it might take more time and money,” said Wan.

The actions of the NSA have put huge pressure on US technology companies, as customers from Paris to Sao Paulo and from Beijing to Berlin worry about their privacy being invaded.

US President Barack Obama held two discussions with CEOs of major US technology companies in the past six months about the NSA snooping, which led to a “reform” of the NSA to focus on protecting US citizens’ privacy, but with little improvement on foreign organizations and citizens.

In May, John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, wrote a letter to Obama urging Washington to stop using the company for surveillance of its customers, according to an Al Jazeera report.

Foreign tech firms pose threat on InternetWeb security firms pledge to patch XP ‘vulnerability’ 

Foreign tech firms pose threat on InternetIBM ‘unaware’ of server ban 

- Contributed By CAO YIN (China Daily)

World’s largest Internet hacker

The spying actions of the US have underscored the urgency of formulating common rules for activities in cyberspace

Last month, the United States Attorney-General Eric Holder announced the indictments of five Chinese military personnel on cyber espionage charges, accusing them of hacking into US companies in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries. This has seriously compromised relations with China and sabotaged the bilateral cybersecurity cooperation that had been put back onto a normal track after overcoming setbacks.

With the indictments, the US has tried to present itself as the largest victim of cyberattacks, when in fact it is the Cold War mentality and troublemaking of the US that have precipitated the instability and insecurity in cyberspace. If the US doesn’t change its behavior, all peoples in the world may become victims of Internet insecurity.

In June 2013, Edward Snowden, a former US National Security Bureau contractor, revealed US intelligence agencies were conducting large-scale network spy programs, such as PRISM, Xkeyscore and others, across the world. His disclosures indicated the omnipotence of the US’ Internet surveillance and cyberattacks, which range from spying on communication metadata and backbone networks to the monitoring of short message services, instant messaging and video chats; from spying on ordinary people to spying on enterprises, universities, military units and even heads of state, not to mention the revelations about the US’ cyber warfare capabilities.

Aside from its cyber command that has been rapidly growing, the US’ marine, land and air forces have also set up their own cyber headquarters. Cyber combat capabilities are already regarded as part of the weaponry of the US’ fighting forces. A series of US cyber combat programs have been revealed, from Stuxnet to Fslame and X-Plan, all of which indicate that the US has mastered more complicated means and more threatening abilities than other countries in terms of cyberattacks.

The latest indictments against the five Chinese military personnel have also reminded people of a series of previous cyber espionage claims against China by the US. In February 2013, Mandiant, a US cybersecurity firm, released a report accusing China’s military of plotting hacker attacks against US enterprises. After that, many in the US, including the president and senior government officials, expressed a tough stance toward China and threatened economic sanctions against it. Some even suggested that US enterprises “hacked” by China should make cyber counterattacks in retaliation. Such groundless accusations of Chinese cyberattacks have drastically tainted the US’ domestic political environment toward China and also frozen cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries.

The Chinese government has consistently advocated a new type of major-power relations with the US, and it has refrained from overreacting to Washington’s “threatening signals”. Even after the Snowden revelations, the Chinese government still adhered to the principles of no-conflict, no-confrontation, mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation, and it is actively pushing for cooperation with the US in cybersecurity and working for the establishment of a cybersecurity work panel under the Sino-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue framework.

All the evidence indicates that it is the US that is the world’s largest Internet hacker and that the global cyber arms race triggered by the US’ actions poses the largest threat to global cybersecurity. The US has so far cited “for the sake of national security” as the only excuse for its pervasive Internet espionage. The US should know that a country cannot put its national security above the interests and national security of other countries and the basic norms of international relations. The double standards the US has embraced in cybersecurity have damaged its credibility and compromised its image as a responsible power.

To enjoy the dividends of the booming Internet sector and communication technologies, cyberspace must be peaceful, safe, open and cooperative. Cyberspace should not be a field for either a cold or hot war, and the latest developments have once again underscored the importance and urgency for formulating common rules for cyber activities.

The US indictments of the Chinese military personnel are not conducive to global efforts to maintain the stability and security of cyberspace. The US, by taking advantage of its technological and military dominance, has established a cyber hegemony. It is hoped the US can lead the global Internet sector to develop in a healthy direction, as it once spearheaded the progress of Internet technologies for human progress.

- Contributed By Tang Lan (China Daily) The author is deputy director of the Institute of Information and Social Development Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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US-China cyber-battles intensify


The United States has accused some Chinese of hacking into American companies’ computers but the US itself has been engaging in massive spying of foreign companies and trade officials.

Reports of US spying have sparked anger in many countriesUS spying vs China

WE live in a world where “spying” by electronic means is now pervasive and practically no one or institution that uses telephones, smart phones, emails and the internet is protected from intelligence gathering.

This much we know, from the media revelations emerging from files leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency.

They showed that the US has been tapping the telephones and emails of Americans and others around the world in a sweeping and systematic way.

It was revealed that even the top political leaders of Germany, Indonesia and Brazil had their mobile phones tapped, leading their countries to protest against such a bold intrusion of privacy and national security.

Last week, the intelligence issue was highlighted again when the US Justice Department indicted five individuals who are members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

They were accused of hacking into the computers of American companies in the nuclear power, steel, aluminium and solar power industries to obtain trade secrets for the benefit of Chinese state owned enterprises.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denounced the allegations as baseless and said China “never engages in the activity of stealing commercial secrets through the internet”, and accused the US of hypocrisy.

It is common knowledge that intelligence agencies use all kinds of devices to gather information and spy on foreigners as well as their own citizens.

The US has the most sophisticated system with the broadest coverage, as the Snowden files revealed.

By charging China of spying on specific American companies for the commercial benefit of Chinese enterprises, the US was trying to draw a very fine line.

It would have been clearly double standards to accuse other countries of spying on government personalities or agencies or on civilians, as the US itself has been shown to be more systematically doing this than any other country.

In announcing the indictment on the five Chinese, the US Attorney General said the hacking was conducted to advantage Chinese enterprises, a tactic that the US denounces.

“We do not collect intelligence to provide a competitive advantage to US companies, or US commercial sectors.”

But in fact the US does spy on companies and trade policy makers and negotiators of other countries, presumably in order to obtain a commercial advantage.

Two articles by David Sanger in the New York Times last week commented on the “fine line” the US attempts to draw between spying for the benefit of specific companies, and for overall commercial advantage.

He gave examples of revelations of US agencies targeting foreign companies.

These include Huawei, a major Chinese internet and communications company.

According to his article, the Snowden documents showed that one purpose of this spying was to “get inside Huawei’s systems and use them to spy on countries that buy the company’s equipment.

“Huawei officials said they failed to understand how that differed meaningfully from what the United States has accused the Chinese of doing.

The US agency also hacked into the computers of Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, which has data on Brazil’s offshore oil reserves and perhaps its plans for allocating licences for exploration to foreign companies. State owned oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Africa are also intelligence targets.

The NSA also went into the computers of China Telecom, one of the largest providers of mobile phone and Internet services in Chinese cities, and Pacnet, the Hong Kong-based operator of undersea fibre optic cables.

“Once inside those companies’ proprietary technology, the NSA would have access to millions of daily conversations and emails that never touch American shores,” said Sanger.

The NSA spied on Joaquín Almunia, the antitrust commissioner of the European Commission, who had brought charges against several US companies.

In each of these cases, American officials insist the US was never acting on behalf of specific American companies, but the government does not deny it routinely spies to advance American economic advantage as part of national security, said the Sanger article.

This includes spying on European or Asian trade negotiators, using the results to help American trade officials and thus the American industries and workers they are trying to bolster.

According to Sanger, the United States spies regularly for economic advantage when the goal is to support trade talks. When the US was negotiating in the 1990s to reach an accord with Japan, it bugged the Japanese negotiator’s limousine and the main beneficiaries would have been US auto companies and parts suppliers.

The US is also “widely believed to be using intelligence in support of trade negotiations underway with European and Asian trading partners. But in the view of a succession of Democratic and Republican administrations, that is fair game.”

An earlier New York Times article, citing Snowden documents, also revealed that the US and Australian agencies gathered intelligence on Indonesia and a law firm acting for it during US-Indonesia trade negotiations.

This line the US is attempting to draw between what is illegitimate (spying to benefit particular companies) and legitimate (spying to broadly benefit companies and the economy) is not appreciated nor accepted by other countries.

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Contributed by Global Trends Martin Khor
Martin Khor is the Executive Director of the South Centre since 1 March 2009. He replaced Dr. Yash Tandon who was the Executive Director of the South Centre from 2005-2009

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CICA Shanghai

The fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), under the theme of “enhancing dialogue, confidence and coordination, and on jointly constructing a new Asia with peace, stability and cooperation,” was held in Shanghai Wednesday. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech calling for a proactive outlook on Asian security and a new security cooperation framework. The intertwined key words have sketched the contours of this summit.

When it comes to Asia, scholars from all around the world will focus on two phenomena: economic growth and security dilemma. The economic development of Asia has promoted the interdependence and integration of interests among nations in this region, which constitute the resources of Asian security at the present stage. Meanwhile, many Asian countries feel insecure, which has little to do with a country’s size and strength. Though it is a large and powerful Asian state, China doesn’t have a better sense of security than smaller countries.

With a myriad of leftover conundrums, Asian countries have become interest-conscious as quickly as economic growth. Nonetheless, Asia is in dire need of an efficient security mechanism as well as common consensus to achieve it.

Asia has long been affected by external forces and in particular the US to a large degree. Washington has forged military alliances with several Asian countries and sometimes targeted a third party, making it all the more difficult for Asia to entirely cast off the specter of the Cold War. The US “rebalancing to Asia” policy conforms to its global strategy, inevitably increasing the cost of achieving Asian security.

Across the fairly intricate tapestry of Asian security, there is no difference between small and big powers in terms of security guarantee. Various messages further fuel contradictions and disorders in the region and add to strategic uncertainty.

Asian countries need to distinguish between realities and wishes and learn to compromise. It is unrealistic for some countries to quit counting on Washington in the short term but all Asian nations should recognize Uncle Sam cannot tide them over the security dilemma. Therefore, they should divert more attention to coordinating security concerns among themselves.

Security in Asia will eventually be realized through increasing mutual trust and cooperation in this region. We welcome external powers to play a constructive role in this process but object to their biased interference that will only increase the possibility of regional conflicts.

China is a rarely patient country in the world and spares no efforts to promote peace, which is a starting point and pillar for permanent peace in Asia. Resolution to safeguard peace may constitute the invisible bottom line despite numerous potential flashpoints in Asian security. – Global Times

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The Obama government will now be forever remembered not just as the “we spy” government but as the “we spy and lie” government. Spy charges expose U.S. cyber hegemony mentality

The United States has indulged in its cyber hegemony mentality again as it filed ungrounded commercial cyber espionage charges against five Chinese military officers.

Chinese Ambassador CuiTiankai on May 20 accused the United States of hypocrisy for charging five Chinese nationals of alleged commercial espionage, citing EdwardSnowden’s revelations of US spying operations worldwide.
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Malware, ransomware attacks are a growing threat to computer and mobile phone!


Ransonware-money-dataFORGET pickpockets or thieves. The biggest threat to your smartphone now is kidnappers cyber “kidnappers” that is, with their Ransomware.

As the name suggests, ransomware is a malware (malicious software) that will keep your phone or computer a prisoner until you pay a ransom. Only when the specified amount of money is paid will you be able to “free” your device and access data or information.

Although it is not new ransomware is said to originate from Russia in 2005 and has been attacking many computers worldwide since the Symantec Corp Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Volume 18 revealed that ransomware is emerging as the malware of choice because of its high profitability for attackers.

Luckily, says Symantec Malaysia’s senior technical consultant David Rajoo, to his knowledge, no cases have been reported here yet.

“However, as the worldwide web has no boundaries and with increasing broadband penetration and as more users are accessing the Internet, Malaysia is certainly exposed to the Ransomware threats,” he says.

Infected machines display messages which demand payment in order to restore functionality. - David Rajoo Infected machines display messages which demand payment in order to restore functionality. – David Rajoo

Rajoo points out that awareness is key to combat ransomware threat.

As the report highlights, attackers are using deceptive links and poisoned websites to infect unsuspecting users with malicious software and lock their machines.

“The attackers, many of them cybercriminal organisations, then hold users’ machines for ransom. Infected machines display messages which demand payment in order to restore functionality,” he tells.

Recent attacks have also displayed images that impersonate law enforcement.

Consumers on the Android platform are most vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, says the report.

Last year, mobile malware increased by 58%, and 32% of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

Although Android has fewer vulnerabilities, its threats are higher than any other mobile operating system. Its open platform and the multiple distribution methods available to distribute malicious apps make it the go-to platform for attackers, adds the report.

With malware growing sophisticated every day, Rajoo adds, a mix of intelligence-based technologies can provide optimal security to stop new and unknown malware.

To avoid getting infected, ensure the device’s software and anti-virus definitions are up to date, and avoid suspicious sites, Rajoo advises.

“We also advise users to use more than antivirus for protection. We recommend using advanced reputation security which provides layered defence. Use more than just Antivirus use a full functionality solution which includes heuristics, reputation-based, behaviour-based and other technologies,” he says, stressing that a key strategy is to fend off threats before they infiltrate your computer system.

Symantec Malaysia’s Systems Engineering director Nigel Tan agrees that stopping the threat at the gate is important as cyber criminals continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes.

Staying ahead of attacks

“The sophistication of attacks coupled with today’s information technology complexities require organisations in Malaysia and globally to remain proactive and use “defence in depth” security measures to stay ahead of attacks,” he added.

According to the annual ISTR which analyses the year in global threat activity, Malaysia was ranked 35th on its global Internet security threat profile in 2012.

As it highlights, there was a 42% surge last year in targeted attacks globally compared with the prior year.

These targeted cyberespionage attacks, designed to steal intellectual property, are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector as well as small businesses, which are the target of 31% of these attacks.

Small businesses are attractive targets themselves and a way in to ultimately reach larger companies via “watering hole” techniques.

In a watering hole attack scenario, attackers compromise a carefully selected website by inserting an exploit resulting in malware infection. Through the compromised website, the attackers will target victims who visit the compromised site and take advantage of their software vulnerabilities to drop malware that will allow them to access sensitive data and take control of the vulnerable system.

As Symantec alerts, 61% of malicious websites are actually legitimate websites that have been compromised and infected with malicious code.

Business, technology and shopping websites were among the top five types of websites hosting infections. The shift of focus from government websites indicates an increase in attacks targeting the supply chain cybercriminals find these contractors and subcontractors susceptible to attacks and they are often in possession of valuable intellectual property.

The attack uses the security weaknesses in the supply chain specifically the small businesses to gain access into larger and more secured companies, adds Symantec.

Case in point is that those in sales became the most commonly targeted victims last year.

Another growing source of infections on websites is malvertisements this is when criminals buy advertising space on legitimate websites and use it to hide their attack code.

Tan urges organisations to continue to take proactive initiatives to secure and manage critical information from a variety of security risks, especially targeted attacks in the manufacturing and small business sectors, mobile malware, and phishing threats.

By HARIATI AZIZAN sunday@thestar.com

We need competent leaders!


LeaderCompetent leader vital for Information, Communications and Culture Ministry  

The candidate should be someone well rounded, well experienced, not too old or too young

FOR some time now, there has been talk on whether culture is a good fit for the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry (MICC). Some believe culture would be better off parked under the Tourism Ministry.

Culture and tourism, to them, are lines out of the same song not quite jiving with communications or information.

Then, there is talk of some areas of duplication between MICC and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti). Both should merge as there are common areas, it has been said.

These ministries aside, some folk have been lobbying that a new ministry, the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Ministry, be set up with the MICC being done away with.

All this talk has resurfaced now that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, fresh off his election win, is busy selecting candidates for his new Cabinet line-up that might be announced in the coming days.

There is certainly some overlap between Mosti and MICC, making sense for them to be merged into one entity. Arts, on the other hand, could be part of the Youth and Sports Ministry or spun off into a new ministry under Arts and Heritage.

It is not an easy decision, but whatever the outcome, one things is for sure Malaysia’s Cabinet should not be bigger than China’s, which has a population of 1.6 billion, as opposed to our 28 million.

Australia and Singapore have gone though the same phase that Malaysia is going through now in terms of merging and segregating its various ministries. In 2001, Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) was expanded to include Arts.

Over a decade later, the Arts and Heritage portfolios became a part of the culture ministry. At present, the role of the MCI is to oversee the development of the ICT, media and design sectors, public libraries and the government’s information and public communications policies.

On a similar note, Australia expanded its Communications Ministry to include Arts in 1994. Four years later, the ministry expanded to include information technology (IT).

However, in 2007, Arts became a part of the Environment/Heritage Ministry. The Communications/IT Ministry was renamed as the Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy.

Even the United Nations has a specialised agency to deal with technology in the form of the International Telecommunication Union because the role of the Internet and broadband transcends all boundaries.

The vision of Malaysia’s MICC is to be a pioneer in promoting the 1Malaysia Concept based on national principles to achieve a harmonious and gracious nation. The ministry’s main aspiration is to enhance Malaysia as a global ICT hub in the region, to ensure information from all sources of media is accurate and precise and to preserve and promote Malaysia’s heritage and culture to the world.

Culture preservation is vital in the era of the social media, but once there is widespread awareness, culture can be placed under the Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry, or could even be one of the units under the Prime Minister’s Department or the Tourism Ministry.

There are even suggestions that MICC be part of the Prime Minister’s Department so that it would fall directly under the Prime Minister’s purview. However, whether this is feasible remains to be seen.

Communications and information have become vital because of the digital era, and their role in Malaysia might need to be reviewed. Australia and Singapore felt the “need to change because of the need to redistribute and re-focus its ministerial workload to improve public communications and engagement for an increasingly diverse society in the age of social media and rapid technology progress”.

All this brings us to the next question: Who is best to lead the MICC?

There are many talented people out there, but the industry feels the choice of candidate should encompass someone “well rounded, well experienced, but not too old or too young”. The person, while having sound knowledge of Law and Economics, should also fulfil the most important criterion being savvy enough about the workings of the Internet and the new/social media.

The choice of candidate is important because there is no room for mistakes, unlike the blunders made in the past over spectrum allocation and technology choices. Most importantly, the candidate should not regress but rather, take the nation forward on the digital path.

Friday Reflections – By B.K. Sidhu

Deputy news editor B K Sidhu has some candidates in mind, but they are not politicians.

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This is what the Malaysian Chinese want

Information innovator


Information Innovator_Vish Iyer

Information technology (IT) is all about innovation. Vish Iyer can’t agree more.

Mobility, social media and big data are all hot-button topics. Cloud computing frees up people from the desk, so an IT system can be managed even on the road. “For a bank, it could be payment via Internet banking or mobile phone,” says the high-flying corporate executive, dapper in a light purple shirt.

Vish Iyer: ‘There is no advantage in having 20 or 30 years of experience unless you are …very merit-driven and work-driven’.

“For an insurance company, it could mean enabling an agent to get quotations and conduct transactions on his or her mobile.” For an airline, pilots no longer carry huge bags with heavy operating manuals. “We put that on an iPad,” he adds.

Few would believe the president for Asia Pacific at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has neither training in IT nor a background in engineering. He learns by doing.

Born and raised in Kolkata around the time when India’s first computer arrived, Iyer graduated from St Xavier’s College, one of the city’s best-known educational institutions with a major in taxation and economics.

Now the head of the largest service provider in the Asia-Pacific region based in Singapore, he manages 10,000 employees in 13 countries including Australia, Japan, China and South Korea.

The 45-year-old Indian company, whose clients include Microsoft and ING Group, is the provider of IT services and business solutions, with a turnover exceeding $12 billion and market capitalization of $45 billion on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

It is part of the Tata group, India’s largest conglomerate in seven sectors including communications, engineering and energy, with a revenue of more than $100 billion in the fiscal year 2011-12.

As a certified accountant, Iyer moved on from the financial field to other areas including human resources, marketing, strategy, mergers and acquisition. “I have been a chief financial officer many times,” he tells China Daily Asia Weekly at the TCS Hong Kong office.

But that didn’t stop him from venturing into new fields after three and a half decades. Midway through his career, he moved into a new-born industry in India.

His rationale is: “What matters is how you put your basic training to use and how you quickly learn from the surroundings. You can do anything as long as you have a will to do it, and you are determined to work hard enough.”

He spent a decade at IBM, where he was director of corporate development. IT has since become his longest stint.

He has witnessed the birth of the industry along with the ups and downs. “The IT industry is very fascinating. Every two to three years are completely different. In that sense, everybody got to continuously learn,” he says.

In the IT world, experience doesn’t necessarily give you an edge over the younger generation. Two-thirds of the company’s workforce has about three years of experience and the average age of a TCS employee is just 28.

“There is no advantage (in) having 20 or 30 years of experience unless you are … very merit-driven and work-driven,” Iyer says.

“This is the industry across the world (where) everything looks the same. There is no different standard in the US or Japan. Once you are inside IT, it is the same. It talks the same language and (has the same) quality level.”

The capability to locate young talent matters for the industry. To Iyer, the Chinese mainland not only has a staggering domestic market but also vast trained manpower resources.

TCS is among the first Indian companies to enter the Chinese mainland as the first wholly-owned foreign enterprise. The IT consultancy commenced its operations in Shanghai in 2002, then established a development center in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province in October of the same year. Its banking products are used by Bank of China in more than 40 provinces.

Iyer sees the potential to substantially increase China’s TCS workforce from its current number of 3,000 people, as the company’s sales growth in China outpaces that in the Americas. TCS now has relations with 20 colleges in China.

“Our business is all about people,” he says. “At the end of the day, we need to find out where are these talents available for serving our customers. China is very important from that point of view — as a pool of talent. It’s equally important for the size of the economy, too.”

“We are very bullish about China,” he said in a previous interview. “Its full potential has not yet been harnessed … We’re looking to leverage its position as an innovation center and a hub for the Northeast Asia region.”

TCS has started to provide a ground-breaking cloud-based service that enables smaller banks and credit unions to establish their own Internet, mobile and ATM facilities by paying a monthly fee. “A village bank need not have an IT department, but the same technology that empowers a (central bank) is now available to small and medium enterprises.”

The TCS pioneer project has found a home in the world’s second largest economy. iCity or the Intelligent City, utilizes smart technologies and collective intelligence to improve a city’s livability and sustainability.

These cities will be built on cloud infrastructure that makes them easy to run. Every citizen will own a personalized information page for health records and blood pressure measurements and even get health alerts and doctors’ advice.

Imagine buildings that glean energy from the sun and rain, reducing energy consumption, and embedded software in cars and traffic poles that automatically monitor local traffic. At the same time, healthcare and consumer services are dispensed to citizens at home, saving time, cost and valuable resources.

An iCity project in southern China’s port city of Guangzhou is slated for a soft launch later this year. More blueprints are on majors’ drawing boards in first- and second-tier Chinese cities, including Tianjin, Ningbo and Chengdu.

“The Indian IT industry over the last 20 years has done exceedingly well,” Iyer says. “Works of best quality are from this industry. There (has been) a lot of proud achievements — so it’s an exciting place to be in.”

But when asked about the most exciting moment in his life, the president’s answer has surprisingly nothing to do with his career. “The day when my daughter was born, and when I was holding her in my hands,” he says, with a gentle smile.

“Lots of people talk about work-life balance. I think each person has to find that balance himself … Family influence is a strong support for the profession I pursue, so there are no conflicts or contradiction.”

Looking back, Iyer has been with his two children — his 23-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son — through every important step of their life. “I (accompany) them through every exam, drop them off and pick them up after classes, and consult their teachers for college admissions. As long as you enjoy it, you’ll find time for doing it,” he adds.

Technology has been the savior for this family man with a hectic business schedule with long hours of frequent travel.

“I am on the road 50 or 60 percent of the time. Each month, I am outside my hometown for 20 days,” he says. “My children have grown up with me spending a lot of time at work. But this is a world of Facebook, email and Skype. That’s what we do now,” he says.

What makes his day? Iyer answers professionally without a second of hesitation: “To satisfy a customer in a meeting.”

Then comes the personal bit: “Followed by a relaxing dinner with my wife.”

By jennifer@chinadailyhk.com 

Vish Iyer
President of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Asia Pacific

Career Milestones:
2010: Becomes president of TCS Asia Pacific
2008: Serves as CFO of global business operations at TCS
2006: Takes up post as head of corporate strategy at TCS
1996: Becomes director of corporate development at IBM Global Services
1991: Joins Tata Elxsi as executive vice-president

QUICK TAKES:
Hobbies:
Playing golf. The question is not how well you play but whether you enjoy the time. Whatever I do, I enjoy. It’s a great opportunity to meet people.
Business philosophy:
I always believe in … simple communication with the customer and the employee. There is no point promising things that you cannot deliver. Whatever you promise, you deliver. Whatever you don’t deliver, you don’t promise.
If you were to do one thing differently in life?
I can’t think of one thing. I do things that I enjoy doing.
How to kill time on the road:
I spend a lot of time watching movies on the plane. My favorite stars are Jackie Chan and Amitabh Bachchan, who hosted India’s version of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Born: December 8 in a Year of the Snake

Bloggers doing their bit to champion a good cause


Blogging_responsible 2013BLOGGER Dr Angelo Nino M. Santos brought his eight-year-old son to visit three children’s homes so that the little boy would appreciate what he had in his life.

“My son Antonio Gabriel was so excited to come.

“He packed his old toys and clothes to be donated to the children here,” he said while at Ramakrishna Orphanage in Scotland Road, Penang.

The visit was in conjunction with the ‘Responsible Blogging 2013: Time To Give Back’ programme.

A total of 40 bloggers visited Rama-krishna Orphanage, Children’s Pro- tection Society and Shan Children’s Home to give away food and other items.

The programme was organised by Crowdpot Sdn Bhd, a social media marketing company.

Crowdpot director Leslie Loh said they planned to help educate bloggers about safe blogging and to achieve one million ‘responsible actions’.

“For example, if each blogger who posted about this event in his or her blog receives about 100 comments, we consider that we have generated responsible action,” he explained.

Dr Angelo, 36, a lecturer at the Allianze University College of Medical Sciences, said it was the first time he was taking part in such a programme.

He said he started blogging in 2007 and his blog mainly focuses on the 3Fs — family, food and fun.

Also present was Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environ­ment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

Loh said Crowdpot was also giving away prizes for those who helped to blog about the homes.

“The prizes include three iPad Minis sponsored by Crowdpot and six Ninetology Black Pearl 2 dual-core Android smartphones sponsored by Ninetology Malaysia,” he said.

The contest is until March 23.

For details, visit http://www.responsibleblogging.my. – The Star

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Rightways: Food for blog

More millionaires nowadays; secret to success and riches


PETALING JAYA: There may be more millionaires in Malaysia now than before but they may not necessarily be feeling rich.

Besides the rising number of successful business owners, many high-salaried people are already millionaires based on the value of their assets and properties.

RAM Holdings Bhd group chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the term could also apply to those in the middle-class who could have earned the amount but had spent it on necessities such as on costly children’s education and high property prices.

He said although a millionaire was measured by his or her disposable income, those who have made their million would not have the same purchasing power compared to a decade ago, citing inflation as the main reason.

Dr Yeah said many in business had made their millions as a result of savvy investments and the growth of the industries that they were involved in, adding that overall, the rising affluence was due to sustained economic growth.

“We have seen a strong growth in certain sectors, including plantation, oil and gas and property, which have elevated entrepreneurs into the millionaire class,” he said.

Billionaires, however, remain rare. Malaysia now has 30 billionaires, just three more from the 27 on the list last year.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported last year that Malaysia’s millionaires almost doubled over the previous 18 months.

Citing a report by international financial firm Credit Suisse Group, it said Malaysia added 19,000 new millionaires since early 2010, bringing the total to 39,000 as of October.

The WSJ report attributed the rise to the weakening US dollar and careful spending.

Dr Yeah said those who invested their money wisely had benefited the most.

“In a free market and capitalist economy like Malaysia, people who have capital can generate millions,” he said, noting that many in the upper-income bracket had accumulated wealth past the million-ringgit mark.

Personal financial consultant Carol Yip said the rising cost of living had lessened the feeling of being rich.

“Today, even a small apartment can cost half a million,” she said.

She said careful spending was not a factor for the increase in the numbers of millionaires.

“If we are spending less, we won’t be seeing so many luxury cars on the road,” she said.

She said the rise in millionaires was also due to property prices which have shot up exponentially, adding that the definition should not include the value of the house that one was living in.

“If you still have a million in hand after you convert the value of your other properties, investments and have paid of all your debts, then you are a millionaire,” she added.

Financial adviser Fred Wong said making a million was not a problem these days as long as people were willing to work hard but being self-employed and investing wisely was the better route to riches.

By ISABELLE LAI and P. ARUNA newsdesk@thestar.com.my

Millionaires’ secret to success

PETALING JAYA: Ganesh Kumar Bangah made his first million at the age of 23.

The secret, he said, was as simple as knowing what people needed and delivering it to them.

“I knew what I was good at, which was IT. I used that to come up with something of value to the world.

“I also worked hard and persevered until I reached the goals I had set for myself,” said Ganesh, now 33 and the CEO of MOL Global Bhd, a company worth over RM1bil.

<b>Young and rich:</b> Ganesh (left) and Yap made their first million at the age of 23 and 26 respectively. Young and rich: Ganesh (left) and Yap made their first million at the age of 23 and 26 respectively.

He said that even when he was only 15, he had been using his skills to make money, like repairing his teachers’ computers for a fee.

At the age of 20, he started his own company, which made him a millionaire in three years.

“Be focused and set new goals for yourself to keep climbing higher. Real wealth is the satisfaction you get when you overcome a new challenge that brings rewards. Financial wealth should just be a by-product.”

Feng shui master and multi-millionaire Joey Yap said learning to make good use of time was a key ingredient to achieving financial success.

“In business, time is money, so make sure you use your time to acquire things of good value. Find out what your strengths are, work on your weaknesses and hone your talents,” said Yap, 35, who made his first million at age 26 by selling his first feng shui home study course.

However, having RM1mil does not necessarily make people feel rich, especially for those raising children in the city.

Carol Leong, 57, a mother of three, said it costs more than the amount for an average family to live in the city and raise a child to adulthood.

“There are medical bills, tuition fees, various expenses and their education to pay for. For our family, it has definitely come up to more than RM1mil per child,” she said.

Leong, a lawyer, said she and her businessman husband had placed their money in various investments, which in the long run had helped pay for tertiary education overseas for their three children.

“I would advise young parents living in the city and who are just starting a family to invest to secure some income for the future,” she added.

By YVONNE LIM yvonnelim@thestar.com.my

Certification for Malaysian IT pros ?


The Register® — Biting the hand that feeds IT

Government seeks BOFH control By Natalie Apostolou

A proposal to introduce a bill to force all IT workers in Malaysia to be certified and registered via a single industry body has sparked agitation in the tech sector.

If the proposed legislation, the Board of Computing Professionals Malaysia Bill 2011 (BCPM), is passed, Malaysia will be the first country with a law which requiring IT professionals to be registered with a board before being allowed to practice.

Under the draft bill any professional registering with the board would have to pass examinations, possess professional experience and pay registration fees.

Those against the law claim that the talent pool may shrink if such stipulations are introduced and fear that the board will have too much control over who can be registered, or certified for lucrative government tenders.

The tech community has released a “Common Voice of ICT Professionals” response to the government proposal, stating that the industry is “alarmed” and “caught most of us off-guard”.

“We have not found any information and substantiation that suggests or concludes that the formation of the Board of Computing Professionals is the right and only answer to amicably resolve all matters that the Government perceive to be issues relating to the ICT profession, if such issues indeed do exist in the first place.”

Also under the draft of the proposed bill, unregistered IT professionals will not be allowed to “practice, carry on business or take up employment which requires him to carry out or perform the services of a Registered Computing Professional”. They are also forbidden from gaining any fees, charges, remuneration or other form of consideration for any professional technology services rendered. ®

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MCA against listing IT pros under a regulatory body

The Star 13/12/2011

MALACCA: MCA has voiced its objection against a proposed move by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to register IT practitioners in the country under a regulatory body known as the Board of Computing Professionals.

Party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said it was strongly against the proposed exercise embarked by the ministry.

“We will be made a laughing stock in the global arena if we go ahead with the proposed body. Nowhere else is there such a regulatory body,” he said after attending Kota Melaka 1MCA Medical Foundation dinner here last night.

He said the ministry should first seek feedback from IT practitioners before coming up with such a plan.

“The board is unnecessary because a code of conduct or guideline is more suitable.

“Furthermore, the fact is undeniable that most of the pioneer members of the local IT Industry are not those from IT background. Yet, they were able to soar,” he said, adding that he had expressed MCA’s opposition against the board to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

On another matter, Dr Chua called on Opposition leaders, especially those from PAS, to understand the religions practised by the Chinese community such as Buddhism and Taoism before making baseless comments.

He claimed that PAS leaders had made derogatory remarks during their ceramah, labelling the Chinese as “praying to Datuk Kong and Pai Kong and later may worship King Kong”.

“MCA is willing to provide classes to PAS leaders if they don’t understand the tenets and teaching of other religions,” he said.

New Bill will restrict IT users, says Pua

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need to impose bureaucratic control over the information technology (IT) in Malaysia, said DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua.

He said the proposed Computer Professionals Bill (CPB) 2011 would restrict those using IT, despite assurances by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry that there will not be any restrictions on computing services.

He added the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees had promised “unrestricted employment of knowledge workers” and “no censorship of the Internet”.

“The information technology and computing industry has been operating without controversy, issues or impediment for the past decade.

“There is absolutely no bureaucratic requirement to restrict and control the industry, which will only bring adverse outcomes without any corresponding tangible benefit,” Pua said in a statement here yesterday.

IT professionals had raised a stink over the CPB 2011 since a copy of the Bill’s draft was made available online on Thursday.

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 IT folk upset over draft Bill Dec 10, 2011

IT folk upset over draft Bill


Logo of the Ministry Of Science, Technology an...Image via Wikipedia

Many say proposal will cripple industry

By JO TIMBUONG and GABEY GOH bytz@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Members of the Information Technology industry are up in arms over a proposed Bill that seeks to certify IT professionals, claiming it will cripple not help the industry.

Industry players said a draft of the Computing Professionals Bill 2011, released online on Thursday night, proposed that only registered IT professionals could create software or computer applications for government use.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) drafted the Bill, with the aim of maintaining a registry of certified IT professionals in the country.

It is a bid to ensure that only qualified professionals can work in the sectors classified under the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII).

The CNII covers, among others, banking and finance, cyber-security, the national defence industry, healthcare, emergency services, food and agriculture, and utilities.

The Bill will recognise two categories of IT talents certified IT practitioners who do not have formal qualifications, and certified IT professionals who have the full qualification.

But some industry players are arguing that the proposed Bill would in effect hinder innovation and development across the board because CNII was very broad in its scope.

Willie Chan, founder of business software maker xIMnet Malaysia, said anyone should be able to create software or applications, not just certified practitioners or professionals.

“If a doctor who writes code as a hobby comes up with a software that can benefit the health industry, shouldn’t he be allowed to market it to the Government?” he asked.

“If this draft passes into law, it will hinder such cross-pollination of ideas.”

Chan holds a degree in English Literature. Under the drafted Bill, he would be listed as only an IT practitioner, and would not be able to market xIMnet Malaysia solutions to the Government or its agencies.

Daniel CerVentus, co-founder of an online resource portal and community for entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs.my, believes that if such a situation were to develop, it would aggravate the country’s brain-drain problem.

Mosti said the Bill did not aim to regulate the entire computing profession and was only applied to those identified as working in CNII sectors.

It also said registration was not mandatory.

Mosti will be holding an open day at its Putrajaya premises from 9.30am to 5pm on Tuesday to collect feedback and suggestions.

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