The United Arab Emirates’ historic first-ever mission to Mars is underway, after a successful lift-off in Japan, beginning a seven-month journey to the Red Planet.
Mission named ‘Hope‘ blasted atop on a Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H2-A rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on Sunday, July 19 at 5:58 p.m. Eastern Time. About an hour after the launch spacecraft separated from the upper stage of the rocket and began its journey to Mars.
The 2 million dollar mission is also known as Emirates Mars Mission, is the UAE’s first foray into interplanetary exploration.
The launch initially scheduled on July 14 was called off multiple times due to adverse weather. Hope scheduled arrival in February 2021, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s formation.
“Years of hard work and dedication have paid off in a big way,” Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, said following the launch. “The UAE’s first Mars spacecraft is now flying into space, well on its way to another planet.”
Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, the science lead on Hope, stated that the impact of this mission on her country would be the same as that on America when its people watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing 51 years ago.
Now that the spacecraft is launched, it is months of hard work and nervous waiting for the mission experts at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, with several manoeuvres required along the way to Mars.
What is the role of the Instrument Science Engineers of the Emirates Mars Mission? How will the EXI (Emirates eXploration imager) help us learn more about Mars' atmosphere? #HopeMarsMission pic.twitter.com/TRmgVEVElF
— Hope Mars Mission (@HopeMarsMission) July 17, 2020
For a country like UAE with hardly any planetary science expertise, this was a steep challenge. By consulting with various other Mars scientists across the globe, mission experts believe that this will contribute internationally valuable science data.
Hope has three instruments onboard to carry out several different scientific goals. It will study oxygen and hydrogen in the Martian atmosphere, and help to find out how over the last few billion years, Mars lost its atmosphere.
Hope will act as a Martian weather satellite, providing updates on dust storms and ice clouds on Mars, monitoring the weather at different times of the day, and tracking seasonal changes.
Hope, science mission is scheduled to begin from May 2021, after checking out its instruments. It also has a camera on board, to take images of the Martian surface and return them to Earth.
The mission will last two Earth years, which is equivalent to one Martian year. However, it could last for up to four Earth years – or two Martian years – depending on how the spacecraft fares in its time at Mars.
The UAE spacecraft is one of three missions heading to Mars this month.
The US and China both have surface rovers in the late stages of preparation, wherein China has scheduled to launch its mission called ‘Tianwen-1’ on July 23. The mission will make China the first country to include an orbiter, and rover; along with lander aimed to deal questions about the Red Planet’s geology and environment.
Meanwhile, NASA’s Moon mission 2020 is headed to countdown on July 30. The Perseverance rover, is designed to land in an ancient Martian river delta. It will perform the most extensive search for life on Mars yet.
The mission was praised by many on Twitter
American mission, Perseverance, tweeted its congratulations to Hope:
To the @HopeMarsMission: Congratulations on your launch! I wish you a successful journey and look forward to the sol when we are both exploring Mars.
رحلة موفقة pic.twitter.com/AsnkYINX2C
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) July 19, 2020
— هند مانع العتيبة Hend Al Otaiba (@hend_mana) July 20, 2020
I congratulate UAE scientists for successful launch of first Arab Mission to Mars. The Hope Probe sent from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center to the red planet cost $200 million to UAE space department. #MarsOrbiter #HopeProbe pic.twitter.com/jSHCQjkQ8Y
— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) July 20, 2020
Congrats to the team that worked on @HopeMarsMission. It’s truly amazing what @UAESpaceAgency & @MBRSpaceCentre have accomplished in such a short time. Hope is exactly what the world needs and thank you to the UAE & @MHI_Group for inspiring all of us: https://t.co/cZ389gpzdR pic.twitter.com/ktLsIDzWsq
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 19, 2020
Good luck, @HopeMarsMission as you begin your journey to the Red Planet! 🚀 We can’t wait to see you out there, and are proud to carry communications for your mission via the Deep Space Network: https://t.co/Wd52CQMs6q pic.twitter.com/MA6DTtfBXb
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) July 19, 2020
Domino’s Data Breach: What Happened And Making Sure You’re Safe
Enter your mobile number and email address. There! You get your list of orders along with details like your GPS coordinates. Domino’s has found itself in yet another data breach incident with around 10 lakh customer details out on this website. 18 Crore Rupees worth of Indian orders data has been released on the dark web through this website.
Hackers on the dark web created a search engine containing 13TB of stored data with over 250 employees the food giant has across the country from the finance, legal and marketing team. A company owned by Jubilant Foodworks, it is spread across India with over 300 outlets.
Rajshekhar Rajaharia, Internet Security Researcher at Cyber and Data Security Summit 2021, posted a screenshot of the website on Twitter cautioning people about the data breach.
Details Revealed, To Worry Or Not!
Claims have been made that the search engine leaks data concerning when the customer placed the order and where it got delivered. The contact details disclosure has taken customers aback. Phone numbers and email addresses of people have been used to detect their locations with coordinates. Speculation says that the search engine contains order details from 2015 onwards. The premise is that the search engine contains order details from 2015 onwards.
However, the most discombobulating query of the situation is the revelation of financial details. In their official statement before the website went public, Domino’s parent company admitted to the breach and mentioned that no financial details were compromised. They also said that they themselves had no business storing their customer’s credit card details.
The Timespan Of The Happenings
The breach is not a recent discovery. Aton Gal from Hudson Rock, a cybersecurity firm, learnt about the 13TB data leakage in early April. The hackers were found selling the data on Dark Web for 2 BTC and made it clear that Domino’s might pay 50 BTC for the data, evidently pointing towards the fact that they had reached out to Jubilant Foodworks.
Aton had declared that the portal contained credit card details as well. Even Rajaharia claims that the threat was made on the 5th of March, but Jubilant Foodworks declined the website disclosing financial information.
Past Data Breaches And How To Be Safe
Domino’s is not the only company victim to privacy threatening and leakage. AirIndia, BigBasket, Flipkart, MobiKwik, MoneyControl and Uptstox were subjected to this brutality of sorts in the recent past.
Claims are that the BigBasket leak was quite similar to the ongoing one that Domino’s is facing. However, better late than never; here are a few points that may help to keep a check on whether your data is breached or not and, if it is, the precautions to overcome the problem:
- Verifying the Breach: Websites like haveibeenpwned.com help you to know whether your data has been breached or not. The site also gives out information on what details have been leaked out in the open.
- Changing Passwords: Changing your password is a must in case of such situations. Even if one of your account details lay open in public, make sure to change passwords of accounts linked and have a similar password to the breached one.
- Use the OTP method: When ordering, instead of using and giving any website access to your pin, a One-time password (OTP) is the best method to go about any online payment. While it remains active for a short period, a new access code is generated every time you order something.
- Turn on two-factor Authentication: To provide an extra security layer, one can keep both: the password and the OTP. Hackers may not be able to access your details with this lifejacket on.
Whatsapp’s Privacy Concerns And Alternatives Emerging In Limelight
On January 9 2021, the WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart tweeted that this policy is purely concerned with Business communication, rather than private. With effect from February 8, 2021, the new terms of service will be applied. Users have started exploring other applications due to the fear of misuse of their data and a virtual protest against Facebook. For example, Signal App has seen a massive rise in its popularity and has also topped the charts on iOS, with an immense increase in downloads in India. Another popular alternative for WhatsApp is Telegram, which is gaining new users despite not being end-to-end encrypted. Viber is another app which is an alternative, which was once popular before WhatsApp dominated.
Since the update, there have been tons of conversation on WhatsApp sharing user information with Facebook. Many Twitter users are coaxing each other into getting off WhatsApp and shifting to other encrypted messengers like Signal and Telegram. Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk joined the conversation too, asking people to go away WhatsApp. Late last night, he posted on Twitter, “Use Signal”.
Features Of The Alternative Apps
Signal has become the best alternative to WhatsApp, in terms of the security features and the fact that a non-profit firm tunes it. Regarding the security features, it has an end-to-end encryption-based protocol. It is built by an American cryptographer Moxie Marlinspike, who is also the CEO. No third party or even the firm Signal can read your messages. Signal protocol is open-source, which is another advantage. Signal doesn’t support third-party backups either. All data remains stored on the device, and if you lose access to the device and sign in on Signal through another phone, your previous chat history is lost.
The App can be used across multiple platforms like Android, iOS, iPad, Mac etc. It is a user-friendly app; it shows the contacts with a Signal account, making it easier for people to connect. Signal App is entirely free, run by non-profit. Former WhatsApp founder Brian Acton helped develop Signal Foundation, and Marlinspike contributed $5o million for funding the App. It does not have any advertisements and does not sell your data or monetize it.
The App supports group conversations with a maximum of 150 members and has recently added the feature of group video calls. The option of disappearing messages is also available for each chat. The quality of the screen lock is also present. There is also a feature of Message Requests which gives the user an option to block, delete or accept a message from an unknown person.
Signal’s key priority is its user’s privacy, and hence the App doesn’t collect any user data, as per the privacy labels provided on the App Store. This App only stores your telephone number or contact information.
Telegram is another popular alternative to WhatsApp. It will not be difficult for a user to switch to this App as it is straightforward. There are a few telegram features that are not even present on WhatsApp. Telegram is encrypted, and it’s open-source, though within the past issues are raised about its encryption. While regular chats aren’t end-to-end encrypted, as they’re on Signal and WhatsApp, if you begin a secret chat on Telegram, it’s secured and doesn’t get saved. You can also set a timer to delete these secret chat messages. To protect the information not covered by end-to-end encryption, the corporate uses a distributed infrastructure.
Telegram is free. It’s an ad-free service for now. But Telegram recently announced its monetization plans because the company says the project of this “size needs a minimum of a couple of hundred million dollars per annum to stay going.” They also confirmed that the advertisement interface would be user-friendly, and it’ll respect the user’s privacy. It is prevalent for groups and allows quite 200,000 users during a group. It also supports audio and video calls. Interestingly all video calls are end-to-end encrypted. Disappearing messages are a part of the critical Chat feature, and you can set a timer for messages. The time range provided is one second to at least one week.
The best part about Telegram is it’s a cloud service, which is why you don’t have to worry about backing up the chats to other servers to revive them on a replacement device. You can access your data from any device because the data is synchronized across all the registered devices through cloud-based service.
Telegram supports Picture-in-Picture mode, suggesting that you merely can video call while using other apps like Instagram. On Telegram, an admin can set different permissions for each user. Telegram offers cool and fun animated stickers, which you’ll not find on the other messaging App. to make an account, you only got to provide your mobile number and a few necessary information. The data stored in Telegram includes name, phone number, contacts, and user ID.
Viber is another privacy messenger app, which supports end-to-end encryption. All kinds of messages, photos, videos, voice and video calls and group chats are encrypted. The corporate says that everybody will need to confirm that they’re using the newest version of Viber to urge maximum protection.
Like WhatsApp, the chats get backed up in Google Drive, from where you’ll restore your chats. Viber says that when you upload your conversations to Google, it won’t be liable for your data protection and privacy will depend upon Google’s policy. Viber is often used across platforms from Android, iOS, and Windows also. Like all the opposite apps, Viber is additionally free. However, you’ll witness a couple of ads within the popular messaging App. It supports Group features for up to 250 members. Similar to Telegram, there is a secret chat option here too.
You’ll set the timer, and screenshot/forwarding feature is disabled. The time is often set by you starting from one second to at least one week. The screen lock feature is out there, but not for the mobile version. Viber collects location and device ID identifiers. It also gathers device ID identifiers. It contains phone numbers, user ID, product interaction, purchase history, other contact information like email ID, name, and contacts.
Is the shift to another app necessary?
WhatsApp’s most significant advantage is that it’s ubiquitous and everybody on your contact list is using it. On Signal, even now, you’ve got to travel trying to find users to talk. But the App will add up if a whole group decides to manoeuvre conversations there. If you’re thinking of quitting WhatsApp but continuing to use Facebook products like Messenger, Instagram and Facebook itself, then the exercise is going to be pointless.
Indian Smartphones Demand Increasing At Shocking Rate
Though 2020, in general, has been a bad one, but not for the smartphone industry, the Indian smartphones market has experience increase in demand of the product. According to a report by Counterpoint, the sector has undergone a 9 per cent increase growth to over 53 million units in shipments between July to September. This is the highest-ever shipment in a quarter for Indian smartphones.
The primary reason behind these increase shipments is found to be a rise in demands of smartphone during lockdown as well as strong sales on online platforms. Due to the COVID-19, many consumer are still trying to buy products online instead of visiting stores.
This time, after almost two years, Samsung led the smartphone market with a 24 per cent share followed by Xiaomi with 23 per cent, Vivo 16 per cent, Realme 15 per cent and Oppo 10 per cent.
Tech giant Samsung saw 32 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth, and this was because of the multiple strategies used by the company to satisfy its consumer. These strategies include increasing supply and launching various new models of smartphone in different price range and making the product affordable to the consumer.
However, after two years it was for the first time when Xiaomi was ranked second with 4 per cent year-on-year decline. One of the reasons behind this was the companies incompatibility to meet the demand; this was seen when the demand for Redmi 9 and Note series was so high, but the company was unable to meet the need of the consumer. Also initially boycott of China products created a lot of problems for the company.
Indian smartphone companies like Micromax and Lava may also soon comeback in the market under the Aatmanirbharth initiative as the mobile industry is increasing rapidly.
Nonetheless, since September, companies have started seen high sales because of the ongoing festive season, and almost all the brands recorded growth compared to last year.
Transsion Group brands like Intel, Inflix and Tecno regained their market share in Q3 2020, registering 73 per cent YoY growth, and brands like Apple led the segment suppressing OnePlus.
It is seen that after lockdown, the Indian smartphones market is recovering slowly, and in the past few months, the market has shown consistent growth.
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