Indian Finance Minister throws Infosys under the bus as new e-tax portal fails on first day – The Register

Minister moved from celebrating new facility to complaining about it in a handful of hours

India’s new tax e-filing portal went live Monday night, and was down less than 24 hours later, leading union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to jump onto Twitter with some pointed questions for the site’s developer, Indian services giant Infosys.

Infosys won a contract to build the tax portal in 2019. The new tech was promised to reduce the wait for refunds from 63 days to one day and improve the user experience of filing taxes. As

After the new portal went live, Sitharaman sent a celebratory tweet. But after many would-be users reported difficulty accessing the site, she was inspired to throw some blame at Infosys and its co-founder, Nandan Nilekani.

The much awaited e-filing portal 2.0 was launched last night 20:45hrs.

I see in my TL grievances and glitches.

Hope @Infosys & @NandanNilekani will not let down our taxpayers in the quality of service being provided.

Ease in compliance for the taxpayer should be our priority.

— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) June 8, 2021

Nilekani managed to take it on the chin, responding that day one indeed had technical glitches Infosys was working to resolve.

The new e-filing portal will ease the filing process and enhance end user experience. @nsitharaman ji, we have observed some technical issues on day one, and are working to resolve them. @Infosys regrets these initial glitches and expects the system to stabilise during the week.

— Nandan Nilekani (@NandanNilekani) June 8, 2021

Income Tax India isn’t the first government service to have its debut bungled and certainly won’t be the last. The US website famously suffered software and capacity issues when it debuted in 2013 to register people for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The UK NHS has also seen its share of troubles. Last month it was discovered that the vaccine-booking website exposed individual vaccine status without authentication.

As for Infosys, the company has been down this road before and survived the journey. A 2015 contract to build and maintain India’s GST system endured technical glitches, some of which went unresolved for almost two years. Infosys Chief Operating Officer U.B. Pravin Rao told in-country news outlet BusinessLine the problems were mostly due to backend network management.

Infosys has gone from strength to strength since.

The tax portal remains inaccessible at the time of writing, as the outage nears 24 hours. ®

Other stories you might like

  • USA finds $52B to keep chipmakers working, $195B for tech R&D

    Innovation and Competition Act aims to keep America ahead of China and passes with unusual bipartisan support

    The United States Senate has passed the Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, a sweeping stimulus program that seeks to secure supply chains and stimulate industry — especially high-technology industries — to ensure America remains ahead of China.

    “We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off,” reads a statement marking the law’s passage from US President Joe Biden. “As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind. America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on Earth.”

    Lawmakers deliberately avoided describing the law as “industry policy”, a term that arouses fears that government is meddling with market forces, and instead framed it as a job-creating and strategic imperative. That framing helped the Act to pass the US Senate by 68 votes to 32, an unusually wide margin in the current US political climate.

    Continue reading

  • Ohio Attorney General asks courts to declare Google a public utility

    Yup, just a Republican wanting a private business to be subjected to more government regulation

    Dave Yost, Ohio’s top government legal eagle, has filed a lawsuit that asks the courts to declare Google Search a public utility and the company as a whole a common carrier — ie: more subject to government regulation.

    Google is the most visited website in the Buckeye State, and in the world, the lawsuit [PDF] claims, and its dominant position makes it necessary for government watchdogs to step in. As such, Google must stop prioritising its own products over those of its rivals’ in its search results, and accept regulation by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

    “Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products — that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost, Ohio’s Attorney General, claimed in a canned statement. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

    Continue reading

  • SK Hynix admits to DRAM defects, smacks down rumour it botched big batches

    Admits ‘potential losses’ may result, says they won’t be significant

    South Korean chip maker SK Hynix has admitted some of its DRAM components included defects, though it says accounts of the issue are overblown.

    In a statement to The Register, the manufacturer wrote: “We can confirm that a defect was found in a few DRAM products.

    “We’re currently talking to a limited number of customers affected by this to address the issue. While it’s too early to estimate the potential losses, we don’t think they would be that significant as the defect is within the range of typical quality issue check.”

    Continue reading

  • Extra urgency in June’s Patch Tuesday: Microsoft warns six more bugs are being exploited

    Adobe, Intel, SAP, Android emit vulnerability fixes, too

    Patch Tuesday Microsoft’s traditional Patch Tuesday saw the software giant release fixes for 50 flaws, and a reminder to apply updates as soon as possible because six of them are being exploited in the wild by miscreants.

    Potentially the most serious of the six, CVE-2021-33742, allows for remote code execution via the Windows MSHTML Platform. Details of this security hole have been disclosed in some form, we’re told. Shane Huntley, director of the Google’s Threat Analysis Group, noted a “commercial exploit company” seems to be linked to this vulnerability “for limited nation state Eastern Europe and Middle East targeting.”

    The bug is present on PC and server platforms going all the way back to Windows 7, and comes with a CVSS score of 7.5. A maliciously crafted webpage or some other file can execute arbitrary code on the machine when opened and parsed by MSHTML, which is “used by Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge as well as other applications through WebBrowser control,” according to Microsoft.

    Continue reading

  • FBI paid renegade developer $180k for backdoored AN0M chat app that brought down drug underworld

    From hidden master keys to pineapples stuffed with Bolivian marching powder — this story has it all

    The FBI has revealed how it managed to hoodwink the criminal underworld with its secretly backdoored AN0M encrypted chat app, leading to hundreds of arrests, the seizure of 32 tons of drugs, 250 firearms, 55 luxury cars, more than $148M, and even cocaine-filled pineapples.

    About 12,000 smartphones with AN0M installed were sold into organized crime rings: the devices were touted as pure encrypted messaging tools — no GPS, email or web browsing, and certainly no voice calls, cameras, and microphones. They were “designed by criminals, for criminals exclusively,” one defendant told investigators, Randy Grossman, Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of California, told a press conference on Tuesday.

    However, AN0M was forged in a joint operation by Australian and US federal law enforcement, and was deliberately and surreptitiously engineered so that agents could peer into the encrypted conversations and read crooks’ messages. After Australia’s police broke the news that the messaging app had recorded everything from drug deals to murder plots — leading to hundreds of arrests — now the FBI has spilled its side of the story, revealing a complex sting dubbed Operation Trojan Shield.

    Continue reading

  • It’s completely unsupportable. Yes, we mean your brand new system

    The problem started when those ridiculous users … oh, hang on. It started in the IT department

    Feature The concept of “shadow IT” is a familiar one. One of my favourite descriptions of it comes from security vendor Forcepoint, which says shadow IT is “the use of information technology systems, devices, software, applications, and services without explicit IT department approval.”

    It has grown exponentially in recent years with the adoption of cloud-based applications and services.

    The majority of organisations — particularly the IT and security teams — are conscious of the potential threats from shadow IT and are on the lookout for it so it can be stamped on. Yet many such organisations are, in parallel, running activities whose outcomes can present just as big a problem as shadow IT.

    Continue reading

  • With incoming iOS 15, update refuseniks will be given choice to stay where they are while still receiving security patches

    Departure from Apple’s usual iron-fist approach to iPhone software

    With the launch of iOS 15, Apple will give users the option to upgrade to the latest software or stick with iOS 14 while continuing to receive crucial security updates.

    In the feature list for the newly announced mobile operating system, Apple wrote: “iOS now offers a choice between two software update versions in the Settings app.”

    “You can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it’s released for the latest features and most complete set of security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until you’re ready to upgrade to the next major version.”

    Continue reading

  • China’s ISCAS to build 2,000 RISC-V laptops by the end of 2022 as nation seeks to cut reliance on Arm, Intel chips

    Software porting efforts aim to make sure Android, Linux, Firefox, and Chrome work well ahead of time

    The Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) is working to build 2,000 laptops using the free and open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture by the end of next year, as the nation looks to reduce its reliance on foreign technology giants like Arm and Intel.

    First developed at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010, RISC-V is an open-source alternative to proprietary processor architectures including Arm and x86. Anyone is free to build chips based on RISC-V, which can themselves be open or closed source, and anyone can modify or extend the architecture as they see fit.

    Those freedoms have been of particular interest to China since former US president Donald Trump launched a trade war in 2018 which hit Chinese technology companies with punitive tariffs and outright trade embargoes – including the potential for companies like Huawei to be cut off entirely from the Arm and Intel intellectual property that powers their devices.

    Continue reading

  • Door-opening insect mega-swarm emerges in Eastern US, descends on Washington DC

    We’re gonna need a bigger rolled-up newspaper

    Threats to humanity’s dominance on Earth are oft-featured here at The Register, with aspiring usurpers ranging from dancing robots to peckish rats.

    However, a new source of potential doom has now quite literally emerged in the Eastern US. Observers there have been preparing for the appearance of the cicada swarm referred to as Brood X – also known as the Great Eastern Brood – for some time, a task made much easier by this particular group’s well-documented 17-year life cycle.

    But the billions-strong hexapod hordes have never displayed any intent to upset the natural order and take over the world. Until now.

    Continue reading

  • Generous Alibaba to scatter 0.9% of annual revenue over Southeast Asia to develop tech talent and infrastructure

    Also announces buttload of new products at Cloud Summit event

    Alibaba proclaimed at its Cloud Summit 2021 that it is ploughing $1bn into “Project AsiaForward”, an initiative focused on expansion and development in Southeast Asia.

    The project includes training, partnerships with universities, and infrastructure development.

    The Chinese e-commerce company said today it hoped the cash pot would “cultivate a million-strong digital talent pool, empower 100,000 developers and the growth of 100,000 technology startups in Asia Pacific (APAC) over the next three years.”

    Continue reading

  • Cryptography whizz Phil Zimmermann looks back at 30 years of Pretty Good Privacy

    The highs, the lows, the acquisitions, the resignations, and more

    Encryption and verification package Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) has celebrated a troubled 30 years of securing secrets and giving cypherpunks an excuse to meet in person, with original developer and security specialist Phil Zimmermann toasting a world where encryption is common but, he warns, still under threat.

    “It was on this day (6 June) in 1991 that Pretty Good Privacy was uploaded to the Internet,” Zimmermann wrote in a piece published over the weekend. “I had sent it to a couple of my friends for distribution the day before. This set in motion a decade of struggle to end the US export controls on strong cryptographic software.

    “I became the target of a criminal investigation for violating the Arms Export Control Act by allowing PGP to spread around the world. This further propelled PGP’s popularity. The government dropped the investigation in early 1996, but the policy debate raged on, until the US export restrictions finally collapsed in 2000. PGP ignited the decade of the Crypto Wars, resulting in all the western democracies dropping their restrictions on the use of strong cryptography. It was a storied and thrilling decade, and a triumph of activism for the right to have a private conversation.”

    Continue reading