UPSC Prelims News of 29 November 2022
Context: Bilateral training exercise between the armies of India and Australia, called Austra Hind, began in Rajasthan’s Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.
About Austra Hind:
- Austra Hind will be a yearly event held alternately in India and Australia. This is the first exercise in the AUSTRA HIND series of exercise, with all arms and services contingents from both armies participating.
- Objective: The exercise aims to build positive military relations, inculcate each other’s best practices and enhance the ability to operate together while undertaking multi-domain operations in semi-desert terrain under a UN peace enforcement mandate.
- Activities: Training on new generation equipment and specialist weapons, such as snipers, surveillance and communication equipment for a high level of situational awareness, as well as casualty management, evacuation, and planning logistics will take place.
- Significance: Apart from promoting understanding and interoperability between the two armies, the exercise will further help in strengthening ties between India and Australia.
Context: Scientists have discovered five new species of black corals near the Great Barrier Reef.
More on the News:
- This is for the first time that researchers used robot to collect black coral specimen. Previously, dredging method was used to collect samples.
- Scientists examined the physical features of the corals and sequenced their DNA to discover five new species.
- Habitat: Black corals can be found growing both in shallow waters and deep waters. Some individual corals can survive for over 4,000 years.
- Physical appearance: Many of these corals are branched and look like feathers, fans or bushes, while others are straight like a whip.
- Feeding pattern: Unlike the shallow-water corals that rely on the sun and photosynthesis for energy, black corals are filter feeders and consume tiny zooplankton that are abundant in deep waters.
- Significance: Similarly to shallow-water corals, black corals act as important habitats where fish and invertebrates feed and hide from predators.
Context: Cybersecurity experts note that apps that let users connect smartphones or laptops to wireless earplugs can record conversations, and are vulnerable to hacks, through a process called bluebugging.
- It is a form of hacking that lets attackers access a device through its discoverable Bluetooth connection.
- Once a device or phone is bluebugged, a hacker can listen to the calls, read and send messages and steal and modify contacts.
How does Bluebugging hack devices?
- Several smartphones have their Bluetooth settings on discovery mode as it is a default setting, making it easy for hackers to access the phones when they are within 10 metres from the device.
- Once a connection is established, hackers can use brute force attacks to bypass authentication.
- They can install malware in the compromised device to gain unauthorized access to it.
How to prevent bluebugging?
- Turning off Bluetooth and disconnecting paired Bluetooth devices when not in use.
- Updating the device’s system software to the latest version.
- Limiting the use of public Wi-Fi.
- Using VPN as an additional security measure.
- Modern anti-virus softwares can also help thwart such attacks.
Context: The Shiveluch volcano in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula may be gearing up for its first powerful eruption in 15 years.
The Shiveluch Volcano:
- It is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Kamchatka, having erupted at least 60 times in the past 10,000 years.
- Type: It is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of solidified ash, hardened lava and volcanic rocks.
- It has two main parts:
- Old Shiveluch, which tops 3,283 metres (10,771 ft), and
- Young Shiveluch – a smaller, 2,800-metre peak protruding from its side.
- It is a 1,250km-long peninsula in the Russian Far East.
- The Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk make up the peninsula’s eastern and western coastlines, respectively.
- Kamchatka is home to 29 active volcanoes, part of a vast belt of Earth known as the “Ring of Fire”.
The Ring of Fire:
- The Ring of Fire, also referred to as the Circum-Pacific Belt, is a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.
- Roughly 90% of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the ring is dotted with 75% of all active volcanoes on Earth.
- Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction.