Budget 2018-19: charts the journey for Mauritius to become an inclusive high income country

GIS – 15  June, 2018: Budget 2018-19 charts the right pathways and make the right choices to continue building up the strengths of our economy and society, said the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, yesterday in the National Assembly while presenting the 2018-19 budget.
 
In line with the objective of pursuing that transformative journey to attain the status of an Inclusive High-Income country based on innovation and sustainable value-creation, Government is charting seven main pathways and creating new poles of economic growth as the country pursues its Transformative Journey, he said.
 
The transformative journey hinges on the following pillars:
 
·         youth and their future by equipping them with the right set of skills and values to integrate the labour market;
·         providing new opportunities for private investment and job
creation through Artificial Intelligence, blockchain technologies and Fintech
·         fostering import substitution and reviving export led production;
·         physical infrastructure for a future of modernity, high income and smart living;
·         securing a sustainable development for a healthy, productive and meaningful life;
·         investing in health, sports, leisure, education and a decent dwelling for all families; and 
·         gender mainstreaming and consolidation of the welfare state system.
 
This will be achieved by ensuring strong and stable macroeconomic fundamentals and sound public finances, the Prime Minister pointed out.
 
Budget Outturn
The Budget deficit for the current fiscal year would turn out to be 3.2 percent of GDP, with total revenue of Rs 106.8 billion and total expenditure of Rs 122.3 billion. The deficit in the recurrent budget would be lower at 1.7 percent of GDP compared to the previous Estimates of two percent.
As for public sector debt, it is estimated to decline from 64.8 percent of GDP at end June 2017 to 63.4 percent by end June 2018.
Summary of Budget Estimates for 2018-19.
Total expenditure will amount to Rs 133.8 billion, of which Rs 115.9 billion for recurrent spending and Rs 17.9 billion for capital expenditure. The revised estimate for capital spending in 2017-18 is Rs 15.7 billion.
Total revenue is estimated at Rs 117.4 billion, including tax receipts of Rs 99.7 billion, non-tax and other revenue of Rs 8.8 billion and grants of Rs 8.9 billion. 266. The overall budget deficit for 2018-19 will amount to Rs 16.3 billion, that is 3.2 percent of GDP.
An amount of Rs 9.5 billion has also been provided by way of loans and equity injection for implementation of various projects. This will bring the total capital outlay in the Budget to Rs 27.4 billion.
On the financing side, during 2018-19 the country will be borrowing some Rs 2.6 billion from foreign sources while repaying Rs 4.4 billion of foreign loans. It will be raising some Rs 27.4 billion, on a ‘net basis’, from domestic sources.
Public Sector Debt
With the policies and proposals announced in this Budget, it is expected that public sector debt will further decline to 63.1 percent of GDP by end June 2019. The share of foreign debt in total public-sector debt will be further brought down to 18 percent from 19.5 percent at present.

Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website: http://gis.govmu.

ST18-002: Defending Against Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining Activity

Original release date: June 26, 2018


The popularity of cryptocurrency, a form of digital currency, is rising; Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, Ethereum, and Ripple are just a few types of the cryptocurrencies available. Though cryptocurrency is a common topic of conversation, many people lack a basic understanding of cryptocurrency and the risks associated with it. This lack of awareness is contributing to the rise of individuals and organizations falling victim to illicit cryptocurrency mining activity.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency used as a medium of exchange, similar to other currencies. However, unlike other currencies, cryptocurrency operates independently of a central bank and uses encryption techniques and blockchain technology to secure and verify transactions.

What is cryptomining?

Cryptocurrency mining, or cryptomining, is simply the way in which cryptocurrency is earned. Individuals mine cryptocurrency by using cryptomining software to solve complex mathematical problems involved in validating transactions. Each solved equation verifies a transaction and earns a reward paid out in the cryptocurrency. Solving cryptographic calculations to mine cryptocurrency requires a massive amount of processing power.

What is cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking occurs when malicious cyber actors exploit vulnerabilities—in webpages, software, and operating systems—to illicitly install cryptomining software on victim devices and systems. With the cryptomining software installed, the malicious cyber actors effectively hijack the processing power of the victim devices and systems to earn cryptocurrency. Additionally, malicious cyber actors may infect a website with cryptomining JavaScript code, which leverages a visitor’s processing power via their browser to mine cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking may result in the following consequences to victim devices, systems, and networks:

  • Degraded system and network performance because bandwidth and central processing unit (CPU) resources are monopolized by cryptomining activity;
  • Increased power consumption, system crashes, and potential physical damage from component failure due to the extreme temperatures caused by cryptomining;
  • Disruption of regular operations; and
  • Financial loss due to system downtime caused by component failure and the cost of restoring systems and files to full operation as well as the cost of the increased power consumption.

Cryptojacking involves maliciously installed programs that are persistent or non-persistent. Non-persistent cryptojacking usually occurs only while a user is visiting a particular webpage or has an internet browser open. Persistent cryptojacking continues to occur even after a user has stopped visiting the source that originally caused their system to perform mining activity.

Malicious actors distribute cryptojacking malware through weaponized mobile applications, botnets, and social media platforms by exploiting flaws in applications and servers, and by hijacking Wi-Fi hotspots.

What types of systems and devices are at risk for cryptojacking?

Any internet-connected device with a CPU is susceptible to cryptojacking. The following are commonly targeted devices:

  • Computer systems and network devices – including those connected to information technology and Industrial Control System networks;
  • Mobile devices – devices are subject to the same vulnerabilities as computers; and
  • Internet of Things devices – internet-enabled devices (e.g., printers, video cameras, and smart TVs).

How do you defend against cryptojacking?

The following cybersecurity best practices can help you protect your internet-connected systems and devices against cryptojacking:

  • Use and maintain antivirus software. Antivirus software recognizes and protects a computer against malware, allowing the owner or operator to detect and remove a potentially unwanted program before it can do any damage. (See Understanding Anti-Virus Software.)
  • Keep software and operating systems up-to-date. Install software updates so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. (See Understanding Patches.)
  • Use strong passwords. Select passwords that will be difficult for attackers to guess, and use different passwords for different programs and devices. It is best to use long, strong passphrases or passwords that consist of at least 16 characters. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords.)
  • Change default usernames and passwords. Default usernames and passwords are readily available to malicious actors. Change default passwords, as soon as possible, to a sufficiently strong and unique password.
  • Check system privilege policies. Review user accounts and verify that users with administrative rights have a need for those privileges. Restrict general user accounts from performing administrative functions.
  • Apply application whitelisting. Consider using application whitelists to prevent unknown executables from launching autonomously.
  • Be wary of downloading files from websites. Avoid downloading files from untrusted websites. Look for an authentic website certificate when downloading files from a secure site. (See Understanding Web Site Certificates.)
  • Recognize normal CPU activity and monitor for abnormal activity. Network administrators should continuously monitor systems and educate their employees to recognize any above-normal sustained CPU activity on computer workstations, mobile devices, and network servers. Any noticeable degradation in processing speed requires investigation.
  • Disable unnecessary services. Review all running services and disable those that are unnecessary for operations. Disabling or blocking some services may create problems by obstructing access to files, data, or devices.
  • Uninstall unused software. Review installed software applications and remove those not needed for operations. Many retail computer systems with pre-loaded operating systems come with toolbars, games, and adware installed, all of which can use excessive disk space and memory. These unnecessary applications can provide avenues for attackers to exploit a system.
  • Validate input. Perform input validation on internet-facing web server and web applications to mitigate injection attacks. On web browsers, disable JavaScript execution. For Microsoft Internet Explorer, enable the cross-site scripting filter.
  • Install a firewall. Firewalls may be able to prevent some types of attack vectors by blocking malicious traffic before it can enter a computer system, and by restricting unnecessary outbound communications. Some device operating systems include a firewall. Enable and properly configure the firewall as specified in the device or system owner’s manual. (See Understanding Firewalls.)
  • Create and monitor blacklists. Monitor industry reports of websites that are hosting, distributing, and being used for, malware command and control. Block the internet protocol addresses of known malicious sites to prevent devices from being able to access them.

Author: NCCIC


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