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Gas pumps across North America under POS malware attack: VISA

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US Visa

San Francisco: American multinational financial services major VISA has warned that North American merchants who operate gas stations are under attack from cybercrime groups who are looking to deploy point-of-sale (POS) malware on their networks.

According to VISA’s security team, it investigated at least five incidents of this nature and it had published security alerts in November and December about it.

This alert follows a previous warning from November that also mentions such merchants being an increasingly attractive target for threat groups “due to the lack of secure acceptance technology, (e.g. EMV Chip, Point-to-Point Encryption, Tokenization, etc.) and non-compliance with PCI DSS”, Bleeping Computer has recently reported.

According to VISA Payment Fraud Disruption (PFD) team, cybercrime groups units have apparently found a weak spot in how gas stations and gas pump operators function.

The in-store POS terminals of some gas merchants reportedly support chip-and-PIN transactions. However, most of the card readers installed at gas pumps do not.

VISA documented breaches at two fuel dispenser merchants in a November 2019 security alert, and another three breaches in a December 2019 alert. The two alerts highlight a new target and modus operandi for cybercrime groups, according to a report in ZDNet.


Disaster

Iran extends furloughs for prisoners amid coronavirus fight

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Tehran, March 30 : Iran’s Judiciary on Sunday announced the extension of furloughs for 100,000 inmates amid the nationwide fight against COVID-19, state TV reported.

Furloughs were extended until April 19 for the prisoners who had already been granted a leave until April 3, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said, reported Xinhua news agency.

Such extension does not include the released prisoners who carried out an illegal or criminal act during their furloughs, he added.

Iran’s Judiciary has temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons.

Iran is the worst-hit country by the virus in the Middle East.

Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education on Sunday reported the total number of 38,309 cases of the novel coronavirus in the country, of whom 2,640 have died.

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UN Relief and Works Agency warns of COVID-19 spread in Gaza Strip

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Gaza Border

Gaza, March 30 : A senior official of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Sunday warned of the consequences of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip.

Director of the UNRWA in Gaza Matthias Schmale told reporters that the organization is gravely concerned about the spread of the virus in light of Gaza’s vulnerable situation, stressing that managing such a crisis would be “extremely difficult”, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said Gaza Strip is suffering from a severe lack of resources in light of 13-year-old Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave.

“It is unreasonable to think that a place like Gaza can be isolated from the world, which puts everyone, including the people, under the responsibility of stopping the spread of the virus,” he said, adding that “the worst scenario is the spread of the virus under a total closure.”

Schmale called for lifting the blockade that has been imposed on Gaza since 2007 and stressed the importance of providing respiratory equipment and preventative medical equipment to Gaza.

The total number of Palestinians infected with the coronavirus has reached 108, including nine in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA provides basic services, including health, education, sanitation and food supplies to more than one million Palestinian refugees living in the Gaza Strip, a home for two million Palestinians.

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British doctor dies of coronavirus

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London, March 30 : Amged El-Hawrani, an ear, nose and throat trainer at Queen’s Hospital Burton in Staffordshire, died with coronavirus in the UK on Sunday.

In a statement, his family said he was “incredibly strong” and “compassionate”, the BBC reported.

“His greatest passions were his family and his profession, and he dedicated his life to both”, they added.

His colleague Gavin Boyle, chief executive at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB), said he was “known for his dedication and commitment to his patients” and that his death had left hospital staff “desperately saddened”.

NHS national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis said his death was “a stark reminder to the whole country that we all must take this crisis seriously”.

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