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Next global cyber-attack likely on Monday: Experts



Cyber security

London, May 14, 2017: Another major cyber-attack is imminent after Friday’s global hit that infected more than 125,000 computer systems and could come on Monday, a security researcher warned on Sunday.

The UK security researcher “MalwareTech”, who helped to limit the ransomware attack, predicted “another one coming… quite likely on Monday”, the BBC reported.

The virus, which took control of users’ files, spread to 100 countries, including Spain, France and Russia.

In England, 48 National Health Service (NHS) trusts fell victim, as did 13 NHS bodies in Scotland.

Some hospitals were forced to cancel procedures and appointments, as ambulances were directed to neighbouring hospitals free from the computer virus.

After taking computers over, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of $300 in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock files and return them to the user.

MalwareTech, who wants to remain anonymous, was hailed as an “accidental hero” after registering a domain name to track the spread of the virus, which actually ended up halting it.

“We have stopped this one, but there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us,” the 22-year-old told the BBC on Sunday.

“So there’s a good chance they are going to do it… maybe not this weekend, but quite likely on Monday morning.”

He also warned hackers could upgrade the virus to remove the “kill switch” that helped to stop it.

“Version 1 of WannaCrypt was stoppable but version 2.0 will likely remove the flaw. You’re only safe if you patch as soon as possible,” he tweeted.

Investigators are working to track down those responsible for the ransomware used on Friday, known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry.

The virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software, first identified by the US National Security Agency.

Read More: Mass cyberattack strikes computer systems worldwide



Israel opens probe into Facebook after data scandal



Cambridge Analytica data scandal

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities said Thursday (Mar 22) they had launched an investigation into Facebook’s activities following a scandal over the hijacking of personal data from millions of the social network’s users.

Israel’s privacy protection agency “informed Facebook” of the probe after revelations over data transfers from the tech giant to consultant Cambridge Analytica, the agency said.

It said it was also looking into “the possibility of other infringements of the privacy law regarding Israelis”, it said in a statement released by the justice ministry.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper has reported that Israeli hackers offered material to Cambridge Analytica.

But an Israeli justice ministry spokeswoman said the probe did not involve hackers, focusing rather on whether Israeli users’ rights were violated.

Under Israel’s privacy law, personal data may only be used with consent and for the purpose for which it was handed over, the privacy protection agency said.


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Middle East

Loud explosion heard outside busy hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu

Explosion hits busy road outside popular hotel in central Mogadishu.



Somalia Car Bombing

MOGADISHU: 16 people killed and 20 injured in a bomb attack at the entrance of  Wehliye hotel in Mogadishu. Most of the casualties are auto rickshaw drivers and passengers, according to witnesses.

The death toll is expected to rise.

The attacked was claimed by al-Shabab, Reuters news agency reported, citing the armed group’s military operation spokesman.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally recognised government, is frequently carrying out attacks in and around the capital.

More to follow.

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Twitter’s chief information security officer quits




San Francisco, March 22: As tech companies reel under mounting pressure to prevent their platforms from data breach and fake news, Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer Michael Coates has decided to quit.

In a tweet on Thursday, Coates who joined Twitter in 2015 announced his departure from the micro-blogging website.

“Twitter has been an amazing ride, but as I mentioned internally a few weeks back, my time is coming to an end. I’m confident to leave the program with an amazing security team,” Coates tweeted.

According to The Verge, Coates’ interim replacement is Joseph Camilleri, a senior manager for information security and risk.

Coates’ departure comes soon after reports surfaced that Facebook’s Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos is planning to leave the company by August.

Facebook is facing the heat after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 50 million Facebook users without permission and using the data to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.

Meanwhile, Michael Zalewski, Director of Information Security Engineering at Google, has also announced his departure from that company after 11 years.


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