Showing posts from May 17, 2020

Syrian army troops block US convoy in Hasakah, force it to move back

A US military convoy has been forced to retreat from an area in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah after government soldiers blocked its way, amid rising popular anger at the deployment of foreign occupying forces in the oil-rich region. Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian army troops, deployed at a security checkpoint, blocked the road and prevented the movement of the US armored vehicles as they were heading towards Umm al-Khair village, which lies west of Tal Tamr town, on Wednesday. The American troops were subsequently forced to turn around and go back in the direction they came from. There were no reports of clashes or injuries. Since late October 2019, the US has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country. The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the

Ban on Zoom | Supreme Court issues notice to Centre

Plea says the app made users ‘vulnerable and prone to cyber threats’. The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to respond to a petition seeking a ban on the use of video communications app ‘Zoom’ for official and personal purposes. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde issued notice to the Centre on the plea raising privacy concerns. The court said the government should file a reply in four weeks. 'Zoom' is not a safe platform, says MHA advisory | Zoom rolls out new measures as security fears mount The plea by Delhi resident Harsh Chugh said the app made users “vulnerable and prone to cyber threats.” It has alleged that the Zoom app “practices data hoarding and cyber hoarding,” which include mass storage of personal data of its users and stores cloud recordings, instant messages and files. Ahead of Zoom 5.0 rollout, a look at trending video-chat apps and their security “Zoom is reported to have a bug that can be abused intentionally to leak info

Cyber criminals leak personal data of 2.9 cr Indians on dark web for free

Cyber criminals have posted personal data of 2.9 crore job-seeking Indians on dark web for free in one of the hacking forums, according to online intelligence firm Cyble. The company had recently revealed hacking of Facebook and Sequoia-funded Indian education technology firm Unacademy. "29.1 million Indian jobseekers' personal details leaked in deepweb for free. We usually see this sort of leaks all the time, but this time, the message header got our attention as it included a lot of personal details where most of the things are generally static such as education, address etc," Cyble said in a blog on Friday. Folders in the name of some of the leading job websites in India also appeared on the screenshot posted by Cyble but the company was investigating the source of the leak at the time of writing this report. "It appears to have originated from a resume aggregator given the sheer volume and detailed information. We will update this article as new in

US blacklists 33 Chinese companies, institutions for alleged military links

As many as 33 Chinese firms and institutes have been added to an economic blacklist in an effort to crackdown on companies that help Beijing spy on its minority communities or for their alleged ties to China's military. The US Commerce Department`s move comes as a latest effort of Trump administration`s crack down on China and a day after Beijing unveiled its plans to impose national security laws on Hong Kong. Companies and institutions were sanctioned for being "complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China`s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs" and others, the Commerce Department said in a statement, reported Reuters. Atleast seven top tech firms companies were sanctioned for "enabling China`s high-technology surveillance". The US Commerce Department also added another 24 companies, government institutions and commercial organisations to the

Cyber crimes on the rise during pandemic, says U.N. disarmament chief

‘It is estimated that one cyberattack takes place every 39 seconds’ The U.N. disarmament chief says the COVID-19 pandemic is moving the world toward increased technological innovation and online collaboration, but “cybercrime is also on the rise, with a 600% increase in malicious emails during the current crisis.” Also read: Interpol warns of cyberthreats during pandemic Izumi Nakamitsu told an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that “there have also been worrying reports of attacks against health care organizations and medical research facilities worldwide. She said growing digital dependency has increased the vulnerability to cyberattacks, and “it is estimated that one such attack takes place every 39 seconds.” According to the International Telecommunication Union, “nearly 90 countries are still only at the early stages of making commitments to cybersecurity,” Ms.. Nakamitsu said. Watch | Cyberthreats during the COVID-19 pandemic The high rep

Two Militant associates of AuGH and Hizbul Mujahideen arrested in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested two militant associates of the proscribed outfit Ansar Gazwat uL Hind (AuGH) and the Hizbul Mujahideen Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested two militant associates of the proscribed outfit Ansar Gazwat uL Hind (AuGH) and the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) from Tral and Awantipora in South Kashmir Friday, police said. The two were involved in providing shelter, support and logistics, besides passing sensitive information to the terrorists of the proscribed outfits. The arrested militant associates have been identified as Sayar Ahmad Shah from Tral and Tanseem alias Tanveer Ahmad Sheikh from Awantipora. Incriminating material has been recovered from both the arrested persons. (IANS) Source:

600% increase in malicious emails amid Covid-19 crisis: UN Official

The UN disarmament chief warned Friday that cyber crime is on the rise, with a 600% increase in malicious emails during the Covid-19 pandemic. Izumi Nakamitsu told an informal meeting of the UN Security Council that the coronavirus crisis is moving the world toward increased technological innovation and online collaboration. But she said “there have also been worrying reports of (cyber) attacks against health care organizations and medical research facilities worldwide.” The high representative for disarmament affairs said growing digital dependency has increased the vulnerability to cyberattacks, and it is estimated that one such attack takes place every 39 seconds. According to the International Telecommunication Union, she said, nearly 90 countries are still only at the early stages of making commitments to cybersecurity. Nakamitsu said the threat from misusing information and communications technology “is urgent.” But she said there is also good news, po

Why Does Pakistan Not Crack Down On Its Own Religious Extremists?

This week, a rather affable looking man was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for attempting to join the Islamic State. Muhammad Masood , a licensed doctor who got his medical degree from Rawalpindi, worked in various posts in Pakistan, till he was accepted as a trainee in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 2018. As it happens, he didn’t stay long. He left the job in March this year, as he readied himself to join the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. Reports of the investigations show his hatred of the country that had given him an opportunity, and his wish to carry out lone wolf attacks in the US itself. The report didn’t get much traction in the media. For one, COVID-19 dominates news stories. More importantly, arrests of Pakistanis are no longer ‘news’. Pakistanis, or those of Pakistani origin, have long been part of terror plots the world over for anyone to be surprised about it. While a great many countries have had their nationals recruited into the ISIS, no other single c

Japan suspects missile data leak in Mitsubishi cyberattack

Tokyo:  Japan is investigating a possible leak of data including details of a prototype missile in a massive cyberattack earlier this year on Mitsubishi Electric Corp., officials said Wednesday. The suspected leak involves sensitive information about a prototype of a cutting-edge high-speed gliding missile intended for deployment for the defense of Japan's remote islands amid China's military assertiveness in the region. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the Defense Ministry is investigating the possible impact of the information leak on national security. Suga declined to give further details. The Defense Ministry has been studying a prototype missile known as HGV, which flies at supersonic speeds and is also being developed by the US, China, and Russia. The ministry suspects the information might have been stolen from documents sent from several defense equipment makers as part of a bidding process for the project, Mitsubishi Electric

'Islamic State' exploiting coronavirus and conflict to rise again

The terrorist militia "Islamic State" has launched a new series of attacks in Syria and Iraq. The jihadists have learned how to exploit the coronavirus outbreak – and conflicts in the region. Northern Iraq is on fire again — thick columns of smoke have been seen rising over wheat fields. The terrorist militia known as the "Islamic State" (IS) set fire to them, to intimidate the local population, and the message is clear: This is what happens when you collaborate with state forces. The militia's attacks have now been on the rise for several weeks. On April 28, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in the city of Kirkuk — part of a double blow, as on the previous night IS terrorists had been attacking nearby areas. Read more: Prosecuting IS returnees Then on May 1, several IS units launched a coordinated advance against members of the Iraqi state-supported Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) north of Baghdad. PMU f

India reaches out to Pak, Iran for coordinated response to contain desert locusts

India has reached out to Pakistan and Iran as desert locust is spreading in the region and threatening crops in these countries and elsewhere. Billions of insects forming swarms that spread over hundreds of thousands of acres have swept into Yemen, Iran, Pakistan, and India, threatening harvest. To further regional cooperation, sources said, India has proposed “coordinated response” to desert locust control to Iran and Pakistan. India has suggested to Pakistan that both countries coordinate locust control operation along the border and that India can facilitate supply of pesticide Malathion to Pakistan. The institutionalised mechanism of Locust Warning Organization could be energised for such cooperation, sources said. India has also offered to supply pesticide to Iran to carry out desert locust control operations in its Sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan provinces. These efforts will contribute to mitigate the effect of desert locust not only in these countries, but

Challenges to Internationally Mediated Peace in Libya

Since Turkey escalated its military intervention in Libya in early 2020, the coalition of armed groups fighting on behalf of the Tripoli-based and UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) have made considerable gains against Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). Turkey’s support for the GNA has proven significant, helping to halt and more recently push back the LNA’s advance, after Haftar – backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia – had acquired large expanses of territory across much of eastern and southern Libya before launching an all-out assault on Tripoli and the GNA in April 2019. Despite recapturing a number of strategic towns across the Western Coastal road between Tripoli and the Tunisian border – including Surman and Sabratha – in April 2020, the GNA fell short of repelling the LNA from western Libya. This is significant because many saw this as the end goal of Turkey’s intervention, in order to better position the GNA for a re

A Ceasefire for Eid, Peace, and Fighting COVID-19 in Afghanistan

Days before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, violence had already escalated in March, taking the lives and limbs of hundreds of innocent civilians across Afghanistan. But Afghans were hoping that there would be a pause, if the Taliban honored their own words on the essence of the month of Ramadan as a period when Muslims must carry out deeds of compassion, charity, forgiveness, reconciliation, piety, and struggle against worldly greed and selfishness as a “ Greater Jihad .” Unfortunately, that hope was soon dashed, as the Taliban continued escalating violence, targeting innocent civilians — including women, children, and infants — throughout Ramadan.  In April alone, the Taliban killed 141 civilians and wounded 285 others. And since they signed the peace deal with the United States last February, they have carried out 3,712 attacks in almost every region of Afghanistan, killing 469 and wounding 948 others. The United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMA) separately r

Armed conflict displaces 660,000 since UN call for global ceasefire

Armed conflict forced more than 660,000 people around the world to flee their homes between March 23 and May 15, leaving people more exposed to Covid-19, and is preventing global efforts to control the pandemic. “At a time when health experts tell us to stay at home, men with guns are forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes and into extreme vulnerability,” said NRC’s Secretary General Jan Egeland. “This not only hurts those who are forced to flee, it seriously undermines our joint efforts to combat the virus.”   New figures released today by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)  show that armed hostilities have continued despite a call on March 23 from the United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres for a global ceasefire in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.   Of the 661,000 internally displaced in 19 countries in two months, the highest number by far was in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where clashes between a

UN Chief Reiterates Call for Global Ceasefire in View of Coronavirus Outbreak

In a report to the UN Security Council released Thursday, Antonio Guterres pointed to the more than 20,000 civilians killed or injured in 2019 attacks in 10 countries - and millions more forced from their homes by fighting. The United Nations secretary-general is again urging factions in conflict to heed his call for a global ceasefire to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. In a report to the UN Security Council released Thursday, Antonio Guterres pointed to the more than 20,000 civilians killed or injured in 2019 attacks in 10 countries - and millions more forced from their homes by fighting. He said the pandemic is "the greatest test the world has faced" since the United Nations was established 75 years ago and has already had a severe impact on efforts to protect civilians, especially in conflict-affected countries where weak health care systems can be overwhelmed. The UN chief said support for his March 23 c

China introduces new security bill in parliament to tighten controls over Hong Kong

China on Friday introduced the draft of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in its parliament to tighten Beijing’s control over the former British colony, in what could be the biggest blow to the territory’s autonomy and personal freedoms since 1997 when it came under the Chinese rule. The draft bill on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to safeguard national security was submitted to the National People’s Congress (NPC) which began its week-long session here. The new law would proscribe secessionist and subversive activity as well as foreign interference and terrorism in the city – all developments that had been troubling Beijing for some time, but most pressingly over the past year of increasingly violent anti-government protests, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. The move is also significant in that China’s central government appears to have a

Khashoggi's fiancee says 'no one has right' to pardon killers

The Turkish fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Friday "no one" had the right to pardon his murderers after his sons said they "forgive" the killers. Khashoggi -- a royal family insider turned critic -- was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was accused of ordering the killing but the kingdom has strongly denied this. "His ambush and heinous murder does not have a statute of limitations and no one has the right to pardon his killers. I and others will not stop until we get #JusticeForJamal," Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz tweeted. "The killers came from Saudi with premeditation to lure, ambush & kill him... We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing," she added. Cengiz was responding to the Washington Post columnist's son Salah Khashoggi who tweeted earlier Friday that the sons "forgive and

Al qaeda financier Telangana Engineer Ibrahim Zubair Convicted In US For terror funding Deported To India; Questioning On

Convicted Al Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Ibrahim Zubair, found guilty of raising funds for the terrorist organisation in the United States, has been deported to India after completing his sentence, intelligence sources said. Zubair was deported two days back along with 167 other Indian deportees, intelligence officials said on Thursday. According to intelligence officials, the deportees were brought on a special flight to Amritsar on May 19. Since then India-born Zubair, 38, has been quarantined at a centre in Amritsar, an official told IANS, requesting anonymity. Investigative agencies sources confirmed that after Zubair was deported to India, he has been questioned security officials to find out his links to terrorists in India. According to intelligence officials, Zubair, an engineer from Hyderabad, was arrested in 2011 on charges of terror financing. He was convicted for raising money for Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in 2009. According to the US Justice Department, Zub

Young mothers in war-torn Yemen

The sun is roasting through the thick layer of sand that has settled in the air. It’s only February, but the temperature is getting close to 30 degrees. Inside the tents, the heat is almost unbearable. In these conditions live widowed Ahlam, 27, and heavily pregnant Rana, 20. What is it like to be a young mother and displaced in Yemen? “There were heavy clashes near our house, and we couldn’t go out to fetch food or water.” Ahlam welcomes us in her tent in Al-Garad, one of the many displacement camps in southern Yemen. Her voice cracks. “One day my husband went out to his regular work in a construction site. A number of bullets hit his body and took his soul from us.”