Posts Tagged ‘cyber’

Vietnam’s President Calls for Tougher Internet Controls — “Going Chinese”

August 20, 2017

HANOI — Vietnam’s president called on Sunday for tougher controls on the internet in the face of dissidents who are using it to criticize the ruling Communist Party, and to combat threats to cybersecurity.

Vietnam’s government has stepped up a crackdown on activists this year, but despite the arrest and sentencing of several high profile figures, there has been little sign of it silencing criticism on social media.

President Tran Dai Quang made the call in an article published on the government website.

Image result for no freedom of speech, tape over mouth, photos

He said hostile forces had used the internet to organize offensive campaigns that “undermined the prestige of the leaders of the party and the state, with a negative impact on cadres, party members and people”.

Quang said Vietnam needed to pay greater attention to controlling online information, especially on social networks, and needed an effective solution “to prevent news sites and blogs with bad and dangerous content”.

Quang’s own standing had been the subject of internet rumor and gossip in recent days because he has been largely absent from the public eye.

Vietnam has intensified crackdowns on both government critics and officials accused of corruption since security-minded conservatives gained greater sway within the Communist Party early last year.

Vietnam is in the top 10 countries for Facebook users by numbers and Google’s YouTube is also a popular platform.

Quang also highlighted threats to cybersecurity, saying Vietnam was under increasing attack by criminals seeking information and state secrets, and attempting to carry out acts of sabotage.

Thousands of computers in Vietnam were affected by the WannaCry virus in May.

In a report three months ago, security company FireEye said hackers working on behalf of the Vietnamese government had broken into the computers of multinationals in the country. Vietnam forcefully rejected the accusation.

(Reporting by Mi Nguyen; Writing by Matthew Tostevin; editing by David Stamp)

Image result for tape over mouth, photos, Hong Kong

North Korea Media Blitz Against U.S., South Korea — “Like pouring gasoline on fire” — North Korea warns of ‘merciless strike’ ahead of US-South Korea drills (Same as August 22, 2016)

August 20, 2017
NORTH Korea has issued a fresh warning to the US as its foe gears up to conduct military exercises on its doorstep with ally South Korea.

PUBLISHED: 12:00, Sun, Aug 20, 2017 | UPDATED: 12:52, Sun, Aug 20, 2017

US demonstrates how close F-16 jets can get from North Korea

An annual war game is due to take place in South Korea could be the spark which tips the region into conflict, with a war of words over the past few months threatening to escalate into conflict.North Korea and the US have been trading barbs, backed up by missile launches on both sides as a sign of strength and defiance.The joint military exercise, named the “Ulchi Freedom Guardian” (UFG), kicks off Monday and will see thousands of troops from both sides taking part.

The 10-day exercise was described by Pyongyang as “reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”

Numbers from the South’s defence ministry claim 17,500 US soldiers will participate in this year’s drills, a drop from last year.

North Korea’s warning over US drillGETTY

The region is a tinderbox which could ignite at any moment

Pyongyang views the exercise as a highly provocative rehearsal for war, which despot leader Kim Jong-un feels threatened by.The regime’s mouthpiece, the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, fired off a warning ahead of the exercise.It said: “The joint exercise is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won’t evolve into actual fighting.

“The Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises will be like pouring gasoline on fire and worsen the state of the peninsula.”And they threatened the dawn of an “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war” on the Korean peninsula, blaming the US.It continued: “If the United States is lost in a fantasy that war on the peninsula is at somebody else’s doorstep far away from them across the Pacific, it is far more mistaken than ever.

“The Trump group’s declaration of the reckless nuclear war exercises against the DPRK … is a reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”

North Korea’s warning over US drillGETTY

Pyongyang views the exercise as a highly provocative rehearsal for war

“The Korean People’s Army is keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies.”It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted.”The region is a tinderbox which could ignite at any moment, with tensions on a knife edge.

US president Donald Trump previously warned the hermit kingdom would be met with “fire and fury” if they crossed from empty threats into action.

Dictator Kim Jong-un declared he would fire missiles at the US territory of Guam, releasing photos of him presiding over a map with a large arrow pointing towards the island.

North Korea’s warning over US drillGETTY

North Korea and the US have been trading barbs, backed up by missile launches

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises will be like pouring gasoline on fire

Rodong Sinmun

He later scrapped the idea, but indicated he could still strike depending on how the US acts.General Jeong Kyeong-Doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for South Korea, outlined the dire situation which he branded “more serious than at any other time”.

 

Mr Kyeong-Doo said: “If the enemy provokes, (our military) will retaliate resolutely and strongly to make it regret bitterly.”Amid the fragile situation South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the two countries were considering scrapping bringing in two aircraft carriers to take part.

North Korea’s warning over US drillGETTY

They threatened the dawn of an “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war”

Despite the rumours it may be scaled back in the wake of North Korea’s aggression, neither side confirmed this.The drills, involving the computer-simulated UFG exercise, dates back to 1976.
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http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/843555/North-Korea-US-warning-military-drill-gasoline-fire-Donald-Trump-Kim-Jong-un
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North Korea warns of ‘merciless strike’ ahead of US-South Korea drills

Story highlights

  • The threat appeared on the official government newspaper
  • Tensions between the two nations have grown in recent week

(CNN) — North Korea warned Sunday that the upcoming US-South Korea military exercises are “reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”

Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the US mainland can “dodge the merciless strike.”
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The messages in Rodong Sinmun, the official government newspaper, come a day before the US starts the Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises with South Korea.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have grown in recent weeks.
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Just last week, Pyongyang said it had finalized a plan to fire four missiles toward the US territory of Guam. State media reported that leader Kim Jong Un would assess the US’ next move before giving launch orders.
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Kim would “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees,” a North Korean statement said last week.
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kim jong un

But US military and Trump administration officials said the 10-day military exercises set to begin Monday, would go ahead as scheduled.
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The annual drills antagonize Pyongyang, which sees them as practice for an invasion. However, the US and South Korea maintain they are purely defensive.
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“The Trump group’s declaration of the reckless nuclear war exercises against the DPRK … is a reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war,” Rodong Sinmun said, using the acronym for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the nation’s official name.
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It described North Korea as the “strongest possessor” of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the US mainland from anywhere.
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“The Korean People’s Army is keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies. It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted,” it said.
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It did not provide any details on what it meant by “preventive war.”
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The Pacific Island of Guam
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Both US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last week that the US was keeping military options on the table in dealing with North Korea.
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Tillerson said peaceful diplomatic pressure was the preferred way to get Pyongyang to stop its testing of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. But he added that the diplomatic approach “has to be backed with military threat” if North Korea chooses to move forward with destabilizing actions.
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Mattis also made clear the US’ willingness to use force if North Korea steps out of line.
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“In close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if the DPRK initiates hostilities,” he said.
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Promise from South Korea’s President

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As tensions escalate, South Korean President Moon Jae-in promised his citizens last week there “will be no war on the Korean Peninsula ever again.”
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Moon, who took office in May, announced on his 100th day in office that US and South Korean policies are aligned on North Korea.
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US President Donald Trump assured South Korea he would consult with them before making any military decisions on North Korea, according to Moon.
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Moon Chung-in: We do not want war

Moon said North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons technology was “nearing” a red line, which he described as “completing an ICBM and weaponizing it with a nuclear head.”
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North Korea claims it has successfully miniaturized a nuclear weapon. While some experts believe it may have the technology, others caution that even if it doesn’t, North Korea should be taken at its word.
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“If North Korea provokes again, it will face with much harsher sanction and won’t stand it in the end. I want to warn North Korea to do no more dangerous gambling,” Moon said.
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His comments about averting war echoed similar statements he made Tuesday that only South Korea could give consent to initiate any conflict with the North.
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“The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means,” Moon said.
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China weighs in

Related image

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China has urged both Washington and Pyongyang to tone down the rhetoric and stop actions that inflame tensions, missile testing on North Korea’s side and military exercises on the US and South Korean side.
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China’s Global Times newspaper, a state-run tabloid, was scathing of South Korea’s decision to proceed with the drills.
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“The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response,” it said in an editorial.
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“If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise.”
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Includes videos:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/20/asia/north-korea-south-korea-us-military-drills/index.html

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From last August:

Keyboard Warriors: South Korea, U.S. Gear Up for War Games to Counter North Korea Threat

August 19, 2017

SEOUL — In air conditioned bunkers and at military bases across South Korea, it is with keyboards – not tanks – that South Korean and the U.S. forces will launch military exercises on Monday, denounced by North Korea as a rehearsal for war.

The Aug. 21 to Aug. 31 exercises involve computer simulations designed to prepare for the unthinkable: war with nuclear-capable North Korea.

The wargames, details of which are a closely guarded secret, simulate military conflict with the isolated country. The U.S. describes them as “defensive in nature,” a term North Korean state media has dismissed as a “deceptive mask”.

“The drills deal with all the steps involved in a war, of course, towards victory,” said Moon Seong-mook, a retired South Korean brigadier who regularly participated in the drills until the mid-2000s.

Far from the dusty firing ranges just south of the heavily fortified border with North Korea, U.S. and South Korean troops hunch over laptops and screens wearing earphones and camouflaged combat uniforms, according to photos of past UFG drills on the United States Forces Korea website.

The U.S. military describes the software behind the drills as “state-of-the-art wargaming computer simulations”. There will be no field training during the exercise, according to U.S. Forces Korea.

As part of the exercises, imagery from military satellites orbiting above the Korean peninsula, is at times used to peer deep into North Korea, said a former South Korean government official who declined to be identified.

Banks of monitors and computer graphics create simulated battlefields, complete with troop movements, according to Park Yong-han, a military expert formerly with the state-run Korea Institute for Defence Analysis.

“You can expand a certain area to see what troops are in what sort of status and where they will move,” said Park.

“In the case of North Korea, we can’t see everything in real time but the military deduces the locations of North Korean troops, including the leadership during the exercise”.

That focus on the North Korean leadership is what particularly infuriates Pyongyang, experts say.

“We cannot stand the fact the enemy tries to form schemes to assassinate our leadership,” North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, said in July.

“We will follow to the ends of the earth those who dare try to harm our core.”

COMMANDO RAID

North Korea’s rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fuelled a surge in tension.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned that North Korea would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States. The North responded by threatening to fire missiles towards the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam.

The North later said it was holding off firing towards Guam, while it waited to see what the United States would do next.

Called Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), the joint drills have their roots in a 1968 raid on South Korea’s Blue House presidential complex, when Unit 124 of the North Korean army secretly entered South Korea and unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the then president, Park Chung-hee.

Image result for Ulchi Freedom Guardian, photos

The United States had been conducting regular “command and control” drills in the years following the 1950-53 Korean War, but combined exercises with the South Korean military following the failed raid, in which all but two of the North Korean commandos were killed.

The United States has about 28,000 troops in South Korea. Many of them will be joining thousands of South Korean forces in the exercise.

Other South Korean allies are also joining this year with troops from Australia, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand taking part.

“It’s to prepare if something big were to occur and we needed to protect ROK,” a U.S. military spokeswoman, Michelle Thomas, said, referring to South Korea by the initials of its official name, the Republic of Korea.

North and South Korea are still technically at war with the North after the Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

China, North Korea’s main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the drills and so has Russia.

The United States has not backed down.

“My advice to our leadership is that we not dial back our exercises,” said Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday in Beijing.

“The exercises are very important to maintaining the ability of the alliance to defend itself”.

(Reporting by Christine Kim and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Kenya: Deadly violence follows re-election of president

August 13, 2017

AFP and Reuters

© Carl de Souza, AFP | A man runs past a shack which was burnt to the ground by protestors in the Kibera slum in Nairobi on August 12, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-08-13

Kenyan police have killed at least 11 people in a crackdown on protests as anger at the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta erupted in the western city of Kisumu and slums surrounding the capital, officials and witnesses said on Saturday.

However, the NASA opposition coalition, led by four-time presidential hopeful Raila Odinga, put the death toll at more than 100, including 10 children, but did not provide evidence. Odinga has rejected the poll and its result as “massive” fraud.

The eruption of violence has revived memories of a decade ago, when Odinga, now 72, lost an election in controversial circumstances that sparked a wave of political and ethnic unrest in which 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.

Kofi Annan, the former U.N. head who mediated during that crisis, on Saturday issued a statement warning Kenya‘s leaders to “be careful with their rhetoric and actions in this tense atmosphere”.

Reuters was able to confirm 11 deaths, including one girl, in the space of 24 hours. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said 24 people had been shot dead by police since Tuesday, election day.

Top Odinga lieutenant Johnson Muthama said police had been packing corpses into body bags and dumping them, remarks likely to exacerbate the tensions that followed Friday night’s official announcement that Kenyatta had won, with 54.3 percent of votes.

Mwenda Njeka, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the opposition claims were “hogwash”.

Acting Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i had earlier said trouble was localised and blamed it on “criminal elements” rather than legitimate political protest. He also denied
accusations of police brutality.

“Let us be honest – there are no demonstrations happening,” he told reporters.

“Individuals or gangs that are looting shops, that want to endanger lives, that are breaking into people’s businesses – those are not demonstrators. They are criminals and we expect police to deal with criminals how criminals should be dealt
with.”

‘State terror’

However, James Orengo, another top NASA official, said the killings were part of a carefully laid plan by 55-year-old Kenyatta‘s Jubilee party and the security forces to rig the poll, crush dissent and then hide the evidence.

“This violence, this state terror is being executed following very meticulous preparation,” he said.

He and Muthama urged Odinga supporters to stay calm and out of harm’s way but, ominously, said there would be no backing down. “We will not be cowed. We will not relent,” Muthama said.

As with previous votes in 2007 and 2013, this year’s elections have exposed the underlying ethnic tensions in the nation of 45 million people, the economic engine of East Africa and the region’s main trading hub.

In particular, Odinga’s Luo tribe, who hail from the west, hoped an Odinga presidency would break the Kikuyu and Kalenjin dominance of central government since independence in 1963. Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, is a Kikuyu.

Most of the trouble has been in the western city of Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold, and the large, ethnically mixed slums on the outskirts of Nairobi.

The bodies of nine young men shot dead in the capital’s run-down Mathare neighbourhood were brought to the city morgue, a security official said. A young girl was also killed by a stray bullet in Mathare, according to a witness.

A government official said one man had been killed in Kisumu county. A Reuters reporter in the city heard tear gas grenades and gunshots overnight and on Saturday morning.

In addition to the deaths, officials at Kisumu’s main hospital said they had treated 26 people since Friday night, including four with gunshot wounds and others who had been beaten by police.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had treated 54 patients, including seven for gunshot wounds.

‘This is just a warm-up’

One man, 28-year-old Moses Oduor, was inside his home in Kisumu’s impoverished district of Obunga when police conducting house-to-house raids dragged him out of his bedroom and set about him with clubs.

“He was not out fighting them. He was rescued by my sister who lives next to him,” said his brother, Charles Ochieng. “She came outside screaming at the police, asking why they are beating people.”

In Nairobi, armed police and water cannons moved through the rubble-strewn streets of Kibera, another pro-Odinga slum.

At one point they fired volleys of tear gas and live rounds to force a convoy of pick-up trucks containing senior NASA officials to retreat, a Reuters witness said.

Fleeing Odinga loyalists vowed to vent their rage at the seat of Kenyatta’s administration in central Nairobi.

“This is just a warm-up. Tomorrow we will go to State House and they can kill us there,” shouted Felix Oduor, 18, as he ran from clouds of tear gas along Kibera’s railway line. “They can’t kill us all,” those around him shouted in response.

Annan reiterated calls for Odinga to lodge any complaint in court but the opposition has said it does not trust the system.

Even before the official result was declared, NASA had rejected the poll’s outcome, saying the election commission’s systems had been hacked, the count was irregular, and foreign observers who endorsed the poll and the count were biased.

NASA provided no evidence but singled out former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and former South African president Thabo Mbeki – who both led teams of observers – for criticism.

Kenya’s ELOG domestic observation group, which had 8,300 agents on the ground, published a parallel vote tally on Saturday that conformed with the official results.

(REUTERS)

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Hackers Are Threatening the Way That Hollywood Does Business

August 12, 2017

By Gary Smith
Bloomberg

August 11, 2017, 5:00 AM EDT August 11, 2017, 4:26 PM EDT
  • Recent breaches expose weaknesses at studios’ contractors
  • From music to special effects, many have access to material
A scene from HBO’s Game of Thrones Source: HBO

Sony. Netflix. And now, HBO.

While the 2014 hacking at Sony Pictures pushed entertainment giants to take computer security more seriously, recent incidents have exposed weaknesses throughout Hollywood’s food chain. Last week, as HBO investigated a cyberattack on its own systems, an unaired episode of its hit show “Game of Thrones” appeared online following an unrelated breach at a pay-TV partner in India. In April, when 10 episodes of Netflix Inc.’s “Orange Is the New Black” leaked, the incident was traced to a contractor.

Cybercrime is a growing problem for many industries, but Hollywood is especially vulnerable because of the long chain of people who work on a show or movie in post-production, experts say. Studios rely on an army of freelancers for everything from special effects to musical scores, creating a vast network of targets for hackers. Bringing those workers in-house is an option but would be expensive and could limit the talent studios can tap.

“Hollywood will have to recognize this will continue to grow and be an issue,” said Mike Orosz, who studies cyber risk as research director at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute.

HBO requires employees to have two-factor authentication and strong passwords for their computers. They also undergo security awareness training. But the company works with many post-production freelancers that handle sensitive information on personal email accounts and personal devices, raising security concerns, according to a former employee who asked not to be identified discussing an internal matter.

“Once the content is out of your hands, it’s truly out of your hands,” Orosz said. “The security of the third-party vendor is what you’re relying on.”

HBO is still investigating how hackers broke into its computer system. They stole episodes of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Ballers,” a person familiar with the matter said at the time. They also stole an executive’s emails and a summary of an unaired episode of “Game of Thrones,” according to Variety.

After receiving a ransom demand, an HBO executive emailed the hacker on July 27 offering $250,000 as payment for finding a security flaw, according to a copy of the message obtained by Bloomberg. HBO asked the hacker to extend the deadline for a week while the company arranged a payment in bitcoin. That was a stalling effort, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Variety reported on the email earlier.

The hackers don’t appear to have breached the company’s entire email system, Chief Executive Officer Richard Plepler told staff last week. The network, owned by Time Warner Inc., declined to make any additional comment.

For Hollywood, hackers are threatening both reputations and businesses. A stolen movie that appears online before appearing in theaters loses 19 percent of its box-office revenue on average compared with films that are pirated after they’re released, according to a study by professors at University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon University. People may not be willing to subscribe to Netflix or HBO if they can watch their favorite shows and movies online for free.

Ransom Demands

What’s more, the wave of attacks is forcing media executives to confront a thorny question: Should they pay ransoms to hackers to get their content back?

The FBI says that’s always a bad idea.

“We believe it perpetuates the crime in general,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

There’s also no guarantee paying the ransom will work. In April, Netflix refused to pay a hacker who stole unreleased episodes of “Orange Is the New Black.” Larson Studios, which worked with Netflix, told Variety it paid the ransom, about $50,000, in bitcoin. The hacker, who went by the name TheDarkOverlord, dumped the stolen episodes online anyway.

Larson Studios didn’t respond to a request for comment, while a Netflix official said only that the company is “constantly working to improve our security.”

In another high profile case this year, hackers threatened to leak a stolen copy of Disney’s new “Pirates of the Caribbean” if the company didn’t pay a ransom. The company refused, and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said later he believed it was all a hoax.

Even so, with millions of dollars at stake, some companies may decide paying is the best option, said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at the security firm McAfee Inc.

“If they got access to something like ‘Game of Thrones’ and I can pay them a couple million dollars to get that back, there’s probably a good use case,” he said.

The Sony attack, which embarrassed studio executives after private emails were made public, was linked by the FBI to North Korea, which allegedly was retaliating for “The Interview,” a film about a fictional plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un. Some studios have reportedly removed Russian President Vladimir Putin as a character in films because they’re concerned they’ll suffer a similar fate.

Sony has learned from that attack. Michael Lynton, former chief executive officer of Sony Entertainment, started transferring emails off his computer every 10 days.

“To me, that’s the solution,” Lynton said at event hosted by Lerer Hippeau Ventures in May. “Put it in a drawer and lock the drawer.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-11/hackers-are-threatening-the-way-that-hollywood-does-business

HBO’s Hack: ‘Hollywood Is Under Siege’

August 11, 2017

The recent breach at the network highlights vulnerabilities unique to the entertainment industry

Image may contain: 2 people, ocean and outdoor

Aug. 11, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET

At a time when HBO should be relishing the record ratings of its hit drama “Game of Thrones,” executives there are instead are grappling with a hacker shakedown that could be a plot point on the network’s “Silicon Valley.”

The breach of the network’s systems that was disclosed last month is developing into a prolonged crisis. Hanging over HBO now is the daily threat of leaks of sensitive information, ranging from show content to actors’ and executives’ personal information.

The hack at HBO comes almost three years after a high-profile one at Sony Corp. and highlights persistent vulnerabilities unique to the entertainment industry. The pressing issue isn’t safeguarding credit-card numbers and account details. Instead, executives are worried about potential damage to intellectual property if television-show spoilers are made available before episodes are officially aired.

“Hollywood is under siege,” said Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy for cybersecurity company Sentinel One. “It seems easy to hack a network, and they perceive that they can make money doing so.”

Already, scripts of “Game of Thrones” episodes have been leaked by the hackers, whose leader calls himself “Mr. Smith.” Also made public were episodes of other shows, including comedies “Ballers” and “Insecure,” and a month’s worth of emails from an executive.

When the hackers came forward late last month, an HBO technology-department employee sent them a letter offering $250,000 to participate in the company’s “bug bounty” program, in which technology professionals are compensated for finding vulnerabilities, according to a person familiar with the matter.

HBO was buying time with that response and isn’t in negotiations with the hackers, the person said. The hacker has demanded a ransom of around $6 million.

The network has also been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law-enforcement agencies and cybersecurity firms to address the matter, people familiar with the matter say.

Meanwhile, the cable network is playing Whac-A-Mole. It managed to take down the website and digital locker the hacker initially used to distribute show material after sending takedown notices to internet-service providers, according to the person familiar with the matter. It alerted potentially exposed “Game of Thrones” cast members of the hack before Mr. Smith posted material that includes some of their phone numbers.

In a statement, HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Plepler said, “The consensus here was a path to transparency. When something like this happens, the best you can do is try to protect the people you work with inside and outside the company. That’s what our focus has been.”

Unlike retailers, entertainment firms usually don’t shoulder the burden of protecting customer-account details, because that is handled by cable, satellite and web-TV distributors.

The urgent worry is that fewer viewers will watch episodes that can cost several million dollars each if hackers supply a stream of spoilers. That hasn’t happened yet. The last “Game of Thrones” episode, which aired on Aug. 6 attracted a record 10.2 million viewers.

The fear also relates to the chance of emails emerging that could hurt relations with talent or other companies. In the Sony hack, then-studio chief Amy Pascal was embarrassed by emails in which she made a joke about President Barack Obama’s taste in movies as well as disparaging remarks about actors, including Adam Sandler.

“Leakage will be your worst nightmare; your competitors will know about current & future strategies, your inner circle inside HBO & senior staff will be thrown into chaos,” the hackers promised in a video note to Mr. Plepler they posted earlier this week.

HBO has said it expects more information to leak out but said its review of the matter “has not given us a reason to believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised.”

After the Sony hack, many entertainment companies, including HBO’s parent Time Warner Inc., beefed up their own security.

Around the same time, though, in a cost-saving move, Time Warner centralized much of the technology operations that previously existed in the individual units, which also include Turner and Warner Bros.

Now that strategy is being rethought, and the individual units are being encouraged to take on more autonomy and responsibility for their own technology infrastructure, the person familiar with the matter said.

Prior to the HBO hack, sister unit Turner Broadcasting had already begun the process of overhauling some of its information technology after an assessment revealed that a hack into one network, such as Cartoon Network, could easily be a gateway into CNN.

The HBO hack also comes as Time Warner is in the process of being acquired by AT&T Inc. However, the hack isn’t expected to have any effect on the sale or the terms of the deal, according to media analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research. An AT&T spokesman declined to comment.

Cybersecurity expert Mr. Grossman, who has tested security networks for Hollywood TV and movie companies, said these firms are vulnerable because they work with so many partners that “their data is all over the place.”

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com and Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hbos-hack-hollywood-is-under-siege-1502443802

Related:

HBO hackers demand millions in ransom note

August 8, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Hackers claiming to have breached HBO are demanding a ransom, threatening to leak more content from the popular show “Game of Thrones” if the network refuses to pay

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Hackers claiming to have breached HBO were demanding millions of dollars in ransom payments from the television group, while threatening to release more files from what is claimed to be a massive data breach.A video circulating online directs a message to HBO chief Richard Plepler claiming that the group “obtained valuable information” in an attack that yielded a whopping 1.5 terabytes of data.

The message was authored by someone identified only as “Mr. Smith.”

The website Databreaches.net reported that 10 files were leaked Monday as part of the demand including what may be another script of the popular fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”

The video revealed a letter stating the hackers obtained “highly confidential” documents and data including scripts, contracts and personnel files.

“We want XXX dollars to stop leaking your data,” the letter said, later alluding to a figure of half the group’s annual budget of $12 million to $15 million.

It went on to say, “HBO spends 12 million for Market Research and 5 million for GOT7 advertisements. So consider us another budget for your advertisements!”

The message comes a week after a leak of one script of “Games of Thrones” and content from other productions.

The letter said HBO was the 17th target for the hacking group and that “only 3 of our past targets refused to pay and were punished very badly and 2 of them collapsed entirely.”

HBO said in a statement that it believed that further leaks might emerge from the breach and that “the forensic review is ongoing.”

“While it has been reported that a number of emails have been made public, the review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised,” the statement from the Time Warner unit said.

“We continue to work around the clock with outside cybersecurity firms and law enforcement to resolve the incident.”

Encourage children to spend more time online, says former head of British Intelligence — “The country is desperately short of engineers and computer scientists, and lacks the broad ‘cyber skills’”

August 8, 2017

The Guardian

Robert Hannigan says children developing cyber skills could ‘save the country’ as UK was falling behind competitors

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 Robert Hannigan, in 2015, when he was director of GCHQ. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Parents should be encouraging their children to spend more time online in order to “save the country,” the former head of GCHQ has said.

Robert Hannigan, who was head of Britain’s surveillance agency between 2014 and 2017, said that the UK was struggling to keep up with competitors when it came to cyber skills.

He said parents should not feel guilty if teenagers spend hours of their summer holidays in front of a screen.

“The assumption that time online or in front of a screen is life wasted needs challenging,” Hannigan said. “It is driven by fear.”

The call comes days after the children’s commissioner warned parents that they should intervene to stop their children overusing social media and consuming time online “like junk food”.

In an interview with the Observer, Anne Longfield said that parents should “step up” and be proactive in stopping their children from bingeing on the internet during the summer holidays.

Writing in the Telegraph, Hannigan disagreed. “If you are spending a disproportionate amount of your holiday unsuccessfully attempting to separate your children from wifi or their digital devices, do not despair.

“Your poor parenting may be helping them and saving the country.”

The opinions come after a report said that children in all age groups are spending ever-longer periods online, according to Ofcom. Children aged five to 15 are spending 15 hours a week online.

Hannigan argues that young people need to explore the digital world just as they explore the physical world, in order to fully develop the kinds of skills both the country and they as individuals will need in the future.

He said: “This country is desperately short of engineers and computer scientists, and lacks the broad ‘cyber skills’ needed now, never mind in the next 20 years. The baseline of understanding is too low and often behind our competitors.

“If we are to capitalise on the explosion of data that will come through the ‘internet of things’, and the arrival of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we need young people who have been allowed to behave like engineers: to explore, break things and put them together.

“Arguably that is what children always did in their summer holidays. The difference today is that they will want to explore, experiment and break things digitally.”

He also said that parents should attempt to catch up and improve their own cyber skills, suggesting they buy a Raspberry Pi.

“You could build it with your children and learn at least the concept of computer coding; there are plenty of free guides on the web,” he said.

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/encourage-children-to-spend-more-time-online-says-former-gchq-head

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Children should be allowed to explore the digital world just as they explore the physical world, says Robert Hannigan

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By Ben Farmer
The Telegraph

Parents should encourage their children to spend more time online to improve their cyber skills and ‘save the country’, the former head of GCHQ declares today.

Rather than allowing youngsters to ‘mooch around on the streets’ during the holidays, it is families’ patriotic duty to encourage more screen time, according to Robert Hannigan.

Writing for the Telegraph today, the former head of the Government’s electronic spy agency, warns that Britain is struggling to keep pace with its digital rivals.

Without giving children more time to embrace and master the virtual world, the UK will fall further behind, he says.

His call comes just days after the children’s commissioner argued that children are already too attached to online devices.

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/07/british-children-must-spend-time-online-can-save-country-spy/

Game of Thrones episode 4 leaks online

August 4, 2017

HBO: But it’s a different leak than the hack

POSTED ON AUGUST 4, 2017

It really happened: An entire episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones season 7 has leaked online before its premiere. Sunday’s episode 4, “The Spoils of War,” is now out in the digital wild.

And yet, an HBO insider says the leak is not believed to be part of the major hack of HBO which EW.com first reported Monday morning and contained a script from the same episode.

The new episode has leaked from Star India, one of HBO’s international network partners, which receives episodes in advance of air. (There’s a watermark on the video which revealed Star India as the source).

A Star India spokesperson released this statement: “This confirms the compromise of episode 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7, earlier this afternoon. We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action.”

In theory, Star India could have been separately hacked by the same person or persons who infiltrated HBO. But content slipping out from HBO’s distributors has occurred occasionally in the past and network insiders believe this is more akin to those previous situations (in season 5, for example, clips from a couple episodes leaked online from overseas vendors; as did a Comic-Con preview trailer just last month).

Still: In a week when HBO has suffered a devasting cyber attack … an episode of the company’s most valuable asset has now leaked from a trusted distributor. When it rains, it pours, and right now, the leaks are pouring.

Earlier this week, the hack exposed pre-air episodes of BallersRoom 104 and many internal documents. The hackers have threatened to leak more content on Sunday (though now one of HBO’s own partners have beat them to it), and then continue exposing new material each Sunday in a sort of mockery of HBO’s weekly original programming rollout. HBO insiders have been confident that the company’s main email system and Thrones episodes were not exposed as part of the hack.

HBO has a tougher time securing its GoT programming from leaks than, for instance, a movie studio making a highly sought Star Wars or Marvel film, because of its complex distribution network that aims to premiere new GoTepisodes on roughly the same day around the globe on different cable and satellite providers. One reason for this “day and date” release strategy is to cut down on piracy — Game of Thrones is the most illegally downloaded show in the world. But the downside is that episodes and clips are distributed far and wide in the days before a new hour premieres, multiplying the possibility of leaks.

The good news for HBO is that GoT is more popular than ever — the recent season premiere has now surpassed an incredible 30 million viewers in the U.S. alone, plus is breaking ratings records worldwide. Here’s HBO’s non-leaked preview of Sunday’s episode:

EW will still post its usual full coverage of Thrones on Sunday night after “The Spoils of War” airs on HBO. Follow @jameshibberd for GoT and breaking TV news, subscribe to our GoT newsletter, check out our GoT podcast.

Includes videos:

‘Game of Thrones’ episode 4 leaks online

HBO Cyberattack Is ‘Seven Times Worse’ Than The Sony Hack — Video and sound files — 1.5 terabytes of data

August 3, 2017
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The latest HBO hacking scandal is shaping up to be much, much worse than a few leaked Game of Thrones episodes.

Now the FBI is getting involved, according to the latest update from the Hollywood Reporter. The cyberattack that occurred earlier this week compromised around 1.5 terabytes of data, which, it turns out, is seven times the amount of data that was leaked during the 2014 Sony hack (around 200 gigabytes of data).

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What makes this hack even more frightening is that, according to multiple sources, there has been no ransom declared. That means the hackers’ motivation may have less to do with money and more to do with a political agenda, harnessing the power to release potentially compromising data (including internal memos and email correspondence) for HBO and its investors.

As of now, the only data that’s been released by the hacker group—going by the Game of Thrones-referencing alias “little.finger66″—is the script of an upcoming episode of the aforementioned television show, along with full episodes of Ballers and Room 104. But that hardly amounts to the 1.5 terabytes that could theoretically be unleashed.

“If not for video and sound, a corporation the size of HBO might fit [entirely] in a terabyte, including all the email and spreadsheets ever written or stored,” Farsight Security CEO Paul Vixie told the Hollywood Reporter. Video and sound files, meanwhile, take up much more space on their own, It’s still unclear whether the hackers took mostly video content (episodes of Game of Thrones and other popular HBO series) or printed content (documents, emails, etc.); FBI officials working with HBO have declined to elaborate. But their possession of a script hints that they have access to text-based files, which could be far more damaging to HBO’s internal operations than a few episode leaks. (Game of Thrones already has a huge pirating problem.)

Another widely-reported hacking incident occurred earlier this summer, when a collective known as TheDarkOverlord released all 10 episodes of the new Orange Is the New Black season before its official June release on Netflix. But in that case, it was only the television episodes, not internal documents, that were stolen, and there was a ransom involved. The HBO hack much more closely resembles the Sony security breach, which led to Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal stepping down from her position and may have even affected the 2016 election.

For the moment, all HBO can do is continue their investigation, and hope that little.finger66 doesn’t plan on releasing information far more damning than the upcoming deaths in Westeros.

http://www.newsweek.com/hbo-cyberattack-sony-hack-leak-game-thrones-645450

See also:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hbo-hack-insiders-fear-leaked-emails-as-probe-widens-1025827