US Puts Cryptocurrency Industry on Notice Over Ransomware Attacks 

Suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million were made in the first six months of this year, more than the $416 million reported for all of 2020, U.S. authorities said on Friday, as Washington put the cryptocurrency industry on alert about its role in combating ransomware attacks.  The U.S. Treasury Department said the average amount of reported ransomware transactions per month in 2021 was $102.3 million, with REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon, and Phobos the most prevalent ransomware strains reported.  President Joe Biden has made the government’s cybersecurity response a top priority for the most senior levels of his administration following a series of attacks this year that threatened to destabilize U.S. energy and food supplies.  Avoiding  U.S. sanctions Seeking to stop the use of cryptocurrencies in the payment of ransomware demands, Treasury told members of the crypto community they are responsible for making sure they do not directly or indirectly help facilitate deals prohibited by U.S. sanctions.  Its new guidance said the industry plays an increasingly critical role in preventing those blacklisted from exploiting cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.  “Treasury is helping to stop ransomware attacks by making it difficult for criminals to profit from their crimes, but we need partners in the private sector to help prevent this illicit activity,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.  The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions.  Hackers use ransomware to take down systems that control everything from hospital billing to manufacturing. They stop only after receiving hefty payments, typically in cryptocurrency.  Large scale hacks This year, gangs have hit numerous U.S. companies in large scale hacks. One such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline led to temporary fuel supply shortages on the U.S. East Coast. Hackers also targeted an Iowa-based agricultural company, sparking fears of disruptions to grain harvesting in the Midwest.  The Biden administration last month unveiled sanctions against cryptocurrency exchange Suex OTC, S.R.O. over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks, officials said, in the Treasury’s first such move against a cyptocurrency exchange over …


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Facebook Objects to Releasing Private Posts About Myanmar’s Rohingya Campaign

Facebook was used to spread disinformation about the Rohingya, the Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar, and in 2018 the company began to delete posts, accounts and other content it determined were part of a campaign to incite violence.  That deleted but stored data is at issue in a case in the United States over whether Facebook should release the information as part of a claim in international court.  Facebook this week objected to part of a U.S. magistrate judge’s order that could have an impact on how much data internet companies must turn over to investigators examining the role social media played in a variety of international incidents, from the 2017 Rohingya genocide in Myanmar to the 2021 Capitol riot in Washington.  The judge ruled last month that Facebook had to give information about these deleted accounts to Gambia, the West African nation, which is pursuing a case in the International Court of Justice against Myanmar, seeking to hold the Asian nation responsible for the crime of genocide against the Rohingya. But in its filing Wednesday, Facebook said the judge’s order “creates grave human rights concerns of its own, leaving internet users’ private content unprotected and thereby susceptible to disclosure — at a provider’s whim — to private litigants, foreign governments, law enforcement, or anyone else.”  The company said it was not challenging the order when it comes to public information from the accounts, groups and pages it has preserved. It objects to providing “non-public information.” If the order is allowed to stand, it would “impair critical privacy and freedom of expression rights for internet users — not just Facebook users — worldwide, including Americans,” the company said.  Facebook has argued that providing the deleted posts is in violation of U.S. privacy, citing the Stored Communications Act, the 35-year-old law that established privacy protections in electronic communication.  Deleted content protected?  In his September decision, U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui said that once content is deleted from an online service, it is no longer protected. Paul Reichler, a lawyer for Gambia, told VOA that Facebook’s concern about privacy is misplaced.  …


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US Authorities Disclose Ransomware Attacks Against Water Facilities

U.S. authorities said on Thursday that four ransomware attacks had penetrated water and wastewater facilities in the past year, and they warned similar plants to check for signs of intrusions and take other precautions.  The alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) cited a series of apparently unrelated hacking incidents from September 2020 to August 2021 that used at least three different strains of ransomware, which encrypts computer files and demands payment for them to be restored.  Attacks at an unnamed Maine wastewater facility three months ago and one in California in August moved past desktop computers and paralyzed the specialized supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) devices that issue mechanical commands to the equipment.  The Maine system had to turn to manual controls, according to the alert co-signed by the FBI, National Security Agency and Environmental Protection Agency.  A March hack in Nevada also reached SCADA devices that provided operational visibility but could not issue commands.  CISA said it is seeing increasing attacks on many forms of critical infrastructure, in line with those on the water plants.  In some cases, the water facilities are handicapped by low municipal spending on technology cybersecurity.  The Department of Homeland Security agency’s recommendations include access log audits and strict use of additional factors for authentication beyond passwords.   …


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Microsoft to Shut Down LinkedIn in China Over Censorship Concerns

Microsoft will close LinkedIn in China later this year, the company announced Thursday. The professional networking site, which started operating in China in 2014, faces a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements” in the country, it said in a blog post. “We recognized that operating a localized version of LinkedIn in China would mean adherence to requirements of the Chinese government on Internet platforms,” the company said. “While we strongly support freedom of expression, we took this approach in order to create value for our members in China and around the world.” However, it seems China’s regulatory burdens have become too much. Chinese regulators told the company it had to better police content earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company began blocking some content and profiles Chinese regulators prohibited, including profiles of journalists. “While we’ve found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed,” LinkedIn said. LinkedIn is not completely leaving the Chinese market. It will now offer something called InJobs, which will not have a social feed and will not allow users to share content, Reuters reported. LinkedIn was the only U.S.-based social networking site still available to Chinese users. Microsoft bought the company in 2016, and the site now boasts 774 million users. Some information in this report comes from Reuters. …


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Forum Urges Social Networks to Act Against Antisemitism

Social media giants were urged to act Wednesday to stem online antisemitism during an international conference in Sweden focused on the growing amount of hatred published on many platforms.  The Swedish government invited social media giants TikTok, Google and Facebook along with representatives from 40 countries, the United Nations and Jewish organizations to the event designed to tackle the rising global scourge of antisemitism. Sweden hosted the event in the southern city of Malmo, which was a hotbed of antisemitic sentiment in the early 2000s but which during World War II welcomed Danish Jews fleeing the Nazis and inmates rescued from concentration camps in 1945. “What they see today in social media is hatred,” World Jewish Congress head Ronald Lauder told the conference.  Google told the event, officially called the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism, that it was earmarking 5 million euros ($5.78 million) to combat antisemitism online.  “We want to stop hate speech online and ensure we have a safe digital environment for our citizens,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a prerecorded statement. European organizations accused tech companies of “completely failing to address the issue,” saying antisemitism was being repackaged and disseminated to a younger generation through platforms like Instagram and TikTok.  Antisemitic tropes are “rife across every social media platform,” according to a study linked to the conference that was carried out by three nongovernmental organizations.  Hate speech remains more prolific and extreme on sites such as Parler and 4chan but is being introduced to young users on mainstream platforms, the study said.  On Instagram, where almost 70% of global users are aged 13 to 34, there are millions of results for hashtags relating to antisemitism, the research found.  On TikTok, where 69% of users are aged 16 to 24, it said a collection of three hashtags linked to antisemitism were viewed more than 25 million times in six months.  In response to the report, a Facebook spokesperson said antisemitism was “completely unacceptable” and that its policies on hate speech and Holocaust denial had been tightened.  A TikTok spokesperson said the platform “condemns antisemitism” …


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НБУ встановив курс долара на 18 жовтня, гривня далі посилюється

Торги на українському міжбанківському валютному ринку завершилися на рівні 26 гривень 36–38,5 копійки за долар …


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US Staging Global Conference to Combat Ransomware Attacks

The White House is holding a two-day international conference starting Wednesday to combat ransomware computer attacks on business operations across the globe that cost companies, schools and health services an estimated $74 billion in damages last year. U.S. officials are meeting on Zoom calls with their counterparts from at least 30 countries to discuss ways to combat the clandestine attacks. Russia, a key launchpad for many of the attacks, was left off the invitation list as Washington and Moscow officials engage directly on attacks coming from Russia. This year has seen an epidemic of ransomware attacks in which hackers from distant lands remotely lock victims’ computers and demand large extortion payments to allow normal operations to resume. Ransomware payments topped $400 million globally in 2020, the United States says, and totaled more than $81 million in the first quarter of 2021. Two U.S. businesses, the Colonial Pipeline Company that delivers fuel to much of the eastern part of the country and the JBS global beef producer, were targeted in major ransomware attacks in May. Colonial paid $4.4 million in ransom demands, although U.S. government officials were soon able to surreptitiously recover $2.3 million of the payment. JBS said it paid an $11 million demand. Other U.S. companies were also attacked, including CNA Financial, one of the country’s biggest insurance carriers; Applus Technologies, which provides testing equipment to state vehicle inspection stations; ExaGrid, a backup storage vendor that helps businesses recover after ransomware attacks; and the school system in the city of Buffalo, New York. Attackers have also targeted victims in other countries, including Ireland’s health care system, the Taiwan-based computer manufacturer Acer and the Asia division of the AXA France cyber insurer. A senior White House official, briefing reporters ahead of the ransomware conference, said the U.S. views the meetings “as the first of many conversations” on ways to combat the attacks. At a summit in Geneva in June, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin created a working group of experts to deal with ransomware attacks. “We do look to the Russian government to address ransomware criminal …


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Україна візьме понад 20 млн фунтів стерлінгів кредиту від Британії – уряд

Повідомляється, що контракт укладено в рамках меморандуму про взаєморозуміння з британською стороною …


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МВФ погіршив оцінку зростання ВВП України

У 2021 році українське міністерство економіки очікує зростання ВВП на 4,1%, Національний банк України (НБУ) оприлюднив обережніший прогноз – 3,8% …


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НБУ не дає гривні посилюватися проти долара, курс змінюється мінімально

Торги на українському міжбанківському валютному ринку завершилися на рівні 26 гривень 34,5–36,5 копійки за долар …


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Єврокомісія шукає шляхи для забезпечення України постачанням газу – фон дер Ляйєн

«Для Європейської комісії Україна залишається і має залишатися надійним транзитером газу» …


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Computers and Brains: Sensors Implanted in the Brain Help Paralyzed Man Write

Brain computer interfaces, where computers analyze brain signals and help paralyzed people to write and carry out other actions, is a burgeoning area of research. VOA’s Deana Mitchell has the story of one breakthrough. …


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Керівництво МВФ підтвердило «повну довіру» до Георгієвої після розслідування щодо фальсифікації даних

У заяві ради директорів МВФ від 11 жовтня йдеться, що вона довіряє відданості Георгієвої «високим стандартам управління» та її чесності …


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З 1 січня мінімальна пенсія рідним загиблих в АТО/ООС зросте до 7800 грн – Шмигаль

Підвищену пенсійну допомогу з наступного року отримають понад дві тисячі людей, чиї рідні загинули, захищаючи Україну …


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Колишнє керівництво «Дельта банку» підозрюють у розтраті понад 1 мільярда гривень – Венедіктова

У справі заарештовані, зокрема, активи ексвласника на суму 790 мільйонів гривень …


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Суд стягнув майно ексвласника «Імексбанку» для погашення заборгованості – НБУ

Леонід Клімов отримав стабілізаційний кредит у 2014 році, в 20150му НБУ визнав його банк неплатоспроможним …


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