Microsoft says Russian hackers targeting U.S. campaigns
The same Russian military intelligence outfit that hacked the Democrats in 2016 has attempted simila..
The same Russian military intelligence outfit that hacked the Democrats in 2016 has attempted similar intrusions into the computer systems of more than 200 organizations including political parties and consultants, Microsoft said Thursday.
Those efforts reflect a broader increase in targeting of U.S. political campaigns and related groups, the company said.
“What weve seen is consistent with previous attack patterns that not only target candidates and campaign staffers but also those who they consult on key issues,” Tom Burt, a Microsoft vice president, said in a blog post.
U.S. political organizations were also probed, the company said.
Most of the infiltration attempts by Russian, Chinese and Iranian agents were halted by Microsoft security software and the targets notified, he said. The company would not comment on who may have been successfully hacked or the impact.
Although U.S. intelligence officials said last month that the Russians favor President Donald Trump and the Chinese prefer his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, Microsoft noted Thursday that Chinese state-backed hackers have targeted “high profile individuals associated with the election,” including people associated with the Biden campaign.
China’s hackers largely gather intelligence for the nation’s economic and political advantage, while Russia tends to weaponize stolen data to destabilize other governments.
Microsoft did not assess which foreign adversary poses the greater threat to the integrity of the November presidential election. The consensus among cybersecurity experts is that Russian interference is the gravest. Senior Trump administration officials have disputed that, although without offering any evidence.
“This is the actor from 2016, potentially conducting business as usual,” said John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at the cybersecurity firm FireEye. “We believe that Russian military intelligence continues to pose the greatest threat to the democratic process.”
The Microsoft post shows that Russian military intelligence continues to pursue election-related targets undeterred by U.S indictments, sanctions and other countermeasures, Hultquist said. It interfered in the 2016 campaign seeking to benefit the Trump campaign by hacking the Democratic National Committee and emails of John Podesta, the campaign manager of Hillary Clinton, and dumping embarrassing material online, congressional and FBI investigators have found.
The same GRU military intelligence unit, known as Fancy Bear, that Microsoft identifies as being behind the current election-related activity also broke into voter registration databases in at least three states in 2016, though there is no evidence it tried to interfere with voting.
Microsoft, which has visibility into these efforts because its software is both ubiquitous and highly rated for security, did not address whether U.S. officials who manage elections or operate voting systems have been targeted by state-backed hackers this year. U.S. intelligence officials say they have so far not seen no evidence of infiltrations.
Thomas Rid, a Johns Hopkins geopolitics expert, said he was disappointed by Microsofts refusal to differentiate threat level by state actor. “Theyre lumping in actors that operate in a very different fashion, probably to make this sound more bipartisan,” he said. “I just dont understand why.”
Microsoft said in the past year it has observed attempts by Fancy Bear to break into the accounts of people directly and indirectly affiliated with the U.S. election, including consultants serving Republican and Democratic campaigns and national and state party organizations — more than 200 groups in all.
Also targeted was the center-right European Peoples Party, the largest grouping in the European Parliament. A party spokesperson said the hacking attempts were unsuccessful. The German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank, was another target. A spokesperson said there was no evidence of intrusion.
Microsoft did not say whether Russian hackers had attempted to break into the Biden campaign but did say that Chinese hackers from the state-backed group known as Hurricane Panda “appears to have indirectly and unsuccessfully” targeted the Biden campaign through non-campaign email accounts belonging to people affiliated with it.
The Biden campaign did not confirm the attempt, although it said in a statement that it was aware of the Microsoft report.
The blog post said Iranian state-backed hackers have unsuccessfully tried to log into accounts of Trump campaign and administration officials between May and June of this year. “We are a large target, so it is not surprising to see malicious activity directed at the campaign or our staff,” Trump campaign deputy press secretary Thea McDonald said. She declined further comment.
Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, said: “President Trump will beat Joe Biden fair and square and we dont need or want any foreign interference.”
In June, Google disclosed that Hurricane Panda had targeted Trump campaign staffers while Iranian hackers tried to breach accounts of Biden campaign workers. Such phishing attempts typically involve forged emails with links designed to harvest passwords or infect devices with malware.
Although both Attorney General William Barr and National Security Advisor Robert OBrien have both said China represents the greatest threat to U.S. elections, the only mention of a Trump administration official targeted by Chinese hackers is “at least one prominent individual formerly associated” with the administration.
Graham Brookie, director of digital forensic research at The Atlantic Council, disputes Barr and OBriens claim that China poses the greater threat to this years election. His lab is at the forefront of unearthing and publicizing Russian disinformation campaigns.
Brookie confirmed that his employer was among targets of Hurricane Panda but said there was no evidence the hacking attempts, which he said were unsuccessful, had anything to do with the 2020 election.
“We have every indication that this was an instance of cyber-espionage, information gathering, as opposed to electoral interference,” he said.
By contrast, Brookie said, “its pretty evident that the Russian attempts (Microsoft disclosed) were focused on electoral processes and groups working on that.”
Microsoft noted a shift toward greater automation in Fancy Bear methods for trying to steal peoples log-in credentials, which previously largely relied on phishing. In recent months, the group has employed so-called brute-force attacks that barrage an account login with short rapid bursts of potential passwords.
Fancy Bear has also stepped up its use of the Tor anonymizing service to hide its hacking, Microsoft said.
Read from source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/09/10/russia-iran-and-china-election-hacking-attempts-caught-microsoft/3462435001/
Spain’s competition watchdog opens disciplinary case against Google
Spain’s competition watchdog, the ‘Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia’ (CNMC) has opened a disciplinary case against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices affecting publishers and Spanish news agencies, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
CNMC said it was investigating whether Google had abused its dominant position in the Spanish market. The proceedings involve Google LLC, Google Ireland Ltd, Google Spain, SL., and the overall parent company Alphabet Inc.
The alleged practices also include distorting free competition and imposing unfair conditions on press publishers and Spanish news agencies, CNMC said.
The watchdog’s investigation was sparked by a complaint from the Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO).
CNMC will investigate the case over the next 18 months, during which both sides can present their arguments.
According to RTVE, Spain’s national broadcaster, Google will analyse the file and respond to the ‘doubts’ of the CNMC. They said that Google ‘works constructively with publishers in Spain and Europe’ and would ‘need time to analyse the details … as the nature of the claims is still not clear’.
It is not the first action by the Spanish competition regulator against Google, nor the first in which its dominant position in the media sector stands out. In 2021, CNMC already warned that this company and another technology giant, Amazon, monopolised 70% of internet advertising in Spain.
Other lawsuits in the Netherlands and the UK have previously accused the technology company of abusing its dominance in the digital advertising market to harm its competitors. France also fined Google in 2021 for not negotiating in good faith compensation for the media for using its news content.
Read from: https://www.spainenglish.com/2023/03/28/spain-competition-watchdog-opens-disciplinary-case-against-google/
How does technology affect reading and writing?
Technology has dramatically changed the way we read and write in the 21st century. From e-books and online articles to social media and instant messaging, technology has made reading and writing more accessible and convenient. However, it has also brought about new challenges and concerns.
One of the biggest benefits of technology is the increased access to information. With just a few clicks, people can access an endless supply of books, articles, and other written materials from all over the world. This has made reading and writing more accessible for people who may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past. It has also allowed for greater collaboration, as people can now share their writing and receive feedback from a global audience.
Technology has also made writing and reading more interactive. Social media and blogs have made it possible for people to engage with written content in real-time, sharing their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with others. This has led to a more dynamic and engaged reading and writing community, with people able to communicate and connect with each other in new and meaningful ways.
However, there are also concerns about how technology is affecting our ability to read and write. One of the biggest concerns is the decline of attention span. With so much information available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to stay focused and absorb what we are reading. Many people find it difficult to concentrate on longer written works, and are instead drawn to shorter, more bite-sized pieces of content.
Additionally, technology has led to an increase in informal writing. The widespread use of text messaging and instant messaging has led to the widespread use of shorthand and abbreviations. This has created concerns about the impact it may have on people’s writing skills, as well as the way they communicate with others.
Another concern is the rise of “fake news.” With the ease of publishing content online, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources. This has led to a decline in trust in the media, and has created a need for critical thinking and media literacy skills.
Despite these concerns, technology has also provided new opportunities for writing and reading. E-books and online platforms have made it easier for people to self-publish their work, giving them greater control over the distribution and promotion of their writing. This has created a more democratized publishing industry, and has made it possible for voices and perspectives that may have previously been excluded to be heard.
In conclusion, technology has had a profound impact on reading and writing. While there are certainly challenges and concerns, the increased access to information, the ability to connect and engage with others, and the opportunities for self-publishing have all made reading and writing more accessible and dynamic. As technology continues to evolve, it will be important to address the challenges it presents and embrace the opportunities it provides.
How to measure human intelligence?
Measuring human intelligence is a complex task that has been attempted by many experts and researchers over the years. Intelligence is often defined as an individual’s ability to think, reason, and solve problems. However, this definition is not enough to capture all the aspects of intelligence. In this article, we will look at some of the ways that human intelligence can be measured and evaluated.
- Intelligence Quotient (IQ) Tests: IQ tests are the most commonly used method of measuring intelligence. They are designed to measure an individual’s ability to solve problems, think logically, and understand abstract concepts. The results of an IQ test are expressed as an IQ score, which is a number that represents a person’s intellectual abilities in comparison to the general population.
- Achievement Tests: Achievement tests are designed to evaluate an individual’s knowledge and skills in specific subjects such as mathematics, reading, or science. These tests can be a good indicator of a person’s intelligence in a particular subject area and are often used in schools and colleges to assess students’ abilities.
- Neuropsychological Tests: Neuropsychological tests are used to evaluate the functioning of the brain and nervous system. These tests can be used to diagnose neurological disorders, measure cognitive abilities, and determine the impact of injury or illness on a person’s cognitive abilities.
- Cognitive Ability Tests: Cognitive ability tests are designed to measure an individual’s mental abilities such as memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. These tests can be useful in determining a person’s potential for learning and development.
- Behavioral Assessment: Behavioral assessment involves evaluating an individual’s behavior, including their social skills, emotional regulation, and communication abilities. This type of assessment can be useful in identifying areas where an individual may need support or intervention.
- Performance-Based Tests: Performance-based tests are designed to measure an individual’s abilities in real-world tasks and activities. These tests can be useful in determining a person’s practical intelligence and can be used in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, and healthcare facilities.
It is important to note that no single method of measuring intelligence is perfect and each has its own strengths and limitations. Additionally, the results of intelligence tests can be influenced by many factors such as cultural background, education, and experience. As a result, it is important to use a variety of assessment methods to get a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence.
In conclusion, measuring human intelligence is a complex task that involves evaluating a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and performance-based abilities. While intelligence tests can provide valuable information about a person’s intellectual abilities, it is important to use a variety of assessment methods to get a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence. By using a combination of tests, experts and researchers can get a more complete picture of an individual’s intellectual abilities and potential for learning and development.
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