Saturday, June 15, 2013

Google Says It Has Uncovered Iranian Spy Campaign

Google Says It Has Uncovered Iranian Spy Campaign - NYTimes.com

Google said on Wednesday that it had uncovered a vast Iranian spy campaign that had been targeting tens of thousands of Iranian citizens over the last three weeks.

“These campaigns, which originate from within Iran, represent a significant jump in the overall volume of phishing activity in the region,” the company said in a blog post. “The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday.”

The company said that thousands of its users inside Iran had been the targets of a sophisticated e-mail phishing campaign in which attackers send users a link that, when clicked, sent them to a fake Google sign-in page where the attackers could steal login credentials....

Siege ends after attacks in Pakistan's Quetta

Pakistan bomb victims held hostage at hospital - CNN

Pakistan bomb victims held hostage at hospital - CNN.com

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Three security force members and the deputy commissioner of Quetta have been killed in an armed siege at a hospital in southwestern Pakistan, where casualties of an earlier bus bombing were taken for treatment, authorities said Saturday.

Eight militants are holding hundreds of patients, physicians and nurses hostage at the Bolan medical complex, police said. Among the patients are more than 20 people wounded in a bus explosion that also killed at least 11 female university instructors, police said.

Several others were wounded in another blast that struck near the hospital's emergency room as the bus victims were rushed in.

"All the (bus) victims are women teachers and students," according to a police official, Mir Zubair Mehmood, in Quetta. The blast shattered the windows of offices and classrooms inside Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University.

The university bus was parked at the school, located on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

bth: terrorists that would do such a deed have to have local support.  Unti lthe community rises up against them this conduct will continue.

 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Iraq PM makes rare visit to Kurdish region

House Appropriations FY 2014 Blueprint Raises DoD, DHS Spending - Executive Govt.

House Appropriations FY 2014 Blueprint Raises DoD, DHS Spending

The House Appropriations Committee has included a 5 percent increase in defense spending for fiscal year 2014 as part of the panel’s $967 billion budget blueprint, Federal Times reported Sunday.

Sean Reilly writes the Department of Homeland Security would also receive a boost in funds, getting a 3 percent raise to $39 billion.

Lawmakers included a 19 percent cut total for the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education starting in October at the start of the fiscal year, Reilly reports.

Funding for the State Department and foreign operations would go down 19 percent and the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development would see a 9 percent cut, according to Federal Times.

In total, the blueprint proposes a 2 percent total cut from the $986 billion federal budget for fiscal 2012, according to the report.

-bth: how is it politically possible to cut HHS, Labor and Education 19% and raise Defense and DHS 5% or even at all?

Sequestration - It's Just Beginning - Zerohedge

Sequestration - It's Just Beginning | Zero Hedge

...We expect aggregate government worker income to decline in May given that furloughs started in late May.

The first day of government wide furloughs was on May 24, when roughly 115,000 federal workers, or 5% of the total federal work force, stayed home without pay.

However, with the majority of the furloughs not kicking in until the beginning of July, including the Pentagon’s 680,000 furloughs beginning July 8, the real income shock will not show up until the July personal income and outlay report on August 30.

SPITFIRE 944

Why Republicans Can Get Away With Ignoring Their Problems - National Jrnl

Why Republicans Can Get Away With Ignoring Their Problems - NationalJournal.com

Republicans have a problem with young voters. Democrats have a problem with young nonvoters.

That simple equation, which applies equally to minority voters, helps explain why Republicans could enjoy another strong midterm election in 2014 without solving any of the underlying demographic challenges that threaten them in the 2016 presidential race. Next year’s election could both disappoint Democrats (by frustrating their hope of recapturing the House) and mislead Republicans (by tempting them to believe they have overcome the trends that allowed Democrats to win the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.) It could also highlight one of the forces that is making it difficult for either party to sustain unified control over Washington, even as they struggle to reach consensus on almost anything while power is divided.

These intertwined risks and opportunities are rooted in a new twist on a familiar phenomenon. The familiar part is the tendency of young and, more recently, minority voters to turn out in smaller numbers during midterms than in presidential elections. The new twist is that changing voting patterns have vastly raised the partisan stakes in those participation trends, creating systematic challenges for Democrats in midterm elections and for the GOP in presidential years....

U.S. Helps Allies Trying to Battle Iranian Hackers - NYT

U.S. Helps Allies Trying to Battle Iranian Hackers - NYTimes.com

...Those have been used in only one major case: the American and Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment system, part of a covert program called Olympic Games that delayed, but ultimately failed to destroy, Iran’s nuclear ability.

Officials pledge that computer hardware and software eventually provided to allied nations will be evaluated to avoid providing the type of defensive systems that also can be used for domestic surveillance or to punish political opponents.

This new focus on adding computer-warfare skills to a global effort the Pentagon calls “building partner capacity” — and usually refers to more traditional training of conventional forces — is another indication of the high level of concern in Washington about the growing danger of computer-network attacks from Iran or North Korea.

After the attacks on energy firms in the Persian Gulf, “we recognized that we really need to bolster our working relationships with key allies in the region,” said one senior Defense Department official. “We made a very conscious strategy decision to make that a priority, both in the gulf and also in Asia.”

Iran, in particular, is viewed as having greatly accelerated its computer efforts. The advancements appear to be the result of carefully focusing the work of a domestic computer sciences and hacking community.

The emerging Iranian program is far more disciplined and mature than Tehran’s previous efforts, which had focused on social media to coax American military personnel based in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region to sign up for dating and travel services, or chat rooms. The goal was to obtain the online information from American military personnel to find back doors into military computer systems.

In addition, American officials say Iran now is believed to be hiring foreign computer programmers associated with Internet criminal activity, some from Russia.

And, perhaps most worrisome, Iran and other nations now are able to purchase powerful malware that, while costly, is available on the black and gray markets — and can quickly advance the potency of a nation’s destructive ability across computer networks.

In the rankings of computer powers, Iran and North Korea are far lower in ability than the United States, Israel, Britain, Russia and China....