Daily Archives: December 18, 2014

Aus police conduct counter-terrorism raids across Sydney

Australian police late today searched several properties across Sydney, reportedly as part of a ongoing counter-terrorism investigation but not related to the deadly cafe siege earlier this week, officials said.

New South Wales police said the raids were unconnected to the 16-hour standoff at a Sydney cafe on Monday that left the lone gunman, self-styled Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis, and two hostages dead, but would not provide further details about the operation.

“The (Australian Federal Police) and New South Wales police can confirm that they are conducting search warrants today in Sydney as part of an ongoing operation,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

“As this activity remains ongoing and to ensure the safety and security of the operation and members involved, it is not appropriate to provide further details at this time.”

The spokeswoman could also not confirm local media reports that one of the homes raided had also been searched by police during large-scale counter-terrorism raids across the country in September.

Australia raised its terror threat level in September on growing concern about militants returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, a 25-year-old man was arrested as part of ongoing investigations into plans for an attack on Australian soil, the federal police said.

A 22-year-old already facing a charge of preparing for a terrorist act was also charged with funding terrorism.

“Police will allege that men were key facilitators in the movement of funds that paid for Australians to travel to the Middle East to fight with the proscribed terrorist organisation, Islamic State,” federal police said in a statement Monday.

“Police allege the men made available to a terrorist organisation approximately USD 12,300 in funds in August this year.”

The 22-year-old will face a Sydney court Friday.

More than 70 Australians are currently fighting for Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. At least 20 have died and there are growing concerns that increasing numbers of youths are being radicalised and could mount attacks at home.

Canberra recently passed a law criminalising travel to terror hotspots without good reason, fearful that nationals will pose a threat when they return. Those charged could face up to 10 years in jail.


Hackers trick way into ICANN computers

San Francisco, 18 December: The private agency that acts as a gatekeeper for the Internet has said that hackers tricked their way into its computers.

A “spearfishing” attack aimed at US-based non profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) hooked staff members with emails crafted to appear as though they were sent from peers using “icann.org” addresses, according to a blog post.
“The attack resulted in the compromise of the email credentials of several ICANN staff members,” ICANN said.
It appeared that the attack commenced in November. Typically, spearfishing attacks dupe people into clicking on links to what appeared to be legitimate email log-in pages but aren’t or open attached files booby-trapped with viruses.

The ruse won hackers ICANN email user names and passwords, giving the intruders control of accounts and keys to reaching deeper, according to Francisco the blog post.

User names and passwords were used this month to access a Centralized Zone Data System, where hackers could get hold of files about generic top-level domains as well as names, addresses, passwords and other valuable information about users, according to ICANN.

Hackers were also said to have used compromised passwords to get into an ICANN wiki page; its blog, and a Whois index of registered owners of web addresses.

The blog and Who is did not appear to have been tampered with, according to ICANN, which provided no insight was provided into who was behind the attack.


Quotes From Around the World on Pakistan Attack

Reactions from around the world to the deadly Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday.


“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable. I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters – but we will never be defeated.” – Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai.


“The government together with the army has started Zarb-e-Azb and it will continue until the terrorism is rooted out from our land. We also have had discussions with Afghanistan that they and we together fight this terrorism, and this fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it. ” – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Peshawar. Zarb-e-Azb is the name of the Pakistani military operation being carried out in North Waziristan.


“Strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar.”

“It is a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent of human beings – young children in their school.”

“My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences.” – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a series of tweeted statements.


“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity. We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.” – U.S. President Barack Obama.


“The killing of innocent children is contrary to Islam.” – Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.


The attack in Peshawar is “un-Islamic.” – The Afghan Taliban. The group added that it “always condemned the killing of innocent people.”


“The news of the terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar has shaken me deeply. The hostgage-taking and murder of children and youth is barbarity that cannot be surpassed.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


“The scale of what has happened in Pakistan simply defies belief. It is a dark, dark day for humanity when something on this scale happens with no justification. There is not a belief system in the world that can justify such an act. I think what this shows is the worldwide threat that is posed by this poisonous ideology of extremist Islamist terrorism. It is nothing to do with one of the world’s great religions – Islam, which is a religion of peace. This is a perversion.” – British Prime Minister David Cameron.


“On October 9, 2012, the Taliban attempted to silence one girl who dared to confront them, and stifle her future. They failed miserably. In the moments that follow such harrowing tragedy, we hope that the resolve and the dignity of innocent Pakistani people will see more children like Malala Yousafzai emerge to carry the torch forward for more education, free from violence or intimidation.” – Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.


“Mothers and fathers send their kids to school to learn and to be safe and to dream and to find opportunity. And particularly at this military school in Pakistan, they sent their kids there with the hope and dreams of serving their country. Instead, today they are gone, wiped away by Taliban assassins who serve a dark and almost medieval vision, and the opposite of everything that those mothers and fathers wanted for their children. The images are absolutely gut-wrenching: young children carried away in ambulances, a teacher burned alive in front of the students, a house of learning turned into a house of unspeakable horror.” – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.


“No cause can justify such brutality. No grievance can excuse such horror. It is an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn. Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces. Getting an education is every child’s right. Going to school should not have to be an act of bravery.” – U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.


“There can be absolutely no justification for targeting children in this way. This unconscionable Taliban attack is a grave reminder that civilians in northwest Pakistan desperately need effective protection from militant groups.” – David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.


“The attack once again manifests the complexity and brutality of the terror threat the world faces today.” – Turkey’s U.N. Ambassador Halit Cevik, who said Turkey had declared a national day of mourning.


Google Is Shutting Down Its Freebase Knowledge Base

Google announced Tuesday that the company is shutting down Freebase, the crowdsourced knowledge base it acquired in 2010 when it bought Metaweb. Freebase is a popular source of information about topics – more than 46 million of them – that can be searched, queried like a database and used to provide information to applications.

According to the Google+ post announcing Freebase’s fate, the project’s information will begin being exported to the Wikidata project by the end of March, and Freebase will be retired by June 30, 2015. Information from Freebase helped feed Google’s fast-growing Knowledge Graph, and Freebase developer APIs will be replaced by a set of Knowledge Graph-powered ones.


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