Daily Archives: February 19, 2015
Bangkok: Thailand’s attorney general Thursday filed criminal charges against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra over a controversial rice subsidy scheme. If found guilty, she could be jailed for 10 years, Xinhua reported. Prosecutors submitted the case documents to the Supreme Court, accusing Yingluck’s government of buying rice from Thai farmers at above the market rate, costing the government billions of dollars.
Thursday’s charges came following Yingluck’s impeachment by the legislature last month, which forced her out of politics for five years. Yingluck stepped down from office by a court decision shortly before the military staged a coup in May 2014 and seized power from her government.
A cyber-espionage group based in the Middle East has attacked more than 3,000 victims in about 50 countries across the globe, including India, and has stolen over one million files in the process. Desert Falcons, a cyber espionage group targeting multiple high profile organizations and individuals from Middle East countries, is believed to be the first known Arabic group of cyber mercenaries to develop and run full-scale cyber-espionage operations and was discovered by Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team.
Experts have multiple reasons to believe that the attackers behind the Desert Falcons were native Arabic speakers and at least 30 people, in three teams, spread across different countries, were operating the Desert Falcons malware campaigns. The group started developing their operation in 2011 with real infection beginning in 2013. The peak of their activity was registered at the beginning of 2015.
The hackers attack Windows PCs and Android-based devices using proprietary malicious tools such as, spear phishing via e-mails, social networking posts and chat messages. Phishing messages contain malicious files (or a link to malicious files) masquerading as legitimate documents or applications. The group is believed to use several techniques to entice victims into running the malicious files. One of the most specific techniques is the so-called right-to-left extension override trick.
The malicious tools used have full Backdoor functionality, including the ability to take screenshots, log keystrokes, upload/download files, collect information about all Word and Excel files on a victim’s Hard Disk or connected USB devices, steal passwords stored in the system registry (Internet Explorer and live Messenger) and make audio recordings. Experts have also found traces of activity of a malware which appeared to be an Android backdoor capable of stealing mobile calls and SMS logs.
Using these tools the Desert Falcons have launched and managed at least three different malicious campaigns targeting different set of victims in different countries.
Dmitry Bestuzhev, security expert at Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team said, “The individuals behind this threat actor are highly determined, active and with good technical, political and cultural insight. We expect this operation to carry on developing more Trojans and using more advanced techniques. With enough funding, they might be able to acquire or develop exploits that would increase the efficiency of their attacks.”
The list of targeted victims include Military and Government organizations – particularly employees responsible for countering money laundering as well as health and the economy; leading media outlets; research and education institutions; energy and utilities providers; activists and political leaders; physical security companies; and other targets in possession of important geopolitical information.
The main focus of Desert Falcons’ activity appears to be in countries such as Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Jordan, multiple victims were also found in Qatar, KSA, UAE, Algeria, Lebanon, Norway, Turkey, Sweden, France, the United States, Russia and other countries.
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down
when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door!
He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid him up against a parked car shouting, ‘What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?’ The young boy was apologetic. ‘Please, mister….please, I’m sorry but I didn’t know what else to do,’ He pleaded. ‘I threw the brick because no one else would stop…’ With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car.. ‘It’s my brother,’ he said, ‘he rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up’.
Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, ‘Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.’
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay ‘Thank you and may God bless you,’ the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.
It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar.. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: ‘Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!’ God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It’s our choice to listen or not.
Thought for the Day:
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring.
He sends you a sunrise every morning Face it, friend – He is crazy about you!
Send this to every ‘beautiful person’ you wish to bless.
God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow,sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
Read this line very slowly and let it sink in…
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Pass this message to your internet Friends