feature ransomware

Ahok, Comey, Ebola, and Ransomware – This is World News In Focus

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Technology: Malicious ransomware, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, wreaked havoc across the world last week.

“Ransomware” is a kind of computer virus that prevents the user from accessing data and files in the infected machine until money is paid to the perpetrator.  Even worse, the software will quickly spread to other computers, causing wide damage.

Last Friday, the British National Health Services was attacked, and as a result, operations were cancelled, ambulances diverted, and patient records blocked.

Telefónica in Spain, along with computers in 99 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and Egypt are said to  have fallen prey to the cyber crime.

According to the Guardian, last month a hacker group known as Shadow Brokers dumped a cache of hacking tools on the Internet which was claimed to have been stolen from the US National Security Agency.   Among the tools was EternalBlue, which exploits a security fault of Microsoft Windows and was used to create the ransomware.

Fortunately, the spread of the cyber epidemic was halted by a cybersecurity researcher who “accidentally” triggered a “kill switch” hardcoded in the virus.

For more we go to CNNMoney:

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Africa:  The deadly Ebola virus strikes yet again.  On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Three people have died over the past three weeks and another six are suspected to be infected.

Ebola may cause acute and serious illness, including hemorrhages and fever. On the average, half of all victims die.

According to WHO, the disease first appeared in 1976 in South Sudan and Congo.  The most serious outbreak occurred between 2014 and 2016 in West Africa during which more than 11,300 were killed.  Congo has suffered eight Ebola outbreaks since 1976.  

Health authorities are investigating into the cause of the outbreak.  Experts from Médecins Sans Frontières, the US Center for Disease Control, UNICEF, and WHO will participate in the containment efforts.

For more we go to euronews:

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Indonesia: Jakarta’s former Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is to be imprisoned for two years because of blasphemy, according to reports.

The capital’s governor, also known as Ahok, was accused of insulting the Koran, Muslim’s holy book, during his re-election campaign last September.

Ahok was refuting the arguments from hardline Islamist groups who suggested that the Koran did prohibit Muslims from voting for a non-Muslim.  He criticized his opponents of having misled Muslims, a remark which was considered to be an insult to the Koran and caused his defeat in the election.

The Jakarta court’s head judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto concluded that Ahok had “conducted a criminal act of blasphemy,” the reports continued.

About 1,000 of Ahok’s supporters gathered at the City Hall on Wednesday morning, wearing red and white, Indonesia’s national colors trying to collect signatures urging for for his release.

For more we go to Al Jazeera:

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U.S.: President Donald Trump fired James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the White House.

The director, who previously was Deputy Attorney General, was said to be leading an investigation into the contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials.

There have been allegations against Trump’s advisers for colluding with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

But in his letter to Comey, Trump stated that his dismissal decision was based on the advice given to him that Comey was not capable of leading the bureau effectively.

For more we go to PBS NewsHour:

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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Creative Lab / Shutterstock.com