From The Daily Beast:
The Ukrainian parliament on Friday broke out into a brawl after one member approached Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, handed him a bouquet of roses, and then forcefully picked him up by the crotch, and removed him from the podium. Mayhem ensued, with members rushing toward the two men. The prime minister had been defending his embattled government.
Russian hackers use ‘zero-day’ in cyber-spy campaign
For The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima reports: A Russian hacking group probably working for the government has been exploiting a previously unknown flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to spy on NATO, the Ukrainian government, a U.S. university researcher and other national security targets, according to a new report.
“This is consistent with espionage activity. All indicators from a targeting and lures perspective would indicate espionage with Russian national interests.”
— iSight Senior Director Stephen Ward
The group has been active since at least 2009, according to research by iSight Partners, a cybersecurity firm.
Its targets in the recent campaign also included a Polish energy firm, a Western European government agency and a French telecommunications firm.
“This is consistent with espionage activity,” said iSight Senior Director Stephen Ward. “All indicators from a targeting and lures perspective would indicate espionage with Russian national interests.”
“The firm began monitoring the hackers’ activity in late 2013 and discovered the vulnerability in August…The flaw is present in every Windows operating system from Vista to 8.1, he said, except Windows XP.”
There is no indication that the group was behind a recent spate of intrusions into U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Ward said.
“ISight dubbed the recently detected hacking group SandWorm because of references embedded in its code to the science-fiction novel ‘Dune.’ There were various mentions in Russian to the fictional desert planet of Arrakis, for instance.”
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials say the capabilities of Russian hackers are on par with those of the United States and Israel. Read the rest of this entry »
Ukraine’s political standoff show no sign of abating, while the economy is at risk of imploding as the country teeters on the brink of default, according to reports:
But behind the scenes is a handful of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, who control an enormous amount of Ukraine’s economic output through their holdings in metallurgy, chemical production, and mining, and other industries. This clan of oligarchs, with their economic interests and close ties to embattled President Viktor Yanukovych, could be critical to ending the political turmoil.
By using their economic clout, Ukraine’s elite clan of oligarchs could pressure Yanukovych to find a political compromise quickly in order to save the economy, and their businesses, says Volodymyr Panchenko, the director of the International Center for Policy Studies in Kiev.
“The oligarchs could definitely change the situation, and it should be done this week,” he says.