Monthly Archives: April 2014

Microsoft rushes to fix browser after attacks; no fix for XP users

BOSTON (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is rushing to fix a bug in its widely used Internet Explorer web browser after a computer security firm disclosed the flaw over the weekend, saying hackers have already exploited it in attacks on some U.S. companies.

PCs running Windows XP will not receive any updates fixing that bug when they are released, however, because Microsoft stopped supporting the 13-year-old operating system earlier this month. Security firms estimate that between 15 and 25 percent of the world’s PCs still run Windows XP.

Microsoft disclosed on Saturday its plans to fix the bug in an advisory to its customers posted on its security website, which it said is present in Internet Explorer versions 6 to 11. Those versions dominate desktop browsing, accounting for 55 percent of the PC browser market, according to tech research firm NetMarketShare.

Cybersecurity software maker FireEye Inc said that a sophisticated group of hackers have been exploiting the bug in a campaign dubbed “Operation Clandestine Fox.”

FireEye, whose Mandiant division helps companies respond to cyber attacks, declined to name specific victims or identify the group of hackers, saying that an investigation into the matter is still active.

“It’s a campaign of targeted attacks seemingly against U.S.-based firms, currently tied to defense and financial sectors,” FireEye spokesman Vitor De Souza said via email. “It’s unclear what the motives of this attack group are, at this point. It appears to be broad-spectrum intel gathering.”

He declined to elaborate, though he said one way to protect against them would be to switch to another browser.

Microsoft said in the advisory that the vulnerability could allow a hacker to take complete control of an affected system, then do things such as viewing changing, or deleting data, installing malicious programs, or creating accounts that would give hackers full user rights.

FireEye and Microsoft have not provided much information about the security flaw or the approach that hackers could use to figure out how to exploit it, said Aviv Raff, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm Seculert.

Yet other groups of hackers are now racing to learn more about it so they can launch similar attacks before Microsoft prepares a security update, Raff said.

“Microsoft should move fast,” he said. “This will snowball.”

Still, he cautioned that Windows XP users will not benefit from that update since Microsoft has just halted support for that product.

The software maker said in a statement to Reuters that it advises Windows XP users to upgrade to one of two most recently versions of its operating system, Windows 7 or 8.

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Bluefin submersible fails to find Boeing 777 on designated search area

Bluefin-21 submersible

SYDNEY, April 28

Bluefin-21 submersible has finished the exploration of the area, which was initially designated for it to search for missing Malaysian Boeing 777 and failed to find any objects of interest, according to representatives of the search coordination center that continues operating in Australia’s Perth.

Despite lack of results, the rescuers decided to continue using the submersible: at present, Bluefin-21 is making its 16th immersion and explores the bottom of neighboring sections.

On Sunday, there were no search operations involving planes and ships due to a strong storm in the ocean. On Monday, weather conditions improved, and it made possible to go on with the search operation. In the course of the day, nine planes and 12 ships will be monitoring a 54,920 square km area in some 1,670 km from Perth.

Vanished airliner

Boeing 777-200 of Malaysian Airlines was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing March 7. It carried 227 passengers and 12 crewmembers onboard. Communication with the jet was interrupted nearly two hours after its departure from the Malaysian capital. Since then, there was no information about the missing airliner.

March 24, the air carrier issued a statement informing about the death of all people who were onboard of the missing plane.

According to experts, the search operation involving 26 countries may become the most expensive in aviation’s history. $44 million are already spent on the search, and the overall expenditures may reach several hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine Free One of 8 Detainees – NYTimes

A group of European military observers, detained since Friday, appeared before journalists in a news conference in Slovyansk on Sunday.

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — The self-appointed mayor of this breakaway city in eastern Ukraine on Sunday displayed eight detained members of a European military observer mission and later released one for health reasons, but otherwise refused to discuss conditions under which the others might go free beyond mentioning a possible prisoner exchange.

In an afternoon of political theater, the de facto public authority here, Vyachislav Ponomaryov, had the detainees led into an auditorium by masked gunmen.

The observers, whom Mr. Ponomaryov has branded as spies, were escorted to seats once used by the city’s administrators. He then yielded the floor to the German officer leading the observers, Col. Axel Schneider, who held a long question-and-answer session with journalists.With erect posture, the colonel began by referring to himself and his team as “guests” under Mr. Ponomaryov’s “protection,” and said the team had suffered no violence at its captors’ hands since being seized on Friday.“We are not prisoners of war,” he said.

But the clearly coercive nature of the display here held the truth of the matter, which Colonel Schneider nodded to toward the end of the conference, saying, “I cannot go home on my free decision.”

He said the observers were performing a diplomatically accredited inspection in a rented bus when they were stopped at a checkpoint about two miles south of Slovyansk, the stronghold of the anti-Kiev armed militias in eastern Ukraine.

The team was held in a basement for one day and then moved on Saturday to better quarters, he said. The observer mission included seven military officers — three from Germany and one each from Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland and Sweden — and a German interpreter, along with five members of the Ukrainian military as escorts.

Colonel Schneider flatly rejected accusations that the observers were spies, and he dismissed claims that the team had carried ammunition and reconnaissance equipment.

His team’s mission, he said several times, had diplomatic status under the so-called Vienna Document 2011 of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which allows member nations to invite military observers from other member states to observe internal security conditions.

“I have no overlap with any other action executed in this region,” he said. “It is forbidden.”

The detention of the team has led to intensive diplomatic activity seeking their release.

Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, condemned what he called the “public display” of the mission members on Sunday, which he said “scandalously violates every rule and standard.” And he called on Russia to use its influence over the separatists in Ukraine to ensure all of the captives would be released unharmed. “It is Russia’s duty to influence the separatists so that they release the members of the O.S.C.E. mission as quickly as possible,” Mr. Steinmeier said in a statement.

Russia’s representative to the security organization has publicly said that the team should be freed.

But Mr. Ponomaryov, who referred to members of the team as “prisoners of the situation,” said he has heard nothing directly from Russia. He gave no timetable for any decisions, but insisted that the observers had been and would be treated well.

“We understand that these are officers before us,” he said. “And as we are also servicemen, we are required to abide by the officers’ code of honor.”

At another moment, Mr. Ponomaryov said the display was intended in part to reassure the observers’ families that the men were in good health. And later in the day, he released one of the observers — a Swedish officer with diabetes, Maj. Thomas Johansson — for health reasons, according to a spokeswoman for Mr. Ponomaryov. (At the end of the conference, Major Johansson noted that he was not ill and had access to medicine during his captivity.)

As the news conference continued, Colonel Schneider gradually expanded on his descriptions of the teams’ circumstances, making clear that its members were detainees.

“Our presence here in Slovyansk is for sure a political instrument for the decision-makers here in the region, and the possibility to use it for negotiations,” he said. “And this is not a surprise.”

He added, “It is logical in the eyes of Mayor Ponomaryov that he can use us to present his positions.”

The antigovernment militias here and their supporters, who seek a referendum that will allow them self-rule, have noted that the interim authorities in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, have arrested activists or officials on the antigovernment side.

But they have yet to make specific demands for any exchange, beyond Mr. Ponomaryov’s pointing out on Saturday that his own deputy has disappeared and could be in government custody.

The United States has opposed any exchange, and said the detainees should be freed unconditionally.

On Sunday, Mr. Ponomaryov, who was positioned two seats to the colonel’s right, occasionally checking a ringing cellphone, refused to answer questions about a resolution. He did reconfirm that he would consider a prisoner exchange.

When asked by journalists if he thought of the observers as human shields, he said he did not.

“This is nonsense,” he said. “Nonsense. If I gave the word that these people will remain safe, and I provide them capable security, then believe me, I will keep my word.”

Less clear was the status and prospects of five members of the Ukrainian military who had accompanied the observer team.

Colonel Schneider, and then later Major Johansson, said four of these Ukrainians had been held on the first day with the European team, but only two of them were moved with the European officers on Saturday. The conditions and whereabouts of the other three were unknown.

As the back-and-forth inside the sandbagged city administration building continued, a white sport utility vehicle bearing the markings of the O.S.C.E. pulled up outside. Several diplomats stepped out and were escorted into another section of the building by a gunman wearing a black mask.

Mr. Ponomaryov noted that the observers’ release would have to be discussed with diplomats.

“So that these officers feel certain — I told my guests, and I repeat it again — the conditions of their release will be specified with representatives of the O.S.C.E.,” he said. “It will be a separate topic.”

Several minutes after the diplomats arrived, Mr. Ponomaryov abruptly cut short the session and ordered journalists to leave, at one point shouting, “One! Two!” and preparing to shout “Three!” as if trying to compel disobedient children to comply.

The gunmen behind the sandbags led the journalists out into the bright afternoon light of the city’s main public square. There, behind a massive statue of Lenin, a Russian television journalist playfully petted a saddled pony as masked men came and went.

via Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine Free One of 8 Detainees – NYTimes.com.

 

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An Internet Censorship Law Right Out of ‘1984’

By Victor Davidoff

If there had been Internet when George Orwell wrote “1984,” the author would certainly have invented laws like the one passed in its second reading by the State Duma last week.

The law restricts the content of all blogs, including those on social networks, but it stipulates particular conditions for bloggers whose number of “daily readers” exceeds 3,000. In the best newspeak tradition, the law does not state how the number of daily readers will be determined, and no one knows how to do it — especially on social networks where the number of visits to a page is not public.

But the government has an easy way around this. Internet providers and the owners of social networks will be required to provide this information to the authorities so that bloggers can be entered into a special state registry, which will contain detailed information about them, such as phone numbers and home addresses.

This law places bloggers in a Catch-22 situation. On the one hand, they have all the responsibilities of a media organization. On the other hand, the law specifically forbids them from registering as a media outlet. A journalist has the right to make official inquiries to check facts, but bloggers do not. At the same time, however, bloggers are still required to somehow “certify the factuality of the information on their blogs.”

Anti-corruption bloggers like Alexei Navalny have been able to publish information about undeclared luxury properties in the U.S. and Europe owned by government officials. But that will stop, since the law prohibits publication of “information about citizens’ location, domicile, personal and family lives.”

That is not all that will be banned. The long list of prohibitions includes “publication of information intended to defame specific categories of citizens” based on characteristics including attitude toward religion, profession or political beliefs,” as well as publication of “extremist materials.”

To translate this from newspeak, you need to know how broadly “extremism” is understood by Russian courts. In 2009, the Tatarstan blogger Irek Murtazin was found guilty of “inciting hatred and hostility” toward the authorities among the population of Tatarstan. And the blogger Boris Stomakhin just received a 6 1/2 year sentence for justifying terrorism. If you think this was for a post praising Osama bin Laden, think again. It was for a post about the terrorist act that killed Emperor Alexander II in 1881, among other topics.

The real Orwellian touch is making bloggers responsible not only for the information in their posts, but also for the information in comments by other users.

The law, which will likely be passed, will instantly put Russia in first place for Internet censorship. Even China, which until recently was No. 1 in that category, will be far behind. This change at the top of the list reflects the two countries’ different approaches to the Internet. The Chinese leaders have a complex relationship with the World Wide Web, but they understand that it is a key factor in the country’s economic development. But Russian authorities’ understanding of the Internet is very different.

Their concept was expressed in short form by the country’s Big Brother-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin. At a news conference on Thursday he said: “The Internet emerged as a special operation of the CIA. And it has continued to be developed along these lines.”

Responding to Putin’s preference to block the transfer of information abroad, the new law introduces norms that will be catastrophic for Russia’s blogosphere. They require that all e-mail providers and social network owners store information about the users, their posts and e-mail communications on servers in Russia. And these providers will be required to give FSB operatives full access to monitor traffic — that is, to eavesdrop on users.

Russian Internet companies have already stated their negative opinion of the new law. “If there is excessive regulation of the Internet, which would require companies to apply for special licenses from state agencies to use their equipment and software, Russia will lose the Internet as a growth industry in our country,” said Dmitry Grishin, the CEO of Mail.ru in an interview to Rbc.ru.

Foreign companies have not yet given official commentary, but it is already clear that they cannot meet the law’s requirements. Besides the fact that building data centers in Russia is expensive and complicated, following this law would entail violating privacy laws in their home countries, which apply to their operations worldwide.

Anton Nosik, a prominent Internet analyst, thinks that the authorities will almost surely block Russians’ access to Facebook and Twitter after the law comes into effect on Aug. 1. Nosik believes that this “would be the logical progression in Russian legislation on censorship, which is largely aimed at limiting uncontrolled discussions and criticism of the authorities.”

If Nosik’s prediction comes true, users will have to laugh at the bitter joke by popular micro-blogger Arseny Bobrovsky, aka @KermlinRussia: “The Russian Internet is 20 years old. What a shame to die so young.”

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In Lugansk, federalization supporters proclaim creation of a “people’s republic”

They demand “an amnesty for all participants in the protest movent in Ukraine’s east, recognition of the Russian language as a state one, and the holding of a referendum on matters concerning self-determination of the region”

DONETSK, April 28. ITAR-TASS.

In Lugansk, federalization supporters at a meeting on Sunday proclaimed the establishment of a “Lugansk People’s Republic”, Ukraine’s radio “Freedom” reports.

In that city, where a joint headquarters of the country’s South-East was established several days ago to coordinate the work of other headquarters in other districts, federalism supporters delivered an ultimatum to the Kiev authorities on Sunday.

In particular, the protesters demand “an amnesty for all participants in the protest movent in Ukraine’s east, recognition of the Russian language as a state one, and the holding of a referendum on matters concerning self-determination of the region”.

If their demands are not met by April 29, they promise “to move on to energetic actions”.

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MI5’s hiring: British Secret Service is looking for intel experts on Russia

The MI5 headquarters in central London

The UK’s MI5 has decided to beef up its team with more experts on Russia amid the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. It is now hiring Russian intelligence analysts to monitor intercepted phone calls and e-mails.

According to The TimesDavid Leppard, the British Secret Service is advertising the positions in this week’s newspapers. It can also be easily found on MI5’s official website.

Successful applicants will be tasked with listening to telephone calls in Russian, working with written documents “intercepted under warrant” and providing expert support to investigative officers.

The fluent Russian speakers will be giving “clear analysis in a variety of ways” that, MI5 says, will “help safeguard national security.”

“Your work will enable us to take a well-informed view of potential threats to national security, including terrorism and espionage,” the job description reads.

MI5’s Russian intelligence analysts will be also cooperating with the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, or MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Those who get the job will be paid £30,000 ($50,000) a year.

Aside from fluent Russian, British citizenship or residency is also a must.

MI5’s recruitment comes amid growing tensions between the West and Russia over the political crisis in Ukraine, a former republic of the Soviet Union. While the two sides agree on the necessity of de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine, there is still no agreement on approaches.

While the West is accusing Moscow of attempts to undermine sovereignty of the country, Russia is blaming the US and its European allies for fueling Maidan protests and supporting the coup-appointed Kiev government.

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US denies 10yr Philippines security pact aimed against China

Protest rally against the up-coming visit of President Barrack Obama.

A new security treaty between the US and the Philippines to be signed Monday isn’t aimed at containing China’s military might, but is rather ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region, American officials said.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement would permit the enhanced “rotational presence” of US forces in the Philippines.

The American military will also be able to train and conduct exercises with their Philippine counterparts for maritime security, disaster assistance and humanitarian aid.

It would also allow US troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the Philippines and see the creation of storages facilities for American equipment.

“We are not doing this because of China. We are doing this because we have a longstanding alliance partner [the Philippines]. They are interested in stepping up our military-to-military,” Evan Medeiros, Obama’s top advisor on Asia, was cited as saying by AFP.

Filipino negotiators previously said that the deal wouldn’t allow the US to establish military bases in the country, or position nuclear weapons there.

But Medeiros still called the document “the most significant agreement that we [the US] have concluded with the Philippines in decades.”

The treaty runs for 10 years, which is shorter than Washington was originally asking for, but it can be prolonged if both sides see it necessary, two senior US officials told Reuters.

An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila on March 18, 2014, for a port visit.

An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila on March 18, 2014, for a port visit.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US ambassador Philip Goldberg will put their signatures under the deal on April 28, just a few hours before President Barack Obama arrives to the Philippine capital, Manila, as part of his week-long Asian tour.

The United States is expected to gradually deploy combat ships, a squadron of F18s or F16s and maritime surveillance aircraft to the Philippines under the deal, a military source told Reuters.

“We are considering bases in Northern Luzon like Clark and Subic, and Fort Magsaysay, to accommodate the US forces. We will set aside space in those bases for their troops,” the source said.

Clark and Subic were the two military bases maintained by the US military northwest of Manila until 1992, when the Philippines Senate voted to evict American troops from the country.

However, eight years later, the Senate approved an agreement allowing for temporary visits by US forces and joint military drills between the armies of the two states.

A total of 149 US Navy vessels visited the Philippines last year – almost a two-fold increase in comparison with 68 ships in 2012.

Manila has been seeking greater military and diplomatic support from the US in recent years, due to a territorial dispute with China.

Beijing, which claims most of the resources-rich South China Sea, has seized control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 despite the island being situated far closer to the Filipino landmass than the Chinese.

The Chinese refused to participate in the UN tribunal on the validity of its territorial claims, which the Philippines imitated, saying that the move “seriously damaged” bilateral relations.

In March, Chinese vessels tried to block ships, which were bringing supplies to a Philippine military outpost on a tiny reef also claimed by Beijing.

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BBC News – Ukraine : Pro-Russian gunmen show seized monitors

The European military observers were led into the building by masked gunmen

Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine have shown seized European military observers to the media, amid attempts to secure their immediate release.

One of the observers presented in the city of Sloviansk said that none of the group had been harmed.

A team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is hoping to begin negotiations.

The gunmen continue to occupy official buildings in a dozen eastern cities, defying the government in Kiev.

In the latest to be reported, separatists in Donetsk seized control of the regional television and radio headquarters, demanding that broadcasts by Russian state channels be switched back on, in place of Ukrainian-language services.

In a separate development on Sunday, pro-Russian gunmen said they had captured three Ukrainian security services members overnight in eastern Ukraine. Kiev later confirmed a number of its officers had been seized.

This comes as the US and EU are preparing new sanctions against Russia, accusing it of destabilising Ukraine.

US President Barack Obama said the Kremlin had “not lifted a finger” to implement last week’s deal in Geneva aimed at easing the crisis.

The European monitors said they had been unarmed, and not part of a Nato mission

Militia leaders also said they had captured three Ukrainian security service members overnight

Pro-Russian gunmen continue to occupy official buildings in a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine

EU diplomats are expected to meet on Monday to discuss fresh sanctions against Russia.

The Kremlin denies supporting the militia in eastern Ukraine.

‘Treated as mayor’s guests’

The observers from Germany, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic were presented to reporters in Sloviansk on Sunday.

The monitors – who were captured in the flashpoint town on Friday – were led into the building by masked gunmen.

“All the European officers are in good health and no-one is sick,” said German monitor Col Axel Schneider.

He stressed that they were not Nato officers, but an international group working for the OSCE – and that they were not armed fighters but diplomats in uniforms.

“We are not prisoners of war. We are the guests of (self-declared Sloviansk) Mayor (Vyacheslav) Ponomaryov, and being treated as such.”

However he also said the group had “no indication when we will be sent home to our countries.”

Earlier in the day, an OSCE source told the BBC that a negotiating team had been sent to Sloviansk to try to secure the monitors’ release.

Earlier, Mr Ponomaryov said there was the possibility of exchanging the monitors for militia members held by the Kiev government.

Russia, an OSCE member, earlier pledged that it would “take all possible steps” to secure the release of the observers.

Kiev has accused the militia of using the Europeans as a “human shield”.

The West is accusing Moscow of leading a secessionist revolt in eastern Ukraine after it annexed Crimea last month. Moscow denies the claim.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine must end military operations in the east of the country as part of urgent measures to defuse the crisis.

 

Ukrainian troops have carried out a number of raids to try to regain control of official buildings.

The crisis began when protesters toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February and has since plunged East-West relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Russia has tens of thousands of troops deployed along its side of the border with Ukraine and has said it will act if its interests are threatened.

On Saturday, the G7 praised Ukraine for acting with restraint in dealing with the “armed bands” that had occupied government buildings.

But the group, which comprises the US, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Canada and Italy, condemned Russia’s “increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military manoeuvres.”

The G7 said it was committed to intensifying sanctions on Russia, ahead of Ukrainian presidential elections next month.

 

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Anti-govt protesters seize TV station in eastern Ukraine, call for own channel

Activists stand guard outside a regional television station after it was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

Pro-Russian protesters have seized a local state TV station in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, demanding that Russian TV channels be broadcast there. They also want to launch a “Donetsk People’s Republic” TV channel.

According to media reports, technical work is currently being done at the TV station to restart the transmission of Russian channels. Itar-Tass reports that some Russian TV channels have resumed work in Donetsk.

“Their experts are now setting up equipment on our frequency to broadcast Russian TV channels,” TV station CEO Oleg Dzholos told Ukraine’s Channel 5, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

One of the protesters has told the news agency that “Russia 24” channel is already broadcasting instead of local “Channel 27”.

Protesters have left the building, but still left their security there.

“Nobody freed the TV station – protesters left, but there is our security there as well as our technicians and the station’s crew,” an unnamed man told Interfax-Ukraine.

Masked activists march to seize a regional television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, home of the local telecommunication antennas and studios of the regional TV station Channel 27, on April 27, 2014.

It has also been reported that pro-Russian protesters held talks with the TV center’s executives to begin broadcasting the “Donetsk People’s Republic” television channel.

“There were many demands. First – switch off Ukrainian channels. I explained that we are Donetsk state TV and radio station and from our central control room, there is only our signal. There were experts and they understood me. The following demand was – not a demand, an ultimatum – to switch on, if I am not mistaken, Russia-24 TV channel,” Dzholos said.

So far, all Ukrainian TV channels continue their broadcast.

Protesters entered the TV station late Sunday afternoon, saying they were unsatisfied with the way the situation in the region was covered in local news and shows. Protesters demanded that Ukrainian channels be blocked.

They have taken down the Ukrainian flag from the TV station’s office and hoisted the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. It was also taken down later.

Pro-Russian activists seize a regional television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

Protesters brought satellite antennas and other equipment and placed guards at the entrance to the television center, Itar-Tass reported.

Prior to taking control of the TV station, over 3,000 people gathered at Donetsk’s central Lenin Square. Protesters started the rally with one minute’s silence to commemorate Berkut Special Forces officers killed in clashes with radicals in Kiev’s Independence Square, and activists killed by Right Sector radicals at a checkpoint in Slavyansk on Easter Sunday.

Russian TV channels have been blocked across Ukraine since the beginning of March, after the Ukrainian media watchdog claimed that shutting down Russian TV stations ensured the country’s “national security and sovereignty.”

Pro-Russian activists hold Russian flags and shout slogans during a rally outside a regional television station which was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

At least five major Russian channels, including Vesti, Russia-24, Channel One’s international broadcasts, RTR ‘Planeta’ and NTV World were immediately excluded from the list of options by providers throughout Ukraine.

The move was strongly condemned by the OSCE, which called the move “repressive” and “a form of censorship.”

A Ukrainian police officer looks at activists standing guard outside a regional television station after it was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

Since then, the situation in Donetsk has deteriorated, with people demanding a referendum on the region’s autonomy from Kiev. Amid massive protests, when a number of government building were stormed and seized by anti-government activists, Kiev launched an “anti-terrorist” military operation targeting rallying civilians.

Masked activists stand guard a regional television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

 RT News.

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New vulnerability found in Internet Explorer

According to  a confirmation by Microsoft late last night, a new zero day vulnerability has been found to affect every version of Internet Explorer. In other words—over a quarter of the entire browser market.

Attacks taking advantage of the vulnerability are largely targeting IE versions 9, 10, and 11 in something called a “use after free” attack. Essentially, the attack corrupts data as soon as memory has been released, most likely after users have been lured to phony websites. Microsoft explains:

The vulnerability exists in the way that Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.

Microsoft is currently investigating the issue and will likely release an out-of-cycle security patch to take care of the problem. Let’s just hope it comes soon, because according to security firm Fire Eye, this means that about 26 percent of the entire browser market is at risk.

And since Windows XP users won’t be getting the patch for this fairly threatening bug, anyone still running the now-unsupported software is going to have to cough up some big bucks to stay safe.

Source: gizmodo  The Real Nerd Herd.

Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983.

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