Global businesses dig out from latest cyber attack | Reuters

FRANKFURT/MOSCOW/KIEV A cyber attack wreaked havoc around the globe on Wednesday, crippling thousands of computers, disrupting operations at ports from Mumbai to Los Angeles and halting production at a chocolate factory in Australia.

The virus is believed to have first taken hold on Tuesday in Ukraine where it silently infected computers after users downloaded a popular tax accounting package or visited a local news site, national police and international cyber experts said.

The malicious code locked machines and demanded victims post a ransom worth $300 in bitcoins or lose their data entirely.

More than 30 victims paid up but security experts are questioning whether extortion was the goal, given the relatively small sum demanded, or whether the hackers were driven by destructive motives rather than financial gain.

Ukraine, the epicenter of the cyber strike, has repeatedly accused Russia of orchestrating attacks on its computer systems and critical power infrastructure since its powerful neighbor annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

The Kremlin, which has consistently rejected the accusations, said on Wednesday it had no information about the origin of the global cyber attack, which also struck Russian companies such as oil giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) and a steelmaker.

ESET, a Slovakian company that sells products to shield computers from viruses, said 80 percent of the infections detected among its global customer base were in Ukraine, with Italy second hardest hit with about 10 percent.

The aim of the latest attack appears to be disruption rather than ransom, said Brian Lord, former deputy director of intelligence and cyber operations at Britain’s GCHQ and now managing director at private security firm PGI Cyber.

“My sense is this starts to look like a state operating through a proxy … as a kind of experiment to see what happens,” Lord told Reuters on Wednesday.


While the malware seemed to be a variant of past campaigns, derived from code known as Eternal Blue believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), experts said it was not as virulent as last month’s WannaCry attack.

They said Tuesday’s virus could leap from computer to computer once unleashed within an organization but, unlike WannaCry, it could not randomly trawl the internet for its next victims, limiting its scope to infect.

The introduction of security patches in the wake of the May attack that crippled hundreds of thousands of computers also helped curb the latest malware, though its rapid spread underlined concerns that some businesses have still failed to secure their networks from increasingly aggressive hackers.

After WannaCry, governments, security firms and industrial groups advised businesses and consumers to make sure all their computers were updated with Microsoft (MSFT.O) security patches.

Austria’s government-backed Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said “a small number” of international firms appeared to be affected, with tens of thousands of computers taken down.


A number of the international firms hit have operations in Ukraine, and the virus is believed to have spread within global corporate networks after gaining traction within the country.

Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), which handles one in seven containers shipped worldwide, has a logistics unit in Ukraine.

Other large firms affected, such as French construction materials company Saint Gobain (SGOB.PA) and Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O), which owns chocolate brand Cadbury, also have operations in the country.

Maersk was one of the first global firms to be taken down by the cyber attack and its operations at major ports such as Mumbai in India, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Los Angeles on the U.S. west coast were disrupted.

The company said on Wednesday it was unable to process new orders and its 76 terminals around the world were becoming increasingly congested.

Other companies to succumb included BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPP.PA), a part of the French bank that provides property and investment management services.

“The international cyber attack hit our non-bank subsidiary, Real Estate. The necessary measures have been taken to rapidly contain the attack,” the bank said on Wednesday.

Production at the Cadbury factory on the Australian island state of Tasmania ground to a halt late on Tuesday after computer systems went down.

Russia’s Rosneft, one of the world’s biggest crude producers by volume, said on Tuesday its systems had suffered “serious consequences” but oil production had not been affected because it switched to backup systems.

(Additional reporting by Helen Reid in London, Teis Jensen in Copenhagen, Maya Nikolaeva in Paris, Marcin Goettig in Warsaw, Byron Kaye in Sydney, John O’Donnell in Frankfurt, Ari Rabinovitch in Tel Aviv and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bangalore; Editing by David Clarke)

5 most dangerous computer viruses ever

Here is the list of 5 most dangerous virus.

Storm Worm

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Un nuevo y potente virus ‘extorsionador’ ataca al mundo ( Petya y similar al virus WannaCry)

Un nuevo y potente virus ‘extorsionador’ ataca al mundo ( Petya y similar al virus WannaCry) #NA24/7 #NA / actualidad y noticias del mundo.
Se trata de un malicioso programa informático que encripta las computadoras y pide dinero para desbloquearlas.
Un nuevo y potente ‘ransomware’ llamado Petya y similar al virus WannaCry ha atacado este martes a Ucrania, Rusia y España, entre otros países. Se trata de un malicioso programa informático que encripta las computadoras y pide dinero para desbloquearlas.

#NoticiasyActualidad #ElArteDeServir #NA
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The first worm virus has been observed on the iPhone according to the internet security company called F-Secure. It is supposedly only attacking jailbroken iPhones and has not changed the root password from its original setting.

The cvirus is called “Ikee” and creates a new wall paper on your iPhone with Rick Astley on it.

This is probably just the pre-cursor of more to come – more serious viruses.

The newly detected worm with the name “Ikee” does not make much harm but internet security companies warn that worse things are yet to come.

Iphone users hit by the “Ikee” virus will get the ri wall papers changed to a picture of the pop singer from the 80’s called Rick Astley. The message “Ikee is never going to give you up” is also written on the screen.

The message reflects the internet event Rickrolling where the net users were tricked to click on a link that lead them to the music video with Rick Astley singing “Never going to give you up”.

The iPhone worm is only spread on phones which are jailbroken, that is hacked and the operator lock is broken enabling the users to use any operator and software not authorized by Apple.

The worm only succeed to attack phones that have not changed the default root password that was on the phone at purchase. The password is “alpine”.

The worm is spread through the network protocol SHH (Secure Shell) according to F-Secure. After the startup picture is changed the worm “Ikee” turns off the SHH serfvice on your phone and protects it against any new infections.

The creator of this worm has published the source code for the four existing variants of the worm. This opens for new variants very quick as people begin to explore the code in detail and refine this.

Mikko Hypponen, a security expert at F-Secure has written about this worm on his blogg.

How flu changes within the human body may hint at future global trends

Evolution is usually very slow, a process of change that takes thousands or millions of years to see.

But for influenza, evolution is fast – and deadly. Flu viruses change rapidly to escape the body’s defenses. Every few years, new variants of flu emerge and cause epidemics around the world.

Controlling the spread of flu means dealing with this ongoing evolution. Each year, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) must make their best guess about how the virus will change in order to choose which flu strains to include in the annual vaccine.

This work is difficult and uncertain, and mistakes have real consequences. Worldwide, flu infects several million people each year and causes hundreds of thousands of deaths. In years when predictions miss the mark and the flu shot is very different from circulating strains, more people are vulnerable to infection.

In the past several years, advances in genome sequencing have begun to shed light on the beginnings of viral evolution, deep within individual infections. We wondered whether, for flu, this information might give us an early glimpse of future global evolutionary trends.

What could a single person’s flu infection tell us about how the virus changes across the world? As it turns out, a surprising amount.

Looking deep inside an infection

Every step in flu’s evolution begins with a mistake. As viruses copy themselves within an infected person, they sometimes mutate, creating small changes to their genetic blueprint.

Most mutations are harmful to the virus because they break the machinery it needs to function. But every so often, a mutant virus survives, and even thrives. Viruses play a constant game of cat-and-mouse with the human immune system. Sometimes, a mutant virus may be just different enough to escape the body’s notice.

A mutant virus with this kind of advantage can multiply quickly and come to dominate the infection. Eventually, it may even spread from person to person, and from there, start spreading around the world.

Recently, it’s become easier to track how viruses change within the human body. The same advances that have made it cheap and easy to sequence human genomes are changing how we study viruses. For the cost of sequencing a single human genome, we can sequence thousands of viruses from throughout an infection to track new mutations as they arise.

These mutations can show us how the virus reacts to challenging environments within the human body. For HIV, where infections often last years or even decades, evolution can be substantial, even within a single person. In particular, viruses often evolve drug resistance in response to antiviral treatment.

Tracking flu evolution in four long infections

We recently tracked viral evolution in four cancer patients who had flu infections lasting several months. Most flu infections last about a week, which limits the amount of change that can occur. But in patients with weak immune systems, infections can last a long time, with severe effects.

How did flu change within these long infections? By sequencing viruses from different times during the infection and comparing their genomes, we were able to identify new mutations and track their fates.

Each subplot represents one site in the virus where mutations can occur. Mutant viruses are shown in orange, and their frequencies rise and fall over time.
Xue et al. eLife 2017;6:e26875, CC BY

Evolution acted in a matter of weeks. One clear example was resistance to Tamiflu. The patients we studied were taking the drug to control their infections. But, as in prior studies, viruses carrying drug-resistance mutations eventually emerged. These mutations might partly explain why the infections lasted so long.

Drug-resistance mutations weren’t the only evolutionary changes we saw. Half a dozen mutant viruses, all just slightly different from one another, would sometimes compete simultaneously in a single person.

These competing viruses made evolution a complicated affair. A mutation that started spreading one week would sometimes go extinct the next. Presumably, it was outcompeted by an even better mutation.

In some cases, we found the exact same mutations in viruses from different patients in our study, even though we could tell that the patients did not infect each other. We’d only very rarely expect such similarities to happen due to chance. The viruses may have hit on similar adaptations in response to evolutionary challenges. Some of these mutations may have helped the virus avoid the immune system, echoing other studies.

Author Katherine Xue explains her Ph.D. research on how flu evolves inside you.

Forecasting the future

The 3-D structure of influenza virus as imaged by electron tomography. The spike proteins poke out from the virus’ coat.
Audray Harris, Bernard Heymann and Alasdair C. Steven, LSBR, NIAMS, NIH

What’s more, many mutations within these patients matched mutations that later spread around the world. In the spikes of flu’s outer coat, which help the virus enter host cells, the mutation N225D emerged in three of the four patients in our study. By 2015, about eight years after our patients were infected, most flu viruses around the world carried the exact same change.

For us, this was unexpected. Evolution is full of trade-offs, and some mutations that help flu adapt within people may slow its transmission from person to person. We also didn’t know whether evolution in such unusually long flu infections would match patterns of change around the world.

But in our study, flu evolution in individual people showed striking similarities to evolution around the globe. We could see hints of some global evolutionary trends within just a few individuals.

As technologies continue to improve, it’s becoming easier to look deep inside flu infections, like we did. WHO labs sequence flu strains from thousands of people every year to monitor flu evolution. Researchers are sequencing more and more strains in ways that let us catch mutations as they first arise within individual people.

Each of these thousands of infections is like a separate evolutionary experiment. By comparing mutations that appear in different infections, we may get a sense of evolutionary possibilities and constraints.

Somewhere down the line, this kind of information may help forecast flu’s evolution. For now, at least, it’s uncovering some of the dynamic processes of evolution that take place within each of us.

Don’t help spread the H1N1 virus

Maybe it’s time to invest in Johnson & Johnson stock. After all, they’re the ones who make Purell hand sanitizer, and it looks like we’re going to be going through a lot of it in the coming months. The H1N1 epidemic, commonly known as swine flu, seems to be gathering momentum.

Health professionals are especially concerned about this strain of influenza. Unlike most flu viruses, this one has continued to infect people throughout the summer months, rather than lie dormant. That bodes ill for the fall and winter, when flu bugs are generally strongest, and when gathering children in schools gives them ample opportunity to thrive.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the best defense against this virus so far seems to be to contain the germs. While medical researchers race the clock to produce an effective vaccine, the public needs to resort to old-fashioned cleanliness to avoid contagion. Our local school district has sent out notices requesting parents’ help in reinforcing their efforts. They’re trying to ensure that all children wash their hands before lunch, they’re making waterless hand sanitizer available in every classroom, and they’re all but begging parents to keep sick children at home.

This is probably the biggest assistance parents can provide. Too often, we let our own work obligations and busy commitments take priority, trying to convince ourselves that our children aren’t really all that sick, and sending them off to school with just a little trepidation. But those classrooms, many of them without effective air conditioning (if there’s any at all), seem to sit just ready to incubate whatever germs enter the door. It really is best to err on the side of caution, and to keep any feverish or coughing child home from school.

During a season like this one, with such a widespread flu bug going around, it’s a good idea to have contingency plans already in place in case your child does get ill. Whether parents need to tag-team, taking turns with taking days off, or whether you need to rely on favors from relatives, you need to be prepared to keep your child at home. After all, if too many sick children infect their classmates, the whole school may need to shut down, putting everyone in a bind for a lot longer period.

So the motto for making it through this flu season is this: be prepared. Be prepared with the hand sanitizer, and be prepared to stay home with your child if necessary.

Viruses as Powerful Tools Cure Cancers and Genetic Diseases | Adam Schieferecke | TEDxMHK

Viruses are conventionally thought of as the bad guys: antagonists that can cause destruction in our bodies, sicknesses, birth defects, and even kill us. Adam suggests that they may also be beneficial, and possibly required for human survival.

Adam is interested in the idea of using viruses as beneficial tools to help treat human genetic diseases such as cancer. He worked three academic years characterizing oncolytic (cancer-killing) poxviruses in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. He completed a 2015 summer internship in the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University, which resulted in his co-authorship of a scientific manuscript published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. He studied measles virus replication as a 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Virology and Gene Therapy Track at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He is a 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholar, which is the United States’ premier honor for college students in mathematics, natural science, and engineering fields. His additional interest in the intersection between science and public policy led to his nomination to represent Kansas State University in the 2017 Harry Truman Scholarship competition.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Researchers explore whether climate change could bring tropical viruses to Europe

The map above shows the regions of the world which currently have climatic conditions that facilitate Chikungunya infection. – The lower map shows how the regions which have climatic conditions that facilitate Chikungunya infection will intensify and grow (or subside) through the end of the 21st century if climate change is left largely unchecked. Credit: Nils Tjaden.

The mosquito-borne viral disease Chikungunya is usually found in tropical areas. Researchers at the University of Bayreuth and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm have now discovered how climate change is facilitating the spread of the Chikungunya virus. Even if climate change only progresses moderately – as scientists are currently observing – the risk of infection will continue to increase in many regions of the world through the end of the 21st century. If climate change continues unchecked, the virus could even spread to southern Europe and the United States. The researchers have published their findings in Scientific Reports.

It is the Asian tiger mosquito and yellow fever mosquito that infect humans with the Chikungunya virus. The climate affects the spread of a mosquito-borne virus in two main ways. First, it plays a crucial role in the geographical distribution of the mosquitos, which can only thrive in the long term if temperature and precipitation levels are high enough. Second, the virus replicates especially quickly in the body of the mosquito if the ambient temperature is high and remains relatively constant over the course of the day. For this reason, the risk of being infected with the Chikungunya virus has – until now – been mainly limited to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and South America.

A world map displaying the current risk areas

A team of researchers at the University of Bayreuth led by Prof. Carl Beierkuhnlein and their colleagues at ECDC in Stockholm, Dr Jan Semenza and Dr Jonathan Suk, have investigated the that facilitate the spread of the Chikungunya virus. They looked at the factors responsible for the climate conditions in regions that have traditionally had a high rate of infection. The data they collected enabled them to generate a world map displaying those areas where the risk of infection is particularly high. To this end, the researchers selected an approach based on machine learning that is often used in nature and wildlife conservation to develop models for the distribution of various species of plants and animals. The approach makes use of a computer programme based on the so-called “maximum entropy method”, which takes care of all the necessary statistical calculations. “In close cooperation with the researchers at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) we were able to derive a sophisticated global overview of the risk of Chikungunya infection,” said Nils Tjaden, a doctoral researcher in Bayreuth’s biogeography team.

Increased risk of infection due to climate change

How will the current risk areas be affected by ? This depends on the underlying assumptions regarding the future course of on which one’s calculations are based. The researchers in Bayreuth and Stockholm used two different climate change scenarios. One of the two scenarios assumes that climate change will progress moderately and that the IPCC target of 2 degrees Celsius per year will only be slightly missed. The average global temperature would increase by 2.6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 compared to pre-industrial times. On this assumption, the calculations point to a general trend that will make the climate conditions around the world more favourable for Chikungunya infections.

By contrast, the second scenario assumes that climate change will be left unchecked to a large extent. Here the average global temperature would increase by around 4.6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 compared to pre-industrial times. In this case, the regions at high risk of Chikungunya would grow noticeably. The virus would likely spread to countries in southern Europe as well as to the United States. “Since we have yet to develop a global strategy that would effectively slow down climate change, this scenario appears to be more likely than the other. At temperate latitudes, the risk of Chikungunya infection may reach levels even higher than the projection given in the second scenario,” Prof. Beierkuhnlein said. “People have already been infected with Chikungunya in Italy, France, and Florida; however, such cases are still too rare to play any significant role in our model. The climatic potential for new diseases in southern Europe and the US is probably being underestimated,” explained Dr. Stephanie Thomas, biogeography researcher in Bayreuth. According to the team’s predictions, the risk of Chikungunya is only likely to decrease slightly in two places: India and on the southern edge of the Sahara. The reason? Conditions in those places could become even too extreme for the mosquitos.

The question of how tropical infectious diseases could spread as a result of change in Europe and other regions of the world has been a research priority of Bayreuth’s biogeography team for more than a decade. Prof. Beierkuhnlein’s research group specializes in the analysis of factors that facilitate the spread of insects such as the Asian tiger mosquito, which not only carries the Chikungunya , but also the dreaded dengue fever.

Explore further:
Mosquito-borne viruses like Zika may be spread at lower temperatures, potentially expanding impact

More information:
Nils B. Tjaden et al. Modelling the effects of global climate change on Chikungunya transmission in the 21st century, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-03566-3