US hits Iran with crippling cyberattacks says a report

first_img Related stories Hacking Military US Cyber Command powers up attacks against Russia’s electrical grid Facebook used in Iranian cyber-spying operation, US indictment says Iran-linked hackers reportedly targeted activists and US officials UN chief seeks international rules for cyberwarfare 3 Comments Last Saturday, The New York Times reported that US Cyber Command had moved from a defensive to offensive posture, apparently under a military authorization bill Congress passed in 2018 that gives the go-ahead for “clandestine military activity” in cyberspace to “deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States.”Cyber Command also received new authority last year from the US president under a still-classified document called National Security Presidential Memoranda 13, the Times said.Asked to comment on the Post report, Department of Defense spokeswoman Heather Babb said that “as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning.” The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Originally published June 22, 1:26 p.m. PTUpdate, 5:34 p.m.: Adds mention of spying charge against former US Air Force intelligence officer.center_img Security Tags Share your voice A US Army cadet during a cyberdefense exercise. CNET With an OK from the US president, the Pentagon this week launched cyberstrikes that took down Iranian computer networks used to control missile launches, says a report in The Washington Post, which cites unnamed people familiar with the matter. The news comes after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone it said was violating Iranian airspace. In response to the drone attack, the president had approved then pulled back from conventional military attacks on radar facilities, missile batteries and other targets in Iran. But the Thursday night cyberstrikes against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had been in preparation for some time, the Post reported, saying the Pentagon proposed them after Iran allegedly attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier in June.”This operation imposes costs on the growing Iranian cyberthreat, but also serves to defend the United States Navy and shipping operations in the Strait of Hormuz,” Thomas Bossert, a former senior White House cyberofficial in the Trump administration, told the Post.”Our US military has long known that we could sink every IRGC vessel in the strait within 24 hours if necessary,” Bossert told the Post. “And this is the modern version of what the US Navy has to do to defend itself at sea and keep international shipping lanes free.”Referring to the Iranians, an anonymous source told the paper that “this is not something they can put back together so easily.”Cyberwarfare and cyberespionage aren’t new, but moves in these areas have grabbed headlines following Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and amid worries about Russian interference in the 2020 campaign. Other red flags have included Russia’s shutdown of part of Ukraine’s power grid in 2015, as well as reports that a Russian government-sponsored group had been able to gain access to the control rooms of US electric utilities in 2017.In February, a former US Air Force intelligence officer was charged with espionage for allegedly working with Iranian hackers who used Facebook to try to trick her former colleagues into downloading malware that would track their computer activity.last_img read more

Diabetes cases reach 422 million as poorer countries see steep rises

first_imgThere are four times more people living with diabetes today than there was in 1980. On the eve of World Health Day, which focuses this year on how to beat diabetes, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the number of patients with the condition has reached an all-time high of 422 million compared to 108 million in 1980.In its Global Report On Diabetes, the WHO also emphasises that priority should be put on prevention and research for treatments. Diabetes directly caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012, and led to 2.2 million further related deaths mainly due to a raised cardiovascular risk. However, the reports authors say many of these deaths could have been avoided by promoting healthier habits and improving care and treatments of the disease. Promoting healthy lifestylesThe report points out that the diabetes epidemic is fuelled by unhealthy lifestyles, and by rising obesity. It is indeed a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. In 2014, over a third of adults worldwide were overweight and more than 1 in 10 were obese.The WHO advocates population-based prevention strategies. For example, smoking is a risk factor for diabetes and the report highlights that it can be reduced by a combination of legislative, regulatory, fiscal and educational measures. These include graphic warnings on cigarette packs, bans on advertising and increased tobacco taxes. More importantly, the organisation says that healthy eating and exercising should be even more promoted than it already is. An adequate diet includes replacing saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids and eating enough dietary fibre (present in lentils, beans, peas and other fruits and vegetables). The WHO has published a complete set of guidelines that can be checked on its website. If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain, Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said in a statement.Increasing access to different medicinesThe Sustainable Development Goals, signed in 2015, introduced the so-called target 3.4, which strives to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 30% by 2030. In order for this to be achieved, more needs to be done to increase availability and affordability of life-saving medicines. In the case of diabetes, access to insulin is crucial, but there are huge inequalities worldwide with regards to accessing it.Around 100 years after the insulin hormone was discovered, the Global Report On Diabetes shows that essential diabetes medicines and technologies, including insulin, needed for treatment are generally available in only one in three of the worlds poorest countries, points out Dr Etienne Krug, director of WHOs Department For The Management of NCDs, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.To beat diabetes and make the World Health Days slogan become a reality, countries still have a long way to go.last_img read more