From the Observer, the worst of both worlds:
Spyware and malware availability sparks surge in internet stalking
- Domestic violence experts warn malicious software is increasingly being used to compromise victims’ computers and phones
Domestic violence experts have warned that the use of specialist technology that enables abusers to stalk victims online and via mobile phones is growing at an alarming rate.
A series of parliamentary answers has revealed that, in the 12 months up to April 2014, police received 10,731 reports of computers being compromised by spyware and malware (malicious software). Both can be used by abusers to gather information from someone’s computer or phone. They can allow abusers to view documents, photographs or passwords – and even turn on a device’s camera or microphone. Mobile spyware can also reveal a person’s location.
The real number of victims is likely to be considerably higher. “As most victims are unaware that they are being watched or are too scared to come forward, the real number of incidents could be up to 10 times that,” said Harry Fletcher, criminal justice director of the Digital-Trust, a new charity set up to help victims of cyber abuse.
A spy with conviction, via BBC News:
Ex-Colombian spy chief Maria del Pilar Hurtado convicted
The former head of Colombia’s secret police, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, has been found guilty of spying on politicians, judges and journalists. The Supreme Court said Hurtado’s sentence would be announced in 15 days.
Those targeted in the spying, which occurred between 2007 and 2008, were all political opponents of Alvaro Uribe, who was president at the time.
His former chief of staff has also been convicted but Mr Uribe denies any knowledge of the illegal intercepts.
Cold War 2.0 expostulation, via the Guardian:
Former MI6 chief warns over Russian threat
John Sawers says defence spending needs to increase to counter Vladimir Putin’s actions and Europe needs to find a new way to coexist with Russia
Russia has become a greater threat to Britain, and defence spending needs to increase to counter Vladimir Putin’s actions, the former MI6 chief has warned.
Sir John Sawers, who stepped down in 2014 after five years of running the Secret Intelligence Service, said the threat posed by Moscow was “not necessarily directly to the UK but to countries around its periphery”.
“The real problem is how we live with a Russia which feels very exposed. Putin’s actions are ones of a leader who believes his own security is at stake,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday.
And from the New York Times, Cold War 1.0:
Cuba’s Designation as a Sponsor of Terrorism Snarls Negotiations With U.S.
More than a year ago, the State Department held a meeting with bankers and Cuban officials to deliver an unusual request: please accept Cuba’s money.
The one bank that did business with Cuban diplomats in Washington, M & T Bank of Buffalo, had announced that it would no longer serve foreign missions. Cuba could hardly shop around for a replacement, not least because it is on the American government’s list of nations that support terrorism — forcing Cuban diplomats in Washington to carry out many of their transactions with bundles of cash.
Now, Cuba’s spot on the American list of states that sponsor terrorism is emerging as a major sticking point in the effort to restore diplomatic ties with the United States and reopen embassies that have been closed for nearly five decades.
And so it continues, via the McClatchy Foreign Staff:
UN cites 2 ‘credible’ reports of torture at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan
The United Nations reported Wednesday that it had uncovered two credible accounts of torture at U.S. military facilities in Afghanistan in recent years during an investigation into the treatment of detainees.
The report, which was devoted primarily to mistreatment of prisoners held in Afghan custody, said the “credible and reliable” accounts came from two detainees who’d been held “in a U.S. facility in Maydan Wardak,” a province whose capital of Maidan Shar lies about 20 miles west of Kabul, and “a U.S. special forces facility at Baghlan,” a province that lies north of the Afghan capital.
The report quoted the prisoners as saying the mistreatment in Baghlan occurred in April 2013 and at Maydan Wardak in September 2013.
Torture as part of the U.S. war on terror has been a controversial issue. A recent report by the Senate Intelligence Committee outlined 20 cases of mistreatment of suspected terrorists held in secret CIA prisons, and U.S. soldiers have been accused of torturing Afghan prisoners, with the most notorious case being the death of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver who died after he was hung from the ceiling of his cell by his wrists and beaten in 2002.
But there have been few verified reports in more recent years, though Afghan authorities have accused Americans of abusing prisoners.
The New York Times covers the defense:
‘Jihadi John’ Stirs Britain to Defend Spy Agencies
After disclosures that the man who posed in videos of the murder of Western hostages was known to British intelligence, Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday defended the security services, saying they faced tough decisions and had prevented deadly attacks.
“All of the time, they are having to make incredibly difficult judgments, and I think basically they make very good judgments on our behalf,” Mr. Cameron said at a news conference.
“I think while we are in the middle of this vast effort to make sure British citizens are safe, I think the most important thing is to get behind them,” he said.
And from WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, a target:
Mid-South professor targeted by ISIS
A Mid-South professor is being targeted by ISIS, a group known for its gruesomeness.
“ISIS does not represent my faith, their actions are in contradiction to my faith, and I’m appalled at what they are doing in the name of my faith,” said Rhodes College professor of religious studies, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center Yasir Qadhi.
ISIS is using its propaganda magazine in the name of Islam to call for the assassination of Qadhi.
“I was one two clerics that they targeted in their latest magazine, two American clerics, and basically called for my assassination,” said Qadhi. “And they have said this is an act of of worship…..that if somebody kills me, God is going to reward them.”
BBC News covers a designation:
Egypt court puts Hamas on terrorist list
An Egyptian court has listed the Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organisation, accusing it of supporting an insurgency in northern Sinai.
The ruling comes a month after a different court labelled the armed wing of Hamas as a terrorist group. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood – itself designated as a terrorist organisation in 2013.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was ousted that year. The court ruling on Saturday effectively bans Hamas within Egypt, a wider verdict that January’s censure of its armed wing.
From the New York Times, agitation:
Online, American Helps Fuel Attacks in Egypt
Writing from an online perch in Istanbul, he calls on Egyptians to start off-hour attacks against KFC restaurants, banks, mobile phone shops and other corporate outposts. He urges assaults on the military’s commercial interests instead of its security checkpoints.
Nonviolent protests are worse than “futile,” he says, just an opportunity “to get arrested or shot in an exercise in crowd control training for the police.”
This Internet provocateur is an American convert to Islam, Shahid King Bolsen, a college dropout who speaks only rudimentary Arabic and has barely set foot in Egypt. He has nevertheless emerged as the unlikely apostle for a distinctive blend of anti-globalization sloganeering and Islamist politics that is fueling a new wave of violence against businesses across the country.
From the Independent, a Saudi blogger’s fate worsens:
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has prompted international condemnation, may now face the death penalty.
Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told The Independent in a series of messages that judges in Saudi Arabia’s criminal court want him to undergo a re-trial for apostasy. If found guilty, he would face a death sentence.
She said the “dangerous information” had come from “official sources” inside the conservative kingdom, where Mr Badawi has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – administered at a rate of 50 per week – for criticising the country’s clerics through his liberal blog.
After the jump, terror porn and fundamentalist eBayism, China alleged to spy on nuclear power plants, Aussie women head off to ISIS, China’s Muslims increasingly targeted, Pegida marchers outnumbered by foes in Britain, a looted Iraqi museum reopens, more U.S. drone kills in Yemen, Cameroonians stage an anti-Boko Haram rally, a former Peruvian leader charged in a journalist’s killing, terror fears raise a free speech crackdown on the U.K. campus, civil libertarians fear Canada’s anti-terror legislation, and new Turkish laws evoke the police state specter, South Korea pushes Japan for Comfort Women resolution, a partisan challenge to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s security state push, and a call for cybersecurity coordination. . . Continue reading