Hackers mine bitcoin & other cryptos using leaked spy tool from US govt – report

Bitcoin, monero and other popular cryptocurrencies are being mined by fraudsters who use EternalBlue, the US National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tool that was leaked last year, according to a recent report.

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The report, published by the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), says detected cases of illicit cryptocurrency mining have skyrocketed to 459 percent in 2018 compared to last year. The surge is linked to the leak of EternalBlue, a tool to exploit vulnerabilities in outdated Microsoft Windows-based systems, the report says.

EternalBlue was leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacking group in April 2017. The leaked NSA exploit was then used in the notorious WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks. Microsoft accused the US government of “stockpiling” cyber weapons for facilitating attacks.

“A patch for EternalBlue has been available for 18 months and even after being exploited in two significant global cyberattacks – WannaCry and NotPetya – there are still countless organizations that are being victimized by this exploit, as it’s being used by mining malware,” said a blog post by Neil Jenkins, chief analytic officer for the CTA.

The researchers said 85 percent of illicit cryptocurrency malware mines monero, with bitcoin corresponding for eight percent.

“Although monero is significantly less valuable than bitcoin, several factors make this the cryptocurrency of choice for malicious actors,” the report said.

Hackers prefer monero as it offers more privacy and anonymity, “which help malicious actors hide both their mining activities and their transactions using the currency,” the researchers said.

“Transaction addresses and values are obfuscated by default, making tracking monero incredibly difficult for investigators.”

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Sun boycott: British journos accuse Corbyn-supporting group of ‘press censorship’

A number of British journalists have hit out at the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group for banning Sun reporters from attending a festival in Liverpool, claiming it’s “censorship” and likening the ban to the actions of Donald Trump.

Journalists from a number of mainstream news outlets reacted angrily to news that The World Transformed (TWT), a festival organised by pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Momentum, has announced that they are banning Sun newspaper journos from attending their event in Liverpool.

TWT cite the false claims made by the Murdoch-owned Sun during its reporting of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool football fans were unlawfully killed, as their reason for what they say is a boycott.

READ MORE: Press barons, including Rupert Murdoch, could get public money following govt review

Heather Stewart, the Guardian’s political editor, took to social media to claim the ban was “outrageous” and “smacks more of Donald Trump.” The Sun’s political editor Matt Dathan, in a now-deleted tweet, accused Momentum of supporting “press censorship” for showing solidarity with Liverpool and the families of the 96 people killed.

Kevin Schofield, editor of Politics Home, in an apparent dig at the proposed Sun ban, remarked on the length of time that has elapsed since the Hillsborough disaster in his tweet on the controversy.

Some on social media have taken issue with the outcry from journalists, backing the move from Momentum which they see as showing respect to the “victims and survivors of Hillsborough.” Ash Sarkar, senior editor at Novara Media tweeted her delight at Momentum’s support for Liverpool’s boycott of The Sun, tweeting: “Justice for the 96, always.”

In 2017, Liverpool FC and Everton FC both decided to enact a boycott of The Sun by banning the paper’s journalists from their stadiums and training grounds, as part of a wider cultural and sporting boycott of the tabloid.

The World Transformed is a political festival that runs parallel with the official Labour party conference. This year’s event in Liverpool will see left-wing French politician, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and Naomi Klein, the Canadian author and social activist, as its main speakers.

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College students aren’t submitting absentee ballots …as they don't know how to buy stamps

Today’s college students are facing a major hurdle, and it has nothing to do with physics or calculus. America’s future leaders aren’t turning in their absentee ballots because they don’t know where to buy stamps. Yes, really.

Campuses today are filled with students who grew up with the internet, smartphones, and Instagram – not stamps or snail mail. But their closeness with technology is influencing local and national elections, according to the findings of a focus group which took place in Virginia over the summer. The group included college-age interns working for the government of Fairfax County, a suburb of Washington DC.

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“One thing that came up, which I had heard from my own kids but I thought they were just nerdy, was that the students will go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don’t know where to get stamps,” Lisa Connors with the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs said, according to Washington’s Top News (WTOP).

“That seems to be like a hump that they can’t get across.”

She went on to explain that all of the interns agreed that they knew “lots of people” who did not send in their ballots because it was “too much of a hassle” or they “didn’t know where to get a stamp.”

The county is now working on a way for college students to be able to vote where they’re registered, most likely their parents’ address, and to vote absentee “because it’s very confusing and it has a lot of pieces that can sort of go wrong in the middle of it,” said FairFax County Electoral Board Secretary Kate Hanley.

For any college student who is reading this and still stumped on where to buy a stamp, the answer lies in three simple words which generations before you would never have found surprising: the post office.

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‘I’d beat Conor McGregor’s a**!’ – world champion boxer Thurman calls out ‘The Notorious’ (VIDEO)

Undefeated WBA Super world welterweight champion Keith ‘One-Time’ Thurman has called out UFC superstar Conor McGregor, insisting he would “beat his ass” should the two ever get it on in the ring or octagon.

READ MORE: World champion boxer Saunders sorry for ‘sickening’ clip offering crack for sex acts (VIDEO)

In a video published by TMZ Sports, Thurman promised he would “put some respect on the name when it comes to boxing,” and hinted that if it had been him and not Floyd Mayweather Jr. the brash Irishman fought in their crossover fight last year, the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion would not have been stopped, but KO’d completely.

“I’d beat his ass. 147. He would have got knocked out. If he would have fought a real young welterweight in Vegas that night, he would have got knocked out for the whole world to see,” Thurman, who is unbeaten in 28 fights with 22 KOs, ranted. 

Asked what message he wanted to send to McGregor should he be watching, the Clearwater, Florida, native was concise and precise in his words.

“Yo Conor, you want a real fight? You wanna know what a real punch feels like? Holla at your boy. Look, my name’s one-time, and we can do it just one time, cos that’s all we’ll need.”

Thurman has not been in the ring since his March 2017 defeat of previously undefeated and undisputed light welterweight champion Danny Garcia for the WBA Super and WBC world championship belts. 

Next up for McGregor is a showdown with undefeated Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, who won the belt in McGregor’s absence, at the same T-Mobile Arena he lost his only ever pro boxing outing versus ‘Money May’ in August last year.

Could Mac make it two times against One Time? Time will tell.

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India suggests setting up special economic zone for Russian companies

New Delhi wants to encourage Russian investments and has invited the country’s companies to explore business opportunities and strengthen bilateral economic ties, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has said.

“We can set up a special economic zone for Russian companies,” he told reporters.

Prabhu invited the governors of the Russian Far East to explore partnerships with local businesses. He has recently met with his Russian counterpart to discuss enhancing bilateral trade and investment. They also talked about the possibilities of mutual cooperation in sectors such as mining, agriculture and tourism.

According to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, “two-way investments have already crossed the $ 30 billion target” which the countries have set for 2025.

“We have therefore proposed to enhance this figure to $ 50 billion by 2025,” she said.

Russia and India also seek to boost trade turnover which exceeded $ 10 billion last year. They have set a trade target of $ 50 billion within the next six years.

The two countries earlier discussed creating a ‘green corridor’ for the smooth transit of goods. They want to create a list of entrepreneurs or companies whose goods will be exempt from regular customs inspections.

READ MORE: Arctic to tropics: India welcomes first-ever shipment of Russian liquefied natural gas

Moscow and New Delhi are interested in increasing the share of ruble and rupee in bilateral settlements. According to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, the share of settlements in rubles for exports is currently 20 percent, and for imports, at about 21 percent.

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UK’s Def Sec Gavin ‘Russia should shut up’ Williamson tours Ukraine’s ‘frontline’

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has visited Ukraine and toured the eastern part of the country, where Ukrainian officials told him how they are fighting against a “Russian aggression.”

Two regions of Ukraine are divided between rebel-controlled parts and those under control of the central government in Kiev. Ukrainian officials regularly host tours for foreign dignitaries to show off its military, which, Kiev insists, is fighting Russian aggression rather than its own people who rejected the 2014 armed coup in Kiev.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is the latest such visitor to be snatched by hosts and brought to what can be loosely called the frontline. Gen. Sergey Naev, the commander of Ukraine’s military crackdown on the rebels personally told the visiting Briton about his successes and needs and “thanked the government and the people of Britain for supporting Ukraine in her fight with the insidious enemy,” as the Facebook page of his task force put it.

READ MORE: ‘Criminal’ Roger Waters blacklisted by Ukraine over Russian interviews

Hearing such things about Russia was probably appreciated by the British secretary, whose anti-Russian stance is no secret. Williamson famously told Moscow to “go away and shut up” shortly after Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the aftermath of the Skripal poisoning and has been relentless in drumming up the specter of Russian aggression to secure extra taxpayer money. At least he seems to be quite happy shaking hands with Ukrainian soldiers. Or maybe it’s just that manly helmet and bulletproof vest that did the trick.

Of course, visiting Ukraine must feel like a great reprieve. There pretty much any foreign official with a grudge against Russia gets a king’s welcome. And Williamson doesn’t even work for the International Monetary Fund, so he didn’t have to twist any arms, pushing for yet another hike of gas prices or subsidy cut.

In Ukraine, the media called Williams a good friend of the country and didn’t ridicule his habit of keeping a giant tarantula in the office or suggest that mounting a few big guns on a tractor is a viable alternative to buying tanks. And if his speech to the local lawmakers is interrupted by Siri, nobody would probably care – the Ukrainian parliament witnessed things much weirder.

And certainly if Williamson were to find some even more rude words about Russia, he would not be grilled for them in a live interview. He’d have a street in Kiev named after him or something.

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Uber driver so drunk passenger forced to get into the driver’s seat (VIDEO)

In a striking turn of events, a man who called an Uber to take him home in the middle of the night from an airport in India ended up having to drive the car himself because the driver was too drunk.

Surya Oruganti arrived at the airport in India’s buzzing city of Bangalore on September 9 and waited for the driver to arrive.

Suspicions about the driver first arose when Oruganti didn’t recognize him as the man in the picture on the Uber profile. Yet, as the vehicle was the same, he decided to just go ahead with the ride.

It was when the car started moving that Oruganti realized that there was something else not quite right with the driver… as he was blind drunk.

In order to get home, Oruganti had to switch places with the driver.

He posted a photo of himself online driving the Uber with its original driver passed out in the passenger’s seat.

One was captioned, saying: “The ride back from Bangalore airport was not quite what I expected.

“The driver was drunk and drowsy. I had to pull the car over to the side and I drove all the way home.”

In an attempt to describe the extent to which the driver was drunk, Oruganti captioned a video saying he was “drunk enough to not know he was being recorded.”

He added that he had reported the incident to Uber but didn’t receive a reply until 20 hours later. They reportedly told him he shouldn’t have driven the cab due to safety issues.

In a statement, Uber told The News Minute: “This is a regrettable and concerning incident.”

They added that the driver profile had been removed from the app and they were investigating the matter.

“While we take all possible measures to ensure that drivers behind the wheel match the person shown on the app, in rare instances, when this doesn’t happen, we encourage riders to cancel their rides immediately and report the issue on the app, so that immediate actions can be taken,” it added.

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'Unacceptable': Aussie footballers' blackface as Williams sisters sparks fresh racism storm (PHOTOS)

As the racism row over Serena Williams’ cartoon depiction in an Australian newspaper rolls on, Aussie footballers have sparked outrage by ‘blacking up’ as the 23-time Grand Slam winner and her sister Venus in a fancy dress prank.

Tasmanian Penguins Football Club players used blackface to dress as the Williams sisters  and Kenyan-born Sydney Swans Australian Rules footballer Aliir Aliir for the traditional ‘Mad Monday’ fancy dress knees-up. A photo of the trio was posted in the Mad Monday Facebook group, which has over 120,000 followers, but the picture was quickly deleted. 

The players dressed as the tennis siblings, identified as Mitch Stanley and Matt Chamberlain, donned pristine white tennis outfits, pink rackets and curly black wigs to complement their blackface efforts and complete their controversial costumes.

A third player, Beau Grundy, stands in the middle dressed as Aliir complete with the player’s bright red Swans jersey. Grundy even appeared to use the image as his Facebook profile picture, before the photo was deleted. 

The players have since apologized, while their club stated they were not aware the three “intended to dress in this manner” and that their behavior was “unacceptable in this day and age”, HuffPost Australia reported.

The Australian Football League (AFL) condemned the players’ actions in a statement. “It is not acceptable behaviour and we vehemently disapprove of it,” it said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

READ MORE: ‘They have to do their job’ – Federer has say on Serena US Open umpire ‘sexism’ row

“We will be working with the league and club to get more information and to see how we can assist in providing education for the players.”

Australian indigenous feminist and unionist Celeste Liddle tweeted that the players’ actions and the consequent media coverage demonstrated the country was “a nation of racist slow learners.”

The image comes little over a week after Herald cartoonist Mark Knight faced a fierce backlash over a caricature of Williams during her US Open match versus Naomi Osaka, in which she unleashed a tirade of abuse against umpire Carlos Ramos.

Some dubbed the toon “Jim Crow Memorabilia” and criticized Williams’ exaggerated features as well as the apparent lightened skin tone and hair of Osaka, who has Japanese and Haitian heritage.

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Knight subsequently suspended his Twitter account, but the paper defended the image, defiantly publishing an ironic front page comprised of other various cartoons lampooning famous figures as a retort to the abuse.

During the US Open final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Williams hurled abuse at umpire Ramos after he issued a code violation to the American for receiving coaching from the stands. Williams called the official a “liar” and “thief” and was further penalized a point and a game on her way to a straight sets loss, missing the opportunity to break the sports’ all-time Grand Slam record.

READ MORE: Where’s HER apology? Why scathing Serena Williams should say sorry to Naomi Osaka

In her post-match press conference, Williams accused Ramos of sexism, claiming she was the victim of unfair treatment. She was later fined $ 17,000 for her on-court misdemeanors and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) spoke out in support of Ramos, whom they called an “experienced and resected” umpire.

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