G20 to jointly fight bank sector hacking

UNTV News   •   March 21, 2017   •   3395

A general view shows the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The world’s biggest economies will pledge to jointly fight cyber attacks on the global banking system, one of the biggest coordinated efforts yet to protect lenders since an $81 million heist of the Bangladesh central bank’s account last year.

Meeting in the German resort town of Baden-Baden, G20 finance chiefs will agree to fight attacks regardless of their origin and promise cross-border cooperation to maintain financial stability, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

“We will promote the resilience of financial services and institutions in G20 jurisdictions against malicious use of information and communication technologies, including from countries outside the G20,” it said.

However, it dropped an earlier reference for enhanced security requirements for financial services.

Cyber crime became a top priority after an elaborate heist on the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year, an unprecedented theft that exposed the vulnerabilities of the system.

The agreement, set to be finalised on Saturday, will come just days after the United States charged two intelligence agents from Russia, another G20 member, with masterminding the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts.

The indictment was the first time U.S. authorities have criminally charged Russian spies for cyber offences including for computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud.

The charges came amid a swirl of controversies relating to alleged Kremlin-backed hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and associates of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the banking world, attacks through the global SWIFT bank transfer system have continued to increase with the network recording a “meaningful” number of attacks with about a fifth of them resulting in stolen funds since the Bangladesh heist, the firm said late last year.

In other highly publicized attacks, retailer Tesco Plc’s banking arm said 2.5 million pounds ($3 million) had been stolen from 9,000 customers last year while hackers also stole more than 2 billion rubles ($34 million) from correspondent accounts at the Russian central bank and from accounts in commercial banks.

The European Union is considering testing banks’ defenses against cyber attacks with concerns growing about the industry’s vulnerability to hacking. —
By Balazs Koranyi | BADEN-BADEN, Germany

(Editing by Julia Glover)

Trump threatens permanent freeze of WHO funding, to weigh U.S. membership

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday (May 18) to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) if it did not commit to improvements within 30 days, and to reconsider the membership of the United States in the body.

Trump suspended U.S. contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus outbreak, although WHO officials denied the accusation and China said it was transparent and open.

“If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider our membership,” Trump told its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a letter posted on Twitter.

Earlier, Trump said the WHO had “done a very sad job” in its handling of the virus and he would make a decision soon on U.S. funding.

In his letter Trump said the only way forward for the body was if it could demonstrate independence from China, adding that his administration had already started reform discussions with Tedros.

On Monday, the WHO said an independent review of the global virus response would begin as soon as possible and it received backing and a hefty pledge of funds from China, in the spotlight as the origin of the pandemic. (Reuters)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

Trump calls coronavirus worse attack than Pearl Harbor and 9/11

UNTV News   •   May 7, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump described coronavirus as an attack worse than Pearl Harbor and World Trade Center on Wednesday (May 6), as the death toll rose to 73,792 making it the worst-affect country in the world.

During the event held at the White House, Trump also blamed China for not containing the virus at its early stage.

“There’s never been an attack like this and I should have never happened. Could have been stopped at the source, could have been stopped in China,” he added.

Domestic critics of President Donald Trump, who is seeking reelection in November, have said that while China has much to answer for in terms of its actions in the early days of the outbreak, the U.S. administration is seeking to deflect attention from what they see as a slow U.S. response.

The coronavirus has infected 1,237,347 people in the United States. (Reuters)

(Production: Gabriela Boccaccio)

Trump says coronavirus task force will wind down as focus shifts to reopening

UNTV News   •   May 6, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (May 5) the White House coronavirus task force would wind down as the country moves into a second phase of dealing with the aftermath of the outbreak.

“Mike Pence and the task force have done a great job,” Trump said during a visit to a mask factory in Arizona. “But we’re now looking at a little bit of a different form and that form is safety and opening and we’ll have a different group probably set up for that.”

Asked if he was proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” in the fight against coronavirus, Trump said, “No, not at all. The mission accomplished is when it’s over.”

Trump said Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, doctors who assumed a high profile during weeks of nationally televised news briefings, would remain advisers after the group is dismantled. Fauci leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Birx was response coordinator for the force.

“We can’t keep our country closed for the next five years,” Trump said, when asked why it was time to wind down the task force.

At least 70,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness it causes. The U.S. death toll is the highest in the world.

Trump placed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the task force, which has been meeting almost every day since it was formed in March.

Most experts have suggested clinical trials to guarantee a vaccine is safe and effective could take a minimum of 12 to 18 months.

The White House task force has been less visible in recent days as Trump turned his attention to efforts to reopen the U.S. economy. It did not meet on Monday or Saturday.

Trump made the comments during a visit to the Honeywell International Inc aerospace facility in Phoenix, a factory that is now making protective face masks.

Before touring the factory, he met with Native American tribal leaders and signed a proclamation “officially recognizing the grave issue of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.” (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

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