G20 to jointly fight bank sector hacking

UNTV News   •   March 21, 2017   •   3273

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)

PH military vows to continue anti-terror efforts after death of ISIS leader Baghdadi

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2019

An undated file image taken from a video released by the militant group calling itself Islamic State (IS), purportedly showing the caliph of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, giving a speech in an unknown location (reissued 27 October 2019). According to media reports on 26 October 2019 citing US officials, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US Special Forces raid in Idlib province, Syria. EPA-EFE/ISLAMIC STATE VIDEO

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said government troops would remain alert and will continue its efforts to counter terrorists who threaten the country following the reported death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In a statement, AFP spokesman Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said, the death of Baghdadi dealt a severe blow on terrorist organizations across the globe.

“We expect that his death will impact negatively on the leadership of terrorists in various parts of the world,” Arevalo said.

“The AFP will continue with our vigorous efforts to prevent or counter terrorist extremists who continue to threaten our country,” he added. “Our troops in the frontlines remain on high alert to thwart possible attempts to ride on this development.”

The military issued the statement after United States President Donald Trump announced that Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest during a raid launched by US troops on Saturday. Baghdadi led the jihadist group in controlling and declaring a caliphate in large areas of Syria and Iraq at one point.

Arevalo also vowed to continue blocking the Daesh-inspired groups from recruiting new members and exploiting the situation in the countryside, calling their attempt towards resurgence as “futile.”

“We will build from our triumph in Marawi in frustrating ISIS move to establish a caliphate in our country,” he said.

The military also urged the public anew to stay alert and be actively involved in reporting to authorities any suspicious persons or activities in their localities.

“Vigilance will surely help security forces in our campaign to deny the ISIS foothold in our country,” Arevalo said.

Pelosi, Trump exchange ‘meltdown’ barbs over meeting on U.S. policy in Syria

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

US Speaker of the House Democrat Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks to members of the news media outside the West Wing of the White House following a meeting between US President Donald J. Trump and Congressional leaders, in Washington, DC, USA, 16 October 2019. Trump met with Congressional leaders to discuss the US withdrawal from Syria. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democratic leaders on Wednesday (October 16) cut short a meeting with Republican President Donald Trump after he had a “meltdown” over a House of Representatives vote condemning his Syria withdrawal and showed no signs of having a plan to deal with a crisis there.

Trump called Pelosi a “third-rate politician” and the meeting in the White House deteriorated into a diatribe, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters.

Later, in remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said that Trump actually called her a “third-grade” politician.

“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown. Sad to say,” Pelosi had said upon leaving.

Trump posted on Twitter on Wednesday night – “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” with a photo of Pelosi standing up and pointing at him during the meeting.

The Democrats exited the meeting complaining that they were expecting to hear Trump provide details on a plan for dealing with an unfolding “crisis” in Syria but instead were subjected to “derogatory” language from him about congressional Democrats and Democratic former President Barack Obama.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, in a statement, called Pelosi’s decision to walk out “baffling but not surprising.”

She added that after Democratic leaders “chose to storm out,” remaining Republican leaders held a productive meeting.

Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces ahead of a Turkish offensive last week into northern Syria against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters, removing their protection, has been roundly criticized, even by fellow Republicans. The Americans and the Kurds had fought alongside each other against Islamic State militants, some of whom were captured and jailed under Kurdish control in Syria.

Pelosi said Trump was upset at the start of the closed meeting because so many Republicans joined Democrats to vote for a resolution condemning his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northeastern Syria.

The vote was 354 to 60, with dozens of Trump’s fellow Republicans joining the majority Democrats. The split underscored deep unhappiness in Congress over Trump’s action, which many lawmakers view as abandoning loyal Kurdish fighters.

“I think that vote – the size of the vote, more than 2-1 of the Republicans voted to oppose what the president did – probably got to the president. Because he was shaken up by it,” Pelosi said after emerging from the White House.

“And that’s why we couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it.” (Reuters)

(Production: Kristin Neubauer)

Jewish Community President in Germany calls shooting in Halle shocking

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 10, 2019

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster speaks during a commemoration event at the synagogue Rykestrasse in Berlin, Germany, 09 November 2018.  EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, called the synagogue shooting in Halle shocking and criticized the lack of protection of the synagogue by local authorities.

“We have not experienced an incident of this kind ever before in Germany. It shows that right-wing extremism is not only some kind of political development, but that it is highly dangerous and exactly the kind of danger that we have always warned against”, Schuster said on Wednesday (October 9).

He also called for a better protection of the Jewish community in general.

Two people were killed in shooting attacks on a synagogue and a kebab bistro in the eastern German city of Halle and one suspect was arrested, but two others fled in a hijacked a car, officials said.

The violence occurred on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the calendar in Judaism when Jews fast, seeking atonement.—Reuters

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