Microsoft discovers Chinese malware pre-installed on new PCs

Microsoft discovers Chinese malware pre-installed on new PCs

TechWorld – Microsoft has published evidence of an extraordinary conspiracy in which potent botnet malware was apparently installed and hidden on PCs during their manufacture in China. In ‘Operation B70’ started in August 2011, Microsoft documents how its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) bought 20 brand new laptops and desktop PCs from various cities in China, finding that four were infected with pre-installed backdoor malware, including one with a known rootkit called ‘Nitol’. Read Article

Iranian hackers target Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citi

Reuters – Iranian hackers have repeatedly attacked Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc over the past year as part of a broad cyber campaign targeting the United States, according to people familiar with the situation. The attacks, which began in late 2011 and escalated this year, have primarily been “denial of service” campaigns that disrupted the banks’ websites and corporate networks by overwhelming them with incoming web traffic, said the sources. Read Article

China premier Wen Jiabao urges end to EU arms embargo

BBC – China’s premier Wen Jiabao has urged the EU to lift its arms embargo on Beijing, at his last EU-China summit before handing over power this year. Speaking in Brussels, Mr Wen said “the solution has been elusive over the past 10 years. I deeply regret this”. The EU embargo was imposed after the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Read article

Asian Arms Race: China Offers Glimpse Of Another New Stealth Fighter

NPR – Ahead of high-profile talks in China by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, there was a high-impact leak. Photos emerged of a second Chinese stealth fighter jet — one that had been rumored but never seen before. The J31, as analysts call it, shows how fast China is moving. “There’s been a lot of progress over the past decade. And the fact that they can produce stealth fighter prototypes and have two factories producing them in competition with each other is a sign of how far China has come,” says Phillip C. Saunders of the National Defense University, who has just written a book on the Chinese airforce. Read Article

Unseen Dangers Lurk in Libya

IPS – The revolution might officially be over in Libya but the ground war continues. But one enemy is motionless and often hidden, and Libyans are continuing to pay the price with hundreds maimed and killed. “While the guns may have stopped, landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and discarded or poorly-stored ammunition continue to pose a serious risk to life and limb of the civilian population and to hold potentially serious implications for international security,” according to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). Read Article

Antibiotic for plague approved by the FDA

CBS/AP – A plague outbreak could be extremely deadly, so much so that officials warn it can be used in a bioterror attack. Now U.S regulators have approved use of a powerful Johnson & Johnson antibiotic to treat and prevent the extremely rare but potentially deadly bacterial infection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also approved Levaquin, known generically as levofloxacin, to reduce risk of people getting plague after exposure to the bacteria that causes it, called Yersinia pestis. Read article

US nuclear bombs will remain in Germany

The Local – Although Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had put the removal of the 20 or so US nuclear warheads from Germany at the heart of his foreign policy aims, signs emerged two years ago that this might not be feasible. Now, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported on Wednesday, the government has bowed to NATO plans to not only keep the bombs in Germany, but to modernise them. Billions will be spent on modernising the bombs themselves, while the Bundeswehr is expected to spend around €250 million to keep its Tornado fighter jets – which would be used to drop the US nuclear bombs – serviceable until 2024. Read Article

‘Nuclear time bomb:’ Downed K-27 submarine must be lifted out

RT – A Soviet K-27 submarine suffered a nuclear accident before being dumped at the bottom of the Kara Sea 30 years ago. Russia may now have to lift the sub from dangerously shallow waters – before an “uncontrolled chain reaction” causes fatal damage. “Radiation leakages will come sooner or later if we just leave the K-27 there. The sub has already been on the seafloor for 30 years, and it was rusty even before it was sunken. Leakages of radioactivity under water are nearly impossible to clean up,” Thomas Nilsen, a nuclear safety expert who has extensively mapped radioactive waste on the Arctic seabed, told RT. Read article

New DARPA Robot Can Autonomously Track People

FOX News – Meet the newest member of the U.S. military. On Monday, military research group DARPA showed off its “Legged Squad Support System (LS3)” — military speak for a robotic pack mule. These particular robot prototypes that can run, haul gear for soldiers, follow the leader and so on. “We’ve refined the LS3 platform and have begun field testing against requirements of the Marine Corps,” said Army Lt. Col. Joe Hitt, DARPA program manager. “The vision for LS3 is to combine the capabilities of a pack mule with the intelligence of a trained animal.” Read Article

NATO’s Weapon Cache for Terrorists Seized in Syria

FNA – The seized weapons in Salqain district in Idlib included 7.26 guns along with other weapons as well as boxes of gunshots with the words “NATO BALL” carved on them. The military experts believe that the weapons do not belong to Turkey as the country’s weapons always carry some Turkish words. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier in a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Muhammad Monsef al-Marzouki in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, had warned of the plots hatched by the enemies and the NATO to dominate the Muslim nations. “Today the enemies of the regional nations and the NATO forces are ready to dominate all Islamic states,” Ahmadinejad said during the meeting on the sidelines of an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca mid August. Read Article

US army wants tiny suicide drones fight terrorism

RT – The US military has outlined specifications for a miniature suicide drone that would be capable of annihilating isolated targets without the “collateral damage,” typical of its larger relatives. A new-type of drone sought by the US should be capable of killing someone within a six mile radius in less than half an hour. The Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS) is intended to be a portable, covert weapon with strike capability against stationary or moving individuals, with a very low risk of collateral damage. According to a recent Request for Information, the system is to consist of a drone, warhead and launching device with a maximum weight of less than five pounds. A special operations officer should be able to fit the entire LMAMS in a backpack and have it ready to fly within two minutes after the deployment of a specific target unit. Once airborne the unit should be able to sustain a 15-30 minute flight time and 5-10 kilometer range directed by a human controller or pre-programmed task through GPS. The Army wants it ready for use by 2016 at the latest. Read Article

France providing money, arms to Syrian insurgents: Report

Press TV – France has embarked on providing direct financial and arms aid to insurgent-held areas of Syria and is even supplying anti-aircraft weapons to terrorists fighting Syrian Army forces. A diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that France has increased its contacts with Syrian armed groups over the past few weeks as it intensifies efforts to weaken President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia Today news network reported. Read Article

25 die in Turkish ammunition blast

Independent – An explosion and blaze triggered by an accidentally dropped hand grenade has killed 25 soldiers during a stock check at a Turkish ammunition depot, the government said today. Four other soldiers were injured in the blast, which lit up the night sky late on Wednesday night with flames, and shattered windows in homes in the nearby town of Afyonkarahisar in western Turkey, terrifying residents. Forestry and Water Minister Veysel Eroglu ruled out terrorism and sabotage, saying the blast occurred in a section where hand grenades were kept. The soldiers’ remains were discovered early Thursday after a subsequent blaze was extinguished. Read Article

Pentagon lists 66 countries as eligible to buy US drones

Reuters – As many as 66 countries would be eligible to buy U.S. drones under new Defense Department guidelines but Congress and the State Department, which have a final say, have not yet opened the spigots for exports, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday. The 66 countries were listed in a Defense Department policy worked out last year to clear the way for wider overseas sales of unmanned aerial systems, as the Pentagon calls such drones, said Richard Genaille, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. He did not name them. Read Article

Suspected U.S. drone strike kills civilians in Yemen, officials say

CNN – A U.S. drone strike targeting al Qaeda suspects in Yemen killed 13 civilians, including three women, three security officials in the restive Middle Eastern country said. “This was one of the very few times when our target was completely missed. It was a mistake, but we hope it will not hurt our anti-terror efforts in the region,” a senior Yemeni Defense Ministry official told CNN. The official asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. The United States typically does not comment on reports it has used unmanned aircraft to target terror suspects, but is widely believed to be doing so in Yemen, a key battleground against al Qaeda. Read Article

Drone strike kills 13 civilians

RT – Local officials in Yemen say that a United States-led drone strike over the weekend there killed 13 civilians. Members of the Yemeni government tells reporters that an unmanned aerial vehicle operated remotely by the United States military executed more than a dozen civilians, including three women, near the town of Rada in al-Baitha province on Sunday. “This was one of the very few times when our target was completely missed. It was a mistake, but we hope it will not hurt our anti-terror efforts in the region,” a senior Yemeni Defense Ministry official says to CNN this week on condition of anonymity. The United States believes that as many as 200 suspected members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization operate out of Yemen, where the US has been linked to carrying out several air strikes. On the record, however, the US has not officially acknowledged these missions, only further angering the families of the victims, including those who lost loved ones in this weekend’s assault. Read Article

Leicestershire homeowner questioned after suspected burglars shot

Guardian – A homeowner is being questioned by police after he shot two suspected burglars at his remote house in Leicestershire. The 35-year-old man and his wife, 43, were arrested after the break-in in the Welby area, near Melton Mowbray, in the early hours of Sunday. It is understood he took a legally owned shotgun and shot two of the four intruders before calling police. He and his wife were arrested in Melton on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. Read Article

Eight Yemenis dead in US drone strike

Pakistan Observer – Eight people were killed by a U.S. drone strike in a remote part of Hadramout, a Yemeni official said, the third such strike in the eastern Yemeni province this week. Yemen’s defence ministry said on its website that eight “al Qaeda members” were killed in an air strike on their vehicle in the isolated, desert district of Hawra. The local official, who declined to be named, said it was a drone strike. The men were heavily armed, carrying machine-guns and explosives, the ministry said. It was not possible to verify the details independently given the remoteness of the region. Read Article

US drone strike kills 5 in Pakistan

Press TV – A U.S. drone strike targeting a building on Saturday killed at least five persons in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, security officials said. The strike took place in Degan area of North Waziristan. “U.S. drones fired four missiles on a compound, killing five people,” a senior security official told AFP. The official said that several drones were flying in the area at the time of the attack. Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties. He said the area had been the target of U.S. drone strikes in the past. Saturday’s strike is the sixth of its kind in the country’s northwestern region during the past two weeks. So far this year, such drone strikes have killed over 200 people in northwestern tribal regions of Pakistan. Read Article

US drone strike kills 5 militants in Pakistan

AP – U.S. drones fired a barrage of missiles at a vehicle and a house in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least five suspected militants, Pakistani officials said. The strikes in the North Waziristan tribal area were the first since news that a top commander of the powerful Haqqani militant network was killed in a drone strike late last month, also in the tribal region. Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media, said U.S. drones fired seven missiles at targets in the village of Degan in an area of North Waziristan close to the Afghan border. Read Article

Asian Arms Race: China’s Navy Goes Global

Asia Sentinel – China is developing a ship-based cruise missile that has the capability to attack targets thousands of kilometers inland, snapshots published by a military enthusiast web site suggest. For the first time, that would give the People’s Liberation Army Navy a weapon comparable to the US’s hugely successful Tomahawk missile. It is the newest chapter in Beijing’s quest to be taken seriously as a global military power. While China has had land-based cruise missiles for perhaps a decade, the emergence of the new ship-launched ones, which are designed to carry out long-distance precision attacks against targets on land at the lowest risk to its own forces, is an indication of how far the Chinese has come since Mao Zedong was in charge. Read Article

North Korea is making ‘significant’ progress with its nuclear reactor, UN warns (but has no Oil & Gas unlike Iran)

Daily Mail – North Korea has made significant progress in the construction of a light water atomic reactor over the past year, a U.N. watchdog report said.The facility may extend Pyongyang’s capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing satellite images, also said ‘certain activities’ had been observed at locations where the reclusive Asian state ‘reportedly’ conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. However, without access to the locations the agency is unable to provide a technical assessment of the purpose of these activities or of whether nuclear material is being used. Read Article