WHILE YOU SLEPT

Hacking The Whole Wide World

Russian daily Kommersant reports today that more athletes' medical files from the World Anti-Doping Agency have been leaked, including three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. With

tensions rising between Russia and the West, such an information security breach â€" whether about alleged banned substances in sports or gossipy emails from retired generals â€" tend to look like an act of geopolitical aggression. But in the digital world, reality has even more layers than offline espionage.


Since the advent of computing technologies, experts have been forced to face the threat of “hacking,” when a digital systems is compromised remotely by those with the same skill set as the builders of the system itself. But beyond governments, individual hacking, be it to demonstrate political beliefs, fight for justice, or simply to display talent, is no less of a threat.


To avoid being detected, hackers use a variety of tools to disguise their identity or hide their location. Tricking a computer into thinking that you are at the North Pole can be as simple as editing your browser settings. Tracing a hack can be more difficult than executing it, and is the reason why many so-called “hacktivist” groups â€" like Anonymous or Fancy Bear â€" remain beyond the reach of authorities.


Cyber security is no doubt a major new foreign policy challenge, but jumping to conclusions about the source or motivation of a hack is also a risk in our real-time world.

It’s important to remember that just about anything with a network connection can be compromised and manipulated, from the Pentagon to the Kremlin, Democratic Party servers and World Anti-Doping Association databases â€" and yes, as the Moscow daily Kommersant reports: to your very own refrigerator.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



BRAZIL’S LULA CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION

Brazil’s former president, Lula da Silva, was charged with corruption, with prosecutors describing him as the “commander-in-chief” of a vast kickback scheme that diverted more than $26 million from state oil company Petrobras, Folha de S. Paulo reports. His wife was also among seven other people charged. Lula’s hopes of returning as president now appear slim.


UK/FRENCH/CHINESE NUCLEAR PLANT DEAL

The British government green-lighted plans for a $24 billion nuclear power plant that will be built by a French company and partly financed by China, The Guardian reports.


â€" ON THIS DAY

It’s been 195 years since Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica all said ¡adiós! to Spain … That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


CLINTON “HEALTHY AND FIT” TO SERVE

U.S. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “continues to improve” after contracting a “mild, non-contagious” form of pneumonia, according to a letter from her doctor which was released by her campaign yesterday. More from The New York Times.


VERBATIM

“You need to be as arrogant as men are to believe that we have changed the climate,” Nicolas Sarkozy told a panel of business leaders, in comments reported by French magazine Marianne. “The climate has been changing for 4 billion years,” the French presidential hopeful said.


â€" WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

After seven years of research, a determined academic says he has definitive proof that Robert Capa’s legendary Spanish Civil War photograph, The Falling Soldier, was a fake. For French daily Le Figaro, Mathieu de Taillac spoke to myth-buster Professor José Manuel Susperregui: “Susperregui’s discovery is due to his determination but also to chance. After he realized the scenery was nowhere to be found in Cerro Muriano, he sent the three photos to the towns that were at war at the time when Capa was passing through the region. The series fell into the hands of a teacher who showed it to his pupils. One of the students recognized the Batan plateau. ...

‘Robert Capa came to Spain to witness the war,’ Susperregui explains. ‘He went to Madrid, Aragon and Barcelona before coming to Andalusia. But he never got to find an active front and he realized that he could not go back home empty-handed. So he created a simulation.’”

Read the full article, From Spain, New Evidence That Robert Capa Staged Iconic War.


GENETICALLY MODIFIED MERGER

Agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto has accepted German chemicals giant Bayer’s whopping $66 billion takeover offer, after months of courtship. Read more about the deal from Bloomberg here.


HONG KONG JOURNALISTS ARRESTED IN CHINA

Five Hong Kong journalists were arrested, questioned and later expelled from a fishing village in China’s Guangdong province, this morning. Among them was a reporter from the South China Morning Post, with the newspaper saying it is “highly concerned about the incident.” Protests over disputed land erupted days ago in the village, leading to clashes with the police, and local authorities are reportedly offering rewards for information leading to “foreign forces,” meaning journalists.


â€" MY GRAND-PERE’S WORLD

A Tombstone Maker’s Death â€" Salzburg, 1963


236

French tennis player Alizé Cornet set a new Frame Challenge record, bouncing a tennis ball off the frame of her racket 236 times in a row â€" blowing Italian player Sara Errani's 219 bounces out of the frame.


MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

MONKEYS TYPE SHAKESPEARE SOLILOQUY USING ONLY BRAINWAVES

Yup. You read that right.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Paying tribute to the victims of the attack in Kongsberg

Terje Bendiksby/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA
Carl-Johan Karlsson

The bow-and-arrow murder of five people in the small Norwegian city of Kongsberg this week was particularly chilling for the primitive choice of weapon. And police are now saying the attack Wednesday night is likely to be labeled an act of terrorism.

Still, even though the suspect is a Danish-born convert to Islam, police are still determining the motive. Espen Andersen Bråthen, a 37-year-old Danish national, is previously known to the police, both for reports of radicalization, as well as erratic behavior unrelated to religion.

Indeed, it remains unclear whether religious beliefs were behind the killings. In an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassens said Bråthen has already confessed to the crimes, giving a detailed account of the events during a three-hour interrogation on Thursday, but motives are yet to be determined.

Investigated as terrorism 

Regardless, the murders are likely to be labeled an act of terror – mainly as the victims appear to have been randomly chosen, and were killed both in public places and inside their homes.

Mathiassens also said Bråthen will undergo a comprehensive forensic psychiatric examination, which is also a central aspect of the ongoing investigation, according to a police press conference on Friday afternoon. Bråthen will be held in custody for at least four weeks, two of which will be in isolation, and will according to a police spokesperson be moved to a psychiatric unit as soon as possible.

Witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

Police received reports last year concerning potential radicalization. In 2017, Bråthen published two videos on Youtube, one in English and one in Norwegian, announcing that he's now a Muslim and describing himself as a "messenger." The year prior, he made several visits to the city's only mosque, where he said he'd received a message from above that he wished to share with the world.

Previous criminal history 

In 2012, he was convicted of aggravated theft and drug offenses, and in May last year, a restraining order was issued after Bråthen entered his parents house with a revolver, threatening to kill his father.

The mosque's chairman Oussama Tlili remembers Bråthen's first visit well, as it's rare to meet Scandinavian converts. Still, he didn't believe there was any danger and saw no reason to notify the police. Tlili's impression was rather that the man was unwell mentally, and needed help.

According to a former neighbor, Bråthen often acted erratically. During the two years she lived in the house next to him — only 50 meters from the grocery store where the attacks began — the man several times barked at her like a dog, threw trash in the streets to then pick it up, and spouted racist comments to her friend. Several other witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

The man used a bow and arrow to carry the attack

Haykon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA

Police criticized

Norway, with one of the world's lowest crime rates, is still shaken from the attack — and also questioning what allowed the killer to hunt down and kill even after police were on the scene.

The first reports came around 6 p.m. on Wednesday that a man armed with bow and arrow was shooting inside a grocery store. Only minutes after, the police spotted the suspect; he fired several times against the patrol and then disappeared while reinforcements arrived.

The attack has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms

In the more than 30 minutes that followed before the arrest, four women and one man were killed by arrows and two other weapons — though police have yet to disclose the other arms, daily Aftenposten reports. The sleepy city's 27,000 inhabitants are left wondering how the man managed to evade a full 22 police patrols, and why reports of his radicalization weren't taken more seriously.

With five people killed and three more injured, Wednesday's killing spree is the worst attack in Norway since far-right extremist Anders Breivik massacred 77 people on the island of Utøya a decade ago.

Unarmed cops

As questions mount over the police response to the attack, with reports suggesting all five people died after law enforcement made first contact with the suspect, local police have said it's willing to submit the information needed to the Bureau of Investigation to start a probe into their conduct. Police confirmed they had fired warning shots in connection to the arrest which, under Norwegian law, often already provides a basis for an assessment.

Wednesday's bloodbath has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms — the small country being one of only 19 globally where law enforcement officers are typically unarmed, though may have access to guns and rifles in certain circumstances.

Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert and professor at the Swedish Defence University, noted that police in similar neighboring countries like Sweden and Denmark carry firearms. "I struggle to understand why Norwegian police are not armed all the time," Ranstorp told Norwegian daily VG. "The lesson from Utøya is that the police must react quickly and directly respond to a perpetrator during a life-threatening incident."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ