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LOS ANGELES TIMES(U.S.), STERN, DER SPIEGEL (Germany)

Worldcrunch

A virus called Dorkbot is working its way through Skype users around the world. When users click on the English- or German-language come-on, malware is installed in their computer and it becomes part of a botnet, a network of remote-controlled computers that can conduct denial-of-service attacks.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in some cases, computers have even been frozen and held for ransom remotely, with users asked to send $200 so their computers will be returned to normal.

The Skype message to users, which appears to be from a known friend or acquaintance, reads in English “lol is this your new profile pic?” and in German “Hallo, sag mal ehrlich sind das deine Fotos?” reports Der Spiegel.

The link below looks as if it leads to Google and includes the user’s name. But when the user clicks on it, a Trojan horse inserts itself into the user’s computer. The malware affects Linux and Mac computers but is mainly aimed at Windows users, according to German magazine Stern. It becomes active only on Windows, and can prevent users from accessing certain web browsers. It also sends the virus message to all of the newly infected computer’s Skype contacts.

Skype forum managers have recommended that users change their Skype passwords and that those affected use free program Malwarebyte to get rid of the virus, Stern added. Skype confirmed on Tuesday that the virus is affecting users and urged them to update the program to get the best protection. The worm was discovered by Trend Micro, a computer security firm, according to the Los Angeles Times.


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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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