Daily Archives: December 7, 2019

#nationalcybersecuritymonth | General election 2019: Source of UK-US trade document leak must be found – PM

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

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Image caption

Jeremy Corbyn holds up the leaked documents at a press conference on 27 November

Boris Johnson has said an investigation is needed into the source of leaked documents on UK-US trade negotiations posted on Reddit.

Labour says the documents show the NHS would be at risk under a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

On Friday, forum website Reddit said unredacted documents were uploaded as “part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia”.

It has suspended 61 accounts that showed a “pattern of coordination”.

The government said it was looking into the matter with help from the National Cyber Security Centre.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Johnson said “we do need to get to the bottom” of the leak but said he had seen “no evidence of any successful interference by Russia in any democratic event in this country”.

  • What do the leaked papers actually say?
  • UK-US trade document leak ‘linked to Russia’

The Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said this all pointed towards foreign involvement: “I understand from what was being put on that website, those who seem to know about these things say that it seems to have all the hallmarks of some form of interference.”

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald reiterated his call for Mr Johnson to release an intelligence report into Russian covert actions in the UK, which No 10 has been accused of suppressing until after the election.

Advanced negotiations

In a post on its site, Reddit did not provide any further details about the evidence behind its conclusions, nor did it identify any specific individuals.

The BBC has approached the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson but they have yet to comment.

The contents of the documents have played a significant part in Labour’s election message on the NHS, after Mr Corbyn highlighted them at a press conference on 27 November.

The Labour leader said the papers were evidence that the UK government was in advanced stages of negotiations with the US to open up the NHS to American pharmaceutical companies.

Labour have not said where they obtained their copy of the documents.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJeremy Corbyn defends sharing leaked US-UK trade documents

A version of the documents, heavily redacted, was also produced by Mr Corbyn at an earlier leader debate on 19 November.

At the time, Labour said these were the result of a Freedom of Information request by campaign group Global Justice Now.

The dossier was posted on Reddit more than a month prior to Mr Corbyn’s announcement, prompting questions about how they got there – and why few people seemed to notice them before.


‘Double-edged sword for Labour’

Analysis by political correspondent Jonathan Blake

A bit like journalists never reveal their sources, Labour are quite happy to focus on what these documents say rather than where they come from.

If you look at where Reddit’s comments leave the discussion, it’s both helpful and slightly problematic for Labour.

On the one hand, people are asking “where exactly did you get those documents from?” Remember, they were online in their unredacted form for several weeks before Labour brought them to everyone’s attention.

But at the same time, we’re still talking about these documents and what Labour claims that they show – that the NHS is up for sale, in their words. Boris Johnson and the Conservatives flatly deny that.

So it’s a double-edged sword for Labour.

For the Conservatives, you’ve got this uneasiness around Russian interference in an election campaign – which isn’t good for them because attention will turn to the report by Parliament which the government hasn’t released.

And that’s not very helpful for the Tories either.


Speaking on Saturday, the Labour leader said the controversy surrounding the source of the documents was “nonsense” and accused Mr Johnson of wanting to “hide the issues and the truth” over the future of the NHS in trade deals.

Mr Johnson said the documents “didn’t prove what Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party hoped it would prove” adding “it was just another distraction from the void at the heart of Labour’s policy on Brexit”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBoris Johnson says leaked US-UK trade documents are ‘just another distraction’

Neither UK nor US governments have disputed the authenticity of the documents.

  • Where did the leaked trade documents come from?

The BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Correra said crucial questions remained as to how the document circulating online originally appeared.

He said there would be a significant difference between a state-led operation from Moscow which hacked the material and then leaked it as opposed to someone who is based in Russia simply opportunistically using an already leaked document to cause mischief.

“That question is one that national security officials will be trying to answer.”

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#deepweb | 6 reasons why you need identity theft protection

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

You only have one “you” that hackers, criminals and scammers would love to steal. We’re talking about identity theft, which is a bigger threat than you’re probably aware of. It’s estimated every two seconds there is another identity theft victim.

And this type of theft often comes with devastating consequences, including loss of savings, destroyed credit and being charged with crimes you didn’t commit. You could even be held responsible for fraudulent medical claims and have government benefits revoked.

Don’t risk it! You need identity theft protection. We recommend our sponsor, Identity Guard, a trusted leader with a 9.8 out of 10 score from Consumers Advocate.

1. Threats are everywhere

Things are really bad out there. In the U.S., a car is stolen an average of every 6.5 minutes, firefighters respond to home fires every 1.5 minutes and a home burglary occurs every 15 seconds, but get this — identity theft happens every two seconds, costing victims around $17 billion in losses each year.

This has been the worst year yet for your privacy. Hackers are smarter than ever and have been behind constant data breaches and leaks, putting your critical information at risk. Your info could even end up for sale on the Dark Web.

Plus, think about how much you share on social media sites like Facebook. Not to mention all the online shopping and other financial transactions you do. Online threats are all around us. Tap or click here to see why even smart TVs are threats.

Life isn’t as simple as it was 20 years ago. Back then, your identity was your name and your Social Security number. Today, it’s a complex web made up of hundreds of digital pieces we share daily, which is why it’s critical to have protection.

This is where Identity Guard can help. It uses IBM Watson artificial intelligence (AI) to protect you. Watson is highly intelligent, knows exactly what to look for and is tireless — constantly scrubbing and scanning.

2. It’s about more than just your credit

Yes, identity theft can destroy your credit, but it can cause so much more havoc. Thieves can do nasty things like decimate your retirement fund or savings, ID theft could lead to IRS audits and penalties, your health insurance services could be revoked and more.

You may also face criminal charges and be responsible for fraudulent medical claims. Identity theft is a legal and financial crisis.

Most times, identity thieves will apply for credit — seen in loan stacking fraud, auto lending fraud, mortgage fraud and more. And, if you’ve had your identity stolen before, you’re much more susceptible to it happening again.

3. Once you notice a problem, it’s too late

Without the right identity protection, you might not know you’ve been victimized until it’s too late. You might not find out until you’re applying for a loan and realize someone has stolen your ID and completely ruined your credit.

Think about the amount of time it’s going to take to fix this wrong. It could take months, even years to finally undo what the thief has done. With Identity Guard, you get super-fast alerts when anything suspicious is suspected. Think of it like your home security system.

A home security system alerts you to an intruder so you can take action to protect your family and home. Identity Guard alerts you if it detects the use of your personally identifiable information, so you can act immediately in the event of identity theft.

In both cases, the sooner you’re alerted, the sooner you can act and minimize the damage. Identity Guard has the fastest alerts in the industry, so you can respond quickly.

Identity Guard also has a direct relationship with all three credit bureaus (it’s the only provider integrated with all three) and keeps you updated in near real-time.

4. You can’t catch everything on your own

Yes, you can monitor your credit on your own but that’s just one part of the equation. Identity Guard monitors all facets of your identity using IBM Watson.

You’ll receive alerts to threats detected by Watson that include high-risk transactions, personal info found on the Dark Web, requests to open new accounts in your name, credit score changes and more. This protection is so much more in-depth than you will ever be able to handle on your own.

Identity Guard has been in the business for almost 25 years and helped protect nearly 50 million people. Through all of this, it has never been breached while offering exceptional remediation and restoration services.

5. Your whole family is at risk

It’s not just you that you need to worry about. Your entire family is at risk of having their identities stolen.

Children and older folks are just as likely, if not more, to be targets of identity theft. For kids, a family friend, family member or a stranger could use their name to take out loans and ruin their credit.

And there’s a good chance you won’t notice until they are ready to open a bank account or head off to college. Seniors who are already settled and not making big financial transactions, like buying a home or car, may not notice, either.

That’s why Identity Guard offers a family plan to protect everyone in the household. For the most complete protection available, check out its Premier plan.

The Premier plan includes the following features:

  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Risk management report
  • Safe browsing tools
  • Anti-phishing mobile app
  • Monthly credit score
  • Address monitoring
  • 3-bureau credit monitoring
  • Tax refund alerts
  • Credit score and report
  • Social insight report

6. Your time is worth money

Identity theft can take months to resolve on your own. Identity Guard will help you recover your identity and restore lost money.

When someone takes over your account and makes changes, it’s called account takeover fraud. That alone takes an average of 16 hours to resolve. Don’t get caught up in this type of mess without professional help. Let Identity Guard do the work for you.

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Make the switch today and get 2 months free with the purchase of an annual plan at IdentityGuard.com/Kim.

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#nationalcybersecuritymonth | UK minister says concerned about election interference after…

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

* UK-U.S. trade documents were leaked last month

* Reddit believes Russian campaign behind the leak

* UK fears attempt to influence the Dec. 12 election

* British spies investigating the matter

By Michael Holden

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The leak of classified UK-U.S. trade documents online, tied to a previous Russian disinformation campaign, has all the hallmarks of an attempt to interfere in Britain’s upcoming election, a British minister said on Saturday.

The opposition Labour Party says the leaked documents show the ruling Conservatives are plotting to offer the state-run National Health Service (NHS) for sale in post-Brexit trade talks with Washington.

The NHS, much loved by Britons, has become a major issue in campaigning for the Dec. 12 election, polls ahead of which show Labour trailing the Conservatives.

On Friday, social media site Reddit it believed the documents had been leaked by a campaign that originated in Russia, fuelling fears that Moscow was seeking to interfere in Britain’s election.

“I understand from what was being put on that website that those who seem to know about these things say it seems to have all the hallmarks of some form of interference,” culture minister Nicky Morgan told BBC radio.

“If that is the case, that is extremely serious. One of the things we are looking for and monitoring is any interference in our elections, that is a serious, serious matter.”

Researchers told Reuters on Monday that the way the documents were first shared on Reddit and then promoted online closely resembled a disinformation campaign uncovered earlier this year which originated in Russia.

A Labour spokesman declined to comment on how the party obtained the leaked documents or ties to the Russian campaign, and said its decision to publish them on Nov. 27 was in the public interest. The documents contain 451 pages detailing six meetings between U.S. and British officials to discuss trade and investment since July 2017.

Britain has previously accused Russia of meddling or trying to interfere in western elections, accusations repeatedly denied by Moscow. Officials in Moscow were not immediately available for comment on the latest incident.

The British parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has carried out an inquiry into allegations of Russian activity aimed at the United Kingdom, including in the 2016 referendum on EU membership, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to publish its report before the election.

The government says there has been no successful attempt to meddle in British elections but critics said Johnson had sat on it because it might contain embarrassing revelations about his Conservative Party’s links.

“If we want to get to the bottom of the extent to which the Russian state interferes in elections, can we please publish the Intelligence and Security committee report,” Labour transport spokesman Andy McDonald told BBC radio.

The government said in a statement it was “already looking into the matter” with support from the National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ signals intelligence agency.

Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries may try to disrupt next week’s election — called by Johnson to try to break the Brexit deadlock in parliament — with cyberattacks or divisive political messages on social media. (Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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#school | #ransomware | District Cyber Attack: Livingston Superintendent, LHS Principal Provide Updates

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Two weeks after Livingston Public Schools (LPS) announced that its system was compromised, the district is still without its servers and continues its investigation and district-wide response to the encrypting of the technology systems.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there have only been seven days of school since the data was compromised on Nov. 22, but the lack of technology has been an adjustment for staff and students. In a statement to the school community on Friday, Superintendent Dr. Matthew Block reassured parents that the technology issue has been the district’s top priority.

“We have learned that, even with our technology staff working nights and weekends, recovery has many moving parts and restoring a technology system from the ‘ground up’ on a large scale takes a significant amount of time,” he said. “We are attempting to accomplish months of work in a matter of weeks. We have made some meaningful progress over the past two weeks, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We know more, but are still seeking information and answers.”

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As the investigation continues and the district works through its recovery plan, Block said that meaningful strides have been made in the district’s efforts to restore its capacity to “utilize technology throughout the district.” 

In addition to sharing some details about the recovery process, the superintendent also requested patience from the community, reiterating that the district’s consultants have said it could take weeks for students, teachers, parents and faculty “to begin to feel technologically back to ‘normal’ after [the] cyber attack.”

Normalcy might look a little different for the time being, but Livingston High School Principal Mark Stern said teachers and students are already beginning to get the hang of pens and paper.

“Our teachers have been outstanding,” said Stern. “When things were down, we went back to a little more old-school schooling; but at the end of the day, it’s still about exchanging ideas, and it’s still about thinking and communicating whether you’re going to do that through technology or not.

“When we first went 1:1, what we always talked about was that technology is a tool just like any other tool in a larger arsenal of all the things that our teachers have at their disposal and that our students are learning how to use. If one’s not working, we just have to use something else; we shouldn’t be depending on any one mode of doing things anyway, and the teachers have been unbelievable. They rallied, they’ve been flexible with the students, they’ve been understanding, and everyone’s been willing to do whatever they need to do until we get through this.”

Stating that he is more addicted to his phone and Email than he cares to admit, Stern added that he understands the frustration likely occurring among students, but that he hopes the situation has only been “an inconvenience to them rather than a shift in how the world works.”

“My hope would be that nothing [the students] are experiencing in their classes is a brand-new experience,” he said. “Hopefully conversation and pen and paper and all that has been part of the experience all along.”

Block has also been extremely impressed with “the flexibility, creativity and professionalism [Livingston’s] teachers have shown since this occurred,” stating that the teachers at all nine schools are “clearly determined to move our students forward academically despite the setback.”

He noted in his letter to parents that the district is just as anxious as they are to have all systems back in use and that “resources will continue to be deployed” to enhance the district’s efforts.

In addition to the professional consultants who are assisting in these efforts, the district is also working with a technology firm that partnered with the City of Baltimore when the city’s systems were recently infected by a similar virus, according to Block.

“As this situation has unfolded, we have learned about similar occurrences in other school districts, colleges, businesses and government entities throughout the country,” he said. “Unfortunately, there have been others even more recent than ours.”

Block explained that he was recently that another New Jersey school district whose systems were compromised at the end of September was still addressing some issues with their systems two months later. 

In a meeting with staff members and parents held shortly after Livingston’s cyber attack, Block expressed that the district would “most likely not be on solid footing with technology until December break.”

“While in the digital age we have become accustomed to quicker fixes, everyone we speak with who is familiar with these crimes, reminds us that we have weeks, not days, of rebuilding ahead of us,” he said on Friday. “Again, considering how far we have already come, I believe we will know more and become much more functional between now and winter break.”

Meanwhile, Block stated that data recovery efforts are ongoing, but that the district has been advised not to share specifics about these data recovery efforts due to the criminal investigation.

He did, however, share the following updates:

  • The district continues to work to restore all aspects of the Genesis system, but remains unable to provide broad access to Genesis or to create report cards.
  • Students are currently receiving academic feedback through graded and reviewed assignments and assessments from teachers. For now, these assignments and assessments will be their primary source of academic feedback. 

    – Block urged parents to communicate with their children about how they are doing in their classes.

    – He also reiterated that teachers will not be able to respond to individual grade requests from parents.
  • This week, the district began the difficult process of getting its PC-based computer devices cleaned to ensure that they are virus-free. 

    – The district is systematically addressing 4,000 potentially impacted devices
  • Technology is being used productively in classrooms throughout the district.

The district remains confident that the servers, which have been compromised and infected with a software designed to encrypt data called Ransomware, were compromised by an entity that is not associated with the Livingston community of Livingston Public Schools.  

The Livingston Police Department is working with county, state and federal agencies to further the investigation. More information will be provided as it becomes available. 

See the hyperlinks below for related articles:

Data Compromised at Livingston Schools; District Calls for Delayed Opening

Criminal Investigation Continues in Livingston Public Schools Cyber Attack

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