Daily Archives: December 8, 2019

#school | #ransomware | Town Hit by Ransomware; System Shut Down to Limit Damage – East Greenwich News

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Town Manager Andrew Nota said Saturday the town had been hit with computer ransomware and had shut down the system townwide to evaluate the damage and rebuild.

“There have been numerous system breaches in municipalities in Rhode Island, New England and nationally in recent months and the town experienced some abnormal system activity late in the week,” Town Manager Andrew Nota said. “A portion of the town system was compromised.” He declined to specify what was hit.

This notice was posted on the town website’s home page Thursday afternoon: 

The Town is experiencing some technology network issues that may impact how activities are processed. We are aware of the issue and are working to restore services to full capability. Please check back later this afternoon for additional updates.

“What occurred was textbook application and use of ransomware,” Nota said. However, because the system was shut down immediately, he said town officials did not read the full message and don’t know the full details of the ransom request.

“We severed all system connections townwide and have been scrubbing, rebuilding and reactivating systems since the incident occurred,” said Nota. “There is no need for any form of negotiation in this case nor would we have considered such discussions based on the system impacts as we know them to be.” 

He said the town’s IT department was working on it with a third-party vendor and that because the town routinely backs up everything, a “major catastrophe” was avoided. “Our goal is to have key systems back online [over the weekend] and other important systems available for use on Monday to make any such impact as minimal as possible for residents and staff.”

The town’s website was unaffected.

East Greenwich is not the only municipality to have faced this problem. The Coventry School Department was hit with ransomware in July and ended up paying around $200,000 in Bitcoin to get its system unlocked. Coventry Supt. Craig Levis told WPRI at the time it was about getting the problem solved quickly. Alternatively, the school department could have hired a company to undo the encryption. Other communities, such as New Bedford, Pawtucket and Newport have also been hit with ransomware but they declined to pay the ransom. 

What it’s meant for East Greenwich town departments is a return to pre-computer days for now. “All normal operations are continuing albeit slower due to the temporary loss of technology,” Nota said. 

For instance, the police are having to rely on the state police to help with routine checks and arrests. 

“This may be an inconvenience for some based on how they are used to doing business but it doesn’t stop business from continuing or create any other hardship that cannot be overcome in the short term,” Nota said. He added, “All operations will continue whether we are online or not, as this is what we do as a staff in serving the community.”


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#deepweb | 3 Stocks to Build Your Portfolio Around

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

With so many stocks to choose from, building a winning portfolio can be an overwhelming task. The best way forward is to anchor your portfolio around companies that are well-established, not going anywhere, and have a record of generating returns for shareholders.

Three stocks that meet that criteria are Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Walt Disney(NYSE:DIS). I personally own shares of all three and believe they’re good starting places to build your nest egg. Here’s why these stocks should remain good investments for decades to come.

Image source: Getty Images.

Berkshire Hathaway: You can’t go wrong with the greatest investor of all time

You can kill many birds with one stone with Berkshire Hathaway. A well-rounded portfolio is one that has plenty of diversification across sectors of the economy, both large and small companies, with a blend of growth and value. Berkshire Hathaway gives you all that.

Warren Buffett has put together an amazing collection of businesses. Berkshire owns BNSF, one of the largest rail companies in the U.S. Other names you might recognize are Dairy Queen, Pampered Chef, Business Wire, Duracell (yep, the batteries), and GEICO. Altogether, Berkshire owns dozens of businesses that generate billions in cash from operations every year. 

Berkshire also owns $220 billion in stocks that Buffett and his two investment managers (Todd Combs and Ted Weschler) select with the same focus on value that goes into acquiring whole companies like the ones mentioned above. Currently, Berkshire owns large stakes in several companies, with Apple, Bank of America, and Coca-Cola comprising nearly half of the company’s publicly traded stock holdings. 

Since Buffett took control of Berkshire in 1965, his investing skills have earned shareholders a return of 20.5% compounded annually through 2018. Obviously, there is uncertainty about what happens when the 89-year-old Buffett is no longer around. When that day occurs, future returns may be lower than years past, but Berkshire is so well-diversified and has such a deep bench of talent across its operating subsidiaries that it should deliver satisfactory returns for a long time.

Amazon: A blue chip stock for the 21st century

Amazon is my largest holding, so I would be remiss to not include it here. It’s remarkable to think that Amazon has grown from nothing to a $265 billion revenue-generating business in less than 25 years. But its tentacles are continuing to spread throughout several big markets, including the Internet of Things (IoT), online advertising, and the cloud. Given those opportunities, it’s only a matter of time before Amazon hits $1 trillion in annual revenue.

More than 100 million people are already enjoying the benefits of Prime, including free shipping and special discounts at Whole Foods Market. In addition to Prime, Amazon is creating even more ways for customers to stay locked into the ecosystem. Its Echo devices have been one of the top-selling items in the last few years, and this opens a whole new avenue of growth in what’s expected to be a $1 trillion IoT market in the near future. 

There are now more than 85,000 smart-home devices enabled for Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. The glue that holds Alexa and all these devices together is Amazon Web Services, which offers solutions for IoT device management.

AWS revenue increased by 35% year over year last quarter and generated most of Amazon’s profit. Cloud growth has decelerated for Amazon in recent quarters, but it’s still growing fast. It’s likely that AWS will remain a significant growth driver for several more years.

But AWS is not Amazon’s fastest-growing business. That would be online advertising, in which sales are included in a separate category designated as “other” in Amazon’s financial reporting. This category saw sales increase by 44% year over year in the third quarter. 

While cloud, IoT, and advertising are exciting opportunities, let’s not forget that Amazon’s core online retail business is still growing sales more than 20% year over year. Amazon is a household name with wide brand recognition, and the company is still growing like a small upstart. This is a stock that can fuel your returns all the way to retirement.

Disney: Families spend billions at its theme parks every year 

Walt Disney needs no introduction. Mickey and Mary Poppins have entertained the last few generations of youngsters, and with the launch of Disney+, the company is in a position to connect with future generations — and make shareholders a lot of money.

CEO Bob Iger calls Disney+ “a historic moment” for the company, and it’s easy to see why. The service has already attracted more than 10 million sign-ups, but management expects to reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers in the next five years. There’s been four years of planning to get the service ready for prime time, which shows in the polish of the interface and how well the app performs since launching a few weeks ago. While Disney+ will pressure profits in the next few years, it should be accretive to earnings starting in fiscal 2024, based on guidance. 

Of course, Disney+ is just the distribution channel. What really creates the intrinsic value for the company is the creative talent working in the studios segment. Disney’s ability to crank out hit after hit at the box office is, frankly, insane.

Frozen 2 just set a record for the biggest animated film release outside of the summer release window in the company’s history. Strong releases over the summer, including The Lion King, Aladdin, and Toy Story 4, helped generate $3.3 billion in revenue for the studios segment in the most recent quarter. 

Disney has consistently put up big numbers at the box office in recent years. Up next is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, releasing in December — another billion-dollar movie in waiting. 

Disney has so much to offer consumers through theme-park attractions, sports broadcasting (ESPN), blockbuster movies, and consumer products that I don’t see how an investor can lose with the stock over the long term. Walt Disney is a timeless entertainment brand that’s only getting stronger.

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#deepweb | 4th Global Report on Adult Learning and Education: Leave No One Behind: Participation, Equity and Inclusion – World

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

UNESCO report shows fewer than 5% of people in many countries benefit from adult learning opportunities

Paris, 04 December—In almost one-third of countries, fewer than five per cent of adults aged 15 and above participate in education and learning programmes, according to UNESCO’s fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4). Adults with disabilities, older adults, refugees and migrants, minority groups and other disadvantaged segments of society are particularly under-represented in adult education programmes and find themselves deprived of crucial access to lifelong learning opportunities.

Published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the report monitors the extent to which UNESCO Member States put their international commitments regarding adult learning and education into practice and reflects data submitted by 159 countries. It calls for a major change in the approach to adult learning and education (ALE) backed by adequate investment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from adult learning and education and that its full contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is realized.

“We urge governments and the international community to join our efforts and take action to ensure that no one – no matter who they are, where they live or what challenges they face – is left behind where the universal right to education is concerned,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, endorsing the report’s recommendations. “By ensuring that donor countries respect their aid obligations to developing countries, we can make adult learning and education a key lever in empowering and enabling adults, as learners, workers, parents, and active citizens.”

The publication stresses the need to increase national investment in ALE, reduce participation costs, raise awareness of benefits, and improve data collection and monitoring, particularly for disadvantaged groups.

Progress in participation in adult learning and education is insufficient

Despite low participation overall, many more than half of responding countries (57% of 152) reported an increase in the overall participation rate in adult learning and education between 2015 and 2018. Low-income countries reported the largest increase in ALE participation (73%), trailed by lower middle income and upper middle income countries (61% and 62%).

Most increases in adult learning and education participation were in sub-Saharan Africa (72% of respondents), followed by the Arab region (67%), Latin America and the Caribbean (60%) and Asia and the Pacific (49%). North America and Western Europe reported fewest increases (38%) though starting from higher levels.

The data shows persistent and deep inequalities in participation and that key target groups such as adults with disabilities, older adults, minority groups as well as adults living in conflict-affected countries are not being reached.

Women’s participation must improve further

While the global report shows that women’s participation in ALE has increased in 59 per cent of the reporting countries since 2015, in some parts of the world, girls and women still do not have sufficient access to education, notably to vocational training, leaving them with few skills and poor chances of finding employment and contributing to the societies they live in, which also represents an economic loss for their countries.

Quality is improving but not fast enough

Quality ALE can also provide invaluable support to sustainable development and GRALE 4 shows that three-quarters of countries reported progress in the quality of education since 2015. Qualitative progress is observed in curricula, assessment, teaching methods and employment conditions of adult educators. However, progress in citizenship education, which is essential in promoting and protecting freedom, equality, democracy, human rights, tolerance and solidarity, remained negligible. No more than 3% of countries reported qualitative progress in this area.

Increase in funding for adult learning and education needed

GRALE 4 shows that over the last ten years, spending on adult learning and education has not reached sufficient levels, not only in low-income countries but also in lower middle income and high-income countries. Nearly 20% of Member States reported spending less than 0.5 per cent of their education budgets on ALE and a further 14% reported spending less than 1 per cent. This information demonstrates that many countries have failed to implement the intended increase in ALE financing proposed in GRALE 3 and that ALE remains underfunded. Moreover, under-investment hits socially disadvantaged adults the hardest. Lack of funding also hampers the implementation of new policies and efficient governance practices.

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#deepweb | Cars submerged, thousands evacuated in Bandung flood – Indonesia

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Arya Dipa
The Jakarta Post

Bandung / Sat, December 7, 2019 / 01:50 pm

Heavy rains in Greater Bandung since Friday afternoon have caused the Cisangkuy River, part of West Java’s longest river, the Citarum, to overflow, inundating with floodwater 11 of the 13 community units (RWs) in Kamasan village in Banjaran district, Bandung regency, at night.

Bandung Search and Rescue Agency head Deden Ridwansyah said the agency deployed teams and arrived at the location at around 11 p.m. to help with evacuation efforts alongside local officials.

“The average water depth is around 1 meter but it’s already decreasing to less than 30 centimeters,” he said, adding that, in some areas, the floodwater was 2 meters deep.

Photos and videos show cars almost entirely submerged, with only their roofs visible.

RW 07 saw the worst flooding, while Kamasan, Bugel, Perum Jati and Cipeundeuy villages were also affected.

“Around 4,000 people were evacuated to village office halls,” said Deden, adding that a total of 2,400 families were affected by the flood.

The agency concluded its evacuation operation at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday and was assessing the damage, he said.

Access to the main roads connecting Kertasari district to the northern part of Ciparay district and southern part of Pengalengan district was cut off as a result of the flood.

Floodwater also inundated Jl. Raya Kertasari, Kertasari district’s main road.

Kertasari district chief Dadang Hermawan said water and mud frequently flowed through Jl. Pasir Munding, located in the same district, during the rainy season.

He said the area was prone to flooding because locals farmed on steep terrain without first implementing land terracing techniques. (mpr)

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