March 15, 2018
USA officials say malware was found in operating systems of several US energy companies and announces sanctions for election interference
US accuses Russia of cyber-attack on energy sector and imposes new sanctions
The US has accused Russia of a wide-ranging cyber-assault on its energy grid and other key parts of its infrastructure, as it stepped up sanctions on Russian intelligence for its interference in the 2016 elections.
US officials said that malware had been found in the operating systems of several organisations and companies in the US energy, nuclear, water and “critical manufacturing” sector, and the malware as well as other form of cyber-attacks had been traced back to Moscow.
“Russia’s behaviour continues to trouble us and we are continuing to push back in meaningful ways,” a senior national security official said.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an alert, urging other firms in the industry to review their cybersecurity. The alert said the concerted cyber-attack on US infrastructure began in March 2016.
“It is the judgment of the DHS than Russian government cyberhackers were behind the hacking of organisations in the energy sector,” a senior official said, adding that it was clear that the cyber-attack was coordinated and “deliberately targeted”.
Officials added that the motive of the attack was initially surveillance, to gather information on computer management systems in the US energy grid.
The cybersecurity alert said: “DHS and FBI characterize this activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors who targeted small commercial facilities’ networks where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing and gained remote access into energy sector networks.”
“After obtaining access, the Russian government cyber actors conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally, and collected information pertaining to industrial control systems,” it added.
At the same time, the US treasury announced new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, including the FSB and GRU intelligence agencies, as well as the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg, for interference in the 2016 elections.
As a result of Russia’s election interference, officials said that thousands of Russian-planted stories reached “millions of people online” during the US presidential campaign.
The new sanctions represent the broadest set of US punitive measures against Russia since the start of the Trump administration, and many of their targets are the same as those identified by an indictment by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s investigation has been denounced as a politically motivated witch-hunt by the president and his supporters, and the new measures represent the latest example of dissonance in attitudes towards Russia between Trump and other parts of the administration.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the sanctions did not go nearly far enough in view of the scale of the Russian attack on the 2016 election.
“The sanctions today are a grievous disappointment, and fall far short of what is needed to respond to that attack on our democracy, let alone deter Russia’s escalating aggression, which now includes a chemical weapons attack on the soil of our closest ally,” Schiff said in a statement.
He pointed out that many of the sanctions targeted had already been designated by the Obama administration, and claimed that the new designated targets did not reflect “new work within the administration” but were selected on the basis of the Mueller’s indictment.
“It appears that Mr Mueller is doing more to place consequences on Russia’s behavior than the rest of the administration,” Schiff said.
The sanctions were also imposed for the role of Russian intelligence in distributing the NotPetya malware and ransomware which US officials attributed to Moscow in February.
Officials said it was initially targeted at Ukraine but was allowed to “propagate recklessly without bounds” and caused an estimated $10bn in damage around the world, making it the most damaging cyber-attack in history.
The treasury announced it had sanctioned five entities and 19 individuals for cyber-attacks, including during the election.
“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber-activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, said in a statement.
“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the nefarious attacks emanating from Russia. Treasury intends to impose additional … sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilising activities by severing their access to the US financial system.”
Among those directly targeted are six senior officers of the military intelligence service, the GRU, including its chief, Igor Korobov, and three of his deputies.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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