This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Russia Roiling the World of the Internet

In Kiev [on Tuesday], a car bombing killed a senior military intelligence official, Maxim Shapoval, in what investigators called a terrorist attack. Shapoval had reportedly been working to collect evidence of Russian involvement in the violence in Eastern Ukraine and is the latest in a string of assassinations or attempted assassinations of enemies of Russia on Ukrainian soil. In March, Denis Voronenkov, a former member of the Russian parliament who had fled to Ukraine after turning against Vladimir Putin’s government, was shot dead in Kiev. That same month, a military intelligence official assigned to the Donetsk region, which is partially under the control of Russian-backed separatists, was killed in a car bombing in the port city of Mariupol. On June 1, a man from Chechnya posing as a reporter for a French newspaper, shot and wounded Adam Osmayev, a Chechen who had gained fame for fighting on behalf of the Ukrainian government.
Unlike in previous cases, the government did not immediately blame Russia for Shapoval’s death, but Ukrainian officials reportedly suspect Russian involvement. In 2006, Russia passed a law permitting the killing of “extremists” on foreign soil.
Joshua Keating, Slate Magazine, 28 June 2017 

Ukraine appears to have been a target of cyberwarfare that once unleashed respected no borders, nor differentiated among the various corporations and government offices it appeared to spontaneously hit, shutting down operations and sending corporate heads and government officials into a tailspin as one after another, huge systems shut down operations and their managers were hit by demands for ransom. With such critical systems shut out of operation leaving industry and government helpless as hapless pawns by cybercriminals out to do mischief for political ends and/or for ill-gotten gains, the critical nature of the event is obvious.
The MV Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the world's biggest container ship, arrives at the harbour of Rotterdam August 16, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Ukraine has seen its sovereignty challenged in every sphere, from the viciously internationally illegal invasion by a foreign neighbour of its eastern geography, to the support of that neighbour for an ethnic-political usurpation of territory, to the capture by Russia and permanent occupation of Crimea, its seaport and installations and ongoing threats of harassment and violence. The loss of tens of thousands of lives, including a civilian Malaysian airliner and its passengers, shot down by ethnic Russian militias. Moscow has authorized targeted assassinations of those it names "terrorists"..... 
"We are talking about a cyberattack."
"It has affected all branches of our business, at home and abroad."
Anders Rosendahl, spokesman, A.P. Moller-Maersk, shipping, Copenhagen

"It seems the virus is spreading all over Europe and I'm afraid it can harm the whole world."
Victor Zhora, CEO, Infosafe IT, Kyiv

"Today's cyberattack, the largest in the history of Ukraine, was not the last."
"There will be others."
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser, Ukraine Interior Ministry

"A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide."
"It's like somebody sneezing into a train full of people You just have to exist there and you're vulnerable."
Bogdan Botezatu, analyst, Bitdefender
"Data breaches and cyberhacks are one of the biggest risks facing business worldwide."
"The WannaCry attack and now Petya clearly demonstrate that hackers do not discriminate which type of business they are targeting."
Michelle Crorie, partner, Clyde & Co. law firm, cybersecurity issues
Microsoft operating systems running the gamut from Windows XP to Windows 10, theorizes Victor Zhora, are victims of ransomware previously seeded and time-activated. The attack originated in Ukraine, and the government in Kyiv views all such attacks as motivated by and originating from its  tormentor, Moscow. Despite that Russia's Rosneft oil company has reported being victimized as well. The destructive program is like a Frankenstein; even its maker is not immune to the system's ravenous appetite for mad havoc.
Customers queue in 'Rost' supermarket in Kharkiv, Ukraine June 27, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. MIKHAIL GOLUB via REUTERS
In  Ukraine, however, there are reports of intrusions into the country's power grid (not the first time but quite obviously far in excess of the eastern Ukraine interruption) along with banks and government offices, closing down their entire networks. The airport in Kyiv and the subway network were all affected. And that included computer systems at the Chernobyl reactor where the virus's effects have forced manual radiation checks.

Europe has been struck, and the malware has gone beyond Europe into the United States, with U.S. drugmaker Merck's systems compromised. In western Pennsylvania the Heritage Valley Health System was attacked, affecting the entire health system of the organization through the widespread cyberattack, steadily growing its malevolent reach, into a worldwide crisis.

Companies in France, Poland, Belarus, Germany and India have been infected. Ukraine, where it all started, is fairly confident in its assertion that it is yet another instance of Moscow asserting its wretched influence in every sphere it can manipulate to wreak harm on Ukraine. Among some analysts this newer version of ransomware is being called Petya. The software is self-spreading, capable of replicating without human interaction, like a malign contagion.

A message demanding money is seen on a monitor of a payment terminal at a branch of Ukraine's state-owned bank Oschadbank after Ukrainian institutions were hit by a wave of cyber attacks earlier in the day, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

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