Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aggressive Phishing Attack Targets Military

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A recent aggressive phishing attack is making the rounds in an email which appears be from USAA, a financial services company that serves military members, their families, and veterans. The email subject begins with “Deposit Posted.”

Members are asked to open a Zeus-infected attached file. Once opened, it launches a malicious virus which could provide access to personal information and may require a complete reinstall of the computer operating system.

Anyone who gets caught by phishing scams loses money, time and security. Phishing is usually an unsolicited email that prompts an action, such as divulging secure information, downloading potentially dangerous files, or sending money to an unknown source.

Other attacks have been directed at U.S. military installations and defense facilities. Official-looking emails appear to come from a senior officer or other authority figure not known to the recipient, instructing the recipient to download and install software. This is often portrayed as a critical security measure that must be immediately deployed.

What actually happens is that the software is either a Trojan Horse that will destroy systems and networks, or data-mining software that will now be past firewall defenses.
Phishers prey on greed, fear, and especially for military targets, obedience to authority. They have become increasingly sophisticated, and create official-looking emails and design sites for gathering data.

Be wary of any unsolicited email that requests secure information or instructs you to download software, G-6 officials warn. It is extremely rare for any financial institution, including PayPal and Ebay, to ask for such information.
Check official websites for information on how to recognize fraudulent emails and sites, said G-6 officials. Always get confirmation from a trusted source before downloading and installing software, they said, adding if something doesn’t seem quite right, it probably isn’t.

For more information, visit any of these sites:

By Margaret McBride
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US President Barack Obama signs Iran sanctions bill

English: Map of Strait of Hormuz Español: Mapa...Image via Wikipedia
Sunday, January 01, 2012 – U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law on Saturday a defense funding bill putting into place new provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of those suspected of terrorism, as well as imposing fresh sanctions on Iran.

The new bill imposes sanctions on financial institutions dealing with Iran’s central bank, while allowing for exemptions to avoid upsetting energy markets.
The measures, meant to punish Tehran for its controversial nuclear activities, were contained in a $662 billion defense bill.

In a statement accompanying his signature to the $662bn bill, Obama said that he was signing it despite having “serious reservations” about the provisions relating to terrorism, contending that politicians in the US congress were attempting to restrict the ability of counterterrorism officials to protect the country.

The sanctions require foreign companies to make a choice between doing business with Iran’s oil and financial sectors and central bank, or the U.S. financial sector.
The sanctions target both private and government-controlled banks – including central banks – and would take hold after a two- to six-month warning period, depending on the transactions, a senior Obama administration official said.
In the meantime, Iran backs off threat to close Strait of Hormuz.
A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday, talk of blocking the strategic oil route through the Strait of Hormuz is a discussion of the past.
However, he said that Iran had other, unspecified strategies for reacting to any Western aggression.
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starting of the year in Afghanistan

starting of the year in Afghanistan....

from Twitter by Mustafa KAZEMI :

Gunshots. Muah! Going to check. Sweet!
No action. Neighbors kids playing with guns.

R.I.P. - Private John King

Private John King [picture via MOD]

Private John King killed in Afghanistan

1 Jan 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Private John King of 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, on 30 December 2011.

Private King was taking part in a partnered foot patrol with Afghan National Security Forces to increase security around the village of Llara Kalay, in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.
The patrol had identified insurgents in the area and had begun to search and clear a number of compounds in the village. The Afghan National Army members of the patrol came under fire from insurgents and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers moved forwards to support them. During the firefight Private King was caught in the blast from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and was killed in action, despite the best efforts of medics at the scene.

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2 NATO troops killed in Helmand province

Sunday, January 1, 2012 – 
 Officials in the Ministry of Defense of Georgia announced that at least one Georgian soldier serving under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan was killed in southern Helmand province on Saturday.

NATO authorities in a statement confirmed that the Georgian soldier was killed in a roadside bomb explosion on Saturday.

The latest incident tolls up the number of Georgian troops casualties to 11 soldiers since they started mission in Afghanistan.

Georgia has deployed around 900 soldiers under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. However, the parliament of Georgia recently decided to double the number of its armed forces in this country.

In the meantime, officials in the ministry of defense of United Kingdom also announced that one of its troops died in Nahr-e-Saraj district of southern Helmand province.
The officials further added, the UK soldier died of a roadside bomb explosion while he was patrolling the area.

Iran test-fires medium range missiles in Gulf drills

Sunday, January 01, 2012 – the official Irna news agency on Sunday reported, Iran tested a new medium-range missile during war games near a vital Gulf oil transit channel, hours after U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law tightening sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, the spokesman for Iranian Navy’sVelayat 90 war games said, the new Iranian surface-to-air missile was launched Sunday during the “power phase” of the massive 10-day drills.
Mr. Mousavi further added, the mid-range missile, designed and manufactured by Iranian experts, is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and an intelligent system that enables it to target radio emission sources and thwart jammers.
A military spokesman also announced that Iranian ships and submarines will Monday carry out maneuvers designed to allow them to shut the strategic channel, the Strait of Hormuz, if Tehran so wishes.
Iran’s 10 days of naval exercises began last week and are taking place in international waters to the east of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The exercise covers a 1,250-mile (2,000-kilometer) stretch of water beyond the Strait of Hormuz, including parts of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
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Magnitude 7.0 quake hits eastern Japan

HIMEJI, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 03:  People arrange ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

TOKYO, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale on Sunday rocked eastern part of Japan and its vicinity in Honshu Island of Japan, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at 14:28 local time (0528 GMT), was off Torishima Island, south of Tokyo, at a depth of 370 kilometers. This earthquake poses no tsunami risk, the agency said.

Strong tremors were felt in Tokyo where Xinhua's office building swayed for a while. The jolt was also felt in northeastern prefectures including Miyagi and Fukushima, which are still recovering from the twin disasters in March.

No immediate abnormality were reported at nearby nuclear facilities including those damaged in Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to properties.
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Jan. 01., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Jan. 01) — An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani facilitator during an operation in Bermal district, Paktika province, today.
The facilitator organized insurgent operations and provided safe passages for insurgents traveling from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Multiple suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban weapons facilitator during an operation in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, today. The facilitator, who operated in both Musa Qal’ah and Kajaki districts, supported insurgents and planned attacks against coalition forces. One additional suspected insurgent was detained during the operation.
A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache while conducting a routine patrol in Panjwa ‘i district, Kandahar province, today. The cache consisted of approximately 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of marijuana. Security forces destroyed the marijuana on site without incident.

2 militants killed, 18 detained in Afghan police operations

Sunday, January 01, 2012 – Officials in the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Afghanistan following a press release on Sunday said, at least 2 militants were killed and 18 others were detained following Afghan National Police operations.

The statement further added, the operations were conducted by Afghan National Police at Kabul, Kandahar, paktia, Zabul, Takhar and Baghlan provinces.

The officials also said, Afghan security forces arrested a criminal suspect with a fake passport at the International Airport in capital Kabul on Saturday.

In the meantime, officials in Afghan Intelligence Department (National Directorate for Security) announced to detain at least five militants.

Afghan Intelligence spokesman Lotfullah Mashal following a press conference said, at least two Pakistani militants were detained in eastern Kunar province.

He also said, one of the militant was detained in Balkh province and the two others were detained in western Herat province.
The detained militants confessed to their crimes, Mr. Mashal said.
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Dec. 31., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Evening Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 31) — Combined Afghan and coalition security forces discovered a weapons cache while conducting a routine patrol in Ghazni district, Ghazni province, today. The weapons cache consisted of one 125 mm tank round, 39 mortar rounds, over 400 rounds of small arms ammunition, one rocket propelled grenade and 29 artillery fuses. The security forces destroyed the weapons cache without incident.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

A coalition security force discovered a weapons cache while conducting a routine patrol in Argo district, Badakhshan province, today. The weapons cache consisted of four anti-tank mines, one 82 mm mortar round, one hand grenade and one jug of explosives. The security forces destroyed the cache on site without incident.

While conducting a routine patrol in Zharay district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered several improvised explosive devices, today. The security force uncovered five armed IEDs with a combined total of 33 pounds (15 kilograms) of explosive material. All the IEDs were destroyed on site without incident.

Happy New Year!

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

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