Tag Archives: International Politics

Yahoo Hacked Again: “We Are Under Attack”

Usernames and passwords of some Yahoo’s email customers have been stolen and used to gather personal information about people, friends and family they have recently corresponded with, Yahoo Inc. says in a press release. It is the latest in a string of security breaches that have allowed hackers to grab personal information using software that analysts say is ever more sophisticated.

“We’re clearly under attack.”

Avivah Litan

security-breached-Yahoo-Hacked

Yahoo, the second-largest email service after Google’s Gmail. There are 273 million Yahoo mail accounts worldwide, 81 million of them in the United States. The internet company will not say how many email accounts that have been compromised.

Probably because the Yahoo-people  don’t know for sure, yet.

This is the latest in a string of security breaches that have allowed hackers to grab personal information using software that analysts say is ever more sophisticated.

Up to 70 million customers of Target stores in the US had their personal information and credit and debit card numbers compromised late last year.

“It’s an old trend, but it’s much more exaggerated now because the programmes the bad guys use are much more sophisticated now,” said Avivah Litan, a security analyst at the technology research firm Gartner.

“We’re clearly under attack”

0In a blog post on its breach, Yahoo says: “The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts’ most recent sent emails.”

That could mean hackers were looking for additional email addresses to send spam or scam messages. By grabbing real names from those sent folders, hackers could try to make bogus messages appear more legitimate to recipients.

“It’s much more likely that I’d click on something from you if we email all the time,” says Richard Mogull, analyst and chief executive of Securois, a security research and advisory firm.

FULL SUMMARY@ASSOCIATED PRESS

And the “bad guys” as Mr. Litan call them – that’s the NSA, right?

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology

All Facebook Users Are Now Potential Terrorists

At least that’s the opinion of American and British authorities. While the US FBI are hunting down script kiddies who’s messing with their websites, the British police are cracking down on users of social media for allegedly encouraging a mass uprising during a time ripe with riots.

One single message on Facebook recently resulted in four years behind bars for two British citizens because of something they say was just a drunk joke.

Now human rights groups are sounding the alarm, saying the courts are over-reacting by dishing out penalties which are far too harsh.

Russia Today reports:

As if that’s not enough; we now also got a Facebook group dedicated to expose terrorist on Facebook….or should I say “Farcebook”?…

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The Absurdity of the French-German Euro Summit

EconoTwist’s is obviously not the only blog who thinks there’s something absurd about the two top leaders of France and Germany getting together and hammer out the future of the whole European Union, and sending their orders in a five-page letter to the president of the EU Council together with an offer for the leading chair in the new economic government they’re proposing. I’m not sure what they mean by “strengthening” the economic governance, or how this is gonna solve anything. Professor George Irvin, however, have a few clarifying comments.

“In a sane world, the German Chancellor and the French President would sack their economic advisors who clearly lack an understanding of basic economics or national accounting principles. Sadly, the world is growing less sane by the day.”

George Irvin

Except for the so-called “Tobin-tax” on financial transactions, EconoTwist’s, agree on most arguments made by honorary professor George Irvin at the University of London. In his recently published post at the EUobserver.com, professor Irvin points to  one crucial fact: There is nothing in the French-German plans for a new European economic government that actually may stop the debt crisis from escalating.

Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy spent most part of yesterdays meeting mapping the future of the Euro Area (EA) and apparently came away pleased with their work, professor Irvin observes.

And continues:

The good news is that they want to move towards serious EA economic governance and seemed to have agreed on a Tobin tax as part of the deal.

The bad news is that they want all members of the EA-17 to write a ‘balanced budget’ rule into their constitution; ie, to replicate the German ‘debt brake’ (Schuldenbremse) law across the EA.

It won’t work.

The reason a generalised balanced budget rule won’t work is simple; it follows from the basic national accounting savings balances. Because (over the business cycle as a whole) the private sector normally runs a savings surplus, a government balance of zero logically entails a current account surplus.

While this may hold true for Germany, it cannot be true for all EA countries taken together.

For the EA as a whole, one country’s exports are another’s imports—for some countries (like Germany) to run a surplus, others must run a deficit.

This is not an empirical matter but follows logically from national accounting definitions; Merkel and Sarkozy are guilty of a basic fallacy of composition.

There is only one way a “balanced budget rule” might work for the EA as a whole – each EA deficit country would have to run a countervailing surplus with the non-EA world. But there are two problems here.

The first, shown in a paper by Whyte, is that there is not enough excess demand in the rest of the world to absorb the extra EA exports.

Even if there were, the resulting global trade imbalance would result over time in the EA accumulating excess reserves, much as China today.

Crucially, Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy made no mention of strengthening the “bailout fund” or issuing E-bonds. The latter is vital if short-term crisis is to be avoided.

George Irvin

In a sane world, the German Chancellor and the French President would sack their economic advisors who clearly lack an understanding of basic economics or national accounting principles. Sadly, the world is growing less sane by the day.

The financial markets will know this and soon enough return to speculating against member states’ sovereign debt.

By George Irvin

George Irvin is a retired professor of economics and for many years was at ISS in The Hague. He is now honorary Professorial Research Fellow in Development Studies at the University of London, SOAS.

His blog covers contemporary economic and political issues relevant to the EU.

 

See also: Van Rompuy tipped to chair new “economic government”

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