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Posts tagged ‘Navy ships’

Govt’s Windows XP Computers Vulnerable to Attack.


Image: Govt's Windows XP Computers Vulnerable to Attack

 

By Elliot Jager

Millions of U.S. government computers, including those at military and intelligence agencies,  will still be running Windows XP after April 8 even though Microsoft Corp. will no longer be providing security patches for the operating system, The Washington Post reported.

Such computers — comprising an estimated 10 percent of inventory — could be susceptible to being hacked, jeopardizing other computers in their network, including those running current operating systems.

Windows XP came on stream in 2001, and Microsoft has been saying for six years that it would end free support in April 2014.

The Department of Homeland Security and the White House Office of Management and Budget alerted agencies in April 2012 that they needed to urgently transition from Windows XP.

The bulk of federal government computers are ready for the changeover. New hardware has been purchased, operating systems on older machines have been updated, and custom made applications designed to run on Windows XP have been overhauled.

Homeland Security has transitioned. Most of Defense and State are also ready, though some machines dedicated to classified data — presumably not running on a network — are still tethered to the old operating system. About 75 percent of Justice Department computers will be off Windows XP by the deadline and 98 percent of those at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some agencies, however, are decentralized and spokesmen could not say how well they were prepared for the deadline.

Some computers on Navy ships run on the old system using specialized software. Shifting over would necessitate re-engineering the hardware environment – hard to do while maintaining operations, a Pentagon information specialist told the Post.

Compared to the private sector and individual users, the government is actually ahead of the curve. Industry observers estimate that, globally, some 20 percent of computers are still running the obsolete operating system.

Nevertheless, critics say 10 percent of federal computers should not have been left susceptible to penetration. According to Steve Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, “There is something broken in the process if they are letting this many machines be un-updated at this point. Some of it is budget cuts. Some of it is not very good management, I suspect.”

Michael Silver, an analyst for the Gartner Research consulting firm, likened running Windows XP to “living in a bad neighborhood.”

Iranian and Chinese hackers have previously penetrated computers running Windows XP. Cyber attackers tend to lie in wait for vulnerable “end-of-life” operating systems to gain access to entire networks, the Post reported.


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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Malaysia Military Tracked Missing Plane to West Coast.


Malaysia’s military believes a jetliner missing for almost four days turned and flew hundreds of kilometers to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country’s east coast, a senior officer told Reuters on Tuesday.

In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the senior military officer, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.

That would appear to rule out sudden catastrophic mechanical failure, as it would mean the plane flew around 350 miles at least after its last contact with air traffic control, although its transponder and other tracking systems were off.

A non-military source familiar with the investigations said the report was one of several theories and was being checked.

At the time it lost contact with civilian air traffic control, the plane was roughly midway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 35,000 feet.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast.

Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper quoted air force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the plane was last detected at 2.40 a.m. by military radar near the island of Pulau Perak at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca. It was flying about 1,000 metres lower than its previous altitude, he was quoted as saying.

There was no word on what happened to the plane thereafter.

The effect of turning off the transponder is to make the aircraft inert to secondary radar, so civil controllers cannot identify it. Secondary radar interrogates the transponder and gets information about the plane’s identity, speed and height.

It would however still be visible to primary radar, which is used by militaries.

Police had earlier said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might explain its disappearance, along with the possibility of a hijack, sabotage or mechanical failure.

There was no distress signal or radio contact indicating a problem and, in the absence of any wreckage or flight data, police have been left trawling through passenger and crew lists for potential leads.

“Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a huge sum of insurance, who wants family to gain from it or somebody who has owed somebody so much money, you know, we are looking at all possibilities,” Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference.

“We are looking very closely at the video footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), we are studying the behavioural pattern of all the passengers.”

A huge search operation for the plane has been mostly focused on the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand off Malaysia’s east coast, although the Strait of Malacca has been included since Sunday.

Navy ships, military aircraft, helicopters, coastguard and civilian vessels from 10 nations have criss-crossed the seas off both coasts of Malaysia without success.

The massive search for the plane has drawn in navies, military aircraft, coastguard and civilian vessels from 10 nations.

The fact that at least two passengers on board had used stolen passports has raised suspicions of foul play. But Southeast Asia is known as a hub for false documents that are also used by smugglers, illegal migrants and asylum seekers.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble named the two men as Iranians aged 18 and 29, who had entered Malaysia using their real passports before using the stolen European documents to board the Beijing-bound flight.

“The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident,” Noble said.

Malaysian police chief Khalid said the younger man, who he said was 19, appeared to be an illegal immigrant. His mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with authorities, he said.

“We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group, and we believe he was trying to migrate to Germany,” Khalid said.

Asked if that meant he ruled out a hijack, Khalid said: “(We are giving) same weightage to all (possibilities) until we complete our investigations.”

Both men entered Malaysia on Feb 28, at least one from Phuket, in Thailand, eight days before boarding the flight to Beijing, Malaysian immigration chief Aloyah Mamat told the news conference. Both held onward reservations to Western Europe.

Police in Thailand, where the Italian and Austrian passports were stolen and the tickets used by the two men were booked, said they did not think they were linked to the disappearance of the plane.

“We haven’t ruled it out, but the weight of evidence we’re getting swings against the idea that these men are or were involved in terrorism,” Supachai Puikaewcome, chief of police in the Thai resort city of Pattaya, told Reuters.

About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. Other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

China has deployed 10 satellites using high-resolution earth imaging capabilities, visible light imaging and other technologies to “support and assist in the search and rescue operations”, the People’s Liberation Army Daily said.

The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

U.S. planemaker Boeing has declined to comment beyond a brief statement saying it was monitoring the situation.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

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