US military targeted in cyber attack
The US Central Command has suffered a cyber attack apparently from Islamic State militants but possibly a prank. Twitter and YouTube accounts were targeted and messages warning soldiers that the terrorist group “is coming” posted on the social networks. The FBI and Department of Defense are investigating the attacks but have pointed out that this was an attack on third party systems and not the military’s own networks and there was no risk to operations. Security experts say that it is not certain who was behind the attacks and a ‘prank’ has not been ruled out, especially as the attacks have coincided with speeches and planned meetings by President Obama on the subject of cyber attacks. Experts warn that businesses that rely too heavily on their social media channels are exposed to additional risk over which they have little control. Some businesses use Facebook for example as their sole online presence.
Working in the coffee shop? Who’s ‘listening’ to your device?
Cyber experts have identified a new breed of computer hackers who ‘listen’ to devices in public places. It will come as a shock to those of us that like to occasionally work over a hot beverage in a coffee shop, but computers emit a signal every time a program is opened or other functions are performed. Until now it was thought that those signals were imperceptible but experts at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that they could be ‘heard’ by hackers who could then work out what you are doing on your laptop. The signals are emitted even when the computer isn’t online opening up a new risk for computer and mobile device users.
Falling oil prices could impact climate change agreements
The Paris Climate Summit in December this year will aim to gain consensus among nations on reducing carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global warming. However, a report from HSBC says that gaining agreement on targets could be thrown into disarray by the low cost of oil. Implementing environmentally-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels is costly and with many nations being adversely affected by falling oil revenues they may be unwilling or unable to commit to targets. Additionally the lower cost of oil increases its use among business and consumers which becomes more difficult to reverse. There is an element of optimism though, nations that are making savings as the result of lower fuel costs may choose to invest the savings in greener alternatives.