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‘Narendra Modi most, Jaitley least mentioned politician in social media’

'Narendra Modi most, Jaitley least mentioned politician in social media'
NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi is the most mentioned politician on social media channels, says a study. The Gujarat chief minister is followed by Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh,Sonia Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal respectively. Among the 20 political leaders who figured in the study, BJP leader Arun Jaitley finished last.

In the study, “mention” means the politician being named or her/his Twitter handle being cited in online posts across Twitter, Facebook,YouTube and other social media.

The study was conducted by Indian consultancy firm Blogworks from January to April 2013. It found that Modi had thrice as many mentions as Rahul Gandhi. The BJP leader was cited over 10 lakh times. However, in percentage terms, Rahul Gandhi’s share of demographics between 18-34 years was marginally ahead of Modi. While Modi led the pack in overall reach, he had the lowest reach per author, according to the report. DMK leader M Karunanidhi scored the highest on that front.

The graphs in the report indicate that a significant amount of web traffic covered came from Twitter, with only marginal inclusions of traffic from Facebook, Youtube, Blogs and Forums. “Twitter has the largest share of mentions for all political leaders, followed by Facebook.Majority of the conversations on Facebook happens in privatenetworks amongst family and friends and hence often is not available as public conversations,” says the report.  Read More


Syria’s cyberwars: using social media against dissent

Armed Syrian rebels stand guard as refugees flee Syria at the Syrian side of the border crossing by the Iraqi town of Qaim, 200 miles (320 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

Karim Kadim\/AP

By Mark Clayton

For years, average Syrians were blocked from FacebookYouTube and other social media byBashar al-Assad’s repressive police-state government. Early last year, however, as the Arab Spring swept through the region, something odd happened: the social media sites that were pivotal to uprisings in other Arab nations were suddenly switched back on.

Now we know why: It’s easier to track people –and find out who is against you – if you can monitor computer traffic to such sites, or trick visitors into clicking on tainted links that download spyware onto their computers, rights activists and cyber experts say.

To a far greater degree than LibyaEgypt or perhaps any other nation in the Arab world, Syria‘s government has succeeded in flipping activists’ use of digital tools and social media to the government’s own advantage, cyber experts with an eye on Syria say.  Read More


Expert Issues a Cyberwar Warning

MOSCOW — When Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of Europe’s largest antivirus company, discovered the Flame virus that is afflicting computers in Iran and the Middle East, he recognized it as a technologically sophisticated virus that only a government could create.

Alexey Sazonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Kapersky Lab, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

He also recognized that the virus, which he compares to the Stuxnetvirus built by programmers employed by the United States and Israel, adds weight to his warnings of the grave dangers posed by governments that manufacture and release viruses on the Internet.

“Cyberweapons are the most dangerous innovation of this century,” he told a gathering of technology company executives, called the CeBIT conference, last month in Sydney, Australia. While the United States and Israel are using the weapons to slow the nuclear bomb-making abilities of Iran, they could also be used to disrupt power grids and financial systems or even wreak havoc with military defenses.

Computer security companies have for years used their discovery of a new virus or worm to call attention to themselves and win more business from companies seeking computer protection. Mr. Kaspersky, a Russian computer security expert, and his company, Kaspersky Lab, are no different in that regard. But he is also using his company’s integral role in exposing or decrypting three computer viruses apparently intended to slow or halt Iran’s nuclear program to argue for an international treaty banning computer warfare.

A growing array of nations and other entities are using online weapons, he says, because they are “thousands of times cheaper” than conventional armaments.  Read More

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

From his first months in office, President Obamasecretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press

Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.  Read More

Social Media – The New Favorite Breeding Ground Of Terrorists

‘Challenging Extremists’, a report by Student Rights and the Henry Jackson Society, says individuals invited to address students on U.K. university campuses have promoted fear of a Western war against Islam, support for paramilitary violence in Israel, intolerance of non-believers and Islam as an obligatory political system for law and governance.

British students are being targeted online by Islamist extremists using social media, according to the new report, which lists evidence of individuals targeting student social media pages to share extremist material.

One individual targeted students via social media to share a video of Abu Ibrahim, designated by the US government as an al-Qaeda linked fighter, recruiter, facilitator and propagandist; there was also an audio recording of Abdul Rahman Saleem, convicted in 2008 of inciting terrorism overseas during a speech at Regent’s Park mosque. In some cases, students themselves have shared extreme videos of deceased senior al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.   Read More

Massive ‘Flame’ Malware Stealing Data Across Middle East

Chloe AlbanesiusBy Chloe Albanesiu

Flame Malware

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have uncovered a massive cyber threat, dubbed Flame, that is targeting “sensitive” information across the Middle East.

The malware, Kaspersky said, “might be the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed.”

Once deployed, Flame can sniff network traffic, take screenshots, record audio conversations, intercept a keyboard, and more, Kaspersky said. All of this data is then available via Flame’s command-and-control servers.

Iran has thus far been hardest hit by Flame, with at least 189 infections. Israel/Palestine came in second with 98, followed by Sudan (32), Syria (30), Lebanon (18), Saudi Arabia (10), and Egypt (5).

Kaspersky has not identified any specific organization that Flame is targeting. “From the initial analysis, it looks like the creators of Flame are simply looking for any kind of intelligence – emails, documents, messages, discussions inside sensitive locations, pretty much everything,” Kaspersky’s Alexander Gostev wrote in a blog post. “We have not seen any specific signs indicating a particular target such as the energy industry – making us believe it’s a complete attack toolkit designed for general cyber-espionage purposes.”  Read More

Fed clears China’s first US bank takeover

  • Customers walk out of the Bank of East Asia's headquarters in Hong Kong. China's ICBC will buy up to 80 percent of the US unit of the Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia, which operates 13 branches in New York and California

The United States opened its banking market to China’s biggest bank ICBC, for the first time clearing a takeover of a US bank by a Chinese state-controlled company.

Just days after high-level US-China economic talks in Beijing, the Federal Reserve approved an application from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to buy a majority stake in the US subsidiary of Bank of East Asia.

The transaction will make ICBC the first Chinese state-controlled bank to acquire retail bank branches in the United States.

ICBC has been the most aggressive of China’s “big four” banks in expanding abroad.

Outside China, it operates subsidiary banks in Asian countries and has branches in a number of countries including Germany, Japan and Singapore.

According to the Fed, the bank has total assets of roughly $2.5 trillion.

ICBC will buy up to 80 percent of the US unit of the Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia, which operates 13 branches in New York and California.  Read More

9/11 suspects ignore, disrupt Guantanamo arraignment

Silence and the odd outburst from accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others resulted in delays during their arraignment Saturday in Guantanamo Bay.

A hearing before a military judge that could have lasted minutes instead stretched into hours.

Court was still going strong Saturday night, when the charges against the five suspects were being read.

It was Mohammed and four others’ first appearance in a military courtroom since being charged a month ago.

Along with Mohammed, the others are Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

The men are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.

The silence from the defendants — some ignored the judge and others appeared to be reading — slowed the proceedings to a crawl.   Read More

U.S. and Afghanistan Reach Partnership Agreement

The United States ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, and Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Rangin Spanta, completed the wording of the draft, which will now be sent to President Hamid Karzai and to the Afghan Parliament for review and approval before it is signed by the presidents of both countries, according to American and Afghan officials.

“We believe we have a final text which will be presented to the president and also presented to Parliament for final consultation and approval before the signature by the two presidents,” said an Afghan official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the official did not have permission to speak to the news media.

“It covers the broad spectrum of the existing, broad-based, comprehensive partnership between the two countries with the view towards sustaining that for at least another decade beyond the end of transition in 2014,” the official said.

The document outlines the two countries’ future relationship rather than specifying exact amounts of support or programs, but officials from both countries have said that they hope that it will send a signal to insurgents and other destabilizing forces here that the United States is not going to abandon Afghanistan as it did in the 1990s after the Soviets were driven out.  Rather, the Americans will continue to support the country in many areas.

Negotiations on the document started more than nine months ago but were delayed repeatedly over the sensitive issues of night raids by American troops and the American operation of detention facilities.

Ultimately negotiators agreed to write detailed separate agreements on those two issues and signed a memorandum of understanding on the transfer of detention operations to the Afghan government in March. In April, they signed a companion memorandum handing final authority on night raids to Afghan security forces, who are now carrying out all raids unless American assistance is requested.

With those two issues resolved, the strategic partnership moved quickly to completion. The document promises American economic development support for Afghanistan and help in fields like agriculture and education, as well as security. It does not include any specific commitment of foreign aid because that amount must be authorized and appropriated by Congress and can not be committed by the executive branch.  Read More

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