Daily News Roundup

April 17, 2018

Image: ABC News

TUESDAY, April, 17

Australian companies have been caught up in suspected Russian cyber attacks that have affected “millions of machines” worldwide, authorities say.

The United States, Britain and Australia have alleged Russian Government-backed hackers have infected computer routers around the world in a cyber espionage campaign targeting government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators, ABC news reports.

In Australia, hundreds of businesses were affected in 2017 but no information was compromised, the ABC understands.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has already notified the businesses that were targeted.

US and British officials told reporters in a conference call that they planned to issue a joint alert on the attacks, which targeted routers that form a key part of the internet infrastructure in a cyber espionage campaign that could be leveraged in the future to launch offensive attacks.

“When we see malicious cyber activity, whether it be from the Kremlin or other malicious nation-state actors, we are going to push back,” White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said.

The US and British governments said they planned to provide technical details on the attacks so that organisations can determine whether they have been hacked and thwart similar future hacking attempts.

They asked victims to report any infections so they could better understand the impact of the campaign.

“We don’t have full insight into the scope of the compromise,” said Jeanette Manfra, a cybersecurity official for the US Department of Homeland Security.

US and British officials said the infected routers could be used to launch future offensive cyber operations.

“They could be pre-positioning for use in times of tension,” said Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the British Government’s National Cyber Security Centre, who added that “millions of machines” were targeted.

The White House in February blamed Russia for the devastating “NotPetya” cyber attack in 2017, joining the British Government in condemning Russia for unleashing a virus that crippled parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure and damaged computers across the globe.

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Two women and a man are dead after fire tore through a home at Everton Hills in Brisbane’s north this morning.

The blaze broke out at the Pavonia Street home about 5:30am, with authorities alerted by a triple-0 call.

Inspector Dan Bragg said neighbours reported hearing an explosion coming from the home.

“What we’re advised is that it was quite a large explosion, quite significant, and the neighbour that heard that explosion immediately contacted police,” he said.

“We also spoke to one neighbour who gave us advice that there was some yelling beforehand.”

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Inspector Bevan Moore said several witnesses reported hearing “unusual noises”.

“Explosions reported by neighbours, the smell of fuel and things like that,” he said.

Inspector Bragg said it was believed the fire broke out quite quickly.

“I’ve heard the fire could be seen from quite a distance away,” he said.

“And it was the flames and smoke that actually led people to the address.

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Conchito Wurst says she’s HIV-positive and has been living with the virus for many years.

The Austrian drag queen, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014, said on Instagram on Sunday she had been blackmailed by a former friend who wanted to publish the information and decided to come out herself with it before he did.

Conchita wrote that she has been receiving medical treatment for many years and that she is feeling healthy and strong.

Conchita, the alter ego of Thomas Neuwirth, wrote that “coming out is better than being outed by a third party.”

She said: “I hope to encourage (others) and make a step against the stigmatisation of people who through their own behaviour or through no fault of their own were infected with HIV.”

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