Cyberattacks Cost Australia Over $5 Billion Per Year

Cyberattacks cost Australian citizens and companies more than AU$7 billion ($5.09 billion) a year, according to the country''s prime minister on Thursday.

Malcolm Turnbull said that since 2016, the country's authorities have responded to more than 14,000 cybersecurity attacks by foreign nations or agencies.

Australia is increasingly threatened by cyber attack, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says, and it's time to saddle up.

Flanked by senior ministers from portfolios dealing with Australia's defence, Mr Turnbull cut the ribbon on a new, national cyber security centre on Thursday.

'All these increasing cyber attacks have the hallmarks of a perfect cyber storm,' Mr Turnbull told reporters and intelligence officials in Canberra.

'We must not and will not wait for a catastrophic cyber incident before we act to prevent future attacks.'

The new building for the Australian Cyber Security Centre houses sections for classified and unclassified operations.

The centre has already seen off 14,000 cyber security incidents since 2016, at a rate of more than 16 a day.

'Attempted attacks are occurring every day,' Mr Turnbull said.

The threat, Mr Turnbull said, was global with foreign governments among the most consistent offenders.

The global cost of cyber crime was estimated at $600 billion this year, with Australia's bill topping $7 billion.

The creation of the Home Affairs department, making the Australian Signals Directorate an independent agency and the launch of joint cyber security centres across the nation are all part of the government's cyber security plan.

Cuba gives one of the permits needed for oil drilling

The Cuban government has signed off on an environment license that could pave the way to drilling for oil onshore, an Australian energy company said.

Melbana Energy Ltd., which changed its name last year from MEO Australia to broadcast a Caribbean flair, said the Cuban Ministry of Science and Technology gave it the environmental license for planned activities at its Alameda-1 exploration well on the north shore of Cuba.

"Our Cuba and Melbourne-based drilling team is continuing to progress the necessary permits through the well-defined Cuban regulatory process," Melbana CEO Robert Zammit said in a statement. "We are pleased to reach this milestone and look forward to finalizing all regulatory approvals for the Alameda-1 well."

Melbana's is targeting a reservoir with more than 2.5 billion barrels of oil in place at its Alameda-1 prospect near the northern coast of Cuba. The environmental license is part of the regulatory requirements needed before the company can start drilling.

The company in early April completed a tender for a drilling rig that could be deployed later this year. Bids are under review while it looks for outside partners to buy into its Cuban portfolio.

The company estimates it would cost at least $20 million to drill two wells in Cuba, higher than previous estimates. A share placement over the last quarter generated about $2.1 million in capital to use to fund operations in Cuba, as well as those closer to home at its Beehive prospect in New Zealand.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban & Jamaican Music Converge On 'Havana Meets Kingston' Australian Tour

Australian reggae and dancehall producer Mista Savona has spent the better part of the past two years working on Havana Meets Kingston, an album — and now live show — celebrating a fusion of Cuban and Jamaican music featuring several of the countries' best.

Initially recorded over 10 days in June 2015 at Havana's Egrem Studio, Havana Meets Kingston saw Savana fly seven Jamaican musicians to join a group of established and emergent Cubans to create the groundbreaking project. It has since been finished over several more sessions in Jamaica, Cuba and the UK, and now features more than 50 international musicians among its ranks.

Ahead of the album's upcoming worldwide release in November, Savona is heading Down Under with British-Jamaican muso Randy Valentine and Cuban singer Solis in tow. The pair appear on the album's first single, Carnival, which landed back in February and has already been warmly received in the UK and Europe.

The Havana Meets Kingston Sound System Show will mark the first time several key tracks from the album have been played in a live setting. It kicks off in Sydney on Friday 20 October before heading to Cairns, Melbourne, Bangalow and Stradbroke Island.

The shows, proudly presented by The Music, will serve as something of a taster for the upcoming release, which is set to be followed by another album and a feature-length documentary in 2018. Next year will also see a full-band tour on the cards in the wake of these special sound-system shows.

Havana Meets Kingston will be released on Friday 3 November, and features contributions from the likes of Sly & Robbie, Boopee, Bongo Herman, Changuito and Buena Vista SOcial Club members Barbarito Torres and Rolando Luna.

  • Published in Culture

1 in 5 are ‘revenge porn’ victims, study reveals

One in five Australians have been victims of 'revenge porn,’ according to a study. Men and women are almost as likely to be victims – but those within marginalized groups are at a greater risk.

A total of 4,300 people aged 16 to 49 were surveyed in the study by RMIT University and Monash University. Some 20 percent of those involved had sexual or nude images taken of them without consent, 11 percent had the images distributed and 9 percent were threatened with them being shared.

 

 

“Our survey only captured those victims who had become aware their images had been distributed, whereas some victims may never discover that their images have been taken and distributed, particularly if they are circulated on sites located on the dark web,” Dr Asher Flynn from Monash University said in a statement.

The breakdown of those surveyed showed that 22 percent of women and 23 percent of men were likely to be victimized, with the majority of perpetrators being male. Women were more likely to be victimized by a partner or ex-partner and to have a stranger take a non-consensual image of them.

@RT_com 'We've designed tools to help people': Facebook battles 'revenge porn' sharing on social networks https://on.rt.com/881q
 

“This isn’t just about ‘revenge porn’ – images are being used to control, abuse and humiliate people in ways that go well beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario,” Dr Nicola Henry from RMIT said.

One in two indigenous Australians reported being affected by the abuse, while the same rate was also evident in people with disabilities.

36 percent of lesbian, gay or bisexual people were likely to be victims, compared to 21 percent of heterosexuals. The abuse was also found to be more likely amongst teenagers, with one in three 16 to 19 year olds reported to have been victimized.

80 percent of victims reported psychological distress from the ordeal, with 46 percent fearing for their safety.

The new study recommends reforms including improved support services for victims and making image-based abuse a crime under federal telecommunications law. Currently only the states of Victoria and South Australia have laws addressing it.

“Revenge porn” has plagued the US military in recent months, after a Facebook group was discovered in which marines shared images of female marines without their consent, with some being identified with their name and location.

The page was taken down but the images reappeared on anonymous message boards online. In April, the images were reportedly being sold on the dark web.

READ MORE: Marines United nude photos move to dark web amid ongoing military scandal – report

  • Published in World

'Vaccine Against HIV Closer To Reality', Say Researchers

Melbourne: In a significant progress towards the development of a vaccine against HIV, scientists have developed a new approach to help the immune system actively fight the virus in the body.

For the first time, researchers showed that a combined approach - using a common cold virus to introduce a vaccine into the body, as well as an injection of a DNA-based vaccine - may help protect against HIV in the gut and bodily cavities.

"With sexual activity being one of the primary methods of HIV transmission, it is necessary to try to protect those parts of the body that are most likely to encounter the virus first," said Branka Grubor-Bauk, from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

"A possible reason why previous HIV vaccine trials have not been successful is because of this lack of a front-line protection," Mr Grubor-Bauk said.

The laboratory studies, conducted so far in mice represent an important step forward in attempts to introduce a first line of defence against HIV at the site of infection.

"In mice, we delivered a rhinovirus (or common cold virus) inside the nose, and this virus had been altered to include HIV proteins," Mr Grubor-Bauk said.

"At the same time, the mice also received an injection into the skin containing a DNA-based vaccine. This approach resulted in very specific responses in the immune system," she said.

"This vaccine approach encompasses two different arms of the immune system: white blood cells that attack the HIV virus, and specific antibodies that recognise and shut down HIV-positive cells," she added.

"There is an element of HIV known as Tat that helps the virus to replicate quite rapidly," said Eric Gowans, professor at University of Adelaide.

The antibodies inhibit the Tat effect, preventing HIV from replicating itself, Mr Gowans added.

"Overall, we found that infection was considerably reduced in the mice we studied," he said.

The study appears in the journal Scientific Reports.

World's First Mammals Extinct in Australia due to Climate Change

SYDNEY - Experts believe the world's first mammal species, a small Australian rodent, has disappeared due to human-induced climate change, media reported Tuesday.

The animal, whose scientific name is Melomys rubicola, was an inhabitant of the tiny Bramble Cay island where waters are rising 2 to 3 meters (7- 10 feet) above sea level in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The rodent, considered the only endemic mammal of the Great Barrier Reef, was first recorded by Europeans in 1845 at Bramble cay, where it once lived in abundance.

However, an expedition in 1978 revealed a decline in their numbers to just a few hundred, and the species was last spotted in 2009.

"Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change," said a scientific report published online by the state of Queensland.

Two years ago a team from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the University of Queensland conducted an unsuccessful research to find more of the species.

Natalie Waller and Luke Leung, authors of the official report, recommended the Bramble Cay rodent be declared as extinct.

Experts added that the root cause of the disappearance is rising sea level that flooded the island, destroying the entire population and its habitat, reported the Australian edition of The Guardian.

For low lying islands like Bramble Cay, the destructive effects of weather are further exacerbated by the impact of rising water levels due to human induced climate change, said the report.

With only about 40,000 sq. meters (430,556 sq. feet), the Bramble Cay is an important region for procreation of green turtles and several sea birds of the Torres Strait, in addition to being of great cultural value for indigenous people of the region.

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