Sri Lanka currency falls to record low

Updated 01 December 2015
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Sri Lanka currency falls to record low

COLOMBO:The Sri Lankan rupee fell to a record low of 143.25 per dollar on Friday, on track for its sixth straight session of declines on importer demand for the greenback amid lower dollar liquidity.
Exporters were also reluctant to sell dollars on expectation the local currency could fall further, dealers said.
The rupee fell as much as 0.28 percent to an all-time low of 143.25 per dollar, surpassing the previous record of 143.15 hit on Thursday.
The rupee was trading at 143.20/35 per dollar at 0600 GMT, compared with Thursday’s close of 143.15/25.
“Importer demand is there but very reluctant (dollar) sales. It’s confusing and I don’t know to what level this (rupee) will fall,” said a currency dealer.
Global political risk research firm Eurasia group said political infighting and populism measure are likely to slow down implementation of the budget’s economic liberalization measures.
“Sri Lanka’s 2016 budget highlights the government’s weak commitment to fiscal consolidation and will leave its external accounts position vulnerable,” Sasha Riser-Kositsky of Eurasia said in a research note.
On Tuesday, the central bank left the key interest rates steady at record lows for a seventh straight month.
Capital Economics said risk in the financial sector is mounting with continued acceleration in credit growth while inflation is on the rise.
The rupee has dropped around 8.4 percent so far this year and 5.9 percent since the central bank allowed free-float on Sept. 4, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Dealers said the central bank had still been intervening through moral suasion after it had intervened in the market to check the fall in the rupee. Officials at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka were not available for comment.
The central bank sold dollars worth a net $277.95 million in October and $523.80 million in September, latest data showed. Dealers said part of that money was spent to defend the rupee.
Sri Lanka’s main stock index .CSE was up 0.07 percent at 6,968.53 at 0549 GMT, edging up from its four-and-a-half month closing low hit in the previous session. Turnover was 171.9 million rupees ($1.20 million).


Europol warns on Daesh cyber threat

Updated 2 min 31 sec ago
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Europol warns on Daesh cyber threat

  • Daesh said to be seeking malware on 'dark web'
  • Extremist groups also experimenting with digital currencies

LONDON: Daesh followers could be seeking cyber-attack tools from the so-called ‘digital underground,’ according to a new report from Europol.
With Daesh forces having lost most of their territorial strongholds in the Middle East since 2016, the terror organization has increasingly retreated to the web to continue its campaign.
The annual report published on Tuesday looks at current and anticipated threats in cybercrime across the globe, and comes just as the Syrian war seems to be entering its final stage with the last militant rebel fighters holding up in the province of Idlib.
Daesh had already become well-known for using encrypted messaging apps and the ‘dark web’- an area of the Internet not accessible to search engines — to promote itself and recruit new members to its organization.
Europe’s law enforcement agency’s report now suggests that Daesh may also considering the use of cyber-attacks and using the ‘dark web’ to buy illicit malware.
“There has been much concern and speculation over the past few years that terrorists could turn to launching cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure,” the report said.
Daesh-affiliated groups have only managed to carry out a handful of “low-level” cyberattacks in the last year, the report found, including the hacking of a Swedish radio station last year when the attacker managed to play out an IS song on air, the report said.
In March this year, Daesh supporters also attempted to set up an alternative to the social networking platform Facebook, called the “Muslim’s Network.”
While concerns are growing, Europol said the organization’s current cyber-crime abilities remain in their “infancy.”
Daesh is also far more likely to buy cyber-attack tools that use malware or ransomware technology, rather than develop their own tools yet, the report found. 

“While IS sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness to buy cyber-attack tools and services from the digital underground, their own internal capability appears limited,” the report read.
“While terrorist actors are aggregating open- source tools, they have yet to develop their own,” it added.
Extremist networks have also experimented with cryptocurrencies as a means of moving funds across borders, the report said.
Europol highlighted IS-affiliated websites calling for donations of the virtual currency Bitcoin last November.
As yet, no on-the-ground attack carried out in Europe has been funded with virtual currency, the report found, with financing still mainly coming from the conventional banking system and money remittance services.
The report recommended that efforts must be made to disrupt Daesh’s online propaganda in order to hinder the group’s “access to human expertise, funding and cyber tools.”
In July, a survey of academics specializing in cyberterrorism found that just over two-thirds of respondents thought cyberterrorism constituted a “significant threat.”
However, Stuart Macdonald, professor of law and criminology at Swansea University and author of the Cyberterrorism Project report told Arab News that there were differences surrounding the definition of cyberterrorism.
Cyberterrorism could potentially covering an attack that resulted in killing a huge number of people or it could just involve shutting down a website for a few hours, he said.
“But overall most agree that vulnerabilities exist in critical infrastructure. Where opinions tend to differ is whether terrorists have the capability to perpetrate acts of cyberterrorism and are motivated to commit acts of cyberterrorism as opposed to more traditional forms of physical attack.
“Some researchers believe that terrorists are likely to prefer traditional physical attacks, as these are more headline-grabbing and generally less expensive,” he said.