UK cyber agency targets Kaspersky in warning on Russian software

Eugene Kaspersky makes a presentation at a press conference in London early this week, in defending against accusations the company he founded works on the behalf of Russian intelligence. (Reuters)
Updated 02 December 2017
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UK cyber agency targets Kaspersky in warning on Russian software

WASHINGTON/BENGALURU: Britain’s main cybersecurity agency on Friday warned British government agencies to avoid using anti-virus software from Russian companies, the latest in a series of moves targeting Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab.
In a letter to departmental permanent secretaries, the director of the UK National Cyber Security Center, Ciaran Martin, said Russian-made anti-virus software should not be used in systems containing information that would harm national security if it was accessed by the Russian government.
He said his agency is in talks with Kaspersky Lab to develop a system for reviewing its products for use in Britain.
Kaspersky’s anti-virus software was banned from US government networks earlier this year on concerns the company has close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and that its software could be used to enable Russian spying.
“We are in discussions with Kaspersky Lab ... about whether we can develop a framework that we and others can independently verify,” Martin said in the letter, which was publicly released.
Kaspersky Lab said in a statement that it looked forward to working with the NCSC on the issue.
Kaspersky has strongly denied allegations about the safety of its products or ties to the Russian government, saying it has become a scapegoat in the midst of rising tensions between Washington and Moscow.


Massive diamond cache detected beneath Earth’s surface

Updated 18 July 2018
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Massive diamond cache detected beneath Earth’s surface

  • “This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral..."
  • These naturally occurring precious minerals are located far deeper than any drilling expedition has ever reached

WASHINGTON: There’s a load of bling buried in the Earth.
More than a quadrillion tons of diamonds to be exact — or one thousand times more than one trillion — US researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported this week.
But don’t expect a diamond rush. These naturally occurring precious minerals are located far deeper than any drilling expedition has ever reached, about 90 to 150 miles (145 to 240 kilometers) below the surface of our planet.
“We can’t get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before,” said Ulrich Faul, a research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
“This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral, but on the scale of things, it’s relatively common.”
Using seismic technology to analyze how sound waves pass through the Earth, scientists detected the treasure trove in rocks called cratonic roots, which are shaped like inverted mountains that stretch through the Earth’s crust and into the mantle.
These are “the oldest and most immovable sections of rock that lie beneath the center of most continental tectonic plates,” explained MIT in a statement.
The project to uncover deep Earth diamonds began because scientists were puzzled by observations that sound waves would speed up significantly when passing through the roots of ancient cratons.
So they assembled virtual rocks, made from various combinations of minerals, to calculate how fast sound waves would travel through them.
“Diamond in many ways is special,” Faul said.
“One of its special properties is, the sound velocity in diamond is more than twice as fast as in the dominant mineral in upper mantle rocks, olivine.”
They found that the only type of rock that matched the speeds they were detecting in craton would contain one to two percent diamond.
Scientists now believe the Earth’s ancient underground rocks contain at least 1,000 times more diamond than previously expected.
Still, very few of these gems are expected to make their way to the jewelry store.
Diamonds are made from carbon, and are formed under high-pressure and extreme temperatures deep in the Earth.
They emerge near the surface only through volcanic eruptions that occur rarely — on the order of every few tens of millions of years.