Ship hired to find MH370 arrives in Indian Ocean search zone

The search vessel, the Seabed Constructor, is equipped with eight autonomous submersibles that can search a wide area of seafloor much faster than the tethered scanners used in previous searches. (Ocean Infinity)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Ship hired to find MH370 arrives in Indian Ocean search zone

SYDNEY: A vessel hired to search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and solve one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries has reached the remote spot in the Indian Ocean where Australian scientists believe the plane went down, Reuters shipping data shows.
Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 with 239 people, mostly Chinese, on board.
Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off MH370’s transponder before diverting it over the Indian Ocean. Debris has been collected from Indian Ocean islands and Africa’s east coast and at least three pieces have been confirmed as coming from the missing plane.
Malaysia agreed earlier this month to pay US firm Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it finds the plane within 90 days. The search vessel, the Seabed Constructor, set off from Durban, South Africa, on January 3.
The vessel is equipped with eight autonomous submersibles that can search a wide area of sea floor much faster than the tethered scanners used in previous searches, Charitha Pattiaratchi, professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia, said by phone from Colombo.
“If they don’t find anything in the 90 days...I think that would be the end for decades — this is like the final effort, if you like,” he said.
Reuters data, which is supplied from an automated tracking system, shows the vessel reached the search zone on Sunday and on Tuesday was tracking toward a spot that Australia’s scientific agency believes with “unprecedented precision and certainty” is the most likely location of the aircraft.
Texas-based Ocean Infinity could not be reached outside business hours at offices in Houston and London.
Australia, Malaysia and China called off their two-year search for the plane a year ago after finding nothing in a 120,000-square-kilometer underwater search zone.


FBI warns Russians hacked hundreds of thousands of routers

Updated 14 min 22 sec ago
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FBI warns Russians hacked hundreds of thousands of routers

WASHINGTON: The FBI warned on Friday that Russian computer hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or shut down network traffic.
The US law enforcement agency urged the owners of many brands of routers to turn them off and on again and download updates from the manufacturer to protect themselves.
The warning followed a court order Wednesday that allowed the FBI to seize a website that the hackers planned to use to give instructions to the routers. Though that cut off malicious communications, it still left the routers infected, and Friday’s warning was aimed at cleaning up those machines.
Infections were detected in more than 50 countries, though the primary target for further actions was probably Ukraine, the site of many recent infections and a longtime cyberwarfare battleground.
In obtaining the court order, the Justice Department said the hackers involved were in a group called Sofacy that answered to the Russian government.
Sofacy, also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear, has been blamed for many of the most dramatic Russian hacks, including that of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
Earlier, Cisco Systems Inc. said the hacking campaign targeted devices from Belkin International’s Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear Inc, TP-Link and QNAP.
Cisco shared the technical details of its investigation with the US and Ukrainian governments. Western experts say Russia has conducted a series of attacks against companies in Ukraine for more than a year amid armed hostilities between the two countries, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and at least one electricity blackout.
The Kremlin on Thursday denied the Ukrainian government’s accusation that Russia was planning a cyberattack on Ukrainian state bodies and private companies ahead of the Champions League soccer final in Kiev on Saturday.
“The size and scope of the infrastructure by VPNFilter malware is significant,” the FBI said, adding that it is capable of rendering peoples’ routers “inoperable.”
It said the malware is hard to detect, due to encryption and other tactics.
The FBI urged people to reboot their devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and help identify infected devices.
People should also consider disabling remote-management settings, changing passwords and upgrading to the latest firmware.