Rise in Arab applications to UK universities

After the US, the UK is the next most sought-after destination for students from the Middle East, who make up around 6 percent of all international students in British universities. (Courtesy Ucas Facebook)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Rise in Arab applications to UK universities

LONDON: The number of foreign students applying to British universities has hit an all-time high, with some of the biggest increases coming from the Arab world, according to figures released by Ucas, the body that processes applications to UK universities.
After several years of declining numbers, applications from Saudi Arabia increased this year by 10 percent to 640 applicants.
The number of international students wanting to continue their education in Britain has surpassed 100,000 for the first time in 2018, a rise of more than 8 percent from last year.
Applications from the UAE numbered 430 in 2009, 1,550 in 2017 and 1,800 this year, up 16 percent in a year. The upward trend is repeated in almost every Arab country, from Morocco to the Gulf states.
Applications from Jordan are up 16 percent from 2017, and up 7 percent each from Oman and Kuwait. Applications from Lebanon and Morocco have surged by 25 percent each.
Only Bahrain and Egypt submitted fewer applications in 2018, from 310 to 300 and from 610 to 570, respectively.
After the US, the UK is the next most sought-after destination for students from the Middle East, who make up around 6 percent of all international students in British universities.
The biggest increases in international applications were from India (36 percent), Brazil (35 percent), Turkey (39 percent) and Mexico (52 percent).
And far from being put off by Brexit, more students from EU countries applied to British universities in 2018 than last year.
“The weaker pound makes the UK a cost-effective place to study … and the UK’s universities are highly popular with international students because of the quality of teaching and experience they offer,” said Helen Thorne, director of external relations at Ucas.
But sources say there are other factors at play — notably, a perception that under President Donald Trump the US has become more xenophobic and Islamophobic, evidenced by the travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries, and his pledge to build a wall to halt immigration from neighboring Mexico and other Latin American countries.
The single biggest increase in the number of foreign students applying to British universities this year is from Mexico.
There are around 33,700 students from the Middle East enrolled in American universities and postgraduate schools, out of more than 690,000 foreign students.


FBI warns Russians hacked hundreds of thousands of routers

Updated 47 min 36 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.