Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers target 150 organizations with phishing

Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers target 150 organizations with phishing
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Updated 28 May 2021

Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers target 150 organizations with phishing

Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers target 150 organizations with phishing
  • The malevolent effort targeted about 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations
  • It said, the hackers gained access to USAID’s account at Constant Contact, an email marketing service

BOSTON, US: The state-backed Russian cyber spies behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign launched a targeted spear-phishing assault on US and foreign government agencies and think tanks this week using an email marketing account of the US Agency for International Development, Microsoft said.
The effort targeted about 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations, at least a quarter of them involved in international development, humanitarian and human rights work, Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt said in a blog post late Thursday.
It did not say what portion of the attempts may have led to successful intrusions.
The cybersecurity firm Volexity, which also tracked the campaign but has less visibility into email systems than Microsoft , said in a post that relatively low detection rates of the phishing emails suggest the attacker was “likely having some success in breaching targets.”
Burt said the campaign appeared to be a continuation of multiple efforts by the Russian hackers to “target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts.” He said the targets spanned at least 24 countries.
The hackers gained access to USAID’s account at Constant Contact, an email marketing service, Microsoft said. The authentic-looking phishing emails dated May 25 purport to contain new information on 2020 election fraud claims and include a link to malware that allows the hackers to “achieve persistent access to compromised machines.”
Microsoft said in a separate blog post that the campaign is ongoing and evolved out of several waves of spear-phishing campaigns it first detected in January that escalated to the mass-mailings of this week.
While the SolarWinds campaign, which infiltrated dozens of private sector companies and think tanks as well as at least nine US government agencies, was supremely stealthy and went on for most of 2020 before being detected in December by the cybersecurity firm FireEye, this campaign is what cybersecurity researchers call noisy. Easy to detect.
Microsoft noted the two mass distribution methods used: the SolarWinds hack exploited the supply chain of a trusted technology provider’s software updates; this campaign piggybacked on a mass email provider.
With both methods, the company said, the hackers undermine trust in the technology ecosystem.


A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout
Updated 15 sec ago

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout
  • Telecom Egypt doesn't have any knowledge of stc resuming acquisition negotiations with Vodafone Egypt

CAIRO: Almost a year passed since talks between stc, and Vodafone International Group ended without reaching an agreement on stake sales in the Egyptian unit to the Saudi largest mobile operator, however, the deal still makes headlines.

Few days ago, CNBC Arabiya TV quoted sources saying that negotiations between STC and the Vodafone Group are back on the table after negotiations fell through in December.

The network said that the Saudi company is looking to secure a soft loan of about $1.1 billion to finance the deal using part of the liquidity available to it, and another part of the global debt markets.

Telecom Egypt - the largest telephone operator in Egypt - denied knowledge of renewed negotiations between stc and the Vodafone Group to acquire its stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In a bourse filing, Telecom Egypt attached four previous statements it issued regarding the deal during the period from January 29, 2020 to June 7, 2021, denying its knowledge of any recent developments.

Ayman Essam, head of the External and Legal Relations Sector at Vodafone Egypt, denied the existence of any ongoing talks at the present time between the Vodafone International Group and stc.

In an official statement, Essam affirmed Vodafone's commitment to the Egyptian market and work to provide a distinguished service to its customers, pointing out that his company recently obtained a new frequency package to improve the service, in addition to pumping several investments in the field of network, digital transformation and a number of financial inclusion projects in Egypt.

Negotiations to acquire Vodafone’s 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt began in January 2020, for $2.39 billion, according to a non-binding preliminary agreement signed at the time with stc.

Vodafone International agreed to enable the Saudi company to carry out the due diligence process for a period of 75 days, which can be extended, and in April 2020 stc requested an extension until June due to the repercussions of the coronavirus, and then the deadline was pushed again to September 12.

In September of last year, stc said that the period of the memorandum of understanding signed with Vodafone Egypt ended without reaching an agreement but the dialogue was open between the two parties.


Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties

Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties
Updated 27 September 2021

Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties

Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties

RIYADH: Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih met Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Prime Minister Askar Mamin during an official visit to the country on Sunday. 
The two sides discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties and bolster cooperation in different sectors. 
The Saudi delegation met government officials and representatives of major Kazakh companies. 
The visit aims to enhance economic ties between the two countries. During the 5th meeting of the Saudi-Kazakhstan Joint Committee, Al-Falih stressed the importance of promoting mutual and joint investments in the two countries and taking advantage of the available opportunities, especially as the Kingdom’s economy opened its door to foreign investments in several areas.
Al-Falih will also attend the signing of an MoU between the National Companies Entrepreneurship Program of the Ministry of Investment and Kazakh Invest.

 

 

 

 


Saudi stock market inches higher

Saudi stock market inches higher
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi stock market inches higher

Saudi stock market inches higher

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index ended Sunday’s trading 0.73 percent higher with 82.29 points while the parallel market Nomu declined by 195.17 points or 0.78 percent.

Liquidity in Nomu amounted to about SR35 million whereas liquidity in the main market “TASI” remained around SR6 billion with 169.4 million shares traded, in 243,8000 deals.
Shares of 115 companies increased while stocks of 71 firms declined.

Twelve out of the 21 market sectors rose with basic materials up 2.5 percent, media and entertainment 1.7 percent, long-term and capital goods 0.9 percent.

While the remaining 9 sectors declined. Shares in the investment and finance sector dropped by 1.2 percent, communications 1 percent, and applications and technical services 0.8 percent.


Oman Air seeks oneworld alliance membership

Oman Air seeks oneworld alliance membership
Updated 26 September 2021

Oman Air seeks oneworld alliance membership

Oman Air seeks oneworld alliance membership

DUBAI: State-owned Oman Air announced on Sunday its intention to apply to join the oneworld global airline alliance and said it had asked fellow Gulf carrier and member Qatar Airways to help it.

Oman Air said it had approached Qatar Airways, whose chief executive Akbar Al-Baker is the chairman of the airline group, for guidance in making its application.

“As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever,” the airline said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“This will provide us with excellent global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our guests.”

A oneworld spokesman said the alliance was at any time in talks with prospective members but that it did not comment on specific airlines.

“As airlines recover from COVID-19, alliances will become more important by providing global connectivity, as airlines reshape their networks, many with reduced fleets when compared to their pre-COVID size,” the onewolrd spokesman said.

A Qatar Airways spokesperson earlier referred comment to oneworld.

There are 14 airlines in the oneworld alliance, including Qantas, American Airlines and British Airways.

Qatar Airways holds direct and indirect stakes in three oneworld members, including British Airways and Cathay Pacific.


Saudi Arabia’s real estate deals rise by 19%

Saudi Arabia’s  real estate deals rise by 19%
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi Arabia’s real estate deals rise by 19%

Saudi Arabia’s  real estate deals rise by 19%

RIYADH: The value of real estate transactions in Saudi Arabia increased by 19 percent to approximately SR15.59 billion ($4.1 billion) in the period between August and September, as compared to SR13.12 billion in the same period last year, Argaam reported citing figures issued by the Justice Ministry.
The number of real estate transactions recorded during the same period stood at around 20,900.
Commercial real estate deals rose by 93 percent to reach SR5.2 billion compared to the same period last year. 
Residential real estate deals represented 58.3 percent of the total transactions, commercial deals (33.4 percent), and agricultural and industrial deals stood at 8.3 percent.
Riyadh witnessed the largest number of real estate deals worth SR6.88 billion, followed by Jeddah at SR2.21 billion.