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#deepweb | The Deep and Dark Web Analysis

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Dark Web Analysis By Anna Chung, Principal Researcher at Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks


Within the Deep and Dark Web, ransomware attacks are expected to continue in 2020. This year, my team and I came across an increasing number of threat actors selling ransomware, ransomware-as-a-service, and ransomware tutorials. Underground products and services like these enable malicious threat actors who are not technically savvy to enter the game.

Threat actors will continue exploring new methods to monetise compromised IoT devices, beyond IoT botnets and IoT-based VPNs, due to the uncapped profit potential. IoT devices remain a popular target among hackers, mostly because IoT security awareness and education is not as prevalent as it should be, and the number of IoT devices will continue to grow at an exponential rate as 5G develops and becomes mainstream.

We’re continuing to see instances where the failure to configure containers properly is leading to the loss of sensitive information and as a result, default configurations are posing significant security risks to organisations.

Misconfigurations, such as using default container names and leaving default service ports exposed to the public, leave organisations vulnerable to targeted reconnaissance. The implications can vary greatly, as we’ve already seen simple misconfigurations within cloud services lead to severe impacts on organisations.

Dark Web Analysis: Authentication Mechanism

When a company is beginning to address or prepare for these types of attacks, it’s important they never expose a Docker daemon to the internet without a proper authentication mechanism. Note that by default the Docker Engine (CE) is not exposed to the internet. Key recommendations include:

  • Incorporate Unix sockets – Using these allow you to communicate with Docker daemon locally or use SSH to connect to a remote docker daemon.
  • Leverage the firewall – Whitelist incoming traffic to a small sets of sources against firewall rules to provide an extra added layer of security.
  • Caution against the unknown – Never pull Docker images from unknown registries or unknown user namespaces.
  • Employ always-on searches – Frequently check for any unknown containers or images in your system.
  • Identify malicious containers and prevent cryptojacking activities – When a new vulnerability in the internal container environments is revealed, it is critical to patch it up quickly as attackers will be on a race to exploit any systems they can access. Having tools that actively scan your environment for known vulnerabilities and provide alerts on dangerous configurations can help to maintain the security of all container components consistently and over time.
  • Integrate security into DevOps workflows – This will allow for your security teams to scale their efforts in an automated way. Developers have a lot of power in the cloud, and your security needs to be able to keep up.
  • Maintain runtime protection – As your organisation’s cloud footprint grows, being able to automatically model and whitelist application behavior becomes a powerful tool for securing cloud workloads against attacks and compromises.

Many data breaches today are driven by financially motivated cyber threat actors, and this type of attack prefers targets that have rich personal identifiable information (PII), including financial institutes, hospitals, hotels, airlines, and almost all e-commerce sites.

From an underground economic perspective, this is data that can be quickly monetised and resold multiple times. Different data has different buyers, but overall speaking in regard to PII, payment information is preferred due to the card-not-present type of fraud. Therefore, sites that process and collect individual payment information typically are more attractive to attackers in this instance.

While we have seen a certain amount of cyber-offensive behavior using AI, such as identity impersonation by using deep faking, we are still in the very early stages of seeing the full potential of AI-enabled attacks. On the flipside, we are seeing an increase in cyber defenders using AI to detect and mitigate threats.

Dark Web Training

Businesses and CSOs should prioritise security awareness training for all employees, going beyond just explaining how cyber-attacks occur and how they may impact an organisation as a whole, but educating their workforce at individual level  on proactive steps they can take to identify and prevent security attacks. Simple exercises like issuing phishing email detection tests or software update reminders, help raise security awareness among employees to make for more secure daily operations and help reduce the success rate of attacks.

One of the major security challenges facing today’s digital age is the fact that there are too many devices and security policies in place, making it difficult to monitor and maintain. Prioritising highly-automated security solutions that cover multiple environments will increase visibility and control over the entire operational environment by simplifying the management process, reducing costs and freeing up more time to identify the existing pain points and future roadmaps.


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#deepweb | Coronavirus and the day the music died in Nashville – WRCBtv.com

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

It was going to be an affair fit for Nashville royalty: a party at Robert’s, a ceremony at the historic Ernest Tubb Record Shop and a reception at Marathon Music Works, an automobile factory cum music venue. Manuel Cuevas, who’s outfitted Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and three generations of Hank Williamses, designed the outfits, and Robby Klein, who has shot celebrities ranging from Ryan Reynolds to Billie Eilish, was the photographer.

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#deepweb | Local Search and Rescue Assists Iditarod Mushers Stuck in Overflow – KNOM Radio Mission

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Nome Search and Rescue responded to the call to rescue three Iditarod mushers from overflow near the Solomon River late Friday morning.

Just before 9am Friday, Jim West Jr., the head of Nome Volunteer Ambulance Department, received a call from Mike Owens of the Iditarod Trail Committee. When West heard three teams were stuck in overflow he realized they would need more than just a group of snowmachiners to get them out. So, West contacted the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska National Air Guard.

Because we didn’t know how bad these guys were, if they were wet or hypothermic or if hypothermia had set in. They called RCC and RCC released the helicopter to us, I sent down two EMTs in the helicopter along with a couple of dog handlers from Iditarod and they flew down while the ground crew took off.”

The RCC is the Rescue Coordination Center.

West described the mushers Sean Underwood, Tom Knolmayer,
and Matthew Failor as having some minor injuries and signs of hypothermia.

“The one couldn’t feel his legs, probably frostbite on his toes. And nothing blistering or anything like that but when you spend so much time out there on the water the cold water just sucks everything right out of your body. You don’t have enough energy to do anything.”

The mushers were able to walk themselves to the
helicopter and be taken to Nome for medical treatment. Their encounter with
overflow was only part of a very difficult overnight trip in the winter storm.

“They said they had left White Mountain last night at about 11 and battled wet, soft snow and waist-deep water …”

Dog handlers mushed the teams of sled dogs to Safety Roadhouse where they could be examined by an Iditarod veterinarian before being transported to Nome. Iditarod Race staff are re-working the trail from Elim to Nome so that the remaining 11 teams can complete the 1,000 mile race.

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#deepweb | 10 of the UK’s best spring walks | Travel

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Land of poems and stories: the Cotswolds

“If ever I heard blessing it is there. Where birds in trees that shoals and shadows are.” In April and May the Cotswold landscape still speaks in the soft, calm tones of Laurie Lee. For a first-time visitor it can take a while to tune into the hard, spare, wall-bound fields of the Cotswold plateau. Yet in the valleys and on the scarp edges, there are bluebells and wood anemones, clear spring-fed streams and a soundtrack of willow warblers and blackcaps, fresh back from their winter travels.

The deep valleys around Stroud hold hanging woods, filled in April with the scent of wild garlic. At the National Trust-maintained Woodchester Park, where the half-completed Victorian manor stands mysterious in the valley bottom, it feels as though the clock has stopped and no one has yet arrived to restart it.

Further north, in my home patch, the same timeless feel pervades Hailes Abbey, with, above it, a monument marking Thomas Cromwell’s seat, from which it is said he watched the Abbey burn almost 500 years ago. From here you can walk a couple of miles along the Cotswold Way to Winchcombe.

Spring is a wonderful time to explore smaller towns and villages, many of which are the subject of poems and stories. For me, each name conjures a memory: a village cricket match in April snow at Guiting Power; my childhood love of Bibury, with its row of ancient cottages, river, watermill and trout farm. The trout leaping for dancing mayflies in the spring.

Today, an April treat is a long run or walk to listen to yellowhammers and skylarks along the Cotswolds’ western edge, from Winchcombe to Broadway. Here twisted elephant-bark beech trees mark the boundaries and the distant Malverns rise from the vale.
Andy Beer, whose book, Every Day Nature: How Noticing Nature Can Quietly Change Your Life, is out on 2 April (Pavilion Books, £12.99)

Marooned on holy island: Lindisfarne

Coves Haven Beach, Lindisfarne.

Coves Haven Beach, Lindisfarne. Photograph: Alamy

A few miles off the Northumberland coast, close to Berwick-upon-Tweed and the border with Scotland, lies the mystical island of Lindisfarne. Just getting there is an adventure, as you are sometimes in a race against the incoming tide. For one of the great joys of being on Lindisfarne is that when the three-mile-long causeway closes (for around 10 hours a day) no one can get on or off.

Tourists and pilgrims head to the medieval priory ruins or Lindisfarne Castle, but it’s the island’s expansive beauty, tranquillity and coastal walks that draw me here. When the tide starts coming in and the daytrippers scuttle back to the mainland, I stay on and pretend that I’m a local.

I first visited five years ago, on a cold winter’s eve, but I resolved to return and have done three times since.

In spring (May is best) the island is quieter than in crowded high summer, the wildflowers are beginning to burst into colour – look out for golden marsh-marigolds, lilac lady’s smock and pale blue forget-me-nots. Seabirds reel about in the sky, and you’ll hear the song of tiny meadow pipits and long-tailed pied wagtails.

This is the time when I, too, like to shake off my hibernal self and walk, in glorious solitude, past the harbour and castle, up the east coast path to Emmanuel Head, and then turn west to the wild, windy three-mile strip of sand that is North Shore.

If I set out before the causeway opens – the route via the castle up to the North Shore is along higher ground and not affected by the tides – I have this perfect walk to myself. Along the way, it’s a joy to meander down into the coves and beaches.

Coves Haven beach, which sits just past Sandham Bay, is my favourite place to pause for a sandwich or sip from my flask of tea.

At this time of year, I’m buoyed by the air that is less bite and more caress, the sun, surprisingly strong when it’s out, the swaying of the marram grass, the ghostly cry of the seals and the eider ducks – which sound as though you’ve just told them a filthy joke.

Fair weather or not, Lindisfarne is very special, a place I go to dive into peace and listen deeply to nature, alive in the salty, sea air.
Jini Reddy, whose new book, Wanderland, is out on 30 April (Bloomsbury, £16.99)

‘My whole being relaxes’: Rathlin Island, Co Antrim

Church bay, Rathlin Island.

Church Bay, Rathlin Island. Photograph: Andrea Ricordi, Italy/Getty Images

My first visit to Rathlin Island was a birthday celebration. I had turned 14, it was early spring, and this wild initiation deeply affected the way I experienced the natural world. Watching the web of life resurge in spring on Rathlin is a rare and unique awakening. Catching the ferry from Ballycastle, you land on an island that is hardly changed by time. Our world is spinning, seemingly uncontrollably, but on arriving somewhere like Rathlin Island, the uncoiling is instant. The reconnection with nature and ourselves, the unburdening, is hard to avoid here.

A fulmar off the cliffs of Rathlin Island.

A fulmar off the cliffs of Rathlin Island. Photograph: Getty Images

The island, shaped like a sycamore seed, lies off the north-east coast of Northern Ireland. Its rugged cliffs are home to the largest sea bird colony in the north of the island of Ireland, and of course, this was why I first begged to go. I longed to see the spring abundance, the birds arriving from sea to breed. Thousands of beating wings. Heart-splitting symphonic sound. The West Light Seabird Observatory, managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, is where you go to view the clamouring. Fulmars, guillemots, razorbills and gannets congregate in spring, and in early summer puffins join the colony. The cascading movement of birds and waves draws out all the cumbersome weight of the world.

My whole being relaxes on Rathlin. The east of the island smells of salted dry wood, like an old ship hauled up on to horseshoe-shaped Church Bay. The community shop and little museum are crammed with wonderful island remnants.

Looking out to sea from Church Bay, you might see the surface perforated by surging seals. From the surrounding meadows and farmland, you might hear the bubbling of lapwings, mewing buzzards, the nightly winnowing of a snipe. In Kebble nature reserve in the west of the island you can, in spring, spot the unusual pyramidal bugle, one of the rarest wildflowers in the British Isles. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you may see a sprite of light: a golden, blue-eyed Irish hare, the will-o-the-wisp of the island. This heady wild wonderland is magnetic: if you visit once, it will reel you back in.
Dara McAnulty, 15, author of Diary of a Young Naturalist, out 5 June (Little Toller, £16)

England’s loneliest hike: Dengie peninsula, Essex

The Saxon chapel of Saint Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell-on-Sea.

The Saxon chapel of Saint Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell-on-Sea. Photograph: Tim Grist/Getty Images

Bradwell-on-Sea on the Dengie peninsula is my favourite place in spring: it’s 27 miles from my home, 43 minutes via country lanes in full blossom to this 30 acres of shell beach awash with ghosts and calm – plus we can take the dog.

I feel the past the moment we arrive. The seventh-century chapel, St Peter-on-the-Wall, overlooks the cockleshell dunes where late-pagan Britons were converted to Christianity. The occasional Thames barge floats by like a ghost ship.

Everything here seems slow. Oystercatchers beat in noisy circles, two at a time. Wind turbines fan hedgerows and fields of corn. I’m cautious around the beach edges. I’ve seen adders here: spring, when they wake from hibernation, is the best time to see them (but it’s rare so don’t let that put you off). They’re beautiful, and slide through wild crops of edible purslane like liquid silver falling down a plughole.

We look for fossils, pick the first shoots of samphire, and take afternoon swims. It’s about warm enough for the hardy from April – just. Mostly, if we’re feeling lazy, we just sit, drink coffee and watch the Blackwater ebb and flood.

Sometimes we walk. The best spring walk is southward, along the seawall to Burnham-on-Crouch. That 14 miles is the loneliest hike in England – you’re unlikely to see a soul, just nesting terns, flowering white sea kale and mewing buzzards.
Stephen Neale, author of The England Coast Path (Bloomsbury, £18.99)

Tides and treasure hunts: Dee estuary, Merseyside

Thurstaston beach, with views across the River Dee to North Wales.

Thurstaston beach, with views across the River Dee to North Wales. Photograph: Getty Images

Four times a year – in spring, summer, autumn and winter – I come with my family for a day of walking the banks of the Dee. Fifteen miles from my home town of Liverpool, the Dee is a river border between Wales and the Wirral peninsula, and the small towns and beaches on its banks give it the feel of a secret island.

Spring has a particular magic. We’ll walk along the sandstone prom in the village of Parkgate, buy an ice-cream from Nicholls and eat it on a bench watching the ever-changing estuary. This was once an embarkation point for Ireland but, by the mid-1800s, as the estuary silted up, Parkgate’s maritime days were over. Today it’s the salt marshes that make Parkgate a special place: it’s a breeding ground for skylarks, redshanks and egrets, and a hunting ground for peregrines and marsh harriers. Time it right and you might witness a rare visit from the tide as it swallows up the marsh and overlaps the promenade wall. As the seawater flushes out water voles, shrews and harvest mice, in come the kestrels, merlins and sparrowhawks as marsh reverts to sea.

Further along the coast is Thurstaston beach, a haunt of mine since childhood. A site of special scientific interest for its constantly eroding cliffs, Thurstaston is a strange landscape, a churning and collapsing place where my 14-year-old daughter and I hunt for precious stones: quartz and granite treasure glittering in the sunlight, occasionally a fossil, transported here from Scotland and the Lake District by ice-age glaciers.

At West Kirby we walk at low tide across the sands to Hilbre Island, an archipelago cut off from the mainland for four hours out of every 12. Check the BBC tide tables before setting out, and keep to the recommended route across the sand. Good boots or wellies are essential.

It takes an hour to reach Hilbre via smaller isles Little Eye and Middle Eye – and it’s vital to start your return three hours before high tide. In April, I have seen sandwich terns, Manx shearwaters and dunlins here. Sometimes there are fulmars and Arctic skuas. The old lifeboat station ruins are a good place for watching grey seals.

Above all, from anywhere along the Dee, watch and wait for sunset’s spectacular displays of changing light.
Jeff Young, whose latest book, Ghost Town, A Liverpool Shadowplay, is out now (Little Toller, £16)

‘Spring is not gentle here’: Treshnish Isles, Hebrides

Puffins on Lunga, one of the Treshnish Isles.

Puffins on Lunga, one of the Treshnish Isles. Photograph: Getty Images

I grew up in tropical Papua New Guinea, where there were only two seasons: the dry season and the monsoon. When I arrived in Scotland as a teenager I was mesmerised by its four seasons, especially spring, which navigates that precarious space between darkness and light – a faerie child creeping out from beneath the dark skirts of winter.

Spring has drawn me again and again to Lunga, one of the small islands and skerries that make up the Treshnish Isles, west of Mull and part of the Inner Hebrides. A site of special scientific interest, it is home to huge colonies of puffins (best seen from mid-April), razorbills, fulmars and shags, and is an important breeding area for grey seals.

Spring is not gentle here; new life is profuse but so is danger. The hares come out boxing, thousands of guillemots cling to sheer rock and cry a deafening “arrr, arrr”, and the puffins, which have come in off the Atlantic to lay their eggs in rabbit burrows, welcome humans, whose presence keeps away the skuas and gulls.

The weather is mercurial. Even landing is precarious. There is no beach – the boat sidles up to a profusion of boulders washed smooth by the Atlantic, and you jump across the divide, but the smell of gorse, camomile and salt as you climb the steep path to the plateau clears away the dregs of winter. From here you might spot minke whales, porpoises, basking sharks and sea eagles, and when the boat returns two hours later, it will seem too soon.

I base myself on Mull, in Tobermory, with its seafront cottages in spring-like shades of primrose, rose campion and bluebell. From here, boat trips by Staffa Tours (check if still running: 07831 885985) run to both Lunga and nearby Staffa. On my first visit 15 years ago, a thick veil of mist covered the sea as we headed out towards Lunga, and when it finally lifted we found a great basking shark travelling alongside us.
Kirstin Zhang, winner of Stanford’s New Travel Writer of the Year 2020 award

Strictly for the birds: Avalon Marshes, Somerset

Reeded pools and lakes at Avalon Marshes, with Glastonbury Tor in distance.

Reeded pools and lakes at Avalon Marshes. Photograph: David Dennis/Alamy

For a spring weekend seeking out some of Britain’s rarest breeding birds, Somerset’s Avalon Marshes are pretty hard to beat. Over the past 30 years, these former peat diggings have been transformed from unsightly holes in the ground into one of Britain’s top birding spots. It’s a linked series of nature reserves, and each has a mixture of open water and reedbeds. They are all crossed by a disused railway line giving easy access to viewpoints and hides. And for a break from the wildlife, Glastonbury, Wells, Cheddar Gorge and the charming village of Wedmore are all within easy reach.

When I moved here with my young family just over a decade ago, many of the birds I now see regularly were either absent or very rare. Since then, climate change and habitat creation have allowed several species from continental Europe to colonise these marshes. They include little, great white and now cattle egrets – the birds we usually only see perched on the backs of big African mammals in wildlife documentaries.

Great white egrets – the tallest member of their family – are easy to spot at the RSPB’s Ham Wall reserve, in the shadow of Glastonbury Tor, and at the nearby Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Catcott Lows, also a regular site for cattle egrets.

At this time of year, I always try to get out before breakfast to catch the end of the dawn chorus. This is also the best time to hear one of our most elusive birds, the bittern, whose loud, booming call sounds like someone blowing across the top of a milk bottle. I don’t see bitterns very often, but on fine spring days they sometimes fly up from their reedbed hideaways – looking, as one young visitor suggested, like a “toasted heron”.

Birds of prey include buzzards, sparrowhawks and marsh harriers, which float low over the reeds, occasionally rising high into the sky to display. From late April, hobbies chase flying insects, while the reedbeds and adjacent vegetation are home to chiffchaffs, blackcaps, whitethroats, and several warbler species.

Other migrant visitors such as swallows, sand martins and swifts catch flying insects over the open water, and one of my favourite birds – the great crested grebe – performs its famous courtship display, the male and female rising up in the water to wave weed at one another in a bizarre gesture of affection.

On sunny spring days, hairy dragonflies and orange-tip butterflies are on the wing, and there is always a slim chance that you might stumble across an otter. And wherever I go, I look out for that unmistakable flash of blue as a kingfisher whizzes by.

For me, on a fine spring day there’s simply no better place to be than on the marshes.
Stephen Moss, whose latest book, The Accidental Countryside, is out now (Guardian Faber, £16.99). He also leads tours for Somerset Birdwatching Holidays

A great swoosh of green: Dwyryd valley, Gwyneth

Clear rippled water of the River Dwyryd flowing across a meadow

Clear rippled water of the River Dwyryd flowing across meadow

The clear, rippled water of the River Dwyryd flowing across meadows in Snowdonia National Park. Photograph: Steve_Bramall/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I have been to the Dwyryd valley many times: it’s a magical place for me, a great swoosh of everything that’s green and great about north Wales. And spring is absolutely the best time to go – be it early in the season, when the verges are sprung with primroses and crocuses, and the cries of new lambs fill the air, or a little later, when the hawthorns turn the hedgerows white and the woods are overflowing with bluebells.

My first encounter with this beautiful vale was a stay on a campsite near the quaint village of Maentwrog, as part of a trip to interview land artist David Nash, who is based up in Blaenau Ffestiniog – Mordor to Maentwrog’s Shire.

For several mornings, as I walked up to see David in his chapel workshop, the day dawning choral all about me, golden sun made the fresh-sprung grass and bronze-purple stones of the field walls shine. It was here, in 1978, that David set his wonderful work of land art, Wooden Boulder, in motion.

The huge rough-hewn sphere of heartwood fell into a stream when he was trying to move it to the chapel and slowly – buoyed, bounced and buffeted by hectic stream spate and lazy summer drift – meandered its way to the saltmarsh maze of the Dwyryd’s estuary.

Another springtime, drawn by memories of train songs and half-glimpsed smoke, I set off north up the valley, zigzagged my way up steepening slopes in clouds of pollen and heather fug, and emerged on a fir-tree’d ridge.

I found a path that led to a small sturdy cottage, in front of which curved a set of narrow-gauge railway tracks. There, I found a tiny platform. A painted sign read Coed y Bleiddiau (Wood of the Wolves). Hearing a distant huff and chuff, I saw a red locomotive approaching. I held out an arm and was overjoyed to see the train slow. It drew up before me, a steaming crimson and copper wonder.

I climbed aboard and the train began to trundle down to Porthmadog – ghosting above the Dwyryd river through ancient woodland and cuttings spangled with late snowdrops and daffodils. Over stone embankments, viaducts and bridges, past gardens strung with immaculate washing, through level crossings manned by fellows who wave, it slowly descended towards the bright estuary flats, Wooden Boulder and the Irish Sea. Coed y Bleiddiau has been my Ffestiniog outpost ever since.
The Ffestiniog Railway usually runs to Coed y Bleiddiau twice daily from the end of March to the beginning of November (though it was suspended until further notice this week).
Dan Richards, author of travel memoir Outpost, out in paperback on 2 April (Canongate, £9.99)

Pack for all weathers: Cornwall

View from the dunes at Porthkidney Sands.

View from the dunes at Porthkidney Sands. Photograph: Ian Woolcock/Alamy

There is a knack to packing for a trip to Cornwall in springtime: take everything. Some days you will be lucky, greeted by bright skies that make it impossible not to run headfirst into the waves. On others, the rain will so blur the landscape that it is hard to hold on to any discrete shape of the coast beneath it. This changeability is a large part of why I love England’s southernmost county at this time of year.

Lelant, the village where my mother and grandmother grew up, is on the quiet north coast of West Penwith, the region of Cornwall towards Land’s End. Lelant’s beach, Porthkidney Sands, occupies the same yawning bay as St Ives. Unlike St Ives, though, it has no car parks, cafes, or rows of toilets lined up before the sea like so many nervous swimmers. Instead you are met with an endless empty beach, where sandpipers hop in and out of the foam left by departing waves.

Virginia Woolf called it “vast & melancholy”, but since I was a child, it has been on this beach that I have felt most free. We’ll often stride out west along the coastal path from Lelant to Zennor, stopping briefly in St Ives to visit the bronze abstract figures in Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden, prettily framed by blossoming trees. Zennor is a village set atop a wild stretch of granite cliffs, which erupts with lavender-coloured spikes of squill and pink tufts of thrift in spring.

Zennor’s church, St Senara, is home to the “Mermaid Chair”, a 600-year-old pew with a mermaid combing her hair carved into its side. There’s a famous folktale attached to this pew, telling how a young man followed a mermaid over the cliffs and never returned.
Lamorna Ash, whose first book, Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town is out on 2 April (Bloomsbury, £16.99)

Big skies and salty air: Suffolk coast

The River Blyth, with Blythborough church in the distance.

The River Blyth, with Blythborough church in the distance. Photograph: Sid Frisby/Alamy

The rich coastal landscape of Suffolk has inspired scores of composers, artists and writers, not least Benjamin Britten and the German writer WG Sebald, whose Rings of Saturn takes readers on a pilgrimage deep into the human soul. My own quest to understand why so many of us embark on pilgrimages began here, one April, as I set Sebald’s book down and turned my gaze out to sea.

With big skies and salty air, and hedgerows bursting with blossom and birdsong, spring here offers a tonic for mind and body; it feels like you can step out of time into a simpler world. I love to amble along the footpath by the River Blyth – starting from Walberswick. With marsh harriers circling overhead, waders calling and the song of larks ascending, your heart lifts.

In the opposite direction is a circular trail along wooden causeways through marshes where, by May, reed warblers will be busy building nests and cuckoos calling to their mates as they have done since time immemorial. For a fee of £1, the Walberswick ferry, a traditional rowing boat, will take you across the river to Southwold, and back to the 21st century.

Another favourite in spring, a little further up the coast, is the walk from Pakefield into Lowestoft, whose promenade and beach offer plenty of space. Inland, the 12 acres of formal gardens at Somerleyton Hall (check that it is open first) present lots of ideas for spring planting. It is one of the finest gardens in East Anglia, with areas from a walled garden to an arboretum. The rhododendron walk is amazing in May.
Victoria Preston, author of We Are Pilgrims – Journeys in Search of Ourselves, out on 9 April (£14.99, Hurst)

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#deepweb | Iditarod Teams Yet To Reach Nome Face Overflow, Three Mushers and Their Dogs Rescued – KNOM Radio Mission

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Earlier today Sean Underwood, Tom Knolmayer, and Matthew Failor requested assistance from race staff after they went through a section of trail with deep overflow from the Solomon River, outside of Nome.

According to Chas St. George, COO of Iditarod, the incident
occurred sometime last night, but the group of teams didn’t activate their
emergency beacons until about 9am this morning.

“Once that was set off, we immediately tried to find out exactly what was happening out there and that led us to realize, a few texts were exchanged and that led us to realize we needed to get in there and get them out of the situation they were in.”

A minimal statement from the Iditarod says Underwood, Knolmayer, and Failor were rescued by helicopter from a section of trail outside of Safety Roadhouse. Safety is the final checkpoint in the 1,000 mile race, which mushers normally cruise through before finishing in Nome. Local Search and Rescue officials confirm the three men were rescued by air guard and brought into town around 1pm.

The mushers were checked into Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome and evaluated for precautionary measures. As far as St. George knows, Underwood, Knolmayer, and Failor are doing fine.

“From our periphery they’re okay, and that’s what counts. And also of course, again, the dogs who are first and foremost in this whole equation are doing just fine as well. So everybody should be reunited in Nome in the not too distant future.”

The COO says the plan is to keep the three dog teams,
totaling 28 four-legged athletes, at Safety Roadhouse until Iditarod staff can determine
if they will snowmachine the dogs to Nome or transport them by some other

With temperatures warming up to the mid-30s, melting snow, and high winds in the Nome area within the last 24 hours, water overflow is expected to linger near Safety and even closer to Nome’s shoreline.

Iditarod musher Tim Pappas navigates his team and sled through a strip of overflow just outside of Nome on Thursday afternoon. Photo from JoJo Phillips, KNOM (2020)

According to St. George, the Iditarod will reroute the existing
trail so the last 11 teams, who are all currently resting in Elim, can avoid this
dangerous area.

“We’re actually going to put in a trail that’s just adjacent to the trail that exists already. That looks like there is no overflow in that area, and we’re just going to bypass it basically. That will be done well before the next wave of mushers head up the trail.”

Each of the latest four Iditarod teams to finish in Nome yesterday afternoon told KNOM about their struggles going through other ledes of open water during their run in from Safety to the finish line. So far, 23 out of 37 remaining teams have completed this year’s Iditarod race.

One particularly challenging are of overflow is located at the bottom of a local snow ramp, which mushers use to access Front street and cross into the city for their race-finish in Nome. Iditarod staff have since setup an alternate overland section of trail that avoids that area.

KNOM’s JoJo Phillips also contributed to this report.

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#deepweb | Weibo Confirms 538 Million User Records Leaked, Listed For Sale on Dark Web

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Rumors have spread after Wei Xingguo (Yun Shu), CTO of Chinese Internet security company Moresec and former chief of Alibaba’s Security Research Lab posted on Weibo that millions of Weibo users’ data had been leaked on March 19. Wei claimed that his own phone number was leaked through Weibo and had received WeChat friend requests based on “phone number search.”

In the comment section, netizens claimed that they found 538 million user records including user IDs, number of Weibo posts, number of followers, gender and geographic location available for purchase on the dark web. Among all the user records, 172 million had basic account information, all of which was available for sale for 0.177 Bitcoin.

Luo Shiyao, Weibo’s Security Director responded on Weibo that the Internet security community was merely “overreacting.” “Phone numbers were leaked due to brute-force matching in 2019 and other personal information was crawled on the Internet,” adding that “When we found the security vulnerability we took measures to fix it.” Luo stated that this is likely another “dictionary attack” instead of a direct drag from Weibo’s database.

Both Wei’s thread and Luo’s Weibo post have been deleted.

Flow chart of the information purchase process (Source: Phala Network)

Weibo responded to media admitting that the data leak is true, while no users’ passwords or ID numbers were under threat. Weibo also claimed that its security policy has since been strengthened and is under continuous optimization. The company also stated that the leak traced back to an attack on Weibo in late 2018, when hackers used brute force data through the Weibo interface, that is, using the address book matching interface to find user nicknames through the enumeration segment. Weibo concluded that no other information besides users’ IDs was leaked and its normal services would not be affected.

However, according to Phala Network‘s research, users’ ID numbers, emails, real names, phone numbers and related QQ numbers can all be obtained through the Weibo information leak on the dark net. One search costs approximately 10 RMB. According to TMT Post, a source had purchased their own personal information including name, email, home address, mobile phone number, Weibo account number and password on the dark web and confirmed it to be accurate. Another source revealed to TMT Post that even some user’s license plate numbers and previous passwords could be found. Chat app Telegram is a major platform where transactions for the leaked data are conducted.

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#deepweb | Online communication tools keep business dialogues going for travel players

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Web-conferencing and instant messaging tools are seeing greater usage among travel and tourism trade players who are determined to keep business dialogue alive as the appeal of face-to-face meetings diminish against a backdrop of Covid-19 infection fears.

Sheryl Lim, founder of Singapore-based travel agency Travel Wander, found herself turning to online presentations to keep her regular clientele informed on new adventure tours and destinations as well as reach out to potential new customers.

Businesses turn to digital communication tools to continue operations remotely amid Covid-19

“Our usual marketing efforts involve conducting product presentations at specific venues but as soon as Covid-19 happened, people started to refrain from going out or meeting other people,” Lim recalled.

“We were in a fix because as a small company, we cannot stop moving and must keep up our marketing efforts. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes, so we must maintain contact with our customers and the marketplace now so that when travel confidence returns, they will consider Travel Wander for their travel planning.”

With print or radio ads priced out of her budget, she turned to web-conferencing tools.

“The travel planning business is a very personal one, where clients prefer meeting face-to-face. But the pandemic has presented us with an unusual situation, and webinars are a good solution that enables us to keep up with sales and marketing communications,” she said.

Travel Wander conducted its first presentation two weeks ago, focusing on the joy of active holidays. The content, delivered through slides and a narration, explained what active holidays were all about, and dispelled myths around such tours. Six people attended it. A week later, a webinar on Sarawak drew 10 people.

Lim has planned a third on Kazakhstan this week, and aims to conduct a weekly session and is working on improving the format to facilitate conversations. The webinars are promoted to regular clients who then spread the word within their social circle.

The product webinars have allowed Lim to determine which destinations were more popular, based on webinar sign-up performance.

For other travel companies that are already utilising web-conferencing, the current pandemic has underscored the value of this mode of communications.

Adam Kamal, general manager of Malaysia’s Suka Travel, said his team is now working remotely from home, relying on WhatsApp video conferencing to address urgent matters, on top of their usual web-conferences with overseas suppliers and outstation agents.

The remote work arrangement was necessary as the government had on Monday evening issued an order to temporarily shutter businesses and restrict movement to fight against Covid-19.

Adam said he introduced and encouraged web-conferencing when he joined the agency last November, and applauded the convenience and cost savings it offers.

“Web-conferencing allows our partners to pull up documents, charts and pictures as they speak. (It also) saves time and costs as we can do meetings virtually. If it were face-to-face meetings, we would have to rent space to hold a seminar and pay for light refreshments,” he said.

Bayu Buana Travel Services Indonesia, which now has 50 per cent of its staff working from home, is encouraging continued reliance on web-conferencing tools to keep dialogues open with airline partners and clients during these trying times.

Agustinus Pake Seko, president director of Bayu Buana Travel Services Indonesia, said his team is familiar with web-conferencing, as there are regular online global meetings with BCD Travel, which the company is part of.

Laurens: companies are waking up to the benefits of digital transformation amid Covid-19 

Laurens van den Oever, CMO at research firm ForwardKeys, opined that the “one good thing to come out of the coronavirus” is the emphasis on the value of “how to be savvier with our digital offerings, such as travel alerts, impact reports and newsletters”.

“In every business, you need to invest in the necessary tools and equipment for your team. Different time zones, cultural barriers, epidemics and pandemics should not impede the running of your business nor throw you into the Dark Ages,” Oever said.

The ForwardKeys team relies on a suite of communication services, such as Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp and webinars/web information sessions for internal interaction, and Zoom mostly by its analysts to connect with external clients.

“These have helped us a lot (in maintaining business communications, especially now) with all the travel limitations and tradeshow cancellations due to the (outbreak),” he added. – Additional reporting by S Puvaneswary and Mimi Hudoyo

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#deepweb | The “Apollon” Dark Web Marketplace Might Be Exit-Scamming

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

  • The “Apollon” marketplace is most likely exit-scamming and has been in the process for many weeks now.
  • Users and platforms who reported this news and warned others were DDoSed, possibly by Apollon.
  • Someone claimed that Apollon’s admin had their identity leaked, and is now trying to muddy the waters.

Seeing darknet marketplaces exit-scamming isn’t something unusual. There is no customer-brand trust relationship to protect, there is no credibility stemming from anything tangible, and these platforms simply don’t respect their members. Everyone joins marketplaces to sell or buy illegal goods and services, so they’re in a dangerous, risky, and untrustworthy place. Thus, we often see marketplaces suddenly grabbing all the deposits of their members’ wallets, sending everything to their personal crypto coin stash, and then shutting down the website. Recent dark web rumors say that “Apollon” might be the latest marketplace in the process of doing precisely that.

According to a report by “digital shadows,” Apollon has initiated the process of exit-scamming on January 26, 2020. Around that time, its operators started launching DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against other English-language forums and marketplaces on the dark web. The vendors who were locked out of their accounts naturally went elsewhere to post about the problem and about the fact that Apollon was exit-scamming. Hence, the marketplace operators thought it would be a good idea to try and silence them by DDoS-bombing their websites.

apollon DDoS dark web
Source: Digital Shadows

The Torum administrators added a permanent banner on the forum to warn everyone about Apollon’s ongoing exit-scam. At the same time, the Kilos search engine announced they would delist all Apollon offerings from their index. Apollon responded by DDoSing Torum, Empire, Dread, DarkBay, DarkMarket, Avaris Market, Envoy, The Hub, Avengers, and possibly many more. The fact that Apollon stayed online during the DDoS attacks was a telltale sign for many that the marketplace was behind the attacks. At the same time, the Apollon admins chose not to respond to the allegations, while some moderators openly claimed that they suddenly lost their privileges on the platform.

Source: Digital Shadows

Amidst this situation, a Torum user reported something interesting that introduces an alternative explanation for Apollon’s actions. He claimed that Apollon’s server had a flaw that resulted in a leak of the site’s IP address, and so the admin’s identity was on the line. The admin was allegedly extorted by the person who held this info but denied paying a ransom. Thus, the DDoS attacks are an effort to hinder the dissemination of this sensitive information. Right now, Apollon remains online and still doing business, so it’s unclear if they are really exit-scamming or not. Possibly, they are now trying to make the most out of Apollon by grabbing the deposits of the last remaining unsuspecting victims before they shut down the platform for good.

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#deepweb | Northwest CT leaders set rules for municipal activities during coronavirus spread

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

In response to the coronavirus and its impact on local communities, municipal leaders are making changes to their town hall schedules. Some remain open with signs on the door asking residents to consider their own health before entering; others are closed.


City Hall and its offices remain open, with a warning sign posted on the front entrance asking people to consider their health and the health of others before entering.

Residents can find information on all boards and commissions online at www.torringtonct.org/

The Sullivan Senior Center is closed, and all park and recreation activities are canceled or postponed. An Easter Egg Hunt, set for April 4, is “on hold.” Check the website for details.

The Torrington Historial Society also announced this week that it is closed. Residents can visit www.torringtonhistoricalsociety.org/ or call 860-482-8260.


Town Hall remains open with regular hours, including the town clerk, first selectman, assessor, finance office and tax collector. Residents are being asked to put off non-urgent business at Town Hall, or call ahead before they visit, at 860-567-7561.

Probate Judge Diane Blick said Friday that probate court operations in the Litchfield town hall and Canaan are continuing, but no passport applications will be processed until further notice. Anyone with questions can call the court in Litchfield at 860-567-8065 or in North Canaan at 860-824-7012.

The Litchfield Community Center, Oliver Wolcott Library, Litchfield Historical Society, public schools and the Forman School are closed. The recycling center is closed until March 21, and park and recreation programs are suspended.

“We are taking a proactive approach in dealing with this COVID-19 event and setting up our Community Emergency Response Volunteer Team in case we need to deploy,” said First Selectman Denise Raap in a statement. “I urge residents to check on their elderly neighbors via phone calls, social media messaging or email. In the meantime, we urge you to continue social distancing, to follow the guidance of CDC guidelines (www.cdc.gov) the CT State Dept of Public Health (portal.ct.gov/coronavirus) and will continue to work with Torrington Area Health.”


According to the town website, the Morris town hall, senior center and the library are closed until further notice.

New Hartford

New Hartford First Selectman Dan Jerram said this week that Town Hall and the public works department are open. The town garage is open to employees only. Residents are being asked to call Town Hall if they need help.

“If you have business that can be conducted by phone, email or snail mail … we prefer that method for now,” Jerram said, adding that residents can still come to town hall if necessary, but to keep their visits brief.

Jerram reminded residents that the senior center is closed “to protect our ‘at risk’ senior population,” he said, adding that all exercise classes and social programs are canceled until further notice. The senior van will be used to transport resident seniors to scheduled medical appointments only. All other social trips are canceled.

Jerram also said that board or commission meetings that are not required to meet to conduct business required by state statute are canceled until further notice, including the Commission on Aging, Conservation Commission, Economic Development Commission, Historic District Commission, Recreation Commission and the Open Space Preservation Commission. Boards required to meet, including the Board of Assessment Appeals, Board of Education, Board of Finance, Inland Wetland Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission, Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) and Zoning Board of Appeals, will be assessed case-by-case.

For more information, visit www.newhartfordct.gov/ or call 860-379-3389.


“We are going to post signs at Town Hall requesting that anyone with symptoms or who has returned from travel outside the U.S. in the previous 14 days not come into the building and that everyone use .

Purell (which we will have available) before engaging with Town Hall staff,” wrote First Selectman Don Stein, in a town website message.

The Board of Finance meeting, scheduled for March 17, will be moved to the Community Room. Stein said he is maintaining the spring budget hearing/meeting schedule, with a budget hearing on April 7 ,and town meeting May 5. These dates are subject to change.

The Barkhamsted Senior Center is closed for the next two weeks. A decision to remain closed or reopen the week of March 29 is pending.

The Highway Garage Community Room is closed for non-town functions until further notice.

Residents can always call Town Hall, 860-379-8285, email dstein@barkhamsted.us, or visit www.barkhamsted.us/


Goshen First Selectman Robert Valentine sent a letter to residents Monday, outlining the town’s plans to keep the coronavirus in check.

Those who need building or land use permits or have business with the town clerk should visit the online application portal at www.goshenct.gov

“If you have documents that need to be filed, we ask that they be sent to the Town Clerk via FedEx UPS or USPS. For those needing hunting and fishing licenses please use the DEEP web site to purchase them,” Valentine said.

Board and commission meetings are moving to “electronic means” in the near future, Valentine said, either online or by a conference call, and all residents and members will be notified. “We’ll make sure that those interested in attending meetings are allowed to attend electronically and have the ability to see documents being discussed by boards and commissions,” he said.

The town hall is open for business, and residents are asked to limit their visits by going online or calling 860-491-2308 ext. 221 or administrative a ssistant Virginia Perry at ext. 228.

The Goshen Library is closed, and all recreation activities are canceled through March.


Town hall is closed to the public starting Tuesday, March 17. “Staff will be on hand to assist you in any way we can,” officials said. Call 860-868-7881 for assistance.

Land records can be found at https://www.searchiqs.com/ctwar/Login.aspx. Forms and applications are available on individual department pages. Anyone in need of assistance can call 860-868-7881.


Winsted is following a similar protocol, keeping town hall and the public works department open, and asking residents to limit their visits unless it’s urgent. Residents are asked to call ahead to make an appointment at 860-379-2713 or visit www.townofwinchester.org/

Board and commission meetings have been postponed. “All visitors are expected to maintain a “social distance” and may be asked to cleanse their hands. If you are sick, please stay home,” officials said in a statement online.

Recreation activities are canceled, and the senior center is also closed. The Senior Van is available to senior citizens for doctor appointments by calling 860-379-4252.

Refuse disposal center open

Regional Refuse Disposal District One, 31 New Hartford Road, Barkhamsted, which serves Barkhamsted, New Hartford and Winsted, is open and can be reached at 860-379-1972.

Residents are welcome to drop off trash and recyclables. Employees cannot help unload cars because they have been instructed to stay three feet away from others. “You will need to remove (trash) from your vehicle yourself and dispose of it properly. This includes televisions, air conditioners, appliances, garbage, etc.,” according to a statement.

RRDD1 also asked residents who have tested positive for coronavirus to put used paper products (tissues, paper towels) in a plastic bag and to place it in the facility’s trash compactor.

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#deepweb | A Public Index for the Web? How the Blockchain Could Potentially Fight Deepfakes

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Over the past two years a cottage industry has emerged of media experts and journalists warning of the potential dangers of “deep fakes.” Videos of Vladimir Putin or Barack Obama saying whatever a video-editor wants them to say have been widely shared on mainstream networks to raise fears over privacy and the dangerous “post-truth” world of the Internet. 

While most mainstream networks have a vested interest in questioning the legitimacy of digital and citizen-led news, there is no doubt that verifying video content is becoming more difficult. 

On the one hand, deep fakes are likely to become a central component of internet culture, fueling the political caricature and memes of tomorrow. On the other hand, there is a darker side. It’s not unrealistic to envision a future in which videos from inside Syria or a protest in Iraq are doctored in a way that could alter our understanding of key events.

It’s not unrealistic to envision a future in which videos from inside Syria or a protest in Iraq are doctored in a way that could alter our understanding of key events.

The blockchain may have a solution. According to Amy James of Alexandria Labs, one of the fundamental problems of the web is that there is no public index. Today when we search the web, we’re searching a private index. This makes detecting changes to search rankings, or the de-platforming of certain ideas and even individuals, very difficult to determine.

Amy James of the’Open Index Protocol’ explains how a distributed global index for the web could help fight deepfakes.

There’s also a less obvious reason why a public index might be a good idea. James argues that “because the web doesn’t have a transparent, secure and version-controlled index it can be difficult to discern truth from fiction online.”

“the web was intended to be fully decentralised.”

On a blockchain immutable index in which every ‘transaction’ is public and recorded, it should be easier to notice when a video is first uploaded and edited, or if different versions of the exact same video are in existence. 

James adds “the web was intended to be fully decentralised.” The apps we all know and love – from Spotify, to Netflix – provide customization and allow networks to scale. At the same time, “private companies build the walled garden infrastructure that we have today so the web could scale and be convenient.” While this model maybe profitable, it centralizes information and control in the hands of closed platforms. “When the web was developing in the early 90s the technology didn’t exist yet to build an index as an open standard protocol,” states James.

“When the web was developing in the early 90s the technology didn’t exist yet to build an index as an open standard protocol”

Alexandria Labs believes the future is a “fully decentralized open protocol for indexing and distribution.” Instead of artificial barriers to content access, an open-source and decentralized protocol would index all public data on the Web, recording it on the blockchain. That’s one way of figuring out if a video of Nancy Pelsoi drunk is actually real. 

Full disclosure: Al Bawaba is exploring blockchain solutions on the Open Index Protocol. 

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