Connect with us

Off-Beat

JhoneRAT: Oman, UAE and neighboring countries targeted by new spyware

Mirror News Desk

Published

on

JhoneRAT: Oman, UAE and neighboring countries targeted by new spyware

Cisco Talos, a security intelligence and research group, has reported the latest variant of remote access trojan (RAT) that penetrates the targeted device though malicious Microsoft Office documents.

The new spyware, dubbed as “JhoneRAT”, runs on a Python script, and has reportedly attacked the Middle East countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Oman, Morocco, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Lebanon.

The Cisco researchers were able to detect three infected MS Office doc files, which were designed to attack the device. The first document “Urgent.docx”, detected last year in November, requests the user to enable editing in English and Arabic-language. Another malicious document, “fb.docx”, reportedly consisted of data on leaked Facebook accounts from last year. The last document, surfaced in January 2020, contained obscure content and was allegedly sent from an authorized UAE entity.

Mechanism of JhoneRAT spyware

In case of JhoneRAT, attackers lure the targeted users to click and download an infected document present on the Internet. Its just like a click-bait trick that urges users to click on a webpage using striking content. On clicking, the malware gets segregated into several layers that individually downloads a new malware payload. After JhoneRAT is installed in the system, it fetches data from across victim’s cloud services, such as, Google Drive, ImgBB, Twitter and Google Forms.

According to Cisco Talos researchers, hackers trick their targets for engaging with infected documents by naming it as “Urgent.docx” or “fb.docx”. The experts have alerted people in target countries, especially the UAE, to avoid clicking file extensions of this sort. It is not the first time the hackers have exploited cloud providers in the UAE through spyware.

“The JhoneRAT attackers have leveraged cloud services along with four different services—avoiding their own infrastructure—that explains their focus on the operational security. It is diffucult for the victims to figure out authentic and malicious traffic to cloud provider infrastructure,” the researchers claimed.

Off-Beat

Brain Surgery Doesn’t Stop a Woman from Playing Violin

Mirror News Desk

Published

on

Brain Surgery Doesn’t Stop a Woman from Playing Violin

Passion, and then those who are truly, deeply and madly in love with their passion. A 53-year-old woman in London crossed all the boundaries and possibilities, when she decided to enter the operation theatre with a violin.

Dagmar Turner underwent a brain surgery at the King’s Hospital, but in the most unusual and unexpected manner. In order to ensure that the part that controls the perfect movement of her hands is not damaged by the surgeons, she decided to play the violin.

It was not merely a show off, but she actually played the instrument, so that her professional violinist abilities are not lost. “The violin is my passion. I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old,” Turner said. “The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking.”

Turner had a tumor in her right frontal lobe, in close proximity to areas crucial for playing violin. The tumor was dangerously detected near the areas of her brain that assisted in coordination of the delicate movements of her left hand. Besides, the distance between the tumor and some important spots was as narrow as a credit card.

As the surgery had complications, Turner was afraid to lost her skills, because of which she suggested to be allowed to play the violin during the operation. Consequently, a consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital, Professor Keyoumars Ashkan came up with a plan that could reduce the risk.

In a news release, he said, “We perform around 400 resections (tumor removals) each year, which often involves rousing patients to carry out language tests, but this was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument.”

The surgeons spent two hours to map Turner’s brain, in order to figure out the areas that were active when she played. They opened the skull and then got her to play the violin, while they removed the tumor. A video footage showed her picking the instrument and playing scales with closed eyes, during the surgery.

The surgery was successful, and the doctors were able to successfully remove 90 per cent of the tumor without damaging the functioning of Turner’s left hand. She was able to return home after three days, after the procedure.

“I’m hoping to be back with my orchestra very soon,” Turner said after the surgery. She plays with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra.

Well, if that’s the zeal, then why not!

Continue Reading

Off-Beat

Inouye Solar Telescope Produces Magnificent Pictures of Sun and Surroundings

Mirror News Desk

Published

on

Solar Telescope

The US State Hawaii has recently released some of the spectacular test images of the sun’s surface, caught with National Science Foundation’s funded new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. It is the world’s largest solar telescope, with a 4-meter clear unobstructed aperture.

The solar telescope was named after Daniel K. Inouye, a US Senator from Hawaii. It has adaptive optics correct for atmospheric schlieren in the solar image known as astronomical seeing to enable high-resolution observations of features on the Sun as small as 20 km (10 mi). The off-axis, clear aperture is designed in such a way that it avoids a central obstruction, minimising the scattered light and to further ease off the operation of adaptive optics and reconstructs digital image.

The powerful solar telescope is installed on top of Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii and shows the surface of the sun in the closest detail, revealing features as small as 30km (18 miles) across. The wonderful images that even showed the sun’s “boiling” plasma landscape from 93 million miles away were never released before. It would definitely help to get a greater understanding of the sun and its impact on our planet.

The solar telescope also showed the visible cell-like structures that are around the size of the US state of Texas, responsible for transporting heat from the inside of the Sun to its surface. The hot plasma was seen rising before cooling off and sinking below the surface in dark lanes, as part of a process called convection. Not only that, the markers of magnetic fields were also visible with new clarity.

Scientists, can easily predict the problems on Earth with the help of the Inouye solar telescope, by thoroughly studying the sun’s activity, or “space weather”. There are high chances that the magnetic eruptions on the sun can in future bring calamities on Earth, disrupt satellites, disable GPS, impact air travel, bring down power grids and cause blackouts.

Also, the changes in solar winds are highly responsible for causing of solar or geomagnetic storms that are disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere or magnetic field. So, the solar telescope will improve the understandings of the scientists about the insight into the sun and would help in minimising the future calamities.

With the help of new inventions, scientists today have enough data points to learn about Earth’s star. The eye-catching images from the Inouye solar telescope are a clear example of the world advancing in the field of technology.

Continue Reading

Off-Beat

Trump Syndrome of Tactless Diplomacy Infects White House

Mirror News Desk

Published

on

White House

The US President Donald Trump’s lack of prudence regarding international relations became a bad cake, when the White House put the most erred cherry on top. Trump’s blunders appeared to be spreading like a virus across his administration, after a video went live on YouTube.

On Wednesday, the White House’s official channel on the video-streaming website uploaded a video of a bilateral meeting. However, the social media team was apparently confused about who was sitting next to their President, confusing Iran with Iraq in the video title.

In the clip posted, President Trump was in a meeting with the Iraqi President Barham Salih at the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos. In a blunder, the video was titled “President Trump Participates in a Bilateral Meeting with the President of the Republic of Iran”.

After the video went live on a YouTube channel with merely 1.29 million subscribers, it didn’t take long for people to notice the White House’s goof of mistaking leaders of two nations. Besides, the error remained uncorrected for an hour since posted.

The gaffe also remains absurd because the world has not remained a blind-eye to the severing relations between the US and Iran. Besides, the US recently assassinated Iran’s military leader Qassem Soleimani, only to face a retaliatory missile attack on its bases in Iraq. Citing the escalations, it is highly unlikely for Trump to have any known or secret meetings with the “actual” president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

Moreover, President Trump can clearly be heard introducing “the president of Iraq” in first three seconds of the video. He said that there was a “whole host of very difficult things to discuss” with Salih during the meeting. Trump also added that “we’ve been friends and the relationship is good”.

Salih, meanwhile, said that he was looking forward to a “very fruitful and candid conversation” with Trump. “We have had an enduring relationship and the United States has been a partner to Iraq and in the war against ISIS. This mission needs to be accomplished,” he said.

Although the mistake was erasable, it probably has left a forever mark of White House’s lack of attention on its diplomatic ties.

Continue Reading

Off-Beat

Snapchat Comes to the Rescue of Girl Kidnapped and Assaulted

Mirror News Desk

Published

on

Snapchat Comes to the Rescue of Girl Kidnapped and Assaulted

Considered a bad influence on the world, social media became a saviour for a teen kidnapped in California. A 14-year-old girl, abducted by three men, was rescued after using Snapchat to seek help from her friends to find her, authorities informed.

The girl used Snapchat to inform her friends that she’d been kidnapped and had no clue about her location, stated the San Jose Police Department. Her friends used the app to track her location, and then called 911 leading police to the E-8 Motel in San Jose.

Using the Snapchat location, officer found inside a motel room, and arrested a 55-year-old man Albert Thomas Vasquez, as he was seen leaving the room.

According to the San Jose Police Department, Vasquez had met the teenager the same day in the nearby city of Capitola. He then gave her drugs until she was incapacitated, and called two other men to help him kidnap the girl.

The two other suspects in the case were 34-year-old Antonio Quirino Salvador and 31-year-old Hediberto Gonzalez Avarenga. Police stated that all three kidnappers forced the girl into the car, where Vasquez sexually assaulted. She was then taken to the E-Z 8 Motel and carried into a room on the second floor. Besides, Vasquez allegedly assaulted the teenager for the second time.

San Jose police informed that Vasquez has been charged with kidnapping to commit rape, false imprisonment, digital penetration with a child under 14 years with force, lewd act with a child 14 or 15 years with force and rape by intoxication or controlled substance.

The other two, Salvador and Avarenga were taken into custody and charged with kidnapping and conspiracy the next day.

A case that was solved in a day was credited to Snapchat. The company’s spokesperson stated that they have seen their feature of “Snap Map” being used for similar purposes before. Snapchat highlighted that a user’s Snap Map location can be shared with friends of their choice and that it only updates when the app is open.

Continue Reading

Off-Beat

3D Glasses on Cuttlefish: Scientists Find New Method for Vision Study

Mirror News Desk

Published

on

Cuttlefish

A study recently published in the Journal Science Advances has defied previous validations of scientists about the vision of marine molluscs, Cuttlefish. As per the study published on Jan 8, Cuttlefish are blessed with a three-dimensional vision that is enhanced by their brains’ ability to perceive depth.

An assistant professor of ecology, evolution and behaviour at the University of Minnesota and the lead author of the study, Dr Trevor Wardill announced that putting 3D glasses on the cuttlefish was not an easy thing to do.

The main agenda of the task was to see how prior to launching their explosive, tentacle attack on their prey, these marine molluscs figure out their distance from their prey. As per Wardill, the complexities of the cuttlefish vision prove it highly unlikely for them to judge distances like humans.

Based on their research work, Wardill and his colleagues realised they could figure out how the cuttlefish uses stereopsis by making them wear 3D glasses and playing some juicy shrimp movies. As per Wardill, “A lot of people said it wasn’t going to work. They said they’d rip the glasses off. They said there’d be ink in the tank.”

But Wardill and his co-workers found a way. In experiments at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the researchers found that careful treatment, distractions, and a copious supply of shrimp were rewarded with cooperation. “You’ve got to get in the mind of the cuttlefish and make them happy,” Wardill explained.

Post arduous efforts in research, researchers discovered that careful treatment, distractions and an abundant supply of shrimp were rewarded with cooperation. Wardill explained, “You’ve got to get in the mind of the cuttlefish and make them happy.”

As per research, cuttlefish is able to account for the differences it sees between the eyes, this means that they are using visual data from both the eyes for painting an image of what lies in front of them. The process, same as used by humans, is termed as stereopsis.

Attempts to stick the 3D glasses directly on the molluscs’ skin left some of them at dicey angles and risked skin damage in case cuttlefish uses its eight arms for pulling them off. To solve the issue, researchers used a superglued Velcro strip that the glasses are attached to.

Further experimentation revealed that the first one that wrapped around caught excess water, so if the cuttlefish swam backwards, the glasses would fly off. Placed in a tank with an underwater movie screen, displaying moving images of shrimp, the animals stopped playing with their glasses. Consequently, a high-speed video camera helped researchers to understand the vision of cuttlefish.

Moving the images near and far, led to the discovery of the cuttlefish using the technique of stereopsis. As per Wardill, “If you have the images a long way apart, the cuttlefish think the shrimp is really close and they back up and try to shoot their tentacles right in front of them. But if you flip the images around and make the shrimp look like it’s behind the screen, they’ll swim right into it.”

The next step in the research will be to investigate the cuttlefish brain circuits for trying and investigating exactly how stereopsis computation works.

Continue Reading

Trending