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Phuket Gazette: LinkedIn passwords released by hackers

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Russian hackers release up to 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: Russian hackers have obtained and released the passwords of up to 6.5 million accounts on the popular professional networking website LinkedIn, according to a web posting yesterday.

LinkedIn director Vicente Silveira confirmed in a blog post that at least some of the more than 6.4 million passwords released on a Russian forum correspond to LinkedIn accounts. The leaked passwords were camouflaged with a common cryptographic code called SHA-1 hash, which is considered weak unless extra security layers are added.

“It is worth noting that the affected members who update their passwords and members whose passwords have not been compromised benefit from the enhanced security we just recently put in place, which includes hashing and salting of our current password databases,” Silveira said.

Camouflaging passwords with SHA-1 is considered weak because it translates the same text the same way every time. For instance, if one user’s password is “password”, the resulting code will be the same when another user also uses “password.” This is why security experts recommend adding a security layer called “salt,” which adds another piece of information to the code to make it almost impossible to decode.

The file released on the Russian forum on Wednesday did not contain associated email addresses, but security experts nonetheless advise LinkedIn users to change their passwords as a precaution. Silveira said users of accounts associated with compromised passwords will receive an email from LinkedIn with instructions on how to reset their passwords.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our members. We take the security of our members very seriously,” Silveira added in his blog post on yesterday. He noted that emails sent by LinkedIn to affected users will not contain any links, apparently to avoid phishing scams.

It was not immediately clear how the passwords were obtained.

LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in late 2002 and was launched officially on May 5, 2003. At the end of the first month of operation, LinkedIn had around 4,500 users. As of May 2012, the company said it has more than 161 million users around the world.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 death toll exceeds 100,000 in the UK, government mulls quarantine for travellers

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Covid-19 death toll exceeds 100,000 in the UK, government mulls quarantine for travellers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bloomberg

With the Covid-19 death toll exceeding 100,000 in the United Kingdom, the British government is considering a mandatory hotel quarantine for visitors entering the country. A quarantine system is considered to be an effective way to limit virus transmission and stop new coronavirus variants from spreading into the country.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with senior officials in a meeting yesterday, saying that the government will consider tighter border measures. UK citizens and residents arriving from most of southern Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days at their own expense.

Currently, people arriving in the UK from abroad must show the Covid-19 test results, while direct flights from South Africa, Brazil, and Portugal are banned to prevent the spreading of new variants in the Kingdom.

Hotel quarantine measures have been used in Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and Singapore, but the disease control practice has not been widely used in Europe.

In Thailand, those who enter the country from abroad must quarantine for 14 days at either a state quarantine facility or at an alternative quarantine hotel. Travellers must also be tested for Covid-19 before their flight to Thailand and tested at least another 2 times before they are released from quarantine.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Mass Covid-19 immunisation in poor countries could take until 2024

Caitlin Ashworth

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Mass Covid-19 immunisation in poor countries could take until 2024 | The Thaiger
Stock photo by Gustavo Fring for Pexels

While developed countries, like those in the European Union, are likely to vaccinate most of the population within the next year, most poor countries won’t be able to reach mass Covid-19 immunisation until 2024, according to an analysis from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

84 of the world’s poorest countries will not receive enough vaccinations to reach herd immunity within the next year, according to the unit’s global forecasting director and author of the report, Agathe Demarais.

Agathe told the Guardian that disparity in vaccinations between the rich and poor countries will “define the global economy, the global political landscape, travel, pretty much everything.”

Poor countries may have poor medical infrastructure and few health workers that are trained to administer vaccines. Some countries may also have issues securing vaccine ingredients as well as production constraints and delays in delivery.

Countries with many people living in rural areas, like India and China, may also have problems reaching people in remote areas, according to Agathe.

SOURCE: Guardian

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Moderna vaccine is proved ‘protective’ against Covid-19 variants

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Moderna vaccine is proved ‘protective’ against Covid-19 variants | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

As fear over new variants of Covid-19 had prompted the travel restrictions to tighten worldwide, the United States biotech firm Moderna announced that its vaccine should protect against the variants identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Latest studies on the efficacy of Moderna vaccines confirmed that the vaccines are effective and protective against new variants. The company will continue more tests adding a second booster of its vaccine, bringing to 3 shots in a total.

“We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants.”

Last month, a private hospital in Bangkok advertised pre-orders for the Moderna vaccine, which still needs approval from Thailand’s FDA. Thailand’s Department of Health Service Support demanded that the hospital remove the advertisements.

In the ads, the hospital was charging 4,000 baht for a booking of the vaccine. In the post the hospital said the vaccine would arrive in Thailand in October 2021. They also announced that the vaccine would cost 6,000-10,000 baht.

Health officials say private hospitals will be allowed to administer vaccines that are approved by the FDA. So far, the Thai government has only approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. The first batch of 50,000 doses are expected to arrive next month. Frontline health care workers and vulnerable groups in high risk areas will be first to receive the vaccine.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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