A Chinese hacker group known as Storm-0558 has breached the cloud-based Outlook email systems of 25 organizations, including several US government agencies, using a stolen cryptographic key that allowed them to impersonate user identities across numerous Microsoft customer accounts. The unique attack highlighted vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s security protocols, despite the firm’s efforts to ensure stringent security measures. Microsoft has since blocked all tokens associated with the stolen key and issued a new one, while also enhancing the security of its key management systems. However, questions remain about how the key was stolen and why so many entities were sharing a single Outlook cloud instance. This incident underscores potential risks in cloud migration, particularly when centralized systems, despite their general security advantages, reveal vulnerabilities with potentially large-scale consequences. (Wired)
The Marshfield Village Store in Vermont has transformed into a shelter, distribution center, and a hub for supplies and support following devastating floods that have struck the region. Severe storms, resulting in the worst flooding since 1927, dumped up to two months’ worth of rain in a few days, surpassing Tropical Storm Irene’s effects in 2011. The flood claimed the life of 63-year-old Stephen Davoll in Barre, marking Vermont’s second flood-related death this week. President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration following a request by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, enabling federal support. The storm also wreaked havoc on farms, threatening a significant portion of crops and livestock feed. As the state prepares for more rainfall, emergency efforts have shifted towards providing food, water, and repairing infrastructure. FEMA assessors are due to inspect the affected areas, and emergency management officials are reaching out to communities yet to establish contact. (Associated Press)
Heavy rainfall in South Korea for three consecutive days has resulted in 22 deaths, 14 missing individuals, and the evacuation of 4,763 people, according to government data. Continuous downpour caused landslides and dam overflow, particularly in North Chungcheong province. As more rain is predicted, these numbers are expected to increase. Railway services have been disrupted, with some trains halted and others delayed due to landslides and flooding. A train derailed on Friday in North Chungcheong, injuring the engineer. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has called for military involvement in rescue operations to manage the crisis effectively. (Reuters)
Southern Europe is facing extreme heatwaves with 16 cities across Italy, including Rome, Florence, and Bologna, being issued red alerts. Record-breaking temperatures are expected, with areas like Sicily and Sardinia potentially reaching up to 49C (120F). The heatwave, unofficially named Cerberus, could pose significant risks to even healthy individuals and is particularly dangerous for the elderly and vulnerable. Greece, France, and Spain are also enduring high temperatures, leading to tourist collapse and a death of an outdoor worker near Milan. The Greek government has initiated contingency plans fearing wildfires. Work bans during peak heat hours and remote work suggestions are in effect in various sectors. High temperatures, fueled by climate change, are predicted to persist into next week, with another heatwave, named Charon, forecasted in Italy. Czech Republic and other parts of Europe, the US, China, North Africa, and Japan are also bracing for high temperatures. (The Guardian)
Piyawan Daonan, a resident of Tha Thakiap, Thailand, tragically lost her husband to an elephant trampling, one of many such incidents as wildlife increasingly intrudes on human settlements due to habitat loss. The tension between elephants and humans in Thailand has been escalating for years, stemming from rapid deforestation and agricultural expansion, which has left elephants with fewer resources and space. Elephant populations are rebounding due to protective laws, but these increasing numbers are leading to more encounters with humans as the animals leave their shrinking habitats in search of food, often devastating crops in the process. To combat this, local groups like the Chonburi Elephant Volunteers work to deter elephants from plantations. However, solutions such as erecting barriers or surveillance have proven inadequate. Despite proposals for animal corridors, hormonal birth control, and even hunting, a compromise between elephant conservation and human safety remains elusive, especially as plans to further industrialize the region continue. (Der Speigel)
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)