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Apr 2, 2014 at 07:30 o\clock

NATO suspends cooperation with Russia over Ukraine crisis

by: eniko0

* Planners to draft measures to strengthen NATO defences

* Alliance to increase cooperation with Ukraine

* Poland says it wants more NATO forces on its soil

* U.S. considers sending warship to Black Sea (Adds Pentagon official, paragraphs 14-15)

By Adrian Croft and Sabine Siebold

BRUSSELS, April 1 (Reuters) - NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia on Tuesday in protest at its annexation of Crimea, and ordered military planners to draft measures to strengthen its defences and reassure nervous Eastern Europe.

Foreign ministers from your 28-nation, U.S.-led alliance were meeting the very first time since the Russian occupation of Ukraine's Crimea region touched journey worst East-West crisis considering that the Cold War.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia's actions meant there may be no "business as usual".

"So today, i am suspending all practical cooperation with Russia, military and civilian," he told a press conference.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said NATO's future relationship with Russia is based, amongst other things, on whether Russia started withdrawing troops through the Ukrainian border.

Ministers also ordered military commanders to draw up plans for reinforcing NATO's defences to prop up confidence one of the alliance's Eastern European members, including former Soviet republics within the Baltics, that NATO is just about to defend them.

The measures could include sending NATO soldiers and equipment to Eastern European allies, holding more exercises, ensuring NATO's rapid-reaction force could deploy quicker, and reviewing NATO's military plans. Military planners is with detailed proposals within weeks, a NATO official said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said NATO's preference was for any de-escalation and diplomatic route out from the crisis.

"As well, it's important for everyone on the globe to comprehend the NATO alliance takes seriously this try and change borders by using force," he was quoted saying.

Russia's announcement on Monday so it would move a battalion back from close to the Ukrainian border would have been a small but welcome gesture, he told a news conference.

"The question now's: Can there be ways to build upon that to become capable of finding a means to move the multitude of troops back and truly de-escalate?" he explained.

Rasmussen said earlier that NATO saw no sign Russia was withdrawing its troops in the Ukrainian border.

REINFORCEMENTS

The usa and also other NATO allies have taken care of immediately the crisis through providing more planes to get acquainted with regular NATO air patrols within the Baltic States, that have been once Soviet republics. North america has beefed up a previously planned training exercise with the Polish airforce.

A Pentagon official told Reuters on Tuesday the top U.S. general in Europe was investigating options, including moving a U.S. warship on the Black Sea and bolstering scheduled NATO exercises.

General Philip Breedlove, who's going to be both NATO's supreme allied commander Europe and head of the U.S. military's European Command, was "going to consider the full spate of upcoming NATO exercises" to determine if there are ways they are often enhanced, the U.S. official said.

Germany had offered six Eurofighter jets for Baltic air patrols and another command ship for a mine hunting unit from the Baltic Sea, a NATO source told Reuters.

The suspension of NATO cooperation with Russia would mean Russia can't participate in joint exercises for example one planned for May on rescuing a stranded submarine, a NATO official said.

But Rasmussen said he expected Russia's cooperation with NATO in Afghanistan - on training counter-narcotics personnel, repair of Afghan airforce helicopters along with a transit route outside the war-torn country - to stay.

Contacts between NATO and Russia at ambassadorial level or higher may happen, so the two sides can discuss ways out of your crisis.

NATO agreed at the meeting with Ukraine's secretary of state to improve cooperation with training along with programmes to help modernise Ukraine's armed services.

The alliance will give you Ukraine more chances to take part in NATO exercises, Rasmussen said.

Ukraine has given NATO members a wish-list of "technical equipment" it required for its military but this failed to include weaponry, Ukraine's Secretary of state Andrij Deshchitsya told a news conference after meeting NATO ministers.

He was quoted saying NATO members would send experts to Kiev in the near future to find out what Ukraine needed.

As NATO ministers convened, Russia warned Ukraine against integration with NATO, saying Kiev's previous tries to move closer to the defence alliance had unwelcome consequences.

Ukraine's new pro-Western leadership says it's not seeking membership in the Western alliance.

In another sign of NATO support, Romanian President Traian Basescu said the United States had asked to improve the number of troops and aircraft they have stationed at an air base in their country, with a border with Ukraine.

But Polish Premier Donald Tusk said on Tuesday which the pace at which NATO was increasing its military presence in Poland was unsatisfactory.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who said earlier however be satisfied if NATO located two heavy brigades in Poland, said on arrival at the NATO meeting that he would welcome any NATO forces being stationed there.

Germany's Steinmeier said the basing of an significant NATO force in Poland would not be completely in line with a 1997 treaty on NATO-Russian cooperation.

Apr 2, 2014 at 07:24 o\clock

Windows XP: Old Platforms Die Hard, Security Risks Live On

by: eniko0

Some 300 million computers, including many that manage water, electric and sewage treatment plants and ATMs, will quickly be left unprotected from new security threats.

Microsoft Corp. MSFT +1.05%  will eradicate providing updates to its Windows XP main system after April 8, leaving holes using some computers running industrial systems along with PCs at many gov departments.

Regardless of the publicity generated at this deadline, greater than 10% of computers utilised in government and corporations world-wide will still make use of the 12-year-old operating-system, according to cybersecurity firm Qualys Inc. QLYS +3.89%  Including consumer PCs, the share of desktops running XP is almost 30%, in line with researcher NetApplications.
Microsoft continues to be warning its customers in the coming change for a long time—it even carries a countdown clock in its website. Because the deadline approaches, the U.S. government continues to be urging IT administrators at utility companies along with other constituents to upgrade.
The software giant itself will further contribute to the challenge in May, when Microsoft issues updates to Windows 7 and Windows 8, newer operating systems built with a similar blueprint as XP. The patches Microsoft sends for all os's will be pointing hackers to possible weak spots in XP without supplying the fix.

"[It's like] you will find there's big air bubble along the side of your tire and it's going to fail. It may not be a question of if, it's actually a question of when," said Mark Bernardo, gm of automation software at General Electric Co. GE -0.08%  's Intelligent Platforms division. The unit sells industrial control systems and software accustomed to manage from electricity flow in power plants to assembly lines at manufacturers.

Between 30% and 35% of his customers remain using XP, said Mr. Bernardo. Over the last year, GE has tried to get its customers to upgrade to Windows 7.1, that's four yrs . old. He was quoted saying by far the most reluctant to upgrade, certainly, happen to be water and wastewater utilities, because of the cost, he said. One water utility in Merrill, Wisc., spent $700 per computer to upgrade to Windows 7.1, including hardware.

About 95% with the 211,000 ATMs owned by banking institutions, run some version of XP. However , many of the machines keep going an exceptional version Microsoft will support until 2016, in accordance with a Department of Homeland Security memo sent in March. Independent companies, such as gasoline stations, own another 210,000.
Executives at major banking institutions say they have taken steps to mitigate the challenge. Portion of that response might be software that prevents any new software from being uploaded on the ATMs—what security experts call whitelisting.

"Citibank is incorporated in the means of migrating ATMs faraway from Or windows 7," Citigroup Inc. C +0.42%  spokesman Andrew Brent said. "We've plans in position that can conserve the protection of our ATMs within this transition." Other large banks offered similar assurances.

One reason companies are slow to upgrade their operating systems may be the complexity, for some older ATMs that need physical visits to have an upgrade. "It isn't really as fundamental as upgrading a desktop PC... When it comes to an ATM, it's actually a whole different ballgame," said Robert Johnson, director of enterprise software at NCR Corp. NCR +0.27%  , which claims a 30% share of the market for ATMs in the U.S. and globally.

Hackers employ a long history of gaining from unprotected software to create damage from the physical world. Vulnerabilities in XP were the type of exploited because of the Stuxnet virus that's reported this year to possess destroyed centrifuges in Iran's nuclear-enrichment facilities in Natanz, in line with Roel Schouwenberg, principal security researcher at security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Hackers who brought down South Korean ATMs as well as other systems last spring used a minimum of one part of malicious code that targeted XP, based on researchers at security firm Symantec Corp. SYMC +1.05%

The U.S. government is wanting to boost the alarm concerning the physical damage that may occur. A July 2012 memo from your Environmental Protection Agency to U.S. water utilities highlighted a breach to desktops in Queensland, Australia that led to 264,000 numerous sewage being released into streams and park land. Based on the same memo, a hacker used the Internet to enter security of a Harrisburg, Pa., water filtering plant in 2006. The intruder planted malicious software that has been able to affecting the plant's water treatment operations, the EPA said. The EPA didn't identify the main system that's penetrated either way.

In May 2013, security firm Invincea Inc. found hackers used a flaw in XP systems running Ie 8 to a target website visitors to a Department of Labor website detailing rights of workers who deal with nuclear materials. "The mark wasn't the Department of Labor, it was people would you search for a website in regards to the hazard of coping with nuclear materials," said Anup Ghosh, the CEO of Invincea.

XP, introduced by Microsoft in 2001, can be a tempting target since it remains so prevalent, and it's considered at risk of cyberattacks. "If there's one core reason we're retiring the systems, it's security issues," said Microsoft spokesman Tom Murphy.

Beginning in May, many of the patches Microsoft creates for Windows 7 and Windows 8 still would affect Or windows 7, since the systems have similar code. "We are conscious that Microsoft updates in many cases are reverse-engineered to look for the real cause," said Mr. Murphy, who said this is the major answer why the organization is encouraging customers to upgrade.

"Can we want visitors to buy the latest version of our own OS? Yes we do," Mr. Murphy said. But he noted that the company supported Windows XP for a few years longer than every other OS.