As businesses increasingly rely on digital systems, networks, and data for operations, the value of maintaining the integrity and availability of these resources becomes more critical. According to the Ransomware 2017 Report by Cybersecurity Insiders, 80% of cybersecurity professionals surveyed considered ransomware as a threat ranging from moderate to extreme.

Ransomware infections are particularity concerning for Security Operations Center (SOC) analysts because there is usually little to no advance warning. Unlike advanced persistent threats (APT), that rely on low-and-slow techniques, ransomware instead uses shock-and-awe techniques. Once it starts, an attack is capable of encrypting large numbers of files within minutes. For individuals, this can be the contents of their computer. For companies, where employees often have access to multiple shared files and databases, ransomware can spread quickly to shared drives, bringing business to a standstill. When it comes to organizations such as hospitals, critical infrastructure, or transportation systems, a ransomware attack can even be potentially life-threatening. Thirty-nine percent of security professionals surveyed estimate that it would take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks for their organization to recover from a ransomware attack.


For years, the Corps has sought ways to upgrade the capabilities of its tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey, as the lightly armed aircraft is a big target and is vulnerable to attack, especially when landing and extracting ground forces.

Now, the Corps is looking at a drone that can be launched out of the back of an MV-22 Osprey to provide advanced reconnaissance of potential enemy threats to the aircraft, according officials at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

It’s called the Air-Launched Fast Autonomous Reconnaissance System, or AFARS, and according to details provided by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. The air-launched drone has a maximum range of 165 nautical miles and a 100 nautical mile range with a 10 minute loiter time on station.

According to the Warfighting Lab, the AFARS system can maintain a line-of-sight data link capability within a 50 nautical mile radius, providing pilots potentially lifesaving intelligence of ground based threats miles before the crew reaches their target destination

U.S. Marines and sailors with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit board an MV-22 Osprey on April 12, 2019, after completing embassy reinforcement training during an exercise at Camp Beuhring, Kuwait. (Sgt. Aaron Henson/Marine Corps)

The 6-foot-long drone can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet and carry a payload of up to 4.4 pounds, potentially providing other kinetic strike capabilities or sensors.


It’s the latest effort by the Corps to bridge some key vulnerabilities of the MV-22.


Tweet suggests possible screenshot of stolen city documents and credentials in the wake of attack that took down city servers last week.


A mysterious and newly created Twitter account on May 12 posted what purports to be a screenshot of sensitive documents and user credentials from the city of Baltimore, which was hit late last week by a major ransomware attack.

Researchers at Armor who have been investigating the so-called Robbinhood ransomware malware used in the attack on the city discovered the post. They say it could either be from the attacker, a city employee, someone with access to the documents — or even be just a hoax. The city is still recovering from the May 7 attack, which has disrupted everything from real estate transactions awaiting deeds, bill payments for residents, and services such as email and telecommunications.

Ransomware attacks typically are all about making money: Attackers demand a fee to decrypt victims' files they have accessed and encrypted. Whether the tweet came from the attackers trying to put the squeeze on the city to pay up or threatening to abuse the kidnapped information is unclear.                              

City officials previously have said they have no plans to pay the ransom. "I think the mayor was very clear: We're not paying a ransom," said City Council president Brandon Scott in an interview yesterday on a local CBS affiliate

Eric Sifford, security researcher with Armor's Threat Resistance Unit (TRU), discovered the Twitter post appearing to taunt or threaten Baltimore officials. He says he's not sure whether the tweet came from the actual attackers. "They are trying to make a statement ... and to show that they not only were able to encrypt major portions of network of the city .... but they have a lot of internal access," as well, if the documents in the screenshot are legitimate, Sifford says.


UNTIL THE 19TH century, the Pripyat River basin on the border between Ukraine and Belarus was wetland and forest. As usual, humans kind of ruined it. They burned down forest for pastureland and cut down trees for timber—or for fuel to make glass and vodka. By the middle of the 20th century, most of that industry was gone, and human-driven reforestation efforts had remade the Pripyat region anew. And then, on April 26, 1986, a nuclear power plant called Chernobyl, on the Pripyat River about 70 miles north of Kiev, blew up and caught fire, spewing radiation across the northern hemisphere.

So that was a big change.

The Soviets ended up evacuating 300,000 people from nearly 2,000 square miles around the plant. The bulk of that area is now called the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and the old power plant is now encased in a giant concrete sarcophagus. But what happened to the Exclusion Zone after everyone left is the subject of disagreement in the scientific community. For decades, research in the area said that plant and animal life had been denuded, and the life that remained was mutated, sick. Newer research says otherwise—that plants have regrown, and animal life is even more diverse than before the accident. The Exclusion Zone hasn’t been rewilded so much as de-humaned, more unmanned in folly than anything Lady Macbeth ever worried about. It’s a living experiment in what the world will be like after humans are gone, having left utter devastation in our wake.

It’d be easy to assume that exposing 3 billion humans to clouds of radioactive strontium, iodine, cesium, and plutonium would be a Thanos-snappingly bad thing. Some 134 emergency responders around the plant got acute radiation sickness, but 530,000 recovery workers got high enough doses to be worrisome. Studies are ongoing as to what that did to their bodies.

One effect seems uncontroversial: The more radioactive iodine you get exposed to, the more likely you are to have thyroid cancer and other thyroid problems later in life. Clean-up crew members today have disproportionately more instances of leukemia and other cancers, as well as cataracts. Luckily, radioactive I-131 doesn’t stick around. “It has such a short half-life that it disappeared quickly—days and weeks after the accident,” says Jim Beasley, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who studies life in the Exclusion Zone. “The animals in Chernobyl today aren’t exposed to that.”