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September 23, 2016

Yahoo Says Hack 'State Sponsored'

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TOP OF THE AGENDA

Yahoo Says Hack 'State Sponsored'

Yahoo Inc. said that state sponsored hackers appeared to be behind the cyber theft of personal information from more than five hundred million users, though it did not identify which country it believed was behind the attack. The attack, which took place in 2014 (FT), appears to be the largest cyber-breach in history (BBC), but the company said there was no evidence the stolen passwords and other personal details had been used to break into individual accounts. In August, Yahoo received reports that user information was being sold on the black market (Bloomberg), though the company said it has found no evidence of this claim. In a separate incident, the White House said it was investigating a cyber-breach after images of what appeared to be First Lady Michelle Obama's passport and emails were posted online (AP).

ANALYSIS

"It's less embarrassing for Yahoo to attribute an attack to a nation state, which typically have the most sophisticated hacking capabilities, than to attribute it to a cybercriminal group or individual – particularly as Yahoo is in the middle of being acquired by Verizon for $4.8bn," Olivia Solon writes for the Guardian.

"Two years is an unusually long time to identify a hacking incident. According to the Ponemon Institute, which tracks data breaches, the average time it takes organizations to identify such an attack is 191 days, and the average time to contain a breach is 58 days after discovery. Security experts say the breach could bring about class-action lawsuits, in addition to other costs. An annual report by the Ponemon Institute in July found that the costs to remediate a data breach is $221 per stolen record. Added up, that would top Yahoo’s $4.8 billion sale price," Nicole Perlroth writes for the New York Times.

"The confirmation of such an extensive hack is another blemish on the record of CEO Marissa Mayer, a vaunted former Google exec who has presided over numerous declines in the business since she arrived four years ago. Her inability to turn Yahoo around or innovate any new products eventually led to the sale," Kara Swisher writes for Recode.

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PACIFIC RIM

Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Jailed

A Beijing court sentenced Xia Lin, a lawyer who defended dissident artist Ai Weiwei and others in high-profile human rights cases, to twelve years in jail on fraud charges (FT). Lin's sentencing follows the arrest of hundreds of lawyers known for defending dissidents in July of last year.  

PHILIPPINES: The Philippines central bank governor sought (Bloomberg) to allay investor concerns over President Rodrigo Duterte's aggressive crackdown on crime by saying that his economic program and team "are all solid." Market analysts have warned about the "rising uncertainties surrounding the stability, predictability, and accountability" of the Duterte government.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Pakistan Military Exercise Signals Escalation With India

Pakistani jets carried out an exercise (WaPo) over the capital city of Islamabad after an attack by militants on a base in Indian-controlled Kashmir escalated tensions between the two countries. India's foreign minister said that India could reconsider a 1960 water usage treaty with Pakistan (VOA) over concerns about "mutual trust and mutual cooperation."

This CFR Global Conflict Tracker discusses the history of the disputed Kashmir region.

INDIA: A Pew Research Center report found that Indians are the fastest-growing group of undocumented immigrants to the United States (WSJ). The country ranks fourth in total number of undocumented migrants living in the United States, following those from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Hundreds of Migrants Believed Dead in Egyptian Waters

Hundreds of migrants are believed to have drowned after a boat carrying up to six hundred people seeking to reach Europe capsized off the Egyptian coast (BBC). More than ten thousand people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean toward Europe since 2014, according to the United Nations.

This CFR Backgrounder discusses Europe's migration crisis.

JORDAN: Women won twenty out of 130 seats in Jordanian parliamentary elections (Middle East Eye), after a record 252 female candidates stood for election. A national coalition uniting Muslim Brotherhood and some Christian factions also won at least fifteen seats (BBC).

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

UN Condemns DRC Protester Deaths

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein condemned (Reuters) the use of police force against protesters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where dozens have died during demonstrations against President Joseph Kabila. Kabila's term ends in December, but his government has made no announcement of new elections (NYT).

This CFR Global Conflict Tracker follows unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

SOUTH AFRICA: Anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Mandela said (ENCA) there are "a lot of things wrong" with the ruling African National Congress and that a "whole layer of fresh leadership" is needed (BBC).

EUROPE

May: Protect British Troops from 'Vexatious' Accusations

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the government must protect the British armed forces from "vexatious" claims of abuses during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (Sky News). Her comments came as two separate inquiries are investigating nearly two thousand allegations of abuse by UK military personnel during the wars (BBC).

GREECE: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called (WSJ) the 2015 decision by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to accept hundreds of thousands of migrants "brave," and said other European countries need to act on their commitments to resettle some of the sixty thousand migrants stranded in Greece now.  

This CFR event discussed the role the United States should have in responding to the migrant crisis in the Middle East.

AMERICAS

Obama to Veto 9/11 Saudi Lawsuit Bill

President Barack Obama will veto on Friday (VOA) a bill that would have allowed survivors and family members of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, the country of origin of fifteen of the nineteen hijackers who carried out the attack. Congress is expected to override the veto.

Gregory Gause III discusses the future of U.S.-Saudi relations in this article for Foreign Affairs.