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Friday, 18 March 2016

From Today's Papers - 18 Mar 2016

Pak SIT coming on March 27, Foreign Secys to meet in US
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is learnt to have raised the Pathankot terror attack issue with Pakistan Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz in Kathmandu today.

India has also cleared the decks for a visit by Pakistan’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) to Pathankot on March 27.

Sushma and Aziz met on the sidelines of a SAARC ministerial meeting, thus breaking the impasse in bilateral relations following the attack on an air base in the first week of January. Sources said Swaraj sought details on the action taken by Islamabad against the perpetrators, including Jaish-e-Mohammad and its chief Masood Azhar.

India and Pakistan are also learnt to have decided in principle that their foreign secretaries would meet in Washington on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit later this month.

Addressing the media after the 20-minute meeting, Sushma said, “It is not possible that Pathankot won’t be discussed in my meeting with Sartaj Aziz...”

Aziz expressed satisfaction over the way the Pathankot attack was handled by both sides. He said he was hopeful Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif too would meet at the nuclear summit. “(I am) Not sure whether there will be a structured dialogue, but hopeful they will meet,” Aziz said.

Both also had a five-minute interaction over breakfast. The formal meeting was sought by Pakistan to enable Aziz to hand over an invitation inviting Modi to Islamabad for the SAARC Summit in November.
Army agrees to return state land by March 31
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 17
The Army today agreed to hand over vast lands under its possession to the state government before March 31.

The decision in this regard was taken during a meeting between Governor NN Vohra Northern Command Chief Lt Gen D S Hooda here today.

During the meeting, the Governor reviewed implementation of decisions taken in earlier civil-military liaison conferences in respect of all land matters relating to the Army.

After discussions it was agreed that the Northern Command Headquarters would hand over 16.30 acre of state land held by it adjoining the Jammu University campus, 212 acre at the Tatoo Grounds, Srinagar, 456.60 kanal at High Grounds, Anantnag, land held by it at lower Khurba Thang in Kargil to the state government before March 31.

Restoration of land under Army’s possession to the state was one of the major points in the “Agenda of Alliance” of the erstwhile PDP-BJP coalition government.

In case of land at the lower plateau of Khurba Thang, it was agreed that the matter would be taken up before March 31 when Chief Secretary BR Sharma visits Kargil.

The Chief Secretary has been named as the chairman of the committee set up to deal with all Army key location plan matters.

Regarding the Tatoo Ground, the Governor and the Army commander will jointly visit the site before March 31 and discuss certain proposals regarding its utilisation.
FireEye report reveals how Pakistan-based cyberattackers target India defence websites
NEW DELHI: India has been facing continued threats from suspected Pakistan-based cyberattackers for the last few years, with online criminals sending phishing emails containing malware aimed at country's defence establishments, cybersecurity firm FireEye said today.

A cyberthreat operation in which malware 'Seedoor' was used has been targeting in India since at least 2013, FireEye said in a report.

"The threat group behind the operation likely reached its targets by sending spear phishing emails with malware attachments. The lures used in the email were related to regional military and defense issues, often involving India-Pakistan relations and current events," it said.

Stating that establishments both in India and Pakistan were targeted, FireEye said "suspected Pakistani threat actor used surveillance malware against Indian and Pakistani entities."

Google removes app used by Pakistan to snoop on Indian Army: Report

It however neither identified the location of the cyberattacks nor the success ratio. It did not say if the attackers succeeded in penetrating any sensitive establishment.

"Robust surveillance malware Seedoor was likely distributed via spear phishing emails about current events, defense issues and women," the report said.

Based on the themes used in the emails and decoy documents, it is likely the threat actor intended to target Indian government and military personnel, as well as political dissidents in Pakistan in order to collect intelligence, it added.

"The line between real world conflict and cyber conflict continues to blur. Wherever you see geopolitical tensions you are likely to find cyber campaigns beneath the surface," FireEye chief technology officer Asia Pacific Bryce Boland told PTI.

He however declined to comment on the scale of these attacks or potential damage.

"... We have been in touch with concerned authorities for this report," he added.

Seedoor's built-in functionality includes interacting with the file system, simulating mouse clicks, starting and terminating processes, transferring files, making recordings and screenshots of desktop, recording sound from microphone, recording and taking snapshots from webcams, and in some cases collecting Microsoft Outlook emails and attachments.

"The threat actor used a variety of lures focused on defence and military topics, as well as issues pertinent to India-Pakistan relations, including regional areas of conflict such as Afghanistan or, separately, Balochistan (a Pakistani province)," Boland said.
In multiple instances, the threat actor named the malware attachments the title of news articles from popular Pakistan news sites, including Dawn and the Express Tribune, he added.

The threat actor also used images of women, including several associated with India or Pakistan, the report said.
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