Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism and national security

Counterterrorism

The Netherlands is working to combat terrorism in a variety of ways. For example, it monitors potential terrorists, promptly identifies individuals who may be becoming radicalised and provides at-risk people and buildings with additional security.

Security of potential targets

The Dutch government takes security measures to protect people and organisations that could become the target of attacks. This reduces the chances of a terrorist attack.

And if an attack does happen, the Netherlands is prepared to minimise the impact.

Recognising radicalisation

Terrorists go through a radicalisation process before turning to violence. Teachers and youth workers try to recognise this and report their suspicions to the police and criminal justice authorities, if necessary. In this way, it is possible to stop radicalisation in time and prevent it from leading to terrorism.

Punishing terrorists

Terrorist offences are crimes carried out with the intent to cause terror. Terrorist intent is a circumstance that makes the punishment more severe. So the sentence for an offence carried out with terrorist intent will be harsher than for the basic offence alone. This applies not only to people who carry out attacks but also to those who intend to carry out an attack. For example, planning an attack or completing a terrorist training programme are also criminal offences.

General counterterrorism measures

The Dutch government has taken a series of measures to combat terrorism. For example:

  • Websites that use hate speech or call for violence or discrimination are taken down.
  • The Counterterrorism Alert System warns the government and key sectors (such as drinking water companies and the energy sector) about terrorist threats.
  • The Royal Netherlands Air Force monitors Dutch airspace around the clock.
  • Special units from the armed forces and the police collaborate in the Special Intervention Service (DSI). This service arrests and detains those suspected of terrorist offences. In the most extreme cases it eliminates them.
  • The police monitor people who may pose a terrorist threat.
  • The government has taken measures to combat terrorist financing.
  • The intelligence and security services have increased their capabilities. The new Intelligence and Security Services Act (WIV) helps keep the Netherlands and Dutch military personnel abroad safe.
  • The national terrorism list is used to keep a record of individuals and organisations involved in terrorist activities. The assets of these individuals and organisations are frozen.

The measures to combat terrorism in the Netherlands are set out in the National Counterterrorism Strategy for 2016-2020.

Working with international partners to share information on terrorism

The Netherlands wants to improve international cooperation and information sharing in order to combat terrorism. The Netherlands also intends to make funds available to establish a Passenger Information Unit for the Netherlands (Pi-NL) The unit will analyse information provided by airlines, such as reservation data, and work together with similar units in other countries. The information can be used to combat serious crime and terrorism.

Types of terrorism

Jihadism is currently the main source of terrorism. However, there are other forms of terrorism. For example, the government is also alert to terrorist threats posed by left-wing and right-wing extremists and by animal rights activists.

www.government.nl

What is a computer worm and how does it spread?

During his first year at Cornell in 1988, Robert Tappan Morris Jr. released what is widely considered to be the world’s first computer worm (an achievement that earned him three years of probation, 400 hours of community service and a $10,500 fine).

When asked why he did it, Morris simply replied:

“To demonstrate the inadequacies of current security measures on computer networks by exploiting the security defects that I had discovered.”

Little did Morris know how enduring his words would turn out to be.

Fast forward 30 years and worms are still exploiting vulnerable systems, endlessly replicating themselves and wiggling their way into poorly protected computers. Indeed, the worm component of WannaCry ransomware made it possible to wreak havoc on computers around the world, infecting more than 200,000 systems in over 150 countries and holding the infected machines ransom for $300 a pop. Mere weeks later, Petya/NotPetya ransomware used a worm to spread within local networks.

So, worms are very much alive and well in 2017 – but what can you do about it?

Well, when it comes to computer worms (and just about every other ailment, for that matter), prevention is always the best cure. Stay vigilant and minimize your risk of infection by learning more about how worms function, the most common ways they spread and how you can stop them dead in their tracks.

What exactly is a computer worm?

A computer worm is a form of malware, just like its more notorious cousin, the virus. Where a worm differs from a virus is that it typically doesn’t infect or manipulate files on its own. Instead, it simply clones itself over and over again and spreads via a network (say, the Internet, a local area network at home, or a company’s intranet) to other systems where it continues to replicate itself.

In turn, these clones reproduce and spread and, in a very short time period, can quickly infect an enormous number of machines. For instance, it’s estimated that the infamous ILOVEYOU worm infected about 10 percent of the world’s internet-connected computers within just 10 days.

How have computer worms changed?

Traditional computer worms were created simply to spread. Left unchecked, they would multiply exponentially and disrupt network bandwidth, but they did not actually alter a system’s functionality. This all changed in 2004 with the arrival of Witty, a worm that attacks the firewall and computer security products of a specific company and is thought to be the first worm to carry a payload (a piece of code designed to do real, tangible damage).

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Since then, a number of payload-carrying worms have been unleashed on the world, with damage ranging from Nyxem’s ability to delete Microsoft Office files to the keylogging capabilities of Daprosy.

As computer worms continue to become more advanced, there’s a growing need for users and businesses alike to up the ante and prevent the spread of worms. While Emsisoft Anti-Malware offers an excellent level of protection against all known worms, you can further reduce your risk of infection with some insight into how the nasty critters spread.

How do computer worms spread?

1. Email

One of the most common ways for computer worms to spread is via email spam. In years gone by, worms could hide in the main text of an email, but as modern email clients caught on and began blocking direct embedding circa 2010, the risk for this type of attack is fairly low.

While embedded worms may be things of the past, email attachments remain popular hiding spots for worms. What may appear to be a benign work document or personal photo can, in fact, be hiding malicious code, waiting to be released when you click a link or open said attachment. Once a machine has been infected, the worm may replicate itself by emailing itself to everyone in your address book or automatically replying to emails in your inbox.

Reduce risk: Be very wary when opening emails (even those sent to you by someone in your address book). If you think a link or attachment looks suspicious, check with the sender before clicking anything.

2. Operating system vulnerabilities

Every operating system has its vulnerabilities (yes, even macOS) and some worms are specifically coded to take advantage of these weak points. Perhaps the most infamous example is Conficker, a worm first identified in 2008 which exploited a vulnerability in a network service present in many versions of Windows, including Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta and Windows 7 Beta. At its peak, Conficker infected as many as 15 million computers.

Reduce risk: Operating systems are continually receiving security updates designed to protect your computer from computer worms and other malware. Always keep your operating system up to date, have auto-update enabled and regularly spring clean your machine.

3. Instant messaging

Worms can take on similarly deceptive forms in instant messaging software and take advantage of users who are probably not on high alert when using such services.

In the past, instant messaging software such as mIRC, MSN Messenger, Yahoo IM and ICQ proved to be exceptionally fertile breeding grounds for worms. In today’s digital landscape, modern chat systems are just as vulnerable, with Facebook Messenger a common infection point for worms such as Dorkbot, which spreads via an executable file disguised as a JPG image.

Reduce risk: Keep your guard up when using chat services and social media platforms in general (Facebook is home to more than worms!). Always verify URLs before clicking and be wary of downloading any attachments – even those that have apparently been sent by a trusted contact.

4. Smartphones

Globally, there were about 2.8 billion active smartphones being used at the end of 2016, according to data collated by market intelligence firm Newzoo. With these figures in mind, it should come as little surprise that worm creators are increasingly turning their attention to mobile devices.

Research from Syracuse University suggests that every major mobile operating system (including Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone) are potentially vulnerable to worms as they all support HTML5-based mobile apps. One of the key security flaws of HTML5 is that malicious code can easily be inserted into it, meaning that when a user launches an app they could also be unwittingly executing a damaging program.

Reduce risk: You can mitigate this risk to an extent by only downloading and using apps released by reputable organizations. Take the time to read the permission requirements of your apps and consider uninstalling those that are unnecessarily intrusive. Finally, you can further reduce the risk of worm infection on your Android device by downloading and installing Emsisoft Mobile Security.

Prevention is key in the fight against computer worms

Infectious, self-replicating and increasingly destructive, preventing the spread of worms is an ongoing battle. Thankfully, adopting some of the security practices discussed here and coupling them with our unrivaled Emsisoft Anti-Malware software will go a long way toward helping you minimize the risk of a worm infecting your system.

Download now: Emsisoft Anti-Malware free trial.

Have a great, malware-free day!

Jareth

Writer. A picture is worth a thousand words but unfortunately I can’t draw. The world of IT security has always fascinated me and I love playing a small role in helping the good guys combat malware.

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Root Maggot

How to identify and get rid of root maggots using time-tested, organic and natural techniques.

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Many species of the root maggot exist in home gardens throughout North America. Particularly destructive to early season plantings, they feed underground on succulent roots and attack a large variety of vegetable crops including radish, cabbage, carrot, turnip and onions. Heavily infested roots are often riddles with tunnels and rotted. Affected plants lack vigor, may be stunted or yellowed and often wilt during the heat of the day. In some cases, maggots may even chew through taproots, causing plants to die.

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Identification

Adults (1/5 inch long) are dark gray flies that look like the common housefly, only smaller. They lay their eggs in the soil at the base of host plants and are very good at detecting newly planted seed beds. Maggots (1/3 – 1/4 inch long) are small, yellowish white, legless larvae with tapered or pointed heads and a rear end that is blunt.

Note: Tunneling and feeding by this pest creates entry points for rot diseases such as black rot.

Life Cycle

Adults emerge in the spring or early summer from overwintering pupal cocoons in the soil. They soon mate and females begin depositing 50-200 small, white eggs in plant stems right at the soil line or in cracks in the soil near plant stems. Eggs hatch in a few days and the larvae burrow down into the soil to feed on small roots, root hairs, and germinating seeds. After feeding for 1-3 weeks, maggots begin to pupate in plant roots or the surrounding soil. There are several generations per year.

How to Control

  1. Female flies are attracted for egg laying by the moisture emitted from newly planted seed rows. Cover seedbeds with floating row cover immediately after seeds are sown to prevent problems. Be sure the cover extends at least 6 inches on each side of the seed rows.
  2. Apply small amounts of diatomaceous earth around seedling stems to deter egg laying by adults.
  3. Yellow Sticky Traps placed around vegetable crops will capture many adult flies before they can mate and lay eggs.
  4. Heavy paper collars or other sturdy material may be placed around the base of transplants to prevent egg laying around stems.
  5. Applying beneficial nematodes in seed furrows or as a top dressing around plants can be effective in getting rid of the larvae.
  6. Using a pyrethrin drench is also an effective option, but should only be considered as a last resort.
  7. Rototill under crop debris immediately after harvest to destroy overwintering sites.

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8 Protection Tips to Avoid Virus, Malware, Trojan & Worm

This era is one of instantaneous information, immediate communication and lightning Internet. But while, on the one hand, this has provided a lot of conveniences and changed the way we live our lives, on the other hand, it has also made threats against your safety an everyday concern. Virus and malware are one of the ways in which your data can be compromised.

You must hear terms like virus, malware, Trojans, worms etc. in everyday life. Few non-professionals don’t know the true distinction between them. Here it is, laid down in simple, easy to grasp the language.

What is Malware?

Malware is a casual term for ‘malicious software’. In essence, it includes any and every threat to your computer. It is a term for viruses, worms, Trojan horses and everything else. So to define it, it comes with malicious software with less than noble intentions. It is incredibly easy to mistakenly install malware on your system. All you have to do is click the wrong link or get the wrong e-mail attachment. However, a good anti-virus takes care of most of these threats.

What is Virus?

People often use the term virus to generically mean any sort of malicious software that infects their system. Viruses are highly specialized programs that alter your data, maybe even deletes it.

In the most cases, viruses come through malicious downloads that can damage your system. You may receive an innocent looking e-mail with an attachment, maybe even from an e-mail address you know, and once you download the attachment, the virus is in your system.

When you visit a certain website and download software, often viruses are downloaded along with it. Most viruses only come into operation once you execute the file that you have downloaded.

What is Trojan?

A Trojan is a program that looks genuine but has a disruptive agenda. The motive behind designing a Trojan is to get access to data inside a person’s computer. It gives access to your most sensitive data that may include credit card information. This is done by creating a backdoor. You can protect yourself against Trojans by downloading software and programs that come from known and verified sources, and not obtained by a random search on the Internet.

What is Worms?

The modus operandi of the worm is simple – it simply keeps replicating itself inside your system. If you notice that a file doesn’t go away even after being deleted, or when your disk space is full despite you not downloading or having that many programs or files, the culprit most likely is a worm. Worms don’t attach themselves to e-mails or downloaded software. They enter the computer through vulnerabilities in the system.

How to protect yourself?

Now that you know the distinction between the most common kinds of malicious programs, what can you do to protect yourself against them? Following are some simple precautions you can take to ensure that you’re protected from these threats.

  1. Get a good anti-virus

Most people have some kind of free anti-virus, or the one that comes bundled with the Windows program when you buy it. Though these are not bad or harmful, but they are inefficient in safeguarding your system. If you use the Internet, you need a professional anti-virus. Find a premium version that fits your needs. There are different types of antivirus for home and corporate. Update your anti-virus programs when you get an alert (which is almost daily in the good ones).

  1. Know what malicious programs look like

If you think your computer has become slow or there are some programs that look suspicious, it is always handy if you know what the problem is. May be it is a worm, a virus, a Trojan horse or something else. A basic idea of what they look like and what do they can help you here.

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For example, instances of worms are W32.SillyFDC.BBY, Packed.Generic.236. JS.Debeski.Trojan is a Trojan horse.

  1. Be wary of e-mail attachment

Never download an email attachment without scanning it first. Services like gmail have virus scanners for attachments inbuilt, but a good anti-virus comes along with this email scanning service. No matter how genuine the e-mail looks or even if it is from your best friend, scan it first. If your friend’s system has been infected, there is a good chance a malicious attachment has been sent to you or any person in his e-mail contact list.

  1. Avoid the Third Party Downloads

The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Do not go to websites by clicking on shortened URLs. Type the website address in the address bar. Do not download software from publishers you aren’t sure of. Be extra cautious while filling in your credit card information on a website.

  1. Have a Hardware-based firewall and deploy DNS

A firewall helps to protect your computer from different threats, including malicious web traffic. A firewall can also guard against viruses and worms, but don’t rely on just Firewall. The software-based Windows Firewall, however, isn’t strong enough and you will need to have a proper hardware based firewall.

From DNS attacks to visiting compromised web pages anything can infect your own PC, you will have to be wary of different threats. Therefore, the firewall does not protect your system alone. One of the ways you can guard yourself against this is by installing a firewall and changing the way your computer processes the DNA services. You can choose OpenDNS for instance, as it helps to guard you against various online threats like malware and spyware.

  1. Don’t Forget to Avoid Autorun

Inserted a Pen drive or a hard disk to your computer. Well, you need to be sure that the Autorun option is disabled and first scan the drive properly. Not doing so, your computer may get affected. Infected external drives with viruses are one of the most common ways to infect your computer.

  1. Check SSL before dealing with E-commerce:

It is quite necessary to check authenticity with SSL (Secure Socket Layer) while dealing with the website as cyber culprits can sniff the information or it may happen that the website has already any Trojan or virus. It is safe to deal with an online website that has implemented SSL security.

SSL secures the ongoing information with robust encryption so; another person could not intercept the traveling data. World’s most famous e-commerce websites (Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and other) bind their online information and transactions with highly trusted Extended Validation certificate on their website, which is a mark of maximum authentication.

  1. Regular Backup Your Data:

In case, if your computer is infected with a virus or malware, regular data backup helps to restore your data. It is sensible to encrypt all your data so in case if the data is stolen or lost, there are strong chances of being secured.

Conclusion:

These are some of the basic measures that can help you to stay safe and keep your data secure even dealing with online. You should follow the above measurements regularly to keep unwanted virus or malware outside the boundary of your PC system. If you do think that you have been affected by malware, contact an expert instead of trying to diagnose it on your own.

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Identifying Root Maggots And Control Of Root Maggots

Root maggots can be a pain for any gardener who is trying to grow almost any kind of root vegetables or cole crops in their garden. While the root maggot fly is more of a problem in some parts of the country than others, they can affect almost any gardener. Knowing the symptoms of root maggots and control methods will help you keep this troublesome pests out of your garden.

Identifying Root Maggots

Root maggots get their name from the fact that they attack the roots of root vegetables such as:

They also like cole crops such as:

The root maggots are the larva of several species of root maggot flies. But, despite the fact that they are of different species, the root maggots look the same and are treated and controlled the same. Root maggots are white and about ¼ of an inch long. Often, an infestation will not be spotted until after damage is done. Damage shows up in the form of holes or tunnels in the roots or tubers of the plant. In a heavy infestation, the plant itself may wilt or turn yellow.

While the damage to root crops by root maggots is unsightly, the parts of the root crop than have not been bored into by the root maggot can still be eaten. Simply cut away the damaged areas.

Root Maggots and Control

The most common method for root maggot treatment is biological/organic control. Common organic cures for root maggot include spreading diatomaceous earth around the plants while they are seedlings, floating row covers over seedlings and using natural predators of root maggots, like Heterorhabditidae or Steinernematidae nematodes or rove beetles, to kill the root maggots. Root maggots organic control is most commonly used due to the fact that these pests feed on plants that will be eaten by people.

Chemicals can also be used as a root maggot treatment. Pesticides will only be effective during specific points in the growing season, as once the maggots have penetrated the root of the plant, it is difficult for chemicals to reach the pests. If you will be using pesticides for root maggot control, apply weekly during the first 8-10 weeks off spring.

As with many other pests, prevention of root maggots is much better than controlling root maggots. Make sure to regularly rotate crops that can be affected by root maggots, especially in beds where you have had problems with them in the past. Removed dead vegetation from the garden each fall and also make sure to destroy (not compost) any plants that were infested with root maggots.

Also, if you find that you are having an ongoing problem with root maggots, consider cutting back on the amount of organic material you have in your garden soil, particularly manure. Root maggot flies prefer to lay eggs in soil that is high in organic material, especially manure based organic material.

www.gardeningknowhow.com

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