German nuclear plant suffers cyber attack designed to give hackers remote access

German nuclear plant suffers cyber attack designed to give hackers remote access (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Technology – Security

German nuclear plant suffers cyber attack designed to give hackers remote access

A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility’s operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station’s operator said on Tuesday.

The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE.

The viruses, which include “W32.Ramnit” and “Conficker”, were discovered at Gundremmingen’s B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualisation software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

Malware was also found on 18 removable data drives, mainly USB sticks, in office computers maintained separately from the plant’s operating systems. RWE said it had increased cyber-security measures as a result.

W32.Ramnit is designed to steal files from infected computers and targets Microsoft Windows software, according to the security firm Symantec.

First discovered in 2010, it is distributed through data sticks, among other methods, and is intended to give an attacker remote control over a system when it is connected to the Internet.

Conficker has infected millions of Windows computers worldwide since it first came to light in 2008. It is able to spread through networks and by copying itself onto removable data drives, Symantec said.

RWE has informed Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), which is working with IT specialists at the group to look into the incident.

The BSI was not immediately available for comment.

My Two Cents:
Again…The DOE, and FERC need to address cyber security problems as a national security clear and present danger issue (TLP) RED level. I personally feel that the DOE and FERC are NOT the type of government agencies that mission statements are for this type of national security challenge (Protecting the USA Power Grid(s)). The DHS, US-CERT and FBI need to take control and get some move on in this power industry…

Talen Energy completes power plant sales, Holtwood and Lake Wallenpaupack

Talen Energy completes power plant sales, Holtwood and Lake Wallenpaupack (http://www.mcall.com)

Technology – Hydro

Talen Energy of Allentown has completed a series of power plant divestitures required by federal regulators last year when the company was launched.

The independent power producer announced Friday that, as anticipated, it had completed the sale of its Holtwood and Lake Wallenpaupack hydroelectric plants to a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P. for $860 million.

The two Pennsylvania hydroelectric plants – Holtwood in Lancaster County and Lake Wallenpaupack in the Pocono Mountain region – have a combined generating capacity of 292 megawatts.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission required the divestitures when PPL Corp. spun off its PPL Supply power plant and energy marketing division, combining it with certain power plants owned by Riverstone Partners, to form Talen Energy.

My Two Cents:
Should be a good move for Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P.

Windows 10 Issues

Why Windows 10 Sucks or
Everything Wrong with Windows 10
(http://itvision.altervista.org – Artem S. Tashkinov)

Technology – Software

It’s funny and equally sad that year 2015 marks the end of the Windows OS for a lot of people. There are several issues with Windows which, at present, make Windows 10 inappropriate and even outright dangerous for a lot of people. The most egregious, of course, is a total abandonment of any form of privacy and control.

Firstly, Microsoft openly stated that pervasive data Microsoft: ‘We finally fixed everything in Windows 10’ View this page source code to find the source of this picture collection will be present in any Windows version starting from Windows 10 and as a host of research on the Internet shows, this data collection cannot be disabled using official means. If you decide to disable total tracking (including keyboard scanning and voice recording) you’ll have to disable over a hundred different Internet addresses and then no one guarantees that a new Windows update doesn’t add new hosts because Microsoft surely is not interested in losing such a lucrative feature meant for Big Brother agencies. Read the rest of the article for official Microsoft statements and for various information on how Windows breaches you privacy and how you might try to control it (it’s almost futile btw).

Secondly, Microsoft has stripped us of controlling Windows updates. It was ostensibly done to improve the user experience by keeping the system up to date and perhaps malware free, but the truth is that a built-in antimalware protection in Windows is simply horrible (according to various AV comparisons Microsoft Essentials misses over 20% of in the wild malware) and said updates mean nothing for security because over 90% of infections happen due to the user actions (like downloading and installing dubious applications). No Windows update can prevent such a behaviour.

Thirdly, as Microsoft has stated multiple times, Windows 10 will not have any service packs, Windows 10 is the final version of Windows, because Windows 10 has become a service, it will be updated over time to bring new features and remove the old ones. Windows 10 you might have updated to in July 2015 will be a different OS than Windows 10 plus all its updates a year later.

(Continue reading at http://itvision.altervista.org Artem S. Tashkinov)

My Two Cents: Windows 10 is another disappointment…I agree with Artem S. Tashkinov.

Microsoft Office 2016 Released

Office 2016 Released (http://www.theverge.com)

Technology – Software

Today’s release of Office 2016 marks almost three years since the last major version of Microsoft’s productivity apps. More than 1.2 billion people use Office, for everything from simple word processing and personal finances, to powerful number crunching at large enterprises. It’s as ubiquitous as Windows itself, and before today’s new update it was already packed full with features. So, do you really need the latest version?.

(Continue reading at http://www.theverge.com)

My Two Cents: Very Exciting!!

Windows 10 Released

Windows 10 Released (http://blogs.windows.com)

Technology – Software

Microsoft is delighted to make Windows 10 available in 190 countries today. The launch of Windows 10 is being celebrated around the world with global fan celebrations and a new yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world.

(Continue reading at http://blogs.windows.com)

My Two Cents: Here it goes!!