Cyberattack on Europe exposes flaws in Internet security

Posted Sept. 09, 2011, at 9:02 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 09, 2011, at 11:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A major cyberattack in Europe that apparently was launched from Iran has revealed significant vulnerabilities in the Internet security systems used to authenticate websites for banking, email and e-commerce around the world.

The attack over the summer wrought havoc in the Netherlands, where the Justice Minister warned the public last Sunday that the only secure way to communicate with the Dutch government was with pen, paper and fax machine.

The digital assault compromised the Dutch company DigiNotar, which issues digital certificates, small pieces of computer code that assure browsers that a website is what it appears to be.

Tropical Storm Maria threatens eastern Caribbean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Tropical Storm Maria swirled toward the eastern Caribbean on Friday, threatening to unleash heavy rain and wind on islands still struggling to recover from a recent hurricane.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph Friday afternoon, with some slight strengthening possible, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was centered about 215 miles east-southeast of the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and moving northwest at about 16 mph.

Tropical force winds will start lashing the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday morning, where the storm is expected to dump up to 6 inches of rain, said Walter Snell with the National Weather Service office in Puerto Rico.

Maria is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane late Monday and possibly a Category 2 hurricane by Tuesday, when it is expected to pass just east of the Bahamas as it continues on a northward path, the hurricane center said.

Also on Friday, the Mexican government issued a hurricane watch that stretches from Tampico to Veracruz as Tropical Storm Nate meandered in the Bay of Campeche.

NATO says 4 service members killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO says four of its service members have been killed in two separate attacks in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

It said in a statement that three died in an insurgent attack in the east, and one in a roadside bomb explosion in the south. It did not release further details or the nationalities of those killed, but said all died Friday.

The deaths raise the number of international troops killed in September to 11. A total of 334 members of the international military coalition have died so far this year.

Drunk moose found stuck in Swedish tree

STOCKHOLM — A stunned Swede found a seemingly intoxicated moose entangled in an apple tree.

Per Johansson said he heard a roar from his vacationing neighbor’s garden in southwestern Sweden late Tuesday and went to have a look. There, he found a female moose kicking about in the tree. The animal was likely drunk from eating fermented apples.

With the help of police and rescue services, the 45-year-old Johansson managed to set the moose free in part by sawing off tree branches.

But the animal appeared confused and wandered into Johansson’s garden, where she was resting Thursday.

Egyptians break into Israel Embassy in Cairo

CAIRO — A group of about 30 protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo on Friday and dumped hundreds of documents out the windows after a day of demonstrations near the building in which crowds swinging sledge hammers and using their bare hands tore apart the embassy’s security wall.

Israel’s ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, his family and other embassy staff were waiting at Cairo’s airport for a military plane to evacuate them, said airport officials.

Hundreds of protesters converged on the embassy throughout the afternoon and into the night, tearing down large sections of the graffiti-covered security wall outside the 21-story building housing the embassy. Egyptian security forces made no attempt for hours to intervene.

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