Cyber attack: Hackers used everday devices to cause major internet outages

The Independent - Tech

A major cyber offensive that brought down internet behemoths Twitter and Paypal is thought to have been launched by hackers using common devices such as webcams, baby monitors and digital recorders. In a huge breach of global internet stability, hackers brought down well-known sites including Netflix, Twitter, Paypal and Spotify. The widespread disruption was the result of a coordinated assault on some of the underlying infrastructure that powers the Internet. Dyn, one of several companies responsible for hosting the crucial web directory known as the Domain Name System (DNS), suffered a sustained so-called "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attack, leading many people intermittently to lose access to specific sites or to the Internet entirely. Attackers overwhelmed the system using hundreds of thousands of devices that had been infected with malicious code to creat a "botnet", Dyn said it had fought off a number of different attacks throughout Friday.

Seoul female student protesters lit the fuse that triggered Park's ouster

The Japan Times

SEOUL – When the Constitutional Court removed President Park Geun-hye from office last week, there were waves of social media messages thanking students at one South Korean university for sparking the historic change. Last summer, months before the public learned about a shadowy adviser behind Park, Ewha Womans University students gathered on the Seoul campus to protest something that initially seemed unrelated to national politics: the school administration's decision to create a new degree program. Ewha, considered the country's top women's university, soon withdrew the plan, but the students did not stop there, pressing on with their sit-in to urge the school president's resignation. The efforts to topple the university president ended up uncovering a crucial piece of the puzzle in the political scandal that eventually brought down the country's leader: the school's favoritism to an equestrian athlete who turned out to be the daughter of Park's secretive confidante, Choi Soon-sil. The extent of Ewha's favors to Choi's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, was further investigated by South Korea's parliament and a special prosecution team.

Timeline: Key moments in Venezuela's crisis

Al Jazeera

Over the past 90 days, Venezuela has seen near daily demonstrations - with anti- and pro-government protesters taking to the streets. The political roots of the protests go back to 2016, when the Supreme Court suspended the election of four legislators for alleged voting irregularities. The opposition swore in three of the legislators. The entire opposition-led National Assembly was in contempt and the Supreme Court ruled that any decisions it made would not stand. In early 2017, the National Assembly refused to approve the state-run oil company PDVSA forming joint ventures with private companies, the government went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that it would take over the legislative powers of the National Assembly.

South Africa: Protesting students clash with police

Al Jazeera

Hundreds of students demanding free education have clashed with police in renewed violence at South Africa's top university in Johannesburg after it attempted to reopen following recent unrest. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and water cannon on Monday to disperse stone-throwing protesters at Witwatersrand University, also known as Wits. Blade Nzimande, the country's education minister, appealed for dialogue and condemned the violence, saying the university's efforts to run its academic programme were being "held at ransom by irresponsible and disrespectful striking students". Two arrests were made and minor injuries reported, according to a statement by the university. "The students started throwing sizeable rocks that could have maimed or killed people," Wits said in a statement after trying to reopen on Monday.

South African universities say academic year is in peril

Los Angeles Times

Vice chancellors warn that students might not be able to finish the academic year if a national dispute over financing higher education is not resolved soon. Twenty-two years after the end of white minority rule, grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa's most prominent universities, which are struggling to cover costs. Opinion has splintered among students, faculty, parents and the government, which acknowledges funding shortfalls but accuses a radical minority of bringing campuses to a standstill. One target of protesters' condemnation is Adam Habib, vice chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, also known as Wits. Habib, in turn, has suggested it is ironic that Wits, whose student population is mostly black, could unravel because of protesters who say they are committed to "decolonization."