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Brazil gives online racist comments bigger audience

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Racist comments: “If she bathed, she didn’t get grimy”

Rio de Janeiro: A new campaign is giving a hard time to racist trolls in Brazil by plastering billboards in their neighbourhoods with their racist Facebook comments — thanks to a civil rights group run by Afro-Brazilian women.

The group has come up with this novel idea “to educate people that their words have a real impact”.

The campaign — ‘Virtual racism, real consequences’ — is run by Criola, an organisation founded in 1992 and led by black women.

It uses the location tag from Facebook posts to find where the offenders live. The group then buys billboard space in their neighbourhoods and puts the offenders’ comments on it, but blurring out their names and photos.

The project republishes the online comments as a reminder that virtual bullying can have an impact in the real world.

racist comment: “A black girl called Maju. You can’t complain about prejudice”
racist comment: “A black girl called Maju. You can’t complain about prejudice”

The campaign was launched in Rio de Janeiro after several racist comments were posted on social networking sites against Maria Julia Coutinho, the weather presenter of the most important news show in Brazil on July 3 — the country’s National Day to Combat Racial Discrimination.

Coutinho, the first black weather forecaster on Brazilian prime time television, corrected another anchor on air.

When another news site praised her for getting the terminology correct, many Facebook users responded with a torrent of comments against everything from her hair to her race.

racist comments: “GFY dirty nigga, I dunno u but I wash myself”
racist comments: “GFY dirty nigga, I dunno u but I wash myself”

“We wanted to provoke reflection. Does a comment on the internet causes less damage than a direct offence? For those who comment, may be. But for those who suffer it, the prejudice is the same,” says Criola on its official website.

In partnership with billboard media companies, the non-profit group put on the streets real comments posted on Facebook against the journalist.

“I got home stinking of black people,” reads one comment, while another says: “GFY dirty nigga, I dunno u but I wash myself.”

racist comments: “I arrived home smelling black people”
racist comments: “I arrived home smelling black people”

“We omitted names and faces of the authors — we had no intention of exposing the aggressors. We just wanted to raise awareness. This way people can think about the consequences before posting this kind of comment on the internet,” Coutinho says.

(IANS)

(Photos from IndianExpress.com)

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U.S. Cybersecurity Firm Detects Surge in Cyberspying by Chinese Group

US Cybersecurity Experts See Recent Spike in Chinese Digital Espionage

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cybersecurity
A U.S. cybersecurity firm said Wednesday it has detected a surge in new cyberspying by a suspected Chinese group dating back to late January. Pixabay

A U.S. cybersecurity firm said Wednesday it has detected a surge in new cyberspying by a suspected Chinese group dating back to late January, when coronavirus was starting to spread outside China.

FireEye Inc. said in a report it had spotted a spike in activity from a hacking group it dubs “APT41” that began on Jan. 20 and targeted more than 75 of its customers, from manufacturers and media companies to healthcare organizations and nonprofits.

There were “multiple possible explanations” for the spike in activity, said FireEye Security Architect Christopher Glyer, pointing to long-simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and more recent clashes over the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 17,000 people since late last year. The report said it was “one of the broadest campaigns by a Chinese cyber espionage actor we have observed in recent years.”

FireEye declined to identify the affected customers. The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not directly address FireEye’s allegations but said in a statement that China was “a victim of cybercrime and cyberattack.” The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined comment.

cybersecurity
Picture of wires plugged on laptop computers taken as people work on January 22, 2019 in Lille during the 11th International Cybersecurity Forum. VOA

FireEye said in its report that APT41 abused recently disclosed flaws in software developed by Cisco, Citrix and others to try to break into scores of companies’ networks in the United States, Canada, Britain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and more than a dozen other countries.

Cisco said in an email it had fixed the vulnerability and it was aware of attempts to exploit it, a sentiment echoed by Citrix, which said it had worked with FireEye to help identify “potential compromises.”

Others have also spotted a recent uptick in cyber-espionage activity linked to Beijing.
Matt Webster, a researcher with Secureworks – Dell Technologies’ cybersecurity arm – said in an email that his team had also seen evidence of increased activity from Chinese hacking groups “over the last few weeks.” In particular, he said his team had recently spotted new digital infrastructure associated with APT41 – which Secureworks dubs “Bronze Atlas.”

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Tying hacking campaigns to any specific country or entity is often fraught with uncertainty, but FireEye said it had assessed “with moderate confidence” that APT41 was composed of Chinese government contractors.

FireEye’s head of analysis, John Hultquist, said the surge was surprising because hacking activity attributed to China has generally become more focused. “This broad action is a departure from that norm,” he said. (VOA)