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Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), charged with meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, focused on dividing the Americans over race via its 3,517 ads on Facebook.
Democrats from the US House Intelligence Committee last week released 3,517 advertisements that were run on Facebook by the IRA during the 2014-2016 period.
USA Today went through each and every ad and found that out of the 3,517 ads published, about 1,950 referred to race and were seen about 25 million times.
“Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the US border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community,” said the report on Sunday.
At least 25 per cent of the ads focused on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation.
“Separate ads, launched simultaneously, would stoke suspicion about how police treat black people in one ad, while another encouraged support for pro-police groups,” said the report.
Between September and November 2016, the number of race-related spots rose to 400. An additional 900 were posted after the November election through May 2017.
Several ads mixed race and policing, with many mimicking “Black Lives Matter” activists that melded real news events with accusations of abuse by white officers.
“More than 11.4 million American users were exposed to those advertisements. The data made available today does not include the 80,000 pieces of organic content shared on Facebook by the IRA. We expect to make this content public in the future,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement last week.
Exposure of organic content may have reached more than 126 million Americans, it added.
“Russia sought to weaponise social media to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election,” tweeted Adam Schiff, Democrats’ ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.
Reacting to Schiff, Facebook said that it gave more than 3,000 ads to Congress so they could better understand the extent of Russian interference in the last US Presidential election.
“In the run-up to the 2016 elections, we were focused on the kinds of cybersecurity attacks typically used by nation states, for example, phishing and malware attacks.
Russian linked Facebook Ads: Democrats to Release Russian-Linked Facebook Ads That Influenced 2016 US Presidential Elections
“And we were too slow to spot this type of information operations interference. Since then, we have made important changes to prevent bad actors from using misinformation to undermine the democratic process,” Facebook said in a blog post.
On February 16, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian organisations for engaging in operations to interfere with US political and electoral processes, including the 2016 presidential election.
Throughout the indictment, Mueller lays out important facts about the activities of the IRA, the notorious Russian “troll” farm, and its operatives. (IANS)
By Maria Wirth
In my view the greatest thing about being a Hindu is that one can be an open-minded, ‘normal’ human being, who is given plenty of insights and tips from the Vedas and other ancient texts on how to refine one’s character, how to anchor one’s awareness in the present and how to ultimately realize one’s oneness with the Divine Presence that is inside us and in everything.
A Hindu is not forced into a mental straitjacket. He does not need to think certain thoughts, which are against common sense and which are divisive, like for example the dogma of Christianity and Islam that “we alone have the full or final truth, and the Almighty will make all those, who do not accept this ‘truth’ and convert to ‘our only true’ religion, suffer in hellfire forever.
A Hindu has his conscience and the insights of the ancient Rishis as his guide.
In contrast, a Christian or Muslim has to suspend his conscience if it contradicts what his religion demands from him. This is a very serious point. The Jihadis for example might otherwise be kind youth, who would not kill people of other religions, if they had not been taught that it is their religious “duty” to ‘make the whole world for Allah’.
Also Read: History of Hindus of Bali
A Hindu has his conscience and the insights of the ancient Rishis as his guide.Kiran Anklekar, Unsplash
A Hindu is free to enquire into the truth and is encouraged to ask questions.
A Christian or Muslim is bound to his belief system and must not question it. The threat of eternal hell after only one life looms large even over the believers if they are not believing strongly enough and are not living fully up to the mark.
I suspect that this freedom of thought of Hindus and the assurance that ultimately all will reach the Divine (and actually are it already, even if they can’t feel it) has one more big advantage. It may be one of the reasons why Hindus are generally highly intelligent, because they don’t have to twist their mind into narrowness and fear.
(Key words: Hindu, Hinduism, Christian, Muslim, Thoughts)
By Maria Wirth
This is a true story about a Hindu who had converted to Christianity, and who felt the need to convince his family also to convert.
Once on a flight from Germany to India, one of those bright, young Indians sat across the aisle. We started talking. He was a science lecturer at an American university.
When food came, he ordered non-veg and I ordered veg. I teasingly asked him “non-veg”? He replied, “Yes, I started to eat meat when I converted to Christianity eight years ago.”
“You… converted… to… Christianity?” I asked in disbelief. “How could you do this? Are you not aware of their belief?” I kept throwing questions at him. He surely had not expected this reaction from a white woman with the name Maria. In all likelihood he had converted because he wanted to belong and fit in into the new surrounding in America.
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But since I grew up as a Christian, I knew what Christianity claims and he didn’t have answers. Ultimately he fell back at the ‘personal experience with Jesus’ which convinced him that Christianity is the true religion.
I told him, “If your trust in Jesus helps you, great, but why convert?” Doesn’t your own tradition stress the importance of devotion and does it hinder you from trusting Jesus?” And while for you Jesus may be the ideal guide, for others it may be Shiva or Krishna or Devi. Your tradition allows you all freedom whereas the Church binds you to the doctrine. For example it claims that Hindus go to hell. Do you believe that your Hindu brothers and sisters go to hell?” I asked.
I couldn’t believe his answer and by now he did not look anymore so bright. He said, “Yes, we have to believe this.” … we have to…
So I asked him about his family. Will they burn in hell? He had managed to convince his parents to convert, but his siblings had not (yet?) converted.
I really felt pity for him. His mental freedom to question and to enquire was gone.
He had earlier told me that he wanted to return to India. If he did, I hope he has found his way back to common sense and realised the folly to believe that Hindus go to hell.
By- Laxman Balagani
Remote working has grown to be a dominant trend in the post-pandemic world. Gartner anticipates that 41% of employees will work at least some of the time remotely once the coronavirus is in the rear-view mirror. Such a lasting change in the workplace culture has had the biggest impact on cybersecurity.
Many businesses struggle with how to secure remote workers or if it's even worth trying at all due to fears about security risks for those who aren't physically present on-site at any given time. What they need is insightful, practical, and useful visibility across all communication vectors as they support vast, remote workforces. To obtain this level of visibility, organizations should reconsider their data and user protection techniques and strive to get meaningful insights into what's going on behind the scenes.
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There are cyber risk management solutions available today that can help ensure your business stays safe and productive without sacrificing flexibility for your employees.
To guarantee a safe and secure working environment, enterprises must rethink their approach to security and privacy when dealing with a dispersed workforce. This article explores how business leaders should approach cybersecurity risk management in the era of remote working.
A behavior-centric approach based on a human-centric viewpoint on cybersecurity
The growing usage of smartphones, cloud-based apps, and social media in both work and personal has made it clear that people are the new perimeter. To contain these changes, the new cybersecurity risk management strategy, which aims to protect people, places, and things, works on a behavior-centric approach.
This approach centers on understanding users' behaviors using critical data and intellectual property across worldwide IT systems. This strategy is designed to identify problematic employee behaviors and prevent them from escalating. It's a new way of defending against threats that complements the traditional cyber risk management approach of stopping the bad guys.
It has become essential for businesses to integrate edge security, cloud security, and network security into a single, cohesive format. Here are a few steps businesses can take to enhance cybersecurity when working remotely -
To guarantee a safe and secure working environment, enterprises must rethink their approach to security and privacy when dealing with a dispersed workforce.Unsplash
Providing cyber security training to employees who work remotely can help minimize cyber threats. Ideally, employees should be able to spot a cyber scam in action and know how to avoid it in the future so they stay one step ahead of cyber threats. Providing cyber security training through video modules or cyber security e-learning is a great way to help remote employees retain cyber threat prevention techniques, cyber-hygiene standards, and cyber safety procedures.
There is an absence of a true security perimeter in a remote workplace. Thus, organizations must adopt the mentality of zero trust. All systems must be properly secured and require verified access, whether internal or external. Adding a layer of multi-factor authentication is a crucial step that will protect data from unauthorized access.
Ironically, cloud-based security systems offer better cybersecurity risk management than on-premise servers. Cloud systems are built from the ground up to be safe even when exposed to the public internet. This gives them an edge over regular file servers, which are only lightly secured with sensitive data.
The use of collaboration tools and videoconferencing platforms to allow for business interactions while away has increased significantly. Most of these were quickly integrated, with resiliency taking precedence over any security concerns. The recent Zoom-bombing is the poster child for the risks that come with adopting technologies fast. Teams in the CXO suite need to get defensive and audit all tools and platforms for security flaws before integrating them.
We've already seen software-defined networks (SDNs) emerge to define and protect networks, allowing businesses to use a single, holistic approach for all edge computing. Now that remote networks have taken center stage, IT leaders must apply the same strategy across the network and into the cloud to ensure consistency, cohesion, and security.
Remote working makes it imperative to rely on digital connections, making it critical to ensure that they're secure, fast, scalable, and robust across all networks.
Some companies may not embrace working remotely as their modus operandi, while some organizations might cling to an outdated network model. Anyhow, businesses must consider the long-term impacts of technological disruption and look at them as opportunities. With a distributed workforce, organizations must reconsider how they secure and protect their data.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links.)