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Widespread corruption in Afghanistan substantially undermines US efforts to rebuild the county

The report offers a number of recommendations for implementing a U.S. interagency anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan

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FILE - Workers are seen at an area under construction at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA
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  • The report offers a number of recommendations for implementing a U.S. inter-agency anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan.
  • Sopko’s report says corruption remains an enormous challenge to security, political stability, and development, and urges the U.S. mission to make anti-corruption efforts a top priority.
  • The corruption lens has got to be in place at the outset, and even before the outset, in the formulation of reconstruction and development strategy

Washington, September 15,2016: Widespread corruption in Afghanistan has substantially undermined U.S. efforts to rebuild the country, according to a report released Wednesday

The U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said corruption has fueled grievances against the Afghan government and channeled material support to the insurgency from the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sopko’s report says corruption remains an enormous challenge to security, political stability, and development, and urges the U.S. mission to make anti-corruption efforts a top priority.

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The report offers a number of recommendations for implementing a U.S. interagency anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan.

Although the United States injected tens of billions of dollars into the Afghan economy, it contributed to the growth of corruption by being slow to recognize the magnitude of the problem, the role of corrupt patronage networks, and the ways in which corruption threatened core U.S. goals. It said certain U.S. policies and practices exacerbated the problem.

‘Endemic’ problem

The report titled, “Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan,” quoted Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who re-opened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks and served again as ambassador in 2011-2012 (and who is a member of Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, including the Voice of America) as saying that “the ultimate point of failure for our efforts … wasn’t an insurgency. It was the weight of endemic corruption.”

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“The corruption lens has got to be in place at the outset, and even before the outset, in the formulation of reconstruction and development strategy, because once it gets to the level I saw, it’s somewhere between unbelievably hard and outright impossible to fix,” Crocker said. (VOA)

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Heavy Cyber Attacks From Russia, US, China In India

These honeypots are developed to deceive even elite hackers and appear to be serving a specific purpose or organisation.

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A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture. VOA

India has been the target of over 4.3 lakh cyber attacks from five countries including China, Russia and the US while more than 73,000 attacks were initiated from India between January and June this year, says a Finnish cybersecurity company.

According to F-Secure’s honeypot data, Russia, the US, China, the Netherlands and Germany targeted India with 436,090 attacks. This is nearly 12 times more than which originated from India.

Honeypots are basically decoy servers that emulate the real IT environment of a business enterprise.

cyber attacks
Due to its nature, the chip is physically unclonable and can, thus, render the device invulnerable to hijacking, counterfeiting or replication by cyber-criminals. Pixabay

Russia accounted for most cyber attacks on India (255,589), followed by the US (103,458), China (42,544), the Netherlands (19,169) and 15,330 attacks from Germany.

On the other hand, the top five countries that were targeted by Indian cyber attackers were Austria, the Netherlands, the UK, Japan, and Ukraine — a total of 36,563.

F-Secure gave the break-up: Austria (12,540), the Netherlands (9,267), the UK (6,347), Japan (4,701) and 3,708 attacks targeted Ukraine’s businesses.

“The relatively higher number of inbound attacks on Indian honeypots reflects how the fast-digitising country is becoming more lucrative for global cyber criminals,” Leszek Tasiemski, Vice President of cyber security products R&D at F-Secure, said in a statement on Sunday.

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Experts: Cyber attacks Growing Increasingly Sophisticated. Pixabay

“We are gathering and analysing all the pertinent data to ensure that our customers stay protected given the dynamically evolving threat landscape,” he added.

To track these cyber attacks, F-Secure has deployed 41 honeypots across the globe.

“Our public honeypots are a valuable source of threat intelligence and an integral part of the infrastructure that powers our various security offerings, including our Rapid Detection and Response Service,” Tasiemski said.

Honeypots are set up explicitly to grab attention of attackers. They are used to gain critical insights on attack types, popular targets, sources, volume and TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures).

Such insights are collected by deliberately allowing potential attackers to gain unauthorized access to the emulated services of a server and then studying the attack path to the point that the attacker realizes it is a honeypot, F-secure said.

Also Read: U.S. Government Warns People Against China-Linked Hacking Group

These honeypots are developed to deceive even elite hackers and appear to be serving a specific purpose or organisation.

They enable F-Secure to collect the latest malware samples or shell scripts and new hacking techniques.

The research data is then processed to further benefit F-Secure customers via product enhancements and threat intelligence reports. (IANS)