(Microsoft) CVE-2022-26809 Windows RCE Vulnerability

msrc.microsoft.com/update-guide/vulnerability/CVE-2022-26809

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would need to send a specially crafted RPC call to an RPC host. This could result in remote code execution on the server side with the same permissions as the RPC service.

msrc.microsoft.com CVE-2022-26809

msrc.microsoft.com/update-guide/vulnerability/CVE-2022-26809


krebsonsecurity.com/2022/04/microsoft-patch-tuesday-april-2022-edition/

win update picture of a windows laptop updating

Nine of the updates pushed this week address problems Microsoft considers “critical,” meaning the flaws they fix could be abused by malware or malcontents to seize total, remote access to a Windows system without any help from the user.

Among the scariest critical bugs is CVE-2022-26809, a potentially “wormable” weakness in a core Windows component (RPC) that earned a CVSS score of 9.8 (10 being the worst). Microsoft said it believes exploitation of this flaw is more likely than not.

Brian Krebs, Krebs on Security

krebsonsecurity.com/2022/04/microsoft-patch-tuesday-april-2022-edition/


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(United Nations) Climate Change AR6 WG III – Summary for Policymakers

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/resources/press/press-release

Monday, April 4 2022

IPCC PRESS RELEASE

The evidence is clear: the time for action is now. We can halve emissions by 2030.

GENEVA, Apr 4 – In 2010-2019 average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history, but the rate of growth has slowed. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach. However, there is increasing evidence of climate action, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today.

Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy.

“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.  “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective.  If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change was approved on April 4 2022, by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that started on March 21. It is the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.

We have options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030

Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).

“Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla. “The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing.”

Cities and other urban areas also offer significant opportunities for emissions reductions.  These can be achieved through lower energy consumption (such as by creating compact, walkable cities), electrification of transport in combination with low-emission energy sources, and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature. There are options for established, rapidly growing and new cities.

“We see examples of zero energy or zero-carbon buildings in almost all climates,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea. “Action in this decade is critical to capture the mitigation potential of buildings.”

Reducing emissions in industry will involve using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products and minimising waste. For basic materials, including steel, building materials and chemicals, low- to zero-greenhouse gas production processes are at their pilot to near-commercial stage.

This sector accounts for about a quarter of global emissions. Achieving net zero will be challenging and will require new production processes, low and zero emissions electricity, hydrogen, and, where necessary, carbon capture and storage.

Agriculture, forestry, and other land use can provide large-scale emissions reductions and also remove and store carbon dioxide at scale. However, land cannot compensate for delayed emissions reductions in other sectors.  Response options can benefit biodiversity, help us adapt to climate change, and secure livelihoods, food and water, and wood supplies.

The next few years are critical

In the scenarios we assessed, limiting warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030; at the same time, methane would also need to be reduced by about a third. Even if we do this, it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold but could return to below it by the end of the century.

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F),” said Skea. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

The global temperature will stabilise when carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero. For 1.5°C (2.7°F), this means achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally in the early 2050s; for 2°C (3.6°F), it is in the early 2070s.  

This assessment shows that limiting warming to around 2°C (3.6°F) still requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by a quarter by 2030.

Closing investment gaps

The report looks beyond technologies and demonstrates that while financial flows are a factor of three to six times lower than levels needed by 2030 to limit warming to below 2°C (3.6°F), there is sufficient global capital and liquidity to close investment gaps. However, it relies on clear signalling from governments and the international community, including a stronger alignment of public sector finance and policy.

“Without taking into account the economic benefits of reduced adaptation costs or avoided climate impacts, global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be just a few percentage points lower in 2050 if we take the actions necessary to limit warming to 2°C (3.6°F) or below, compared to maintaining current policies,” said Shukla.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Accelerated and equitable climate action in mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts is critical to sustainable development.  Some response options can absorb and store carbon and, at the same time, help communities limit the impacts associated with climate change. For example, in cities, networks of parks and open spaces, wetlands and urban agriculture can reduce flood risk and reduce heat-island effects.

Mitigation in industry can reduce environmental impacts and increase employment and business opportunities. Electrification with renewables and shifts in public transport can enhance health, employment, and equity.

“Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production,” said Skea. “This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”  

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/resources/press/press-release

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/resources/press/press-release


ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3

Projected global mean warming of the ensemble of modelled scenarios included in the climate categories C1-C8 and IMPs (based on emulators calibrated to the WGI assessment), as well as five illustrative scenarios (SSPx-y) as considered by AR6 WG I. The left panel shows the p5-p95 range of projected median warming across global modelled pathways within a category, with the category medians (line). The right panel shows the peak and 2100 emulated temperature outcomes for the categories C1 to C8 and for IMPs, and the five illustrative scenarios (SSPx-y) as considered by AR6 WG I. The boxes show the p5-p95 range within each scenario category as in panel-a.

The combined p5-p95 range across scenarios and the climate uncertainty for each category C1- C8 is also shown for 2100 warming (thin vertical lines)

IPCC Report (AR6 SPM-29)

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climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere


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(United Nations) Climate Change AR6 WG II – Summary for Policymakers

ipcc.ch/2022/02/28/ipcc-chair-statement-wgii-ar6-press-conference

Monday, 28 February 2022

The findings of the IPCC report we are releasing today are clear: the stakes for our planet have never been higher.

Last August, the IPCC’s  the Working Group I report showed  — unequivocally – that human activities have warmed the climate at a rate not seen in at least the past 2000 years. We are on course to reaching global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades. And temperature will continue to increase unless the world takes much bolder action.

The Working Group II report we are releasing today provides the latest understanding of what does this warming means for the people, ecosystems and the planet.

The report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our well-being and a healthy planet. It also shows that our actions today will shape how people adapt to climate change and how nature responds to increasing climate risks.

Severe climate change impacts are already happening. Vulnerable people, those marginalized socially and economically, are the most exposed to climate change impacts – and have the fewest resources to adapt.

Today we also deepen our understanding of solutions to climate change and how adaptation can help us lower risks and reduce vulnerability. These solutions open up new opportunities for innovation in our societies and economies.

Our collective and individual adaptation can be an effective strategy. But, there are limits to how much we and other species can adapt. Beyond certain temperatures, adaptation is no longer possible for some species.

Our report is a blueprint for our future on this planet. It recognizes the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity, and people. It integrates natural, ecological, social, and economic sciences more strongly than in earlier IPCC assessments. It provides new knowledge and information at regional levels and focuses on cities where the majority of the people of the planet live and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation arise.

Critically, this report highlights the importance of including and using diverse forms of knowledge, such as Indigenous and local knowledge.

But, most importantly, it emphasizes the urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks. Half measures are no longer an option.

Thank you.

ipcc.ch/2022/02/28/ipcc-chair-statement-wgii-ar6-press-conference

ipcc.ch/2022/02/28/ipcc-chair-statement-wgii-ar6-press-conference


ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2

pg 16, scenario projections. > 3C scenarios very likely, very concerning

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/

Since AR5 there is increasing evidence that degradation and destruction of ecosystems by humans increases the vulnerability of people (high confidence). Unsustainable land-use and land cover change, unsustainable use of natural resources, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, pollution, and their interactions, adversely affect the capacities of ecosystems, societies, communities and individuals to adapt to climate change (high confidence). Loss of ecosystems and their services has cascading and long-term impacts on people globally, especially for Indigenous Peoples and local communities who are directly dependent on ecosystems, to meet basic needs (high confidence).

IPCC Report (AR6 SPM-12 SPM.B.2.1)

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climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/


en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere


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(RT) Putin’s Feb 21st Speech

Disclaimer: RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian government. Wikipedia

Matt’s Note: The claims made in this speech are heavily disputed. It is re-hosted here only for its historic value as a primary source

Transcript

via en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/67843

I consider it necessary today to speak again about the tragic events in Donbass and the key aspects of ensuring the security of Russia.

I will begin with what I said in my address on February 21, 2022. I spoke about our biggest concerns and worries, and about the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?

The answer is simple. Everything is clear and obvious. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union grew weaker and subsequently broke apart. That experience should serve as a good lesson for us, because it has shown us that the paralysis of power and will is the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion. We lost confidence for only one moment, but it was enough to disrupt the balance of forces in the world.

As a result, the old treaties and agreements are no longer effective. Entreaties and requests do not help. Anything that does not suit the dominant state, the powers that be, is denounced as archaic, obsolete and useless. At the same time, everything it regards as useful is presented as the ultimate truth and forced on others regardless of the cost, abusively and by any means available. Those who refuse to comply are subjected to strong-arm tactics.

What I am saying now does not concerns only Russia, and Russia is not the only country that is worried about this. This has to do with the entire system of international relations, and sometimes even US allies. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a redivision of the world, and the norms of international law that developed by that time – and the most important of them, the fundamental norms that were adopted following WWII and largely formalised its outcome – came in the way of those who declared themselves the winners of the Cold War.

Of course, practice, international relations and the rules regulating them had to take into account the changes that took place in the world and in the balance of forces. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states and one’s own responsibility. Instead, we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves. The situation took a different turn.

There are many examples of this. First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasising the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq. It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.

Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism. I have only mentioned the most glaring but far from only examples of disregard for international law.

This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics. Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.

Incidentally, US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in recent years. It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same “empire of lies.”

As for our country, after the disintegration of the USSR, given the entire unprecedented openness of the new, modern Russia, its readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and its practically unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us. This is how it was in the 1990s and the early 2000s, when the so-called collective West was actively supporting separatism and gangs of mercenaries in southern Russia. What victims, what losses we had to sustain and what trials we had to go through at that time before we broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus! We remember this and will never forget.

Properly speaking, the attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.

Despite all that, in December 2021, we made yet another attempt to reach agreement with the United States and its allies on the principles of European security and NATO’s non-expansion. Our efforts were in vain. The United States has not changed its position. It does not believe it necessary to agree with Russia on a matter that is critical for us. The United States is pursuing its own objectives, while neglecting our interests.

Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.

As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.

Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy. They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way. It is true that they have considerable financial, scientific, technological, and military capabilities. We are aware of this and have an objective view of the economic threats we have been hearing, just as our ability to counter this brash and never-ending blackmail. Let me reiterate that we have no illusions in this regard and are extremely realistic in our assessments.

As for military affairs, even after the dissolution of the USSR and losing a considerable part of its capabilities, today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.

At the same time, technology, including in the defence sector, is changing rapidly. One day there is one leader, and tomorrow another, but a military presence in territories bordering on Russia, if we permit it to go ahead, will stay for decades to come or maybe forever, creating an ever mounting and totally unacceptable threat for Russia.

Even now, with NATO’s eastward expansion the situation for Russia has been becoming worse and more dangerous by the year. Moreover, these past days NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position. We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.

Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us. Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.

For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends. For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.

This brings me to the situation in Donbass. We can see that the forces that staged the coup in Ukraine in 2014 have seized power, are keeping it with the help of ornamental election procedures and have abandoned the path of a peaceful conflict settlement. For eight years, for eight endless years we have been doing everything possible to settle the situation by peaceful political means. Everything was in vain.

As I said in my previous address, you cannot look without compassion at what is happening there. It became impossible to tolerate it. We had to stop that atrocity, that genocide of the millions of people who live there and who pinned their hopes on Russia, on all of us. It is their aspirations, the feelings and pain of these people that were the main motivating force behind our decision to recognise the independence of the Donbass people’s republics.

I would like to additionally emphasise the following. Focused on their own goals, the leading NATO countries are supporting the far-right nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, those who will never forgive the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for freely making a choice to reunite with Russia.

They will undoubtedly try to bring war to Crimea just as they have done in Donbass, to kill innocent people just as members of the punitive units of Ukrainian nationalists and Hitler’s accomplices did during the Great Patriotic War. They have also openly laid claim to several other Russian regions.

If we look at the sequence of events and the incoming reports, the showdown between Russia and these forces cannot be avoided. It is only a matter of time. They are getting ready and waiting for the right moment. Moreover, they went as far as aspire to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not let this happen.

I have already said that Russia accepted the new geopolitical reality after the dissolution of the USSR. We have been treating all new post-Soviet states with respect and will continue to act this way. We respect and will respect their sovereignty, as proven by the assistance we provided to Kazakhstan when it faced tragic events and a challenge in terms of its statehood and integrity. However, Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist while facing a permanent threat from the territory of today’s Ukraine.

Let me remind you that in 2000–2005 we used our military to push back against terrorists in the Caucasus and stood up for the integrity of our state. We preserved Russia. In 2014, we supported the people of Crimea and Sevastopol. In 2015, we used our Armed Forces to create a reliable shield that prevented terrorists from Syria from penetrating Russia. This was a matter of defending ourselves. We had no other choice.

The same is happening today. They did not leave us any other option for defending Russia and our people, other than the one we are forced to use today. In these circumstances, we have to take bold and immediate action. The people’s republics of Donbass have asked Russia for help.

In this context, in accordance with Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter, with permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22, I made a decision to carry out a special military operation.

The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.

It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory. We do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force. At the same time, we have been hearing an increasing number of statements coming from the West that there is no need any more to abide by the documents setting forth the outcomes of World War II, as signed by the totalitarian Soviet regime. How can we respond to that?

The outcomes of World War II and the sacrifices our people had to make to defeat Nazism are sacred. This does not contradict the high values of human rights and freedoms in the reality that emerged over the post-war decades. This does not mean that nations cannot enjoy the right to self-determination, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter.

Let me remind you that the people living in territories which are part of today’s Ukraine were not asked how they want to build their lives when the USSR was created or after World War II. Freedom guides our policy, the freedom to choose independently our future and the future of our children. We believe that all the peoples living in today’s Ukraine, anyone who want to do this, must be able to enjoy this right to make a free choice.

In this context I would like to address the citizens of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was obliged to protect the people of Crimea and Sevastopol from those who you yourself call “nats.” The people of Crimea and Sevastopol made their choice in favour of being with their historical homeland, Russia, and we supported their choice. As I said, we could not act otherwise.

The current events have nothing to do with a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are connected with the defending Russia from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and our people.

I reiterate: we are acting to defend ourselves from the threats created for us and from a worse peril than what is happening now. I am asking you, however hard this may be, to understand this and to work together with us so as to turn this tragic page as soon as possible and to move forward together, without allowing anyone to interfere in our affairs and our relations but developing them independently, so as to create favourable conditions for overcoming all these problems and to strengthen us from within as a single whole, despite the existence of state borders. I believe in this, in our common future.

I would also like to address the military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Comrade officers,

Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.

I urge you to refuse to carry out their criminal orders. I urge you to immediately lay down arms and go home. I will explain what this means: the military personnel of the Ukrainian army who do this will be able to freely leave the zone of hostilities and return to their families.

I want to emphasise again that all responsibility for the possible bloodshed will lie fully and wholly with the ruling Ukrainian regime.

I would now like to say something very important for those who may be tempted to interfere in these developments from the outside. No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history. No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken. I hope that my words will be heard.

Citizens of Russia,

The culture and values, experience and traditions of our ancestors invariably provided a powerful underpinning for the wellbeing and the very existence of entire states and nations, their success and viability. Of course, this directly depends on the ability to quickly adapt to constant change, maintain social cohesion, and readiness to consolidate and summon all the available forces in order to move forward.

We always need to be strong, but this strength can take on different forms. The “empire of lies,” which I mentioned in the beginning of my speech, proceeds in its policy primarily from rough, direct force. This is when our saying on being “all brawn and no brains” applies.

We all know that having justice and truth on our side is what makes us truly strong. If this is the case, it would be hard to disagree with the fact that it is our strength and our readiness to fight that are the bedrock of independence and sovereignty and provide the necessary foundation for building a reliable future for your home, your family, and your Motherland.

Dear compatriots,

I am certain that devoted soldiers and officers of Russia’s Armed Forces will perform their duty with professionalism and courage. I have no doubt that the government institutions at all levels and specialists will work effectively to guarantee the stability of our economy, financial system and social wellbeing, and the same applies to corporate executives and the entire business community. I hope that all parliamentary parties and civil society take a consolidated, patriotic position.

At the end of the day, the future of Russia is in the hands of its multi-ethnic people, as has always been the case in our history. This means that the decisions that I made will be executed, that we will achieve the goals we have set, and reliably guarantee the security of our Motherland.

I believe in your support and the invincible force rooted in the love for our Fatherland.

en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/67843

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More:

PBS Frontline: Putin’s Way (2015, 53min)


Vladimir Putin: “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians

en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181

Matt’s Note: The claims made in this article are heavily disputed. It is linked only for reference as a primary source


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(NCSC) log4shell CVE-2021-44228

github.com/NCSC-NL/log4shell

This repo contains operational information regarding the vulnerability in the Log4j logging library (CVE-2021-44228). For additional information see:

NCSC-NL advisory
MITRE

github.com/NCSC-NL/log4shell


More:

The Wall Street Journal: What Is the [log4shell] Vulnerability?


thenewstack.io/log4shell-we-are-in-so-much-trouble

As Bad as It Gets

So how bad is Log4Shell really? As bad as it gets. According to the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), it’s rated as 10.0 CVSSv3 which, by my count of a 0.1 to 10 scale, is the worst possible. If successfully exploited, attackers can hit you with a Remote Code Execution (RCE) attack, which can be used to compromise your servers. Given how easy it is to exploit, even as you’re reading this, odds are decent you’re being attacked.




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(WHO) Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern

who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern

Matt’s Note: an abundance of caution must be exercised in trying to understand the impacts of a new Covid mutation at such an early stage and with such limited data.

However: enough empirical evidence exists for the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) to have labeled the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 variant ‘Omicron’ as a Variant of Concern:

For reference,WHO has working definitions for SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Interest (VOI) and Variant of Concern (VOC).

A SARS-CoV-2 VOI is a SARS-CoV-2 variant:

• with genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape; AND

• that has been identified as causing significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health. 

who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern


More:

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Update on Omicron (28 November 2021)

who.int/news/item/28-11-2021-update-on-omicron

Transmissibility: It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) compared to other variants, including Delta.

It is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.

There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants.

Effectiveness of vaccines: WHO is working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines. Vaccines remain critical to reducing severe disease and death, including against the dominant circulating variant, Delta. Current vaccines remain effective against severe disease and death. 

who.int/news/item/28-11-2021-update-on-omicron

who.int/news/item/28-11-2021-update-on-omicron


Omicron looks ominous. How bad is it likely to be? (4 December 2021)

economist.com/briefing/2021/12/04/omicron-looks-ominous-how-bad-is-it-likely-to-be

The most worrying of Omicron’s mutations are in the gene that describes the spike protein. This is the tool the virus uses to bind itself to cells and enter them.

The mutations in an unnamed variant called C.1.2, which boasted one of the most mutated spike ever seen until the past few weeks, changed 14 of the amino acids. Omicron’s mutations change 35; ten of the mutations have never been seen in any of the variants of concern to date.

Computer modelling using AlphaFold, a program developed by DeepMind, a British artificial-intelligence research company owned by Alphabet, to predict the shape of Omicron’s spike also suggests that antibodies will stick to it at least a bit less well, says Colby Ford, a computational biologist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The experiments that should provide a clear idea of what is going on will be those which pit a wide range of antibodies against the whole protein as found on virus particles. Such work is going on all over the world, nowhere more urgently than in the laboratories of the various vaccine-developers.

Nonetheless, BioNTech is working on a vaccine using mRNA that describes the Omicron spike. So is Moderna. Both companies have been down this road before, developing tailored vaccines against Beta and Delta. They did not go into production because they did not, in the end, prove necessary; the original vaccines held up well. Whether the same looks likely to be true for Omicron should be known, the companies say, in a matter of weeks.


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(Joel Spolsky) NDAs and Contracts you Should Never Sign

Matt’s note: I suspect this post will have limited relevance to most people

Still, given my recent unfortunate experience I keep thinking back to this article.

I increasingly believe more people (in any industry, technology or otherwise) can benefit from Joel’s advice:


NDAs and Contracts That You Should Never Sign

Over time, I’ve signed a lot of NDAs (non-disclosure agreements)… they seem to be the Silicon Valley equivalent of the Japanese business card. Some of them are short and simple, others are quite elaborate.

On a similar note, a lot of companies have the audacity to put non-compete clauses in their employment contracts. Typically, this says that you agree not to work for one of their “competitors” or even “potential competitors” (which is never very well defined) for a period, usually 1 or 2 years, after leaving the company.

This is completely outrageous. I signed such a contract at Microsoft without paying too much attention. When I left, I realized that because Microsoft has a finger in everything related to software, technically I could not work in my field AT ALL for 12 months after leaving Microsoft.

You can win on this one. Highly skilled technical employees are in too much demand, and it’s too easy to get a job. You don’t have to accept this clause in your contract. If the employer absolutely, positively insists that you promise not to go work for a competitor when you leave your job, you can tell them: “fine. You don’t want me to work for a year after I leave, that’s fine, but if I’m going to be ‘on the beach’, I want you to keep paying me my salary for one year after I leave, until I can legally get a job that you approve of.”

Another dangerous clause says that you agree not to hire, or cause to be hired, anybody from the company if you leave for a period of x months (usually 12 to 24). The idea is to prevent a group of people from leaving en-masse, and it’s to protect against the standard practice of a manager leaving a company and taking his team along with him.

This is something you’re really going to regret. Among other things, if you leave a company, then six months later someone else leaves and uses you as a reference for a new job, technically, you can’t give them one. That’s not nice.

I think that companies need to keep their employees loyal by treating them well, not by enforcing blind loyalty though a contract. I am not going to make the mistake of signing this clause again. Fortunately, with today’s shortage of qualified programmers, the balance of power today is sharply in your favor when you start a new job, and I think you have a very high chance of getting a job without signing restrictive employment clauses.

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(Rush Doshi) The Long Game

rushdoshi.com

For more than a century, no US adversary or coalition of adversaries not Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the Soviet Union has ever reached sixty percent of US GDP. China is the sole exception, and it is fast emerging into a global superpower that could rival, if not eclipse, the United States. What does China want, does it have a grand strategy to achieve it, and what should the United States do about it?

In The Long Game, Rush Doshi draws from a rich base of Chinese primary sources, including decades worth of party documents, leaked materials, memoirs by party leaders, and a careful analysis of China’s conduct to provide a history of China’s grand strategy since the end of the Cold War. Taking readers behind the Party’s closed doors, he uncovers Beijing’s long, methodical game to displace America from its hegemonic position in both the East Asia regional and global orders through three sequential “strategies of displacement.” Beginning in the 1980s, China focused for two decades on “hiding capabilities and biding time.” After the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it became more assertive regionally, following a policy of “actually accomplishing something.” Finally, in the aftermath populist elections of 2016, China shifted to an even more aggressive strategy for undermining US hegemony, adopting the phrase “great changes unseen in a century.”

After charting how China’s long game has evolved, Doshi offers a comprehensive yet asymmetric plan for an effective US response. Ironically, his proposed approach takes a page from Beijing’s own strategic playbook to undermine China’s ambitions and strengthen American order without competing dollar-for-dollar, ship-for-ship, or loan-for-loan.

A bold assessment of what the Chinese government’s true foreign policy objectives are, The Long Game offers valuable insight to the most important rivalry in world politics.

Rush Doshi is the founding director of the Brookings China Strategy Initiative and a fellow (on leave) at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center. Previously, he was a member of the Asia policy working groups for the Biden and Clinton presidential campaigns and a Fulbright Fellow in China. His research has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and International Organization, among other publications. Proficient in Mandarin, Doshi received his PhD from Harvard University focusing on Chinese foreign policy and his bachelor’s from Princeton University. He is currently serving as Director for China on the Biden Administration’s National Security Council (NSC), but this work was completed before his government service, is based entirely on open sources, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the US Government or NSC.


The Long Game

Skip “Acknowledgements”

Read until end of “Why Grand Strategy Matters”

The Long Game: Free E-book preview


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For those not savy, Cambridge Analytica (now renamed as Emerdata Ltd) used ill-gotten data troves, behavioral profiling, ad micro-targeting via Facebook, and Machine Learning to win elections and influence opinions and politics towards a populist, hyper-conservative slant worldwide


economist.com/books-and-arts/2021/07/31/china-aims-to-eclipse-america-by-2049-a-biden-official-writes

As Mr Doshi describes it, the crucible of China’s grand strategy was the “traumatic trifecta”: the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the first Gulf war of 1991 and, also that year, the collapse of the Soviet Union. These events convinced China that America posed the biggest threat ideologically, militarily and geopolitically. China responded by devising a plan to blunt American power. This was to be low-key: Deng Xiaoping, then retired as a party leader but still highly influential, suggested China should “hide its capabilities and bide its time”. The country focused on developing weapons that would keep America at bay and on joining multilateral organisations such as the World Trade Organisation, hoping to use these institutions’ rules to constrain America.

Then came the financial crisis of 2007-09. According to Mr Doshi, this meltdown convinced China that America was waning and that the time was ripe to start building China’s own power more actively. China began acquiring aircraft-carriers and, under Xi Jinping, who took over in 2012, creating regional institutions to establish a China-centred order. Mr Xi launched the Belt and Road Initiative to help China achieve the same goal globally.

A “new trifecta”—Donald Trump’s winning of the American presidential election of 2016, Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and the West’s faltering response to the covid-19 pandemic—persuaded China that Western power was in irreversible decline. China decided that, given these and other “great changes unseen in a century”, world dominance could be achieved by 2049, argues Mr Doshi.

There is no conclusive evidence of this. …


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(United Nations) Climate Change AR6 Sixth Assesment Report – Summary for Policymakers

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/HBITwg1/

Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years

ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/

At 2°C global warming and above, the level of confidence in and the magnitude of the change in droughts and heavy and mean precipitation increase compared to those at 1.5°C. Heavy precipitation and associated flooding events are projected to become more intense and frequent in the Pacific Islands and across many regions of North America and Europe (medium to high confidence)40. These changes are also seen in some regions in Australasia and Central and South America (medium confidence). Several regions in Africa, South America and Europe are projected to experience an increase in frequency and/or severity of agricultural and ecological droughts with medium to high confidence40; increases are also projected in Australasia, Central and North America, and the Caribbean with medium confidence. A small number of regions in Africa, Australasia, Europe and North America are also projected to be affected by increases in hydrological droughts, and several regions are projected to be affected by increases or decreases in meteorological droughts with more regions displaying an increase (medium confidence). Mean precipitation is projected to increase in all polar, northern European and northern North American regions, most Asian regions and two regions of South America (high confidence)

IPCC Report (AR6 SPM-33 C.2.3)

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More:

climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/


en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere


Previously:


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(The New York Times) How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol

As part of a six-month investigation, The Times synchronized and mapped thousands of videos and police audio of the U.S. Capitol riot to provide the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.


More:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism


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