Daily Dispatches

Midday Roundup: Hackers are getting our passwords


Network insecurity. In the past seven weeks, hackers have stolen 2 million internet passwords, most of them for accounts on sites such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, according to the cybersecurity firm Trustwave. The attack, which used virus-like software, included the theft of about 320,000 email passwords. The hackers spread out the attack all over the globe. Many of the stolen passwords are believed to be stored on a server in the Netherlands. Some of the affected services, including Facebook and Twitter, told CNN they have notified users and reset passwords for compromised accounts. Google declined to comment, and Yahoo did not respond to questions, CNN reported. Trustwave also found in analyzing the attack that only 22 percent of users had passwords with “good” or “excellent” strength. Thousands of victims used ill-advised passwords such as “123456” or “password.”

Benghazi violence. An American teacher was shot to death as he was jogging on Thursday in Benghazi. The Guardian of London identified the man as Ronnie Smith, an American who taught chemistry at the city’s International School, a Libyan-owned institute that follows an American curriculum. Smith was jogging near the U.S. Consulate where Islamic militants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in September 2012. No one has claimed responsibility for the teacher’s killing, but suspicion is likely to fall on Islamic militants active in the city, security official Ibrahim al-Sharaa said. Killings are becoming more and more common in Benghazi, a city that is home to numerous armed groups. While lawlessness is blamed on the groups, the government also relies on many of them to provide security in the absence of a functioning police force.

Out the door. MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned Wednesday, nearly three weeks after gruesomely insulting Sarah Palin on his show. The uproar began last month when Bashir suggested that someone should defecate in Palin’s mouth because of a remark the former vice presidential candidate made comparing the United States’ indebtedness to China with slavery. Bashir said Palin had a “long-diseased mind” after playing video of her speech about China. He referenced the diary of Thomas Thistlewood, a former overseer at a plantation, who used mistreatments similar to the one Bashir recommended for Palin. In an interview with Fox News Sunday last month, Palin said MSNBC had condoned Bashir’s comments. When a conservative woman is a target on MSNBC “they usually just kind of pooh-pooh it, laugh it off. It’s no big deal,” she said.

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Shallow waters. Forty-one pilot whales remain trapped in dangerously shallow waters in Everglades National Park in Florida. The whales were spotted Tuesday in an area that takes more than an hour to reach from the nearest boat ramp and has no cellphone service. On Wednesday, park spokeswoman Linda Friar said rescuers were trying to surround the whales, which were in roughly 3 feet of salt water about 75 feet from shore, and herd them back to sea. So far 10 whales have died. This particular whale species, which normally lives in deep, cold water, is known for its close-knit social groups. If one whale gets stuck or stays behind, the others are likely to stay behind or even beach themselves as well. Scientists do not yet know why the whales got stranded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lynde Langdon
Lynde Langdon

Lynde is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.


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