Advancing the European response to nation-state cyber-attacks

Europe: Microsoft offers Europe cyber security service ‘AccountGuard’ to protect region from continued Russia cyber threats

Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it will offer its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain, to close security gaps and protect customers in political space from hacking.
Microsoft offers Microsoft AccountGuard to twelve new markets across Europe, providing comprehensive threat detection and notification to eligible organizations at no additional cost and customized help to secure their systems

Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it will offer its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain, to close security gaps and protect customers in political space from hacking. 

(Reuters) (AIWA! NO!)- Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it had discovered hacking targeting democratic institutions, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe and plans to offer a cyber security service to several countries to close security gaps.

The attacks occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said here in a blog post.

Microsoft discovers hacking targeting democratic institutions in Europe

Microsoft said the activity, which was found through the company’s Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Crimes Unit, targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia.

Advancing the European response to nation-state cyber-attacks

Microsoft said many of the attacks originated from a group called Strontium, which the company has previously associated with the Russian government.

The Official Microsoft Blog - Microsoft
Welcome to the EU Policy Blog, Microsoft's platform for sharing insights on the issues impacting Europe in the digital age. This is a forum to discuss the ...
The Official Microsoft Blog – MicrosoftWelcome to the EU Policy Blog, Microsoft’s platform for sharing insights on the issues impacting Europe in the digital age. This is a forum to discuss the …

Strontium, one of the world’s oldest cyber espionage groups, has also been called APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofancy and Pawn Storm by a range of security firms and government officials. Security firm CrowdStrike has said the group may be associated with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.

Microsoft said it will expand its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain to help customers secure their accounts.

The AccountGuard service will also be available in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia.

Ahead of a critical European Parliament election in May, German officials are trying to bolster cyber security after a far-reaching data breach by a 20-year-old student laid bare the vulnerability of Europe’s largest economy.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Ishita Chigilli Palli in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Bernard Orr

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Belgian Prime Minister offers to quit in crisis started by migrant row

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel offered to resign on Tuesday after opponents tabled a no confidence vote in a political crisis triggered by differences over immigration.

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel offered to resign on Tuesday after opponents tabled a no confidence vote in a political crisis triggered by differences over immigration.

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel offered to resign on Tuesday after opponents tabled a no confidence vote in a political crisis triggered by differences over immigration.

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|PRIME Minister Charles Michel offered to resign on Tuesday after opponents tabled a no confidence vote in a political crisis triggered by differences over immigration.

In office since 2014, Michel lost the support of the biggest party in his coalition, the Flemish N-VA, last week in protest at his support of a U.N. pact to foster cooperation over the world’s 21 million refugees.

On Tuesday, the 42-year-old lawyer sought backing from left-wing opposition parties so he could hold on to power until parliamentary elections in May.

Instead, the socialists and greens tabled a motion of no confidence in parliament, triggering his offer to quit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May are set to battle it out for business leaders over Brexit. Mr Corbyn and the Prime Minister will be making rival speeches to woo business leaders on Monday at the annual CBI conference. Mrs May and the opposition leader will both pitch for industry backing for their opposing Brexit visions, after a chaotic week in UK politics.

UK LABOUR PARTY Leader Jeremy Corbyn sets out alternative Brexit plan championing ‘radical investment and change’


When May became prime minister after the Brexit vote, in 2016, she sacked George Osborne, who had served as finance minister under May’s predecessor, David Cameron. Osborne then quit politics to become editor of the Evening Standard, a London newspaper. He’s used that perch to relentlessly hound May: according to Esquire, he said last year that he would not rest until she is “chopped up in bags in my freezer.” It comes as no surprise that the Standard has been hard on May’s deal this week, calling it “dead.”

Jeremy Corbyn sets out Labour’s alternative Brexit plan championing ‘radical investment and change’

Jeremy Corbyn sets out Labour’s alternative Brexit plan championing ‘radical investment and change’


“The Prime Minister knows that no deal isn’t a real option. Neither the cabinet nor parliament would endorse such an extreme and dangerous course. “Labour has an alternative plan for a sensible jobs-first deal that could win support in parliament and help bring our country together.”

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/brexit/labout-brexit-deal-jeremy-corbyn/

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Jeremy Corbyn will set out Labour’s alternative plan for a “good Brexit” in which the UK leaving the EU would spark a “radical programme of investment and real change” for the country. The Labour leader will join Theresa May in addressing business leaders at the annual Confederation of British Industries conference on Monday as he steps up his efforts to outline an alternative plan for the future of Brexit.


Mr Corbyn will call for: “A comprehensive and permanent customs union, with a British say in future trade deals, to support businesses and jobs and ensure no hard border in Northern Ireland. “Guarantee that our country doesn’t fall behind the EU in workers’ rights, or protections for consumers and the environment. “A strong single market relationship that allows British business continued access to European markets for both goods and services – while also ensuring we have the powers to support our public services and industry and transform the economy in all our regions and nations.”

i News

In his speech he will dismiss Mrs May’s draft deal, which was unveiled last week, as “a botched, worst-of-all-worlds deal” which has left the public “anxious and confused”. Jobs-first deal And he will say that the Government has revealed a withdrawal deal that would “leave the country in an indefinite halfway house” and outline his own Brexit plan. “The government is trying to force a bad deal that doesn’t meet our country’s needs by threatening us all with the chaos and serious damage to our economy of a no deal outcome,” he will say.

“The Prime Minister knows that no deal isn’t a real option. Neither the cabinet nor parliament would endorse such an extreme and dangerous course. “Labour has an alternative plan for a sensible jobs-first deal that could win support in parliament and help bring our country together.”

Mr Corbyn will call for: “A comprehensive and permanent customs union, with a British say in future trade deals, to support businesses and jobs and ensure no hard border in Northern Ireland. “Guarantee that our country doesn’t fall behind the EU in workers’ rights, or protections for consumers and the environment. “A strong single market relationship that allows British business continued access to European markets for both goods and services – while also ensuring we have the powers to support our public services and industry and transform the economy in all our regions and nations.”

He described Mrs May’s plans for a temporary customs arrangement to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland as a “sticking plaster” which will  “prolong the uncertainty and put jobs and prosperity at risk”. Investment And he will say that he wants to use Brexit to prioritise change and investment across the country. “If the Prime Minister is unable to negotiate an agreement that can win a majority in parliament and work for the whole country, Labour’s alternative plan can and must take its place,” he will add. The PM insists she’ll fight on (Photo: Sky News) Mr Corbyn will address the conference after Mrs May will take to the stage to insist that her withdrawal agreement has been “agreed in full”.

But less than a week before the planned European Council summit she is braced for fresh attacks from inside and outside her own party. Her speech is due to address those – thought to include up to five serving ministers – who think changes can be made to her deal before the November 25 summit.

She is expected to say that there is “an intense week of negotiations ahead of us”, adding: “During that time I expect us to hammer out the full and final details of the framework that will underpin our future relationship and I am confident that we can strike a deal at the council that I can take back to the House of Commons.

“The core elements of that deal are already in place. The Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed in full, subject of course to final agreement being reached on the future framework.”

CBI president John Allan is expected to call for MPs to back Mrs May’s deal – despite it not being “perfect” – and warn of the consequences of crashing of the EU for businesses and the economy.

Theresa May will face a fight for her leadership if 48 members of her own party put in writing that they have lost confidence in her. If the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives - Sir Graham Brady - receives letters from 15% of the party's MPs, a secret ballot is triggered. If Mrs May wins, they can not challenge her premiership for another year. But, if she loses, there will be a leadership election and she will not be allowed to run. (You can see the process in the graphic below)

Prime Minister Theresa May – More Than 23 MPs say they have submitted letters of no confidence in the prime minister and the number is sure to rise further in hours


Theresa May will face a fight for her leadership if 48 members of her own party put in writing that they have lost confidence in her.
If the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives – Sir Graham Brady – receives letters from 15% of the party’s MPs, a secret ballot is triggered.


By Jon Allsop, CJRBritain’s partisan press takes aim at the “Brexshit”

Political strategist or a charlatan and a weasel?,

Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset and head of the influential European Research Group of Brexiteer Tories, was next with his letter

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|After finally reaching agreement with the European Union on the details of Brexit earlier this week, Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, wobbled. Domestic critics assailed her from all sides—charging, variously, that the deal she struck would entail too close a relationship with the EU or not enough of one.

Yesterday, two members of May’s cabinet—including the official who, in theory, had been responsible for the Brexit negotiations—resigned, saying they could not support the deal. Senior backbench lawmakers, desperate to sever as many ties as possible with the EU, threatened to trigger a vote of no confidence in May’s leadership. When May stood up in Parliament to promise a “smooth and orderly” exit from the bloc, mocking laughter peeled around the House of Commons.
 
Swathes of Britain’s press, which is reliably opinionated, have, predictably, piled on May, too, renewing long-held criticisms of her performance and the Brexit process as a whole. On the left, The Guardian offered rare, faint praise of May, but painted her deal as a disaster with flaws “intrinsic to the very idea of Brexit,” which the paper has always opposed. On the right, the Murdoch-ownedSun—which vociferously backed Brexit leading up to the 2016 vote and has since pushed for a cleaner break with Europe than May is offering—screamed yesterday, in melodramatic all caps, that “WE’RE IN THE BREXS*IT.” The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, has topped its front page with scathing opinion pieces for two days running. Yesterday, it went with a wounding assessment by Nick Timothy, May’s former right-hand man, that the deal was “a capitulation.” Today, it quoted columnist Allison Pierson’s call for May to resign immediately. “We need a chess grandmaster to wrangle with Brussels,” Pierson writes, “not the runner-up in the 1973 Towcester tiddlywinks competition.”
 
Britain’s print media are not generally prone to changing their spots, yet the past few months have brought some curious, and important, realignments. A year and a day ago, the right-wing Daily Mail mocked up a mugshot-gallery-style front page with pictures of Conservative Party lawmakers who favored Britain’s EU membership under the headline “The Brexit mutineers” (afterward, some of them received threats). Since then, however, Paul Dacre, the Mail’s pro-Brexit editor, departed, and was replaced by Geordie Greig, a convinced “Remainer.” This morning, the Mail once again took aim at Conservative rebels—this time, however, it was those on the opposite, hard-right wing of the party that drew its ire. Calling them “preening saboteurs,” the paper asked, in its front-page headline, “HAVE THEY LOST THE PLOT?”
 
The Daily Express, a strident right-wing voice of yore, has been kind to May’s soft Brexit deal this week, too. It, too, got a new editor this year, appointing Gary Jones, who formerly led the Sunday Mirror, a left-leaning tabloid. At a Parliamentary hearing shortly after his appointment, Jones called some of his paper’s past content “Islamophobic” and “downright offensive,” and promised a softening of tone. Yesterday, the Express painted the “rosiest picture as far as May is concerned” of any paper, the Guardian observed, “with no mention of leadership challenges or cabinet troubles”; this morning, its front-page headline called May “defiant.”
 
Britain’s tabloids pride themselves on their ability to shape the country’s political agenda. In 1992, a now-mythic Sun front page famously claimed credit for an unexpected Conservative Party election victory (“IT’S THE SUN WOT WON IT”). The foundations of the country’s vote to leave the EU, too, were undoubtedly laid by decades of hostility toward Europe on the part of right-wing papers, the Mail and the Express prominent among them. May remains very much under-fire—not least from The Sun—though it will comfort her that at least a few strong media voices who would previously have ridiculed her deal are standing behind it, and her, for now.
 
The extent to which British papers lead their readers by the nose, rather than the other way around, however, has long been an open debate. A YouGov pollout today indicates widespread public rejection of May’s deal, with many citizens pushing for a second referendum instead. Like everywhere else, newspaper circulation in Britain is declining. If Brexit is the apotheosis of the country’s campaigning press, it might also mark the start of a new, steep decline.
 
Below, more on Brexit:

  • A1: The Guardian has a good round-up of today’s British newspaper front pages.
     
  • B3: While right-wing columnists in the Telegraph slammed May’s deal and called for a harder Brexit, the paper today gave page three to an op-ed by Tony Blair, former Labour Party prime minister, who is campaigning for a second vote to keep Britain in Europe after all.
     
  • C you later: When May became prime minister after the Brexit vote, in 2016, she sacked George Osborne, who had served as finance minister under May’s predecessor, David Cameron. Osborne then quit politics to become editor of the Evening Standard, a London newspaper. He’s used that perch to relentlessly hound May: according to Esquire, he said last year that he would not rest until she is “chopped up in bags in my freezer.” It comes as no surprise that the Standard has been hard on May’s deal this week, calling it “dead.”
     
  • D parts: In July, The Atlantic’s Tom Rachman wrote that Paul Dacre’s departure from the Mail could change Britain. “The Daily Mail still commands vast power, its thunderous front-page headlines all but causing the paintings to tremble at 10 Downing Street,” Rachman wrote. “And this is where Greig comes in, for he is about to take control at the inky institution, perhaps editing this country’s political chaos in the process.”

BREXIT – Michel Barnier made THIS serious ‘strategic error’ in Brexit talks


CHARLOTTE DAVIS, EXPRESS|AIWA! NO!|Prime Minister Theresa May’s “political death” already took place following the release of her deal with Brussels; Michael Portillo

MICHAEL PORTILLO took aim at the European Union, slamming the political project’s leaders for continuously holding votes until the “right” decision is reached.

MICHAEL PORTILLO took aim at the European Union, slamming the political project’s leaders for continuously holding votes until the “right” decision is reached.

FORMER Tory minister Michael Portillo has said the European Union made a “strategic error” in Brexit talks by forcing Britain to make a “humiliating surrender”.

Mr Portillo said the European Union “humiliated” Britain in its Withdrawal Agreement which has been ridiculed by both Brexiteer and Remainer politicians.

Jacob Rees-Mogg handed in the stinging letter to the 1922 Committee yesterday. In it, he accused the Prime Minister of “losing the confidence of the House of Commons” and today, Cabinet ministers have been told to return to Parliament immediately as a no-confidence motion is “likely”. However, Rees-Mogg’s actions should come as no surprise, as he has made a habit of standing up for his principles over towing the party line.

Jacob Rees-Mogg handed in the stinging letter to the 1922 Committee yesterday. In it, he accused the Prime Minister of “losing the confidence of the House of Commons” and today, Cabinet ministers have been told to return to Parliament immediately as a no-confidence motion is “likely”. However, Rees-Mogg’s actions should come as no surprise, as he has made a habit of standing up for his principles over towing the party line.

Speaking on BBC This Week, Mr Portillo said: “I think the European Union has made a strategic error, short of marching Mrs May into a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest, they could not have produced a more humiliating surrender.

“And all of history tells us that when you humiliate countries with a surrender, it doesn’t go well thereafter.”

Mr Portillo also said Prime Minister Theresa May’s “political death” already took place following the release of her deal with Brussels. 
He said: “I thought the Prime Minister was incredibly dignified in the House of Commons for three hours. One Member of Parliament after another got up and paid tribute to her resilience.

“It reminded me of the last time that Margaret Thatcher appeared in the House of Commons. When you are very near the end, the House becomes very charitable to you.

“I felt it was almost as though the Prime Minister’s political death had already occurred that. To me, it seemed there was that atmosphere in the House.”

The Government published the 585-page Brexit withdrawal agreement and seven-page future relationship declaration on Wednesday and have since faced an array of government resignations.

The draft deal reveals that in July 2020, both the EU and UK will hold a joint review of the position before making one of three choices: deciding a trade deal supersedes the need for the backstop, a limited extension to the transition period or trigger the Irish border backstop.

Brexiteers are likely to be left infuriated by the lack of an independent review clause, which will allow the UK to unilaterally quit the backstop.

The backstop will only able to be ended “jointly” by both sides and will apply until that moment is reached.

The Prime Minister told a press conference on Thursday that she believes “with every fibre of my being” the path she “set out is the right one for our country”.

But rumours have continued to swirl in Westminster that the tally of Conservative MPs who have submitted letters of no confidence in Mrs May is about to reach the 48 threshold needed to trigger a vote on her position.

MPs including Jacob Rees-Mogg have called on other Eurosceptic MPs to join in ousting the Prime Minister