State Department Computer Glitch Holds Up Visa Application Processing

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2000px-Simple_Monitor_Icon.svgTravelers around the globe have been left stranded due to a sustained computer glitch that is unresolved, according to a press statement issued by the U.S. State Department.

The statement, released on Monday, revealed that the computer issue was related to biometric data and a hardware glitch.

As a result, officials couldn’t process fingerprint checks and transmit them.

They were also unable to process photographs for background security checks.

It has been determined that there was no malicious intent behind the glitch, and that it was not linked to a shutdown caused by software last year.

The delay is expected to last into next week. Department spokesperson John Kirby said, “More than 100 computer experts from both the private and public sectors across the United States are working on this.”

The State Department did manage to issue 1,500 priority visas for humanitarian purposes along with over 1,000 temporary visas for Mexican farm workers.

But they were among the lucky ones – many more are left to wait while the situation gets resolved.

The United States reportedly receives 50,000 visa applications daily.

Among the affected was the world-renowned musician from Nigeria, King Sunny Ade who was forced to abandon a planned tour of the States.

Christopher A. Smith

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Verizon Experiences 8-Hour Email Outage

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verizon-transVerizon customers woke up to some irritating news this morning upon trying to access their email.

“Trying” being the operative word.

Why?

Because from approximately 2 A.M. EST until 10 A.M. EST this Thursday, their email service was not working at all.

To make matters more frustrating, customer complaints directed towards Verizon and Verizon Support’s Twitter handles fell on seemingly deaf ears as neither account acknowledged that there was any issue on the platform.

But Verizon Support apparently engaged some irate customers to ascertain what problems they were having.

In an email, spokesperson John Bonomo stated: “We are investigating the cause. The issue prevented customers (not all) from being able to use the POP3 email service, but it did not impact customers’ ability to use Webmail or login to the Verizon portals.”

This mishap comes in the wake of news that Verizon is set to acquire AOL for $4.4 billion in a move they hope will further develop their digital offerings.

But judging from the comments the company received through social media, this situation may have soured some of their customers to such news.

Christopher A. Smith

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Australian Airport Website Taken Down By ISIS Hackers

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Australian Airport Website Taken Down By ISIS HackersHobart Airport saw their website taken down in a hacking attack by supporters of ISIS.

The site was defaced with, but has since been modified to read:

“We’re sorry, the Hobart Airport website is not currently operating,” said the message.

“We are working to get it back up and running as soon as possible. To check flight times, please visit the relevant airline website. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

A police statement said “The group claiming responsibility for the hacking appear to non-discriminately target organisations who use web hosts such as the one used by Hobart International Airport…There were no threats made towards the Hobart Airport or flight operations to and from the airport…We are committed to supporting the security arrangements at the airport, and are prepared to provide an appropriate response.”

Last week, TV5Monde, a French TV station was attacked by supporters of ISIS and their entire network was taken down.

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TV Network In France Knocked Out By ISIS Hackers

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TV Network In France Knocked Out By ISIS HackersA French TV Network has been taken down by hackers sympathetic to ISIS.

TV5Monde saw their TV channels, websites, and social networks taken out by hackers.

TV5Monde’s managing director Yves Bigot said “We have been the victim of an extremely powerful cyberattack. The attack affected all our 11 channels, nine general and two specialist, which went dark…At the same time, we have lost control of our social networks and our internet sites. Our entire team is working on restoring the programming you’re used to.”

He added that the attacks are “unprecedented for us and unprecedented in the history of television…When you work in television… and you find out that your 11 channels are down, of course that’s one of the most dreadful things that can happen to you.”

The attack is believed to be in retaliation for Franc’s support for US led airstrikes that have been carried out against ISIS.

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Some Sling TV Programs Are Restricted

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Some Sling TV Programs Are RestrictedSome channels that Sling TV carries were not permitting users to watch certain programs.

A restricted content notice was being displayed on channels like A&E, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network (LMN), and WE TV, when shows such as Criminal Minds on A&E, Kept Woman on Lifetime, and Intervention were set to play.

The shows affected are part of Sling TV’s Lifestyle Extra add-on.

The notice read “Due to rights restrictions, this content can not be streamed on Sling TV.”

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GitHub Hit By DDoS Attack

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GitHub Hit By DDoS AttackGitHub is trying to battle back after being hit by a DDoS attack.

Last week, the attack began, reportedly targeted to two projects involving Chinese anti-censorship that are hosted at GitHub.

GitHub’s Gists service was affected in the attack — GitHub said they are working to continue their defense of the attack.

One of the targeted projects displays the content of The New York Times for Chinese users. The other project under attack is Greatfire.org, a group that monitors website censorship in China.

A blogger who goes by the nickname of [email protected] on a Chinese- and English-language computer security forum said “people outside China are being weaponized to target things the Chinese government does not like, for example, freedom of speech.”

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State Department Disables Part Of Their Email System

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State Department Disables Part Of Their Email SystemThe State Department has disabled a part of their email system in light of a potential malware threat by Russian hackers, as reported here.

It’s expected that the system will remain down for the weekend.

“As a part of the Department of State’s ongoing effort to ensure the integrity of our unclassified networks against cyber attacks, the Department is implementing improvements to the security of its main unclassified network during a short, planned outage of some internet-linked systems,” a statement from the department read.

Additionally, “There has been no compromise of any of the Department’s classified systems, nor of our core financial, consular and human resource systems.”

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Google Experiences Brief Service Outage

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Google Experiences Brief Service OutageIt’s not often that you hear of Google services experiencing outages, however, that appears to be what happened earlier today, as reports were coming in from multiple countries of Google services that were either partially accessible, or, in some cases, completely down.

According to a report here, a blog post by an Internet monitoring company said the downtime was caused by a router issue in India.

Services that were affected include Google search and Gmail service.

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The Pirate Bay Sinks Beneath The Waves Once Again

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The Pirate Bay Sinks Beneath The Waves Once AgainThe Pirate Bay appears to be down again, according to this report from Torrent Freak.

The torrent site was restored recently after having experienced an extended period of downtime due to the seizure of their servers by authorities in Sweden last December.

The site has been searching for a more permanent home after being kicked out by a number of web hosts, due to takedown requests.

Visitors to the site have been seeing 403 error messages.

It is not known at this time the exact reason for the outage.

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iTunes Connect Goes Down

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iTunes Connect Goes DowniTunes Connect experienced an outage this morning, locking many developers out of their own accounts, and allowing some to log into other user accounts.

As this report points out, allowing developers into other developers accounts poses the potential problem of exposing projects under development that may contain trade secrets concerning upcoming app releases and/or app update features that have yet to be released.

Some developers voiced their concerns by tweeting — Paul Haddad tweeted “iTunes Connect just logged me in as a different user. Someone is seriously going to get fired.”

Cabel Sasser tweeted “If anybody landed in our iTunes Connect account, can you please try to set the icon for the Panic Complete bundle? I can’t get it to work.”

Apple’s System Status page stated “Users are experiencing a problem with the service listed above.”

Apple has not yet commented or released a statement about the outage.

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