While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 28 edition

Virus hits European computer servers.VIDEO: REUTERS

Ransomware virus hits computer servers across the globe

A major global cyber attack dubbed “GoldenEye” or “Petya” disrupted computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms with a virus similar to the ransomware virus that last month infected more than 300,000 computers.

The attack underscores growing concerns that businesses have failed to secure their networks from increasingly aggressive hackers, who have shown they are capable of shutting down critical infrastructure and crippling corporate and government networks.

“Cyber attacks can simply destroy us,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of cyber security firm Secure Ideas. “Companies are just not doing what they are supposed to do to fix the problem."

The ransomware virus crippled computers running Microsoft Corp’s Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demanded US$300 (S$415) in bitcoin payments to restore access.

It included code known as “Eternal Blue,” which cyber security experts widely believe was stolen from the US National Security Agency and was also used in last month’s ransomware attack, named “WannaCry.”


US brands China as among worst human trafficking offenders

The US State Department placed China on its global list of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labour, a step that could aggravate tensions with Beijing that had eased under President Donald Trump.

Trump, however, has grown increasingly frustrated over China’s inaction on North Korea and bilateral trade issues and is now considering possible trade actions against Beijing, three senior administration officials told Reuters.

Myanmar was upgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List of nations that deserve special scrutiny, from Tier 3, those countries not complying with minimum US standards and making no significant effort to do so. Afghanistan, Malaysia and Qatar moved up to Tier 2, a list of nations making significant efforts to comply, from the Tier 2 Watch List. Tier 1 designates nations that meet minimum US standards.


Facebook hits two billion users mark

Facebook said it now counts two billion active monthly users, as the social giant’s founder Mark Zuckerberg highlighted his new mission – not just connecting people, but helping them find common ground.

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people!” Zuckerberg wrote in a post marking the milestone.

Facebook’s announcement came as it works to redefine its purpose, led by Zuckerberg who travelled the US this year to better understand what people want out of the social network.


Tennis: Serena Williams poses nude for Vanity Fair, says ‘heart dropped’ at surprise pregnancy

Serena Williams was completely taken aback by her pregnancy, taking six home tests before believing she was expecting her first child, the tennis superstar told Vanity Fair magazine.

Williams, who poses nude on the cover of the magazine for its August issue, said she still had not come to terms with the prospect of being a mother, and said she plans to be back on court in January.

“It just doesn’t seem real. I don’t know why. Am I having a baby?” Williams, 35, said in the interview released on Tuesday.


Bill Cosby to face civil trial for sex abuse in July 2018, judge rules

Comedian Bill Cosby will face a civil trial in July 2018 for sexual assault over an alleged incident at the Playboy Mansion more than four decades ago, a California judge ruled.

Judy Huth has accused Cosby, 79, of giving her alcohol and then sexually abusing her around 1974 when she was 15 years old at the Los Angeles mansion famed for hedonistic parties.

Cosby is already scheduled to face a separate civil trial in June 2018 in a lawsuit filed by Chloe Goins, a former model who has accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at the mansion in 2008.