NWMontana: Third Cyber Attack Officially Underway.
Internet traffic company Dyn on Friday warned a third cyberattack is currently ongoing, hours after websites and services across the East Coast were initially shut down
Dyn told CNBC Friday afternoon the attacks are "well planned and executed, coming from tens of millions of IP addresses at the same time."
A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News the current assessment is that this is a classic case of internet vandalism. The official said it does not appear at this point to be any kind of state-sponsored or directed attack. Impossible to say how long it will take to say who's responsible, the official added.
Dyn told CNBC that one of the sources of the attack is coming from devices known as the "Internet of Things" devices such as DVRs, Printers, and appliances connected to the internet.
The company said in a conference call Friday afternoon that the attack is being waged from devices infected with a malware code that was released on the web in recent weeks.
Dyn said it has not heard from attackers and does not know who they are.
"What they're actually doing is moving around the world with each attack," Dyn Chief Strategy Officer Kyle York said in a conference call Friday afternoon.
The company's general counsel, Dave Allen, said during the call the company regularly prepares for scenarios like this.
"We have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed (Domain Name System) infrastructure. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue," Dyn said on its website at 11:52 a.m. ET.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is when a web service is intentionally overwhelmed by traffic from many sources. It is a common method for digital assaults.
Dyn also said the attack impacted its DNS advanced services monitoring for customers, but it later resolved the issue.
It was not known who was behind the distributed denial of service attack.
The Department of Homeland Security told CNBC that it is "looking into all potential causes" of the attack. NBC News reported that one U.S. intelligence official said North Korea had been ruled out as a suspect.
The White House said U.S. authorities are monitoring reports of attack on the internet services company and whether it is a "criminal act," according to Reuters.
Many prominent websites including Amazon, Twitter and Spotify were shut down for nearly two hours Friday morning by an earlier denial of service attack. CNBC.com was also affected. Amazon reported later that it was once again having service issues but resolved the problem.
Later in the day, Netflix and PayPal reported that they are experiencing issues, while Spotify and said some of its members were having trouble accessing their website.
Dyn said the earlier attack started at 7:10 a.m. ET. It affected Dyn's Managed DNS infrastructure, which is the system that directs users to the correct webpage.
NWMontana: In Scotland, independence back on the agenda
In Scotland, winter is setting in - but the political temperature is heating up. Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland could vote again on leaving the United Kingdom over Brexit. Peter Geoghegan reports from Glasgow.
Speaking as the Scottish government published a draft bill on a second independence referendum on Thursday, the first minister suggested that if Scotland does not remain in the European single market as the UK leaves the European Union, then she could re-run the 2014 vote.
"If we find that our interests cannot be properly or fully protected within a UK context then independence must be one of the options open to us and the Scottish people must have the right to consider it," Sturgeon said.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader's warning comes after her opposite number in Westminster, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, said earlier this month that all of the UK would leave the European Union.
The first minister's comments open the possibility of a referendum before the UK formally leave the EU, a process that is due to be completed in March 2019.
Thursday's draft legislation proposes a very similar ballot to that which 55 percent of Scots voted against two years ago. Citizens living in other EU member states would have a vote - unlike in June's EU referendum - and once more the franchise would be extended to 16- and 17-year-olds.
But the draft bill does not mean a second referendum will definitely be held. There could be legal obstacles.
Westminster would have to give the devolved Scottish parliament permission to hold such a vote. Already May has said she does believe there is a mandate for a second referendum.
Theresa May und Nicola Sturgeon in Schottland (picture-alliance/dpa/A.Todd)
Theresa May (left) is unimpressed by Sturgeon's revived independence bid
Even if London acquiesces, the Scottish National Party (SNP) is unlikely to call a vote until polls change. Currently a majority of Scots remain in favor of staying the UK, despite 62 percent voting to remain in the EU.
Sturgeon has said that a second referendum is "highly likely," but that this could be avoided if a deal were reached that allowed Scotland to retain access to the European Single Market.
But Michael Keating, professor of politics at Aberdeen University, says that it is not feasible that Scotland could remain in the EU when the rest of the UK withdraws.
Either in or not
"You're either in it or you're not in it, so just imagine, could Scotland stay in the single market if the rest of the UK were to leave the single market? That would imply an economic boundary between Scotland and England - customs posts, all the rest of it, checks on product standards, rules of origin - that is the one thing that nobody wants," he told DW.
Some nationalists see Brexit as an opportunity to repatriate powers to the Edinburgh parliament that are currently controlled in Brussels. Former SNP cabinet minister, Alex Neil has said that leaving the UK gives the Scottish Government a "golden opportunity” to assert control over farming, fishing, employment law and other powers before pushing for independence in the 2020s.
But Sturgeon has maintained that membership of the European Union is vital to Scotland's economic interests.
Meanwhile polls suggest Scots are divided on whether to have another referendum at all.
"No way. We have had one already we don't need another," says the barman in the Union Bar in Glasgow.
The Union Bar reflects one of the most pro-UK faces of Scotland, those who feel allegiance to Protestants in Northern Ireland. The union flag flies outside; inside colorful portraits of King William of Orange, the hero of Protestant lore, astride his horse look down from the walls.
'White and British'
"We're white and British and we're staying that way," barman Stewart, who asked not to give his full name, told DW. "In Northern Ireland so many died to stay British. If we left we'd be stabbing them in the back."
Not everyone, however, is so solidly pro-union. Pensioner Liz Gray voted 'yes' in 2014. "I like Nicola Sturgeon. She knows her job," Gray says.
The biggest question in Scottish politics right now is whether - and when - Scots will have another chance to vote on leaving the UK.
Großbritannien Houses of Parliament mit schottischer Flagge in London (Getty Images/AFP/A. Dennis)
It's not at all certain that a second independence referendum would achieve the desired divorce from the UK
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says the possibility of a second referendum is 50-50. "Sturgeon's threat is not an empty threat but her position is not as strong as she would like it to be," he told DW.
In September, the nationalists unveiled a new "conversation" to build support for leaving the UK including a plan for the party's 125,000 members to approach two million Scots to assuage their fears about leaving the UK. A "growth commission" will be established to answer the economic questions - most notably on currency - that dogged the 'yes' campaign in 2014.
In a UK wracked by uncertainty over Brexit, the SNP has positioned itself as the party with a plan. "We want to build, if we can, a consensus on the way forward," Sturgeon said of independence recently.
But such public confidence betrays private concerns about the prospects of winning a second referendum, at least in the short-term.
Economically, Scotland is in a far weaker position than in 2014. Oil revenues have collapsed amid a global price war: tax receipts from the North Sea have fallen from over £11 billion (12.3 billion euros) in 2011-12 to just £60 million last year. Scotland's deficit - the difference between what the government raises in tax and what it spends - has spiraled to 9.5 percent of GDP. The overall figure for the UK is 4 percent.
Privately many senior SNP figures are wary of another bite of the independence cherry so soon. They are right to be circumspect, says Andrew Tickell, a SNP supporter and columnist for the Times.
"The SNP have to have credible answers to the questions about currency and finances. But the SNP are terrible at that. It's hard to have confidence that that work has been done," Tickell told DW.
Some nationalists, however, argue that with Brexit and an increasingly right-wing Conservative government in London, the time has never been better to push for independence.
"I think now Nicola Sturgeon has to call it," says Suzanne McLaughlin, a former SNP candidate and owner of the pro-independence Yes Bar in Glasgow's city center. "Now is the time.
NWMontana: Eurasia: The World's Largest Market Emerges
It is happening subtly but its impact could potentially alter the geopolitical and economic balance of the world: Eurasia, as a contiguous continent stretching from the west of Europe to the eastern coast of China, is slowly being drawn together into a massive market covering 70% of the world’s population, 75% of energy resources, and 70% of GDP.
Driving this enhanced concept of an interconnected Eurasia is something that has been haphazardly dubbed the New Silk Road — the modern interpretation of the ancient trade routes, transshipment hubs, and economic corridors that once spanned Europe and Asia — which has been emerging over the past fifteen years.
This growing network received a large boost in 2013 when Chinese President Xi Jinping formalized his country’s enhanced participation in it — which included a trillion+ dollars of funding and the political will and direction to actually make the colossal project come together.
Where Chinese gauge tracks come together to meet Russian gauge tracks — the place where east meets west at Khorgos Gateway in Kazakhstan. Image: Khorgos Gateway.
“Because of the New Silk Road concept, more and more people have started using the term Eurasia,” said Karl Gheysen, the former-CEO of the Khorgos Gateway dry port on the Kazakh/ China border. “Five years ago that didn’t exist: you had Europe and you had Asia. Somewhere in the middle was Central Asia, where they have the camels and the funky people, and that was it. But now people are really talking about Eurasia as a continent.”
Since the demise of the ancient overland trade routes of the Silk Road, the sheer expanse of land and distance in the central parts of Eurasia have been a barrier to transportation and development. In the recent era, the region has been hamstrung by political divisions, inefficient customs protocols, and old Soviet infrastructure that was starting to crumble. While the port cities on the peripheries of this landmass prospered, the interior lagged behind.
The Chinese recognized this imbalanced in their own country early on. On the eastern fringes of China some of the most economically kinetic and sophisticated cities in the world were rapidly rising, while the inland regions remained suspended in the proverbial stone age — in Shanghai people were driving around in BMWs, in Gansu tens of millions were living in caves.
It was clear that his imbalance was going to became a social, political, and economic crisis, and in 2000 China commenced the “Go West” policy, which sought to link-in and develop these left-behind inland regions. The result was a completely new transportation, energy, and telecommunications grid — which included over 19,000 kilometers of new high-speed rail lines, 60,000 kilometers of new expressways, and over 100 new airports — a series of massive Economic and Technological Development zones, and a good portion of the most economically dynamic cities in the world today.
At the same time that China was improving the logistical network and economic conditions in its hinterlands, other regions across the Eurasian landmass were busy at work doing the same. Some former Soviet states, like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, began looking for ways to develop and diversify their economies. For this, they looked back into their histories and found what they were looking for in the ancient Silk Routes, when they were vibrant transit hubs on a great trans-continental network.
So they began building better transportation infrastructure, logistics hubs, industrial zones, and forging better diplomatic and economic relations with other key countries along the newly emerging China-Europe trade network. While on the western side of Eurasia, some Eastern European countries, such as Poland, were waking up to the fact that they could serve as doorways to the great markets straddling them to the east and west.
“Regions that have long been regarded as peripheral and as separating Europe from the densely populated parts of Asia along the Indian and Pacific Oceans are now increasingly seen as constituting a ‘land bridge’ that serves to connect Europe with various parts of Asia,” said Frans-Paul van der Putten of the Clingendael Institute, which publishes a key Silk Road newsletter.
China’s developmental advances in its western regions are now meeting those of Central Asia, which are in turn meeting those of the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, as the interior of Eurasia is being cracked open. Distance and remoteness are no longer impediments to overland trade here. With marked improvements in transportation infrastructure, a more open political landscape, and a couple of huge customs unions, land transport between China and Europe is not only more direct but two to three times faster than sea — and a fraction the cost of air.
With just two (streamlined) customs crossings en-route, loading a container upon the wagon of a block train or back of a truck and sending it across Eurasia is nearly as smooth sailing as a freighter out at sea. At key junctions along these revitalized trade routes new logistics, industrial, financial, and commercial centers are being built, as new economies are rising up.
The New Silk Road isn’t a trade pact, it’s not an economic union, it’s not a treaty organization; it’s a loose conceptual platform for countries to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships via the building of an enhanced economic grid that covers the whole of Europe and Asia.
Rather than competing with the various existing geopolitical structures, this is a network that essentially links them together. It is an on-the-ground mechanism for better integrating China’s Belt and Road endeavors, the EU, non-EU Eastern Europe, the Eurasian Economic Union, ASEAN, Iran, the Caucasus countries, and parts of South Asia together into a contiguous and interconnected Eurasia.
“More and more people are starting to realize that it’s happening,” said Karl Gheysen