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At US-led summit over two dozen countries vow to combat cyber-extortionists

Over two dozen nations resolved Thursday to battle collectively against the global and escalating threat posed by cyber-extortionists, following a Washington-led anti-ransomware summit.

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At US-led summit over two dozen countries vow to combat cyber-extortionists
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The United States gathered the countries -- with the notable exception of Russia -- to unify and boost efforts to fight a cybercrime that is transnational, on the rise and potentially devastating.

"The threat of ransomware is complex and global in nature and requires a shared response," the joint summit statement said, adding the nations "recognize the need for urgent action, common priorities and complementary efforts."

These attacks involve breaking into an entity's networks to encrypt its data, then demanding a ransom, typically paid via cryptocurrency in exchange for the key to unlock it.

Stronger digital security and offline backups as well as collectively targeting the laundering of the attacks' proceeds were identified as crucial steps in the fight.

"We will consider all national tools available in taking action against those responsible for ransomware operations threatening critical infrastructure and public safety," the statement said.

The nations also resolved to work together in law enforcement operations -- which are challenging because they cross borders and require special skills -- and the use of diplomatic pressure.

Although Moscow denies any responsibility, most recent ransomware attacks against the United States have been blamed on Russian-speaking hacker groups or those operating from Russian territory.

White House officials said Russia was not invited to this "first round" of talks, but that Washington has opened a separate line of communication with Moscow on the sensitive topic.

The United Kingdom, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, the European Union, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, and others were among the roughly 30 that joined in the virtual gathering that ran from Wednesday to Thursday.

During the summit nations recounted their agonizing experiences with cyber-extortion, including a digital "disaster" declaration in Germany and Israel even announcing a blitz was underway against a major hospital.

Washington has sought to crack down on a sharp rise in attacks, including issuing its first sanctions against an online exchange where illicit operators have allegedly swapped cryptocurrency for cash.

The attacks on a major US oil pipeline, a meatpacking company and the Microsoft Exchange email system drew attention to the vulnerability of US infrastructure to digital pirates.

SOURCE: AFP

Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Entertainment

‘First in world’; BTS’ Jimin gets customized helicopter birthday banner for exclusive routes in US, Australia

On his 26th birthday, the artist became the first person in the world to receive a customized helicopter birthday banner for exclusive routes in the United States (US) and Australia.

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‘First in world’; BTS’ Jimin gets customized helicopter birthday banner for exclusive routes in US, Australia

Seoul: Renowned K-POP idol and member of boyband BTS, Park Jimin continues to set records as the first person in the world with different highly innovative and grand-scale birthday support projects. 

On his 26th birthday, the artist became the first person in the world to receive a customized helicopter birthday banner for exclusive routes in the United States (US) and Australia.

The exclusive birthday-themed banner will be up to 35 meters long for both the US and Australia routes, which is a giant size to ensure visibility. Both flights will have a specialized light aerobatic aircraft utilized for the birthday project.

In US, the banner will pass through famous sites including the Statue of Liberty and the George Washington Bridge—a strategy that will foster drawing attention to the project. 

The US flight will be for 3 hours, which is also a long period to ensure enough buzz for the project—ensuring a grand-scale promotion for Jimin in the most sophisticated way imaginable.

For the Australian route, the flight will be on Gold Coast, and the duration will be two hours.

The Australian route will include a highlighted tourist resort named after the 42 km of golden sandy beach—adding prestige to the project.

In addition to incredible birthday support projects, fans known as ARMY are also showing their love to the singer through various hashtags on Twitter.

To commemorate BTS Jimin's birthday today, Ukraine ARMYs have also prepared a "first-in-the-world" project that involves the ‘Serendipity’ singer being featured on the biggest LED screen in all of Europe.

Another birthday support project for BTS member Jimin that is also the first in the world is a digital ad in Kyoto, Japan. Jimin became the first foreign artist to be featured on that ad space in the country.

The advertisement will run for a week.

Moreover, ARMYs in France are celebrating BTS Jimin's birthday by lighting up the Eiffel Tower, which is a famous landmark in the city.

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Pakistan

Pakistan reports lowest daily COVID death toll in almost three months 

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 767 cases of coronavirus were reported while 19 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,106. 

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Pakistan reports lowest daily COVID death toll in almost three months 

Islamabad: Pakistan has reported its lowest daily coronavirus death toll in almost three months, with 19 people losing their lives to the virus in the last 24 hours. 

Amid a steady decline in Covid-19 infections, Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio further fell to 1.88% with 767 new cases.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves.

The total number of cases has reached 1,257,955.

As many as 1,187,308 patients have recovered from the disease with 2,540 critical cases.

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 435,882 in the province with 12,780 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 462,466 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,484. 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 175,735 in the province with 5,636 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 33,072 confirmed cases while 350 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,339 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 739. On the other hand, there are 10,348 cases in GB with 186 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 106,113 cases in the capital city while 931 people have lost their lives. 

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Pakistan

34 more succumb to COVID-19 in Pakistan; 1,656 new cases emerge 

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves. Today, the daily positivity rate in-country is at 3.26%.

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34 more succumb to COVID-19 in Pakistan; 1,656 new cases emerge 

Islamabad: Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves. Today, the daily positivity rate in-country is at 3.26%.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,656 cases of coronavirus were reported while 35 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,785.

The total number of cases has reached 1,249,858.

As many as 1,175,489 patients have recovered from the disease with 3,444 critical cases.

Punjab   

The number of patients swelled to 432,809 in the province with 12,672 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 459,392 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,425.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 174,490 in the province with 5,571 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,956 confirmed cases while 349 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,216 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 738. On the other hand, there are 10,331 cases in GB with 184 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 105,664 cases in the capital city while 927 people have lost their lives.

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