Iran's telecommunications minister announced on Sunday that the country has defused a second cyberattack in less than a week, this time "aimed at spying on government intelligence."
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said in a short Twitter post that the alleged attack was "identified and defused by a cybersecurity shield," and that the "spying servers were identified and the hackers were also tracked." He did not elaborate.
Last Wednesday, Jahromi told the official IRNA news agency that a "massive" and "governmental" cyberattack also targeted Iran's electronic infrastructure. He provided no specifics on the purported attack except to say it was also defused and that a report would be released.
On Tuesday, the minister dismissed reports of hacking operations targeting Iranian banks, including local media reports that accounts of millions of customers of Iranian banks were hacked.
This is not the first time Iran says it has defused a cyberattack, though it has disconnected much of its infrastructure from the internet after the Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to be a joint U.S.-Israeli creation, disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges in the country's nuclear sites in the late 2000s.
In June, Washington officials said that U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran's downing of a U.S. surveillance drone in the strategic Persian Gulf.
Tensions have escalated between the U.S. and Iran ever since President Donald Trump withdrew America last year from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and began a policy of "maximum pressure." Iran has since been hit by multiple rounds of sanctions.
North Korea said Saturday it successfully performed another "crucial test" at its long-range rocket launch site that would further strengthen its "reliable strategic nuclear deterrent."
The announcement comes as North Korea continues to pressure the Trump administration over an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un to salvage faltering nuclear negotiations.
North Korea's Academy of Defense Science did not specify what was tested on Friday. Just days earlier, the North said it conducted a "very important test" at the site, prompting speculation that it involved a new engine for either a space launch vehicle or an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The North Korean announcement suggests that the country is preparing to do something to provoke the United States if Washington doesn't back down and make concessions in deadlocked nuclear negotiations.
An unnamed spokesman for the academy said scientists received warm congratulations from members from the ruling Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee who attended the test Friday night at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, where the North has conducted satellite launches and liquid-fuel missile engine tests in recent years.
The spokesman said the successful outcome of the latest test, in addition to the one last Saturday, "will be applied to further bolster up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," referring to North Korea's formal name.
Negotiations faltered after the United States rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of the North's nuclear capabilities at Kim's second summit with President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February.
Trump and Kim met for a third time in June at the border between North and South Korea and agreed to resume talks. But an October working-level meeting in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans' "old stance and attitude."
Saturday's news of the test came after U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft on Wednesday criticized the North's ballistic testing activity during a U.N. Security Council meeting, saying that the tests were "deeply counterproductive" and risk closing the door on prospects for negotiating peace.
She also cited North Korean hints of "a resumption of serious provocations," which she said would mean they could launch space vehicles using long-range ballistic missile technology or test ICBMs, "which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons."
While Craft said that the Trump administration is "prepared to be flexible" and take concrete, parallel steps toward an agreement on resuming talks, North Korea described her comments as a "hostile provocation" and warned that Washington may have squandered its chance at salvaging the fragile nuclear diplomacy.
Worldwide group vehicle deliveries of Germany's largest car manufacturer Volkswagen rose by 5.1 percent in November year-on-year, it announced on Friday.
In November, the car maker delivered 988,800 vehicles to its customers globally and managed to grow its market share in all key regions, according to Volkswagen.
Volkswagen noted that vehicle deliveries in the Asia-Pacific region also grew, which led to a "significant rise in the group's market share."
The "positive development" in the Asia-Pacific region had been driven by Volkswagen's largest single market China, which grew "markedly" by 5.1 percent to a total of 419,700 cars, according to the company.
With 13.7 percent, Volkswagen recorded a "significant growth" in vehicle deliveries in the United States, making it the fastest growing market in November with a total of 56,800 vehicles delivered.
Vehicle deliveries in Volkswagen domestic market also increased strongly by 9.1 percent -- selling 116,500 units in November.
Globally, the German car marker's core brand Volkswagen delivered 3.9 percent more passenger cars in November year-on-year while commercial vehicles by Volkswagen recorded a strong decrease of 16.5 percent.
Volkswagen subsidiary and truck and bus manufacturer Scania had to take heavy losses in November as well, decreasing by 26 percent year-on-year. Vehicle deliveries by luxury sports car manufacturer Porsche, on the other hand, recorded the highest growth rates of all Volkswagen subsidiaries and increased by more than 30 percent compared to November 2018.
Norway's biggest wireless carrier, Telenor, on Friday chose Sweden's Ericsson to supply part of its new 5G network, ending its cooperation with Chinese tech giant Huawei after a decade.
The company signaled it would gradually remove Huawei equipment as it upgrades radio gear for the next generation of mobile networks, in a move likely to please the U.S., which has been lobbying European allies to sideline the Chinese company over cyberespionage concerns.
The company "carried out an extensive security evaluation" in its selection process, alongside considering factors such as technical quality, commercial terms and the ability to innovate and modernize, Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke said.
"Based on the comprehensive and holistic evaluation, we have decided to introduce a new partner for this important technology shift in Norway," Brekke said.
Telenor, which is moving away from Huawei a decade after they started collaborating, said it will continue to use its existing equipment from the Chinese company as it transitions to the new network over the next four to five years. It has already chosen Ericsson and Finland's Nokia to build the 5G network's core.
Telenor has mobile operations in Nordic countries but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar.
Huawei declined to comment. Ericsson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
European mobile phone companies are facing tough business decisions as they find themselves caught in the middle of a geopolitical battle over Huawei.
Wireless companies often prefer Huawei because of its reputation for cheap, reliable gear but U.S. officials are warning allies that the company can be used to facilitate spying by China's communist leaders - allegations the company has consistently denied.
Superfast 5G networks and the new innovations they promise to bring, such as telemedicine and automated factories, will run heavily on software in the network "core," which the U.S. says exposes them to greater security vulnerabilities.
In a win for Huawei, German carrier Telefonica Deutschland said this week that it chose Huawei and Finland's Nokia to jointly supply equipment for the less-sensitive 5G radio network, with a decision on suppliers for the core due next year.
Telefonica Deutschland, Germany's No. 2 wireless carrier, made its decision even though the government may tighten up 5G security guidelines. The company added a caveat that Huawei's participation was "subject to the successful safety certification of the technology and the companies" in accordance with German legal provisions.
Women who use certain types of hormones after menopause still have an increased risk of developing breast cancer nearly two decades after they stop taking the pills, long-term results from a big federal study suggest.
Although the risk is very small, doctors say a new generation of women entering menopause now may not be aware of landmark findings from 2002 that tied higher breast cancer rates to hormone pills combining estrogen and progestin.
"The message is probably not clear" that even short-term use may have lasting effects, said Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. He discussed the new results Friday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
The results are from the Women's Health Initiative, a federally funded study that tested pills that doctors long thought would help prevent heart disease, bone loss and other problems in women after menopause. More than 16,000 women ages 50 to 70 were given combination hormone or dummy pills for five to six years.
The main part of the study was stopped in 2002 when researchers surprisingly saw more heart problems and breast cancers among hormone users. Women were advised to stop treatment but doctors have continued to study them and have information on about two-thirds.
With roughly 19 years of followup, 572 breast cancers have occurred in women on hormones versus 431 among those on dummy pills. That worked out to a 29% greater risk of developing the disease for hormone takers.
Still, it was a difference of just 141 cases over many years, so women with severe hot flashes and other menopause symptoms may decide that the benefits of the pills outweigh their risks, doctors say. The advice remains to use the lowest possible dose for the shortest time.
Why might hormones raise breast risk?
"The hormones are stimulating the cells to grow" and it can take many years for a tumor to form and be detected, said Dr. C. Kent Osborne, a Baylor College of Medicine breast cancer expert.
Women are prescribed hormones in combination because taking estrogen alone raises the risk of uterine cancer. However, one-quarter of women over 50 no longer have a uterus and can take estrogen alone for menopause symptoms.
So the same study tested estrogen alone versus dummy pills in more than 10,000 such women, and the conclusion was opposite what was seen with combination hormones. Women on estrogen alone for seven years had a 23% lower risk of developing breast cancer up to 19 years later. There were 231 cases among them versus 289 in the placebo group.
These results contradict what some observational studies have found, though, and doctors do not recommend any hormone use to try to prevent disease because of the murky picture of risks and benefits.
The federal study only tested hormone pills; getting hormones through a patch or a vaginal ring may not carry the same risks or benefits.
The results are another reason that hormone users should follow guidelines to get regular mammograms to check for cancer, said Dr. Jennifer Litton, a breast specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
"Continuing to screen appropriately remains important," she said.