March 7, 2016 Last Updated 7:17 am

Opposition paper seized in Turkey Friday becomes pro-government paper on Sunday

Morning Brief: Ransomware hits users of Mac BitTorrent client Transmission, new version immediately issued; Apple Sr VP Craig Federighi pens column for The Washington Post

The Turkish government seized an opposition newspaper on Friday, then two days later turned the paper into a pro-government mouthpiece. The newspaper, Zaman, had had its editorial offices raided on Saturday, then when staff returned to work, editor-in-chief Abdulhamit Bilici and columnist Bulent Kenes were fired.

Zaman newspaper TurkeyWhen Sunday’s paper appeared the paper was suddenly pro-government.

Government officials claimed the paper was controlled by “international organizations” though no evidence for the claim was presented.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001 and served as Prime Minister of the country from 2003 to 2014. He was elected President in 2014.

Two Turkish journalists were recently released after being in detention for 92 days after publishing a video that purported to show Turkey’s  intelligence agency helping to send weapons to Syria. Both men now face a trial for  on espionage and terrorism charges and still face possible life sentences.

Turkey remains a member of the European Union, though there is growing opposition to that status among EU members due to the government’s growing authoritarianism. “It’s not acceptable,” said France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. “We can’t want to get closer to European standards and not respect the pluralism of the media. It’s obvious and we’ve said it clearly to the Turks.”

Users of the Mac BitTorrent client Transmission were hit with ransomware, a type of malware that after installs encrypts the users data and documents, and then demands payment to decrypt the data – in this case around $400.

Transmission-newversionPalo Alto Networks, which revealed the ransomware and named it KeRanger, said “we believe KeRanger is the first fully functional ransomware seen on the OS X platform.” said it has already issued a new version (2.92) of Transmission which will eliminate the ransomware from infected Macs.

Users need to be aware that the ransomware appears about three days after initial installation.

BitTorrent remains a popular file sharing tool, as well as a way to distribute large amounts of data over the Internet. Transmission was originally developed in 2005 and remains one of the most popular BitTorrent clients, along with μTorrent, Xunlei, qBittorrent, Vuze, Deluge, and BitComet.

There are some 150 million online users of BitTorrent and several legitimate music and video services do use the sharing solution including DGMLive, the independent record label founded in 1992 by Robert Fripp.

Apple’s Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, penned a column for The Washington Post which appeared Sunday. In the column, Federighi repeats the company’s argument against complying with a court order to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“To get around Apple’s safeguards, the FBI wants us to create a backdoor in the form of special software that bypasses passcode protections, intentionally creating a vulnerability that would let the government force its way into an iPhone. Once created, this software — which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones — would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.”

Post readers are split in their support for Apple’s position, though it should be said that many appear still far from knowledgable about the issues and technology involved.

Last week Apple posted the Amicus Briefs submitted in support of the company’s position, including the brief signed on to by leading tech firms such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

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