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Ireland Set to Boost Spending as Economic Threats Grow

Ireland Set to Boost Spending as Economic Threats Grow

(Bloomberg) — Ireland’s government is set to boost spending to counter the dual threats of Brexit and the pandemic, as new restrictions threaten to derail a nascent economic recovery.



a group of people walking on a city street: Shoppers walk along Donegall Place in view of the Belfast City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K., on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Nationalists who want to bring the island of Ireland together made advances in the U.K. general election while unionist parties that want to remain in the U.K.lost their majority. Brexit may have blurred the lines between political tribes in the U.K., but in Northern Ireland it's entrenched them even more.


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Shoppers walk along Donegall Place in view of the Belfast City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K., on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Nationalists who want to bring the island of Ireland together made advances in the U.K. general election while unionist parties that want to remain in the U.K.lost their majority. Brexit may have blurred the lines between political tribes in the U.K., but in Northern Ireland it’s entrenched them even more.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will lay out the 2021 budget from about 1 p.m. in Dublin, a week after the coalition government moved the nation to a Level 3 lockdown, meaning most bars, restaurants and hotels are closed again. Among the measures being floated are a 5 billion-euro ($5.9 billion) fund to deal with the virus and Brexit, more health spending and a cut in sales tax for the hospitality industry.

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Donohoe’s strategy contrasts with Ireland’s last experience of economic crisis a decade ago, when the government slashed spending and raised taxes to win back the confidence of international lenders. The coronavirus response is one being echoed across Europe as countries try to protect businesses and jobs amid a resurgence of cases.

“Like others, the Irish government will eventually face the difficult task reducing the size of government spending,” Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin, said. “But with large immediate threats to the Irish economy, this is a time to keep the foot on the fiscal accelerator.”

Video: Small British shops struggling amid worst UK recession (dw.com)

Small British shops struggling amid worst UK recession

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Microsoft report shows increasing sophistication of cyber threats

Microsoft report shows increasing sophistication of cyber threats

Microsoft released a new annual report called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware.

In addition to attacks becoming more sophisticated, threat actors are showing clear preferences for certain techniques, with notable shifts towards credential harvesting and ransomware, as well as an increasing focus on Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Among the most significant statistics on these trends:

  • In 2019, Microsoft blocked over 13 billion malicious and suspicious mails, out of which more than 1 billion were URLs set up for the explicit purpose of launching a phishing credential attack.
  • Ransomware is the most common reason behind Microsoft’s incident response engagements from October 2019 through July 2020.
  • The most common attack techniques used by nation-state actors in the past year are reconnaissance, credential harvesting, malware and virtual private network (VPN) exploits.
  • IoT threats are constantly expanding and evolving. The first half of 2020 saw an approximate 35% increase in total attack volume compared to the second half of 2019.

“Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that companies take steps to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application

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