Government Cyberattack and Ethiopian Crown

Grind for February 29th
“The wish for healing has always been half of health.”

– Lucius Annaeus Seneca


The Headline

Federal agency suffers cyberattack

The Grind

The agency responsible for maintaining secure communications for the White House was hacked last summer, exposing the names and social security numbers of an estimated 200,000 people.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) oversees all military communications, including personal phone calls to President Trump, and is tasked with establishing communications networks in combat zones.

As listed on its website, DISA’s mission is to “be the trusted provider to connect and protect the war fighter in cyber-space.”

The Details

The Department of Defense confirmed the attack, but did not say if the responsible party had been identified.

“DoD networks are under attack daily and the department maintains an active posture to thwart those attacks,” said a spokesperson.

DISA recently began contacting all individuals whose data may have been exposed, but says there is no proof that data has been used maliciously.

Home Sweet Home

The Headline

Invaluable Ethiopian crown returns home

The Grind

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday celebrated the return of an 18th-century ceremonial crown that was stolen more than 20 years ago.

The crown was returned by Sirak Asfaw, a political refugee who fled to the Netherlands in the 1970’s. Sirak says the crown was brought to him in a suitcase by a ‘guest’ in 1998.

Sirak says he kept the crown a secret because he didn’t trust the Ethiopian government at the time.

“What would you do if you found an incredibly valuable Ethiopian artifact…abroad?” he wrote. “To hand over such priceless cultural heritage onto strange hands, or officials of that regime, is very hard to do.”

The Details

When Prime Minister Abiy took office in 2018, Sirak knew it was time to bring the crown home. He started by contacting Arthur Brand, a Dutch investigator often compared to Indiana Jones.

Brand contacted the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which arranged transportation of the crown to Ethiopia.

“We’re honored and delighted to have been able to facilitate the rightful return,” said Dutch politician Sigrid Kaag. “This is the crowning achievement of returning this heritage to its rightful place.”

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