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FBI Says the Cuba Ransomware Gang Made $43.9 Million from Ransom Payments

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 19:25
The US Federal Bureau of Investigations said today that the operators of the Cuba ransomware have earned at least $43.9 million from ransom payments following attacks carried out this year. From a report: In a flash alert sent out on Friday, the Bureau said the Cuba gang has "compromised at least 49 entities in five critical infrastructure sectors, including but not limited to the financial, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology sectors." The FBI said it traced attacks with the Cuba ransomware to systems infected with Hancitor, a malware operation that uses phishing emails, Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, compromised credentials, or RDP brute-forcing tools to gain access to vulnerable Windows systems. Once systems are added to their botnet, Hancitor operators rent access to these systems to other criminal gangs in a classic Malware-as-a-Service model. While an April 2021 McAfee report on the Cuba ransomware found no connection between the two groups, the FBI report highlights what appears to be a new partnership between MaaS providers and ransomware gangs after other ransomware operations struck similar partnerships throughout 2020.

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Categories: Technology

PlayStation Plans New Service To Take On Xbox Game Pass

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 19:05
Sony Group's PlayStation division is planning a new subscription service to compete with rival Microsoft's popular Xbox Game Pass, according to people familiar with Sony's plans and documents reviewed. Blooomberg: The service, code-named Spartacus, will allow PlayStation owners to pay a monthly fee for access to a catalog of modern and classic games, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren't authorized to speak to the press about the plans. The offering will likely be available on the smash hit PlayStation 4, which has sold more than 116 million units, and its elusive successor, the PlayStation 5, which launched more than a year ago but is still difficult to buy due to supply chain issues. When it launches, expected in the spring, the service will merge Sony's two existing subscription plans, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. Currently, PlayStation Plus is required for most online multiplayer games and offers free monthly titles, while PlayStation Now allows users to stream or download older games. Documents reviewed by Bloomberg suggest that Sony plans to retain the PlayStation Plus branding but phase out PlayStation Now.

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Categories: Technology

Chill out to the sounds of an expert typing on a variety of mechanical keyboards

The Register - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 18:45
A truly rare groove

Discerning writers and programmers know that keyboards matter. It's mostly the feel, but the best feel tends to come from mechanical key switches and they make a noise as they activate.…

Categories: Technology

Scientists Raise Concerns Over Baby Genome Sequencing Plan

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 18:05
Scientists have raised concerns about a proposed overhaul of newborn screening that could lead to the UK becoming the first country to offer whole-genome sequencing for every baby. From a report: Speaking before the publication of plans for an NHS pilot study in which up to 200,000 babies' genomes will be sequenced and analysed, scientists suggested the initiative appeared designed to create a valuable health dataset rather than an effective method of improving the diagnosis of rare diseases. Anneke Lucassen, director of the Centre for Personalised Medicine at the University of Oxford, said that if the primary objective were improving newborn screening, there were alternative, more targeted tests that would be cheaper and potentially more reliable. "If it was really all about [diagnosing more conditions], you could do that through other means," she said. "It's about helping to build the genomics industry in the UK and it's about creating a research resource so we can study people as they grow older." Lucassen said she was not opposed to the pilot, or even necessarily to these objectives, but wanted more transparency, "because otherwise it's sold as something that is not the full picture. The public needs to know that," she added. Sequencing the genomes of all newborns would represent a hugely ambitious upgrade to the routine "heel prick" test that all babies receive at about five days to detect nine serious health conditions including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and various metabolic diseases.

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Categories: Technology

The New Look pyjamas that are making fans 'want to stay in bed all day'

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 18:04
Fans are raving about the new clothes
Categories: Local News

Netgear router flaws exploitable with authentication ... like the default creds on Netgear's website

The Register - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 17:30
Don't just install the patch, change your router passwords too

Two arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities affecting a number of Netgear routers aimed at small businesses have been patched following research by Immersive Labs.…

Categories: Technology

US State Department iPhones Hacked With Israeli Company Spyware

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 17:24
Apple's iPhones of at least nine U.S. State Department employees were hacked by an unknown assailant using sophisticated spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, Reuters reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The hacks, which took place in the last several months, hit U.S. officials either based in Uganda or focused on matters concerning the East African country, two of the sources said. The intrusions, first reported here, represent the widest known hacks of U.S. officials through NSO technology. Previously, a list of numbers with potential targets including some American officials surfaced in reporting on NSO, but it was not clear whether intrusions were always tried or succeeded.

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Categories: Technology

Essex County Council warned care changes risk leaving funding blackhole

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 17:11
Essex County Council has said it has concerns that the funding for council will be insufficient to cover the costs of the changes
Categories: Local News

Not only was the UK Financial Ombudsman Service's Workday system months late, 38 IT workers' jobs are at risk

The Register - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 16:56
Questions remain over data warehouse dependencies and redundancies

The UK's Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has gone live on Workday finance and HR systems around three months later than planned, drawing questions over an interdependent data warehouse project.…

Categories: Technology

Amazon Charges Sellers Fees That Are High Enough To Offset Losses from Prime, a New Report Says

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 16:42
The massive reach of Amazon's e-commerce platform is appealing for any small business that wants to sell its products online. But a new report suggests that the cost of doing business can become a Faustian bargain for a third-party seller, as the fees that Amazon charges them can quickly eat into profits. From a report: Amazon Toll Road, a report from the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), found that Amazon charged third-party sellers a total of $121 billion in fees this year alone. According to the report, written by ILSR co-director Stacy Mitchell, those fees -- for things like advertising, referrals, and shipping -- usually mean that small businesses lose money to Amazon; Mitchell said that in 2014, sellers paid Amazon $19 of every $100 in sales, and today, it's more like $34 per $100 in sales. And, Amazon obscures the profit it makes from these small businesses in its financial reports, lumping it in with other less lucrative divisions "because showing that they generate these profits from small businesses is not a good look," Mitchell said in an interview with The Verge. But its Amazon Prime subscription service -- believed to be a money loser for the e-commerce giant -- provides Amazon a loyal base of shoppers who want to get their money's worth of free shipping. The profits Amazon makes from seller fees subsidize the losses from its Prime division, according to the report.

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Categories: Technology

Free parking in parts of Essex after Christmas to boost shopping - but chiefs told it won't make a difference

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 16:41
Councillors hope to boost town and village centre economies in the quite period after the festive season.
Categories: Local News

Jimmy Wales is Selling His First Wikipedia Edit as an NFT

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 16:06
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is selling a non-fungible token (or NFT) based on his first edit of the free encyclopedia. From a report: Auction house Christie's will hold a sale of the token from December 3rd to 15th, auctioning it alongside the Strawberry iMac Wales was using around Wikipedia's launch. The funds will go toward charitable causes and WT.Social, a donation-backed social network that Wales launched in 2019. Wales' NFT is effectively the keys to a very early version of Wikipedia, which debuted in January of 2001. "What you see displayed is what Wikipedia looked like at the moment that I set up the software," he tells The Verge. The single page will be launched publicly on the web, and much like Wikipedia itself, anyone will be able to see and edit it. But all changes will revert after five minutes, returning it to its original state: a single edit reading "Hello, World!" following a long-held tradition of programming. The NFT, which is written to the Ethereum blockchain, encodes a smart contract that grants its buyer control over that website. The buyer can change the window for reverting edits, and if they really want, they can turn off editing or shut down the page. They can also take a completely hands-off approach and let Wales manage the page for them.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

The 200 Chelmsford homes that'll be built only available to rent

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:53
Chelmsford City Council has said the development makes good use of the brownfield site
Categories: Local News

Laindon murder: Face of teen killer who murdered dad who tried to help homeless man

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:48
Joshuah Sparks has been jailed for killing James Gibbons
Categories: Local News

AWS previews SDKs for Rust, Kotlin, Swift, and Amplify Studio for rapid web apps

The Register - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:43
Plus: Why company foresees growth of Rust, already widely used internally

Re:invent  AWS previewed new developer resources at its Re:invent conference, including new SDKs for Rust, Swift, and Kotlin, as well as Amplify Studio for rapid web applications, integrated with the Figma design tool.…

Categories: Technology

Microsoft Backtracks on Windows 11's Controversial Default Browser Changes

Slashdot - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:21
Microsoft is backtracking on changes it made to Windows 11 that made it more difficult to switch default browsers. From a report: A new test build of Windows 11 now allows users of Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers to set a default browser with a single button, which is a far simpler process. Rafael Rivera, developer of the excellent EarTrumpet Windows app, discovered the new Windows 11 changes earlier this week. Instead of having to change individual file extensions or protocol handlers for HTTP, HTTPS, .HTML, and .HTM, Windows 11 now offers a simple button that lets people switch default browsers in a similar way to Windows 10. Microsoft has confirmed the changes are intentional and are currently being tested. "In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the 'default browser' to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML," explains Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows marketing, in a statement to The Verge. "Through the Windows Insider Program you will continue to see us try new things based on customer feedback and testing."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

Weather warnings: Colchester residents warned to avoid area as flooding set to hit

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:16
Residents say it floods "every week"
Categories: Local News

Essex property: The Essex seaside town where homes are selling fast

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:09
Houses are being sold far faster than the national average
Categories: Local News

Mid and South Essex Hospitals Trust told to improve after staff report concerns with CQC

This Is Total Essex - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 15:04
The trust said that it the report also showed 'extremely positive findings'
Categories: Local News

One white cat and a volcano short of a Bond villain: Rocket Lab's Peter Beck shows off the 'Hungry Hippo'

The Register - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 14:44
Neutron updated, but the Spectre of SpaceX looms

Rocket Lab showed off progress on its Neutron rocket yesterday, with a "Hungry Hippo" fairing design more reminiscent of a '60s spy flick than a'70s table-top kid amuser.…

Categories: Technology

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