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Malaysia Asks Microsoft, CrowdStrike To Consider Covering Losses From Global Outage (channelnewsasia.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the reap-what-you-sow dept.)

Malaysia's digital minister said today he has asked global tech firms Microsoft and CrowdStrike to [1]consider compensating companies that suffered losses during last week's [2]global tech outage . From a report:

> Five government agencies and nine companies operating in aviation, banking and healthcare were among those affected in Malaysia, minister Gobind Singh Deo told reporters. "If there are any damages or losses, where there have been any parties that have made such claims, I've asked them to consider those claims and see to what extent they are able to help resolve the issue," Gobind said, adding that the government would also assist on the claims where possible. The total amount of losses incurred has not yet been determined, he said.

The outage will [3]cost Fortune 500 companies $5.4 billion , according to estimates from insurers. The projected financial losses exclude Microsoft.



[1] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/malaysia-asks-microsoft-crowdstrike-consider-covering-losses-global-outage-4501666

[2] https://it.slashdot.org/story/24/07/19/0943232/global-it-outage-linked-to-crowdstrike-update-disrupts-businesses

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/article/2024/jul/24/crowdstrike-outage-companies-cost



A Hacker 'Ghost' Network Is Quietly Spreading Malware on GitHub (wired.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the troubling-signs dept.)

Researchers at Check Point have uncovered a clandestine network of approximately 3,000 "ghost" accounts on GitHub, [1]manipulating the platform to promote malicious content . Since June 2023, a cybercriminal dubbed "Stargazer Goblin" has been exploiting GitHub's community features to boost malicious repositories, making them appear legitimate and popular.

Antonis Terefos, a malware reverse engineer at Check Point, discovered the network's activities, which include "starring," "forking," and "watching" malicious pages to increase their visibility and credibility. The network, named "Stargazers Ghost Network," primarily targets Windows users, offering downloads of seemingly legitimate software tools while spreading various types of ransomware and info-stealer malware.



[1] https://www.wired.com/story/github-malware-spreading-network-stargazer-goblin/



Open Source AI Better for US as China Will Steal Tech Anyway, Zuckerberg Argues (fb.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has advocated for open-source AI development, asserting it as [1]a strategic advantage for the United States against China . In a blog post, Zuckerberg argued that closing off AI models would not effectively prevent Chinese access, given their espionage capabilities, and would instead disadvantage U.S. allies and smaller entities. He writes:

> Our adversaries are great at espionage, stealing models that fit on a thumb drive is relatively easy, and most tech companies are far from operating in a way that would make this more difficult. It seems most likely that a world of only closed models results in a small number of big companies plus our geopolitical adversaries having access to leading models, while startups, universities, and small businesses miss out on opportunities. Plus, constraining American innovation to closed development increases the chance that we don't lead at all. Instead, I think our best strategy is to build a robust open ecosystem and have our leading companies work closely with our government and allies to ensure they can best take advantage of the latest advances and achieve a sustainable first-mover advantage over the long term.



[1] https://about.fb.com/news/2024/07/open-source-ai-is-the-path-forward/



The AI Job Interviewer Will See You Now

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the growing-trend dept.)

AI is increasingly being [1]employed in job interviews across China and India , marking a significant shift in recruitment practices in the region. This follows a similar practice making inroads in the U.S. Rest of World adds:

> A 2023 survey of 1,000 human-resources workers by the U.S. firm ResumeBuilder found that 10% of companies were already using AI in the hiring process, and another 30% planned to start the following year. The research firm Gartner listed natural-language chatbots as one of 2023's key innovations for the recruiting industry, designating the technology as experimental but promising.

Companies like Meituan, Siemens, and Estee Lauder are using AI-powered interviews, with platforms such as MoSeeker, Talently.ai, and Instahyre leading the charge in AI recruitment solutions.



[1] https://restofworld.org/2024/ai-interview-software-hiring-practices/



Google's Exclusive Reddit Access (404media.co)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Google is now the [1]only search engine that can surface results from Reddit , making one of the web's most valuable repositories of user generated content exclusive to the internet's already dominant search engine. 404 Media:

> If you use Bing, DuckDuckGo, Mojeek, Qwant or any other alternative search engine that doesn't rely on Google's indexing and search Reddit by using "site:reddit.com," you will not see any results from the last week.

>

> DuckDuckGo is currently turning up seven links when searching Reddit, but provides no data on where the links go or why, instead only saying that "We would like to show you a description here but the site won't allow us." Older results will still show up, but these search engines are no longer able to "crawl" Reddit, meaning that Google is the only search engine that will turn up results from Reddit going forward. Searching for Reddit still works on Kagi, an independent, paid search engine that buys part of its search index from Google. The news shows how Google's near monopoly on search is now actively hindering other companies' ability to compete at a time when Google is facing increasing criticism over the quality of its search results.

The news follows Google [2]signing a $60 million deal with Reddit early this year to use the social network's content to train its LLMs.



[1] https://www.404media.co/email/4650b997-7cc3-4578-834c-7e663ed3d516

[2] https://tech.slashdot.org/story/24/02/22/1757233/reddit-in-ai-content-licensing-deal-with-google



Microsoft: Our Licensing Terms Do Not Meaningfully Raise Cloud Rivals' Costs

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

In a response to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority's investigation into cloud services and licensing, Microsoft has defended its practices, asserting that its terms " [1]do not meaningfully raise cloud rivals' costs ." The Windows-maker emphasized Amazon's continued dominance in the UK hyperscale market and noted Google's quarter-on-quarter growth, while also highlighting the declining share of Windows Server relative to Linux in cloud operating systems and SQL Server's second-place position behind Oracle.

[...] The CMA's inquiry primarily focuses on the pricing disparity between using Microsoft products on Azure versus rival cloud platforms, with most surveyed customers perceiving Azure as the more cost-effective option for Microsoft software deployment. The Register adds:

> Microsoft's bullish take on this is that AWS and Google should be grateful that they even get to run its software. In its response, the company said: "This dispute on pricing terms only arises because Microsoft grants all rivals IP licenses in the first place to its software that is of most popularity for use in the cloud. It does this not because there is any legal obligation to share IP with closest rivals in cloud, but for commercial reasons."



[1] https://www.theregister.com/2024/07/24/microsoft_cloud_cma/



OpenAI Could Lose $5 Billion This Year

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the not-for-the-faint-of-heart dept.)

OpenAI has built one of the fastest-growing businesses in history. It may also be one of the costliest to run. The Information:

> The ChatGPT maker could [1]lose as much as $5 billion this year [ [2]non-paywalled source ] , according to an analysis by The Information, based on previously undisclosed internal financial data and people involved in the business. [...] On the cost side, OpenAI as of March was on track to spend nearly $4 billion this year on renting Microsoft's servers to power ChatGPT and its underlying LLMs (otherwise known as inference costs), said a person with direct knowledge of the spending. In addition to running ChatGPT, OpenAI's training costs -- including paying for data -- could balloon to as much as $3 billion this year. Last year, OpenAI ramped up the training of new AI faster than it had originally planned, said a person with direct knowledge of the decision. So while the company earlier planned to spend about $800 million on such costs, it ended up spending considerably more, this person said.



[1] https://www.theinformation.com/articles/why-openai-could-lose-5-billion-this-year

[2] https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/openai-training-and-inference-costs-could-reach-7bn-for-2024-ai-startup-set-to-lose-5bn-report/



T-Mobile Expands Fiber Footprint With Metronet Acquisition (lightreading.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the further-consolidation dept.)

T-Mobile and investment firm KKR have formed a joint venture (JV) to [1]acquire fiber service provider Metronet . From a report:

> The fiber provider reaches over 300 communities and more than 2 million homes in 17 states. Metronet is both a pure-play fiber company and independent FTTH operator. In some markets, Metronet delivers residential speeds up to 5 Gbit/s. The acquisition includes Metronet's broadband infrastructure, residential fiber business operations and existing customers. The JV will acquire Oak Hill Capital's existing stake; Oak Hill Capital will re-invest for a minority position and Metronet CEO John Cinelli will retain a minority position after the deal closes.

>

> T-Mobile said it plans to invest nearly $4.9 billion to acquire a 50% equity stake in the JV and 100% of Metronet's residential fiber retail operations and customers, as well as funding of the JV. After the close of the deal, Metronet, based in Evansville, Indiana, will transition to a wholesale service provider for its retail customers. T-Mobile will take on management of residential customer acquisition and support, using T-Mobile's marketing and service model and Metronet's fiber broadband services.



[1] https://www.lightreading.com/finance/t-mobile-expands-fiber-footprint-with-metronet-acquisition



CrowdStrike Offers a $10 Apology Gift Card To Say Sorry For Outage

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the not-the-onion dept.)

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, [1]reporting for TechCrunch :

> CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that [2]crashed millions of computers with a botched update all over the world last week, is offering its partners [3]a $10 Uber Eats gift card as an apology , according to several people who say they received the gift card, as well as a source who also received one. On Tuesday, a source told TechCrunch that they received an email from CrowdStrike offering them the gift card because the company recognizes "the additional work that the July 19 incident has caused."

>

> "And for that, we send our heartfelt thanks and apologies for the inconvenience," the email read, according to a screenshot shared by the source. The same email was also posted on X by someone else. "To express our gratitude, your next cup of coffee or late night snack is on us!"

The report adds that some people are having trouble redeeming the card. Some are seeing the error that says the gift card "has been canceled by the issuing party and is no longer valid."



[1] https://techcrunch.com/2024/07/24/crowdstrike-offers-a-10-apology-gift-card-to-say-sorry-for-outage/

[2] https://it.slashdot.org/story/24/07/19/0943232/global-it-outage-linked-to-crowdstrike-update-disrupts-businesses

[3] https://techcrunch.com/2024/07/24/crowdstrike-offers-a-10-apology-gift-card-to-say-sorry-for-outage/



US Urges Vigilance By Tech Startups, VC Firms on Foreign Funds (yahoo.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

The US is warning homegrown tech startups and venture capital firms that [1]some foreign investments may be fronts for hostile nations seeking data and technology for their governments or to undermine American businesses. From a report:

> Several US intelligence agencies are spotlighting the concern in a joint bulletin Wednesday to small businesses, trade associations and others associated with the venture capital community, according to the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. "Unfortunately our adversaries continue to exploit early-stage investments in US startups to take their sensitive data," said Michael Casey, director of the NCSC. "These actions threaten US economic and national security and can directly lead to the failure of these companies."

>

> Washington has ramped up scrutiny of investments related to countries it considers adversaries, most notably China, as advanced technologies with breakthrough commercial potential, such as artificial intelligence, can also be used to enhance military or espionage capabilities. [...] Small tech companies and venture capitalists "are not in a position to assess the national security implications of their investments," said Mark Montgomery, former executive director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which was assigned to develop a US cybersecurity strategy. "There are way too many examples where what appears to be, at best, potentially only dual-use or non-military-use technology is quickly twisted and used as a national security tool."



[1] https://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-urges-vigilance-tech-startups-140000267.html



Wealthy Western Countries Lead in Global Oil and Gas Expansion (theguardian.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the closer-look dept.)

A surge in new oil and gas production in 2024 threatens to unleash nearly 12 billion tonnes of planet-heating emissions, with the world's wealthiest countries -- such as the US and the UK -- [1]leading a stampede of fossil fuel expansion in spite of their climate commitments, new data reveals. From a report:

> The new oil and gas field licences forecast to be awarded across the world this year are on track to generate the highest level of emissions since those issued in 2018, as heatwaves, wildfires, drought and floods cause death and destruction globally, according to analysis of industry data by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The 11.9bn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions -- which is roughly the same as China's annual carbon pollution -- resulting over their lifetime from all current and upcoming oil and gas fields forecast to be licensed by the end of 2024 would be greater than the past four years combined. The projection includes licences awarded as of June 2024, as well as the oil and gas blocks open for bidding, under evaluation or planned.

>

> Meanwhile, fossil fuel firms are ploughing more money into developing new oil and gas sites than at any time since the 2015 Paris climate deal, when the world's governments agreed to take steps to cut emissions and curb global heating. The world's wealthiest countries are economically best placed -- and obliged under the Paris accords -- to lead the transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. But these high-capacity countries with a low economic dependence on fossil fuels are spearheading the latest drilling frenzy despite dwindling easy-to-reach reserves, handing out 825 new licences in 2023, the largest number since records began.



[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/jul/24/new-oil-gas-emission-data-us-uk



AI Adoption Creeps as Enterprises Wrestle With Costs and Use Cases

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (msmash) from the closer-look dept.)

Global enterprises are [1]grappling with the complexities of AI adoption , according to hundreds of top industry executives at a recent private software conference hosted by UBS. UBS adds:

> We heard:

> 1. The data points from a private GPU cloud infrastructure provider were a very bullish readthrough to GPU demand, Microsoft's AI infra capabilities and the ramp of enterprise/software demand for training and inference compute.

> 2. One F500 customer was at 1% Office Copilot roll-out, moving to perhaps 2% in a year as they a) fine-tune internal best practices and b) negotiate to get Microsoft much lower on price.

> 3. One private flagged "copilot chaos," with customers having to choose between AI copilots from seemingly every tech firm (we wonder if this creates pricing pressure and/or an evaluation slowdown).

> 4. Popular use cases are AI apps for internal, domain-specific tasks (simple workflow automation).

> 5. Little evidence of AI resulting in customer headcount cuts, but headcount reduction with 3rd-party managed services providers and (India-based) SI firms.



[1] https://indiadispatch.com/2024/07/24/ai-adoption-creeps-as-enterprises-wrestle-with-costs-and-use-cases/



Mark Zuckerberg Imagines Content Creators Making AI Clones of Themselves (techcrunch.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (BeauHD) from the digital-doppelgangers dept.)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch:

> Content creators are busy people. Most spend [1]more than 20 hours a week creating new content for their respective corners of the web. That doesn't leave much time for audience engagement. But Mark Zuckerberg, Meta's CEO, [2]thinks that AI could solve this problem . In [3]an interview with internet personality Rowan Cheung, Zuckerberg laid out his vision for a future in which creators have their own bots, of sorts, that capture their personalities and "business objectives." Creators will offload some community outreach to these bots to free up time for other, presumably more important tasks, Zuckerberg says.

>

> "I think there's going to be a huge unlock where basically every creator can pull in all their information from social media and train these systems to reflect their values and their objectives and what they're trying to do, and then people can can interact with that," Zuckerberg said. "It'll be almost like this artistic artifact that creators create that people can kind of interact with in different ways." [...] It's tough to imagine creators putting trust in the hands of flawed AI bots to interact with their fans. In the interview, Zuckerberg acknowledges that Meta has to "mitigate some of the concerns" around its use of generative AI and win users' trust over the long term. This is especially true as some of Meta's AI training practices are actively driving creators away from its platforms.



[1] https://www.epidemicsound.com/blog/the-future-of-the-creator-economy-report-2024/#:~:text=49%25%20of%20monetizing%20creators%20spend,engaging%20content%20and%20audience%20engagement.

[2] https://techcrunch.com/2024/07/23/mark-zuckerberg-imagines-content-creators-making-ai-clones-of-themselves/

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy3OkbtUa5k&themeRefresh=1



Digital Tax Talks In G20 Spotlight As US Tariff Threat Looms (reuters.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (BeauHD) from the stalled-plans dept.)

Negotiations on a global tax deal [1]have extended beyond the June 30 deadline , with countries now looking to the G20 finance leaders meeting for progress. "The stakes in the negotiations are high," reports Reuters. "A failure to reach agreement on final terms could prompt several countries to reinstate their taxes on U.S. tech giants and risk punitive duties on billions of dollars in exports to the U.S." Some countries, like Canada, have already implemented their own digital services tax. Reuters reports:

> The so-called "Pillar 1" arrangement, part of a 2021 global two-part tax deal, aims to replace unilateral digital services taxes (DSTs) on U.S. tech giants including Alphabet's Google, Amazon.com and Apple through a new mechanism to share taxing rights on a broader, global group of companies. Standstill agreements under which Washington has suspended threatened trade retaliation against seven countries -- Austria, Britain, France, India, Italy, Spain and Turkey -- expired on June 30, but the U.S. has not taken steps to impose tariffs.

>

> Discussions on the matter are continuing. An Italian government source said that European countries were seeking assurances that the U.S. tariffs on some $2 billion worth of annual imports from French Champagne to Italian handbags and optical lenses remained frozen while the talks continue, including at the G20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro. A European Union document prepared for the G20 meeting lists finalizing the international tax deal as a "top priority." It said the G20 should urge countries and jurisdictions participating in the tax deal "to finalize discussions on all aspects of Pillar 1, with a view to signing the Multilateral Convention (MLC) by summer end and ratifying it as soon as possible."

"Treasury continues to oppose all tax measures that discriminate against U.S. businesses," a U.S. Treasury spokesperson said in response to Canada's move. "We encourage all countries to finalize the work on the Pillar 1 agreement. We are in active discussions on next steps related to the existing DST joint statements."



[1] https://www.reuters.com/technology/digital-tax-talks-g20-spotlight-us-tariff-threat-looms-2024-07-23/



Sunday Was the Hottest Day Ever Recorded On Earth, Scientists Say

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @05:20PM (BeauHD) from the global-warning dept.)

On Sunday, global temperatures [1]reached their highest levels in recorded history (source may be paywalled; [2]alternative source ), with a daily average of 17.09 degrees Celsius (62.76 degrees Fahrenheit). "The historic day comes on the heels of 13 straight months of unprecedented temperatures and the [3]hottest year scientists have ever seen," adds the Washington Post, citing preliminary data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. From the report:

> Though Sunday was only slightly warmer than the world's previous hottest day, Copernicus researchers noted, it was extraordinarily hotter than anything that came before. Before July 2023, Earth's daily average temperature record -- set in August 2016 -- was 16.8 degrees Celsius (62.24 degrees Fahrenheit). But in the past year, the global has exceeded that old record on 57 days.

>

> Scientists have been tracking global temperatures only for the past few centuries. Yet there is good reason to believe that Sunday was the hottest day on Earth since the start of the last Ice Age more than 100,000 years ago. Research from paleoclimate scientists -- who use tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and other ancient material to understand past environments -- suggests that recent heat would have been all but impossible over the last stretch of geologic time.

"We are in truly uncharted territory," Copernicus director Carlo Buontempo said in a statement. "And as the climate keeps warming, we are bound to see records being broken in future months and years. What is truly staggering is how large the difference is between the temperature of the last 13 months and the previous temperature records."



[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2024/07/23/hottest-day-ever-recorded-climate-change/

[2] https://apnews.com/article/hottest-day-climate-change-heat-wave-warming-71e3e9d1fbfdc8503ef36eabec9390bd

[3] https://news.slashdot.org/story/24/01/12/1726223/2023-was-hottest-year-ever-recorded-globally-us-scientists-confirm



DHS Has a DoS Robot To Disable Internet of Things 'Booby Traps' Inside Homes (404media.co)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @11:28AM (BeauHD) from the home-network-horrors dept.)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from 404 Media's Jason Koebler:

> The Department of Homeland Security bought a dog-like robot that it has modified with an "antenna array" that [1]gives law enforcement the ability to overload people's home networks in an attempt to disable any internet of things devices they have, according to the transcript of a speech given by a DHS official at a border security conference for cops obtained by 404 Media. The DHS has also built an "Internet of Things" house to train officers on how to raid homes that suspects may have "booby trapped" using smart home devices, the official said.

>

> The robot, called "NEO," is a modified version of the "Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicle (Q-UGV) sold to law enforcement by a company called Ghost Robotics. Benjamine Huffman, the director of DHS's Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), told police at the 2024 Border Security Expo in Texas that DHS is increasingly worried about criminals setting "booby traps" with internet of things and smart home devices, and that NEO allows DHS to remotely disable the home networks of a home or building law enforcement is raiding. The Border Security Expo is open only to law enforcement and defense contractors. A transcript of Huffman's speech was obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Dave Maass using a Freedom of Information Act request and was shared with 404 Media. [...]

>

> The robot is a modified version of [2]Ghost Robotics' Vision 60 Q-UGV , which the company says it has sold to "25+ National Security Customers" and which is marketed to both law enforcement and the military. "Our goal is to make our Q-UGVs an indispensable tool and continuously push the limits to improve its ability to walk, run, crawl, climb, and eventually swim in complex environments," the company notes on its website. "Ultimately, our robot is made to keep our warfighters, workers, and K9s out of harm's way."

"NEO can enter a potentially dangerous environment to provide video and audio feedback to the officers before entry and allow them to communicate with those in that environment," Huffman said, according to the transcript. "NEO carries an onboard computer and antenna array that will allow officers the ability to create a 'denial-of-service' (DoS) event to disable 'Internet of Things' devices that could potentially cause harm while entry is made."



[1] https://www.404media.co/dhs-has-a-ddos-robot-to-disable-internet-of-things-booby-traps-inside-homes/

[2] https://www.ghostrobotics.io/vision-60



Hackers Leak Documents From Pentagon IT Services Provider Leidos (reuters.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @11:28AM (BeauHD) from the secure-until-proven-otherwise dept.)

According to [1]Bloomberg , hackers have [2]leaked internal documents stolen from Leidos Holdings , one of the largest IT services providers of the U.S. government. Reuters reports:

> The company recently became aware of the issue and believes the documents were taken during a previously reported breach of a Diligent Corp. system it used, the report said, adding that Leidos is investigating it. The Virginia-based company, which counts the U.S. Department of Defense as its primary customer, used the Diligent system to host information gathered in internal investigations, the report added, citing a filing from June 2023. A spokesperson for Diligent said the issue seems to be related to an incident from 2022, affecting its subsidiary Steele Compliance Solutions. The company notified impacted customers and had taken corrective action to contain the incident in November 2022.



[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-07-23/hackers-leak-documents-from-pentagon-it-services-provider-leidos?embedded-checkout=true

[2] https://www.reuters.com/technology/cybersecurity/hackers-leak-documents-pentagon-it-services-provider-leidos-bloomberg-news-2024-07-23/



Alphabet To Invest Another $5 Billion Into Waymo (techcrunch.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @11:28AM (BeauHD) from the future-of-automotives dept.)

During Alphabet's second-quarter earnings call today, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat announced the organization will [1]spend an additional $5 billion on its self-driving subsidiary, Waymo . "This new round of funding, which is consistent with recent annual investment levels, will enable Waymo to continue to build the world's leading autonomous driving technology company," said Porat. TechCrunch reports:

> Porat noted that Google will focus on improving overall efficiencies in its "other bets" segment, which includes innovative projects that are distinct from the tech giant's core search and advertising business. Other companies in this segment are Verily, Calico, Google Ventures and drone company Wing. "Waymo is an important example of this, with its technical leadership coupled with progress on operational performance," Porat continued. The executive noted that parent company Alphabet's 10-Q form, which has yet to be filed, will have more details.



[1] https://techcrunch.com/2024/07/23/alphabet-to-invest-another-5b-into-waymo/



Indie Game Publisher Humble Games Reportedly Lays Off All Staff (gamespot.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @11:28AM (BeauHD) from the company-restructuring dept.)

[1]Humble Games , the indie game publisher behind the popular pay-what-you-want "Humble Game Bundle," has [2]laid off its entire staff of 36 people . However, the company says it is not shutting down and Humble Bundle will not be impacted. Instead, the job cuts are part of a restructuring of operations. GameSpot reports:

> In a statement shared with GameSpot, Humble Games confirmed that Humble Bundle will have "no impact on its operations. Additionally, ongoing and upcoming games from Humble Games will still move ahead and be published by the company. Humble Games is the publisher of many notable indie games, including Stray Gods, Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus, Chinatown Detective Agency, Ikenfell, Unpacking, Slay the Spire, and Midnight Fight Express, just to name a few.

>

> Humble Games is the separate publishing arm of digital storefront Humble Bundle. Both companies are owned by IGN Entertainment, but operate as a separate entities. Earlier this year, IGN Entertainment also bought video game websites Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, VG247, GamesIndustry.biz, and Dicebreaker from Gamer Network.



[1] https://www.humblegames.com/

[2] https://www.gamespot.com/articles/indie-game-publisher-humble-games-reportedly-lays-off-all-staff/1100-6525236/



The Kremlin Jails the Father of Russia's Internet (cepa.org)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @11:28AM (BeauHD) from the death-sentence dept.)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA):

> Alexey Soldatov, a Russian Internet pioneer and a founder of the first Internet provider in the country, has been [1]sentenced by a court to two years in a labor colony on charges of "abuse of power." Soldatov, 72, had been detained by a court in Moscow. He is terminally ill. Very few in Russia believe in the government charges against a man widely known as a Father of the Russian Internet -- and who is less well known as the father of Andrei Soldatov, one of this article's authors. Soldatov was accused of abuse of power when managing a pool of IP-addresses by an organization he had no position at. This legal absurdity was enough to see him imprisoned even though the court knew of Soldatov's illness, which meant the court had no legal right to pass a custodial sentence. His family believes that the decision is essentially a death sentence.

The article details Soldatov's history and his pivotal role in creating the [2]Relcom network , which connected Soviet research centers and established the Soviet Union's first link to the global internet in 1990. During the 1991 KGB coup attempt, Relcom remained operational, highlighting its role in bypassing traditional media control and connecting people both within the Soviet Union and globally.



[1] https://cepa.org/article/russia-jails-the-father-of-russias-internet/

[2] https://academic.oup.com/jcmc/article/2/4/JCMC248/4584393



House Committee Calls On CrowdStrike CEO To Testify On Global Outage (theverge.com)

(Wednesday July 24, 2024 @11:28AM (BeauHD) from the get-your-popcorn-ready dept.)

According to the [1]Washington Post (paywalled), the House Homeland Security Committee has [2]called on the CrowdStrike CEO to testify over the major outage that brought flights, hospital procedures, and broadcasters to a halt on Friday. The outage was [3]caused by a defective software update from the company that primarily [4]affected computers runnings Windows, resulting in system crashes and " [5]blue screen of death" errors . From the report:

> Republican leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee demanded that CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz commit by Wednesday to appearing on Capitol Hill to explain how the outages occurred and what "mitigation steps" the company is taking to prevent future episodes. [...] Reps. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) and Andrew R. Garbarino (R-N.Y.), chairs of the Homeland Security Committee and its cybersecurity subcommittee, respectively, [6]wrote in their letter that the outages "must serve as a broader warning about the national security risks associated with network dependency. Protecting our critical infrastructure requires us to learn from this incident and ensure that it does not happen again," the lawmakers wrote. CrowdStrike spokesperson Kirsten Speas said in an emailed statement Monday that the company is "actively in contact" with the relevant congressional committees and that "engagement timelines may be disclosed at Members' discretion," but declined to say whether Kurtz will testify.

>

> The committee is one of several looking into the incident, with members of the House Oversight Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee separately requesting briefings from CrowdStrike. But the effort by Homeland Security Committee leaders marks the first time the company is being publicly summoned to testify about its role in the disruptions. CrowdStrike has risen to prominence as a major security provider partly by identifying malicious online campaigns by foreign actors, but the outages have heightened concern in Washington that international adversaries could look to exploit future incidents. "Malicious cyber actors backed by nation-states, such as China and Russia, are watching our response to this incident closely," Green and Garbarino wrote. The outages, which disrupted agencies at the federal and state level, are also raising questions about how much businesses and government officials alike have come to rely on Microsoft products for their daily operations.



[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/07/22/house-committee-calls-crowdstrike-ceo-testify-global-outage/

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2024/7/22/24203984/crowdstrike-ceo-testimony-house-homeland-security-outage

[3] https://it.slashdot.org/story/24/07/19/0943232/global-it-outage-linked-to-crowdstrike-update-disrupts-businesses

[4] https://tech.slashdot.org/story/24/07/21/2043240/microsoft-releases-recovery-tool-for-windows-machines-hit-by-crowdstrike-issue

[5] https://it.slashdot.org/story/24/07/19/1522230/to-fix-crowdstrike-blue-screen-of-death-simply-reboot-15-straight-times-microsoft-says

[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/documents/a7c77598-1c7f-4a6e-b717-a0790f621bd0.pdf?itid=lk_inline_manual_11



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