Items tagged with coronavirus

According to security officials in the UK, Russian cyber actors have been targeting organizations that are involved in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine development. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, published an advisory that detailed the activity of the Russian threat group known as APT29. The same group also goes by the name "The Dukes" or "Cozy Bear." According to the security officials, the group is "almost certainly" operating as part of Russian intelligence services. The UK isn't alone in coming to these conclusions. It points out that partners at the Canadian Communication Security Establishment and the U.S. Department for Homeland Security, Cyber Security... Read more...
Remember when the sky was falling on PC sales, with analysts predicting tablets would take over? Yeah, that never happened. We're still collectively using traditional PCs, and with COVID-19 ushering in an era of working at home on a large scale, PC shipments are trending upwards. By how much depends on which tracking firm you ask. According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments are up 2.8 percent year-over-year, to 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020. The upward swing is a reversal of a "significant decline" from the prior quarter, which also was attributable to COVID-19 (because it disrupted supply chain operations). "The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for... Read more...
With the coronavirus pandemic still significantly impacting the United States and other countries around the world, all major in-person conferences have been canceled. That means conventions such as E3 aren't happening this year, leaving publishers and devs looking for alternative ways to get the word out about their upcoming video games. Many of them are turning to their own digital events to talk about future titles. Ubisoft has confirmed its first-ever digital conference for this coming Sunday. Ubisoft has officially confirmed its first all-digital conference will happen on July 12. The main show will start at 12 PM PDT/11 PM CST on that date. Ubisoft says that the stream will begin at 11... Read more...
Every since 2015 when Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary, the online retailer has been hosting an annual Prime Day sales event in July. It looks like that tradition is about to be slightly altered, however, because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of having a Prime Day event this month, Amazon is said to be delaying its annual deals bonanza until October. That would be an interesting time frame, if it comes to pass. It would essentially extend the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals season by about a month. Technically, Black Friday sales commence the day after Thanksgiving, which this year would fall on November 27. But in recent years, retailers have gotten off to increasingly earlier... Read more...
Dealing with the Coronavirus is challenging enough, from the rising death toll and negative economic impact, to the stay-at-home orders and everything involved with social distancing. One thing we do not have to worry about, however, is the supposed silent installation of a COVID-19 "track and trace" app on Android and iPhone devices. Claims to the contrary have surfaced on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, with seemingly convincing screenshots. A similar message has also been spreading through forwarded messages on WhatsApp, leading to concern that Apple and Google are taking matters into their own hands and sneakily installing software. However, the claims are simply not true.... Read more...
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit the business sector particularly hard over the past few months, and some big-name companies have either been forced to drastically change their operations, or have closed their doors altogether. Even a tech giant like Microsoft is not immune to the aftereffects of COVID-19, as the company has announced a “strategic change” in its retail operations going forward.   The change means that most of the company’s Microsoft Store physical locations will be closing down shortly. Microsoft’s endeavor towards physical stores was modeled in part on the very successful Apple Stores. Customers were able to walk into a Microsoft Store... Read more...
A new ransomware attack is underway in Canada that targets people concerned about COVID-19 by posing as an official tracing app provided by Health Canada. ESET researchers have identified and analyzed the ransomware, known as CryCryptor, and created a decryption tool for victims. CryCryptor surfaced only a few days after the Canadian government announced that it intended to back the development of a nation-wide, voluntary tracing app called COVID Alert. The actual tracing app from Health Canada is due to start rolling out in Ontario as soon as next month. ESET says that it informed the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security about the new threat as soon as it was identified. The below above shows... Read more...
Another technology trade show—Computex 2020—has effectively been cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Officially, the Taiwan Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and Taipei Computer Association (CTA), the organizes of the annual Computex trade show, say they have decided to "reschedule" the event to sometime in 2021, but that amounts to a cancellation. It is hard to imagine there being two Computex Taipei events next year. Indeed, the announcement says Computex 2021 will take place from June 1 through June 5 next year, the same dates the trade show was originally scheduled for this year. Whether anyone wants to call it a cancellation or rescheduling, the bottom line is... Read more...
COVID-19 has really changed our way of lives, from the way we shop, to the way we work, and even with regards to the way that our children learn. It has also limited our ability to congregate with friends, and take part in the time-honored tradition of, you guessed it, group selfies. Apple could change that with a newly granted patent for what it calls “synthetic group selfies”. Given that many of us have been taking part in social distancing to help cut down on the spread of COVID-19, we obviously can’t be in close proximity to our friends and family for selfies. So, Apple’s solution would use software AI “magic” to captures images of people located in different... Read more...
Social distancing is the norm around the United States and the world right now. People have been told to maintain a 6-foot perimeter around themselves and anyone else to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. While many locations use signs or tape on the ground to show people how close they should get in checkout lines, sometimes people are left hoping they're far enough apart. Experiments with Google has a new service called Sodar designed specifically to help people maintain that 6-foot perimeter. Sodar uses WebXR to allow people to visualize social distancing guidelines in their environment. The augmented reality app displays a two-meter radius ring around the user. Anything inside that... Read more...
A 5G "blocking" device called 5GBioShield is being sold in Europe for £339, which is about $418 here in the United States. The device claims to block 5G signals that some people fear contribute to the spread of COVID-19, among other things. The bizarre device claims to use a "holographic nano-layer catalyzer" to block the alleged dangers of 5G using mysterious quantum technology. If your BS detector isn't completely pegged, it should be. Stephen Knight, operations director for an organization called London Trading Standards, recently told the BBC that "we consider it to be a scam." Knight is currently working with the city of London Police's Action Fraud squad and is seeking a court order... Read more...
Malware is something that computer users have fought since the dawn of the computer age it seems. Hackers who use malware to try breach networks and user data have evolved some pretty sophisticated methods as of late. Late this week, Microsoft Security Intelligence has announced via Twitter that it's tracking a "massive campaign" that delivers a malicious payload including the remote control access tool, NetSupport Manager, using emails with an attachment that contains malicious Excel 4.0 spreadsheet macros. The email campaign tries to fool users into opening an attachment that contains Excel pages that are COVID-19 themed and full of what appears to be statistics. We’re tracking a... Read more...
In what might come as a shocker to you (well, not really), the U.S. video game market set a record high for sales during the first quarter of 2020. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what the reasoning was behind the increase; we can look no further than the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that has been forced many Americans to work from home, and has given school-age children plenty of free time. According to NPD, spending on "video game products" hit a record $10.86 billion during the first three months of 2020. To put this figure in perspective, it represented a 9 percent increase over the same quarter last year. Of that total, a whopping $9.58 billion was spent solely on video... Read more...
Times are tough for a lot of people and businesses, both big and small. However, the sudden surge in people working from home or otherwise being stuck indoors seemingly drove record sales at Logitech, which sells a variety of peripherals and streaming equipment. Logitech ended the year with a bang to record its highest full-year sales figure ever. The company earned $2.98 billion for its fiscal 2020. That's up 7 percent from 2019. Logitech ended the year strong with $709 million in sales, up 14 percent from the same quarter a year prior. It's not clear exactly how much impact the COVID-19 outbreak may have had on Logitech's bottom line, only that it played it some kind of role. However, the fourth... Read more...
Most of us across the United States have been hunkered down in our homes, only venturing out for necessities over the past few months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That means that millions of Americans are relying on their home internet connection now more than ever to work from home and complete school work. Unfortunately for millions of Spectrum customers, they woke up to no internet access this morning. Outages have been reported across Much of Spectrum’s service area, with hotspots up and down the East Coast and in Chicago, Texas, and Southern California. It’s not uncommon for ISPs to have brief outages due to technical glitches, but this particular outage has lingered on longer... Read more...
Bill Dally joined NVIDIA over a decade ago as the company's chief scientist, after spending 12 years at Stanford University as chairman of the computer science department. He's an incredibly smart individual who has published more than 250 papers and holds over 120 patents. Now he can add a low cost ventilator design to his long and growing list of achievements. The ventilator design he came up with only costs $400 and can be assembled rather quickly. To put that into perspective, traditional ventilators can cost upwards of $20,000, and that's during normal times—at the moment, we find ourselves with a shortage of ventilators as COVID-19 continues to spread. "I hope that we don’t... Read more...
We've seen several cool projects during the coronavirus pandemic that people have designed using the Raspberry Pi platform. Over on reddit, another very cool project has turned up from someone going by balmy-summer, and the project is called the Pi MixMakr. The project has five bottles of liquor on top along with five dispensers inside the cabinet. The drink glass is set on a sliding platform that moves under the bottles to mix a cocktail and inject cola or other flavorings as desired. The whole point of the machine is to mix a drink without the drinker actually having to do it themselves. The parts list for the project includes: Raspberry Pi 3B FSR406 (FSR sensor, checks glass is on platform)... Read more...
Facebook has introduced a new way for friends or coworkers to get together during the coronavirus pandemic, called Messenger Rooms. Facebook says that Messenger Rooms was designed to allow people to spend "quality time with friends, loved ones, and people who share their interests." Users can create a room from within Messenger or Facebook and then invite anyone to join the video call, even if they don't have a Facebook account. Messenger Rooms "will soon" hold up to 50 people with no time limit. Users can start and share rooms on Facebook through News Feed or Groups and Events. The social network says that it intends to soon add ways to allow users to create Rooms from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp,... Read more...
Believe it or not, it actually bears repeating that 5G cell towers do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Seems obvious, right? Some people just aren't hearing it, though, and are not only intentionally damaging cell towers over the perceived threat, they are threatening telecom engineers with bodily harm. The situation has gone from laughable ridiculous to frighteningly stupid in a very short time period. It was reported around the beginning of April that conspiracy theorists were setting fire to and otherwise vandalizing cell towers in the United Kingdom over false claims there is some sort of link between 5G radio transmissions and the spread of the Coronavirus. This spread of misinformation... Read more...
Two weeks ago, Apple and Google announced a unique and very rare partnership in an effort to help track the spread of COVID-19 around the globe. The pair revealed a common API that would be used on both iOS and Android platforms, leveraging Bluetooth Low-Energy rather than GPS to track the spread of coronavirus infections. Despite the use of Bluetooth beacons, completely optional participation in the program by users, the optional uploading of positive coronavirus test results, and strict controls put in place by both companies, there have been many that feel that the new Contract Tracing Bluetooth Specification is a privacy nightmare waiting to unfold. To help cut through some of the... Read more...
Verizon has updated its Emergency Management policy to help eliminate worry for customers during the coronavirus pandemic. The wireless carrier has announced that it is reinforcing its pledge to keep Americans connected and to protect those who are most vulnerable. Verizon says that it will waive overage charges and late fees to support customers who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The carrier is also offering two months waived internet and voice service charges for current Lifeline customers along with rolling out a new affordable internet option for low-income households. An additional 15GB of high-speed data has been added for wireless consumers and small business customers;... Read more...
Boston Dynamics has built some fantastic robots over the years, and though we often joke about an inevitable uprising in the vein of Skynet, their is a ton of engineering that goes into making these contraptions highly useful in the right settings. Serving as a reminder, hospitals are reaching out to Boston Dynamics about using its robots in healthcare settings to reduce staff exposure to COVID-19. A robot called Spot is answering the call. As we all know, healthcare workers are on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic and can use all the help they can get. To assist with a shortage of supplies, companies like Intel and Razer are donating masks and money, while boutique PC builder Maingear... Read more...
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