U.S. prosecutors have charged two wanted Chinese nationals linked to Beijing for their alleged involvement in a global hacking operation that targeted hundreds of companies and governments for more than a decade, stealing sensitive information.
The 11-count indictment unsealed on Tuesday, July 22, alleges Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33, said to be working for China’s state intelligence bureau,stole terabytes of data from high-technology companies, around the world including the United States, the prosecutors said.
The prosecutors accused the hackers of recently targeting the networks of over a dozen U.S. companies in Maryland, Massachusetts, and California developing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
The indictment comes just weeks after both the FBI and Homeland Security warned that China was actively trying to steal U.S. research data related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The hackers were first discovered after they targeted a U.S. Department of Energy network in Hanford, Washington, the Justice Department said.
The prosecutors said the hackers also targeted companies in Australia, South Korea, and several European nations, using known but unpatched vulnerabilities in widely used web server software to break into their victims’ networks. By gaining a foothold onto the network, the hackers installed password-stealing software to gain deeper access to their systems.
The prosecutors also said that the hackers would “frequently” return to the networks — in some cases years later.
According to the indictment, the hackers stole “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of trade secrets and intellectual property. The prosecutors also allege that the hackers stole data related to military satellite programs, military wireless networks and high-powered microwave and laser systems from defense contractors.
The hackers are said to have targeted their victims on behalf of China’s intelligence services, but also hacked for personal financial gain.
In one case, prosecutors said the hackers “sought to extort cryptocurrency” from a victim company by threatening to publish the victim’s stolen source code online.
The Galaxy S21 Series Unveiled by Samsung That Got the Whole World Talking
The Galaxy S series has been around for over a decade but this year we’re starting to see some major changes as the company reshuffles its portfolio. The division between the S Ultra and the other S-phones has become quite stark, at the same time the division between the S Ultra and Note Ultra has blurred.
Samsung introduced the Ultra badge a little under a year ago. Back then, the camera was the major difference between it and the Plus model. That is true this year as well, but the display has emerged as another important distinction.
Easily the most impressive of the three new models is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which marks a number of firsts for the Galaxy line (the S family especially). And as we said, it’s all down to the screen and the camera.
The 6.8” Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel is a tad smaller than last year, but still has curved sides and now Gorilla Glass Victus protection. And it kept its 1440p+ resolution while the other two S21 models dropped to 1080p+.
This is Samsung’s first display able to run at 120Hz refresh rate while rendering at the full 1440p+ resolution. And it’s an Adaptive Refresh Rate (ARR) display, which can drop to 10Hz, when you don’t need the extra refreshes. This will reduce power usage, especially for static screens (think Always On Display). This also the brightest display of any Galaxy so far, with a peak of 1,500 nits.
The other major change is that the S21 Ultra supports the S Pen. Or rather any Wacom stylus. You can get a big, comfy one or a small, easy to pocket one. Which is important as (unlike the Note), there’s no place to stash the stylus – some Samsung cases have a compartment for it, but it’s that or your pocket.
That hurdle aside, the S Pen offers the same true to life experience of taking notes and sketching your ideas, plus handy shortcuts that we’re used to. This version of the stylus doesn’t have a battery, so the Bluetooth functionality you’ve seen on the Notes (remote camera shutter key, motion gestures) is not available.
The first camera upgrade you’ll notice is that there are two telephoto lenses now. The periscope was extended to 10x optical magnification and a traditional 3x lens was added to fill in the mid-range zoom gap. Below that, the high resolution main sensor handles the 1x to 3x range with lossless digital zoom.
The 108MP main sensor has been upgraded too. Samsung calls it a “Bright Night sensor”, which uses its 9-in-1 pixel binning to 12MP, plus improvements in processing for superior low-light shots. You can get even better results from it if you do manual editing as it can output 12-bit RAW photos.
The S21 Ultra is the first Samsung to support 4K 60fps video recording with all cameras. All cameras, including the 40MP selfie camera, the 12MP Ultra Wide module (with Dual Pixel AF), the two tele cameras as well.
Now we get to the smaller (but still important) stuff. This is the first phone to support Wi-Fi 6E – that’s 802.11ax working in the less cluttered 6 GHz band, which means higher bandwidth and lower latency.
The 5,000 mAh battery has the same capacity as last year, but it officially drops the maximum wired charging speed to 25W (that’s fast enough for a 50% charge in 30 minutes). And, controversially, there’s no charger in the box. The good news is that you can use any USB Power Delivery charger you have (PPS is supported), wireless chargers work too.
The Ultra starts at 128GB storage, same as the other two phones, and has a 256GB option. If you really need a lot of storage, the top configuration comes with half a terabyte.
That is tied to 16GB of RAM. If you think both numbers are overkill, the base RAM capacity is 12GB (the other two new S phones get only 8GB with no option for 12GB, which feels downright pedestrian).
Samsung is building two versions of the S21 Ultra – one with the Snapdragon 888 and one with the Exynos 2100. You don’t get a choice, the chipset is decided by where you buy the phone. As usual, North America gets the Snapdragon, Europe and India get the Exynos. In either case the phone runs Android 11 with the latest One UI 3, which has some exclusive features (including the ones related to the S Pen).
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra starts at €1,250/£1,150 for the 12/128 GB model. That’s €100/£50 less than the S20 Ultra last year. Note: there are no 4G-only versions of the S-series this year.
The phone will be in stores from January 29, but it will probably arrive earlier if you pre-order one. If you do, you’ll get a pair of the new noise-canceling Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and a SmartTag for free.
Donald Trump Jr asks Elon Musk to set up social media network that will not ban his father
Donald Trump Jr has urged Elon Musk to come up his own social media platform that can “blow Twitter away” and save “free speech in America” as he complained about his father’s permanent ban from the microblogging site following the US Capitol siege.
The eldest son of Donald Trump hit out at Twitter for what he called its “bias” and “one-way targeted” censorship, and invited the SpaceX chief to create a rival social networking site which gives a platform to “neural arbiters”, seemingly categorising his father as such.
“Wanted to come up with something to deal with nonsense on the censorship that’s going on right now and obviously, targeted one way,” said Mr Trump. “ Why doesn’t Elon Musk create a social media platform?
“This guy put manned people into space. He did so privately. He took on big government and did it better, cheaper, faster than they ever could. This is the guy to do it,” he said in the video clip shared on Instagram late on Tuesday.
Don Jr said he considered Mr Musk to be the right person to stand up against Twitter after the tech mogul took on “West Coast high tech” for turning into the “de facto arbiter of free speech”. His comments came after Amazon, Apple and Google blacklisted right-wing social media network Parler.
Twitter and Facebook also permanently banned the outgoing president on 8 January after his supporters marched on the US Capitol – at his request – before overrunning police and rioting inside the Capitol Building. The attack left five people dead, including a police officer.
“Someone like him has the brilliance to come up with something that blows Twitter away,” said Mr Trump about Mr Musk.
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He suggested that the new platform can regulate against hate speech or violence but at the same time provide a platform to neutral commentators and not turn into a “leftist organisation” that de-platforms people with conservative thoughts.
“I am not looking for a conservative echo chamber, I want a platform to argue my ideas vs someone else’s and not just people in a place telling me what I want to hear,” Mr Trump said.
He showed dismay and shock at Russia’s opposition leaders speaking up in a recent debate over American tech giants and censorship, saying that “Russians are lecturing America on free speech today. That’s how scary it has become”.
“Elon why don’t you do that. Get out there and come up with a concept. I think you are literally the guy to save free speech in America,” he said, while concluding without evidence that the incoming Biden administration would “trample free speech” in the country to meet its political ends.
Twitter Gives Reason Why Trump’s Account Was Banned
Twitter’s German-listed shares slumped as much as eight per cent on Monday, the first trading day after it permanently suspended US President Donald Trump’s account late last Friday.
The company said the suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, was due to the risk of further violence, following the storming of the US Capitol last Wednesday.
At 1011 GMT, the social media firm’s US-listed shares were also off 6.8 per cent at $47.94 in thin premarket trading, according to Reuters.
It was the first time Twitter banned a head of state, sparking a worldwide controversy over the impact US tech giants can have on free speech and democracy more broadly.
For Twitter’s balance sheet itself, the decision to ban the US president is expected to have a moderate negative impact.
“Expect slight user decline, though engagement erosion is a bigger question,” Berstein analysts wrote in a note looking into the issue.
Far-right groups maintain a vigorous online presence on digital platforms like Parler, Gab, MeWe, Zello and Telegram and could disengage from mainstream social media. There could also be additional costs for Twitter and others as they seek to further moderate content uploaded by their users.
“Incremental moderation may be welcome but it’s not cheap and could benefit Facebook that already employs a moderation army (around six times) larger than Twitter’s workforce,” Berstein analysts said.
Facebook Inc has suspended Trump’s account until at least the end of his presidential term later this month.
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