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Arrest in NotPetya ransomware case

August 10, 2017

Ukrainian police have arrested an individual accused of spreading the NotPetya malware, used in a cyberattack that knocked thousands of companies offline earlier this year.

An unnamed 51-year-old from the southern city of Nikopol was detained by the state cyber-police last week after a raid was carried out at the alleged attacker’s home.

In a brief statement, police say they seized computers that were used to spread the malware in the cyberattack.

The statement said that the person of interest told police he had uploaded the malware to a file-sharing account and shared a link on his blog with instructions on how to launch the malware.

The malware was downloaded about 400 times, police say.

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The frightening future of online conflict

August 7, 2017

What is cyberwar?

At its core, cyberwarfare is the use of digital attacks by one state to disrupt the computer systems of another in order to create significant damage or destruction.

What does cyberwarfare look like?

Cyberwar is still an emerging concept, but many experts are concerned that it is likely to be a significant component of any future conflicts. As well as troops using conventional weapons like guns and missiles, future battles will also be fought by hackers manipulating computer code.

Governments and intelligence agencies worry that digital attacks against vital infrastructure — like banking systems or power grids — will give attackers a way of bypassing a country’s traditional defenses.

Unlike standard military attacks, a cyberattack can be launched instantaneously from any distance, with little obvious evidence in the buildup. And it is often extremely hard to trace such an attack back to its originators. Modern economies, underpinned by computer networks that run everything from sanitation to food distribution and communications, are particularly vulnerable to such attacks.

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WannaCry researcher

August 4, 2017

A security researcher who helped curb a global outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware earlier this year has told a court he is not guilty of charges of allegedly creating a notorious banking malware.

Marcus Hutchins, 22, said he was not guilty during a hearing at a Las Vegas court after he was arrested and detained earlier this week.

The news was confirmed by his attorney Adrian Lobo, speaking on Facebook Live to local reporter Christy Wilcox, at the court house.

Hutchins was granted bail on a bond of $30,000 during a hearing at a Las Vegas court.

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The M.2 Expansion Slot

August 3, 2017

There’s a new open format sweeping the world of performance PCs, and it’s…well, complicated. The M.2 format is designed for manufacturers to replace a variety of specific devices, do it in a tiny space, and require very little power. But actually upgrading to an M.2 drive or accessory requires a little forethought.

Where Did M.2 Come From?

Formerly known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), the M.2 format is technically a replacement for the mSATA standard,  which was popular with manufacturers of super-compact laptops and other small gadgets. That may seem surprising, since most M.2 drives sold at retail are intended for use in full-sized desktops, but M.2 has effectively replaced mSATA hard drives and SSDs in compact laptops like Apple’s MacBook or Dell’s XPS 13. They’re simply sealed within the bodies and unable to be upgraded by most users.

What Can It Do?

M.2 is more than just an evolutionary form factor. Potentially, it could supersede the whole aging Serial ATA format altogether. M.2 is a slot that can interface with SATA 3.0 (the cable that’s probably connected to your desktop PC’s storage drive right now), PCI Express 3.0 (the default interface for graphics cards and other major expansion devices), and even USB 3.0.

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Business reality vs investment

August 3, 2017

Digital transformation isn’t cheap and old-line enterprises are about to struggle to balance current results and future investments and swap out executives. In other words, investing in the future is swell until the core business starts to show signs of weakness.

Here are three recent examples of stalwart enterprises that are investing for the future with new captains.

To wit:

Mattel outlined a digital transformation overhaul that focused on building toys that will teach and develop toddlers and prep them more for science, tech, and engineering careers well into the future. Mattel also talked analytics, user experience, and a design cadence that rhymed with what you’d hear from a tech company.

But there’s a cost. Mattel also cut its dividend and pulled its practice of shorter-term financial guidance and replaced it with longer increments. Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis will take the funds that would have gone to a dividend and put it on digital transformation.

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