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Microsoft says hackers backed by Russia and North Korea targeted COVID-19 vaccine makers

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Microsoft has revealed that hackers backed by Russia and North Korea have targeted pharmaceutical companies involved in the COVID-19 vaccine development efforts.

The technology giant said Friday that the attacks targeted seven companies in the U.S., Canada, France, India, and South Korea. But while it blocked the “majority” of the attacks, Microsoft acknowledged that some were successful.

Microsoft said it had notified the affected companies, but declined to name them.

“We think these attacks are unconscionable and should be condemned by all civilized society,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s customer security and trust chief, in a blog post.

The technology giant blamed the attacks on three distinct hacker groups. The Russian group, which Microsoft calls Strontium but is better known as APT28 or Fancy Bear, used password spraying attacks to target their victims, which often involves recycled or reused passwords. Fancy Bear may be best known for its disinformation and hacking operations in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, but the group has also been blamed for a string of other high-profile attacks against media outlets and businesses.

The other two groups are backed by the North Korean regime, one of which Microsoft calls Zinc but is better known as the Lazarus Group, which used targeted spearphishing emails disguised as recruiters in an effort to steal passwords from their victims. Lazarus was blamed for the Sony hack in 2016 and the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, as well as other malware-driven attacks.

But little is known about the other North Korea-backed hacker group, which Microsoft calls Cerium. Microsoft said the group also used targeted spearphishing emails masquerading as representatives from the World Health Organization, charged with coordinating the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Microsoft spokesperson acknowledged it was the first time the company had referenced Cerium, but the company did not offer more.

This is the latest effort by hackers trying to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic for their own goals. Earlier this year, the FBI and Homeland Security warned that hackers would try to steal coronavirus vaccine research.

Today’s news coincides with the Paris Peace Forum, where Microsoft president Brad Smith will urge governments to do more to combat cyberattacks against the healthcare sector, particularly during the pandemic.

“Microsoft is calling on the world’s leaders to affirm that international law protects health care facilities and to take action to enforce the law,” Burt said. “We believe the law should be enforced not just when attacks originate from government agencies but also when they originate from criminal groups that governments enable to operate — or even facilitate — within their borders.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/13/microsoft-russia-north-korea-hackers-coronavirus-vaccine/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Zack Whittaker

How to Stay Connected Using Zoom

Staying home to fight the coronavirus pandemic likely makes you miss your friends and family. Additionally, you may be working from home to help limit the spread of the virus. Fortunately, you can use Zoom to connect with your friends and coworkers. With a free account, you can have an unlimited amount of 40-minute long face-to-face video meetings with up to 100 participants. When your 40-minute meeting ends, create another one if you want to keep the party going!

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Creating a Zoom Account

  1. Enter your email to sign up for a free account. Go to Zoom’s website and enter your email account in the space provided. Click on the button that says “Sign up, It’s Free” to get an email sent to your account.[1]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 1.jpg
  2. Open the Zoom email to create your account. Go to your email and click on the email sent by Zoom. Follow the instructions in the email to verify your account. Provide your name and a password to complete your free profile.[3]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 2.jpg
    • If you want more features, you can upgrade your account for $14.99 a month. However, a free account is all you need to stay connected with the people you care about.
  3. Download the Zoom meetings software to your computer and devices. After you have an account, visit the Zoom download’s page to access the free software. Look at the top of the webpage for Zoom Client for Meetings. Then, click the “download” button to install it on your computer, tablet, and/or mobile phone.[4]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 3.jpg
  4. Sign in to your Zoom account. Go back to the Zoom website and click on the “Sign In” link in the top right corner. Enter your email and password to sign into your free account. You can now use Zoom meetings to connect with your friends, family, or coworkers.[5]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 4.jpg
  5. Check that your webcam and mic are working. You’ll need a webcam and mic on your device to participate in a Zoom meeting. Test yours out to make sure they work.[6]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 5.jpg
    • If you don’t have a working webcam and mic, you can purchase an external cam and/or headset to make Zoom functional for you.

[Edit]Spending Time with Friends and Family

  1. Host a Zoom dinner party. Schedule a time for your dinner party, then set up a meeting in Zoom. Send all of your invitees a link to your meeting and tell them when to log on. Ask each person to prepare their meal in time to join the group dinner party.[7]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 6.jpg
    • For households with multiple members, ask them to place their computer, tablet, phone or webcam at the end of the table so each family member is visible in the feed.
    • If you’re doing a family party, you might encourage everyone to make a cherished family recipe.
  2. Enjoy a drink together like old times using a Zoom meeting. If you’d normally meet up with your friends for happy hour or drinks on the weekend, move your social hour online instead. Choose a time that works for all of your friends, then create a meeting in Zoom and send everyone the link. Gather around your computers, tablets, or phones at the designated time and sip on your favorite beer, wine, or cocktails.[8]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 7.jpg
    • Use this time to blow off steam and chat about your lives.
  3. Schedule a movie night over Zoom. Like many people, you’re probably watching a lot of TV shows and movies right now. Make your TV time more fun by sharing it with friends or family. Pick a movie or TV show to watch together, then host a watch party over Zoom. Encourage each person to snack on their favorite popcorn or candy for added fun.[9]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 8.jpg
    • Share your reactions to the movie or TV show with your friends or family.
    • Show each other your snacks or treats.
    • Discuss the movie or TV show afterwards.
  4. Use Zoom to discuss or participate in a shared interest or hobby. You and your friends or family members likely have some shared interests you can explore on Zoom. Talk to your friends and family about what interests or hobbies they’d like to discuss or do together. Tell everyone what the topic will be before the meeting so they can be prepared. Here are some ideas:[10]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 9.jpg
    • Host a book club meeting.
    • Discuss ideas and recipes for brewing your own beer.
    • Knit.
    • Play improv games.
    • Do a reading of a play.
    • Build Lego projects.
    • Draw or paint together.
    • Share and critique stories or poems.
    • Discuss your pets or children.
  5. Play a role-playing game, online game, or board game together. You might think game nights are out of the question right now, but it’s totally possible to host one online. Pick a game with your friends or family members, and schedule a time for game night. Here are some ideas for games you could play:[11]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 10.jpg
    • Role-playing games are easy because only the game master needs to have the materials.
    • Online games also work well if everyone has a gaming account.
    • Tabletop games can work if everyone has the same game. You could also play a game that uses dice if everyone has a set of dice. Have one person move all of the pieces on the board, but let each player roll their own dice.
    • If someone has access to Jackbox games, everyone can play using the shared-screen function.
  6. Host a karaoke night using a Zoom meeting. Singing karaoke together can take your online party to the next level. Ask each invitee to look up their favorite karaoke songs on YouTube. Then, have the person singing share their screen so everyone can see the song lyrics during the performance.[12]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 11.jpg
    • You can choose to skip the screen sharing part if you prefer.
    • Treat this like any other karaoke night by enjoying the drinks and snacks you’d usually consume with your friends or family.

[Edit]Working and Connecting with Coworkers

  1. Use a virtual background to hide your home if you like. You don’t need to worry about whether or not your house is clean or your kids are running around. If you’re concerned about people seeing inside your home, activate a Zoom virtual background. Other users will see the virtual background behind you instead of what’s really there.[13]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 12.jpg
    • Zoom has a lot of options ranging from plain backgrounds to destinations.
  2. Mute and unmute yourself as needed to help protect your privacy. During your work meetings, it’s easy to mute and unmute your mic using either your mouse or your space bar. Simply click on the “mute” button or press the space bar.[14]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 13.jpg
    • The mute function is great for blocking out noise from your children or pets. Plus, your work group can limit background noise if people mute when they aren’t talking.
  3. Host work meetings on Zoom so employees can collaborate. Schedule your work meetings with coworkers, then send everyone a link to the Zoom meeting. While in a Zoom meeting, users can do screen sharing to boost collaboration. It’s even possible for multiple team members to share their screens with each other so all team members can see the same information.[15]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 14.jpg
    • There’s also a chat function in the meeting if members prefer to send each other typed messages while they’re collaborating.
  4. Do a webinar if you’re conducting a slide presentation. Zoom’s webinar function works best for slide presentations because this format puts the focus on your presentation and shares it to each viewer’s screen. You’ll still be able to see your attendee’s faces along the side bar during the presentation. Additionally, attendees can still make comments.[16]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 15.jpg
    • You can also record your webinar so people can watch the presentation later if they miss it.
  5. Socialize on Zoom to help maintain work relationships. You probably miss hanging out with your coworkers, and Zoom can help with that, as well. In addition to work meetings and webinars, schedule social meetups on Zoom so you and your coworkers can stay connected. Here are some ideas:[17]
    Stay Connected Using Zoom Step 16.jpg
    • Schedule a weekly “lunch” with your coworkers using a Zoom meeting.
    • Enjoy a “happy hour” on Zoom.
    • Host a casual networking event or “get to know” you party.
    • Do a training or continuing education program together.
    • Introduce your pets to each other.

[Edit]Tips

  • Try out different types of events so you and the people important to you feel like you have active social lives.
  • Make sure the times you pick work for everyone in your group. Some of your friends may still be working, so choose a time that works for them.
  • Don’t give up on Zoom if the first few meetings are a bit rocky. It may take time for everyone to learn how to best use this tool for staying connected.

[Edit]References

  1. https://zoom.us/freesignup/
  2. https://zoom.us/signup
  3. https://zoom.us/freesignup/
  4. https://zoom.us/download?zcid=1231
  5. https://zoom.us/freesignup/
  6. https://zoom.us/freesignup/
  7. https://bestlifeonline.com/long-distance-date-ideas/
  8. https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-03-19/stay-virtually-connected-with-friends
  9. https://bestlifeonline.com/long-distance-date-ideas/
  10. https://thewirecutter.com/blog/coronavirus-socializing-online/
  11. https://thewirecutter.com/blog/coronavirus-socializing-online/
  12. https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-03-19/stay-virtually-connected-with-friends
  13. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/09/working-from-home-tips-to-meet-like-a-pro/
  14. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/09/working-from-home-tips-to-meet-like-a-pro/
  15. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/09/working-from-home-tips-to-meet-like-a-pro/
  16. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/
  17. https://thewirecutter.com/blog/coronavirus-socializing-online/

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Stay-Connected-Using-Zoom
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Ransomware attack on a healthcare firm slowed clinical trials

cbe97c10-0657-11eb-bff5-3ba023786cebCyberattacks on the healthcare industry are causing more headaches. The New York Times reports that clinical trials slowed down after healthcare software provider eResearchTechnology suffered ransomware attacks starting two weeks ago. IQVIA (a resear…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/ransomware-attack-slows-clinical-trials-161545599.html
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Microsoft Warns About Spike In Cyberattacks of COVID-19 Data

News-Microsoft-COVID-Cyberattack-Feature To show how focused the whole world is on absorbing everything it can related to coronavirus information, Microsoft issued a warning about a spike in cyberattacks of COVID-19 data. Everything about the global health crisis is so all-consuming, that it’s very easy to not have your guard up when it comes to dealing with coronavirus data. People are concentrated on saving lives – not on saving data. Microsoft Warns of Increase in Cyberattacks Tom Burg, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of consumer security and trust, said in the company’s Digital Defense Report, that “threat actors have rapidly increased in… Read more13917114.gif

Source: https://tracking.feedpress.com/link/12555/13917114/microsoft-warns-spike-cyberattacks-covid-19-data
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Laura Tucker

This AI spots local COVID-19 outbreaks before they’ve spun out of control

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Researchers have developed a new machine learning-based tool that detects potential COVID-19 outbreaks in individual US counties. The system makes its assessments by analyzing reported COVID-19 cases and deaths, rates of positive tests, face mask rules, social distancing policies, and changes in testing. It also incorporates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, which assesses how individual communities are prepared for hazardous events based on factors including poverty and population density. It then predicts how fast the virus is spreading by estimating how many days it will take for the number of cases to double. The forecasts are displayed on an interactive heat…

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Source: https://thenextweb.com/neural/2020/09/16/this-ai-spots-local-covid-19-outbreaks-before-theyve-spun-out-of-control/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Thomas Macaulay

Facebook has removed 7 million posts for coronavirus misinformation

a757cfc0-8b17-11ea-9fc7-806d45708f3aIf it seems like there’s a lot of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic on Facebook, that’s because there is: Between April and June, the social network says it removed 7 million posts for spreading harmful misinformation about COVID-19. It a…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-coronavirus-misinformation-takedowns-184146592.html
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As COVID-19 surges, 3D printing is having a moment

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COVID-19 will be remembered for many things — most undoubtedly negative. There are, however, some silver linings among the horrors of the deadliest pandemic in recent memory. Among them, if the sort of human ingenuity that shines whenever the world is faced with a similar crisis.

The simple truth of the matter is the world wasn’t prepared for a virus of this magnitude. It’s something that’s played out in country after country, as the novel coronavirus has continued to devastate communities across borders.

In spite of early warning signs, many nations — the U.S. certainly included — were caught off-guard, lacking the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessities required to battle the virus for a prolonged stretch. For many, taking on COVID-19 has required improvisation and resourcefulness — both, thankfully, qualities found in good volumes among the maker community that helped give rise to 3D printing technology.

If you’ve followed the technology even in passing over the last decade, you’re no doubt aware how much time evangelists spend justifying the usefulness of 3D printing beyond the the confines of desktop hobbyists. The defensiveness is certainly understandable. Consumer 3D printing has all of the trapping of an overhyped boom and bust. The truth of the matter is that it simply wasn’t ready for the mainstream moment many investors and members of the press were ready to thrust upon it.

But even as desktop 3D printing companies begun to scale back or shutter at an alarming rate, the industry has continued to have success stories among those who have further innovated and targeted the right market. Formlabs jumps out amongst the desktop market, with Carbon presenting a success story on the industrial side of the fence. What unites both beyond innovation is a focus on real-world case uses.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/06/as-covid-19-surges-3d-printing-is-having-a-moment/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brian Heater

The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a new wave of fraud

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Criminals are getting busy — and creative — with an onslaught of new frauds preying on people’s fears and anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Desperate people are finding their unemployment checks and stimulus payments stolen. They’re also being bombarded with offers for fake cures, fake work-at-home offers and messages asking for personal financial information.


In perhaps the most widespread scam, criminals are filing fake unemployment claims on behalf of real people who haven’t lost their jobs, hitting one state after another.

  • The rush to get relief money in people’s hands has introduced new vulnerabilities to unemployment systems — state agencies and corporate human-resources departments alike are quick to approve claims without requiring much proof.
  • A Nigerian crime ring called “Scattered Canary” may be responsible for a lot of this fraud, which is made more attractive by the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits Congress enacted.
  • Washington state — an early locus of coronavirus in the U.S. — seems to have been hit hardest, with hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits siphoned off, per the Seattle Times.

Where it stands: The Federal Trade Commission says consumers have reported about $50 million in losses to the agency.

  • TransUnion, the credit bureau, runs a weekly survey that shows that 29% of consumers say they’ve been targets of digital fraud related to COVID-19.

“Some of the really pernicious stuff that we were seeing were about people ordering P.P.E.-type materials — face masks, hand sanitizer — and then it never arrives,” Monica Vaca of the FTC tells Axios.

“Fraud is big business, and it runs just like every other corporation out there,” Will LaSala of OneSpan, which sells antifraud software, tells Axios.

  • Misinformation about COVID-19 — plus runs on items like soap and toilet paper —  prompted a lot of people to try to buy things on merchant websites that turned out to be fake, or to click on phishing offers.
  • Fraudsters dangled lures like “check your $1,200 stimulus pay status” to get people to divulge information via email, phone and text.
  • Other scams include fake charity websites, false offers of Small Business Administration loans; sham work-at-home schemes that get people to pay money up front, and calls from a local area code that purport to be from a person’s doctor.

Official-looking notices claiming to be from the government might say you’ve been overpaid in stimulus or unemployment benefits and need to return the money immediately.

  • “A lot of times, they’ll say you have to do it right now or you’ll be arrested — and, oh, by the way, put it on an Apple gift card,” Paul Stephens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse tells Axios.

Then there are W-2 scams, in which a hacker spoofs the email address of a CEO and asks the H.R. department for a list of employees’ tax information.

  • “When we were working from offices, there were firewalls in place that really blocked a lot of this, but now that we’re working from home, we don’t have those safeguards in place,” LaSala says. “That really led to a lot of these attacks.”

Who’s scammin’ whom: While the elderly are frequent victims, more unexpected are millennials (who are at the prime age to be home, online, idle and jittery) and college students, who are nervous about their academic future and tuition status.

  • “They pretend that they’re from the school’s financial department and they’re giving you choices,” Paige Hanson, chief of cyber safety education at NortonLifeLock, tells Axios. “They’ll say, ‘click on this link to verify your personal information.’ It will go to a fake landing page” where criminals collect the information they need to take advantage of the student.

Even if only a tiny percentage of these fraud attempts works, “the payoff is significant,” Crane Hassold, senior director of cyber intelligence at the email security firm Agari, tells Axios.

  • “Some of these attackers are working 40 hours a week. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated, more realistic.”

Experts offered some advice to try to protect yourself:

  • “Be suspicious of any unsolicited phone call email or text message you might receive from anyone, unless you initiated the contact with that person,” Stephens said. If in doubt, call back to a number you know is legit.
  • Talk to someone before taking action. “Tell a friend, tell your sibling or somebody,” Hanson said. “Even though you’re in that moment and you want to react, they might know about this scam.”

Source: https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-fraud-is-everywhere-b3e7122f-67d2-4a0d-bed4-d5ddb492b0ad.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jennifer A. Kingson

How to Turn Off COVID-19 Exposure Tracking and Notifications on Android

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In conjunction with Apple, Google has released an Exposure Notification API that health officials can use (with your voluntary permission) for COVID-19 contact tracing. If you want to verify that the feature is disabled on your phone, here’s how to turn off exposure logging and notifications on Android.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/677100/how-to-turn-off-covid-19-exposure-tracking-and-notifications-on-android/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Justin Duino

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