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There's a Fortnite Sea Shanty TikTok emote

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 14:00

Fortnite has jumped on the Sea Shanty TikTok craze with its own take, an emote named Shanty for a Squad.

Set to the tune of Wellerman, it features Fortnite's own lyrics singing about the island's storm brewing up and a squad surviving to get their "dub".

As with the game's Christmas carol emote, the more of you in your squad using the emote at the same time, the more parts of its vocals are filled in. It's a neat nod to the collaborative TikTok, and/or a cunning plan to encourage all four squad members into a purchase.

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Categories: Video Games

Defense Grid dev working on a "AAA, third-person, open-world Dungeons & Dragons" game

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 13:40

Hidden Path Entertainment is working on a triple-A, third-person, open-world fantasy RPG "that will be taking place inside the Dungeons & Dragons franchise".

The announcement came with little fanfare: a note on Hidden Path's website and a tweet to say the studio was hiring staff for the project.

The only extra info I gleaned from Hidden Path's website reveals this mystery game is built using Unreal Engine 4. Doesn't tell us much, I know!

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Categories: Video Games

Nintendo Switch Pro will reportedly have 720p OLED screen

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 13:05

Nintendo's widely-anticipated Switch Pro model will feature a seven-inch 720p OLED screen and output at up to 4K when connected to a TV.

That's according to a Bloomberg report, which cites sources aware that Samsung will provide its screens and begin production on those from June.

Nintendo's plan is to reveal the new Switch model this year with an eye to launch in time for the lucrative holiday season, the report concludes, though no firmer release window is given.

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Categories: Video Games

Biden Pushes EV Chargers As Six Utilities Plan a Unified Network

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 13:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: US President Joe Biden has made the shift to electric vehicles an early focus of his administration. Days after his inauguration, he vowed to replace hundreds of thousands of federal civilian vehicles with electric versions. On Tuesday, Biden held a virtual meeting with CEOs from companies building charging infrastructure. The administration has set a goal to build more than 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations by 2030. Also on Tuesday, a coalition of six electric utilities announced a new initiative that will help Biden achieve his goal. The companies are planning to build a "seamless network of charging stations" in and around the American South. The group plans to build chargers near major highways in every southern state, stretching as far west as Texas and as far north as Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia. This is not a joint venture. Each utility will build and run its own charging stations. But the goal is to make them appear to the customer as a unified network.

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Guilty Gear Strive delayed to June 2021

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 12:50

Arc System Works has delayed Guilty Gear Strive to June 2021.

The promising PC and PlayStation fighting game was due out 9th April 2021. It's now due out 11th June 2021.

The developer said it needs extra time to polish certain aspects of the game, such as online lobbies and server stability, following feedback from the recent open beta.

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Categories: Video Games

Call of Duty: Warzone Season 2 update fuelled Virgin Media's biggest download day on record

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 12:12

Last week's Call of Duty: Warzone Season 2 update fuelled Virgin Media's biggest download day on record.

Virgin Media said the battle royale's update, which launched on 25th February, contributed to a 24-hour period in which the average user downloaded more than 20GB of data. That's nearly 3.5GB more than the already record-breaking daily average of 2020.

The Season 2 download weighed in at around 17GB. This was the update that came alongside a warning from Activision that those who own a standard PlayStation 4 with a default hard-drive of 500GB may need to make room if they have the full versions of Modern Warfare, Warzone and Black Ops Cold War with all modes and packs installed.

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Categories: Video Games

Outriders is a third-person cover shooter you really shouldn't play as a third-person cover shooter

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 12:00

Outriders seems to want you to play like you're playing Gears of War, which isn't a stretch, given its developer.

Polish studio People Can Fly is the studio behind 2013's Gears of War: Judgment, and there is so much of that game here. To a fault, really. Last, last generation level design is all around. That Xbox 360 brown fudge, that convenient hip-high cover dipped generously into a war-torn flan. Chunky enemies and chunks of enemies, bad guys exploding in a puff of blood for no real reason at all. The chug of a rifle, a shotgun blast when someone gets too close. Hold a button to observe. Even the name of the game sounds like something Spark Unlimited would have come up with the decade before last.

The story is one I've heard a million times before. It revolves around a soldier who mysteriously gains powers and must fight to save humanity on a harsh alien planet called Enoch. There's a quite incredible tonal whiplash as your soldier shifts from utter bemusement to wise-cracking asshole and back again. Outriders is trying to be a gritty, cool sci-fi romp, but its demo is too often undone by unintentionally hilarious cutscenes whose character deaths ought to be accompanied by canned laughter. The story teases that you'll eventually uncover the truth about the alien planet's mysterious energy, but when the writing's this bad it's hard to care.

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Space Hurricane Seen Above Magnetic North Pole Was Raining Electrons

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 09:00
The first space hurricane ever was spotted in August 2014, consisting of "an eddy of plasma, a type of superhot, charged gas found throughout the solar system," reports Business Insider. "And instead of rain, this storm brought showers of electrons." From the report: In August 2014, satellites observed a swirling mass with a quiet center more than 125 miles above the North Pole. The space hurricane was more than 620 miles wide and high in the sky -- it formed in the ionosphere, between 50 and 600 miles up. Lockwood and his coauthors used the satellite data to create a 3D model of the storm. The space hurricane lasted eight hours, swirling counterclockwise. The researchers said it had several spiral arms snaking out from its center, a bit like a spiral galaxy. By plugging the satellite data into a computer model, Lockwood and his collaborators were able to reproduce the storm and figure out what caused it. They found that charged particles emitted by the sun's upper atmosphere, the corona, were to blame. This steady stream of solar particles and coronal plasma is known as solar wind. It moves at about 1 million miles an hour. As solar wind reaches Earth, it encounters the planet's magnetic field. Earth has such a field because of the swirling liquid iron and nickel in its outer core, which gives rise to electric currents. The magnetosphere protects the planet from deadly radiation from the sun but also retains a tiny layer of plasma from that solar wind. Typically, solar winds glance off this protective sheath. But sometimes the incoming charged particles and plasma interact with either the trapped plasma or the electrical currents generating the field. Such interactions create disturbances in the magnetosphere. The 2014 space hurricane was one such disturbance. Usually, magnetic fields don't mix. But if they do come close, portions of the fields can get realigned and even merge, forming a new pattern of magnetic energy. That's what likely happened on the day of the space storm: An influx of solar wind energy formed a new pattern above Earth's magnetic north pole. The storm acted as a channel from space into Earth's atmosphere, funneling some electrons down past the planet's armor. This particle rain could have wreaked havoc on our high-frequency radio communications, radar-detection systems, or satellite technology, the study's authors said. That's because charged solar particles that seep through Earth's magnetic field can cause malfunctions in computers and circuitry on satellites and the International Space Station. Luckily, in this case, no issues were observed.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

US Issues Warning After Microsoft Says China Hacked Its Mail Server Program

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: The U.S. has issued an emergency warning after Microsoft said it caught China hacking into its mail and calendar server program, called Exchange. The perpetrator, Microsoft said in a blog post, is a hacker group that the company has "high confidence" is working for the Chinese government and primarily spies on American targets. The latest software update for Exchange blocks the hackers, prompting the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to issue a rare emergency directive that requires all government networks do so. CISA, the U.S.'s primary defensive cybersecurity agency, rarely exercises its authority to demand the entire U.S. government take protective steps to protect its cybersecurity. The move was necessary, the agency announced, because the Exchange hackers are able "to gain persistent system access." All government agencies have until noon Friday to download the latest software update. In a separate blog post, Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt wrote that the hackers have recently spied on a wide range of American targets, including disease researchers, law firms and defense contractors. There was no immediate indication that the hack led to significant exploitation of U.S. government computer networks. But the announcement marks the second instance in recent months that the U.S. scrambled to address a widespread hacking campaign believed be the work of foreign government spies.

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SpaceX Mars Prototype Rocket Nails Landing For the First Time, But Explodes On Pad

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 04:02
A SpaceX rocket prototype, known as SN10, soared over South Texas during test flight Wednesday before swooping down to a pinpoint landing near its launch site. Approximately three minutes after landing, however, multiple independent video feeds showed the rocket exploding on its landing pad. CNN reports: SpaceX's SN10, an early prototype of the company's Starship Mars rocket, took off around 5:15 pm CT and climbed about six miles over the coastal landscape, mimicking two previous test flights SpaceX has conducted that ended in an explosive crash. Wednesday marked the first successful landing for a Starship prototype. "We've had a successful soft touch down on the landing pad," SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said during a livestream of the event. "That's capping a beautiful test flight of Starship 10." It was unclear what caused the rocket to explode after landing, and the SpaceX livestream cut out before the conflagration. He added that SpaceX has several other prototypes already in production and the next, SN11, will be ready to roll out for another test flight 'in the near future." SpaceX's first launch attempt on Wednesday, around 3 pm CT, was aborted at the last tenth of a second. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet that the abort was triggered by pre-set standards around the rocket's thrust, which Musk described as "slightly conservative." He added that the company would increase the rocket's thrust limit, giving the rocket more wiggle room for getting a go-ahead for liftoff. The company then recycled the SN10's fuel ahead of the second, successful attempt.

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Cephalopod Passes Cognitive Test Designed For Human Children

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 03:25
mi shares a report from ScienceAlert: The marshmallow test, or Stanford marshmallow experiment, is pretty straightforward. A child is placed in a room with a marshmallow. They are told, if they can manage not to eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes, they'll get a second marshmallow, and be allowed to eat both. This ability to delay gratification demonstrates cognitive abilities such as future planning, and it was originally conducted to study how human cognition develops; specifically, at what age a human is smart enough to delay gratification if it means a better outcome later. Because it's so simple, it can be adjusted for animals. Obviously you can't tell an animal they'll get a better reward if they wait, but you can train them to understand that better food is coming if they don't eat the food in front of them straight away. [...] The researchers found that all of the cuttlefish in the test condition decided to wait for their preferred food (the live shrimp), but didn't bother to do so in the control group, where they couldn't access it. "Cuttlefish in the present study were all able to wait for the better reward and tolerated delays for up to 50-130 seconds, which is comparable to what we see in large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots," the researchers said. The other part of the experiment was to test how good the six cuttlefish were at learning. They were shown two different visual cues, a grey square and a white one. When they approached one, the other would be removed from the tank; if they made the "correct" choice, they would be rewarded with a snack. Once they had learnt to associate a square with a reward, the researchers switched the cues, so that the other square now became the reward cue. Interestingly, the cuttlefish that learnt to adapt to this change the quickest were also the cuttlefish that were able to wait longer for the shrimp reward. The team's research has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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AMD Unveils New Radeon RX 6700 XT Midrange GPU To Take On GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 02:45
MojoKid writes: AMD announced a new member of its Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card line-up today, dubbed Radeon RX 6700 XT. Based on AMD's RDNA 2 GPU architecture, the Radeon RX 6700 XT targets high frame rate 1440p gaming at max image quality with an MSRP of $479. The new GPU has 40 Compute Units (CUs) with 40 Ray Tracing Accelerators, 96MB of on-chip Infinity Cache, and 12Gb of GDDR6 memory. Game Clocks of up to 2424MHz will be possible and board power is rated for 230 watts. Versus NVIDIA's current competitive offerings, AMD is claiming wins for the Radeon RX 6700 XT across many titles at 1440p/max settings versus the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070, but with the added benefit of a larger 12GB frame buffer, which should add a measure of future-proofing as games get more graphically complex. Finally, AMD also revealed that it will be doing something a bit different with the launch of the Radeon RX 6700 XT. AMD-built reference cards will be available directly from AMD.com and numerous partner boards will be available from retailers and system builders, all on March 18th.

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Apple Launches Service For Transferring iCloud Photos, Videos To Google Photos

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MacRumors: Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and videos to Google Photos. Transferring photos and videos from iCloud Photos does not remove the content you have stored with Apple, but it provides a backup method and stores a copy of the content on Google Photos. The transfer process takes between three and seven days, with Apple verifying that the request was made by you. To do the transfer, you must have two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple ID account and you must have a Google Photos account with enough storage to complete the transfer. Smart Albums, Live Photos, photo stream content, some metadata, and some RAW photos are not able to be transferred.

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Facebook Lifts Political Ad Ban

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 01:20
Facebook will lift its ban on political ads on Thursday, ending a self-imposed prohibition that began immediately after the November 2020 general election and remained active for months. Politico reports: Facebook informed top political advertisers of its decision by phone and email on Wednesday, according to sources with knowledge of the announcement. The social media giant banned political and social issue-related ads in early November in an effort to curb misinformation around the general election. But the pause on political ads extended deep into the first months of the Biden administration, only partially lifted ahead of the Georgia Senate runoffs in early January. Facebook will now return political ads to its platform, one of the largest and most cost-effective ways for campaigns to reach voters and potential supporters. Digital strategists in both parties were sharply critical of Facebook's decision to cut off access to voters for the last several months, upending off-year campaign strategies. In an email sent to clients on Wednesday, Facebook representatives said, "while we are lifting the ad pause, our work is not over." "For the past several years, we invested heavily to fight misinformation, voter suppression and election interference, and remain committed to removing and reducing this type of content while connecting people with reliable information across our apps," the email continued, signed by two Facebook partners. "As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited."

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How Worried Should You Be About Those Tom Cruise Deepfakes?

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 00:40
Are the TikTok deepfake videos of Tom Cruise doing magic and playing golf a threat to global democracy? Not exactly. "[T]he reality is that they took a lot of time, technical expertise, and the skilled performance of a real actor," reports VICE News. "Rather than predicting a dark future of disinformation for the masses, they're simply another example of what can be done with significant time and resources." From the report: The Tom Cruise videos, posted on the @deeptomcruise TikTok account, have been viewed over 11 million times on the app and millions more times on other platforms. The videos were suddenly deleted from the TikTok account on Wednesday morning, shortly after VICE News contacted the people who produced them. They show the fake Cruise playing golf, falling over while telling a story about former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and finally, doing a close-up magic trick with a coin. There's no question the videos are really good. When scanned through several of the best publicly available deepfake detection tools, they avoided discovery. That led many to claim that a new threshold had been reached in deepfake sophistication, and that social media would soon be overwhelmed with similar videos. But that kind of analysis fails to take into account the amount of time, money, and skill it took to produce these videos. They are the work of Belgian visual effects artist Chris Ume, who is part of a group known as Deep Voodoo Studio, a team of the world's best deepfake artists assembled by the creators of the hit TV show "South Park," Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The team worked with English actor Peter Serafinowicz to produce a 2020 YouTube show called "Sassy Justice," which featured multiple deepfakes of celebrities and politicians. The Tom Cruise TikTok videos required not only the expertise of Ume and his team but also the cooperation of Miles Fisher, a well-known Tom Cruise impersonator who was behind a viral video in 2019 that purported to show Cruise announcing his candidacy for the 2020 election. Ume has even detailed some of the highly complex and involved technical processes he had to go through to produce previous deepfakes.

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Okta Says It's Buying Security Rival Auth0 For $6.5 Billion

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 00:20
Okta, whose cloud software allows office workers to access all of their apps through a secure online service, said on Wednesday that it's spending $6.5 billion to acquire rival Auth0. CNBC reports: Okta's shares plunged about 13% in extended trading after the announcement. The all-stock deal equals about 21% of Okta's market cap as of Wednesday's close. Okta said it expects the transaction to close by the end of July. Okta co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon was previously a vice president at Salesforce, working under Marc Benioff for over five years. McKinnon is now taking a page from Benioff's playbook, paying up for acquisitions while still focusing on internal growth. McKinnon wrote in a blog post that Auth0 will continue to operate independently. He said Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace for years, calling him "an enthusiastic ally in establishing identity as a primary cloud." "Both Eugenio and I have devoted our careers to identity because we know that selecting an identity platform is one of the most critical technology investments an organization can make." McKinnon wrote.

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ICANN Refuses To Accredit Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Due To His 'Background'

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 00:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Peter Sunde is one of the original Pirate Bay founders, but in recent years he's mostly known for his role in various Internet-related startups. This includes domain registrar Sarek, for which Sunde tried to get ICANN accreditation. However, this request was denied, apparently due to Sunde's "uncomfortable" background. Needless to say, Sunde was disappointed with the decision and he took his frustration to Twitter a few days ago. Initially, he assumed that the application was denied because ICANN concluded that he 'lied' about his background. The accreditation form requires applicants to tick a box if they have been convicted for fraud or something similar. Sunde didn't tick this box, as he was convicted for criminal copyright infringement. This 'error' was swiftly noticed by ICANN, which is also uneasy with other parts of the Pirate Bay founder's history. "After the background check I get a reply that I've checked the wrong boxes," Sunde wrote. "Not only that, but they're also upset I was wanted by Interpol." The Twitter thread didn't go unnoticed by ICANN who contacted Sunde over the phone to offer clarification. As it turns out, the 'wrong box' issue isn't the main problem, as he explains in a follow-up Twitter thread. "I got some sort of semi-excuse regarding their claim that I lied on my application. They also said that they agreed it wasn't fraud or similar really. So both of the points they made regarding the denial were not really the reason," Sunde clarifies. Over the phone, ICANN explained that the matter was discussed internally. This unnamed group of people concluded that the organization is 'not comfortable' doing business with him. "They basically admitted that they don't like me. They've banned me for nothing else than my political views. This is typical discrimination. Considering I have no one to appeal to except them, it's concerning, since they control the actual fucking center of the internet." Making matters worse, ICANN will also keep the registration fee, so this whole ordeal is costing money as well.

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Motorsport Games moves to acquire rFactor 2

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 23:30

Motorsport Games continues to make inroads into the world of sim racing, with the announcement that it has entered a binding term sheet to acquire Studio397 and its widely acclaimed rFactor 2 platform.

It formalises a partnership that helped make last year's officially sanctioned 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual race, with the highly praised handling dynamics of rFactor 2 set to underpin Motorsport Games' forthcoming takes on BTCC - a hugely anticipated comeback for the series into the virtual domain - and Le Mans.

"Studio397 has a clear passion for virtual racing and together we recognised an opportunity to work as one team to advance the genre to the next level," said Motorsport Games' president Stephen Hood in an official press release. "We see this as great news for the sim racing community as we can now leverage the best elements of the rFactor 2 platform, combine it with our foundational use of Unreal Engine (developed by Epic Games) and layer in the additional components our talented teams have spent the last two years developing. Our aim was to start out with a product that had heart and soul. When the planned acquisition is completed, we can operate safe in the knowledge that another piece of an ambitious puzzle has been secured."

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Samsung Will Soon Ship Micro LED TVs, But Mini LED Still Leads the Lineup

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 23:22
Samsung has announced imminent availability (most models will start shipping this month) for its high-end Micro LED and Mini LED TV lineup. ArsTechnica adds: We'll get to Micro LED in a minute, but let's start with the mainstream high end, which comprises the Mini LED TVs. Samsung is giving these a proprietary "Neo QLED" label. The top-end QN900A is the most tricked-out 8K option, with 65-inch ($5,000), 75-inch ($7,000), and 85-inch options ($9,000). One step down while keeping the 8K banner flying is the QN800A, offered in the same sizes but at $3,500, $4,700, and $6,500, respectively. Since there's hardly any 8K content out there to enjoy, most people who aren't just looking for bragging rights will want to opt for the 4K models. The flagship there is the QN90A, at 55 inches ($1,800), 65 inches ($2,600), 75 inches ($3,500), and 85 inches ($5,000). One step down gets you the QN85A, which comes in the same sizes as the QN90A at $1,600, $2,200, $3,000, and $4,500. While much of the hype in the world of TVs is currently focused on OLED, Samsung's LCD TVs remain the bestselling TVs in many regions, and in-depth technical reviewers like Rtings pretty consistently name Samsung's sets as the best non-OLED ones available in terms of picture quality, albeit not always in bang-for-buck. Samsung doesn't even make OLED TVs, though it produces OLED panels for other products. And to potentially battle OLED in the long term, Samsung is relying on Micro LED technology, which has individually emissive pixels just like OLED does. That means Micro LED matches OLED's chief advantage, which is that pixels of maximum brightness appear right next to pixels that are completely black. But Samsung claims the burn-in risk associated with OLED is not a factor in the same way with Micro LED. Plus, OLED TVs have been knocked for not matching the HDR peak brightness of the best traditional LED TVs. Micro LED is said to combine the best of both worlds: perfect blacks with very high peak brightness and all the granularity you'd expect in between. Micro LED TVs have been talked up as the future TV tech for years, and they've been commercially available in very limited contexts before, but this year marks Samsung's first quasi-mainstream attempt to sell a bunch of them. They still won't be for everyone, though. They're sure to be colossally expensive for one thing, but they'll also only come in 110- and 99-inch sizes to start. Later, we'll get 88- and 76-inch sizes, but even those are bigger than most people's living rooms can accommodate. So for its more mainstream flagship TVs, Samsung is leaning on Mini LED, which is not the same as similarly named Micro LED. Mini LED TVs are still fundamentally the same technology as any other LCD TV the company has sold for years, but with a new approach that allows much more granular backlighting to reduce blooming around bright objects and other problems associated with LCD TVs while still delivering strong peak brightness.

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Navajo Nation Hospital Targeted By Large-Scale Ransomware Hack

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 22:41
An anonymous reader shares a report: When Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services in Gallup, New Mexico, was hit with a cyberattack earlier this year, the hospital's staff had to revert to pen and paper to keep things running. Publicly available details about the hack are scarce, and the hospital has declined to comment beyond confirming that the security breach briefly forced its staff off its computers. But sensitive employee files posted online by a hacker group known for ransomware attacks and seen by NBC News indicated just how deep an attack the hospital had suffered: files on everything from job applications and background checks to staff injury reports. Ransomware attacks, in which hackers gain access to a private system to hold it hostage for payment, have been a problem for businesses for more than three years. Some hospitals have poor cybersecurity, and unscrupulous gangs see them as potentially flush with cash and easily coerced with the threat of leaked patient data. Last year, at least 560 health care facilities were infected with ransomware, according to a survey from the cybersecurity company Emsisoft. In October, amid a particularly brutal wave of attacks, several federal agencies issued warnings of "an increased and imminent cybercrime threat" to hospitals. An advisory from the American Hospital Association laid out how the Covid-19 pandemic had encouraged cybercriminals "to exploit, victimize and profit" from ransomware attacks.

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