Global Tech Roundup: Hackers Attack COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain


Happy new month guys! During the course of the week, there were several interesting stories across the global tech scene. From Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack to the release of Spotify’s Top Album for the year, the week finished in high-octane fashion.

Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories around the globe you might have missed.

Hackers target COVID-19 vaccine supply chain

Hackers have been targeting the organizations associated with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines since September 2020. This was discovered by security researchers at IBM.

Analysts Claire Zaboeva and Melissa Frydrych of IBM X-Force IRIS discovered a global phishing campaign spanning six regions. They include Germany, Italy, South Korea, Czech Republic, greater Europe, and Taiwan.

While it isn’t clear who the perpetrators behind the campaign are, the researchers suspect a nation-state actor rather than a private individual or group. 

They explained that the campaign appears to be focused on the “cold chain,” but the researchers believe that the purpose of this COVID-19 phishing campaign may have been to “harvest credentials, possibly to gain future unauthorized access to corporate networks and sensitive information relating to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution”.

Twitter turns off threaded replies 

Twitter has turned off the threaded replies feature it has been experimenting with for some time. According to the company, the feature was shut down because feedback from users has shown that it made conversations hard to read.

Twitter is also shutting down its beta app, which the company called twttr, designed for experiments like threaded replies. According to the company, People who currently use twttr will lose access for now, but it is exploring potential next steps for the app.

Warner Bros. to release all of its new 2021 movies on HBO Max

WarnerMedia, makers of Tom & Jerry and The Suicide Squad will be pushing more aggressively into the streaming space nest year. The company has announced that it will be releasing all its movies in 2021 simultaneously on HBO Max.

However, there are some limitations to the deal. First is that the movies will only stream on HBO Max for one month before leaving the platform for a period of time. It will also simultaneously play in theatres.

The movies Warner Bros. is planning to release for now include –  The Little Things; Judas and the Black Messiah; Tom & Jerry; Godzilla vs. Kong; Mortal Kombat; Those Who Wish Me Dead; The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It; In The Heights; Space Jam: A New Legacy; The Suicide Squad; Reminiscence; Malignant; Dune; The Many Saints of Newark; King Richard; Cry Macho; and Matrix 4.

For people who don’t have access to HBO Max, WarnerMedia is also offering a limited deal to people who sign up for six months as they will enjoy 22% discount on HBO Max

Aevum Unveils world’s first fully autonomous orbital rocket launching drone

Aevum, a space startup has launched a fully autonomous orbital rocket launching drone, the first of its kind in the world. Called Ravn X, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from existing jet aircraft and resembles the Predator line of UAVs used in terrestrial uncrewed flight.

The Ravn X

The vehicle is 80 feet long, and has a 60-foot wingspan, with a total max weight of 55,000 lbs including payload. Its design combines horizontal take-off and landing capabilities, with a secondary stage that deploys at high altitude and can take small payloads the rest of the way to space.

The Ravn X already has paying customers, including over $1 billion in U.S. government contracts. Its first mission is with the U.S. Space Force, the ASLON-45 small satellite launch mission (set for late 2021),

Ravn X’s delivery system is designed for rapid response and is able to get small satellites to orbit in as little as 180 minutes. It uses traditional jet fuel, the same kind used on commercial airliners, and it can take off and land in “virtually any weather,” according to the company.

YouTube, Twitter Introduce new features against Hate Speech and Online Harassment

YouTube has announced a new feature to address hate speech and toxic comments on its platform. The new feature will push commenters to reconsider their hateful and offensive remarks before posting.

Similarly, Twitter has expanded its hate speech policies to “prohibit language that dehumanizes people on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin.” 

This recent development joins a long line of policies put in place by social media platforms to protect users and minimise online harassment. For example the new feature on YouTube appears when users are about to post something offensive in a video’s comments section and warns to “Keep comments respectful.”

The pop-up then nudges users to click the “Edit” button and revise their comment. The feature will not actually prevent a user from posting their comment, however. If they want to proceed, they can click the “Post Anyway” option instead.

For Twitter, the latest rules, require users to delete tweets with dehumanizing language targeting people based on their race, ethnicity or national origin.

The company will also monitor tweets reported by users and use automation technology to “proactively” detect potential violations.

You can check out other news that happened during the week here. Have a nice weekend!!

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