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T-Mobile Says Hackers Stole Personal Data of About 7.8 Million Customers

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By Reuters | Updated: 18 August 2021

T-Mobile US said on Wednesday an ongoing investigation into a cyberattack on its systems revealed that some personal data of about 7.8 million of its current postpaid customers were compromised.

The company was made aware of the attack late last week, it said in a statement, after an online forum claimed that personal data of its users were leaked.

Data from about 850,000 prepaid customers and more than 40 million records of former or prospective customers were also stolen, T-Mobile said.

The breached data included customers’ first and last names, date of birth, social security numbers, and driver’s license information, it said, but there was no indication of their financial details being compromised.

The telecom operator had acknowledged the data breach on Monday and said that it was confident the entry point used to access the data had been closed.

T-Mobile said its taking “immediate steps” to protect users at risk. Here’s what the company said on the measures being taken:

As a result of this finding, we are taking immediate steps to help protect all of the individuals who may be at risk from this cyberattack. Communications will be issued shortly to customers outlining that T-Mobile is:

As a result of this finding, we are taking immediate steps to help protect all of the individuals who may be at risk from this cyberattack. Communications will be issued shortly to customers outlining that T-Mobile is:

As a result of this finding, we are taking immediate steps to help protect all of the individuals who may be at risk from this cyberattack. Communications will be issued shortly to customers outlining that T-Mobile is:

Immediately offering 2 years of free identity protection services with McAfee's ID Theft Protection Service.
Recommending all T-Mobile postpaid customers proactively change their PIN by going online into their T-Mobile account or calling our Customer Care team by dialing 611 on your phone. This precaution is despite the fact that we have no knowledge that any postpaid account PINs were compromised.
Offering an extra step to protect your mobile account with our Account Takeover Protection capabilities for postpaid customers, which makes it harder for customer accounts to be fraudulently ported out and stolen.
Publishing a unique web page later on Wednesday for one stop information and solutions to help customers take steps to further protect themselves. 

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Others

Security Scanners Across Europe Tied to China Govt, Military

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By Associated Press | Updated: 22 January 2022

Authorities have installed security screening devices made by a single Chinese company with deep ties to China’s military and the highest levels of the ruling Communist Party, at some of the world’s most sensitive spots.

The World Economic Forum in Davos. Europe’s largest ports. Airports from Amsterdam to Athens. NATO’s borders with Russia. All depend on equipment manufactured by Nuctech, which has quickly become the world’s leading company, by revenue, for cargo and vehicle scanners.

Nuctech has been frozen out of the US for years due to national security concerns, but it has made deep inroads across Europe, installing its devices in 26 of 27 EU member states, according to public procurement, government and corporate records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The complexity of Nuctech’s ownership structure and its expanding global footprint have raised alarms on both sides of the Atlantic.

A growing number of Western security officials and policymakers fear that China could exploit Nuctech equipment to sabotage key transit points or get illicit access to government, industrial or personal data from the items that pass through its devices.

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Internet

Big Tech: New Step to Curb Firms’ Power Advanced by US Senate Panel

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By Associated Press | Updated: 22 January 2022

The US Congress has taken a new step toward reining in the market dominance of Big Tech companies. Bipartisan legislation advanced by a Senate panel would bar the dominant online platforms from favouring their own goods and services over those of rivals. It could, for example, prevent Amazon from steering consumers to its own brands and away from competitors’ products on its giant e-commerce platform.

The bill also could bring restrictions for Google’s search engine, which accounts for about 90 percent of web searches worldwide and routinely places its services at the top of search results.

The legislation won a 16-6 vote in the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday and was sent on to the full Senate. The action marked a new turn in Congress’ effort to curb the dominance of the tech giants and anticompetitive practices that critics say have hurt consumers, small businesses and innovation.

Lobbying by Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Amazon, Apple and other tech giants was intense ahead of the US Senate panel’s action.

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Social Networking

Twitter Says Two Security Team Leaders Leaving Company

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By Reuters | Updated: 22 January 2022

Twitter said on Friday its head of security is no longer at the company and its chief information security officer will depart in the coming weeks.

The shakeup comes after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as chief executive in November, handing the reins to top deputy Parag Agrawal, who has since reorganized the leadership structure of the social media company.

Twitter did not specify whether the departures were voluntary.

Peiter Zatko, a famed hacker more widely known as “Mudge,” was appointed head of security in 2020 after Twitter suffered a security breach that allowed hackers to tweet from verified accounts for public figures including billionaire Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The New York Times first reported Zatko’s departure and Rinki Sethi’s upcoming departure as CISO earlier on Friday. Zatko and Sethi could not be immediately reached for comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Internet

Google Asks Judge to Dismiss Most of Texas Antitrust Lawsuit

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By Reuters | Updated: 22 January 2022

Google asked a US federal judge on Friday to dismiss the majority of an antitrust lawsuit filed by Texas and other US states that accused the search giant of abusing its dominance of the online advertising market.

Google said in its court filing that the states failed to show that it illegally worked with Facebook, now Meta, to counter “header bidding,” a technology that publishers developed to make more money from advertising placed on their websites. Facebook is not a defendant in the lawsuit.

The states had also alleged that Google used at least three programs to manipulate ad auctions to coerce advertisers and publishers into using Google’s tools.

Google responded that the states had a “collection of grievances” but no proof of wrongdoing. On some allegations, Google argued the states waited too long to file its lawsuit.

“They criticize Google for not designing its products to better suit its rivals’ needs and for making improvements to those products that leave its competitors too far behind. They see the ‘solution’ to Google’s success as holding Google back,” the company said in its filing.

Google asked for four of the six counts to be dismissed with prejudice, which means that it could not be brought back to the same court.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said they would press on with the fight. “The company whose motto was once ‘Don’t Be Evil’ now asks the world to examine their egregious monopoly abuses and see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil,” he said in a statement.

The Texas lawsuit had two other claims based on state law and made against Google which were stayed in September. The search giant did not ask for them to be dismissed on Friday but may in the future.

The lawsuit is one part of a long list of antitrust investigations and federal and state litigation against the Big Tech platforms.


© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Games

Activision Blizzard-Owned Studio Raven Software’s Workers Say They Have Formed Union

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By Reuters | Updated: 22 January 2022

A group of employees at an Activision Blizzard studio that works on the Call of Duty franchise said on Friday that they had formed a union and would seek voluntary recognition from the company, signalling organized labour’s first foothold at the video game giant.

The union, supported by the Communications Workers of America, represents 34 people in the quality assurance department at Raven Software.

Activision said it was considering the matter. Workers could also seek to hold an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Activision’s stock has been battered in recent months as the company faces multiple accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct, and on Tuesday Microsoft announced plans to acquire the company.

As criticism of Activision Blizzard’s culture has mounted in recent months, workers have banded together to influence the company’s future, including staging a walkout and circulating a petition calling for the removal of Chief Executive Bobby Kotick.

Unionization has emerged as a goal for some, and workers in other parts of Activision Blizzard are also signing union cards, said Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision employee, as well as a current employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I hope that we are able to serve as inspiration and to help guide other parts of Activision Blizzard … that want to follow in our footsteps,” said Onah Rongstad, a quality assurance tester at Raven.

Activision Blizzard said in a statement that it is “carefully reviewing” the request for voluntary recognition.

“While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest workforce opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union,” the company said.

If Activision Blizzard does not voluntarily recognize the union, workers plan to seek to hold an election sponsored by the NLRB, Rongstad said.

Workers on Raven’s quality assurance team began striking in December after learning that 12 of their colleagues had been laid off, Rongstad said.

By forming a union, the workers hope to gain more of a say in decision-making at the company as well as help set their working conditions. QA testers at Raven work up to 50- to 60-hour weeks when deadlines are looming, Rongstad said.


© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Computers

Intel’s $20-Billion Ohio Factory Could Become World’s Largest Chip Plant

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By Associated Press | Updated: 22 January 2022

Intel said on Friday it would invest up to $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,44,200 crore) to build potentially the world’s largest chip-making complex in Ohio, looking to boost capacity as a global shortage of semiconductors affects everything from smartphones to cars.

The move is part of Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger’s strategy to restore Intel’s dominance in chip making and reduce America’s reliance on Asian manufacturing hubs, which have a tight hold on the market.

An initial $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,48,800 crore) investment – the largest in Ohio’s history – on a 1,000-acre site in New Albany will create 3,000 jobs, Gelsinger said. That could grow to $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,44,200) with eight total fabrication plants and would be the largest investment on record in Ohio, he told Reuters.

Dubbed the silicon heartland, it could become “the largest semiconductor manufacturing location on the planet,” he said.

While chipmakers are scrambling to boost output, Intel’s plans for new factories will not alleviate the current supply crunch, because such complexes take years to build.

Gelsinger reiterated on Friday he expected the chip shortages to persist into 2023.

Dubbed the silicon heartland, it could become “the largest semiconductor manufacturing location on the planet,” he said.

While chipmakers are scrambling to boost output, Intel’s plans for new factories will not alleviate the current supply crunch, because such complexes take years to build.

Gelsinger reiterated on Friday he expected the chip shortages to persist into 2023.

“China is doing everything it can to take over the global market so they can try to out-compete the rest of us,” Biden said.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said at the event the current semiconductor supply chain is “far too dependent on conditions and countries halfway around the world.”

Gelsinger said without government funding “we’re still going to start the Ohio site. It’s just not going to happen as fast and it’s not going to grow as big as quickly.”

THE CHIP FEAST AND FAMINE

Intel ceded the No. 1 semiconductor vendor spot to Samsung Electronics in 2021, dropping to second with growth of just 0.5%, the lowest rate in the top 25, data from Gartner showed.

As part of its turnaround plan to become a major manufacturer of chips for outside customers, Intel broke ground on two factories in Arizona in September. The $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,48,800 crore) plants will bring the total number of Intel factories at its campus in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler to six.

Gelsinger told Reuters he still hoped to announce another major manufacturing site in Europe in the coming months.

It is not just Intel ramping up investments. Rivals Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co or TSMC also have announced big investment plans in the US And that’s raising questions about a glut in chips going forward.

“We still have years in front of us before we’re even having a semblance of supply-demand balance,” said Gelsinger. “Ask yourself what portion of your life is not becoming more digital.”

“Yes, the industry is growing, and maybe the metaverse solves world hunger for the semiconductor industry. But there is a big bubble coming,” said Alan Priestley, an analyst at Gartner.

US-CHINA TECH WAR

The US build-up comes as a tech war between the US and China is causing a decoupling of certain technologies, such as chips. Companies looking to sell technologies to China are considering basing outside of the US to avoid being snagged by US export control rules. China is also investing heavily in its semiconductor manufacturing capacity.

While Gelsinger also touted the security and economic benefits of boosting US chip production on Friday, Bloomberg reported in November that the Biden administration pushed back against a prior plan by the company to boost silicon wafer production in China over national security concerns.

Intel has drawn fire for its decision to delete references to Xinjiang from an annual letter to suppliers after the chipmaker faced a backlash in China for asking suppliers to avoid the sanctions-hit region.

When asked about it in a briefing last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she could not comment on the company specifically, but said “American companies should never feel the need to apologize for standing up for fundamental human rights or opposing repression,” reiterating a call to industry to ensure that they are not sourcing products that involve forced labour from Xinjiang and urging companies to oppose China’s “weaponizing of its markets to stifle support for human rights.”

Intel’s Ohio investment is expected to attract partners and suppliers. Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology have shown interest in establishing a presence in the region, Intel said.

Construction of the first two factories is expected to begin late in 2022 and production in 2025.

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