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Top Stories for the Week of April 24, 2019

  • Episode 605
  • April 24, 2019

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday April 24, 2019


The last major Windows update broke some systems with particular antivirus software installed, and it’s seemingly getting worse.

The last major Windows update broke some systems with particular antivirus software installed, and it’s seemingly getting worse.

Last week Microsoft halted updates to its Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems, as well as some Windows Server installations running Sophos and Avast security solutions. The update caused user machines to lock up or fail to boot. Since then, the list of known issues for the update was itself updated to acknowledge compatibility issues with Avira and ArcaBit antivirus, with Microsoft temporarily blocking updates to those affected systems, too.

Over the weekend it was revealed that Microsoft is also investigating compatibility issues for systems with McAfee antivirus installed.

Affected computers either freeze outright or start acting unusably slow when you attempt to log into Windows. You can temporarily work around the issue by booting into Safe Mode, disabling your antivirus, and then rebooting your system normally.

While Windows 10 PCs don’t appear to be affected by this particular issue, a new issue cropped up this week surrounding the coming May update on Windows 10 systems that have either a USB drive or SD card connected. The update has been put on hold because updating these systems may result in your drive letters being re-assigned, breaking your Windows machine.

According to Microsoft, this issue will be resolved in a future servicing update for Windows 10. For now, don't leave SD cards or USB drives connected to your Windows 10 computer, just in case.

Source: www.pcworld.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


Marcus Hutchins, the security researcher who stopped WannaCry, has plead "guilty" to the malware charges we reported in 2017.

Marcus Hutchins, the security researcher who stopped WannaCry, has plead "guilty" to the malware charges we reported in 2017.

On Episodes 516 and 518 we reported that Mr. Hutchins was arrested, but plead "not guilty". He was was free under a $30,000 bond, but had to wear a GPS tracking device. Last year though, he was hit with a superseding indictment introducing new charges related to the malware.

Hutchins was charged with developing and, in partnership with another individual identified in court documents as “Vinny,” disseminating UPAS-Kit and Kronos malware, the latter of which has for years been used to steal banking information. This activity occurred between July 2012 and September 2015, per court records, years prior to when Hutchins was credited with discovering WannaCry’s kill switch.

Hutchins—who is now a prominent and respected security researcher—says, “As you may be aware, I’ve pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to my career in security. I regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes. Having grown up, I’ve since been using the same skills that I misused several years ago for constructive purposes.”

According to a plea agreement filed with the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the British researcher agreed to plead guilty to two of 10 counts, while the other eight were dropped. Each count carries up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, though the plea agreement states that an “acceptance of responsibility” could contribute to a lighter sentence.

Source: gizmodo.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


Samsung has pushed back the launch of its highly anticipated folding smartphone after multiple reviewers reported the screens broke within days.

Samsung has pushed back the launch of its highly anticipated folding smartphone after multiple reviewers reported the screens broke within days.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold was unveiled in February following years of speculation about the possibility of folding phones, but initial reviews have raised questions about whether the technology was rushed out before it was ready.

The Galaxy Fold was set to hit the market in the US this Friday, but Samsung said in a statement that it would now carry out further tests and make improvements before announcing a new release date "in the coming weeks".

The news comes after several journalists reported issues with the devices they'd been given to review.

On April 17, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman tweeted that his device was "unusable just two days in", with photos showing the screen had gone mostly black.

Among the other complaints was a story on The Verge headlined My Samsung Galaxy Fold screen broke after just a day.

At least some of the complaints have come from users who had peeled off a thin layer of polymer from the screen that Samsung said was not intended to be removed, but issues with the Galaxy Fold seem to run deeper.

The company's statement identified the hinge mechanism and "substances found inside the device" as potential problem areas.

Samsung's problems come less than three years after its exploding phone saga, which saw the company recall the Galaxy Note 7 after battery defects caused phones to catch on fire.

Source: www.dezeen.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


Microsoft's Azure machine learning tech is being put to good use in a grant program designed to give computing resources to scientists working on environmental sustainability programs.

Microsoft's Azure machine learning tech is being put to good use in a grant program designed to give computing resources to scientists working on environmental sustainability programs.

Microsoft wants to make accessing powerful AI and machine learning technology more practical for scientists and environmental researchers, which is why it started AI for Earth in 2017. In the mere two years since Microsoft founded AI for Earth, it has awarded over 230 grants to teams in 63 countries, covering four research areas: Climate change, agriculture, biodiversity, and waters.

Grants come in two forms: Data labeling services, which help get large datasets ready for AI processing, and Microsoft Azure computer credits. Grant applicants are able to apply for one or both forms of grants.

Microsoft has built two APIs specifically for AI for Earth, and has stated that it continues to work on more. Currently available is a land coverage mapping API and a species classification API. The APIs are available to anyone who wants to use them.

The uses for AI in protecting natural resources is vast.

Science generates data, but collating and transforming that data into action can be difficult. When you add to that the sheer volume of data available, things get even more difficult, especially if all of that data isn't available to everyone who may need it.

AI for Earth takes a step toward rectifying that by offering services to organizations that may not be able to access them otherwise, and by centralizing data from government research agencies from around the globe in Azure cloud.

In addition, grant applicants that apply for data labeling have their data published on Microsoft Azure for the use of other researchers, further expanding the base of knowledge needed to turn AI into a tool for improving the planet.

Source: www.techrepublic.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


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