Garmin Massive

Garmin hit with massive outage in suspected ransomware attack – CNN

(CNN)Garmin (GRMN), the GPS and wearable device company, says a widespread blackout has left its fitness devices, website and call centers offline for more than 24 hours in what may be a ransomware attack.

“We are currently experiencing an outage that affects and Garmin Connect,” the company announced on Twitter and the Garmin Connect website. “This outage also affects our call centers, and we are currently unable to receive any calls, emails or online chats.”
Garmin Connect allows users to track and analyze their fitness activities using the Garmin website and app. Since Thursday, however, the outage has prevented new downloads of the app, and the website was still shut down as of midday Friday Eastern Time.
Aviation also appears to have been affected. The tech news website ZDNet reports that pilots were unable to download the newest version of Garmin’s GPS software, flyGarmin, which the FAA requires to be up-to-date. The Garmin Pilot app, which pilots use to plan flight paths, was also down.
Some Garmin employees say the outage is connected to a new strain of ransomware called WastedLocker, according to ZDNet. Garmin did not immediately respond to a request for comment, however, and CNN Business has not been able to independently verify that a virus caused the outage.

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hydroxychloroquine Massive

Massive hydroxychloroquine study raising health concerns about the drug under scrutiny from scientists | TheHill – The Hill

A massive study that raised health concerns over hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug touted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE as a coronavirus treatment, is coming under scrutiny from scientists who are demanding to see the data behind it.

The scientists expressed concerns over a high-profile study from The Lancet, which surveyed 96,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across six continents and concluded that the drug was ineffective in fighting the coronavirus and caused serious heart problems and even death for patients who had the disease. 

An open letter from more than 180 scientists around the world raised concerns over what they said was inconsistent data in the report, noting that the average daily doses of hydroxychloroquine were higher than the those recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They also pointed out that data the magazine said was from Australian patients did not seem to match data from the Australian government, among other things.

Another major concern was that the study’s authors did not release their code or data despite signing a pledge to share information on the coronavirus. 

The report “has led many researchers around the world to scrutinize in detail the publication in question. This scrutiny has raised both methodological and data integrity concerns,” the scientists wrote, adding that they were asking the Lancet to make available the peer review process that “led to this manuscript being accepted for publication.”

The report’s research team corrected some of its data Friday but maintained its conclusions had not changed.

The report in the Lancet was one of several that linked hydroxychloroquine to cardiac issues, but it was the first to link it with a higher rate of deaths. The study found that hospitalized patients who were given hydroxychloroquine were at least 33 percent more likely to die than patients who did not receive the drug.

Two major clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine were put on hold as a result of the study, and the governments of France, Belgium and Italy banned doctors from using it as a coronavirus treatment.

“Many of us in the scientific community were just very angry at seeing a poorly written and executed study published in The Lancet, given loads of publicity, and then having a hugely negative impact on carefully planned clinical trials around the world,” said James Watson, a Thailand-based statistician with the University of Oxford’s Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health who helped draft the letter, in an email to BuzzFeed News.

The Lancet spokeswoman Jessica Kleyn told the outlet that the journal will make available the responses to the study, as well as a statement from the authors.

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Massive Microsoft

Microsoft: “massive” PC hacking campaign used COVID-19, Excel files – SlashGear

Microsoft delivered a news alert today tipping a “massive” phishing campaign using COVID-19 and Excel files to hook in unsuspecting users. Much like MOST phishing campaigns, users could avoid any harmful nonsense by avoiding downloading attached files or entering personal information prompted by email. This email campaign began on May 12, 2020, and posed as the Johns Hopkins Center to deliver a so-called “WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT.”

The situation reported by Microsoft Security Intelligence was described as a “massive campaign that delivers the legitimate remote access tool NetSupport Manager using emails with attachments containing malicious Excel 4.0 macros.” Microsoft Security Intelligence continued, “The COVID-19 themed campaign started on May 12 and has so far used several hundreds of unique attachments.”

We’re tracking a massive campaign that delivers the legitimate remote access tool NetSupport Manager using emails with attachments containing malicious Excel 4.0 macros. The COVID-19 themed campaign started on May 12 and has so far used several hundreds of unique attachments.

— Microsoft Security Intelligence (@MsftSecIntel) May 18, 2020

The user would be tricked into thinking that the Excel file was from a legitimate source. Once the user opened the file, the malicious Excel 4.0 macro downloads and runs a NetSupport Manager RAT. This is particularly devious due to its use of NetSupport Manager, a completely legitimate piece of software that’s SUPPOSED to be used for remote tech support.

This isn’t the first COVID-19-related digital attack here in 2020, and it most certainly won’t be the last. This time of uncertainty and fear for people around the world has resulted in exploitation campaigns of many sorts. Email remains the most common avenue for connecting to unsuspecting future victims of phishing campaigns – that bit wont likely change any time soon.

Trickbot remains to be one of the most common payloads in COVID-19 themed campaigns. A new Trickbot campaign that launched on May 18 uses emails that claim to offer “personal coronavirus check”, an iteration of the “free COVID-19 test” we’ve seen in previous Trickbot spam runs.

— Microsoft Security Intelligence (@MsftSecIntel) May 19, 2020

Another recent COVID-19-related security threat reported by Microsoft included hooks like “personal coronavirus check.” If you happen to get any email that suggests basically anything having to do with COVID-19 or coronavirus that’d have you download a file or enter in ANY information, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and check yourself before you wreck yourself. Now is a PRIME time for email-based tricks, malicious hacking campaigns, and phishing aplenty.

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Apple Massive

Apple’s Massive Mistake Drives MacBook Pro Success – Forbes

Update May 18: Apple’s update to the MacBook Pro range continues to look like an update to the keyboard, without pushing the specifications. This weekend’s examination of the MacOS Catalina powered laptop by Notebook Check makes it clear that half of the new laptop portfolio is… boring:

“The entry-level 13.3-inch MBP models stick with Intel’s eight-gen Coffee Lake-based silicon with either the Core i5-8257U (15 W) or Core i7-8559U (28 W), which while they are still decent chips, they aren’t especially exciting… The chips also supply the graphics performance, with the i5 model fitted with Intel’s integrated Iris Plus 645 GPU and the i7 model picking up the integrated Iris Plus 655. Neither of them are anything to write home about though.”

If you are looking at the higher priced models then you are going to pick up Intel’s tenth-generation processors, but if ‘Pro’ means graphics to you, then the hardware is going to be falling short:

“…unless you are planning on adding an eGPU to the equation, CAD designers and video editors will want to step up to the 16-inch MBP models that feature discrete AMD Radeon Pro GPUs.”

If you want a true update to the MacBook Pro, you’ll have to wait until 2021.

The recent launch of Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro completes this round of updates for the MacOS laptops. Hardware wise there’s very little difference between the MacBooks and the equivalent Windows 10 laptops. So why have the new machines been met with resounding critical acclaim?

The keyboard.

The new MacBook Pro 16 inch (2src19)

12 November 2019, US, New York: The new MacBook Pro, recorded at an Apple presentation in New York, … [+] features a redesigned keyboard, a sophisticated sound system, and a 16-inch display. Photo: Christoph Dernbach/dpa (Photo by Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images)

dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

For five years the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air were saddled with the butterfly keyboard. The thinking behind the design was in keeping with Apple’s ideals, it was lighter and slimmer, both welcome features for a laptop. The keys had more stability and allowed for more accurate typing.

But Apple’s implementation was flawed. Dust, crumbs, and other small particles could get trapped in the mechanism. Keypresses would jam and not be registered; or the key would become stuck and double, triple, or quadruple type a letter from a single key press. It was an unpredictable nightmare for anyone working at speed or on large documents.

The keyboard is the primary interface for a laptop. Apple was selling a laptop with a primary interface that was, in my opinion, not fit for purposes. And it kept selling laptops after the problem was documented. It was clear to independent repair specialists that Apple was trying different fixes to make the keyboard work. But the machines being purchased still had sub-standard keyboards. Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal demonstrated this with a wonderful article that allowed you to decide just how broken her keyboard was. Here it is with the ‘e’ and the ‘r’ key broken.

“Nop, I havn’t fogottn how to wit. No did my dito go on vacation.

‘You s, to sha th pain of using an Appl laptop kyboad that’s faild aft fou months, I could only think of on ida: tak all th bokn ltts out of my column. Thn I alizd that would mak th whol thing unadabl. So to…”

Thanks to Apple’s tight control of the ecosystem (including the monopoly it has over MacOS powered hardware) users needing a MacOS laptop for their applications, software development, or media production chain, had little choice but to buy Apple and endure. Of course the keyboards would work as they came out of the box, you could use external keyboards, and not every single keyboard would break… but emotionally every keyboard was a defect waiting to go off.

TEC-Digital Life-Laptop Innovations

FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, file photo, a guest looks at the Touch Bar on a MacBook … [+] computer shown in a demo room following the announcement of new products at Apple headquarters, in Cupertino, Calif. Higher-end models of Apple’s MacBook Pro now come with a narrow touch screen above the regular keyboard for quick access to common settings and tasks. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)


Tim Cook’s Apple has finally decided to do what it should have done a long time ago. Fix an obvious fault in its flagship laptop.

The process started in late 2019, as the 15-inch MacBook Pro picked up a larger screen and became the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The table stakes of expected specifications were met with updates to the processor, storage options, and tweaks for improved performance (notably in thermal control and battery control). In other words, Apple offered a maintenance release of the hardware It stayed in lockstep with the competition, but didn’t push onwards or try to change the landscape.

The same was mostly true of March’s update to the MacBook Air and this month’s update to the MacBook Pro. The specs were raised to meet the competition, but nothing that exceeded the various Windows 10 powered laptops. Arguably the 2020 releases are less effective than the 16-inch MacBoko Pro because the new display sizes many expected were delayed until 2021.

But… the keyboard was changed.

Although Apple has slapped a ridiculous marketing name on it, the Magic Keyboard is a return to the reliable scissor-switch mechanism. With no design flaws reported since the launch of the 16-inch laptop its probably safe to say the keyboard worries are over.

TEC-Digital Life-Laptop Innovations

FILE – This Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, file photo, shows MacBook computers in a demo room following … [+] the announcement of new products at Apple headquarters, in Cupertino, Calif. Higher-end models of Apple’s MacBook Pro now come with a narrow touch screen above the regular keyboard for quick access to common settings and tasks. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)


To me that explains the rapturous response to the new Macs, especially the new 13-inch MacBook Pro. Yes the specs are higher (but then so are specs on Windows 10 laptops), yes the software has been improved (but then the same is true of Windows 10), and yes that all adds up to more performance (but then, well, you get the idea).

The excitement, the digital column inches, the praise all being heaped upon the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro machines, all center on one area.

It took five years to fix the keyboard.

Well played, Apple. Well played.

Now read more about Apple’s plans to reimagine the Mac lineup using the iPhone’s ARM chip…

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China's Massive

China’s massive Long March 5B’s rocket falls out of orbit over Atlantic Ocean – Spaceflight Now

This map illustrates the track of the Long March 5B core stage on its final orbit. The rocket body re-entered over the North Atlantic Ocean, somewhat closer to the coast of Africa on this particular orbit. Credit: Aerospace Corp.

A large rocket stage left in space after the successful launch of China’s heavy-lift Long March 5B rocket May 5 fell into the atmosphere Monday over the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the most massive object in nearly 30 years to perform an uncontrolled re-entry from orbit.

The Long March 5B rocket’s core stage re-entered the atmosphere at 11:33 a.m. EDT (1533 GMT) Monday, according to the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron. At that time, the rocket was flying over the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa.

The re-entry occurred less than 15 minutes after the rocket body soared almost directly over New York City.

The rocket’s core stage measured around 100 feet (30 meters) long and 16 feet (5 meters) wide, with a mass of approximately 20 metric tons.

The spent rocket was the most massive object to re-enter the atmosphere in an unguided fashion since the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station in 1991, according to Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks global satellite and launch activity.

While the size of the Long March 5B’s core stage made Monday’s unguided re-entry remarkable, most of the rocket was expected to burn up as it plunged back into the atmosphere. Most of the rocket was made up of hollow propellant tanks, but the dense turbomachinery of the core stage’s two YF-77 main engines could have survived the fall from space.

The Long March 5B rocket lifted off May 5 from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island in southern China, carrying a prototype for China’s next-generation crew capsule into orbit on an unpiloted test flight.

The launch May 5 marked the debut of a new configuration of China’s heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket. On the Long March 5B, Chinese designers removed the rocket’s second stage and replaced it with a longer volume for payloads.

The Long March 5B is designed to launch modules for China’s planned space station. It launched with four kerosene-fueled strap-on boosters, which dropped off the rocket around three minutes after liftoff, and a hydrogen-fueled cryogenic core stage that entered orbit along with the crew capsule testbed.

Without reignitable engines, the core stage was left in a low-altitude orbit where it quickly succumbed to atmospheric drag.

File photo of a Long March 5 core stage on a previous mission. Credit: Xinhua

Dead satellites and old rocket stages regularly re-enter the atmosphere, but re-entering objects with masses of more than a few tons are rare.

Space agencies, launch operators and satellite companies often try to guide spent rocket stages and aging satellites toward re-entries over the ocean, reducing the risk that debris could fall over a populated area.

Uncontrolled re-entries are difficult to predict, and forecasts issued by the U.S. military narrowed the window for the rocket’s fall back to Earth in the days before re-entry. Ground-based radars tracked the Long March 5B rocket body in space, allowing U.S. military officials charged with monitoring space debris to regularly measure the core stage’s decaying orbit.

A one-minute error in predicting a re-entry time for an object in low Earth orbit changes the location of potential falling debris by nearly 300 miles, or about 500 kilometers, according to the Aerospace Corp.

The Long March 5B rocket body flew in an orbit between 41.1 degrees north and south latitude, meaning the re-entry could have occurred as far north as around New York City, or as far south as Wellington, New Zealand. In the end, any debris from the core stage that survived the re-entry appeared to fall over the sea, well away from populated areas.

China plans to launch at least three more Long March 5B rockets in 2021 and 2022 with modules for the country’s planned space station, so more uncontrolled rocket re-entries are expected in the next couple of years.

The most massive human-made object to re-enter the atmosphere from orbit was Russia’s Mir space station, which made a guided re-entry over the South Pacific Ocean in 2001. NASA and Russia’s space agency have plans to eventually execute a controlled re-entry of the International Space Station at the end of its service life.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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