Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.
Atlanta’s entire government computer system was held hostage by hackers for $51k in bitcoin. The Hustle Fri, Mar 30 Brought to you by Acer… serious power for the serious worker. HACKLANTA: Atlanta’s entire government computer system shuts down for 5...
From last Thursday until this Tuesday, Atlanta’s 8k government employees were unable to access their computers, and as of now, resident’s still can’t pay tickets or water bills online, and cops are stuck writing reports by hand.
Security experts are calling it one of the longest and most troublesome cyberattacks against a US city, which in the past several months have grown from bothersome (like the hack that set off Dallas’ tornado sirens at midnight), to paralyzing for major institutions.
They got SamSam’d
The researchers hired to help liberate the city’s comps have identified SamSam group as the masterminds behind the attack, a notorious hacking group believed to have extorted over $1m from 30+ organizations so far this year.
Not much is known about the consortium, save for their calling card: Locking all of their victims’ files, renaming them “I’m sorry,” and demanding a $50k bitcoin ransom to be paid in 7 days.
$50k seems like small potatoes for a large-scale felony…
But it’s all part of SamSam’s strategy. The group purposefully targets organizations that can’t afford to halt operations for days or weeks at a time, like hospitals, police departments, and universities.
Their $50k price point is just low enough that SamSam’s targets can typically afford paying the ransom more easily than they can restore their computer systems themselves.
And, like any virus, SamSam is constantly evolving
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms hasn’t said whether the city plans to pay the ransom or attempt to fix their systems on their own.
But, even if they do manage to free themselves from SamSam’s grip, that doesn’t mean they’ll be out of the woods.
SamSam shut down Colorado’s Department of Transportation system back in February, and as soon as they got their systems up and running, SamSam struck them down again, with a new-and-improved variation of their ransomware.
Pay up or shut down
Amazon loses $31B after Trump targets them on Twitter over tax practices
President Trump continues to take shots at Amazon, in Twitter posts on Thursday, in which he accused Amazon of paying “little or no state taxes,” and of using the USPS as their “Delivery Boy.”
The tweets come a day after multiple sources reported that Trump is “obsessed” with Amazon and wants to “go after” the e-commerce giant -- a report that caused Amazon’s shares to fall almost 5% and wiped out more than $31B in shareholder value in the process.
Amazon’s controversial tax practice
Amazon still doesn’t collect state sales taxes for their “third-party” platform sellers in most of the country, a model that makes up more than 50% of Amazon’s business, and in all fairness, is frustrating to more than just Trump.
Some retail competitors believe the third-party vendor policy gives the retail giant an unfair advantage, which may very well be true -- Amazon reported a provisional tax expense of roughly $200m in US state taxes last year, pennies against their $177.9B annual sales.
The whole issue may get settled in court
In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that states couldn’t collect sales taxes gathered by “mail-order catalog companies” unless they physically existed in a state.
But, earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to listen to arguments over internet sales taxes after South Dakota and 36 other states argued that times have changed in the Amazon era.
Bumble stings back -- files $400m suit against Match Group
Less than 2 weeks after Match Group filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement of their swipe-to-connect feature, Bumble fired back with a $400m stinger.
Now Bumble is seeking damages for the patent infringement lawsuit, claiming that Match Group used it to cheapen their company and keep other equity investments away from their honey.
Don’t poke the hive
Match Group started goin’ steady with Bumble last June, requesting business strategy and performance information from the company while it mulled an acquisition offer.
After Match Group made what Bumble considered to be a ‘lowball’ offer of $450m, they ended things but decided to try and remain friends.
It didn’t take long for Match Group to become the crazy ex -- filing a patent infringement suit against Bumble right around the time they resumed talks of rekindling their acquisition flame.
But, you know what they say… fool me once…
This isn’t Bumble founder/CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd’s first rodeo, and she’s certainly no stranger to bullying tactics. She left Tinder in 2014 after being harassed by co-founder and then-boyfriend Justin Mateen via text message and company events.
Yesterday, Match Group said Bumble’s lawsuit had “no substance” and that they looked forward to “proving that in court.” If Herd stays true to character, a ‘kiss and make-up’ scenario won’t be happening anytime soon.
Post-grad students may have found the answer to the world’s sand shortage
Between 1900 and 2010, the use of natural resources to build infrastructure increased 23-fold, making sand, a major ingredient in concrete, one of the world’s biggest extractions.
Because of that, the world is now facing a potentially disastrous sand shortage that could affect everything from glass-making, to computer chip manufacturing, to the concrete-centric construction industry.
Now, a group of researchers at the Imperial College London have invented a new material they call Finite, a biodegradable concrete substitute that’s more easily disposed of, with half the carbon footprint.
And it’s made from… more sand
Turns out, we aren’t running out of ALL sand, just the courser, grittier water-swept sand found on beaches and river beds conducive to making concrete (its grittiness makes it easier to bind).
But the group has found a way to make Finite using smooth, wind-swept desert sand, which until now has been useless for construction -- meaning there’s TONS of it.
Plus, it’s recyclable
Aggressive mining of the scarce resource is destroying water-based environments, killing wildlife in the process.
Finite is not only biodegradable, but unlike concrete, it’s also recyclable, making it ideal for short-term infrastructure like pavilions.
So just to recap… Finite is a biodegradable, reusable product that uses sand we have an abundance of, is just as strong as concrete, and all-in-all better for the environment -- what’s the holdup?
The ol’ pencil pushers, of course. According to one of the researchers on the project, they are currently working to get Finite approved for building regulations, then it’s full steam ahead.
These laptops are for the shakers, movers, and side hustlers. They’re the tools that an aspiring novelist is hammering away with at the corner cafe -- the digital steam engine that the developer rides to write their finest lines of code.
The Acer Spin 5 laptop packs high-end specs in a small package, with a price tag you won’t lose sleep over.
Peek inside the all-metal shell and you’ll find a 13-hour battery, Intel 2.3 GHz processor, Windows 10 productivity, and -- our designer’s favorite -- a 360-degree back-bending hinge.
The Spin 5 is a serious tool for serious standouts. ’Nuff said.