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Technology 20 July 2020

The Week in Internet News: Hackers Target COVID-19 Research

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Hacking the research: Intelligence agencies from the U.S., U.K., and Canada have accused a Russian hacking group of targeting organizations conducting COVID-19 research, the Washington Post reports. The so-called Cozy Bear hacking group is trying to steal vaccine research specifically, the intelligence groups say.

Hacking the tweets: Meanwhile, 130 of Twitter’s most high-profile accounts were targeted by hackers recently, with a few of them compromised, in an apparent bitcoin scam, the New York Post writes. Among the accounts targeted were Kanye West, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and Warren Buffett. The hackers reportedly paid a Twitter employee to help them with the attack.

No data collection, please: The government of China is cracking down on apps that collect what it considers too much personal data, the South China Morning Post says. The government has ordered several tech companies, including Alibaba Group and Tencent, to remove non-compliant apps as soon as possible.

Broadband is fundamental: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has called broadband a “fundamental right” in an interview with CNN. Many rural areas in the U.S. still lack broadband, and that needs to change, he said. “If you think about the rural community today, they are going to thrive if the entire community is able to get the education, the upskilling, the health and … ecommerce and other facilities directly reaching them where they are,” he added.

Open to all: In a related story, the city of West Des Moines, Iowa, has announced that it is building an open-access fiber network. The network will allow ISPs to lease space on it, and Google Fiber is the first provider to sign up. Commenting on the move, TechDirt wrote: Community is “a helpful niche solution that not only result in better connectivity, but drive incumbents to try a little bit harder, an alien concept in a country where regulatory capture and a lack of competition have been the norm for the better part of thirty years.”

Ghosting the VPN: Some VPN providers in Hong Kong have shut down their servers in Hong Kong over concerns about a new national security law targeting the Chinese province, CNBC.com writes. Under the new law, people found guilty of secession or subversion can be punished with life in prison. Law enforcement agencies are also allowed in some cases to search electronic devices without a warrant.

Access to the Internet has never been more importantLearn about our work to help close the global digital divide.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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