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Technology 7 December 2020

The Week in Internet News: Two-Thirds of World’s School Children Lack Access

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Homework canyon: Two-thirds of the school children across the globe don’t have Internet access, according to a new report, India Today says. The report from the United Nations Children’s Fund and the International Telecommunication Union says the lack of access is a major problem during the COVID-19 pandemic. “That so many children and young people have no internet at home is more than a digital gap, it is a digital canyon,” said UNICEF Chief Henrietta Fore. “Lacking connectivity prevents young people from competing in the modern economy.”

A quantum breakthrough: A Chinese research team has built a quantum computer capable of performing computations nearly 100 trillion times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer, The Independent reports. The Chinese feat comes about a year after a Google team passed the same milestone, although the Chinese quantum computer uses a different setup than Google’s.

Research by smartphone: Smartphone users in 17 countries, including the U.K., Australia, South Africa, and Germany, are donating excess smartphone computing time to the DreamLab app, which uses the computing power to research treatment for people suffering from long-term COVID-19 effects. The study is being run by Imperial College London and the Vodafone Foundation charity, the BBC reports.

Spying through encryption: Media reports have linked a Swiss manufacturer of encryption equipment to U.S. spy agencies, Swissinfo reports. Omnisec is the second Swiss encryption company accused of ties to U.S. intelligence services. Earlier news reports said device maker Crypto was owned by the U.S. CIA and German intelligence agencies.

Crypto criminals: Microsoft is blaming Vietnamese-government backed hackers for cryptocurrency-mining malware, ZDNet reports. The hacking group, known as APT32 and OceanLotus, has largely focused on gathering information to help its government deal with political, economic, and foreign policy decisions. But recently, the group deployed coin miners that targeted both the private sector and government agencies in France and Vietnam. Microsoft says the group may be using crypto-mining malware to disguise other attacks or to generate new revenue.

Learn how you can 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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