In brief A US Department of Defense staffer with top-secret clearance stole the identities of dozens of people from a work IT system to fraudulently apply for loans totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
Kevin Lee, 41, of Chula Vista, southern California, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wire fraud.
Lee, who worked for Uncle Sam's Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) as an analyst, raided the organization's Microsoft SharePoint system for people's private data to pull off his greedy scheme. It's said that he applied for and was able to get as much as $244,500 in loans under other people's names to cover his own debts, personal expenses, and bills.
Diem, the spurned cryptocurrency payment system spawned under the name Libra by Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook (itself now operating as Meta) will reportedly sell its assets to Silvergate Capital Corporation.
Silvergate, which announced a partnership with the Diem Association in May 2021, is negotiating with Diem to buy its technology for something like $200m, according to reports from Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico.
The deal has not yet been publicly finalized but it may be soon – a Diem spokesperson declined comment when asked to confirm the reports but said he'd be in touch immediately if the situation changes.
Chip megadeals have become daunting, with governments looking at transactions suspiciously, though AMD can breathe a sigh of relief: the path to acquire FPGA giant Xilinx is now clearer.
The National Anti-Monopoly Policy Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation of the People's Republic of China has approved the $35bn all-stock takeover that was announced in October 2020, according to an 8-K filing [PDF] by AMD with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
In late December, AMD said it had to delay closing the deal as China's regulators were still reviewing the proposal. The US and EU have already approved the acquisition; AMD now expects the merger to close in the first quarter of 2022 thanks to the Middle Kingdom's approval.
Samsung blamed disruptions in the global supply chain for failing to meet its own guidance for DRAM and NAND shipments during final three months of 2021, nevertheless racked up a record quarterly sales at group level.
The South Korean megacorp said Q4 2021 delivered revenue of ₩76.57 trillion ($63.8bn), up 24 per cent year-on-year, and an operating profit of ₩13.87trn ($11.6bn), up almost 5 per cent.
Indicating the volatility in the sector, Semiconductor unit turnover was up 43 per cent year-on-year to ₩26.01trn ($21.6bn) but fell 2 per cent on the prior quarter. Similarly, the Memory division grew 44 per cent year-on-year to ₩19.45trn ($16.16bn), but fell 7 per cent sequentially.
A small SNAFU in Linux kernel land meant that a notification regarding the stable review cycle for the 5.16.3 release didn't reach everyone it should have.
For the first time in the 31-year history of the Linux kernel, there were over 999 commits to a stable version, which caused a very minor problem.
Greg Kroah-Hartman, lead maintainer of the
-stable branch, has a set of scripts which CC various interested parties when there's been a new release.
QNAP has urged NAS users to act "immediately" to install its latest updates and enable security protections after warning that product-specific ransomware called Deadbolt is targeting users' boxen.
"DeadBolt has been widely targeting all NAS exposed to the internet without any protection and encrypting users' data for Bitcoin ransom," warned the Taiwanese company in a statement late yesterday.
The ransomware leaves a note demanding payment of 0.03 Bitcoins.
HP is hiking the UK price of Instant Ink monthly plans by more than 50 per cent in some cases, although the company website is still showing the cost of the soon-to-be out-of-date bands.
The subscription service was launched in the UK in 2014, and "eliminates ink anxiety" according to the US vendor, with a small cartridge in the box re-ordering ink before it runs out. HP also said it "slashes ink costs" in half when compared to the cost per page using most low-end colour inkjet toners.
There were 10 million plus subscribers [PDF] to the service globally as of October 2021, according to HP's Securities Analyst Meeting. The firm said revenues generated by Instant Ink in fiscal '21 were forecast to grow 30 per cent year-on-year to more than $500m. HP reported pre-tax profit from printing for the whole financial year of $3.635bn, up from $2.49bn a year earlier.
Project Gemini is a new internet protocol designed to be simpler and lighter to make it easier for people to design, run, and use their own websites.
Described by network engineer Stéphane Bortzmeyer at FOSDEM 2021 as a new ultra-simple protocol that is modern but "looks retro," it was designed to help the user opt out of "pervasive user tracking [and]... distractions from the actual content."
Some of those with a penchant for irritating spelling call it the "smol web." It's light enough for vintage computers, and easy to create both clients and pages. It's not designed to replace the web, but as an adjunct to it. It also makes it much easier to host your own site. As the project points out, it's "heavier than gopher... lighter than the web, [and] will not replace either."
Microsoft has cancelled the latest release of Azure Sphere OS, its take on securing IoT devices, citing problems reported by a customer during evaluation.
Far be it from us to wonder if that is THE Azure Sphere customer, or one of a multitude. After all, if an IoT device has a borked connection, but nobody is using the thing, can it truly be said to have borked at all?
Philosophy aside, the reported issue is concerned with intermittent network connection failures during the OS update while using the ENC28J60 Ethernet interface for internet connectivity. "To adhere to our quality standards," intoned the company, "we are cancelling the 22.01 release while we investigate this."
In a reminder – if ever one were needed – of the sheer brass neck of celebrity tech CEOs, Bill McDermott, head honcho at helpdesk-cum-workflow-slinger ServiceNow, has informed investors that mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are bad for tech integration and engineers hate them.
ServiceNow has reported revenue of $1.6bn in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021, up 29 per cent on a year earlier. The firm posted a $2m loss, which had narrowed slightly, but was bullish about the future. Subscription sales hit $1.5bn in the fourth quarter, up 30 per cent on a year earlier. The firm expects them to reach $1.6bn by the next quarter, 25 per cent growth year-on-year.
But it was the earnings call that might just to ruffle the feathers of seasoned industry watchers.
US scientists have succeeded in demonstrating self-heating plasma in a crucial step towards self-sustaining fusion energy.
Researchers at National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have published a peer-reviewed paper describing how they achieved burning plasma — where the heat from fusing nuclei take over as the main source of fuel heating — across four experiments which each produced more than 100 kilojoules of energy.
The result marks an important milestone towards the promised land of nuclear fusion, but is only one step toward true ignition – where a self-sustaining reaction will produce more energy than goes in. Even then, engineering challenges of efficiency, scale and reliability remain on the road ahead.
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