When the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, more widely known simply as Teamsters, was targeted by ransomware back in 2019, the US and Candian labor union simply refused to pay, new reports have revealed.
Asked for $2.5 million, Teamsters decided to simply rebuild its entire network instead of caving in to the demands of the attackers, NBC News reported, based on details shared by anonymous sources.
The sources familiar with the previously unreported attack claim that back then even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advised the union to just pay the ransom, a far cry from its current stance.
When Teamsters officials alerted the FBI and asked for help in identifying the source of the attack, they were informed that theirs wasn’t an isolated incident and that the bureau had their hands full.
“They said ‘this is happening all over D.C. … and we’re not doing anything about it,'” one of the three anonymous sources told NBC News.
No easy way out
The sources added that Teamsters officials initially bargained with the attackers over the dark web, negotiating the ransom down to $1.1 million.
However, unlike the FBI, the group was advised by its insurance company not to settle with the attackers, which is why they decided to restore their network from backup.
An official Teamsters spokesperson told NBC News that the perpetrators only managed to lock one of the union’s two email systems along with some other data, though personal information for its millions of active and retired members was never compromised.
The spokesperson added that while Teamsters was able to restore virtually all of its data from backups, some of it had to be imported from hard copies.
Tip of the iceberg
Those were simpler times, and ransomware gangs hadn’t learned the art of double extortion.
No data was exfiltrated and there were no threats of leaks. If a victim refused to pay, the threat actors would chalk it up to experience and simply move on to their next target.
However, the revelation once again highlights how many organizations simply don’t share details about the attacks.
If it wasn’t for Avaddon releasing the decryption keys for their victims, we wouldn’t have found out that the group attacked 2934 targets, a staggeringly large number compared to the mere 88 reported victims.
Stalker 2, the long-awaited sequel to the open world shooter which is set to launch in April 2022, has had its system requirements revealed – and they’re relatively hefty in some respects.
While some elements of the PC spec are not so demanding, there are a couple of minimum requirements which will raise some eyebrows, mainly on the GPU and storage front. Let’s look at those requirements in full first:
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER / GTX 1080 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
Drive Space: 150GB – SSD required
As mentioned, the minimum spec calling for at least a GTX 1060 (6GB) graphics card – or Radeon RX 580 – seems fairly steep (remember, this is the bare minimum GPU you can use, and so isn’t going to provide that great a result). With the recommended spec, you’ll need to have an RTX 2070 Super or RX 5700 XT, no less.
Also, an SSD is a requirement, so those gamers still using a hard drive will be out of luck. Doubling up the pain here is the installation size being 150GB, a whopping chunk of space that smaller SSDs could struggle with (for those gamers who bought a small and more affordable model).
That said, this isn’t so surprising, as we’ve seen some pretty huge install sizes in recent history – for example, Red Dead Redemption 2 also took up 150GB of drive space, then there’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare which eats up over 200GB these days.
Stalker 2’s spec insists on an SSD as a minimum requirement, though, making it compulsory. That’s in much the same vein as World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, which specifies an SSD in the minimum requirements, though says a hard disk is usable, while noting “depending on the performance of the drive, player experience may be impacted on HDD [hard disk drive]”. We suspect it’s the same case with Stalker 2, just that the caveat has been dispensed with.
The minimum requirement calls for 8GB of RAM, but like many games now, the recommended spec is 16GB.
As mentioned, Stalker 2 is due to debut next year on April 28, and has been in the works for a long, long time. In fact, the sequel was expected to arrive in 2012 originally, and a few years back we heard about a fresh release timeframe of 2021 – although that has obviously slid slightly now. There’s no guarantee that it might not slide a bit further, too, but better that than release a buggy game.
The US Supreme Court has given LinkedIn another chance to try to prevent a company from harvesting personal data from its public profiles.
A couple of years ago, a US federal court told the Microsoft-owned professional networking platform that it could not block companies like hiQ Labs from scraping personal data from public profiles.
Talent management company hiQ Labs uses public data to analyze employee attrition, which is a use-case that LinkedIn contended threatened the privacy of its users. While the Supreme Court said it would not take on the case, it did order the 9th Circuit of Appeals court to hear the case again.
Reporting on the development, Engadget notes that the bone of contention in the case is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, which prohibits accessing a computer without authorization.
In the original case, LinkedIn argued that the mass scraping of its users’ profiles was in violation of the CFAA. The court however sided with hiQ Labs which was of the opinion that a ruling against data scraping could “profoundly impact open access to the Internet.”
However, a recent development has brought the issue back to the surface. TechCrunch explains that in a recent case, the Supreme Court ruled that a person cannot violate the CFAA if they improperly access data on a computer they have permission to use.
The case involved a police officer combing through the license plate database for an acquaintance in exchange for cash. The Supreme Court found this wasn’t in violation of the CFAA, in a way imposing a limit on what kind of conduct can be prosecuted, enabling LinkedIn to make its case again.
Privacy advocacy groups such as the Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF) have been critical of the CFAA arguing that the three-decade old law wasn’t framed keeping in mind the sensibilities of the Internet-age.
With most of us now reliant on an ever-growing number of password-protected online accounts and services, the number of login credentials we need to remember is staggering.
Thankfully, modern web browsers can help out, storing and filling in passwords for us – and Microsoft is expanding the capabilities of Edge’s Password Manager tool to do just that.
The password manager feature itself is far from new, and it has been able to let you know if any of your stored passwords have been involved in data breaches for quite a while. But Microsoft has now added a new password heath feature to provide at-a-glance information about credentials.
Password Health can be found as an optional toggle on the main Password setting page in Edge – edge://settings/passwords. With the toggle enabled, a new Health Column appears on the page, complete with an icon to indicate the health status of each of the passwords you have asked the browser to save for you.
An icon featuring a single line indicates a Weak and reused password, while one with two lines indicates a Weak password (or) resused password. An icon with three lines means that there is No known vulnerability for the password, while a red circle is indicative of a Leaked password. a fifth icon is used to indicate those passwords you have told Edge to ignore.
As the health information is displayed in a sortable column, it is possible to quickly and easily group all of your weak, resused or compromised passwords together. This makes the process of changing them to boost security a much simpler one.
At the moment, the Password Health functionality is only available in Microsoft Edge Canary 93 which is available to download here. If you’re not keen on using a potentially unstable version of the browser, it should only be a matter of weeks before the feature progress to the Beta builds, and ultimately the main release version of Edge.
Check out our list of the best VPN services right now
Eve Systems has been adding more and more Thread-enabled smart gadgets to its portfolio, including the Eve Aqua sprinkler controller (which we’ve previously reviewed) and the Eve Energy smart plug (ditto). Now comes Eve Door & Window, a HomeKit- and Thread-capable contact sensor, and it’s as easy to set up and use as Eve’s Aqua and Energy products. With able assistance from the Eve app, Eve Door & Window supports powerful automations and lets you take a deep dive into when, and how often, your doors and windows have been opened and closed.
At $40, however, Eve Door & Window is mighty expensive for a contact sensor, and while it does support HomeKit, it doesn’t work with Alexa or Google Assistant, which means only Apple users need apply. You can also configure it to trigger lighting scenes when you arrive home, or to turn down the thermostat when someone opens the window, so it’s geared more toward home automation than home security; for the latter, you’re on your own in terms of integrating the sensor with a third-party security system. Eve doesn’t offer one of its own, and the only HomeKit-compatible security systems we know of are from Abode (note that we did not test the Eve Door & Window with either the original Abode home security system or the Abode Iota).
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart home systems, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
Eve Door & Window consists of two components: a larger (2.1 x 1.0 x 0.9 inches) sensor module (or reed switch) and a smaller (0.7 x 0.7 x 0.3 inches) piece that contains a magnet. Each component comes with a peel-and-stick backing, and little dots on each piece show you where they need to line up.
The Eve Door & Window sensor module is powered by a half-AA (ER14250 3.6V) battery, which is included in the box. Eve Systems says the sensor should run for more than a year on a single battery. I’ve only been using my sample unit for two months, but so far, so good.
Connectivity and smart home integration
Eve Door & Window comes equipped with both Bluetooth connectivity as well as support for Thread, the low-power, low-latency wireless protocol that we’re starting to see on more and more smart devices, including several other recent Eve products and Nanoleaf’s Essentials, Shapes, and Elements lines.
The battery-powered Eve Door & Window acts as a Thread endpoint (as does the Eve Aqua, which also runs on a battery), while the plugged-in Eve Energy and Nanoleaf’s Thread-enabled lights are Thread routers, which can extend Thread networks by connecting multiple Thread devices together.
While the use of a Thread border router is one way to access Eve Door & Window when you’re away from home, it isn’t the only way. The sensor can also connect to a HomeKit “home hub” device such as an Apple TV (HD or better) or a HomePod speaker via Bluetooth; with that connection established, you’ll be able to see Eve Door & Window’s status even when you and your iPhone are out of Bluetooth range.
While Eve Door & Window are compatible with HomeKit and Thread, it doesn’t work with Alexa or Google Assistant. That means the sensor is pretty much only for Apple users. Now, it’s possible that Matter, a new smart home standard that promises to unite the Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit ecosystems, could change that situation, given that Thread is a pillar of Matter. Don’t hold your breath, however; the first Matter-enabled devices aren’t due to arrive until the end of the year, and it’s not clear if Eve Systems will retroactively certify Eve Door & Window for Matter.
Getting Eve Door & Window up and running is as easy as advertised. Both the sensor module and the smaller magnet component have peel-and-stick backings, so all you need to do (after installing the half-AA battery into the sensor) is attach one piece on the door or window and the other on the trim, so that the matching square of dots on each piece line up with each other.
Now, you may notice that the magnetic piece of the Eve Door & Window kit is roughly ⅔-inch shorter than the sensor component when they’re both sitting on the same flat surface. That’ll work just fine if, say, your door frame protrudes from your wall; if your door and door frame are flush, however, the dots on the sensor and magnet pieces won’t line up. In that case, you’ll need to attach the included plastic risers to the magnet module. Four risers are provided, and you just snap on as many as you need to make the sensor and the magnet line up properly.
I managed to install Eve Door & Window on my front door in about 15 minutes, using all four of the risers since the door and its frame are flush. Two months later, the sensor still feels secure in my door, even after a total of (I’m consulting the Eve app here) 432 door opens.
Once you have the two Eve Door & Window pieces installed, you can add the accessory to HomeKit by scanning the QR code on the sensor module with your iPhone’s camera; doing so will jump you directly to the Apple Home app, where you can group the sensor with other HomeKit devices in a given room. In my case, I added the sensor to the kitchen.
The Eve Door & Window sensor will pop up in the Eve app as soon as you add it in Home. The beauty of the Eve app is that you don’t need to create a seperate Eve account to use it; instead, all your HomeKit devices simply appear there, and you can immediately begin organizing and automating them as you see fit. Eve Systems emphasizes that Eve Door & Window (as well as its other recent HomeKit products) connect to your home hub devices via end-to-end encryption, without ever contacting any other third-party services.
Features and functionality
On the most basic level, you can set Eve Door & Window to trigger HomeKit notifications whenever your door or window opens or closes.
Using the Home app, you can decide whether you’ll get the alerts all the time, only during the day, only at night, or at specific times. You can also choose only to get notifications when someone is home, when you’re home, when you’re away, or when nobody’s home.
While the Home app only tells the current status of the sensor, the Eve app can give you as much detail about the sensor’s contact history as you can stand.
For example, it can tell you how many total times a given door or window has been open, complete with a chart breaking down the data on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. There’s also a log (which you can export to an Excel doc) that details the exact times your door or window was opened, and for how long. Finally, the app prominently lists the last time the door/window was opened.
Besides monitoring the status of Eve Door & Window, the Eve app also lets you add the sensor to a wide variety of automations. For example, the sensor could trigger a lighting scene and tee up your favorite music playlist when you walk in the door, and you could set the automation so it would only run, say, on weekday evenings, right around when you typically get home from work. Another option would be to make the sensor dial down your air conditioning or heating when a window is opened, or to change the color of a light to warn you that the sensor had been tripped. Each automation allows you to add one or more triggers, conditions, and resulting scenes.
While Eve Door & Window could be integrated into a home security setup, Eve Systems doesn’t offer one of its own; instead, the manufacturer positions the sensor more as an all-purpose tool for home automation. If you’re more focused on security and/or professional home monitoring, you’ll need to integrate Eve Door & Window into a third-party HomeKit-compatible smart security kit. If you’d rather keep things simple. you might be better off with door and window sensors bundled with a smart home security kit, such as Ring Alarm (our current TechHive Editors’ Choice for smart home security systems).
What it does, Eve Door & Window does well. It was a snap to set up, it plays nice with HomeKit, and it’s easy to create automations that can do anything from set lighting scenes and tee up your tunes when you arrive home to adjust your HVAC system if someone opens a window. But $40 is pretty steep for a single contact sensor, and until Matter gets off the ground, Eve Door & Window is only good for Apple users.
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