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Ubisoft Montreal staffers barricade on roof, escorted out by police [Updated]

EnlargeGetty Images / Ubisoft / Aurich Lawson Update, 7:15pm: The 911 call that set the police response in motion was a hoax, the CBC reports. Montreal police confirmed only that the police operation is over, with no threat detected and no injuries reported. "An investigation will follow to shed light on the call behind this important police force deployment," the SPVM added. Ubisoft issued statement around 7:30pm Eastern Time saying that the company was "relieved" all of its staff in Ubisoft Montreal were safely evacuated. "We commend the strength and solidarity of all of our team members in this complex and stressful situation," the company added. "We are grateful for the prompt response of the police and local authorities. We will continue to provide our teams with all the necessary support to cope with this traumatic event." Original story: A tense situation at the Ubisoft Montreal game studio ended on Friday with staffers being formally escorted out of the building by police. A..

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Hackers sponsored by Russia and North Korea are targeting COVID-19 researchers

EnlargeGetty Images Hackers sponsored by the Russian and North Korean governments have been targeting companies directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, and in some cases, the attacks have succeeded, Microsoft said on Friday. In all, there are seven prominent companies that have been targeted, Microsoft Corporate VP for Customer Security & Trust Tom Burt said. They include vaccine makers with COVID-19 vaccines in various clinical trial stages, a clinical research organization involved in trials, and a developer of a COVID-19 test. Also targeted were organizations with contracts with or investments from governmental agencies around the world for COVID-19-related work. The targets are located in the US, Canada, France, India, and South Korea. “Microsoft is calling on the world’s leaders to affirm that international law protects health care facilities and to take action to enforce the law,” Burt wrote in a blog post. “We believe the law should be enforced n..

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Vaccine czar calls on Trump to allow contact with Biden

Enlarge / President Donald Trump listens as Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKlines vaccines division, speaks about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer | Getty Images The head of Donald Trump’s flagship vaccine project has called on the White House to allow Operation Warp Speed to make contact with Joe Biden’s transition team, warning that interrupting its work would put thousands of lives at risk. Moncef Slaoui, a veteran pharmaceuticals executive who was appointed by Mr. Trump to accelerate the hunt for a vaccine, told the Financial Times he wanted to make sure his project continued operating without impediment during the transfer of power. The comments from Mr. Slaoui, whose project is overseeing the development of five potential vaccines, come as the president faces pressure to concede defeat and allow a transition to the Biden administration to begin. Mr. Slaoui said: “I hope nothing in..

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After US election, extremists use fringe social networks to push fraud claims, violence

Efforts by Facebook and Twitter to squash false claims of election fraud are hitting a big obstacle: The messages are running wild on smaller fringe networks popular among the far right — then boomeranging back onto the mainstream platforms. Extremist groups, white nationalists and conspiracy theorists — some claiming ties to QAnon, which alleges a so-called deep-state plot to undermine Donald Trump — have taken to encrypted messaging apps and online message boards. There, they promote viral videos of unproven voter fraud, urge supporters to ready their guns in support of Trump and push anti-Semitic and racist claims about election officials, according to POLITICO’s review of multiple Telegram channels, 4Chan discussions and conversations on Parler, a social network favored by more mainstream conservatives. Such discussions have skyrocketed on these alternative platforms since the November 3 election, creating a safe harbor for those pushing claims of fraud and a venue to push for r..

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This farmer’s field was once a powerful stronghold in Iron Age Norway

Enlarge In June, archaeologists began unearthing a Viking ship from a farmer’s field in eastern Norway. The 1,000- to 1,200-year-old ship was probably the grave of a local king or jarl, and it once lay beneath a monumental burial mound. A 2018 ground-penetrating radar survey of a site called Gjellestad, on the fertile coastal plain of Vikiletta, revealed the buried ship. The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, or NIKU, announced the ship find in 2018, and it announced earlier in 2020 that excavations would begin over the summer to save the vessel from wood-eating fungus. NIKU archaeologist Lars Gustavsen and his colleagues’ recent study is the first academic publication of the survey results, and it includes the previously announced Gjellestad ship burial as well as the other ancient tombs and buildings. In the recently published paper, the radar images reveal the ghosts of an ancient landscape surrounding the royal tomb: farmhouses, a feasting hall, and centuries of b..

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We’ll need more than one vaccine to beat the pandemic

Enlarge / A medical worker holds a bottle of a candidate COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University that is being tested in a trial in Soweto, South Africa.Getty | Gallo Images On Monday, a press release from the transnational pharmaceutical company Pfizer dropped a rare spark of hope into the ongoing misery of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, new infections have hit an all-time high in the United States, and, yes, cities and states around the world are walking back their reopenings. But Pfizer says it has results from a massive clinical trial showing that its vaccine against the disease works, and works well. The release touted “a vaccine efficacy rate above 90 percent,” and it announced the company’s intention to seek from the US Food and Drug Administration an authorization to start giving people shots. The company’s ready to make 50 million doses this year and 1.3 billion doses in 2021. That’s an ember of hope, but it’s sitting under a bucket of cold water, ready to pour. The Pfi..

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Hackers can use just-fixed Intel bugs to install malicious firmware on PCs

EnlargeGetty Images As the amount of sensitive data stored on computers has exploded over the past decade, hardware and software makers have invested increasing amounts of resources into securing devices against physical attacks in the event that they’re lost, stolen, or confiscated. Earlier this week, Intel fixed a series of bugs that made it possible for attackers to install malicious firmware on millions of computers that use its CPUs. The vulnerabilities allowed hackers with physical access to override a protection Intel built into modern CPUs that prevents unauthorized firmware from running during the boot process. Known as Boot Guard, the measure is designed to anchor a chain of trust directly into the silicon to ensure that all firmware that loads is digitally signed by the computer manufacturer. Boot Guard protects against the possibility of someone tampering with the SPI-connected flash chip that stores the UEFI, which is a complex piece of firmware that bridges a PC’s device..

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Margrethe Vestager goes into coronavirus quarantine

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission, has gone into self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. In a tweet today, she said that “a working relation” had tested positive for the virus. “I have been tested, am now in quarantine and will work from home the coming week.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, a number of European commissioners have had to go into quarantine, including President Ursula von der Leyen, Frans Timmermans, Valdis Dombrovskis and Stella Kyriakides. Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, tested positive for the disease. Read More – Source politico

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The iOS COVID-19 app ecosystem has become a privacy minefield

Enlarge / Around 44 percent of COVID-19 apps on iOS ask for access to the phone's camera. 32 percent asked for access to photos.Vincenzo Pinto | Getty Images When the notion of enlisting smartphones to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced last spring, it sparked a months-long debate: should apps collect location data, which could help with contact tracing but potentially reveal sensitive information? Or should they take a more limited approach, only measuring Bluetooth-based proximity to other phones? Now, a broad survey of hundreds of COVID-19-related apps reveals that the answer is all of the above. And that has made the COVID-19 app ecosystem a kind of wild, sprawling landscape, full of potential privacy pitfalls. Late last month, Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital Forensics Initiative at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, released the results of his analysis of 493 COVID-19-related iOS apps across dozens of countries. His study of those apps, which tack..

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It’s launch day for the historic Crew-1 mission to the space station

Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon, now certified to fly NASA astronauts for long-duration missions on board the International Space Station. Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Crew-1 Dragon with the crew access arm extended and ready for the astronauts to board. Trevor Mahlmann for Ars The full-stack Falcon 9 launch vehicle, now certified by NASA to fly NASA astronauts for long-duration missions on board the space station. Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Close-up of the capsule and 2nd stage of the Falcon 9, adorned with the iconic NASA 'worm' and 'meatball' insignia. Trevor Mahlmann for Ars A launch technician is seen walking down the access arm, preparing the Crew Dragon for launch. Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Crew-1 launches on Sunday, November 15, at 7:27pm EST. Trevor Mahlmann for Ars SpaceX and NASA made history in May by launching two astronauts—Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken—into orbit on board the privately developed Crew Dragon spacecraft. After that highly successful two-..

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