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Tech censorship is nothing new, but a recent spate of permanent bans from the WhatsApp messaging service has users the world over spooked. Here’s your guide to keeping your nose clean and avoiding a ban.
In February, WhatsApp announced how it intended to fight spam and abuse without the need to invade users' privacy. One of its methods involved scanning unencrypted group content and metadata (group date creation, group subject, group description, etc..) as well as the rate of messaging to identify potential scammers and other assorted bad actors.
What’s at stake. Some 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp around the world. The company removes over two million spam accounts per month, 75 percent of which are automatically removed by the app's machine learning algorithm. A whopping 20 percent of these fake accounts are caught at registration. The company prides itself on protecting users’ privacy, though with varying degrees of success, as recent scandals have shown.

For roughly six months now, the world’s No.1 telecom equipment vendor and No. 2 phone manufacturer has been cut off from the US market, while Washington has been lobbying its allies to reject the firm’s 5G technology over allegations of espionage.
Chinese telecom giant Huawei will grant a mammoth bonus to its employees for their efforts in resisting US pressure, Asian media reports. According to an internal memo seen by the Nikkei Asian Review, the company, which employs over 190,000 workers worldwide, will double staff salaries in October as “a special dedication award.” An additional bonus would reportedly be distributed to all employees with a performance rating higher than C, who haven’t been reported for information security violations. The South China Morning Post clarifies, citing Huawei employees who spoke on condition of anonymity, that the double salary will be allocated to the employee bank accounts on Friday, 15 November, just days after China’s Black Friday-style shopping holiday known as Singles Day.
The separate cash bonus is said to be worth a whopping 2 billion yuan, or $285 million, according to the South China Morning Post, it will be shared among people working in R&D, especially at Huawei’s chip-making subsidiary HiSilicon and the developers of Huawei’s in-house operating systems.

A Wall Street regulator is opening a probe into Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s credit card practices after a viral tweet from a tech entrepreneur alleged gender discrimination in the new Apple Card’s algorithms when determining credit limits. A series of posts from David Heinemeier Hansson starting Thursday railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got. The tweets, many of which contain profanity, immediately gained traction online, even attracting comments from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for either of them but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife has a better credit score than he does. “The department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” said a spokesman for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services. “Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.” “Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law,” said Goldman spokesman Andrew Williams. Hansson said Goldman’s response doesn’t explain what happened after he started airing his issues on social media. “As soon as this became a PR issue, they immediately bumped up her credit limit without asking for any additional documentation,” he said in an interview. “My belief isn’t there was some nefarious person wanting to discriminate. But that doesn’t matter. How do you know there isn’t an issue with the machine-learning algo when no one can explain how this decision was made?” More details can be found on OUR FORUM.

T-Mobile is the last of the major cellular service providers in the United States to officially launch a 5G network, with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all in on the action already. Today, however, the company announced its plans to launch its 5G network on December 6, and as expected, it'll be based on the 600MHz spectrum that the Un-carrier has been promoting for some time. Not only that, T-Mobile says this will be nationwide 5G, covering more than 200 million people and 5,000 cities, which is easily ahead of its competitors in terms of scale. To use the company's 5G network, you'll need a Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G or a OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition, and if T-Mobile's merger with Sprint is approved, those devices will support Sprint's sub-6GHz 5G network, too. In addition to the network launch on December 6, T-Mobile made a few promises in case its merger with Sprint is approved. First, the company announced the Connecting Heroes Initiative, which will see the carrier providing free 5G access to every first responder in "public and non-profit state and local police, fire and EMS agency across the entire country". The New T-Mobile promises to maintain this commitment for 10 years. There's also Project 10Million, which will see a $10 billion investment from New T-Mobile to give free internet to children in households with no internet connection, in an attempt to bridge the "homework gap" - T-Mobile says seven out of 10 teachers assign online homework. In addition, T-Mobile will invest $700 million to provide hardware to 10 million households. Recipients of Project 10Million will get 100GB of free data per year, plus a T-Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for free, and even those users will be able to benefit from the company's 5G network. Learn more from OUR FORUM.

Beijing has announced plans to develop 6G technology in the hope of cementing its supremacy in wireless connection amid a US-led crusade against Chinese companies over 5G networks. China’s Science and Technology Ministry has set up two teams to develop a 6G network. The first group links several government agencies, while the second one unites more than 30 experts from various universities, research centers and corporations. Speaking at a “kick-off” meeting over the weekend, Vice Minister Wang Xi noted that current global knowledge in the relevant field remains at an “exploratory stage” and the exact path to 6G is “still not clear.” However, Beijing is determined to win the race to dominate in wireless technology and will present a detailed plan for 6G development sometime in the future. Chinese companies have been in intense competition with their US and South Korean rivals to roll out 5G networks, which would allow for faster internet speed and more advanced smartphones. Last week, three state-backed operators began offering ‘superfast’ 5G services to Chinese consumers. The CEO of Huawei, one of the leaders in 5G revolution, Ren Zhengfei, confirmed in September that the company started to work on 6G “a long time ago,” but the technology is still “10 years out.”

Security researchers have spotted the first mass-hacking campaign using the BlueKeep exploit; however, the exploit is not being used as a self-spreading worm, as Microsoft was afraid it would happen last May when it issued a dire warning and urged users to patch. Instead, a hacker group has been using a demo BlueKeep exploit released by the Metasploit team back in September to hack into unpatched Windows systems and install a cryptocurrency miner. This BlueKeep campaign has been happening at scale for almost two weeks, but it's been only spotted today by cybersecurity expert Kevin Beaumont. The British security expert said he found the exploits in logs recorded by honeypots he set up months before and forgot about. First attacks date back to October 23, Beaumont told ZDNet. Beaumont's discovery was confirmed by Marcus "MalwareTech" Hutchins, the security researcher who stopped the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, and who's a recognized expert in the BlueKeep exploit. The attacks discovered by Beaumont are nowhere near the scale of the attacks Microsoft was afraid of back in May, when it likened BlueKeep to EternalBlue, the exploit at the heart of the WannaCry, NotPetya, and Bad Rabbit ransomware outbreaks of 2017. Microsoft engineers were terrified that BlueKeep would trigger another world-spanning malware outbreak that spread on its own, from an unpatched system to an unpatched system. However, the first mass-hacking operation didn't turn out to include self-spreading, worm-like capabilities. Instead, the hackers appear to search for Windows systems with RDP ports left exposed on the internet, deploy the BlueKeep Metasploit exploit, and later a cryptocurrency miner. Follow this thread on OUR FORUM.

 

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