Image Credit: Eric Zeman/ Android        Authority The January OTA pack for  Google Pixel 6 (“oropiole”) and Google Pixel 6 Pro (“raven”) has started rolling out. The software update brings fixes from December and January that should help  Pixel 6 series smartphones run at full speed after numerous bugs and problems seemed to affect the functionality. Google has revealed that the January software update for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is now available as factory images and full OTA images via the Google Play services website (12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007), Jan 2022 - specific device/images links can be found in "sources" below). Those who prefer to wait for the OTA package to arrive with a “check for update” notification may start receiving the update from Monday January 17 onwards according to a report from 9to5Google. The list of fixes for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in the December and January patches is extensive and an installation should help relieve some of the serious teething issues users have experienced. We recently reported on Google's flagship smartphones being criticized for their flaws, including a scathing comment from tech blogger Marques Brownlee who claimed he would return to his Galaxy S21 Ultra for now. However, it looks like it's ready to give the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro another chance as it's been busy downloading the software update (215MB of fixes in this particular case, presumably  from November) . Google took a lot of flak when the December update appeared to leave many Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones with critical issues like signal reception issues. Also, many users have complained about the battery drain issue in cellular network standby mode and the slow fingerprint sensor. >Browsing through the list of fixes (see drop-down element "changelog" below for full list) one can find several for battery and charging and for network and telephony. One of these is “general improvements for network connection stability and performance”, which will hopefully alleviate two of the more serious issues mentioned above. There are fixes for biometrics too, with a “general improvements” update coming for the fingerprint sensor. While it’s unlikely every single problem with the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro can be fixed with this December/January OTA package, it does seem that Google is at least paying attention to the growing din of complaints about the new Pixel phones and doing something proactive about the situation. Buy The Google Pixel 6 Pro On Amazon Buy the Google Pixel 6 on Amazon Source: NoteBook Check

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Patrick Pleul | picture alliance | Getty Images A Tesla lawyer has asked a law firm to fire one of its lawyers or risk losing his job for the electric carmaker led by Elon Musk, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.  The Tesla lawyer  wanted Cooley LLP to fire previously worked at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The attorney questioned Musk as part of the agency's investigation into the Tesla CEO's claim in 2018  that he secured funding to take Tesla private,  the publication said.  The investigation led to a settlement in which Musk and Tesla agreed to pay a fine of $20 million  each and Musk agreed to step down for three years as Tesla chairman.  Tesla's attorney late last year asked Cooley to fire the attorney working on the SEC investigation, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The firm did not fire the partner.  Tesla has offered to replace Cooley or hire other attorneys in several cases since December, according to the Journal.  Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, has also stopped working with the law firm on regulatory matters, she also stopped working. with the law firm, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Tesla has its  ties to the SEC. The company hired David Misler, a former defense attorney for the agency, as legal counsel. Musk has faced more regulators than the SEC.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated whether Tesla's Autopilot  assistance system is at least partially responsible for incidents where Tesla cars crashed into parked first responder vehicles.  The agency called Missy Cummings, a Duke University professor, automated systems expert, former Navy fighter pilot and Tesla critic, as a consultant on the investigation.  Musk tweeted in October  that "his resume is extremely biased in favor of Tesla," prompting outcry among his supporters.  NHTSA then asked Cummings to recuse himself from Tesla-specific questions, the Journal reported on Saturday. Source: CNBC

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In this undated handout photo released by Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Press Service, the building of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is seen during snowfall in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian officials and media reports say a number of government websites in Ukraine are down after a massive hacking attack. While it is not immediately clear who was behind the attacks, they come amid heightened tensions with Russia and after talks between Moscow and the West failed to yield any significant progress this week. (Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP) Microsoft said on Saturday that dozens of computer systems in an unknown number of Ukrainian government agencies were infected with destructive malware disguised as ransomware, a revelation that suggests a defacement attack that draws attention to official websites was a diversion.  The extent of the damage was not immediately clear. The attack comes as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms and diplomatic talks to resolve the tense standoff appear to have stalled. Microsoft said in a short blog post that this amounted to the sound of an industry alert that it first detected the malware on Thursday. This would coincide with the attack which temporarily took some 70 government websites offline. The disclosure followed a Reuters report earlier in the day quoting a senior Ukrainian security official as saying the disfigurement was indeed a cover for a malicious attack. Separately, a senior private sector cybersecurity official in Kyiv told The Associated Press how the attack was successful: intruders entered government networks through a shared software vendor in a self -so-called SolarWinds 2020 Russian cyber-espionage campaign-style supply chain attack against Microsoft said in another technical article that the affected systems "spread across multiple government, non-profit, and  technology and information Technology Organization.  "The malware is disguised as ransomware but, if activated by the attacker, would render the infected computer system inoperable," Microsoft said. In short, there is no ransom recovery mechanism.  Microsoft said the malware "runs when an associated device is turned off," a typical initial reaction to a ransomware attack. Microsoft said it was not yet able to assess the purpose of the destructive activity or associate the attack with a known threat actor.  Ukrainian security official Serhiy Demedyuk was quoted by Reuters for claiming that the attackers used malware similar to that used by Russian intelligence services. He is Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.  

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WhatsApp, owned by Meta, is actively developing its app and working on new features. The app's latest beta  on iOS reveals that a new feature may be coming soon worked on reactions to iMessage-like messages. In their latest findings, they discovered that a relevant setting has appeared in the new beta  on iOS. WABetaInfo shared that WhatsApp version 22.72  on iOS adds a new Reactions Notifications toggle to app settings.  With this toggle  visible to beta users, the feature may come to the platform fairly quickly. Alternatively, the company may have accidentally revealed this setting and may remove it in future betas if the Reactions feature is not yet ready. In 2020, Mark Zuckerberg shared that Meta (Facebook at the time) planned to merge the messaging systems of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. He said plans won't materialize until 2022. With WhatsApp likely to add reactions to messages soon, the gap between it and Facebook/Instagram direct messages (DMs) is narrowing even further.  The merger between Facebook and Instagram DMs has already happened, as both platforms support the same messaging features (for the most part). WhatsApp is still far from becoming similar to either of these two services. It remains to be seen whether the merger of the three will take place this year. It is also possible that the company is prevented from making this potential move for monopoly reasons.

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A 'CT scan' of the Universe across more than 5 billion light-years. (D. Schlegel/Berkeley Lab/DESI data The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), currently pointed skyward from its home in the Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, is tasked with tracking the expansion of space, to study dark energy and create the most detailed 3D map. of the Universe that was never assembled. It's only been seven months since the DESI mission began, and we already have a record-breaking, stunning three-dimensional image of the galaxy  all around us, demonstrating DESI's capabilities  and  potential  for mapping space. DESI has already cataloged and tracked over 7.5 million galaxies, with over a million new additions per month. When the scan is fully completed in 2026, more than 35 million galaxies would have been mapped, giving astronomers  a huge library of data to mine. "There's a lot of beauty in there," says Lawrence astrophysicist Julien guy in California. "In the distribution of  galaxies on the 3D map, there are huge clusters, filaments and voids.These are the largest structures in the Universe. But within them you will find an imprint of the  early Universe and the story of its expansion since DESI is made up of 5,000 optical fibers, each individually controlled and positioned ionized by its own little robot These fibers must be precisely positioned  within 10 microns,  less than the thickness of a human hair,  then catch glimpses of light as they filter through the Earth of the cosmos. Through this fiber network, the instrument takes color spectrum images of millions of galaxies, covering more than a third of the entire sky, before calculating how much the light has been redshifted – that is, how much it's been pushed towards the red end of the spectrum due to the expansion of the Universe. As this light can take up to several billion years to reach Earth, it's possible to use redshift data to see depth in the Universe: the greater the redshift, the farther away something is. What's more, the structures mapped by DESI can be reverse engineered to see the initial formation that they started out in. The main objective of DESI is to reveal more about the dark energy that is thought to make up 70 percent of the Universe as well as speeding up its expansion. This dark energy could drive galaxies into an infinite expansion, cause them to collapse back on themselves or something in between – and cosmologists are keen to narrow down the options. [DESI] will help us  search for clues about the nature of dark energy,” Carlos Frenk, a cosmologist at Durham University in the UK, told the BBC. We will also learn more about  dark matter and the role it plays in how it happens, forms galaxies such as the Milky Way, and how the universe evolves.The 3D map that has already been released shows that scientists don't have to wait for DESI to finish its work to start benefiting from its deep look into space explores whether or not small galaxies have their own black holes like large galaxies. The best way to spot a black hole is to identify the gas, dust and other material  dragged into it, but that's not easy to see in small galaxies - something where high-precision spectral data collected by DESI should help. Then there's the study of quasars, particularly bright galaxies powered by supermassive black holes, which serve as clues to billions of years of space history. DESI  will be used to test a hypothesis around quasars: that they start out surrounded by an envelope of dust that is chased away over time. The amount of dust around a quasar is believed to affect the color of the light it emits, making it a perfect job for DESI. The tool should be able to collect information on around 2.4 million quasars before its survey is complete."DESI is really great because it collects much fainter, much redder objects," says Durham University astronomer Victoria Fawcett. "We're finding quite a few exotic systems, including large samples of rare objects that we've simply never seen able to study in detail before. Source: ScienceAlert

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Netflix is ​​raising the prices of all  its plans in the United States today. The enterprise standard plan will increase from $14 to $15.50 per month, while the 4K plan will increase from $18 to $20 per month. The basic plan, which does not include HD, goes up to $10 per month from $9 per month. Prices in Canada are also on the rise. Price increases take effect immediately for new subscribers. For existing subscribers, the changes will be rolled out "gradually", with Netflix promising to email members 30 days before the price hike takes effect. The prices for a Netflix package have steadily increased over the past few years.  The standard plan went from $13 to $14 per month at the end of 2020, after dropping from $11 to $13 in 2019. Previously, Netflix raised prices in 2017 and 2015. When Netflix announced its first  price hike in 2014, the company was so worried about losing subscribers with a $1 a month hike that it allowed existing members to hold their price for two years. It hasn't offered such a generous perk in the years since then. The price hikes come during a successful but challenging moment for Netflix. The company already has a wealth of subscribers across the US, and adding more is a challenge — making price hikes an obvious answer for how it can make more money. At the same time, Netflix is now competing with several other serious streaming services for attention, including Disney Plus and HBO Max, and it’s been spending big on content to keep up. “We are updating our pricing so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options,” a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters.  "As always, we offer a range of plans so members can choose a price that fits their budget. Netflix isn't the only service that has increased prices lately. Hulu has increased the price of its funded tiers by advertising and without advertising of $1 per month in October.

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North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2021, making it one of the most profitable years yet for cybercriminals in the severely isolated country, according to a new report.  Hackers launched at least seven different attacks last year, mostly targeting corporate investments and centralized exchanges with a variety of tactics including phishing, malware and social engineering, according to a report by Chainalysis, a company that tracks cryptocurrencies.  Cybercriminals attempted to gain access to organizations' "hot" wallets: Internet-connected digital wallets, and then transfer funds to accounts controlled by the DPRK. The thefts are the latest indication that the heavily sanctioned country continues to rely on a network of hackers to help fund its domestic programs.  A confidential UN report previously accused North Korean regime leader Kim Jong Un of carrying out "operations against formerly moving financial institutions and virtual currency" to pay for weapons and keep the country afloat North Korean economy.  Last February, the US Department of Justice  charged three North Koreans with conspiring to steal more than $1.3 billion from banks and businesses around the world and orchestrating crypto thefts. digital currency. "North Korea is, in most respects, cut off from the global financial system by a long sanctions campaign by the United States and its foreign partners." said Nick Carlsen, an analyst at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs. “As a result, they have taken to the digital battlefield to steal cryptocurrencies, essentially [a] high-speed internet bank robbery, to fund weapons programs, nuclear proliferation and other activities.  > North Korea's hacking efforts have benefited from this.The rise in value of Rising prices and the use of cryptocurrencies have generally made digital assets increasingly attractive to malicious actors, which led to more successful cryptocurrency thefts in 2021.  According to Chainalysis, most of the thefts in the past year were committed by the Lazarus Group, a hacker group with ties to North Korea that was previously  linked to the  Sony Pictures hack, among other incidents. ie North Koreans, in addition to sanctiones cybersecurity defensive measures such as crimes such as criminql have no real chance of being extradited.  As the cryptocurrency market becomes more popular, "we are likely to see continued interest from North Korea in targeting cryptocurrency companies that are young and that are building  cyber defenses and anti-virus controls. -money laundering," Carlsen said.

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A healthcare worker administers the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to a pregnant woman, amidst the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 9, 2021. REUTERS/ Sumaya Hisham Unvaccinated people infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus may be less prone to severe illness and requiring hospital care or dying than was the case with previous variants, a South African study showed on Friday. The study, by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in the Western Cape region, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, concluded.compared about 11,600 patients from the first three COVID-19 waves with about 5,100 from the Omicron-driven wave that began in November. Omicron globally has tended to cause less severe disease, and proportionally fewer hospital admissions and deaths, than previous variants. Scientists are trying to determine the extent to which this is because of higher immunity rates engendered by vaccination or past illness, or Omicron is intrinsically less nasty. The study concluded that about a quarter of the reduced risk of severe disease with Omicron was attributable to characteristics of the virus itself. “In the Omicron-driven wave, severe COVID-19 outcomes were reduced mostly due to protection conferred by prior infection and/or vaccination, but intrinsically reduced virulence may account for an approximately 25% reduced risk of severe hospitalisation or death compared to Delta,” the study said.

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  The downside with offering APIs to interact with a car is that someone else's security problem might become your own. Getty Images A young hacker and computer security researcher has found a way to remotely interact with more than 25 Tesla electric vehicles in 13 countries, according to a Twitter thread he posted yesterday.  David Colombo explained in the thread that the flaw "wasn't a vulnerability in Tesla's infrastructure. It's the owner's fault." He claimed to be able to remotely disable a car's  camera system, unlock doors and open windows, and even start driving without a key. It could also determine the  exact location of the car. However, Colombo has made it clear that it can't actually interact with Tesla's steering, throttle, or brakes, so at least we don't have to worry about an army of remote-control electric vehicles doing a Fate reenactment.  Colombo says he reported the issue to Tesla's security team, which is investigating the matter. On a related note, early  Wednesday morning, a third-party app called TezLab reported seeing “multiple thousand Tesla Authentication Tokens expiring at the same time.”  The TezLab application uses Tesla's  APIs which allow applications to perform operations such as accessing the car and activating or deactivating the anti-theft camera system, unlocking doors, opening windows, etc

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 Representation of cryptocurrency Dogecoin is seen in this illustration taken November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) will accept the meme-based cryptocurrency dogecoin as payment for its products such as the "Giga Texas" belt buckle and mini  electric vehicle models, CEO Elon Musk said on Friday in a tweet.  The move which sent dogecoin prices up 14% higher, comes a month after Musk said Tesla would test  the digital token as a payment option. Musk, a voucal of cryptocurrencies has heavily influenced  dogecoin and bitcoin prices, and at one point  said the company would accept bitcoin for the purchase of its cars before scrapping the plans.  Tesla's products, which also include the recently launched "Cyberwhistle" and "Cyberquad for Kids," are a hit with its fans and typically sell out within  hours of listing. "Some have noticed that goods for doge are depleting even faster than for dollars. This news is a good example of the continued penetration of cryptocurrencies into corporate culture," said Alex Kuptsikevich, senior financial analyst at FxPro.  Musk on dogecoin's tweets, including  one where he called it the "people's crypto," turned the once obscure digital currency that started as a social media joke into a speculator's dream. The price of the token has increased by around 4,000% in 2021.  Tesla revealed last year that it purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin, and Musk  also claimed to own bitcoin and dogecoin.  Tesla faces intense competition as legacy automakers like Ford Motor Co (FN) and startups such as  Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O) are set to launch their electric car this year. Tesla's long-awaited Cybertruck will begin production in the first quarter of 2023, pushing  its plan to start production to late 2022, Reuters reported.

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Image Credit: REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/Illustration A massive cyber attack warning Ukrainians to "be afraid and expect the worst" hit government websites  on Thursday night, leaving some websites inaccessible on Friday morning and prompting Kyiv to open an investigation. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters it was too early to say who could be behind the attack, but said Russia had launched similar attacks in the past. The cyberattack, which affected the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Security and Defense Council, among others, comes as Kyiv and its allies sound the alarm on a possible new Russian military offensive against Ukraine. "It's too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long history of (cyber) Russian attacks on Ukraine in the past," the Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters. The Russian foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Russia has previously denied cyberattacks against Ukraine. "Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it," said a message visible on the hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish. "All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future." After a wave of inconclusive talks this week on security in Europe, the United States  on Thursday warned that the threat of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine was high. Russia said the dialogue continued but reached an impasse as it tried to persuade the West to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe, demand that Washington has called "non-starters". Commenting on a cyber attack a senior Ukrainian security official told Reuters: "All cybersecurity subjects  were aware of such possible provocations from the Russian Federation. Therefore, the response to these incidents is being carried out in accordance with the government. The government later claimed that he had restored most of the affected sites and that no personal data had been stolen. Many other government websites were suspended to prevent the attack from spreading, it said . Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of war between the same year. Kyiv forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The United States said on Thursday that Russia could try to create a pretext to launch a new military assault on Ukraine by comparing the situation with the circumstances of 2014. Russia warned of possible "catastrophic consequences" if there was no agreement on what the Kremlin called the security red lines, but said Moscow had not abandoned diplomacy and would even speed it up. The Russian comments reflect a trend in which Moscow claims to want to pursue diplomacy but rejects calls to reverse the training of its troops near Ukraine and warns of unspecified consequences for Western security if its demands are not heard. Ukraine has suffered a series of cyberattacks since 2014, which have cut power, frozen supermarket checkouts and forced  authorities to back the hryvnia currency after the bank's computer systems crashed. Ukraine believes the attacks are part of what it calls Russia's "hybrid war" against Ukraine and its allies. In 2017, a virus called NotPetya by some experts hit Ukraine and spread around the world, crippling thousands of machines as it spread to dozens of countries. The Kremlin has denied any involvement, dismissing "general unfounded accusations".

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Image Credit:Jeenah Moon/Reuters Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) aims to start initial production of its long-awaited Cybertruck by the end of the first quarter of 2023, pushing plans to start production later this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. He said the delay comes when Tesla changes the features and functions of the electric pickup to make it a compelling product as competition heats up in the segment. Tesla is expected to produce a limited production of the Cybertruck in the first quarter of 2023 before ramping up production, the source said. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla, the world's largest electric car maker, produces electric sedans and SUVs, but has lost the pickup truck segment, which is profitable and hugely popular in America.  Ford Motor Co (FN) and Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O). are ahead of Tesla in launching electric pickups.  Ford said early this month it will nearly double annual production capacity for its red-hot F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 150,000 vehicles ahead of its arrival this spring at U.S. dealers. Ford's market value topped $ 100 billion for the first time on Thursday, when Tesla shares fell 6.7% and Rivian's shares fell 7.1%. CEO Elon Musk, who unveiled the futuristic vehicle in 2019, had already delayed  production from late 2021 to late 2022.  Musk said he would provide an updated product roadmap during the earnings call for the Tesla on January 26. “Oh man, this year has been such a nightmare for the supply chain  and it's not over yet!” He tweeted in late November when asked about the Cybertruck.  Tesla recently removed a reference to its production schedule from its Cybertruck orders website. Last month, the website said, "You will be able to complete your setup as production nears in 2022." Now "in 2022" has been omitted. Tesla plans to produce the Cybertruck at its plant in Texas, which is slated to begin production of Model Y cars earlier this year.

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Microsoft is working on a new update for Windows 11 that will make the new operating system (OS) run better on dated and inexpensive hardware. Windows 11 Build 22526 has currently been made available to members of the Insider early access programme with multiple enhancements and fixes, Techradar reported. It is yet not clear when the update will be rolled out to the public. Though most of the new features are minor, the software giant is using this update to try out a new file location indexing system, hoping that the build will enable users to find out important files even faster using File Explorer. The File Explorer of the recently released Windows 11 works very slow and is still prone to frequent crashes. Users often have to suffer due to the slowness of the Search functionality. It takes a long time to return relevant searches if users have stored a huge number of files in the built-in hard drive. The new update could help you cruise through large number of files more quickly. More importantly, it will be very helpful for users who are running Windows 11 on cheap and dated devices that suffer lengthy load times affecting performance. Other upgrades that will be released in the upcoming Windows 11 update include wideband speech support which will improve the audio quality of voice calls if you are using products such as Apple Airpods. There will also be a new “windowed” system to the popular Alt + Tan functionality.

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  A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration The White House will meet with executives from major tech companies, including Alphabet-owned Google (GOOGL.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc, , to discuss software security after the United States have suffered several major cyber attacks last year.  In December, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sent a letter to CEOs of tech companies after  a security vulnerability was discovered in open source software called Log4j that organizations around the world are using. to save data in their applications. In the letter, Sullivan noted that this open source software is widely used and maintained by volunteers and is a "major national security problem."  Thursday's meeting, which will be hosted by the Deputy National Security Advisor for Information Technology and Emerging Technologies. discuss concerns about the security of open source software and how it can be improved, the White House said in a statement. Other top tech companies in attendance at the meeting will include IBM (IBM.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) which owns Facebook and Oracle Corp (ORCL.N). Government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the Commerce Department, will also be in attendance. Cybersecurity has been a top priority for the Biden administration after several major cyberattacks last year, which exposed thousands of records held by companies and government agencies to hackers. One hack, which the U.S. government has said was likely orchestrated by Russia, breached software made by SolarWinds (SWI.N) and gave hackers access to thousands of companies and government offices that used its products. The hackers got access to emails at the U.S. Treasury, Justice and Commerce departments, and other agencies.

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A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration AstraZeneca said on Thursday that preliminary data from a trial showed that its COVID-19 shot, Vaxzevria, generated an increase in antibodies against the Omicron and other variants when given as a third booster dose. The increased response, also against the Delta variant, was seen in a blood analysis of people who were previously vaccinated with either Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine, the drugmaker said, adding that it would submit this data to regulators worldwide given the urgent need for boosters. AstraZeneca has developed the vaccine with researchers from the University of Oxford, and lab studies conducted by the university last month already found a three-dose course of Vaxzevria boosted antibody levels in the blood against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. The brief statement on Thursday, which did not include specific data, was the first by AstraZeneca on the protective potential of Vaxzevria as a booster shot following a two shot-course of either an mRNA based vaccine or Vaxzevria. Vaccines base on mRNA technology are made by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna. The company said the findings “add to the growing body of evidence supporting Vaxzevria as a third dose booster irrespective of the primary vaccination schedules tested”. The data on Vaxzevria’s potential as a booster came from a comparative analysis in a trial testing a redesigned vaccine which uses the vector technology behind Vaxzevria but targeting the now-superseded Beta variant. AstraZeneca is trying to show the Beta-specific vaccine has potential also against other variants and more trial data is expected during the first half of the year. Separately, Oxford University and AstraZeneca last month started work on a vaccine specifically targeting Omicron though Astra – as well as other vaccine makers in similar development projects – have said it was not yet clear whether such an upgrade was needed.A major British trial in December found that AstraZeneca’s shot increased antibodies when given as a booster after initial vaccination with its own shot or Pfizer’s, but that was before the explosive spread of the Omicron variant. However, the study at the time concluded that mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna gave a biggest boost to antibodies when given as a third dose. AstraZeneca and its contract manufacturing partners have supplied over 2.5 billion doses globally of its vaccine, even though it is not approved in the United States, while BioNTech-Pfizer have shipped about 2.6 billion doses. Source: ARY News

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