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Russian hackers found targeting US election; robots that write?

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, helps us make sense of today's stories in technology:

What are the Russians doing to the US election?

Well, they are trying to hack it. They're trying to hack into the accounts of individuals working on campaigns. They're trying to hack into accounts of nonprofit organizations. They're trying to mess it all up again. They're probably trying to help their favorite candidate, too. How did we find out about it? Well, Microsoft, thank you Microsoft, is running an election security operation and they noticed this. Now, have they found everything that the Russian group Fancy Bear is doing? I highly doubt it. We'll probably learn a lot more after the election, unfortunately.

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TikTok ban: warning from US to Chinese tech firms

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics.

Where are US-China relations in this battle over TikTok and what is happening?

Well, this may seem like a minor deal. It's a video sharing app that the president has given 45 days to sell to a US entity or get banned in the United States. But along with WeChat, these are two of China's most successful technology companies that the US has now banned from entry into the United States and potentially banned from being used on operating systems that rely on US software inside China. So, this is a huge escalation in the geotech war between the United States and China. China for a long time has not allowed Google and Facebook and other American applications to be fully operative inside their borders. And now the US is stepping up against Chinese technology companies. The reason is that there's concerns among the US government about these tech, these apps data security practices. Members of the military, high ranking government officials aren't allowed to have these on their phones because there's concern about what China does with the data that they can harvest from those phones. This is a real warning sign to other Chinese technology companies that they may not be welcome inside the American market unless they can prove in some way, they are totally independent from the Chinese government and the Chinese military. Expect a lot of escalation in this area over the coming months and years.

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Twitter hack mystery; does two-factor authentication make you safe?

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, helps us make sense of today's stories in technology:

Whoa Twitter! What happened this week?

Well, on Wednesday, a whole bunch of prominent Twitter accounts, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Apple, started tweeting out a Bitcoin scam. The same one. It said, "send money to this address and we'll send you back twice as much." Clearly a fraud. But what was interesting about it is that it wasn't like one account that had been compromised. A whole bunch of accounts have been compromised. Meaning most likely someone got access to a control panel at Twitter. The big mystery is how they got access to it? And why, if they had so much power, all they did was run a stupid Bitcoin scam?

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What We’re Watching: Monsoon hits South Asia, Russians steal vaccine research, criminal president gone in Suriname

South Asia under water: A deadly monsoon has pummeled large swaths of South Asia in recent days, wiping out entire villages and causing families to seek safety on rooftops in scenes reminiscent of the deadly tsunami that hit the region in 2004. Millions of people across India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Nepal have been displaced because of heavy floods and landslides — and meteorologists say these harsh weather conditions are unlikely to change in the coming weeks. So far, the state of Assam in northeast India has been hit particularly hard by flash floods, affecting some 4.3 million residents. Meanwhile, the monsoon has also devastated refugee camps in Cox's Bazar in southern Bangladesh, home to 750,000 Rohingya refugees. Every year, seasonal floods hit South Asia, causing death and destruction. But the inundations this year, the worst in decades, come as many of these countries are grappling with explosive COVID-19 outbreaks that are crippling already weak healthcare systems.

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Preventing a DDoS attack; brick and mortars no more

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses technology industry news today:

What is a DDoS attack and how can they be prevented?

That's a digital denial of service attack. Somebody uses malware to infect a bunch of computers or Internet of Things devices and sends lots of traffic at a server trying to knock the server offline. What can you do if you own the server? Buy more space, become part of a large operation like AWS that can offer you expanded space during the time of an attack, and build good filtering and blocking software.

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