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Welcome to the July 24, 2024 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for computer professionals three times a week.

Crowds of passengers form at the check-in counters at Ninoy Aquino International Airport The July 19 computer outage resulting from a defective CrowdStrike update to Windows systems worldwide shines a spotlight on the global economy's dependence on Microsoft. Although Microsoft said only an estimated 8.5 million devices were impacted, accounting for less than 1% of computers running the Windows operating system, U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan said it underscores "how concentration can create fragile systems."
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The Washington Post; Cristiano Lima-Strong; Cat Zakrzewski; Jeff Stein (July 20, 2024)

The Chaohu Mingyue supercomputer is located in a glass cube U.S. government sanctions have ended collaboration between U.S. and Chinese scientists on supercomputers, with China withdrawing from the Top500 international supercomputing forum, making it difficult to determine which nation has faster supercomputers. The latest Top500 ranking of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers puts Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Frontier in the top spot. However, Top500 co-founder Jack Dongarra noted that a 2023 scientific paper indicated China's Sunway supercomputer has 39 million cores, four times as many as Frontier.
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The Wall Street Journal; Stu Woo (July 23, 2024)

U.S. Mandates Stricter Cybersecurity for R&D Institutions According to a memo from the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, higher education institutions certified by federal research agencies must implement cybersecurity programs for research and development (R&D) security. Institutions receiving more than $50 million in federal science and engineering support annually must certify to the funding agency their R&D security programs cover cybersecurity, and must implement a cybersecurity program following the CHIPS and Science Act’s cybersecurity document for research-focused entities.
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Security Intelligence; Jonathan Reed (July 22, 2024)
A new law in Switzerland requires the use of open-source software in the public sector. The law mandates all public bodies must disclose the source code of software developed by or for them unless third-party rights or security concerns prevent it. It also requires the release of non-personal and non-security-sensitive government data as Open Government Data.
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ZDNet; Steven Vaughan-Nichols (July 23, 2024)
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a study of products that could allow companies to set different prices for consumers based on personal data such as locations and past purchases. The agency said on Tuesday it had ordered several companies, including IT services and software providers, to provide information about targeted pricing products, the data they use, who uses them, and the effect on prices.
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Reuters; Jody Godoy (July 23, 2024)

Lviv Cybersecurity company Dragos on Tuesday published a report detailing how a new malware designed to target a specific type of heating system controller caused the loss of heating for nearly 48 hours during winter to over 600 apartment buildings in Lviv, Ukraine. The FrostyGoop malware was designed to interact with industrial control devices over Modbus, a decades-old protocol widely used across the world to control devices in industrial environments.
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TechCrunch; Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (July 23, 2024)

A character artist works on the new ‘EA Sports College Football 25.’ Electronic Arts (EA) developers used AI for the first time in the making of its newly released college football video game. It took them three months to incorporate the likenesses of around 11,000 players into EA Sports College Football 25. The process involved gathering the athletes' headshots, then using AI technology to create full 3D avatars of each. Artists were used to improve the digital versions as necessary, feeding the changes into the AI program to help it learn from its mistakes.
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The Wall Street Journal; Sarah E. Needleman (July 21, 2024)

NEO robot The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed a four-legged robot designed to jam the wireless transmissions of smart home devices. The NEO robot is equipped with an antenna array designed to overload home networks, to disrupt devices that rely on wireless communication protocols. The robot also may be used to communicate with subjects in a target area, or to provide remote eyes and ears to agents on the ground.
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Tom's Hardware; Jowi Morales (July 23, 2024)

A residential development in Denver Lawsuits filed across the U.S. contend that landlords are using real-estate software from RealPage to boost rents. RealPage's YieldStar lets landlords share rental pricing data and occupancy rates, with algorithms calculating suggested rents, which the lawsuits argue are higher than they would be in a competitive market. There are concerns about potential violations of federal antitrust laws, which prohibit agreements among competitors to fix prices.
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The New York Times; Danielle Kaye (July 23, 2024)
Google has canceled a plan to end support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. In 2020, Google said it would end support for those cookies by early 2022. The company said in a blog post Monday it has come to realize such a transition required “significant work by many participants” and would impact nearly anyone involved in online advertising.
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CNBC; Jennifer Elias (July 22, 2024)
University of Chicago researchers are helping artists protect their work from being included in generative AI training models. The Glaze tool they developed implements subtle changes that trick the AI into detecting a different art style, while their Nightshade tool confuses AI training models about what is in an image. However, Pennsylvania State University's Jinghui Chen cautioned, "When AI becomes stronger and stronger, these anti-AI tools will become weaker and weaker."
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Associated Press; Sarah Parvini (July 18, 2024)
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