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Samsung Raises the Game with The New Galaxy Note 20 to Rival iPhone 12 and Pixel 5

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Samsung Raises the Game with The New Galaxy Note 20 to Rival iPhone 12 and Pixel 5

While other notable phone manufacturers are trimming prices amidst the pandemic, Samsung seems to be raising the bar even higher. In February alone, the Korean electronics company debuted three high-flying flagship phones each of which fell within the price range of $999 to $1,399. This is actually quite unexpected since other major competitors in the tech industry are cutting down prices on gadgets; such as Apple’s 5G iPhone 12 possibly maintaining the same price tag of $849 as its 4G predecessor – iPhone 11

In the same light, Google is deemed to be producing its latest version of the Pixel flagship – Pixel 5, with even cheaper processors to effect a price reduction lower than $700. Microsoft on the other hand is expected to slash a whopping 25% off of the Surface Earbuds, same as Apple’s AirPods prices and Pixel 4 getting a $50 price reduction. Evidently, these are only a handful of the ripple effects that the COVID-19 outbreak brings to the tech space, subsequently, the global economy.

In spite of the economic downturn that has forced most tech companies to rethink their launch price – and possibly postpone the launch dates, Samsung seems to be taking even bolder steps. How the Asian gadget-making company is responding to the current market slide is actually mind-boggling. Considering that the company is set to launch its Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Plus at a very exorbitant price compared to what other competitors in the market are selling for. 

This is hardly surprising since Samsung has taken greater steps to upscale, which is evident in the new features present in the Galaxy Note 20 series – such as a backplane LTPO OLED display tech and the rumored 4300mAh battery size, while others are running short on manufacturing supplies and production deliveries. Based on historical data and given the current situation, we should expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series to be priced well above $1000. However, the big question here is; will consumers be willing to part ways with such amount of cash for a phone that promises an extensive battery life in juxtaposition to much cheaper rivals, with less durable battery life?

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4 of 2020’s Biggest Ransomware Strains Linked to Majority of Attacks

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4 of 2020’s Biggest Ransomware Strains Linked to Majority of Attacks

The four most prominent ransomware strains of 2020, Maze, Egregor, SunCrypt, and Doppelpaymer have connections that lead back to the same Ransom as a Service (RaaS) network and affiliates.

According to a new Chainalysis 2021 Crypto Crime Report, established connections between the four strains indicate that they are either being controlled or executed by the same group of people.

“There may be fewer cybercriminals responsible for ransom attacks that one would initially think, given the number of individual attacks, distinct strains and amount stolen from victims.”

RaaS is a business model by ransom developers who lease or sell different strains of their ransomware to affiliates who in turn use them to perform attacks on individuals or organizations.

Cybersecurity researchers identified strong links between the four strains, all of which were relatively active in 2020. They were used to attack different companies and institutions including Barnes &Noble, LG, Pemex and University Hospital New Jersey.

“All four use the RaaS model, meaning that affiliates carry out the ransom attacks themselves and pay a percentage of each victim payment back to the strain’s creators and administrators.”

Additionally, the strains have all been using the same double extortion method to blackmail their victims by threatening to withhold data and publish it online for extra intimidation.

Ransomware Strains are Interlinked

The Maze strain disappeared shortly after Egregor became active in Q4 2020. Its administrators later announced in November that its website was shutting down due to reduced activity.

“Some Cybersecurity researchers see this as evidence that Maze and Egregor are linked in some way.”

Researchers further claimed that Maze operators either rebranded to Egregor or joined the latter’s operators, with a row between the two groups resulting in a split.

“Maze and Egregor share much of the same code, the same ransom note, and have very similar victim payment sites.”

SunCrypt has also been linked severally to Maze, including through a privately circulated report from a threat intelligence firm saying that SunCrypt is a rebrand of a well-known ransomware strain.

A connection between Egragor and Doppelpaymer has also been established through a 78.8 BTC ransom payment for Egregor that was suspected to be a Doppelpaymer administrator wallet.

Useful Information for Law Enforcement

Chainalysis concludes that Law enforcement agencies could benefit from this information to expand their crackdowns and even halt operations of well-known interlinked strains with a single takedown.

“Evidence suggests that the ransom world is smaller than one may initially think, given the number of unique strains currently operating.”

Ransomware attacks grew by 311% in 2020, with $350 million being paid by ransomware victims to attackers, despite crypto-related criminal activity falling by 83%. 

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Project Successfully Debuts NASA’s Launch into Space

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Project Successfully Debuts NASA’s Launch into Space
Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX– Elon Musk’s aerospace company, just launched two NASA astronauts into space. SpaceX is a privately owned American aeronautic manufacturing and space exploration technologies corporation, founded sometime in 2002 with the primary intention of revolutionizing space technology and promoting the emigration to mars through reduced space transportation cost. SpaceX group, an enterprise spearheaded by one of the most innovative minds of our times, has introduced a new age of human spaceflight in the United States. The project codenamed ‘Crew Dragon Mission’ was the second attempt by the company to launch spacemen into the orbit, over the last two decades – as the first attempt from three days ago was canceled a few minutes before take-off due to stormy weather.

This most recent development is part of NASA’s Artemis program. It comes as a relish to NASA and SpaceX since the automated spacecraft manufacturer was sanctioned by NASA barely two weeks ago to develop a lunar optimized Starship that would transport its crew between the lunar orbit and the surface of the moon. The two astronauts involved in this record-breaking venture are; Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley – both of whom are NASA veteran space travelers.

NASA astronauts Doug and Bob lifted off circa 15:22 UTC on Saturday, 30 May 2020, from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida – which happens to be the same launch pad used to send the Apollo astronauts to the moon fifty years ago. Notably, the launch of the SpaceX aero flights – Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule, from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS) marks the first time in 9 years since a spacecraft has been launched from American soil and also the first time a private company has done it.

The NASA astronauts have successfully arrived at the International Space Station. In attendance to witness the event in Florida was President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the SLOTUS – Karen Pence of the United States of America.

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