Hashtag Trending Aug.24-Microsoft’s repeated security failures prompts a new DHS security review; Norway data regulator denounces Meta’s privacy breaches; Why is landing on the moon so challenging?

The Department of Homeland Security targets Microsoft in a new security review, Meta continues rows with regulators worldwide, IBM announces AI offering to modernize legacy COBOL software, and why is landing on the moon still such an ambitious feat?

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These stories and more as we bring you the top tech news stories on today’s Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host James Roy. Happy Thursday!

Having experienced a spate of security mishaps, Microsoft now appears to be the main target of a security review by the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB).

The review does aim to look at a range of cloud services but specifically named the July Microsoft Exchange Online breach, that saw the email accounts of more than two dozen organizations worldwide, including U.S. and Western European government agencies, breached by a Chinese hacking group.

The CSRB, being a fairly new entity, has received several criticisms for its prior reviews, including that it refuses to single out companies – which now it appears to be trying to fix, by placing the blame mainly on Microsoft.  Critics also said that the board does not dig deep enough into specifics and has inherent conflicts of interest as it is staffed by companies such as Google and Verizon, who not only do not want their own companies harmed by reports, but who also might benefit from investigations that reveal the confidential information of competitors.

So this review would be an opportunity for the CSRB to show how it navigates these waters. And also, in general, it could not come at a better time as reliance on cloud infrastructure deepens,  and cyberthreats see an unprecedented rise.

Source: CPO Magazine

The MOVEit data breach continues to blight companies and industries – the latest being the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF), impacting a walloping 4 million individuals.

The state agency said the breach stemmed from its technology partner, IBM, which uses the MOVEit application to move HCPF data files in the normal course of business.

HCPF launched an investigation into whether the protected health information of patients was breached, and determined that sensitive data, like a patient’s full name, social security number, date of birth, income and medical information and more was, indeed, accessed, but none of its internal systems were compromised. Impacted individuals are being offered two years free credit monitoring and identity restoration services.

Source: CPO Magazine

Meta is getting the stick, internationally, for its antics. On Monday, we discussed the company’s row with the Canadian government as it blocked news availability and obstructed emergency updates amid ongoing wildfires in the country.

Now it seems like Meta has irked Norway’s data regulator who stepped up to tell a court on Wednesday that Facebook is breaching privacy rules in the country.

The company has been fined one million crowns or about 94,000 US dollars per day since Aug.14th for breaching users’ privacy by harvesting user data and using it to target advertising at them. It is seeking a temporary injunction against the order.

Meta said it already committed to ask for consent, while the regulator maintained that the company is not respecting the GDPR. 

The company, yesterday, reaffirmed plans to enable default end-to-end encryption on Messenger by the end of 2023, 4 years after Mark Zuckerberg announced a “privacy-focused vision for social networking”.

Meanwhile, another court, now in Kenya, is giving Meta 21 days to resolve its dispute, out of court, with 184 content moderators suing it for unfair dismissal. They said they lost their jobs because they started a union.

This comes after a judge ruled in April that Meta could be sued by the moderators in Kenya, even though it has no official presence in the east African country. 

The company has also been sued in Kenya by a former moderator over accusations of poor working conditions, and by two Ethiopian researchers and a rights institute, which accuse it of letting violent and hateful posts from Ethiopia flourish on Facebook. Those cases are ongoing.

Sources include: Reuters, Reuters, The Hacker News

Mainframe computers used to run the world and they ran it with software written in COBOL which stands for “common business-oriented language”. 

Today, IBM says there remains more than 230 billion lines of COBOL code still in use and there’s barely enough programmers available to maintain the software.

To assist them, IBM has announced a new generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) product it said is designed to assist developers seeking to modernize legacy COBOL software running on its Zee-series mainframes.

The new offering called the Watsonx Code Assistant for Zee is a cloud service that will help developers translate existing COBOL code to Java on IBM Z. IBM says it uses AI to support application modernization and IT automation.

Watsonx Code Assistant for Zee will preview during IBM’s TechXchange in September and will be generally available in Q4 of 2023.

Source: IT World Canada

Scientists watched in awe, clapped and cheered as an Indian spacecraft became the first to land on the unexplored south pole of the moon.

This mission is seen as crucial to lunar exploration and India’s standing as a space power, becoming the fourth nation to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon after the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China.

It’s been over 50 years since the first moon landing, yet it remains an incredible feat – Why? A new article in Mashable has some reasons for us.

First, the moon’s atmosphere is extremely thin, so you cannot float down to land and nothing is slowing you down except your engine. Fuel is limited though NASA does provide fuel for unexpected things. But, generally, the mission cannot afford many mishaps. A researcher said,  “It’s literally a one-shot thing.”

Secondly, there’s no GPS on the moon. So NASA must still navigate like they did during the Apollo missions over fifty years ago. If there’s an error, astronauts will have the ability to take control of the craft like Neil Armstrong did. 

A new technology called “terrain relative navigation,” does lend more help to astronauts today as it uses a camera to map the ground during the descent, and screen any boulders or craters. Landing on a boulder would be catastrophic.

And to this day, mishaps happen. Days before the Indian spacecraft successfully landed, a similar Russian lander crashed on the moon.

A NASA space engineer explained that the Indians’ mission was especially difficult as they landed in the lunar south pole, where the sun never passes overhead. It’s always near the horizon, casting long shadows over the ground, and warping the view of what’s below during a landing.

But, a researcher said, missions like this will boost a generation of people to do something in science.

Source: Mashable

That’s the top tech news stories for today.  Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts where you can find links and more.

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I’m your host, James Roy. Have a Thrilling Thursday!

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