Hashtag Trending Sep.15-Caesar’s casino group suffers cyberattack; iPhone 15 gets some tough reviews; U.S. government struggling to manage costs and restrictions with cloud licensing agreements

Casinos find that the house doesn’t always win when you bet someone can’t hack you with a simple phone call. Apple’s iPhone 15 is getting some tough reviews. And governments are struggling with huge overages as their procurement processes haven’t kept up with the move to cloud based software.  

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These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Caesars Entertainment, a prominent name in the casino industry, reportedly shelled out “tens of millions of dollars” to hackers who threatened to leak company data. 

The cyberattack came from a group called Scattered Spider (also known as UNC 3944).  

Scattered Spider is gaining notoriety for its ability to employ social engineering techniques to circumvent corporate network defenses and phish employees for their login credentials. 

Members of Scattered Spider, some as young as 19, are believed to be based in the U.S. and UK. While they are a newcomer on the scene, they have already launched at least 100 attacks mostly in Canada and the US.

Charles Carmakal, CTO of Mandiant said. “They’re successful because they are very good at research and have good skills.” 

This marks the second significant cyberattack on a Las Vegas casino group, with MGM Resorts previously experiencing a cyber outage due to a hack.  

They reportedly gained access to Caesars’ network through an external vendor around August 27th. Caesars’ will soon reveal details of the attack in a regulatory filing

And it’s a safe bet they’ll be working to improve their employee training.

Source included: Engadget 

Google is making significant cuts to its global recruitment team, confirming the layoff of several hundred staff members. This decision comes as the tech giant slows down its hiring pace. 

Courtenay Mencini, a Google spokesperson, stated, “As we’ve said, we continue to invest in top engineering and technical talent while also meaningfully slowing the pace of our overall hiring.” Due to the reduced volume of hiring requests, Google has opted to downsize its recruiting team. Those affected will be provided with a transition period, outplacement services, and severance packages.

Previously, Google had ramped up its hiring during the pandemic, with its workforce shrinking from 120,000 in early 2020 to about 190,000 by the end of the year. However, in January, the company laid off 12,000 employees, approximately six percent of its full-time staff. While Google continues to post job ads, the rate of hiring has significantly decreased, leading to the reduction in its recruitment team.

Source included: The Register

Apple’s iPhone 15 has left some fans underwhelmed, with a wave of criticism emerging on X (formerly Twitter). 

According to an article in the NY Post, many users on the platform lamented the perceived lack of innovation, with some asserting that “innovation died with Steve Jobs,” referencing Apple’s iconic co-founder who passed away in 2011. 

The iPhone 15, set to release on September 22, boasts a unique color-infused glass and new charging ports. Although the display size remains similar to its predecessor, the iPhone 14, the new model’s titanium design makes it the “lightest weight Pro models yet,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. 

Despite this as well as enhanced dual camera system, improved performance, and added safety features, some online critics believe the iPhone 15 doesn’t offer enough to distinguish it from the iPhone 14. Comments ranged from the claim that Apple’s innovation ceased with Jobs to humorous jabs about the difficulty in differentiating between recent iPhone models.

Source included: NY Post

Electric vehicles (EVs) traditionally take hours to charge, but a groundbreaking development by Professor Won Bae Kim’s team at POSTECH could revolutionize this process. The team has developed a new anode material that allows EVs to be fully charged in just six minutes. 

Typically, charging an EV takes about 10 hours, and even with fast-charging techniques, it can still take a minimum of 30 minutes. The efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in EVs, hinges on the anode material’s ability to store lithium ions. The team found a way to increase storage capacity by about 1.5 times the theoretical limit. 

Experimental results demonstrated that a battery with a capacity equivalent to current EVs can be charged and discharged in just six minutes. 

That speed of charging would certainly eliminate the issue some have called “range anxiety” – worrying about how far a vehicle can travel on a single charge which some regard as the last big barrier to acceptance of EVs. 

Source included: Sci Tech Daily 

The U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) is under scrutiny for its inability to manage the costs and restrictions associated with cloud licensing agreements. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has highlighted that while the DoD has mechanisms to identify restrictive software licensing practices during the acquisition process, it lacks the guidance to analyze and mitigate these practices in operation. This has led to increased costs, limited choices in service providers, and other challenges.

Among the issues, the DoD faces restrictions like limited migration of software from on-premise to cloud environments, third-party compatibility requirements, and costly software builds to meet government standards. 

The article also notes that the DoD’s cloud budget has surged by over 40 per cent since fiscal year 2021, reaching approximately $2 billion in FY ’23. The DoD has acknowledged the GAO’s assessment and plans to release updated guidance by the end of the next fiscal year.

Source included: The Register 

AI is now capable of generating CD quality audio from text prompts. 

Stability AI has introduced what it calls “Stable Audio,” an 

innovation which leverages recent advancements in diffusion-based generative models, which have significantly enhanced the quality and controllability of generated media, including images, video, and audio. 

Stable Audio is tailored for audio, conditioned on text metadata, audio file duration, and start time. This unique conditioning allows for precise control over the content and length of the generated audio. It can render 95 seconds of stereo audio in less than a second on an NVIDIA A100 GPU. 

The training dataset comprises over 800,000 audio files, aggregating to more than 19,500 hours of audio. 

How does it sound? Scary good, actually and that’s from a musician who was prepared to hate it. I put a link in the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts and you can check it out for yourself.

Fellow musicians? What do you think?

Great. I still haven’t sold all the CDs I have in my basement.

Source included: Stability AI

I stumbled on an ad for a company called DataAnnotation.tech. 

The company said it offers a unique opportunity for individuals to work remotely from the comfort of their homes. Where have we heard that before? The platform says it provides diverse tasks related to AI projects, allowing users to choose assignments that align with their skills. 

Essentially, it seems like they are recruiting people to train AI models.

While it’s not everybody’s next career, it offers choice of working hours, pays 15 to 20 bucks an hour, has consistent work for those who qualify and all this with no experience required. 

Now, 20 bucks an hour might not seem like a lot to many of our listeners, but there are a lot of jobs out there that pay a lot less and are much harder to do.  For example, the site has a testimonial from a mother of six, who praises the platform for allowing her to work from home and earn a decent living. 

Just one of the signs of how new occupations are emerging as AI starts to change the nature of our workforce at every level.

Source included: DataAnnotation.tech

That’s the top tech news stories for today. For more fast reads on top stories, check us out at TechNewsDay.com or ITWorldCanada.com on the homepage.

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 

I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Fantastic Friday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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