AT&T eats a $15.5 billion impairment cost as DirecTV debacle continues

A man with an umbrella walking past a building with an AT&T logo.

Enlarge / A person walks with an umbrella outdoors of AT&T company headquarters on March 13, 2020, in Dallas, Texas. (credit score: Getty Pictures | Ronald Martinez)

AT&T misplaced 617,000 clients from DirecTV and its different TV companies within the ultimate quarter of 2020, capping a yr wherein it misplaced almost three million clients within the class, AT&T reported right this moment.

AT&T right this moment additionally knowledgeable the Securities and Change Fee that it has taken “noncash impairment fees of $15.5 billion” associated to its ongoing DirecTV debacle. AT&T mentioned the $15.5 billion fees replicate “adjustments in our administration technique and our analysis of the home video enterprise… together with our choice to function our video enterprise individually from our broadband and legacy telephony operations.” This operational choice “required us to establish a separate Video reporting unit and to evaluate each the recoverability of its long-lived belongings and any assigned goodwill for impairment,” AT&T mentioned.

AT&T mentioned it additionally logged “fees of roughly $780 million from the impairment of manufacturing and different content material stock at WarnerMedia, with $520 million ensuing from the continued shutdown of theaters in the course of the pandemic and the hybrid distribution mannequin for our 2021 movie slate.”

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SpaceX provides laser hyperlinks to Starlink satellites to serve Earth’s polar areas

Starlink logo imposed on stylized image of the Earth.

Enlarge / Starlink emblem imposed on stylized picture of the Earth. (credit score: Starlink)

SpaceX has begun launching Starlink satellites with laser hyperlinks that may assist present broadband protection in polar areas. As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter on Sunday, these satellites “have laser hyperlinks between the satellites, so no floor stations are wanted over the poles.”

Starlink satellites prior to launch. The black circles in the middle are laser links.

Starlink satellites previous to launch. The black circles within the center are laser hyperlinks. (credit score: SpaceX)

The laser hyperlinks are included in 10 Starlink satellites simply launched into polar orbits. The launch got here two weeks after SpaceX obtained Federal Communications Fee approval to launch the 10 satellites into polar orbits at an altitude of 560km.

“All sats launched subsequent yr may have laser hyperlinks,” Musk wrote in one other tweet yesterday, indicating that the laser techniques will turn into commonplace on Starlink satellites in 2022. For now, SpaceX is simply together with laser hyperlinks on polar satellites. “Solely our polar sats have lasers this yr & are v0.9,” Musk wrote.

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AT&T might hold majority possession of DirecTV because it closes in on closing deal

A DirecTV satellite dish mounted to the outside of a building.

Enlarge / A DirecTV satellite tv for pc dish seen exterior a bar in Portland, Oregon, in October 2019. (credit score: Getty Photographs | hapabapa)

AT&T is reportedly closing in on a deal to promote a stake in DirecTV to TPG, a private-equity agency.

Sadly for patrons hoping that AT&T will relinquish management of DirecTV, a Reuters report on Friday mentioned the pending deal would give TPG a “minority stake” in AT&T’s satellite-TV subsidiary. However, a private-equity agency seeking to wring worth out of a declining enterprise would not essentially be higher for DirecTV prospects than AT&T is.

It is also doable that AT&T might cede operational management of DirecTV even when it stays the bulk proprietor. CNBC in November reported on one proposed deal wherein “AT&T would retain majority financial possession of the [DirecTV and U-verse TV] companies, and would keep possession of U-verse infrastructure, together with vegetation and fiber,” whereas the client of a DirecTV stake “would management the pay-TV distribution operations and consolidate the enterprise on its books.”

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This website posted each face from Parler’s Capitol Hill rebellion movies

Black-and-white photographs of faces arranged in a grid.

Enlarge (credit score: Getty Photos | Wired)

When hackers exploited a bug in Parler to obtain the entire right-wing social media platform’s contents final week, they had been stunned to seek out that lots of the photos and movies contained geolocation metadata revealing precisely how lots of the website’s customers had taken half within the invasion of the US Capitol constructing simply days earlier than. However the movies uploaded to Parler additionally include an equally delicate bounty of knowledge sitting in plain sight: hundreds of pictures of unmasked faces, a lot of whom participated within the Capitol riot. Now one web site has performed the work of cataloging and publishing each a kind of faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup.

Late final week, a web site known as Faces of the Riot appeared on-line, displaying nothing however an unlimited grid of greater than 6,000 pictures of faces, each tagged solely with a string of characters related to the Parler video by which it appeared. The location’s creator tells WIRED that he used easy, open supply machine-learning and facial recognition software program to detect, extract, and deduplicate each face from the 827 movies that had been posted to Parler from inside and out of doors the Capitol constructing on January 6, the day when radicalized Trump supporters stormed the constructing in a riot that resulted in 5 individuals’s deaths. The creator of Faces of the Riot says his aim is to permit anybody to simply type by way of the faces pulled from these movies to establish somebody they might know, or acknowledge who took half within the mob, and even to reference the collected faces in opposition to FBI wished posters and ship a tip to regulation enforcement in the event that they spot somebody.

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DDoSers are abusing Microsoft RDP to make assaults extra highly effective

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Enlarge / Hacker attacking server or database. Community safety, Database safe and private information safety (credit score: Getty Photos)

DDoS-for-hire providers are abusing the Microsoft Distant Desktop Protocol to extend the firepower of distributed denial-of-service assaults that paralyze web sites and different on-line providers, a safety agency stated this week.

Sometimes abbreviated as RDP, Distant Desktop Protocol is the underpinning for a Microsoft Home windows function that enables one system to log into one other system over the Web. RDP is usually utilized by companies to avoid wasting staff the associated fee or trouble of getting to be bodily current when accessing a pc.

As is typical with many authenticated methods, RDP responds to login requests with a for much longer sequence of bits that set up a connection between the 2 events. So-called booter/stresser providers, which for a price will bombard Web addresses with sufficient information to take them offline, have not too long ago embraced RDP as a way to amplify their assaults, safety agency Netscout stated.

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Hackers alter stolen regulatory information to sow distrust in COVID-19 vaccine

Hackers alter stolen regulatory data to sow mistrust in COVID-19 vaccine

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Final month, the makers of one of the promising coronavirus vaccines reported that hackers stole confidential paperwork they’d submitted to a European Union regulatory physique. On Friday, phrase emerged that the hackers have falsified a few of the submissions’ contents and revealed them on the Web.

Research of the BNT162b2 vaccine collectively developed by pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech discovered it’s 95 p.c efficient at stopping COVID-19 and is constantly efficient throughout age, gender, race, and ethnicity demographics. Regardless of near-universal consensus amongst scientists that the vaccine is secure, some critics have fearful it isn’t. The hackers seem like making an attempt to stoke these unsupported worries.

Knowledge unlawfully accessed by the hackers “included inner/confidential e-mail correspondence relationship from November, regarding analysis processes for COVID-19 vaccines,” the European Medicines Company primarily based in Amsterdam mentioned in a press release. “A number of the correspondence has been manipulated by the perpetrators previous to publication in a approach which might undermine belief in vaccines.”

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The NSA warns enterprises to watch out for third-party DNS resolvers

The NSA warns enterprises to beware of third-party DNS resolvers

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DNS over HTTPS is a brand new protocol that protects domain-lookup visitors from eavesdropping and manipulation by malicious events. Slightly than an end-user gadget speaking with a DNS server over a plaintext channel—as DNS has achieved for greater than three a long time—DoH, as DNS over HTTPS is understood, encrypts requests and responses utilizing the identical encryption web sites depend on to ship and obtain HTTPS visitors.

Utilizing DoH or an identical protocol often known as DoT—brief for DNS over TLS—is a no brainer in 2021, since DNS visitors might be each bit as delicate as some other knowledge despatched over the Web. On Thursday, nonetheless, the Nationwide Safety Company stated in some circumstances Fortune 500 corporations, massive authorities companies, and different enterprise customers are higher off not utilizing it. The explanation: the identical encryption that thwarts malicious third events can hamper engineers’ efforts to safe their networks.

“DoH supplies the advantage of encrypted DNS transactions, however it might probably additionally deliver points to enterprises, together with a false sense of safety, bypassing of DNS monitoring and protections, issues for inner community configurations and data, and exploitation of upstream DNS visitors,” NSA officers wrote in printed suggestions. “In some circumstances, particular person shopper functions could allow DoH utilizing exterior resolvers, inflicting a few of these points routinely.”

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AT&T kills off the failed TV service previously often called DirecTV Now

A large AT&T logo seen on the outside of its corporate offices.

Enlarge / AT&T company workplaces on November 10, 2020, in El Segundo, California. (credit score: Getty Pictures | AaronP/Bauer-Griffin)

AT&T is killing off the online-video service previously often called DirecTV Now and introducing a no-contract possibility for the newer on-line service that changed it.

AT&T unveiled DirecTV Now late in 2016, the 12 months after AT&T purchased the DirecTV satellite tv for pc firm. Costs initially began at $35 a month for the live-TV on-line service, and it had signed up 1.86 million subscribers by Q3 2018. However prospects shortly fled as AT&T repeatedly raised costs and minimize down on the usage of promotional offers, leaving the service with simply 683,000 subscribers on the finish of Q3 2020.

In 2019, AT&T modified the identify from DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now, creating confusion amongst prospects and its personal workers as a result of the corporate concurrently unveiled one other on-line streaming service referred to as AT&T TV.

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New York Metropolis proposes regulating algorithms utilized in hiring

Stylized photo of a shirtless man rendered in ones and zeroes.

Enlarge (credit score: John Lamb | Getty Photos)

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act barred the people who made hiring selections from discriminating on the idea of intercourse or race. Now, software program usually contributes to these hiring selections, serving to managers display résumés or interpret video interviews.

That worries some tech consultants and civil rights teams, who cite proof that algorithms can replicate or enlarge biases proven by folks. In 2018, Reuters reported that Amazon scrapped a device that filtered résumés based mostly on previous hiring patterns as a result of it discriminated towards girls.

Laws proposed within the New York Metropolis Council seeks to replace hiring discrimination guidelines for the age of algorithms. The invoice would require firms to speak in confidence to candidates once they have been assessed with the assistance of software program. Corporations that promote such instruments must carry out annual audits to examine that their people-sorting tech doesn’t discriminate.

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