The rise of home schooling has seen a spike in hacking attempts against educational institutions, said third-party security researchers Check Point. Its latest paper claims that the USA has seen the biggest increase, with academic sector attacks rising 30 percent from 468 per week to 608 per week. Europe and Asia have both seen a 24 percent and 21 percent increase, respectively, in the number of hacking attacks.
Check Point says that the tactic of choice is DDoS attacks for both the US and Europe, while Asia has a preference for Remote Code Execution and Information Disclosure. It’s likely that the combination of schools not having a particular focus on security, and a lack of resources, will exacerbate these issues. As usual, the researchers say that institutions should use a combination of proactive measures to reduce the vectors of attack and educate users on best practices.
Ford makes the 2021 Mustang Mach-E a little cheaper
Ford is hoping to take the edge off some of the sticker shock when you buy a new Mustang Mach-E. Autoblog is reporting on a leaked memo, published on the Mach-E Forum, that purports to have been sent to Ford dealerships in the US. The instructions from HQ say that the electric crossover’s price needs to drop from between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the model.
The entry-level Select and First Edition models both get $1,000 shorn from their price, while the CA Route 1 gets $2,000 knocked off. If you’re opting for the Premium versions, either in all-wheel or rear-wheel drive, then you’ll get $3,000 off the sticker price, before incentives and extras and all that yadda.
The FCC’s new anti-robocall rules prevent surprise charges for consumers
Back in March, the FCC ordered all carriers and phone companies to adopt the STIR/SHAKEN protocol by June 30th, 2021 as an effort to combat robocalls. Now, the commission has announced new rules to clarify carriers’ obligations regarding the technology’s implementation. One of those new rules, for instance, protects consumers from surprise charges. To be precise, it prohibits voice service providers from adding line-item charges to their bills for caller ID authentication.
The FCC is also requiring providers to upgrade their networks if they currently can’t implement STIR/SHAKEN, which is an Internet Protocol standard for IP-based networks. Otherwise, they’ll have to develop a non-IP caller ID verification solution. That said, the FCC will give small voice providers that can’t adopt the technology yet “limited extensions,” so long as they implement robocall mitigation programs.
Google Meet’s 60-minute limit on free calls won’t kick in until 2021
Google expanded Meet’s availability earlier this year to give more people access to the video chat service in the midst of coronavirus-related lockdowns. The tech giant didn’t just make it available to everyone with a Gmail account, though, it also made its premium features accessible at no cost until September 30th. One of those premium features is the ability to make unlimited calls, without which users would have to deal with a 60-minute limit per call. The good news is that free Gmail users won’t have to worry about call limits tomorrow or anytime soon: the tech giant has extended their access to unlimited Meet calls until March 31st, 2021.
In a post announcing the extension, Meet Group Product Manager Samir Pradhan said Google wants to “continue helping those who rely on Meet to stay in touch” over the holiday season, especially since not everyone can travel to be with their families and friends. The post also talks about Meet’s recent feature additions, including the ability to cast Meet calls on TV, to join calls hands-free on the Nest Hub Max and to blur backgrounds. More recently, Google has also rolled out noise cancellation for Meet on Android and iOS to filter out background sounds for those who prefer taking video calls on their mobile devices.
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