The US is about to kick-start its controversial covid booster campaign

The US is about to kick-start its controversial covid booster campaign

September 27, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

The news: The White House is set to kick off its booster shot campaign today, after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky overruled her own agency’s advisors in favor of recommending third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for frontline workers. Who gets it: There are three groups of Americans now eligible for…

2021 has broken the record for zero-day hacking attacks

2021 has broken the record for zero-day hacking attacks

September 23, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

A zero-day exploit—a way to launch a cyberattack via a previously unknown vulnerability—is just about the most valuable thing a hacker can possess. These exploits can carry price tags north of $1 million on the open market. And this year, cybersecurity defenders have caught the highest number ever, according to multiple databases, researchers, and cybersecurity…

How these US schools reopened without sparking a covid outbreak

How these US schools reopened without sparking a covid outbreak

September 23, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

A version of this story was originally published at the COVID-19 Data Dispatch. It’s impossible to overstate how controversial school reopening has become in the US this past year. After a spring of universal Zoom school, opinions diverged: some administrators, parents, and scientists pushed to get kids back in classrooms, while others lobbied for covid…

Securing the energy revolution and IoT future

Securing the energy revolution and IoT future

September 23, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

In early 2021, Americans living on the East Coast got a sharp lesson on the growing importance of cybersecurity in the energy industry. A ransomware attack hit the company that operates the Colonial Pipeline—the major infrastructure artery that carries almost half of all liquid fuels from the Gulf Coast to the eastern United States. Knowing…

How Amazon Ring uses domestic violence to market doorbell cameras

How Amazon Ring uses domestic violence to market doorbell cameras

September 23, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

This article was produced in partnership with Type Investigations, where Eileen Guo is an Ida B. Wells Fellow, and is being co-published by MIT Technology Review and Consumer Reports. A few hours before dawn in early May of last year, four police officers were dispatched to an address that they had come to know: the…

This AI could predict 10 years of scientific priorities—if we let it

This AI could predict 10 years of scientific priorities—if we let it

September 23, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

Every 10 years, US astronomers have to make some tough decisions. Outlined in a plan called the Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics, a set of studies produced by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, these decisions determine the next decade’s scientific priorities for the field.   The Decadal Survey has set the stage for big leaps in space exploration since the early…

This US company sold iPhone hacking tools to UAE spies

This US company sold iPhone hacking tools to UAE spies

September 16, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

When the United Arab Emirates paid over $1.3 million for a powerful and stealthy iPhone hacking tool in 2016, the monarchy’s spies—and the American mercenary hackers they hired—put it to immediate use. The tool exploited a flaw in Apple’s iMessage app to enable hackers to completely take over a victim’s iPhone. It was used against…

Activists are helping Texans get access to abortion pills online

Activists are helping Texans get access to abortion pills online

September 16, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

At the end of August, KT Volkova got an abortion in central Texas, where she lives. She was nearly six weeks pregnant.  “Time was of the essence,” she says. Just a few days later, on September 1, SB8 became law in Texas. SB8 effectively bans abortion in the state by making the procedure illegal when…

Why Facebook is using Ray-Ban to stake a claim on our faces

Why Facebook is using Ray-Ban to stake a claim on our faces

September 16, 2021 Darnetta Mahaffy 0

Last week Facebook released its new $299 “Ray-Ban Stories” glasses. Wearers can use them to record and share images and short videos, listen to music, and take calls. The people who buy these glasses will soon be out in public and private spaces, photographing and recording the rest of us, and using Facebook’s new “View”…