tech, cybersecurity, law enforcement, ransomware group, LockBit mastermind
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Ransomware Mastermind Who Gloated Over Extorting Millions ID’d (Maria)

The author writes, “Since at least 2019, a shadowy figure hiding behind several pseudonyms has publicly gloated for extorting millions of dollars from thousands of victims he and his associates had hacked. Now, for the first time, ‘LockBitSupp’ has been unmasked by an international law enforcement team, and a $10 million bounty has been placed for his arrest. In an indictment unsealed Tuesday, US federal prosecutors unmasked the flamboyant persona as Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, a 31-year-old Russian national. Prosecutors said that during his five years at the helm of LockBit … Khoroshev and his subordinates have extorted $500 million from some 2,500 victims, roughly 1,800 of which were located in the US.”

FROM OCTOBER: Is It Time To Rethink the Definition & Concept of ‘Genocide’? (Laura)

The author writes, “Why is that so many of the ‘new conflicts’ that have taken place in this century have not aroused as much disgust or moral dilemmas as Gaza and Ukraine have this year? One may cite the relatively lesser digital footprint a decade or two ago when George W. Bush was bombing Iraq or the Syrian Civil War was on. Fair enough. But then, just think: Why is Rwanda 1994 a genocide but Biafra, on the same continent a few decades removed, is not? Why are Bosnian Serb generals guilty of crimes against humanity in the 1990s but not those from West Pakistan in the country’s eastern wing in 1971? … Why did Pope Francis christen the Armenian Genocide as the first genocide of the 20th century although British author David Olusoga pointed out that the actions of General Lothar von Trotha in German Southwest Africa against the Herero and the Nama held that notorious title?”

You Have the Right to an Attorney — Just Not on Summer Wednesdays in DC (Dana)

The author writes, “A budget crunch is forcing the D.C. Public Defender Service to make the ‘difficult’ decision to furlough all their employees one day a week this summer. That includes 120 attorneys who represent D.C.’s indigent defendants, clients whom the Public Defender Service has called among the ‘most vulnerable’ in the District. … The D.C. Public Defender Service (PDS) handles thousands of matters in D.C. courts every year, according to its most recent annual report. They represent people accused of every level of crime, people with mental health issues, juvenile cases, and people appearing in appeals and civil courts as well. While not a federal agency, the PDS is funded by a congressional appropriation.”

An AI-Controlled Fighter Jet Took the Air Force Leader for a Historic Ride. What That Means for War (Reader Steve)

From AP News: “With the midday sun blazing, an experimental orange and white F-16 fighter jet launched with a familiar roar that is a hallmark of U.S. airpower. But the aerial combat that followed was unlike any other: This F-16 was controlled by artificial intelligence, not a human pilot. And riding in the front seat was Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. AI marks one of the biggest advances in military aviation since the introduction of stealth in the early 1990s, and the Air Force has aggressively leaned in. Even though the technology is not fully developed, the service is planning for an AI-enabled fleet of more than 1,000 unmanned warplanes, the first of them operating by 2028.”

The Tech Baron Seeking to Purge San Francisco of ‘Blues’ (Reader Jim)

From The New Republic: “To fully grasp the current situation in San Francisco, where venture capitalists are trying to take control of City Hall, you must listen to Balaji Srinivasan. Before you do, steel yourself for what’s to come: A normal person could easily mistake his rambling train wrecks of thought for a crackpot’s ravings, but influential Silicon Valley billionaires regard him as a genius. ‘Balaji has the highest rate of output per minute of good new ideas of anybody I’ve ever met,’ wrote Marc Andreessen, co-founder of the V.C. firm Andreessen-Horowitz, in a blurb for Balaji’s 2022 book, The Network State: How to Start a New Country. The book outlines a plan for tech plutocrats to exit democracy and establish new sovereign territories.”

How Ancient Amazonians Transformed a Toxic Crop Into a Diet Staple (Gerry)

From The Washington Post: “The three staple crops dominating modern diets — corn, rice, and wheat — are familiar to Americans. However, another top crop is something of a dark horse: cassava. While nearly unknown in temperate climates, cassava is a key source of nutrition in the Southern Hemisphere. It was domesticated 10,000 years ago, on the southern margin of the Amazon basin in Brazil, and spread from there throughout the region. Cassava’s humble appearance belies an impressive combination of productivity, toughness, and diversity. There’s just one problem, however: Cassava is also highly poisonous.”

Apocalypse Goes Mainstream: The End of the World Is Becoming Normal Conversation (Sean)

The authors write, “The exponential growth of artificial intelligence over the past year has sparked discussions about whether the era of human domination of our planet is drawing to a close. The most dire predictions claim that the machines will take over within five to 10 years. Fears of AI are not the only things driving public concern about the end of the world. Climate change and pandemic diseases are also well-known threats. Reporting on these challenges and dubbing them a potential ‘apocalypse’ has become common in the media — so common, in fact, that it might go unnoticed or may simply be written off as hyperbole. Is the use of the word ‘apocalypse’ in the media significant?”


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