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Google confirms diversity exec no longer in role after problematic post

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One of Google’s top executives in diversity strategy and research has left his post after a 2007 blog post slamming the state of Israel resurfaced on June 1st. In the post, Kamau Bobb used antisemitic language, insinuating Jews have an “insatiable appetite for war and killing.”

The post was quickly picked up by the New York Post and the Washington Free Beacon. “While Google has been a vocal supporter of diversity initiatives… it has not commented on the recent spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes,” read a Washington Free Beacon article on the subject.

But the controversy likely didn’t start with the right-wing press. It seems to have initiated internally, with an email from a member of Google’s Jewish employee resource group. On June 1st, an employee sent a note to the Jewish employee listserv, which has more than 3,000 members, writing that they were “deeply concerned about antisemitism within our DEI leadership.”

The email read:

As the subject indicates, I’m very concerned about antisemitism within our leadership. Our Director of Diversity Strategy and Research appears to have strong opinion about Jews and Israel. I’ll let you all have a look at his blog for yourselves, but here are some quotes that you’ll find:

“If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.”

“The ability of the United States and Israel to not only dictate the terms of my subjugation but characterize my desire to be free as rooted in hatred would burn my intellect and my sensibility as a human being.”

“Looming large, like a grand dark cloud of human atrocity, is the slaughter of Palestinians by unrepentant Israeli Jews.”

Does anyone else think this is totally inappropriate for someone in this kind of position? I’m scared that someone at this level has these kinds of feelings about Jews.

The thread spiraled, garnering roughly 80 responses, with multiple calls for Bobb to be fired.

More moderate members of the group felt that while the blog post sounded problematic, the underlying sentiment resonated. “The language of this letter is very hurtful and antisemitic,” says a current employee who asked to remain anonymous. “That said, digging up an old blog from over a decade ago feels like a witch hunt.”

Later that evening, Bobb sent an email to the Jewish employee resource group, apologizing for what he had said. “What I wrote crudely characterized the entire jewish community,” he wrote. “What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into antisemitic tropes and prejudice. I think we can all agree, there is no easy solution to this situation. But that’s beside the point. The way I expressed my views on that conflict were hurtful.”

Now, Google has confirmed to The Verge that Bobb is no longer a member of the diversity team, though he remains at the company. “We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offense and pain to members of our Jewish community and our LGBTQ+ community,” wrote a Google spokesperson in a statement. “These writings are unquestionably hurtful. The author acknowledges this and has apologized. He will no longer be part of our diversity team going forward and will focus on his STEM work.”

Google did not respond to further questions about what focusing on “STEM work” means.

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Free games including GTA V have infected 222,000 PCs with cryptojacking malware

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In brief: Once again, we’re being reminded of the inherent dangers that come with free cracked games from forums and other sketchy sources. Malware called “Crackonosh,” which installs cryptomining software on a device, has been found in 220,000 computers, a result of downloading games such as GTA V for nothing.

Security researchers at Avast write that Crackonosh, which has been around since 2018, has been found in free games given away on forums and torrent sites. They include Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, Far Cry 5, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.

Once infected, the malware surreptitiously installs cryptomining software that mines Monero without a user’s knowledge. It’s thought to have earned over $2 million for its authors, who are believed to be from the Czech Republic—Crackonosh means “mountain spirit” in Czech folklore.

Avast writes that Crackonosh installs itself by replacing critical Windows system files and abusing the Windows Safe mode to impair system defenses. It’s able to avoid detection by disabling security software, operating system updates, and using other anti-analysis techniques, making discovery and removal very difficult.

Diagram of Crackonosh installation

As with all cryptojacking, users often only discover something is wrong when their system slows down, components wear out quickly, and electricity bills skyrocket.

Crackonosh has been found in more than a dozen countries, including:

  • Philippines: 18,448 victims
  • Brazil: 16,584 victims
  • India: 13,779 victims
  • Poland: 12,727 victims
  • United States: 11,856 victims
  • United Kingdom: 8,946 victims

Being even more difficult to trace than cryptos such as Bitcoin, Monero, which launched in 2014, is a digital currency popular among cybercriminals. JavaScript-based Monero miners, usually provided by Coinhive, were found to have been planted on several services a few years ago, including The Pirate Bay, Showtime, Kodi, and more. Coinhive itself, a legitimate service, closed down in 2019, though Monero cryptojacking hasn’t gone away, as this discovery proves.

This is the second example this month of malware being spread in free games. A report revealed that millions of PCs had been infected using pirated games. Once compromised, the trojan stole data and even hijacked webcams to photograph users.

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Windows 11 is free, but your CPU might not be supported

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Windows 11 is arriving later this year as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, but many are discovering that their hardware isn’t compatible. Microsoft has altered its minimum hardware requirements, and it’s the CPU changes that are most surprising here. Windows 11 will only support 8th Gen and newer Intel Core processors, alongside Apollo Lake and newer Pentium and Celeron processors.

That immediately rules out millions of existing Windows 10 devices from upgrading to Windows 11, and even devices like Microsoft’s own Surface Studio 2 which the company is still selling right now for $3,499.

Windows 11 will also only support AMD Ryzen 2000 and newer processors, and 2nd Gen or newer EPYC chips. You can find the full list of supported processors on Microsoft’s site, but here’s the basic breakdown:

Windows 11 support for Intel

  • Intel 8th Gen (Coffee Lake)
  • Intel 9th Gen (Coffee Lake Refresh)
  • Intel 10th Gen (Comet Lake)
  • Intel 10th Gen (Ice Lake)
  • Intel 11th Gen (Rocket Lake)
  • Intel 11th Gen (Tiger Lake)
  • Intel Xeon Skylake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Cascade Lake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Cooper Lake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Ice Lake-SP

Windows 11 support for AMD

  • AMD Ryzen 2000
  • AMD Ryzen 3000
  • AMD Ryzen 3000
  • AMD Ryzen 4000
  • AMD Ryzen 5000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3000
  • AMD EPYC 2nd Gen
  • AMD EPYC 3rd Gen

Many Windows 10 users have been downloading Microsoft’s PC Health App (available here) to see whether Windows 11 works on their systems, only to find it fails the check. As Microsoft now requires a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), this has led to some additional confusion around hardware support.

Windows 11 will require a TPM capable of 2.0 support, and UEFI Secure Boot. Both of these technologies are designed to improve the security of Windows, and prevent malware and ransomware from tampering with encryption keys and other secure elements of the operating system.

While Microsoft has required TPM support for OEM hardware certification since Windows 10, it hasn’t actively required Windows to have this fully enabled. That’s changing in Windows 11, and it means if your laptop or PC shipped without these BIOS options enabled then you’re going to have to go searching for a setting to switch on.

Windows 11 has new hardware requirements.

“Almost every CPU in the last 5-7 years has a TPM,” explains David Weston, director of enterprise and OS security at Microsoft. Weston is recommending that Windows 10 users failing Microsoft’s Windows 11 upgrade checker requirements should ensure BIOS options for “PTT” on Intel systems are enabled, or “PSP fTPM” on AMD devices. As every BIOS has different settings, you might need to refer to your laptop’s manual if you’re struggling to find the option.

If you’ve enabled TPM support but you’re still not passing the Windows 11 upgrade checker, it’s likely because your CPU isn’t supported. Intel has confirmed Microsoft’s Windows 11 CPU requirements. “A broad range of Intel-based platforms are expected to support Windows 11: 8th Gen and newer Intel Core processors, as well as Intel Pentium processors and Intel Celeron processors from the ‘Apollo Lake’ generation and newer,” says an Intel spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

This is the first significant shift in Windows hardware requirements since the release of Windows 8 back in 2012, and the CPU changes are understandably catching people by surprise. Microsoft is also requiring a front-facing camera for all Windows 11 devices except desktop PCs from January 2023 onwards. It’s another change that will shape the hardware that Windows 11 will run on in the coming years.


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3 dead, hundreds injured by rare tornado in Czech Republic

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A rare tornado has torn through southeastern Czech Republic, killing at least three people and injuring hundreds of others

PRAGUE — A rare tornado tore through southeastern Czech Republic, killing at least three people and injuring hundreds, rescue services said on Friday.

The tornado formed late Thursday as strong thunderstorms hit the entire country. Seven towns and villages have been badly damaged, with entire buildings turned into ruins and cars overturned. Over 120,000 households were without electricity.

They were using drones and helicopters to search the rubble.

The regional rescue service said at least three people have died.

“It’s a huge tragedy,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said. Babis was in Brussels to attend an EU summit and was planning to visit the damage-hit region on Friday.

Marek Babisz, deputy mayor of Hrusky, told Czech public radio half of his town was almost completely destroyed.

“The church is without the tower, the elementary school has no roof and insulation any more, only walls remained from what were houses. There’re injured, it’s really terrible.”

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