Broadcom-VMware merger halted | Nations assemble to fight ransomware
China halts Broadcom-VMware $69bn merger
The deal had been scheduled to close on Monday but both parties are awaiting to be given the green light from China after regulators there consider holding up the deal.
The companies still expect the deal to close “soon”, however this may face push-back after Washington toughened rules blocking Chinese access to high-performance semiconductors.
Geopolitical friction between Washington and Beijing hangs over the deal’s approval.
Mark Kelly, chief executive of MKP Advisors, said: “Never before has there been such uncertainty over the fate of such a large acquisition so close to a supposed deadline.”
Forty countries pledge to not pay ransom to cybercriminals
Forty countries in a US-led alliance are expected to sign a pledge to never pay ransoms to cyber criminals, a senior White House official said on Tuesday.
The International Counter Ransomware Initiative comes as the number of ransomware attacks grows worldwide. Organisations are now working towards eliminating hackers’ funding mechanism.
Anne Neuberger, US deputy national security adviser in the Biden administration, told reporters: “As long as there is money flowing to ransomware criminals, this is a problem that will continue to grow.”
She added that the initiatives will offer better information sharing about ransom payment accounts. Two information-sharing platforms will form, one by Lithuania and another by Israel and the UAE.
Partner countries will share a “blacklist” through the US Department of Treasury that will include information on digital wallets being used to move ransomware payments. And AI will be leveraged to analyse blockchain with a view to identifying illicit funds.
Social media giants pledge to tackle AI-generated child sex abuse images
Following last weeks’ news that people are manipulating AI to generate child sex abuse images, social media giants TikTok, Snapchat and Stability AI have come together in an effort to fight back.
Britain announced the joint statement — which also listed the US, German and Australian governments among its 27 signatories — at an event on Monday held in the run-up to the global summit hosted by the UK on AI safety this week.
“We resolve to work together to ensure that we utilise responsible AI for tackling the threat of child sexual abuse and commit to continue to work collaboratively to ensure the risks posed by AI to tackling child sexual abuse do not become insurmountable,” the statement read.
Google Maps and Waze pause live traffic data in Israel
Google paused its location tracking firms on Monday as Israel prepares for a potential ground invasion into Gaza.
The big tech firm said it consulted several sources including regional and local authorities to make the assessment. Yet it did not disclose in which countries the tools will be disabled in — Israel, Gaza or both. It also didn’t say whether the action was at the request of the Israel Defence Forces.
A Google Maps spokesperson commenting on the temporary pause said:
“As we have done previously in conflict situations and in response to the evolving situation in the region, we have temporarily disabled the ability to see live traffic conditions and busyness information out of consideration for the safety of local communities.”
Google made a similar move last year when Russia invaded Ukraine.
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