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Supermassive black holes spotted in 2 dwarf galaxies

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New York, April 18: Astronomers have found two ultra-compact dwarf galaxies with supermassive black holes that take up a high percentage of the compact galaxies’ total mass.

The findings, published in the Astrophysical Journal, suggest that dwarfs may be remnants of massive galaxies that were ripped apart by larger galaxies and that black holes lurk at the centre of most of these objects, potentially doubling the number of supermassive black holes known in the universe.

“We still don’t fully understand how galaxies form and evolve over time. These objects can tell us how galaxies merge and collide,” said lead author Chris Ahn from University of Utah in the US.

“Maybe a fraction of the centers of all galaxies are actually these compact galaxies stripped of their outer parts,” Ahn said.

The authors measured two ultra-compact dwarf galaxies, named VUCD3 and M59cO, that lie far beyond the spiral arms of our Milky Way, orbiting massive galaxies in the Virgo galaxy cluster.

They detected a supermassive black hole in both galaxies — VUCD3’s black hole has a mass equivalent to 4.4 million suns, making up about 13 per cent of the galaxy’s total mass, and M59cO’s black hole has a mass of 5.8 million suns, making up about 18 per cent of its total mass.

By comparison, the monstrous black hole at the centre of the Milky Way has a mass of four million suns, but makes up less than .01 per cent of the galaxy’s total mass.

“It’s pretty amazing when you really think about it. These ultra-compact dwarfs are around 0.1 per cent the size of the Milky Way, yet they host supermassive black holes that are bigger than the black hole at the center of our own galaxy,” Ahn said.

To calculate the ultra-compact dwarf galaxies’ mass, the astronomers measured the movement of the stars using the Gemini North telescope located on Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii.

IANS

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Cryptojacking emerging as alternative to ransomware: Quick Heal

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Pune, June 25: With more than three million hits globally in the first five months of this year, cryptojacking, a form of cyber-attack in which hackers hijack the infected system’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency, is fast emerging as an alternative to ransomware, according to IT security firm Quick Heal.

The number of mobile cryptojacking malware variants has also grown from eight in 2017 to 25 by May 2018, marking a three-fold increase, Quick Heal said in a statement on Monday.

“Cryptojacking is emerging as a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to ransomware. With a ransomware attack, there is no guarantee that hackers will be paid a ransom,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies.

“Cryptojacking, on the other hand, is empowering hackers to make use of infected endpoints for swifter and more assured financial gains,” Katkar said.

As more cybercriminals leverage cryptojacking as a lucrative channel of generating illicit revenues, Quick Heal Security Labs researchers expect these numbers to grow even further.

As opposed to ransomware, cryptojacking attacks remain almost undetected, enabling attackers to use the compromised systems to mine cryptocurrencies for as long as they want.

They are also easier to deploy than ransomware attacks. All a hacker needs to do is to drop a cryptomining code on your system without your knowledge through an infected link or file.

Another commonly used method is to infect websites and pop-up ads with a JavaScript-based cryptomining script, which is triggered when you click on infected ads or visit compromised websites.

In such instances, attackers do not even need to install a code; just opening the infected link is enough to turn your system into a cryptomining machine and generate instant returns on investment for the hacker, Quick Heal said.

System owners to deploy a robust security solution as a means of combating cryptojacking attacks, it added.

IANS

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HCL launches app dedicated to Indian classical music

Called “HCL Music”, the app is available for both Android and iOS users.

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) There is some good news for Indian classical music lovers as HCL has launched a free music app dedicated to catering to their taste in music.

Called “HCL Music“, the app is available for both Android and iOS users, HCL said in a statement.

The app features recordings of live performances from legendary artists, high quality studio recordings featuring maestros, forgotten collections of legends and an assortment of crowd sourced music by young and aspiring artists.

The app houses a collection of Indian classical music across genres including Hindustani, Carnatic and fusion music, HCL said, ading that the aim is to make the app the largest ever repository of classical content and also give upcoming artists a platform to showcase their talent.

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Facebook launches free version of ‘Workplace’ for NGOs

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San Francisco, June 21: Making inroads into the non-profit segment, Facebook has launched a free version of its enterprise communications app ‘Workplace’ to make work better, smarter and faster for charities and non-governmental organisations.

Named “Workplace for Good”, the app would donate work-essential mobile, video, communication and collaboration tools free of charge to organisations like World Wildlife Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and more.

“We’re giving ‘Workplace for free’ to non-profits and staff at educational institutions globally, so they can build meaningful communities and create change around the world,” Annette Gevaert, Head, Workplace For Good, Facebook, wrote in a blog post late on Wednesday.

Additionally, the app also comes integrated with tools like “OxBot” which is a jargon-busting bot that provides a link to internal sources of information, increasing accessibility options.

“We’re also renewing our commitment to #ImpactCloud, a coalition of technology companies including Workplace, Salesforce, Box, Okta and Microsoft, working together to help accelerate digital transformation and impact for humanitarian and disaster relief organisations,” Gevaert added.

IANS

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