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Stellar cracks ‘WannaCry’, working on 5 India cases

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New Delhi, May 19: In a good news for those struggling to gain access to locked data after the “WannaCry” attack hit Windows users in 150 countries, Stellar Data Recovery on Friday claimed it has cracked the ransomware at its R&D labs and is currently working on five cases from India.

Stellar received requests from over two dozen customers with specific request for recovering lost data from “WannaCry” affected drives.

The requests were received at several data recovery laboratories locations.

“We are already working on five specific ‘WannaCry’ cases at our Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Kochi locations. Our data recovery lab services are subscribed by customers who would like professional expert to examine the affected drives and recover lost data,” Sunil Chandna, CEO, Stellar Data Recovery, told IANS.

Stellar’s data recovery experts analysed drives infected with the ransomware and, after careful evaluation, they were able to identify a possible weakness.

The research and development team then updated their software “Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery” to exploit the vulnerability.

Data can be recovered either using “Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Free Edition” or by subscribing to the company’s professional lab services in India and Europe.

“Since we have published an update on our website yesterday, Stellar Phoenix data recovery software was downloaded by over 600 users. ‘Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery Software for Windows’ has a FREE edition that can help customers recover data at ZERO cost,” Chandna added.

Stellar has a dedicated team of over 80 R&D professionals who work on solving ever-evolving data loss problems.

“Since the news broke of this attack late last week, our R&D team spent hours researching and developing ingenious ways to resolve this crisis. I am happy with their accomplishment and am confident that it will benefit thousands affected by this crisis”, Chandna noted.

According to the data recovery company, all files stored outside “My Documents” and “Desktop” locations on the infected device can be recovered in many cases through Stellar’s do-it-yourself software “Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Free Edition” from www.stellarinfo.com.

Users simply have to download and install this software on a desktop or laptop, which is not infected by this ransomware, connect the infected hard drive as an external media and perform a scan.

All data can be saved after successfully scanning the infected drive without the need to pay ransomware in bitcoins.

“We are confident that we would be able to help our global customers in future too,” Chandna told.

IANS

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Make a WhatsApp voice or video call with Google Assistant

If you have set up the Google Assistant app on your Android device, you may directly invoke it by saying OK Google or Hey Google.

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New Delhi, July 12 : Google recently announced that Assistant would be able to make video and audio calls with WhatsApp.

This means that one can easily access WhatsApp and some of its options by triggering the Google Assistant from the home screen on your smartphone.

The voice calls commenced by Assistant were earlier used to place a network call for the user. While video calls could be set up via Hangouts or Duo only.

If you have set up the Google Assistant app on your Android device, you may directly invoke it by saying OK Google or Hey Google.

One may also wake up the assistant app using the dedicated key, if available or by long-pressing the Home button on your device.

When Google Assistant is open, use one of the two commands, “Make a WhatsApp call to [contact-name]” or “Call [contact-name] on WhatsApp and for video call just say “Make a WhatsApp video call to [contact-name]”.

To make things faster, one should add a nickname to the most frequently called contacts.

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Bill Gates warns ‘deadlier pandemic’ if vaccine goes to ‘highest bidders’

There are at least 21 vaccines currently under key trials, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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San Francisco, July 12 : Microsoft founder Bill Gates has warned about a deadlier pandemic if successful drugs or a COVID-19 vaccine, when developed, go first to the highest bidders and not reach the common people who need it the most.

Addressing a remote COVID-19 conference hosted by the International AIDS Society on Saturday, Gates said democratizing the vaccine must be the goal, reports CNBC.

“If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we”ll have a longer, more unjust deadlier pandemic,” he said.

“We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors,” Gates added.

There are at least 21 vaccines currently under key trials, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The fear is that once the vaccine is developed, the rich and the powerful people would grab it first.

However, despite encouraging preliminary data coming from some research labs, a Covid-19 vaccine is nowhere near while new corona cases are mounting in several countries including in India.

No vaccines have yet started their large and critical Phase-III trials in the US.

WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said that AstraZeneca”s coronavirus vaccine candidate is currently the most advanced vaccine in terms of development.

AstraZeneca”s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, developed by researchers from the Oxford University, will likely provide protection against the disease for one year, the British drug maker”s CEO told Belgian radio station Bel RTL recently.

The vaccine developed at the Oxford Jenner Institute is currently on trial in the UK, where over 4,000 participants have enrolled and additional enrollment of 10,000 participants is planned for the clinical trial. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine has been licenced to AstraZeneca.

“Global cooperation, a resolve to invent the tools and get them out where they”re needed most is critical,” said Gates at the virtual event.

Gates in May said the vaccine development may take at least nine months to two years.

“Most of the drug candidates right now are nowhere near that powerful. They could save a lot of lives, but they aren”t enough to get us back to normal,” the Microsoft co-founder wrote in his GatesNotes blog.

In the absence of an “almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19”, it becomes imperative that every person on the planet gets vaccinated against coronavirus.

“Realistically, if we”re going to return to normal, we need to develop a safe, effective vaccine. We need to make billions of doses, we need to get them out to every part of the world, and we need all of this to happen as quickly as possible,” he said.

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Google to boost fake news, illegal content monitoring on YouTube

In a blog post, Pichai said that since January, Google has blocked hundreds of thousands of ads attempting to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Seoul, July 12 : Google’s video-sharing platform YouTube will cooperate with South Korea to closely monitor and prevent the spread of fake news and illegal content.

Google’s Senior Vice President Neal Mohan made the comments during a videoconference with Han Sang-hyuk, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

The remarks came after Han requested such cooperation, considering fake news surrounding Covid-19 and a recent high-profile digital sexual abuse case in South Korea, in which such illegal materials were distributed across social media platforms.

The regulator has kept a close watch over the tech giant this year.

Last month, Google voluntarily corrected subscription practices on its YouTube Premium service in the country, after the KCC found they were unfair for users.

The regulator also imposed a fine of $720,000 on Google for violating local telecom laws, as it did not properly notify users of YouTube Premium’s charged service.

In March this year, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has taken down thousands of videos on YouTube related to dangerous or misleading coronavirus information using its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology.

In a blog post, Pichai said that since January, Google has blocked hundreds of thousands of ads attempting to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic.

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