All you need to know today before heading off to the weekend.
1. UK, US and Canada allege Russian cyberattacks on Covid-19 research centers
According to new warnings issued by the US, Canada & UK, Russian cyber actors are reportedly targeting organizations involved in coronavirus vaccine development.
The Russian hacking group is called APT29, and also goes by the name “the Dukes” or “Cozy Bear.”
“APT29’s campaign of malicious activity is ongoing, predominantly against government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy targets to steal valuable intellectual property,” wrote a report by the UK National Cyber Security Centre.
“Covid-19 is an existential threat to every government in the world, so it’s no surprise that cyber espionage capabilities are being used to gather intelligence on a cure,” said John Hultquist, senior director of intelligence analysis at Mandiant Threat Intelligence.
2. Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Bill Gates & Elon Musk were hacked
Not good going forward, especially as all eyes are on social media titans ahead of the US Presidential elections in November.
Apple, Elon Musk and Joe Biden were among the accounts compromised in a broadly targeted hack that remained mysterious upon hours after the hacking. Those accounts and many others posted a message promoting the address of a bitcoin wallet.
Kim Kardashian, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Wiz Khalifa, Warren Buffett, Uber and Michael Bloomberg’s accounts posted similar messages hours after the initial hacks.
According to Twitter, the hacker leveraged an internal Twitter admin tool to gain access to the high-profile accounts. Many verified Twitter users also reported being unable to tweet, but most accounts resumed back to normal within the evening.
Twitter has taken a more proactive approach than others in combatting the issues of privacy on its platform, but yesterday was a clear example that there’s more work to be done.
3. China’s economy grew 3.2% in Q2
GDP grew 3.2% in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period last year.
This is encouraging, considering China’s GDP fell by 6.8% in Q1 earlier this year.
However, China’s stocks fell by the most in more than five months on Thursday after data showed a mixed recovery, with consumption data still weak compared to growth in the industrial sector.
Industrial production increased 4.4%, leveraged by help from the government by increasing the amount local governments can borrow for infrastructure projects. Consumption fell 3.9%, which signals a real, unstimulated lack of demand.
“Maybe today there’s some kind of realisation that while the industrial side of the economy is really being driven by fiscal stimulus, the consumer side of the economy is a bit more problematic,” said Tapas Strickland, an economist at National Australia Bank.
4. Hong Kong sees continued rise in Coronavirus cases
Hong Kong saw a record high of 67 new Covid-19 infections yesterday, with over half of those being untraceable. The news comes just as stricter measures have been placed on the city, with restaurants being ordered to close for dinner to restrict large group gatherings and Disneyland also closing its doors after 1 month of re-opening.
The new outbreak has now infected over 300 people in less than two weeks, with more than a third of infections unlinked to confirmed cases which suggests that transmissions are widespread.
Starting this past Wednesday, bars, gyms and beaches were shut, public gatherings were limited to four people and people have resumed their semi-quarantine life with limited social interaction at home.