The ransomware surge ruining lives 

  • A global coalition of technology companies and law enforcement bodies is calling for “aggressive and urgent” action against ransomware. 
  • Microsoft, Amazon, the FBI and the UK’s National Crime Agency have joined the Ransomware Task Force (RTF) in giving governments nearly 50 recommendations 
  • These recommendations have been included in a report which has been submitted to President Biden’s administration.
  • Ransomware gangs are now routinely targeting schools and hospitals. 
  • Hackers use malicious software to scramble and steal an organisation’s computer data.
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    Among Us is finally coming to PS4 and PS5, three years after its 2018 debut 

    • The hit social deduction game Among Us is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 sometime this year, Sony announced during its State of Play presentation on Thursday. 
    • Like on other platforms, the game will support crossplay and online multiplayer so that you can play with your friends no matter what platform you’re on.  
    • PlayStation players will be the only ones who can get exclusive Ratchet & Clank-themed cosmetics: a skin and hat to dress up like Ratchet and a pet that is an adorable little Clank. 
    • Among Us became super popular last year on PC and mobile devices, eventually becoming 2020’s most-downloaded mobile game. 
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    • To learn more about Among Us, read our recent article here.

    Spotify CEO says live audio content is the next ‘stories’  

    • Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has told investors that live audio experiences will be adopted by every major platform just like Stories have been.
    • The streaming service recently acquired a live audio app, Locker Room, whose technology it expects to use to power a range of new live audio conversations centred around sports, culture and music.
    • Investors were curious how Locker Room would fit in with Spotify’s current offerings, given the streaming service today is focused on delivering recorded content — music and podcasts — and not some sort of live social networking experience. 
    • Daniel Ek, mirroring what many in the industry have already been thinking, said he sees live audio as a new set of capabilities that will be broadly adopted by all. 
    • Today, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Discord, Telegram and even LinkedIn have plans for live audio in various stages of development or availability.
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      Ministers urged to ‘come clean’ over pupil funding changes in England 

      • The government should “come clean” over its reduced funding for tens of thousands of disadvantaged pupils in England and repay the missing money to schools, according to the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers. 
      • Paul Whiteman, NAHT’s General Secretary, is the latest figure to criticise the Department for Education’s change to cut-off dates for children to qualify for pupil premium funding which goes to schools.  
      • By moving the date back from January this year to last October, the government is estimated to have saved up to £200m, based on freedom of information requests sent to local authorities. 
      • Alleging the government is “intent on clawing back funding from schools,” Whiteman will tell the NAHT’s annual conference on Friday: “They have saved millions by changing the date that pupil premium data was collected”.
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