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Google says Chrome 89 was built to save memory and load faster

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Google has discussed how Chrome version 89 has improved the browser’s memory usage and loading times on Mac, Windows and Android in a new post on the Chromium blog. The tech giant says the browser is now smarter when it comes to using and discarding memory across platforms — for instance, it now discards memory that the foreground tab is not actively using, such as big images that you’ve already scrolled past.

In addition, the update is also shrinking the browser’s memory footprint in background tabs for macOS, which Chrome has already been doing on other platforms for a while now. For macOS, in particular, Google is seeing up to eight percent in memory savings and up to 65 percent in improvement on Apple Energy Impact score for tabs in the background. Those translate to a cooler Mac with quieter fans. Chrome 89 now also uses PartitionAlloc, the company’s own advanced memory allocator, everywhere on Android and 64-bit Windows. Thanks to that change, it has improved browser responsiveness by up to 9 percent, and it’s seeing up to 22 percent in memory savings on Windows.

The Chrome team says new Play and Android capabilities allowed it to repackage the browser for fewer crashes and that it rebuilt the browser to be more stable for newer Android devices. It has also introduced a feature called “Freeze-Dried Tabs” to make starting up Chrome on Android up to 13 percent faster. Freeze-Dried Tabs work by saving a lightweight version of your tabs — it’s around the size of a screenshot, but it still supports scrolling and zooming, and it keeps links clickable. The screenshot-like tabs show up when you first fire up Chrome and while the actual tabs are loading in the background, so you can see pages load faster than before.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/google-chrome-89-saves-memory-loads-faster-125713806.html

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Biden signs cybersecurity executive order in the wake of pipeline shutdown

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Specifically citing a slew of recent incidents including SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange server hacks and the ongoing Colonial Pipeline situation, President Biden signed an executive order today that focuses on “improving the nation’s cybersecurity.” The steps it lays out are supposed to improve information sharing between agencies, set policies to protect federal networks and improve the response to breaches by creating a standardized “playbook” that will be reviewed by the director of CISA.

According to a summary released at the same time, it also sets standards for software that’s sold to the federal government, and tasks NIST with developing a labeling program “to educate the public on the security capabilities of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and software development practices” similar to existing Energy Star labels on appliances.

How much impact the order will have is unclear without action and funding from Congress, but it does lay out some first steps. According to NBC News, an administration official told reporters that it “reflects a fundamental shift in our mindset from incident response to prevention.” In a statement, Senator Mark Warner said “This executive order is a good first step, but executive orders can only go so far.”

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/white-house-eo-network-security-010757835.html

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Biden signs executive order to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses after Colonial Pipeline hack

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response and the ongoing vaccination program at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

WASHINGTON —  President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday aimed at strengthening U.S. cybersecurity defenses, a move that follows a series of sweeping cyberattacks on private companies and federal government networks over the past year.

The action comes as Colonial Pipeline continues to grapple with a crippling ransomware attack, which has led to widespread fuel shortages along the East Coast and prompted an all-of-government response.

The Colonial Pipeline hack is only the latest example of criminal groups or state actors exploiting U.S. cyber vulnerabilities. Last year, software from the IT company SolarWinds was breached, allowing hackers to gain access to communications and data in several government agencies.

The president’s executive order calls for the federal government and private sector to partner to confront “persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns” that threaten U.S. security.

Biden’s executive order takes a number of steps aimed at modernizing the nation’s cybersecurity:

  • Requires IT service providers to tell the government about cybersecurity breaches that could impact U.S. networks, and removes certain contractual barriers that might stop providers from flagging breaches.
  • Creates a standardized playbook and set of definitions for federal responses to cyber incidents.
  • Pushes the federal government toward upgrading to secure cloud services and other cyber infrastructure, and mandates deployment of multifactor authentication and encryption with a specific time period.
  • Improves security of software sold to the government, including by making developers share certain security data publicly.
  • Establishes a “Cybersecurity Safety Review Board” comprising public- and private-sector officials, which can convene after cyber attacks to analyze the situation and make recommendations.
  • Improves info-sharing within the federal government by enacting a government-wide endpoint detection and response system.

News of the president’s action came about an hour after Colonial announced it had restarted pipeline operations — though it will be days before fuel deliveries return to normal, the company said in a press release.

“Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” said the statement, which also thanked the Biden administration “for their leadership and collaboration.”

Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm first shared the update in a tweet after a phone call with Colonial CEO Tim Felt.

At the White House earlier Wednesday afternoon, President Joe Biden hinted his administration would soon have “good news” to share about its efforts to address the attack on Colonial.

The White House said Tuesday it was directing a “comprehensive federal response” aimed at restoring and securing U.S. energy supply chains in response to the incident.

On May 7, Colonial Pipeline paused its operations and notified federal agencies that it had fallen victim to a ransomware attack.

The assault, carried out by the criminal cyber group known as DarkSide, forced the company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline, leading to a disruption of nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supply.

An “Out Of Service” bag covers a gas pump as cars continue line up for the chance to fill their gas tanks at a Circle K near uptown Charlotte, North Carolina on May 11, 2021 following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline.

Logan Cyrus | AFP | Getty Images

Ransomware attacks involve malware that encrypts files on a device or network that results in the system becoming inoperable. Criminals behind these types of cyberattacks typically demand a ransom in exchange for the release of data.

Foreign governments have also been accused of launching cyberattacks to conduct espionage and sabotage.

In April, Washington formally held Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service responsible for carrying out the SolarWinds cyberattack. Microsoft President Brad Smith described the cyberattack as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.” Microsoft’s systems were also infected with malicious software.

The Russian government denies all allegations that it was behind the SolarWinds hack.

CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger reported from New York.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/12/biden-signs-executive-order-to-strengthen-cybersecurity-after-colonial-pipeline-hack.html

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Hacker group behind Colonial Pipeline attack claims it has three new victims

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The hacker group DarkSide claimed on Wednesday to have attacked three more companies, despite the global outcry over its attack on Colonial Pipeline this week, which has caused shortages of gasoline and panic buying on the East Coast of the U.S.

Over the past 24 hours, the group posted the names of three new companies on its site on the dark web, called DarkSide Leaks. The information posted to the site includes summaries of what the hackers appear to have stolen but do not appear to contain raw data. DarkSide is a criminal gang, and its claims should be treated as potentially misleading.

The posting indicates that the hacker collective is not backing down in the face of an FBI investigation and denunciations of the attack from the Biden administration. It also signals that the group intends to carry out more ransom attacks on companies, even after it posted a cryptic message earlier this week indicating regret about the impact of the Colonial Pipeline hack and pledging to introduce “moderation” to “avoid social consequences in the future.”

One of the companies is based in the United States, one is in Brazil and the third is in Scotland. None of them appear to engage in critical infrastructure. Each company appears to be small enough that a crippling hack would otherwise fly under the radar if the hackers hadn’t received worldwide notoriety by crippling gasoline supplies in the United States.

The U.S.-based company is a technology services reseller based in Illinois. DarkSide claims to have stolen more than 600 gigabytes of sensitive information, including passwords, financial information, HR information and employee passports from it.

The Brazilian company is a reseller of renewable energy products, and DarkSide claims possession of more than 400 gigabytes of data from it including “personal data of clients” and “details of agreements.”

The Scottish company is in the construction industry, and DarkSide claims to have stolen 900 gigabytes including contracts, commercial and personal data going back three years.

CNBC has contacted each of the companies for comment on the apparent ransomware attacks.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/12/darkside-hacker-group-behind-pipeline-attack-claims-three-new-victims.html

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Colonial Pipeline restarts after hack, but supply chain won’t return to normal for a few days

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Fuel tanks are seen at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on May 10, 2021.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline restarted operations Wednesday at approximately 5 p.m. ET after a ransomware attack last week forced the entire system offline on Friday evening. The company did warn, however, that its pipeline would not be fully functional immediately.

“Following this restart it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” Colonial said in a statement. “Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” the company added.

Shortly before Colonial’s restart announcement, President Joe Biden said to expect “good news” in the next 24 hours. He added that the White House had been in “very close” contact with the company.

Most of the pipeline, which is the largest fuel transmission line from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, has been offline since Friday. The company shut down its systems as a proactive measure after it fell victim to a ransomware attack by a criminal group known as DarkSide.

The pipeline is a critical part of U.S. petroleum infrastructure, transporting around 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil and jet fuel. The pipeline stretches 5,500 miles and carries nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supply. The system also provides jet fuel for airports, including in Atlanta and Baltimore.

Given the importance of the pipeline, there was swift action from Washington, in what officials called a “comprehensive federal response.”

The Department of Energy led the federal government response in coordination with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm previously said that the company would make a restart decision by the end of the day on Wednesday.

“So far there is no evidence from our intelligence people that Russia is involved although there is evidence that the actor’s ransomware is in Russia. They have some responsibility to deal with this,” Biden said from the White House on Monday.

Officials warned that gas supplies remained at reasonable levels, but panicked consumers headed to the pump as the pipeline shutdown stretched on for days.

As of Wednesday afternoon 68% of gas stations in North Carolina were out of gas, according to data from GasBuddy. In South Carolina and Georgia 45% of stations were dry, while 49% of stations across Virginia reported outages.

Gas prices have also ticked higher, with the national average for a gallon topping $3 on Wednesday for the first time since 2014.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/12/colonial-pipeline-restarts-after-hack-but-supply-chain-wont-return-to-normal-for-a-few-days.html

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