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The Download: Chinese hackers target telecoms and aviation emissions

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The Download: Chinese hackers target telecoms and aviation emissions

The news: Hackers employed by the Chinese government have broken into many major telecommunications companies around the globe in a cyber-espionage operation that has been ongoing for at least two years according to an advisory from American security agencies.

How it happened: The hackers allegedly broke into their targets using well-known vulnerabilities in networking hardware. Officials in the US said that hackers gained full access to network traffic for many private companies and government agencies once they had established a foothold within their targets. They didn’t name the people who were affected or explain what the impact was.

What it means: This campaign is a warning to network administrators about the need to improve their basic cybersecurity. It also illustrates the dangers software flaws can pose, even after being made public for years. Read the complete story .

–Patrick Howell O’Neill

The aviation industry can meet its emissions goals but it needs new fuels to fly first

Reducing carbon emissions from aircrafts will be challenging, but not impossible, according a new report released by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

The report details possible routes for aviation to reduce its carbon emissions to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. It says that about 60% of emissions reductions are projected to come from low-carbon fuels, with the rest coming from efficiencies, and lower demand. Read the complete story

–Casey Crownhart

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Twitter has agreed to give Elon Musk access to millions of tweets

Which could make it much harder for him to back out of buying the company. (NYT $)

+ One of Musk’s financiers is linked to a Russian tycoon. (Bloomberg $)

+ Texas’ decision to probe into Twitter’s fake accounts is a purely political one. (NYT $)

2 How Big Tech’s data hoarding harms us all

And why sharing it wouldn’t hurt them, either. (Time $)

+ Collective data rights can stop big tech from obliterating privacy. (MIT Technology Review)

3 A start-up has been accused of dispensing ADHD drugs too liberally

Particularly during the pandemic, when regulations around remote prescriptions were relaxed. (WSJ $)

4 Bumpy batteries work better in freezing temperatures

Flat lithium-ion batteries struggle in the cold–changing the shape of its components could be a solution. (New Scientist $)

+ This startup wants to pack more energy into electric vehicle batteries. (MIT Technology Review)

5 South Korea is investigating the company behind the stablecoin crash

Over claims a worker embezzled its crypto holdings. (FT $)

+ Workers thinking of pivoting to web3 are having second thoughts. (Vox)

6 Smart windows are an obvious way to save energy

The problem, as ever, is making them affordable enough to go mainstream. (Knowable Magazine)

7 The Caribbean’s hurricane activity is at a historic low

And has been for a surprisingly long time. (Hakai Magazine)

+ We might have to start naming heat waves the way we do hurricanes. (Axios)

+ How to keep the power on during hurricanes and heat waves. (MIT Technology Review)

+ Tracking vibrations could help experts to get ahead of flash floods. (Economist $)

8 Not all NFT art is terrible

It just happens that most of the really famous pieces are. (The Verge)

+ Bored Apes has been dethroned as the most popular NFT project. (Motherboard)

9 A saxophonist smuggled secrets into the USSR using encrypted musical code

Rendering the information indecipherable to everyone but practiced musicians. (Wired $)

10 It’s time to get over The Current Thing

Our collective ability to forget what we’re outraged by should help. (FT $)

Quote of the day

“There is literally not a computer in that clinic unless I bring my laptop from home in.”

–Mia Raven, director of policy at an abortion clinic in Alabama, tells NBC News she’s stepping up security measures as part of measures to better protect clients, as the risk of Roe being repealed looms.

The big story

Ghost ships, crop circles, and soft gold: A GPS mystery in Shanghai

November 2019

On a sultry summer night in July 2019, the MV Manukai was arriving at the port of Shanghai, near the mouth of the Huangpu River. This would be the American container ship’s final stop in China before it made its long journey home to Long Beach, California.

As the crew carefully maneuvered the 700-foot ship through the world’s busiest port, its captain watched his navigation screens closely. The Manukai’s screens indicated that another ship was speeding up the channel at seven knots (eight mph). The AIS display suddenly disappeared and the other ship was gone. The screen displayed the other ship at the dock a few minutes later. It was then in the channel again and moving again. Then, it was back at the dock, then disappeared once more.

Eventually, mystified, the captain picked up his binoculars and scanned the dockside. The other ship was still at the dock all the time. New research and previously undiscovered data have shown that the Manukai and many other vessels are being affected by a new mysterious weapon that can spoof GPS systems in a way that has never been seen before. Read the full story.

Mark Harris

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. Have any other ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me. )

+ This oompah band cover of Highway to Hell will get your Thursday off to the perfect start (Thanks Allegra! )

+ Who knew bamboo salt was so interesting?

+ Riley is an LGBTQ+ icon after our own hearts.

+ What it looks like to grow a mango tree from a seed over the course of a year (just don’t expect it to bear fruit any time soon. )

+ It’s asparagus season–here’s how to cook it to perfection.

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Microsoft Teams is finally fixing this ear-splitting annoyance

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Microsoft Teams is finally fixing this ear-splitting annoyance
Four people in a meeting room video conferencing with four remote participants.



(Image credit: Microsoft)

One of the most irritating (and slightly painful) parts of joining a Microsoft Teams call could soon be fixed by a new update.

The video conferencing service is a popular choice for many companies, meaning calls with large numbers of participants joining at the same time, and from the same location (such as a meeting room) are a common occurrence. 

However, often when multiple people join a meeting in the same room, a feedback loop is created, which causes echo, which in most cases quickly escalates to howling – with Microsoft likening the noise to when a musician holds the mic too close to a loudspeaker.

Teams’ howling

Fortunately, a new fix is coming for Microsoft Teams users. In its entry in the official Microsoft 365 roadmap (opens in new tab), the new “Ultrasound Howling Detection” describes how it aims to prevent this noise for users on Windows and Mac across the world.

Microsoft says that the update should mean if multiple users on laptops join from the same location, it will share with the user that another Teams Device is detected in their vicinity and is already joined with audio to the current meeting. 

If a user has already joined with their audio on, Microsoft Teams will automatically mute the mic and speakers of any new the person who then joins the call, hopefully putting an end to the howling and screeching feedback.

Thankfully, the update is already listed as being in development, with an expected general availability date of March 2023, so users shouldn’t have to wait too long to enjoy.

The news follows a number of recent updates largely aimed around improving the audio quality on Microsoft Teams calls using AI and machine learning.

The new updates are the result of using a machine learning model trained on 30,000 hours of speech samples, and include echo cancellation, better adjusting audio in poor acoustic environments, and allowing users to speak and hear at the same time without interruptions.

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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK’s leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he’s not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods trailer breakdown: 6 thing you might have missed

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods trailer breakdown: 6 thing you might have missed
Shazam points at someone off camera in Shazam! Fury of the Gods



Shazam! Fury of the Gods lands in theaters on March 17.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The final trailer for Shazam! Fury of the Gods has debuted online – and it looks even more charming, funnier, frenetic, and darker than its predecessor.

Shazam’s sequel flick arrives in theaters worldwide on March 17, so it’s about time we were given another look at the forthcoming DC Extended Universe movie (read our DC movies in order guide to find out where it’ll fit in that timeline). Luckily, Warner Bros. has duly obliged. Check it out below:

Okay, there’s some messy CGI and a slightly corny vibe about Shazam 2. But hey, the first problem can be ironed out before the superhero film takes flight, while the latter is part of what makes this movie series spellbinding (see what we did there?).

But we digress – you’re here because you want to find out what you missed from Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ new trailer. Below, we’ve pointed out six things you might have overlooked. So, what are you waiting for? Shout “Shazam!” and let’s dive in.

1. Who are the Daughters of Atlas?

Kalypso hands Hespera the wizard's staff in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

New movie, new villains. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

For a film centered around Shazam, we don’t actually see the titular superhero appear in the official trailer for the first 20 seconds.

Instead, we get another glimpse at Fury of the Gods‘ villains, aka the Daughters of Atlas. The powerful trio comprises the power-hungry Hespera (Helen Millen), dragon-riding Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Athena (Rachel Zegler), the latter of whom seems particularly torn about how the sisters are going about their business.

So, why are they gunning for Shazam and his superpowered foster siblings? Essentially, when Billy Batson was gifted his abilities by Djimon Hounsou’s wizard in the film film (available now on HBO Max), one of those powers was the Stamina of Atlas. The Daughters of Atlas aren’t too happy about their father’s ability being passed down to a child, so they want to take back what is theirs – and they’ll do it so by any means necessary.

2. Mythological monsters

A dragon prepares to breathe fire at one of Shazam's fellow heroes in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam isn’t the only person taking flight in Fury of the Gods. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam’s first DCEU outing featured some horror-imbued creatures in the form of the Seven Deadly Sins. How, then, do you go about topping (or, at the very least) matching what came before? Throw in a bunch of myth-based monsters, of course.

Kalypso’s imposing dragon is the most notable inclusion. It feature prominently throughout the trailer, and we even get an amusing Game of Thrones reference from Shazam – “Hey, Khaleesi!” – in the movie. Hey, Warner Bros. loves to mention its suite of IPs in as many of its films as possible.

But Kalypso’s wyvern isn’t the only fairy-tale-based beast we see. Minotaurs, griffons, and demonic unicorns are just three of the other monsters who’ll turn up in Fury of the Gods. Basically, don’t expect this to be an easy fight for Shazam and company to save the world.

3. You can’t get the staff these days

Hespera uses the wizard's staff as Kalypso looks on in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

“So I just point it and then what?” (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Saving earth from a new titanic threat will be even harder when Shazam’s adoptive family are stripped of their powers, too. And it seems that the staff, which was wielded by Hounsou’s wizard in the first movie, is the key to giving and taking those abilities away.

In 2019’s Shazam!, the titular hero gave powers to his foster siblings to help him combat the Seven Deadly Sins and Doctor Sivana. They’ve still got those power in Fury of the Gods, too, but they won’t have them for long, based by what the trailer suggests.

The footage shows Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield being drained of their abilities by the Daughters of Atlas at various points. The trio are using the wizard’s staff to rob the teens of their powers, so it’s clearly of major importance to the movie’s main players. 

Later, we see Shazam wielding it – not before he asks the wizard to take his powers back, mind you, when he becomes convinced he can’t defeat the Daughters of Atlas. Anyway, Shazam’s brandishing of the staff suggests he needs it to boost his own abilities if he’s going to defeat the movie’s antagonists and give his siblings their powers back. Expect the staff to play a vital role in Fury of the Gods‘ plot, then.

4. Prison break

Djimon Hounsou's wizard blows som magic dust out of a prison window in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Time to break out, Mr. Wizard. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In order to get the wizard’s staff, it seems the Daughters of Atlas go after Hounsou’s magic wielder to obtain it.

We see Hounsou’s character imprisoned at various points, including a shot of Hespera chastising him for giving the power of the gods to Billy, Freddy, and company. “You ripped it from our father’s core,” she tells him, which implies Hounsou’s wizard might not be as mighty and heroic as we were led to believe.

Anyway, Hounsou’s wizard interacts with Shazam later in the trailer, so he clearly escapes captivity. Whether he does so alone, or he enlists Shazam’s help – does that magic-infused dust, which he sends through his prison cell window, have something to do with it? – is unclear. Regardless, we’ll see Hounsou’s character break out at some stage.

5. Is that you, Doctor Strange?

Shazam flies past some rotating buildings in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Where have we seen this kind of aesthetic before? (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Remember when we said Zegler’s Athena doesn’t seem as keen to destroy earth as her sisters? That’s because, at the 1: 14 mark, we see her use her powers with a uncertain look on her face. You wouldn’t look like that if you were convinced you were doing the right thing, would you? 

Based on the fact she’s pushed away by Kalypso (using the staff no less), seconds later, it seems she’ll be swapping sides at some stage.

Interestingly, it seems the wizard’s staff can do more than give or take a person’s powers away. One perceived ability certainly has an air of the Doctor Strange/Marvel-based mystic arts about them. Just look at the Escher-style nature of how the scenery bends and folds in on itself when Athena is pushed back, and when Shazam evades numerous buildings at the 1: 44 mark. We’d be very surprised if DC and Warner Bros. didn’t take a leaf out of the MCU’s book with such an aesthetic.

6. Light the way

Shazam prepares to fight Kalypso and her dragon in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

A yellow bolt out of the blue. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam and his fellow superheroes get a costume upgrade in Fury of the Gods. The group’s threads are more streamlined and less plastic-looking this time around, which is pleasing to see.

Fans had been worried, though, that these suits wouldn’t feature one of the first movie’s most underrated (if somewhat tacky) aspects: the glowing lightning bolt on Shazam’s chest. Shazam’s costume in the 2019 movie was manufactured in a way that allowed the bolt to physically light up, avoiding the problem of having to add awkward lighting effects during the post-production phase.

Thankfully, Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ official trailer confirms that Shazam’s lightning bolt will glow. However, given the sleeker look of the costumes this time around, it appears that the illumination effect has been added in post. Regardless of how it’s been implemented, we’re just glad it’s a feature that’s been retained.

For more DCEU-based coverage, find out where we placed 2019’s Shazam! in our DC movies ranked article. Additionally, read up on the best superhero films of all-time or check out how to watch the Batman movies in order.

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As TechRadar’s entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You’ll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot (opens in new tab).

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.

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You can lock Chrome incognito tabs on Android now. Bring it to the PC!

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You can lock Chrome incognito tabs on Android now. Bring it to the PC!

Chrome logo on a phone with a lock image over it

Image: Deepanker Verma / Pexels


Author: Alaina Yee
, Senior Editor

Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.

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