By Jim Finkle LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Apple Inc said it plans to offer rewards of up to $200,000 (£152,433) to researchers who find critical security bugs in its products, joining dozens of firms that already offer payments for help uncovering flaws in their products. The maker of iPhones and iPads provided Reuters with details of the plan, which includes some of the biggest bounties offered to date, ahead of unveiling it on Thursday afternoon at the Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas. The program will initially be limited to about two dozen researchers who Apple will invite to help identify hard-to-uncover security bugs in five specific categories. Those researchers have been chosen from the group of experts who have previously helped Apple identify bugs, but have not been compensated for that work, the company said. The most lucrative category, which offers rewards of up to $200,000, is for bugs in Apple's "secure boot" firmware for preventing unauthorized programs from launching when an iOS device is powered up. Apple said it decided to limit the scope of the program at the advice of other companies that have previously launched bounty programs. Those companies said that if they were to do it again, they would start by inviting a small list of researchers to join, then gradually open it up over time, according to Apple. Security analyst Rich Mogull said that limiting participation would save Apple from dealing with a deluge of "low-value" bug reports. "Fully open programs can definitely take a lot of resources to manage," he said. Apple declined to say which firms provided advice. Such rewards are currently offered by dozens of firms, including AT&T Inc, Facebook Inc, Google, Microsoft Corp, Tesla Motors Inc and Yahoo Inc. Microsoft, which has handed out $1.5 million in rewards to security researchers since it launched its program three years ago, also offers rewards for identifying very specific types of bugs. Its two biggest payouts have been for $100,000 each. Not all bounty programs are as focused as the ones from Apple and Microsoft. Facebook, for example, has an open program that offers rewards for a wide-range of vulnerabilities. It has paid out more than $4 million over the past five years, with last year's average payment at $1,780. In March, Facebook paid $10,000 to a 10-year-old boy in Finland who found a way to delete user comments from Instagram accounts. (Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Andrew Hay)
- Yahoo News
Black National Guardsman describes being deployed to protect Biden’s inauguration: 'I just felt this huge sense of pride'
As most of the 25,000 National Guardsmen who were called upon to protect Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration began heading home this week, one Black service member agreed to speak to Yahoo News about the experience of protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.
- The Independent
Biden’s new sign language interpreter runs a right-wing Facebook group and has been pictured in a MAGA hat
One video featuring Heather Mewshaw is titled ‘Joe Biden is literally and legally not the President elect’
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
Blinken, in a call with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, applauded recent progress made with the "Abraham Accords" and affirmed U.S. interest in building further on that progress, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Foreign Minister Ashkenazi and Secretary Blinken acknowledged the steadfast partnership between the United States and Israel, and that the two countries would work closely together on challenges ahead," it said. The so-called Abraham Accords is a U.S.-brokered agreement to normalize diplomatic ties between Israel and Arab and Muslim countries.
The move could save the service millions of dollars and provide wearers with better protection in the field.
- The Independent
Biden news – live: Republican Party suffers ‘mass exodus’ as FBI thwarts plot against California governor
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- The Telegraph
Russian authorities target Navalny's associates and wife in series of police raids ahead of protests
Russian authorities raided the homes of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his associates on Wednesday, piling pressure on opposition figures ahead of a major rally planned for this weekend. Masked police on Wednesday afternoon broke down the door of Mr Navalny’s rented flat despite the pleas from his wife who was inside, asking for her lawyer, Veronika Polyakova. Ms Polyakova arrived at her house but was not allowed in to witness the search, a clear violation of the Russian law,she told the Dozhd TV channel. In the biggest wave of police action against the opposition in months, law enforcement agents raided at least seven homes on Wednesday, including a Moscow property owned by Mr Navalny but where he has not lived for years, and the office of his associates who run his YouTube channel. A video posted online by Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Mr Navalny, showed black-clad masked men break down the door and walk into the office.
Explainer: Why Trump's post-presidency perks, like a pension and office, are safe for the rest of his life
The impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has fueled speculation online that he could lose some of the benefits extended to former presidents. But according to legal experts, under the laws currently in effect, Trump will retain perks including a pension, office space and security detail even in the unlikely event that he is convicted by the Senate in its impeachment trial. Trump can thank a relatively obscure law, the Former Presidents Act.
- Associated Press
At least two journalists tested positive for coronavirus after witnessing the Trump administration's final three federal executions, but the Bureau of Prisons knowingly withheld the diagnoses from other media witnesses and did not perform any contact tracing, The Associated Press has learned. The AP is not identifying the journalists, but has confirmed they both received positive coronavirus tests following the executions earlier this month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Bureau of Prisons just completed a record number of executions under former President Donald Trump, more than any previous administration.
- Yahoo News Video
China toughened its language toward Taiwan on Thursday, warning after recent stepped-up military activities near the island that "independence means war" and that its armed forces were taking action to respond to provocation and foreign interference.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- NBC News
Analysis: Biden had nothing to gain and everything to lose from fighting a quixotic war over the filibuster just days into his presidency.
- The Conversation
Why it takes 2 shots to make mRNA vaccines do their antibody-creating best – and what the data shows on delaying the booster dose
After a second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, a swarm of antibodies attacks the virus. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty ImagesWith the U.S. facing vaccination delays because of worker shortages and distribution problems, federal health officials now say it’s OK to push back the second dose of the two-part vaccine by as much as six weeks. As an infectious disease doctor, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from my patients as well as my friends and family about whether the COVID-19 vaccine will still work if people are late receiving their second dose. Why you need two doses 3-4 weeks apart Two doses, separated by three to four weeks, is the tried-and-true approach to generate an effective immune response through vaccination, not just for COVID but for hepatitis A and B and other diseases as well. The first dose primes the immune system and introduces the body to the germ of interest. This allows the immune system to prepare its defense. The second dose, or booster, provides the opportunity for the immune system to ramp up the quality and quantity of the antibodies used to fight the virus. In the case of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the second dose increases the protection afforded by the vaccine from 60% to approximately 95%. Why the CDC decided receiving the second dose within 42 days is OK In the clinical trial, the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered as early as day 19 and as late as day 42 to 93% of the subjects. Since protection was approximately 95% for everyone who was vaccinated within this time “window,” there is little reason not to allow some flexibility in the timing of the second dose 2. As more vaccine becomes available, the timing of the second dose should be close to four weeks for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. But the good news is that even while supplies remain limited, the science suggests that there’s nothing bad about getting a second dose as late as 42 days after the first. What the immune system does between the first and second dose The biology through which the mRNA vaccines induce their protection from COVID-19 is fundamentally different from that with other vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA that encodes the spike glycoprotein. Upon injection of the vaccine, the mRNA enters into immune cells called dendritic cells. The dendritic cells use the instructions written in the mRNA to synthesize the hallmark spike glycoprotein, which characterizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. These immune cells then show the spike glycoprotein to B-cells, which then make anti-spike antibodies. Dendritic cells recognize viruses and present information about the spike protein to T-cells. T-cells provide information about the viral spike protein to B-cells, which are transformed to memory B-cells that store information about the virus. When this memory B-cell is activated with an infection or the second dose of the vaccine, this causes some of the B-cells to change into plasma B-cells that secrete protective antibodies that fight the virus. Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images The mRNA vaccines are uniquely capable of inducing a special kind of immune cell – called a T-follicular helper cell – to help B-cells produce antibodies. The T-cells do this through direct contact with the B-cells and by sending chemical signals that tell the B-cells to produce antibodies. It is this help in antibody production that makes these vaccines so effective. But not all B-cells are the same. There are two kinds that make anti-spike antibodies: long-lived plasma cells and memory B-cells. The long-lived plasma cells, as their name implies, live in the bone marrow for years after vaccination, continuously churning out antibody – in this case anti-spike antibody. These long-lived B-cells do not need to be boosted. The memory B-cells, on the other hand, live in a state akin to hibernation. They do not produce antibodies until stimulated by a booster of the vaccine, or are exposed to infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That is the reason we need that second dose. Together these two types of B-cells provide a constant level of protection. What happens if you don’t get the Pfizer or Moderna second dose on time? With current vaccine shortages, and problems with setting up the infrastructure to vaccinate millions of people, many physicians are concerned that the second dose of vaccine won’t be delivered in the prescribed three-to-four-week window. That booster shot is necessary for the T-cells to stimulate the memory B-cells to produce massive quantities of antibodies. If the booster isn’t given within the appropriate window, lower quantities of antibodies will be produced that may not provide as powerful protection from the virus. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: William Petri, University of Virginia. Read more:How mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna work, why they’re a breakthrough and why they need to be kept so coldCOVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time – but are these game-changers safe? William Petri receives research funding from the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Regeneron, Inc.
- The Telegraph
Europe’s press has again given wide-ranging coverage to the row between Britain and the EU over the supply of vaccines, with one paper saying that Boris Johnson’s “gamble” in getting a head-start on production had paid off. The EU has urged AstraZeneca to divert millions of doses from UK plants, but the British government has resisted those demands. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told the BBC on Thursday: "The supplies that have been planned, paid for and scheduled should continue." Asked whether he would allow vaccines manufactured in the UK to be diverted to the EU, he said "no", adding that there must be no interruption to the British vaccination programme. AstraZeneca says it can only deliver the EU a fraction of the doses between now and March due to production problems at plants in Europe. De Standaard, a Belgian newspaper, said the success of the Prime Minister’s move was a source of great frustration to the French, in particular, who are lagging far behind in their vaccine programme. It suggested that Brexiteers would take heart from that because Paris had regularly taken a hardline stance in the Brexit negotiations. The Flemish newspaper said that Mr Johnson liked to take risks and in this case, as opposed to in Brexit, the gambit had worked. Another Belgian paper, Het Nieuwsblad, said the unprecedented public attacks by the European Commission were designed to bring AstraZeneca "to its knees". "These doses are crucial to give a long-awaited boost to slow European vaccination campaigns," the paper said. It quoted Hendrik Vos, a professor of European politics, who said the Commission wanted to prove the shortfall was not its fault.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Singapore have detained without trial a 16-year-old student who made detailed plans and preparations to carry out “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Singaporean teen was inspired by an Australian white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, the Internal Security Department said Wednesday. The teen detained in December was the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country's Internal Security Act, it added.
- The Independent
Mike Pence is homeless after leaving office and ‘couch-surfing’ with Indiana politicians, report says
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
- National Review
White House climate czar John Kerry on Wednesday recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies. During a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Kerry, who is serving as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was asked what his message is to workers who are “seeing an end to their livelihoods” as a result of President Biden’s plan to move away from traditional fuels and towards renewable energy. “The president of the United States has expressed in every comment he has made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner,” Kerry responded, emphasizing that Biden intends to “do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis.” “What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels,” Kerry said. Kerry noted that jobs in clean energy, such solar power technician and wind turbine technician, were growing rapidly before the pandemic hit. “The same people can do those jobs,” the former secretary of state said, adding that, “coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years.” Kerry also lamented that workers in traditional fuel industries have been a “false narrative.” “They’ve been fed the notion that somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it’s not,” he said, adding that the tribulations of oil and gas workers are due to “other market forces already taking place.” Biden signed several executive orders on climate change on Wednesday aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Last week, the president reentered the Paris climate accord, from which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2017. Biden also canceled the permit on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers. “Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,” Biden said at a White House ceremony. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. It is time to act.” Also on Wednesday, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm testified at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and promised to focus on creating U.S. jobs in clean energy while moving away from fossil fuels. She cited her time as Michigan governor, saying that “when we focused on providing incentives for job providers to locate in Michigan in clean energy, they came.” However, she added, “I think it is important that as we develop fossil fuels that we also develop the technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female paediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
Weeks after other Latin American countries began inoculating their citizens against coronavirus, Brazil finally administered its first shot on Jan. 17 using China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccine. With efficacy of just over 50% - barely above Brazil's threshold for regulatory approval - the Chinese shot was not the government's first choice. The country's principle strategy - to manufacture 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine locally - has been plagued by repeated delays.
Sen. Rand Paul attends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, on Capitol Hill on Jan. 27, 2021. Sen. Rand Paul lost the very first procedural vote of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. “The impeachment trial is dead on arrival,” the Kentucky Republican and regular Trump ally declared yesterday after his attempt to short-circuit the impeachment trial on the grounds it is unconstitutional failed by a 55-45 vote.