Who precisely is behind the disruptive intrusion into Colonial Pipeline hasn't been made officially known and digital attribution can be tricky, especially early on in an investigation. A former U.S. official and two industry sources have told Reuters that the group DarkSide is among the suspects. Cybersecurity experts who have tracked DarkSide said it appears to be composed of veteran cybercriminals who are focused on squeezing out as much money as they can from their targets.
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SAN RAMON, Calif. — If Epic Games hopes to dismantle the fortress surrounding Apple's iPhone and its app store, the video game maker probably will need to roll out some heavier artillery heading into the second week of a trial threatening Apple's $2 trillion empire. So far, at least, Epic has been having trouble proving its allegations that the iPhone maker's 13-year-old app store has turned into an illegal monopoly. Epic, the maker of the popular Fortnite game, contends Apple has been gouging app makers by charging commissions ranging from 15% to 30% for in-app transactions because it forbids other options on its iPhone, iPad and iPod. When Epic tried to evade the commissions with an alternative payment system in Fortnite last August, Apple ousted it from the app store to set up a legal showdown that could force it to lower its fees. Apple contends the commissions are a reasonable toll paid by a minority of the 1.8 million apps in its store to help cover the more than $100 billion it has invested in mobile software, The Cupertino, California, company also maintains its ironclad control over apps allowed on its mobile devices helps protect its customers' security and privacy. At times, it seemed like Cary, North Carolina-based Epic was helping make Apple's case as much as its own during the the first week of the trial being held in an Oakland, California, courtroom. For instance, at one point during his two days on the witness stand, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney acknowledged he personally used an iPhone instead of smartphones running on Google's Android software because he thought Apple offered better security and privacy controls. Sweeney also acknowledged Apple made changes to iPhone's software to help make it possible for Fortnite players to compete against each other while one was on a phone and the other was on a video game console. The expansion of so-called “cross-platform" play helped propel Fortnite's growth to more than 400 million users. Other internal documents showed Epic's executives profusely thanking Apple for the support Fortnite was getting in the app store. Other evidence raised questions about whether Epic's efforts to create a competing app store that imposes a commission of only 12% will pay off. The store is expected to post a profit ranging from $15 million to $36 million by 2024, but it will still have run up cumulative losses $654 million to $854 million, according to Epic's internal projections presented at the trial. Apple's store, by contrast, quickly became highly profitable shortly after it opened with just 500 apps in 2008 — a year after the debut of the first iPhone. Epic has repeatedly pointed to evidence that Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs initially didn't expect the app store to be a profit centre, but then apparently changed his mind after it accumulated $2.1 billion in billings during 2010, according to an Apple slide presentation. The trial hasn't yet revealed just how profitable Apple's app store has become. Apple doesn't disclose the store's financial results, but it is an important part of the company's steadily growing services division, which generated $57 billion in revenue last year alone. The success of those services coupled with the iPhone's ongoing popularity is a key reason why Apple currently boasts a market value of $2.2 trillion — more than any other U.S. company. In contrast, privately held Epic is valued at nearly $30 billion. More financial details about Apple's app store are expected to be presented during the trial's second week. Perhaps the most revealing moments may come when one of Epic's experts, Ned Barnes of the Berkeley Research Group, takes the stand to discuss his analysis of the app store's profits. Apple unsuccessfully tried to convince U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to close the courtroom during Barnes' testimony because his financial analysis “unduly confuse" investors and cause wild swings in its stock. But even if the app store's profits are higher than anyone fathomed, that won't necessarily help Epic prove its allegations that Apple is running a monopoly that hurts competition. “Being successful is not an antitrust violation in and of itself," said Daniel Lyons, a Boston College law professor. “The argument that your prices are much higher than your costs may play well to a lay audience, but it doesn't hold up legally." For all the drama, Lyons and other experts say the decision that will ultimately be made by the judge during this non-jury trial will boil down to market definitions. Epic contends the iPhone has become a market by itself, while Apple argues it should also include other devices, including video game consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation that also charge 30% commissions on gaming transactions. “If I were a betting man, I would certainly say Apple has the stronger case under existing case law," said Larry Downes, project director of Georgetown University's Center for Business and Public Policy. “You have to put yourself in the standpoint of the consumer, and that's what the judge really has to do. If it's not harming consumers, then this is just a contract dispute between two companies, with one of them trying to use litigation to renegotiate the terms." Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press
BOSTON — Jimmy Butler had 26 points and 11 assists to help the Miami Heat hold off the Boston Celtics 130-124 Sunday as the teams fight for position in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race. Duncan Robinson added 22 points and Bam Adebayo finished with 20 for Miami, which increased its lead over Boston to two games for sixth place in the standings. The Heat (37-31) now have the same record as fifth-place Atlanta, but the Hawks own the head-to-head tiebreaker. It is the first of two straight games between Miami and Boston, which meet for the final time during the regular season on Tuesday. Evan Fournier scored 30 points to lead the Celtics (35-33), who have lost three out of four as they try to avoid the play-in round of the playoffs. Jayson Tatum added 29 points and Kemba Walker finished with 18. Miami led by as many as 26 in the first half before Boston stormed back, opening the third quarter on a 22-8 run to get within 12 points. The Celtics kept chipping away and trimmed it all the way to 113-107 with 4:51 to play on a layup by Kemba Walker. It was 118-109 when Fournier got free in the corner for a 3. But Robinson answered with his own 3 on Miami’s ensuing possession to push the lead back to 121-112. Walker turned over on Boston’s next trip and Adebayo put it back in to get the lead back to double digits. Miami was able to close things out at the free-throw line. Boston struggled offensively without All-Star Jaylen Brown, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle. Big man Robert Williams III tried to play through turf toe in his left foot, scoring four points in 11 minutes in the first half. But he laboured on it at times and was scratched for the second half. The Heat controlled the pace early and shooting 75 per cent (15 of 20) in a key second quarter in which they outscored the Celtics 43-20 Defensively Miami tried to take the ball out of Tatum’s hands as much as possible, sending multiple double-teams his way and limiting him to just two field goal attempts in the opening 12 minutes. Tatum’s teammates combined to shoot just 7 of 17 from the field and 1 for 8 from 3. It set the tone for a half in which several of Boston’s empty offensive possessions turned into 14 fast break points for Miami. Boston left the floor at halftime to a chorus of boos from the pandemic-limited TD Garden crowd. TIP-INS Heat: Robinson has now a 3-pointer in 44 consecutive games. He set the franchise record, connecting on 57 consecutive 3s last season. … Victor Oladipo remained sidelined with right knee soreness, missing his 16th consecutive game. He’s appeared in only four games for the Heat since being acquired at the trade deadline by Miami. Celtics: The 79 points allowed in the first half was a season high by an opponent. … Have now allowed 70 or more points in a half three times over their last five games (Portland 71, San Antonio 77). UP NEXT Meet for their final matchup on Tuesday. Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press
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NEW YORK — The cyberextortion attempt that has forced the shutdown of a vital U.S. pipeline was carried out by a criminal gang known as DarkSide that cultivates a Robin Hood image of stealing from corporations and giving a cut to charity, a person close to the investigation said Sunday. The shutdown, meanwhile, stretched into its third day, with the Biden administration saying an “all-hands-on-deck” effort is underway to restore operations and avoid disruptions in the fuel supply. Experts said that gasoline prices are unlikely to be affected if the pipeline is back to normal in the next few days but that the incident — the worst cyberattack to date on critical U.S. infrastructure — should serve as a wake-up call to companies about the vulnerabilities they face. The pipeline, operated by Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, carries gasoline and other fuel from Texas to the Northeast. It delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to the company. It was hit by what Colonial called a ransomware attack, in which hackers typically lock up computer systems by encrypting data and then demand a large ransom to release it. The company has not said what was demanded or who made the demand. However, the person close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the culprit as DarkSide. It is among ransomware gangs that have “professionalized” a criminal industry that has cost Western nations tens of billions of dollars in losses in the past three years. DarkSide claims that it does not attack medical, educational or government targets — only large corporations — and that it donates a portion of its take to charity. It has been active since August and, typical of the most potent ransomware gangs, is known to avoid targeting organizations in former Soviet bloc nations. Colonial did not say whether it has paid or was negotiating a ransom, and DarkSide neither announced the attack on its dark website nor responded to an Associated Press reporter’s queries. The lack of acknowledgment usually indicates a victim is either negotiating or has paid. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that ransomware attacks are “what businesses now have to worry about,” and that she will work “very vigorously” with the Homeland Security Department to address the problem, calling it a top priority for the administration. “Unfortunately, these sorts of attacks are becoming more frequent,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation." ”We have to work in partnership with business to secure networks to defend ourselves against these attacks.” She said President Joe Biden was briefed on the attack. “It's an all-hands-on-deck effort right now,” Raimondo said. “And we are working closely with the company, state and local officials to make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren’t disruptions in supply.” The person close to the Colonial investigation said that the attackers also stole data from the company, presumably for extortion purposes. Sometimes stolen data is more valuable to ransomware criminals than the leverage they gain by crippling a network, because some victims are loath to see sensitive information of theirs dumped online. Security experts said the attack should be a warning for operators of critical infrastructure — including electrical and water utilities and energy and transportation companies — that not investing in updating their security puts them at risk of catastrophe. Ed Amoroso, CEO of TAG Cyber, said Colonial was lucky its attacker was at least ostensibly motivated only by profit, not geopolitics. State-backed hackers bent on more serious destruction use the same intrusion methods as ransomware gangs. “For companies vulnerable to ransomware, it’s a bad sign because they are probably more vulnerable to more serious attacks,” he said. Russian cyberwarriors, for example, crippled the electrical grid in Ukraine during the winters of 2015 and 2016. Cyberextortion attempts in the U.S. have become a death-by-a-thousands-cuts phenomenon in the past year, with attacks on hospitals forcing delays in cancer treatment, interrupting schooling and paralyzing police and city governments. Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week became the 32nd state or local government in the U.S. to come under ransomware attack, said Brett Callow, a threat analyst with the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. Average ransoms paid in the U.S. jumped nearly threefold to more than $310,000 last year. The average downtime for victims of ransomware attacks is 21 days, according to the firm Coveware, which helps victims respond. David Kennedy, founder and senior principal security consultant at TrustedSec, said that once a ransomware attack is discovered, companies have little recourse but to completely rebuild their infrastructure, or pay the ransom. “Ransomware is absolutely out of control and one of the biggest threats we face as a nation,” Kennedy said. “The problem we face is most companies are grossly underprepared to face these threats.” Colonial transports gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil from refineries on the Gulf Coast through pipelines running from Texas to New Jersey. Its pipeline system spans more than 5,500 miles, transporting more than 100 million gallons a day. Debnil Chowdhury at the research firm IHSMarkit said that if the outage stretches to one to three weeks, gas prices could begin to rise. “I wouldn’t be surprised, if this ends up being an outage of that magnitude, if we see 15- to 20-cent rise in gas prices over next week or two,” he said. The Justice Department has a new task force dedicated to countering ransomware attacks. While the U.S. has not suffered any serious cyberattacks on its critical infrastructure, officials say Russian hackers in particular are known to have infiltrated some crucial sectors, positioning themselves to do damage if armed conflict were to break out. Iranian hackers have also been aggressive in trying to gain access to utilities, factories and oil and gas facilities. In one case in 2013, they broke into the control system of a U.S. dam. ___ Bajak reported from Boston. AP Writers Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia, and Martin Crutsinger and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report. Mae Anderson And Frank Bajak, The Associated Press
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LONDON — West Bromwich Albion was relegated after one season back in the Premier League after losing 3-1 at Arsenal on Sunday, ending Sam Allardyce's proud record of never having taken a side down from England's top division in 30 years as a manager. A 19th defeat of the campaign left next-to-last West Brom 10 points from safety with just three games remaining and joining last-place Sheffield United in returning to the second-tier Championship. Fulham, which is in third-to-last place, will join them if it loses at home to Burnley on Monday. Allardyce was hired by West Brom in December as a replacement for the fired Slaven Bilic. The club — then placed 19th in the 20-team division — was attracted by the former England manager owing to his reputation as a so-called survival specialist. It was his eighth spell at a Premier League team and his previous seven weren't relegated under him. West Brom didn't manage to improve its position under Allardyce and has the worst defensive record in the league, with the Arsenal goals scored by Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Willian taking that tally conceded to 68. Smith Rowe volleyed in from Bukayo Saka's left-wing cross in the 29th minute, before Pepe doubled the lead six minutes later by curling home a shot into the top corner from the right of the penalty area. Matheus Pereira has been a rare bright spark in an otherwise dismal season for West Brom and the Brazilian playmaker showcased his ability to any potential suitors by scoring his 10th goal of the season — and it was perhaps his best. He ran at the heart of Arsenal's defence from near the halfway line, getting to just outside the area before shooting low into the corner. Willian ensured West Brom would not be grabbing a draw to stay alive for a few more days by curling home a free kick in the 90th minute. Arsenal's win came three days after a heartbreaking exit from the Europa League at the semifinal stage and lifted Mikel Arteta's team to ninth place. Arsenal is six points behind fifth-place West Ham and is unlikely to qualify for a European competition next season, ending a 25-year run of doing so. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
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NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 9, 2021 / Most small business owners and entrepreneurs had to do serious rethinking of their businesses and marketing strategies in the past 12 months. According to Fortune Magazine, almost 100,000 small businesses have closed during this time period, while others had to get creative and pivot to improve their existing business model just to stay afloat.
West Brom relegated after Nicolas Pépé’s thunderbolt for Arsenal
Goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe had the Baggies on the ropes and Willian sealed matters after Matheus Pereira had reduced the arrears.
Grant Williams (Boston Celtics) with a buzzer beater vs the Miami Heat, 05/09/2021
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Electric cars ‘will be cheaper to produce than fossil fuel vehicles by 2027’BloombergNEF forecasts result of falling cost of making batteries as well as dedicated production lines Tighter emissions regulations could put electric vehicles in pole position to dominate all new car sales by the middle of the next decade, research by BloombergNEF has found. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
JERUSALEM — Police on Sunday gave the go-ahead to the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims to all of the contested city, despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a flashpoint holy site. Monday's parade was scheduled to pass through Jerusalem's Old City, part of east Jerusalem, which was captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. The march was approved amid ongoing clashes between police and Palestinians in the Old City, the emotional epicenter of the long-running conflict, and in a nearby Arab neighbourhood where Jewish settlers are trying to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes. Before dawn Sunday, thousands of Muslim worshippers skirmished anew with police at the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City. Videos on social media showed Palestinians hurling water bottles and rocks at officers, who fired stun grenades. Amos Gilad, a former senior defence official, told Army Radio that the Jerusalem Day parade should be cancelled or rerouted away from the Old City’s Damascus Gate, saying “the powder keg is burning and can explode at any time.” Israel's public broadcaster Kan said the final route of the parade had not yet been decided. The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. It has been a tinderbox for serious violence in the past. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in violent confrontations with police in Jerusalem overnight from Saturday to Sunday, when Muslims marked Laylat al-Qadr, or the “night of destiny,” the holiest period of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. On Friday, more than 200 Palestinians were wounded in clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem. The violence, along with the planned evictions in east Jerusalem, have drawn condemnations from Israel’s Arab allies and expressions of concern from the United States, Europe and the United Nations. The clashes in east Jerusalem resumed late Sunday night, as Israeli police faced off with protesters again. Protesters shouted at police and pelted them with rocks and bottles while police fired stun grenades and used a water cannon to disperse crowds. Palestinian medics said two protesters were hurt. The violence has threatened to spread. Late Sunday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into Israel, setting off air raid sirens in the city of Ashkelon, the Israeli military said. It said one rocket was intercepted, and there were no reports of damage or injuries. Earlier in the day, Israel carried out an airstrike on a post belonging to Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group in response to another rocket attack. Gazan protesters affiliated with Hamas militant group also launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel during the day, setting off dozens of fires that closed roads in the area. In Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli police clashed with hundreds of Arab students at Israel’s Hebrew University, using stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Police said protesters threw stones and three officers were wounded, and three people were arrested. Police said 15 people were arrested at another protest in the northern city of Haifa. Pope Francis said he was following the events in Jerusalem with worry. “I pray that it be a place of encounter and not of clashes, a place of prayer and peace,’’ Francis told the public gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his traditional Sunday noon remarks. “I invite all to find shared solutions so that the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City is respected,” Francis said. “Violence only generates violence,” he added, calling for an end to the clashes. Jordan's King Abdullah II, who acts as custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites, condemned what he called “Israeli violations and escalating practices” and urged Israel to halt its “provocations against Jerusalemites.” The statement issued by the palace said he also called on Israel to halt the planned evictions in east Jerusalem. In the Jordanian capital of Amman, some 700 protesters marched near Israel's embassy, calling on the government to deport the ambassador and annul a 1994 peace treaty with Israel. Security forces prevented protesters from reaching the embassy, and about 10 protesters were arrested. Both Jordan and Egypt, the first two countries to reach peace agreements with Israel, said they had summoned top Israeli diplomats for meetings to voice their concerns. Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel “will not allow any extremists to destabilize the calm in Jerusalem. We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly." “We will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all faiths, but we will not allow violent disturbances,” he said. On Sunday, COGAT, Israel’s defence ministry body controlling crossings with the Gaza Strip, said it had suspended entry of 350 Gaza merchants until further notice because of the upsurge in violence. It also closed Gaza's waters to local fishermen, a common move in times of heightened tensions. Police spokesman Eli Levi said Sunday that there were no plans to call off the Jerusalem Day parade, despite the rising friction and the potential for violence. He said police were constantly assessing the situation. Monday afternoon's march marks Israel's capture of east Jerusalem and is typically attended by hardline nationalist Israelis, who wend their way through the Damascus Gate of the Old City and through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray. The annual event is widely perceived as provocative, and this year's parade comes at a particularly volatile time. Adding to the tensions has been legal proceedings by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, an Arab neighbourhood in east Jerusalem. The Supreme Court had been expected to issue a decision Monday — coinciding with Jerusalem Day. But on Sunday, the court, citing the current “circumstances,” postponed the decision and said a new date would be set in the next 30 days. Palestinians and international rights groups portray the planned evictions as an ongoing campaign by Israel to drive Palestinians from traditionally Arab neighbourhoods, especially in the heart of Jerusalem. Israel has cast the Sheikh Jarrah evictions case as a mere real estate dispute. The neighbourhood has been the scene of regular confrontations, particularly during Ramadan, between Palestinian residents and their supporters on one side, and Israeli police and ultra-nationalist Israeli activists on the other. The flare-up in hostilities comes at a crucial point in Israel’s political crisis after longtime leader Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition. His opponents are now working to build an alternate government. If they succeed, Netanyahu would be pushed to the opposition for the first time in 12 years. ___ AP correspondent Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report. Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press
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