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Massive data leak includes the phone numbers of 13 world leaders

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New information reveals that the “Pegasus Database” leak includes the phone number of several world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron

The recent “Pegasus Database” leak included the personal mobile phone numbers of 13 world leaders. The data leak also included the details of diplomats, military chiefs and senior politicians from 34 countries.

Affected leaders include the French President, South African President and Pakistani Prime Minister.

https://twitter.com/PoliticsForAlI/status/1417595265314263041?s=20

The Israeli spyware company NSO group sells the Pegasus hacking software behind the attack.

The group originally created the software to monitor criminals and terrorist groups around the world.

NSO says that the fact these mobile numbers were included in the database doesn’t indicate the occurrence of hacking. It does however, reveal that government clients of NSO identified these targets as people of interest.

NSO insists Pegasus software is only for investigations into crime and terror

Which world leaders are affected?

An investigation by The Guardian put together the following list of targeted world leaders:

  • Rwanda targeted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019
  • Morocco targeted French President Emmanuel Macron in 2019
  • Morocco targeted World Health Organisation’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in 2019
  • United Arab Emirates targeted prime minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri in 2018 and 2019
  • Morocco targeted the prime minister of Belgium and president of the European council, Charles Michel, in 2019
  • Security forces in Morocco targeted their own King Mohammed VI of Morocco in 2019
  • Security forces in Morocco also targeted their own prime minister Saadeddine Othmani in 2018 and 2019
  • India targeted prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in 2019
  • An unknown Mexican client targeted former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón in 2016 and 2017 when his wife was running for the top job
  • Morocco targeted American diplomat Robert Malley in 2019. Malley was a chief negotiator on the US-Iran deal

Tech

Virgin Media outage leaves UK viewers in the dark

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A major outage has left Virgin Media customers across the UK unable to use their television services

Virgin Media has confirmed a mass outage has left UK viewers unable to watch their television services, following a nationwide error.

The company confirmed the outage lasted around ten hours, which was understood to be triggered by a network power failure.

The issue began at about 10:30 GMT prompting thousands of viewers to report problems.

The firm told customers its engineers were trying to fix the problem, which hit cities across the UK, including London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Virgin issues apology for outage

Virgin Media apologised, and said it would fix it “as soon as possible”.

The issue had been caused by “a major power outage”, the firm said.

The website Downdetector which tracks outages received more than 18,000 reports of problems at one point.

Many users tweeted their annoyance at the loss of service, and the way in which Virgin Media communicated: “Can you update please? No TV. Your status page down. No info on phone lines,” wrote one customer.

The company said it had identified the fault and its engineers were working “flat-out” to fix the issue.

At 13:45 GMT Virgin Media stated: “We have now restored several channels with customers able to watch BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, ITV+1 and Channel 4. TV360 customers are also able to access apps on their box,” the firm wrote.

Customers however have taken to social media, slamming the company for the duration of the error – calling for refunds.

Virgin Media responded to those requests, advising customers to fill out an online compensation form.

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Tech

Meta to launch Uber ride-booking via WhatsApp in India

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One of the world’s biggest ride sharing services is partnering up with it the parent company of Facebook to change the way we book our journey

Ride-sharing giant Uber wants to make booking a ride in India as easy as sending a message via WhatsApp.

The US-based company has partnered up with Meta, the recently rebranded parent company of Facebook, to launch a ride booking feature in its WhatsApp service within India.

The integration is set to become the first of its kind for the ride-hailing giant and will allow people to book an Uber ride without having to download the official Uber app.

Everything from user registration and ride-booking to getting a trip receipt will be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface.

The service is being rolled out first in the northern city of Lucknow, and will be expanded to other Indian cities soon according an official statement.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip, and to do that we need to meet them on platforms they are comfortable with,”

said Nandini Maheshwari, senior director of business development for Uber APAC, in the statement.

India is the biggest market for WhatsApp with nearly half a billion users.

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Crypto

Is Twitter Changing its Name?

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Just days after Jack Dorsey resigned for the second time as CEO of Twitter, his other company, Square, is getting a name change

The parent company of Cash App and Tidal will now go under the new corporate name of “Block”.

Other individual businesses owned by Block, referred to by the company as “building blocks”, will keep their original names except for the company’s Square Crypto initiative.

Square Crypto, whilst keeping it’s ticker name of SQ on the stock exchange, will be renamed as Spiral.

These name changes follow Dorsey’s well known interest in cryptocurrency, with the business having $220 million in bitcoin in its treasury according to the Wall Street Journal.

This contributes to Dorsey, who Forbes estimates to be worth $10.8 billion, as being one of the most influential cryptocurrency advocates worldwide.

Square’s name change comes just over a month after Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook group to Meta.

Square’s business involves payment systems such as banking products for retailers as well as those small square card readers you see at some vendors.

The company’s name change is therefore is simply the introduction of a new corporate name to “tie” the company’s building blocks together.

There will be no organisational change as a result of the name change which is expected to go legally into effect around December 10th..

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