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US airport websites hit by suspected pro-Russian cyberattacks

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The US airport websites were targeted after the pro-Russian hacking group known as 'KillNet' published a list of sites and encouraged its followers to attack them
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The websites for a number of major US airports were briefly taken offline Monday after a cyberattack promoted by a pro-Russian hacking group.

The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks hit the airport websites of several major US cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and St Louis.

A DDOS attack involves knocking a website offline by flooding it with traffic.

The airport websites were targeted after the pro-Russian hacking group known as “KillNet” published a list of sites and encouraged its followers to attack them.

The DDOS attacks only affected the public-facing websites of the airports, which supply flight and services information and do not have any impact on operations.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport said its website is “up and running after an incident early this morning that made it inaccessible to the public.”

“An investigation into the cause of the incident is underway,” it said. “At no time were operations at the airport impacted.”

Most of the airport websites targeted appeared to be functioning normally after being temporarily knocked offline.

KillNet claimed responsibility last week for attacks on a number of US state government websites, and it has taken aim at other countries opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment from the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

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Meta’s Zuckerberg shakes off Apple Vision Pro: report

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Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg is reported to have told employees that Quest virtual reality gear is meant to be affordable and social, which appears to be a different approach than Apple is taking with its coming $3,499 Vision Pro 'spacial reality display'
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Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday told employees that while Apple’s mixed reality gear may be nice, it is not his vision of the future, according to US media reports.

Zuckerberg’s comments came during the first all-hands gathering at its Silicon Valley campus since the pandemic, and just days after Apple unveiled Vision Pro mixed reality headsets.

“I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want,” Zuckerberg reportedly said while assessing what he has seen of Apple Vison Pro.

“There’s a real philosophical difference in terms of how we’re approaching this.”

Meta makes Quest virtual reality headsets and has invested heavily in Zuckerberg’s belief that internet life will one day play out in virtual worlds referred to as the metaverse.

“Our vision for the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social,” Zuckerberg said, according to a transcript of remarks posted by tech news website The Verge.

“By contrast, every demo that (Apple) showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself.”

Meta was so confident it could create the metaverse — an idea of a 3D immersive internet — that it changed its name from Facebook in 2021 and began funneling billions into the project.

But the idea has been hampered by botched launches, dodgy graphics, no clear path to profitability and a general feeling that few people know what it is.

Meta’s Reality Labs, the division helming its metaverse effort, has lost $4 billion so far and Zuckerberg has been increasingly talking up artificial intelligence rather than the metaverse.

Zuckerberg was quoted by CNBC as saying at the all-hands gathering that Meta planned to build generative artificial intelligence into “every single one” of its products.

Apple this week unveiled a sleek Vision Pro “spatial reality display” packed with technology and priced at $3,499.

Vision Pro is to be available early next year.

It allows users to communicate, work, watch movies, listen to music — and even choose whether to be immersed or to keep an eye on the outside world.

Meanwhile, a new-generation Quest 3 with improved performance and slimmed design will be available later this year at a starting price of $500.

Zuckerberg described the coming model as Meta’s “most powerful headset yet” and promised it would provide the best wireless way to experience mixed and virtual reality.

The starting price of Quest 2 headsets currently available was cut to $300.

Meta’s Quest headset has failed to break out from specialist users and gamers.

“We innovate to make sure that our products are as accessible and affordable to everyone as possible,” Zuckerberg was reported to tell employees.

“And we have sold tens of millions of Quests.”

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GM reaches deal for access to Tesla’s North American chargers

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General Motors vehicles will have access to Tesla's charging network following an announcement by the two companies
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Tesla will open its North American electric vehicle charging network to cars from rival General Motors beginning in 2024, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and GM Chief Mary Barra announced Thursday.

Under the agreement — which is similar to a collaboration unveiled last month between Ford and Tesla — GM vehicle owners will have access to Tesla’s 12,000 “superchargers,” said a GM news release.

The Tesla network will initially require an adaptor for GM cars in 2024. But beginning in 2025, GM vehicles will be built with direct access to the Tesla system without an adaptor, GM said.

Barra, who appeared with Musk for a six-minute conversation on Twitter Spaces, alluded to consumer concerns about being stranded without access to chargers.

“This gives us a huge opportunity to do something that’s better for customers and to drive the standard,” Barra said.

Musk said he was “incredibly excited” to partner with GM. “It’s just really making a fantastic electric vehicle experience whether somebody is driving a car from GM or from Tesla.”

Musk in February pledged to make Tesla’s US charging network available to other electric vehicle brands following White House negotiations.

Tesla agreed to make at least 7,500 chargers nationwide open to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024.

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First self-driving urban ferry sets sail in Stockholm

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A captain oversees the autonomous craft but doesn't need to touch the controls
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A self-driving electric ferry set sail in Stockholm on Thursday, making the Swedish capital the world’s first city to put the technology to use, the company behind it said.

A captain oversees the autonomous craft but doesn’t need to touch the controls, and from Monday, the MF Estelle will begin plying short routes between islands in Stockholm.

Torghatten CEO Stein Andre Herigstad-Olsen said that eventually, the idea is to make the vessel “fully autonomous”, with no need for an onboard supervisor.

The system already “sees like a captain”, he said.

The boat is fitted with radar, cameras, lidar laser and ultrasonic systems, compiling the data to steer its course, the Norwegian company’s operative chief Erik Nilsson said.

“If a boat changes direction or if there’s a canoe we see it right away in less than a second. We update the course accordingly,” he added.

The first ten-metre boat cost around $1.6 million and will be able to carry up to 30 passengers. A single ticket will cost around $3. 

It’s hoped the ferry will encourage Swedes to walk or cycle to work rather than taking the car. 

The firm wants to increase the number of shuttles in Stockholm and abroad.

The ferry initiative was a private and public cooperation and partly EU-funded.

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