CSIRO and Microsoft to use AI to tackle man-made environmental problems

Plastic pollution in Australia’s waterways.

Image: CSIRO

It is estimated that as much as 12 million tons of plastic find their way into rivers and oceans each year, representing a huge threat to wildlife and the environment.

It’s one of the major challenges the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is looking to address, using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to interpret data collected during beach and ocean surveys along with videos of rivers and stormwater drains to identify and track garbage flows into waterways.

Inking a partnership with Microsoft, Australia’s scientific agency will look at how to tackle plastic waste, as well as illegal fishing, and how it can help boost farming.

By collecting data about the spread and concentration of plastic, CSIRO is using AI and ML to analyse where the plastic might end up and also what steps can be taken

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Banking trojans roar back to prominence in May

Attacks exploiting banking trojans such as Agent Tesla, Dridex and Ursnif increased sharply during May 2020, according to Check Point’s threat intelligence arm, Check Point Research, which recently published its monthly Global threat index report, with Ursnif in particular more than doubling its impact on organisations worldwide, leaping up to fifth place in the malware ‘charts’.

Ursnif, which targets Windows PCs and steals financial data and email credentials, is being delivered via Microsoft Word or Excel attachments through spam campaigns, and its increased activity in May coincided with reports about the demise of one of its more popular variants, Dreambot, which disappeared in March after its back-end server dropped off the web.

Dridex, the suspected Russian creators of which were indicted by the US government in 2019, entered the malware top 10 for the first time in March and rose swiftly to the top spot in both

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Dell launches PowerScale storage systems, eyes unstructured data workloads

Dell Technologies has launched Dell EMC PowerScale, a new family of storage systems designed for unstructured data, as the company continues to simplify its portfolio.

According to the company, Dell EMC PowerScale includes the company’s best server hardware and storage software to manage unstructured data across data centers, edge and public cloud.

On the software front, PowerScale OneFS has new enhanced data reduction technology, access to AWS S3 objects and support for Ansible, Kubernetes and OpenShift. OneFS is the operating system that powers Dell EMC Isilon systems.

Dell EMC Data IQ software was also launched to surface unstructured data across private and public clouds.


As for the hardware, the PowerScale family features 1U PowerEdge-based PowerScale nodes and Isilon all-flash, hybrid and archive nodes on PowerScale OneFS 9.0.

Caitlin Gordon, vice president of product marketing at Dell, said PowerScale is designed for multiple unstructured data use cases, but media, oil and

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Why UK needs independent oversight body for contact-tracing app

It is no secret that the development of the UK’s Covid-19 contact-tracing app – due to be launched in the coming weeks – has been controversial. Like many governments around the world, the UK is looking to deploy a contact-tracing app as part of a broader strategy for lifting its lockdown.

Unlike other European governments, however, the UK has thus far resisted using the technological tools being offered by Google and Apple in favour of its own proprietary solution involving a centralised database controlled by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The NHS believes its approach achieves a proper balance between individual privacy and the protection of public health, although that view appears increasingly in the minority compared with the rest of Europe. After a brief, glitch-ridden trial in the Isle of Wight involving nearly 70,000 residents (or roughly 50% of the local population), the NHS

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