Newer webcams safe, maker says
A Chinese electronics company whose devices were linked to a massive cyberattack on Friday in the United States has assured the public that there is a low possibility of similar cases using its upgraded gadgets elsewhere in its market.
Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co, a video surveillance manufacturer, is recalling four kinds of webcams sold in the US after a widespread cyberattack blocked access to websites in the US, including Twitter and PayPal, last week.
Around 10,000 of the company’s webcams will be recalled, according to media reports.
Unidentified hackers seized control of gadgets, including Xiongmai’s webcams, and directed them to launch an attack that temporarily brought down the websites.
Liu Yuexin, Xiongmai’s marketing director, said the company entered the US market very early, and the recalled webcams were manufactured before April last year with easy-to-guess default passwords.
The company had noticed the vulnerability of the older version and fixed the problems for the newer webcams. Users of the updated webcams have been required to change the default password.
The main cause for Friday’s attack was that users had not changed the webcams’ default passwords, making them easy to hack, according to the company.
While the company’s surveillance cameras exported to the US market account for 10 percent of its total output, most of the others exported worldwide were made after April last year. These had been fixed and no longer constitute a danger, and the risk of being attacked by hackers is very low, Liu added.
Security experts said a rising number of cybersecurity risks involve interconnected hardware devices, including home gadgets, appliances and automobiles.
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Historian Amanda Foreman, who chaired the judging panel, said the book “plunges into the heart of contemporary American society, and with absolutely savage wit the kind I haven’t seen since (Jonathan) Swift or (Mark) Twain.”
The Sellout is set in a rundown Los Angeles suburb called Dickens, where the residents include the last survivor of The Little Rascals and the book’s narrator, Bonbon, an African-American man on trial at the US Supreme Court for attempting to reinstate slavery and racial segregation.
The book has been likened to the comedy of Pryor and Chris Rock, and Beatty goes where many authors fear to tread. Racial stereotypes, offensive speech and police killings of black men are all subject to his scathing eye.
Beatty acknowledged that The Sellout was a hard book both to read and to write and would push readers out of their comfort zone.
“I knew people could misread the book really easily,” he told reporters.
“I think people get caught up in certain words and their brains lock, certain ideas and their brains lock.”
Beatty was awarded the 50,000 pound ($61,000) prize by Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a black-tie ceremony at London’s medieval Guildhall.
“I’m just trying to create space for myself hopefully that creates space for others,” added the visibly emotional author as he accepted the prize.
“I don’t want to get all dramatic, like writing saved my life,” said 54-year-old Beatty, who has written three previous novels. “But writing’s given me a life.
Foreman said The Sellout, which mixes pop culture, philosophy and politics with humor and anger, sets out to “eviscerate every social taboo”.
“This is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” she said. “That is why the book works because while you’re being nailed, you’re being tickled.”
The five judges met for a marathon four hours on Tuesday to choose the winner from among six finalists, whittled down from 155 submissions.