What We Are Reading Today: The Ransomware Hunting Team by Renee Dudley & Daniel Golden

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Updated 28 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Ransomware Hunting Team by Renee Dudley & Daniel Golden

This is a real-life technological thriller about a band of eccentric misfits taking on the biggest cybersecurity threats of our time.

The ransomware hunting team is a book that should not be overlooked by anyone who wishes to better understand the complex cyberworld we inhabit.

The members of the self-titled ransomware hunting team are spread out across the US and Europe.

Pulitzer Prize- winning journalist and author Daniel Golden and Propublica Technology reporter Renee Dudley have teamed up to tell the story of the band of societal outcasts and misfits who have turned their passions into superpowers, saving the world’s networks and computers from increasingly dangerous ransomware viruses, saving hundreds of millions of dollars from being put into the hands of cybercriminals, as well as saving sensitive personal information from being leaked to the dark web.


Pakistani actress Sajal Aly to play lead role in series adaptation of classical Urdu novel

Updated 30 January 2023

Pakistani actress Sajal Aly to play lead role in series adaptation of classical Urdu novel

  • 'Umrao Jaan Ada' is an 1899 Urdu novel that follows a courtesan's life
  • Producer hopes eight-part series will 'develop different characters' from novel

KARACHI: Pakistani actress Sajal Aly has been roped in to play the lead role in an upcoming series based on the classical Urdu novel from 1899, 'Umrao Jaan Ada', the producer of the show confirmed on Monday, saying that the series would spotlight more original characters from the novel.   

Penned by renowned author Mirza Hadi Ruswa, Umrao Jaan Ada has been hailed as one of the most renowned Urdu-language novels of all time. The novel chronicles the life of a courtesan named Umrao Jaan and has garnered critical acclaim for its portrayal of culture in the 19th-century century subcontinent. 

The hit novel has been adapted numerous times over the decades. Pakistani director Hasan Tariq turned the novel into a film in 1972 while private news channel Geo Entertainment aired a TV adaptation of the same novel in 2003. 

The most renowned adaptation of the novel came in 1981 when Indian director Muzaffar Ali helmed a movie on the famous character, starring popular Bollywood actress Rekha. Indian writer, director and producer Jyoti Prakash Dutta also directed an Umrao Jaan movie in 2006 starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. 

The upcoming Pakistani series will be packaged and produced by Abu Dhabi-based South Asian celebrity management agency, Action Consultancy. 

“The makers of this project feel that Sajal [Aly] will do justice to the complex character of Umrao [Jan]," Hamid Hussain, producer and chief executive officer of Action Consultancy, told Arab News. "Our project has two primary female characters, one of which is Umrao Jaan.”

Hussain acknowledged that Ali's 1981 Umrao Jaan adaptation was the most "remembered" one. However, he said film adaptations always have always been "rushed" versions of original works of art. 

"Unfortunately, film adaptations have to narrate the entire story in a short time and thus have always been rushed," Hussain said. “As an eight-part series, we have time to develop the different characters from the original novel.”

Aly, who has starred in a string of hit Pakistani drama serials and movie projects, confirmed she would play Umrao Jaan in the series adaptation.

“Can’t say anything about it right now but the news is right,” Aly confirmed to Arab News on Sunday.  

Hussain said the names of other cast members would be announced at the "right time."

“The series adaptation relies heavily on the original Urdu version of the novel, unlike the film adaptations that had taken creative liberties to fit the story into a film narrative," he said.  

"There is a lot in the novel that has never been shown in an audiovisual project.”

Pakistan's Dawn reported that the series was going to stream on a major online service but the producer declined to confirm which one, when asked by Arab News.


Nigerian artist uses AI to re-imagine life for the elderly

Updated 30 January 2023

Nigerian artist uses AI to re-imagine life for the elderly

LAGOS: A Nigerian artist is using artificial intelligence to re-imagine life for African elderly people by showcasing near real-life pictures and videos of them walking down the fashion ramp and on the beach.
Malik Afegbua, who is also a film maker, said because many elderly people were marginalized in society, especially in the fashion world, he began to imagine how they would look if they were models.
Afegbua started posting some of his work on social media and it went viral.
He came up with “Elders Series,” a catalogue of pictures and videos showing white-haired women and bearded men strutting the runway for a virtual fashion show in Afrocentric attire, including ornamental neck and arm bands.
“So I wanted to ... imagine the elderly people in a place that is not either in a sad space or in a suppressed state,” Afegbua told Reuters.
“However, when I was making it, I kind of knew there was something there. I was like this is dope. I’m loving what I’m seeing.”
Afegbua was not always an artist. He studied business in university but stepped into the world of filming after a friend bought him a camera in 2011.
He said the idea to explore a different world for old people came when his elderly mother fell ill. Using an artificial intelligence app, he started creating content showing a brighter side of old age.


Air India fined over passenger’s mid-air urination scandal

Updated 21 January 2023

Air India fined over passenger’s mid-air urination scandal

NEW DELHI: Air India has been fined $37,000 for its handling of an incident in which a drunk senior US bank executive was accused of urinating on a female passenger, Indian media reported.
The man allegedly relieved himself on the 72-year-old woman seated in business class on a November 26 flight from New York to New Delhi, an incident dubbed “peegate” by the media.
The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation also fined Air India’s director of in-flight services 300,000 rupees in addition to the carrier’s penalty of three million rupees ($37,000), reports on Friday and Saturday said.
The flight’s pilot also had his license suspended for three months for “failing to discharge his duties” to ensure safety and discipline.
The banker, Indian national Shankar Mishra, was allowed to disembark as normal when the aircraft landed in India and no immediate action was taken.
The woman complained and, after the story was widely reported in the Indian media, police arrested Mishra weeks later after he went to ground and reportedly switched off his phone.
US bank Wells Fargo fired him from his job as vice president of its Indian operations after the “deeply disturbing” allegations.
Air India faced severe criticism for its handling of the woman’s complaint and the airline’s chief executive was forced to issue an apology.
“Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground and is committed to taking action,” chief executive Campbell Wilson said.
Mishra has been refused bail. His lawyer, Ramesh Gupta, told a hearing last week that the woman, an Indian classical dancer, had in fact urinated on herself.
According to Indian media, Gupta also said that, because of where she was seated, it was impossible for Mishra to have urinated on her without also doing so on another woman who has “made no such complaint.”
The case is the latest embarrassing incident to be reported in India’s booming airline sector in recent months, including shirtless brawls and passengers having heated arguments with cabin crew.
Another inebriated man was accused of urinating on the blanket of a woman on a flight from Paris to India last month but no action was taken after he issued a written apology, reports said.


Fit of road rage captured on camera brings down Hong Kong gangster

Updated 15 January 2023

Fit of road rage captured on camera brings down Hong Kong gangster

  • Viral video showed motorist on Porsche getting out and shouting profanities at bus driver and claiming to be a Triad member

HONG KONG: A self-professed Hong Kong gangster has learned the benefits of keeping a low profile after a viral video of him exiting a Porsche to berate a minibus driver led to his arrest for cocaine possession.
The 35-year-old appeared in court on Saturday after the clip capturing their traffic dispute helped police track down the wanted fugitive.
It shows the man getting out of the sports car and shouting profanities at the driver while claiming to be a Triad member — an offense in Hong Kong.
He bashes the window of the vehicle while knocking the glasses off the driver’s face and waving a stick.
But his fit of road rage has cost him dearly after police busted him and three others on Thursday for drug possession, with officers seizing 1.7 kilograms (3.7 pounds) of suspected cocaine.
“This man disregarded the safety of other road users and further disregarded law and order by publicly claiming to be a triad member,” Chief Inspector Wong Chi-tang told reporters.
He added that police made the arrest after identifying the man from the video.
Meanwhile, the victim of the man’s outburst has been dubbed the “most educated minibus driver” in Hong Kong after it was discovered he holds a master’s degree in transport planning and had quit a lucrative job to serve commuters from behind the wheel.
 

 

 


Homophobic chant in English soccer deemed punishable offense

Updated 14 January 2023

Homophobic chant in English soccer deemed punishable offense

  • The FA announced that chants of “Rent Boy,” which have been directed at Chelsea fans by rival supporters, are now considered a breach of its rules
  • There have been allegations of the chants being made in recent Chelsea games

LONDON: Chelsea welcomed the English Football Association’s decision to make a homophobic chant aimed at their supporters a punishable offense, calling it a “step in the right direction” on Friday.
The FA announced on Wednesday that chants of “Rent Boy,” which have been directed at Chelsea fans by rival supporters, are now considered a breach of its rules.
It has written to all Premier League clubs and clubs throughout English soccer to enforce the point and attempt to stamp out discriminatory behavior.
“The ‘Rent Boy’ chant is intolerable and has no place in football or anywhere else,” Chelsea said in a statement. “That opposition clubs can now face disciplinary action if their supporters engage in this discriminatory and offensive behavior is a step in the right direction. Everyone who chooses to participate in this chant must know their actions have consequences.”
There have been allegations of the chants being made in recent Chelsea games.
“The Football Association strongly condemns all offensive, abusive and discriminatory chanting in football stadiums, and is determined to stamp this behavior out,” the FA said.
“These chants can have a lasting and damaging impact on people and communities within our game, and it must stop.”