У Грузії заявили про приготування до замаху на Бідзіну Іванішвілі, пов’язують з Україною

«Служба держбезпеки розслідує факти підготовки вбивства… організованого і профінансованого колишніми високопосадовцями уряду Грузії, що перебувають в Україні» – заява СДБ Грузії

CrowdStrike: More machines fixed as customers, regulators await details on what caused meltdown 

AUSTIN, Tex. — Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike says a “significant number” of the millions of computers that crashed on Friday, causing global disruptions, are back in operation as its customers and regulators await a more detailed explanation of what went wrong. 

A defective software update sent by CrowdStrike to its customers disrupted airlines, banks, hospitals and other critical services Friday, affecting about 8.5 million machines running Microsoft’s Windows operating system. The painstaking work of fixing it has often required a company’s IT crew to manually delete files on affected machines. 

CrowdStrike said late Sunday in a blog post that it was starting to implement a new technique to accelerate remediation of the problem. 

Shares of the Texas-based cybersecurity company have dropped nearly 30% since the meltdown, knocking off billions of dollars in market value. 

The scope of the disruptions has also caught the attention of government regulators, including antitrust enforcers, though it remains to be seen if they take action against the company. 

“All too often these days, a single glitch results in a system-wide outage, affecting industries from healthcare and airlines to banks and auto-dealers,” said Lina Khan, chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, in a Sunday post on the social media platform X. “Millions of people and businesses pay the price. These incidents reveal how concentration can create fragile systems.” 

India ed-tech firm Byju’s founder faces reckoning as startup implodes

NEW DELHI — Byju Raveendran, an Indian mathematics whiz who soared from teacher to startup billionaire before his education-technology company imploded this year, now faces his biggest test.

The future of Raveendran’s eponymous Byju’s online coaching firm rests with India’s courts after the country’s biggest startup, once loved by global investors who valued it at $22 billion, crashed below $2 billion in valuation.

The 44-year-old founder last week lost control of the company as a tribunal kick-started an insolvency process.

Accused of “financial mismanagement and compliance issues,” the son of a family of teachers from a small village in south India faces a reckoning that will test the ingenuity that made him a poster child for India’s startups.

His formerly high-flying company was eventually brought low when it could not pay $19 million in sponsorship dues to India’s cricket federation, prompting a tribunal to suspend Byju’s board and make Raveendran report to a court-appointed restructuring expert.

An appeals tribunal is expected to hold a hearing on Monday on whether Byju’s insolvency process should be quashed after the former billionaire argued in court his company is solvent and that insolvency could shut it down and cost the jobs of 27,000 staff, including teachers. Insolvency also would not bode well for Byju’s backers, such as Dutch technology investor Prosus.

Raveendran denies the allegations of mismanagement and wrongdoing at his firm, which has in recent months faced lawsuits over unpaid loans and boardroom battles with foreign investors that went public.

Potential insolvency is a dramatic turn of events for an entrepreneur described by one person who has worked with him as an extremely passionate and goal-oriented person who might adopt “an abrasive approach” in a crisis.

Raveendran presented a “suave, nice and polished” image, appearing to heed advice, but “eventually there was a trust deficit,” said another executive who quit last year as a Byju’s senior vice president.

“He said things are improving, don’t worry, we have the money,” the former executive said.

Raveendran and a Byju’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

Byju’s downfall: ‘Our fair share of mistakes’

An engineer by training, he started Byju’s in 2011 with physical classes after friends urged him to go into teaching.

Raveendran, who aced a premier Indian management exam “with a score of 100 percentile, not once but twice,” according to the company website, started what would become his empire with his wife Divya Gokulnath, 38, a former student of his.

In education-obsessed India, Raveendran hit gold by offering online teaching programs priced from $100 to $300. He got a mammoth boost when the COVID-19 pandemic sent students indoors. At the height of his fame in 2021, he and his wife had a net worth of $4 billion, Forbes reckoned.

Now all that is in tatters.

Behind the reversal of Byju’s meteoric success, say executives and advisers who worked with Raveendran, is that he overruled associates and expanded the business through expensive acquisitions, splurging on marketing and being slow to address problems such as sales agents adopting aggressive tactics to mis-sell courses that damaged the company’s reputation.

With the backing of investors like General Atlantic, Prosus and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy venture, Raveendran spent millions on acquisitions, and the company says it has 150 million students in over 100 countries.

“While growing fast, as I’ve accepted multiple times, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes,” Raveendran told an interviewer last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

As he battled crises, the CEO also said decisions to lay off some of its then-50,000 employees and slash branding expenses would help strengthen loss-making Byju’s and turn its cashflow positive.

“Every country needs a Byju’s,” he said.

India’s battery storage industry grows

BENGALURU, India — At a Coca-Cola factory on the outskirts of Chennai in southern India, a giant battery powers machinery day and night, replacing a diesel-spewing generator. It’s one of just a handful of sites in India powered by electricity stored in batteries, a key component to fast-tracking India’s energy transition away from dirty fuels.   

The country’s lithium ion battery storage industry — which can store electricity generated by wind turbines or solar panels for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing — makes up just 0.1% of global battery storage systems. But battery storage is growing fast, with around a third of India’s total battery infrastructure coming online just this year.   

“Our orders are growing exponentially,” said Ayush Misra, CEO of Amperehour Energy, the company that installed the batteries at the Chennai factory. “It’s a really exciting time to be a battery storage provider.”   

Businesses invest in industry

India currently has around 100 megawatts of storage capacity from batteries, with another 3.3 gigawatts of clean energy storage coming from hydropower. The Indian government estimates that the country will need about 74 gigawatts of energy storage from batteries, hydropower and nuclear energy by 2032, but experts think the country actually needs closer to double that amount to meet the country’s energy needs. 

Some customers are still wary of using battery technology for storage, and the storage systems can be seen as more expensive than the more commonly used coal. The supply chain of batteries is also concentrated in China, meaning the sector is vulnerable to geopolitical volatility. 

But markets don’t think customers will be hesitant about batteries for long, with major Indian businesses announcing significant investments in the industry.   

In January this year, energy giant Reliance Industries said it will build a 5,000-acre factory in Jamnagar, Gujarat. And in March, Goodenough Energy said it will spend $53 million by 2027 to set up a 20 million kilowatt-hour battery factory in the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir.   

Alexander Hogeveen Rutter, an independent energy analyst based in Bengaluru, said upping storage capacity should be done alongside ramping up renewables. 

“Clean energy combined with adequate storage can be an alternative to coal. Not in the future but right now,” he said. He added that it’s a “myth” that clean energy is more expensive than coal, as current prices of renewable energy combined with storage is cheaper than new coal.   

Global battery costs are declining faster than expected, and experts say that if costs continue to plummet, energy storage systems can better compete with both coal and clean energy sources like hydropower and nuclear energy that can also control their supply to meet demand. 

“Battery storage is now the largest resource to meet California’s evening peak electricity requirements. It’s more than gas, nuclear or coal,” he said. This is being replicated in the U.K., China and even smaller nations like Tonga. “There’s no reason why this can’t happen in India too,” he said.   

India’s energy needs grow

One of India’s unique challenges is that energy needs are growing more rapidly than most nations: the population is increasing and extreme heat fueled by climate change means more and more people are using energy-guzzling air conditioning. India’s electricity demand grew by 7% last year and is expected to grow by at least 6% every year for the next three years, according to the International Energy Agency. 

“The country needs to quadruple its renewable energy deployment just to meet demand growth,” said Hogeveen Rutter. 

Ankit Mittal, co-founder of Sheru, a software company that offers energy storage and management solutions, said that making battery storage sites more flexible can help the industry ramp up quickly.   

Mittal said battery storage sites should be more accessible to the national energy grid, so they can provide electricity to whichever regions need the extra boost of energy most. Currently, battery storage sites in India only power up more local sites.   

To encourage further growth of the battery sector, the Indian government announced last year a $452 million effort to support an additional four gigawatts of battery storage by 2031. But the government also provides subsidies for coal plants, making the electricity generated there a cheaper bet for some utility companies. 

Future government policy could level the playing field. The country is set to announce a new national budget later in July that industry leaders hope will contain incentives for clean energy storage. 

Akshat Singhal, co-founder of the Bengaluru-based battery tech startup Log 9 Materials, thinks that better government support can help the country meet growing energy demands “the right way,” with clean energy. 

“One significant policy change can kickstart the entire ecosystem,” he said. 

Australia warns of ‘malicious websites’ after cyber outage

sydney — Australia’s cyber intelligence agency said on Saturday that “malicious websites and unofficial code” were being released online claiming to aid recovery from Friday’s global digital outage, which hit media, retailers, banks and airlines. 

Australia was one of many countries affected by the outage that caused havoc worldwide after a botched software update from CrowdStrike. 

On Saturday, the Australian Signals Directorate — the country’s cyber intelligence agency — said “a number of malicious websites and unofficial code are being released claiming to help entities recover from the widespread outages caused by the CrowdStrike technical incident.” 

On its website, the agency said its cyber security center “strongly encourages all consumers to source their technical information and updates from official CrowdStrike sources only.” 

Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil said on social media platform X on Saturday that Australians should “be on the lookout for possible scams and phishing attempts.” 

CrowdStrike — which previously reached a market cap of about $83 billion — is a major cybersecurity provider, with close to 30,000 subscribers globally. 

Airlines resume services after global IT crash wreaks havoc

Paris — Airlines were gradually coming back online Saturday after global carriers, banks and financial institutions were thrown into turmoil by one of the biggest IT crashes in recent years, caused by an update to an antivirus program.

Passenger crowds had swelled at airports Friday to wait for news as dozens of flights were canceled and operators struggled to keep services on track, after an update to a program operating on Microsoft Windows crashed systems worldwide.

Multiple U.S. airlines and airports across Asia said they were now resuming operations, with check-in services restored in Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand, and mostly back to normal in India and Indonesia and at Singapore’s Changi Airport as of Saturday afternoon.

“The check-in systems have come back to normal [at Thailand’s five major airports]. There are no long queues at the airports as we experienced yesterday,” Airports of Thailand President Keerati Kitmanawat told reporters at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok.

Microsoft said the issue began at 1900 GMT on Thursday, affecting Windows users running the CrowdStrike Falcon cybersecurity software.

CrowdStrike said it had rolled out a fix for the problem, and the company’s boss, George Kurtz, told U.S. news channel CNBC he wanted to “personally apologize to every organization, every group and every person who has been impacted.”

It also said it could take a few days to return to normal.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s team was talking to CrowdStrike and those affected by the glitch “and is standing by to provide assistance as needed,” the White House said in a statement.

“Our understanding is that flight operations have resumed across the country, although some congestion remains,” a senior US administration official said.

Other industries

Reports from the Netherlands and Britain suggested health services might have been affected by the disruption, meaning the full impact might not yet be known.

Media companies were also hit, with Britain’s Sky News saying the glitch had ended its Friday morning news broadcasts, and Australia’s ABC similarly reporting major difficulties.

By Saturday, services in Australia had mostly returned to normal, but Sydney Airport was still reporting flight delays.

Australian authorities warned of an increase in scam and phishing attempts following the outage, including people offering to help reboot computers and asking for personal information or credit card details.

Banks in Kenya and Ukraine reported issues with their digital services, while some mobile phone carriers were disrupted and customer services in a number of companies went down.

“The scale of this outage is unprecedented and will no doubt go down in history,” said Junade Ali of Britain’s Institution of Engineering and Technology, adding that the last incident approaching the same scale was in 2017.


Flight chaos

While some airports halted all flights, in others airline staff resorted to manual check-ins for passengers, leading to long lines and frustrated travelers.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration initially ordered all flights grounded “regardless of destination,” although airlines later said they were reestablishing their services and working through the backlog.

India’s largest airline, Indigo, said operations had been “resolved,” in a statement posted on social media platform X.

“While the outage has been resolved and our systems are back online, we are diligently working to resume normal operations, and we expect this process to extend into the weekend,” the carrier said Saturday.

A passenger told AFP that the situation was returning to normal at Delhi Airport by midnight on Saturday with only slight delays in international flights.

Low-cost carrier AirAsia said it was still trying to get back online and had been “working around the clock toward recovering its departure control systems” after the global outage. It recommended passengers arrive early at airports and be ready for “manual check-in” at airline counters.

Chinese state media said Beijing’s airports had not been affected.

In Europe, major airports, including Berlin’s, which had suspended all flights earlier on Friday, said departures and arrivals were resuming.

‘Common cause’

Companies were left patching up their systems and trying to assess the damage, even as officials tried to tamp down panic by ruling out foul play.

CrowdStrike’s Kurtz said in a statement his teams were “fully mobilized” to help affected customers and “a fix has been deployed.”

But Oli Buckley, a professor at Britain’s Loughborough University, was one of many experts who questioned the ease of rolling out a proper fix.

“While experienced users can implement the workaround, expecting millions to do so is impractical,” he said.

Other experts said the incident should prompt a widespread reconsideration of how reliant societies are on a handful of tech companies for such an array of services.

“We need to be aware that such software can be a common cause of failure for multiple systems at the same time,” said John McDermid, a professor at York University in Britain.

He said infrastructure should be designed “to be resilient against such common cause problems.”

«Важливий європейський проєкт» – Шольц у Белграді про угоду з видобутку літію в Сербії

Видобуток літію необхідний Європі, щоб «залишатися суверенною в мінливому світі і не залежати від інших», сказав канцлер Німеччини після церемонії підписання, маючи на увазі Китай

Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A global technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks and hospital systems offline and media outlets off air on Friday in a massive disruption that affected companies and services around the world and highlighted dependence on software from a handful of providers.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said that the issue believed to be behind the outage was not a security incident or cyberattack — and that a fix was on the way. The company said the problem occurred when it deployed a faulty update to computers running Microsoft Windows.

But hours after the problem was first detected, the disarray continued — and escalated.

Long lines formed at airports in the U.S., Europe and Asia as airlines lost access to check-in and booking services at a time when many travelers are heading away on summer vacations. News outlets in Australia — where telecommunications were severely affected — were pushed off air for hours. Hospitals and doctor’s offices had problems with their appointment systems, while banks in South Africa and New Zealand reported outages to their payment system or websites and apps.

Some athletes and spectators descending on Paris ahead of the Olympics were delayed, but Games organizers said disruptions were limited and didn’t affect ticketing or the torch relay.

DownDectector, which tracks user-reported disruptions to internet services, recorded that airlines, payment platforms and online shopping websites across the world were affected — although the disruption appeared piecemeal and was apparently related to whether the companies used Microsoft cloud-based services.

Cyber expert James Bore said real harm would be caused by the outage because systems we’ve come to rely on at critical times are not going to be available. Hospitals, for example, will struggle to sort out appointments and those who need care may not get it.

“There are going to be deaths because of this. It’s inevitable,” Bore said. “We’ve got so many systems tied up with this.”

Microsoft 365 posted on social media platform X that the company was “working on rerouting the impacted traffic to alternate systems to alleviate impact” and that they were “observing a positive trend in service availability.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

CrowdStrike said in an emailed statement that the company “is actively working with customers impacted by a defect found in a single content update for Windows hosts.”

It said: “This is not a security incident or cyberattack. The issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed.”

The Austin, Texas-based company’s Nasdaq-traded shares were down nearly 15% in premarket trading early Friday.

A recording playing on its customer service line said, “CrowdStrike is aware of the reports of crashes on Microsoft ports related to the Falcon sensor,” referring to one of its products used to block online attacks.

Meanwhile, governments, officials and companies across the world scrambled to respond.

New Zealand’s acting prime minister, David Seymour, said on X that officials in the country were “moving at pace to understand the potential impacts,” adding that he had no information indicating it was a cybersecurity threat.

The issue was causing “inconvenience” for the public and businesses, he added.

On Friday morning, major delays reported at airports grew, with most attributing the problems in booking systems of individual airlines.

In the U.S., the FAA said the airlines United, American, Delta and Allegiant had all been grounded.

Airlines and railways in the U.K. were also affected, with longer than usual waiting times.

With athletes and spectators arriving from around the world for the Paris Olympics, the city’s airport authority said its computer systems were not affected by the outage, but that disruptions to airline operations was causing delays at two major Paris airports. The Paris Olympics organizers said the outage affected their computer systems and the arrival of some delegations and their uniforms and accreditations had been delayed.

But the impact was limited, the organizers said, and the outages had not affected ticketing or the torch relay.

In Germany, Berlin-Brandenburg Airport halted flights for several hours due to difficulties in checking in passengers, while landings at Zurich airport were suspended and flights in Hungary, Italy and Turkey disrupted.

The Dutch carrier KLM said it had been “forced to suspend most” of its operations.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport warned that the outage was having a “major impact on flights” to and from the busy European hub. The chaotic morning coincided with one of the busiest days of the year for Schiphol.

Widespread problems were reported at Australian airports, where lines grew and some passengers were stranded as online check-in services and self-service booths were disabled — although flights were still operating.

In India, Hong Kong and Thailand, many airlines were forced to manually check in passengers. An airline in Kenya was also reporting disruption.

While the outages were being experienced worldwide, Australia appeared to be severely affected by the issue. Disruption reported on the site DownDetector included the banks NAB, Commonwealth and Bendigo, and the airlines Virgin Australia and Qantas, as well as internet and phone providers such as Telstra.

National news outlets — including public broadcaster ABC and Sky News Australia — were unable to broadcast on their TV and radio channels for hours. Some news anchors went on air online from dark offices, in front of computers showing “blue screens of death.”

Hospitals in several countries also reported problems.

Britain’s National Health Service said the outage caused problems at most doctors’ offices across England. NHS England said in a statement said the glitch was affecting the appointment and patient record system used across the public health system.

Some hospitals in northern Germany canceled all elective surgery scheduled for Friday, but emergency care was unaffected.

Israel said its hospitals and post office operations were disrupted.

In South Africa, at least one major bank said it was experiencing nationwide service disruptions as customers reported they were unable to make payments using their bank cards in stores. The New Zealand banks ASB and Kiwibank said their services were down as well.

Shipping was disrupted too: A major container hub in the Baltic port of Gdansk, Poland, the Baltic Hub, said it was battling problems resulting from the global system outage.