Apple releases iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1

Today Apple has a new update for its mobile devices going out, labeled as iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1. As the minor incrementation in versioning implies, it’s a bug fixer, this one, although it does come in at a pretty hefty 970MB to download, which is weird considering the changelog is incredibly short, noting that the update contains bug fixes including “Messages may not load photos sent using an iCloud Link” and “Third-party CarPlay apps may not respond to input”.

Apple releases iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1

That’s the extent of what Apple has acknowledged about this update. The second bug mentioned does seem like it could be a real problem for people who use CarPlay, and it’s been reported quite a bit already in online forums. The Messages bug also sounds quite annoying if you have it, so it’s probably best to update to this latest version of Apple’s software as soon as you can.

As usual, it should already be available through Settings for all supported iPhones and iPads. In fact, you may have already received a notification about it.

Ancient human discoveries dominated 2021. Here’s what we learned

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(CNN)The human story — where we come from and how we evolved — got a new chapter in 2021.Thanks to new fossil finds and analysis of ancient DNA preserved in teeth, bones and cave dirt, scientists have unearthed startling revelations about our Homo sapien forebears, and other humans that existed before — and in some cases, alongside us.Here are six of this year’s most ground-breaking discoveries in human prehistory that are shaping the family tree in fascinating and unexpected ways.

The first Americans

The footprints are thought to be made by children.Footprints made in muddy earth at the edge of a wetland, in what’s now New Mexico, look like they could have been made yesterday.But they weren’t. The discovery that the prints were pressed into the ground between 21,000 to 23,000 years ago has dramatically pushed back the history of humans in the Americas, the last continent to be settled by humans.Until recently, the commonly held view was that people ventured into North America from Asia via Beringia, a land bridge that once connected the two continents, at the end of the ice age around 13,000 years ago.The tracks, thought to have been made by children, were made at a time when many scientists think that massive ice sheets sealed off human passage into North America, indicating that humans were there even earlier.

Dragon man

Dragon man is the latest addition to the human family tree.Described as the most important fossil discovery in 50 years, a cranium, which was hidden at the bottom of a well in northeastern China for more than 80 years, could represent a completely new type of human.The well-preserved skullcap, found in the Chinese city of Harbin, is between 138,000 and 309,000 years old, according to geochemical analysis. It combines primitive features, such as a broad nose and low brow and braincase, with those that are more similar to Homo sapiens, including flat and delicate cheekbones.Researchers named the new hominin Homo longi, which is derived from Heilongjiang, or Black Dragon River, the province where the cranium was found. Colloquially, he’s become known as Dragon Man since the discovery was made public in June.The hope is to extract DNA or other genetic material from the fossil to find out more about Dragon Man, particularly whether he may be a representative of the Denisovans, a little-known and enigmatic human population. Watch this space in 2022.

Cave dirt

For centuries, archaeologists have searched caves for teeth, bones and tools in the hope of piecing together how our ancestors lived and what they looked like.Now, new techniques to capture DNA preserved in cave sediment are allowing scientists to learn about our early relatives without ever having to find fossils — just the dirt from the caves where they hung out.In 2021, human nuclear DNA, which contains more detailed information than mitochondrial DNA, was gleaned from cave dirt for the first time, revealing details about the lives of Neanderthals. Similar techniques are shedding light on extinct animals like woolly mammoths. Science magazine named it one of their 2021 breakthroughs.“Screening sediment for DNA is a game changer for us. It will direct us to the right places, save us time and a lot of money,” said Katerina Douka, an assistant professor of archaeological science at the department of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Vienna and a research associate at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

Earliest fashion

In “The Flintstones,” Fred and Betty are clothed in furs — but archaeological evidence of what our Stone Age ancestors actually wore and how they made clothes is thin.Fur, leather and other organic materials generally aren’t preserved, especially beyond 100,000 years ago.However, researchers say 62 bone tools used to process and smooth animal skins found in a cave in Morocco may be some of the earliest proxy evidence for clothing in the archaeological record. The tools are between 90,000 and 120,000 years old and were used to work leather — specifically to remove connective tissue. Similar bone tools are still used by some leather workers today.

Neanderthal brains

Neanderthal-ized brain organoids (left) look very different than modern human brain organoids (right). Neanderthal-ized brain organoids (left) look very different than modern human brain organoids (right).Brain matter doesn’t preserve well in the fossil record, making it impossible to know how modern human brains differ from our long-extinct ancestors, the Neanderthals.From fossilized skulls we know that their brains were big — slightly bigger than ours, in fact — but they tell us little about their neurology and development.Scientists from the University of California San Diego came up with an exciting way to begin to answer this question. They have created blobs of brain tissue genetically modified to carry a gene that belonged to Neanderthals and other archaic hominins, but not Homo sapiens.While the research is at a very early stage, the researchers found that the Neanderthalized brain organoids produced significant changes in how the brain is organized and wired.

The oldest story ever told?

A close-up of one of the three warty pigs. A close-up of one of the three warty pigs.Finally, take a minute to marvel at the oldest known figurative rock art created by humans, which was revealed to the world in January.

Painted in red ocher in limestone caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, it features an endearing warty pig engaged in a fight or some other interaction with two others.It’s at least 45,000 years old and makes these prehistoric Picassos the first known storytellers. It feels fitting that we still tell a tale about three little pigs today.

Here is how you can reverse MTN mobile money transfers

This guide is meant to provide you with tips on how you can reverse MTN mobile money transfers.
MTn mobile money has become the preferred payment method for individuals and even companies.

However, what happens when you accidentally send a transaction to the wrong number?

A major concern among users of MTN mobile money is how they will retrieve their money if they accidentally send money to the wrong number.

If for some reason you make a mistake and need to reverse a transaction, this article will explain how to do so.

Methods to reverse MTN mobile money transfers

A money transfer made using MTN mobile money can be reversed in a number of ways.

A customer support agent will assist you, or a person-to-person reversal can be attempted.

Contact MTN Ghana customer support

The moment you realize that you sent cash to the wrong number, contact MTN customer care immediately to reverse the transaction.

You need to do the following:

  • You must contact 100 within 15 days of making the wrong transaction.
  • Choose your language.
  • Then select mobile money.
  • Select wrongful mobile cash transactions.
  • Select ‘speak with an agent’.
  • Let the agent know what your situation is.
  • Mention the original account you were sending the cash to.
  • Mention the account to which the money was sent by mistake.
  • Indicate the exact amount involved.
  • Within 15 days, MTN starts an investigation and sends a message to the person informing them of the reversal of the decision.
  • Once the individual approves, you should have the money in your account.

Person to person transfer

You can do this when MTN’s customer care is unresponsive or delayed.

In this situation, you have to convince the wrong recipient to refund you the money, or else, you have to contact customer service.

Here are the steps you need to take:

  • In your momo transaction message, you should provide the phone number to which you incorrectly transferred the cash.
  • Call the person and tell them the exact amount you sent to them and the actual person you intended to send to.
  • You should speak in a calm manner and avoid acting funny to avoid suspicion of fraud.
  • To make sure the amount is there in their mobile money accounts, request that they check their accounts.
  • Upon confirmation that the cash is there, be courteous and ask them to return it.
  • To show your appreciation, you can even give them some tips from the total amount.
  • If you manage to convince the receiver, you can receive the cash after confirming that they got the cash mistakenly.

How do I recover money sent to the wrong number?

You should use MTN mobile money to recover the money you sent to the wrong recipient if you accidentally sent cash to the wrong person or if you entered the wrong recipient number.

A wrongly executed money transaction must be reported within 30 days according to the MTN mobile money rules and regulations.

The intention of this is to provide an opportunity for the investigation of possible wrongdoings and the establishment of claim of wrongdoing to be carried out.

A successful refund can only be achieved this way.

This means that established claims that are approved for reversal have to be taken care of within 15 days of the claim.

The following steps are a guide on how to retrieve wrongly sent cash using MTN mobile services: 

  • In order to reverse MTN mobile money, you need to visit the MTN mobile money agent near you.
  • You should report the wrong transaction within 30 days of the event.
  • Give the correct amount and number of the wrongly transacted transaction.
  •  Give time for an investigation and an assessment to be made.
  • Approval of the claim will result in your cash reversal being processed.
  • Mobile money reversal takes place within 15 days from the day reported.
  • Confirm a successful mobile money reversal once done.

How many days does it take to Reverse MTN Mobile Money

When a claim is made that a transaction was made in error, the claim needs to be investigated and established.

It takes 15 days for the reverse MTN mobile money transfer process to complete since the report day.

In two weeks, you can get back MTN money sent to the wrong number with the assistance of MTN agents.

Electronic application introduced to battle against sexual and gender based violence

The ministry of Gender, Children and social protection in solidarity with it’s partners have introduced electronic applications to address sexual and gender based violence and challenges facing vulnerable including children

According to the Minister of Gender, Children and social protection, Hon Cecilia Abena Dapaa, the electronic platforms which consists of Orange support centre, single widow engagement services, social welfare information management system, LEAP management information system and Ghana National household registry database will help the ministry to resolve challenges through digitilisation.

The Orange support centre comes in two forms either by mobile app or toll free number which help people to report to the ministry on sexual and gender based violence including child marriage.

She also said through this platforms 1,448 calls were received through the toll free number 0800111222 between March and June 2021 with Greater Accra of higher cases reported while Bono and western North Region have lowest number of reported cases which were resolved.

In addition, under the single widow citizen engagement services,total of 3,739 calls were received,900 callers benefited from emergency cash grant during the lockdown, 15 year old Girl was rescued from early child marriage and now enrolling in vocational training, young woman who was trafficed from Saudi Arabia was also rescued by the anti human trafficking unit as a result of call received through the help line.

She made this known when briefing the press about their development on digitilisation in service delivery at the ministry today 5th December 2021.

Huawei cancels laptop launch because of US trade blacklist

Huawei has ditched a product launch for the first time since the US placed it on a trade blacklist.

It was reported that the Chinese tech firm had intended to unveil a new laptop as early as this week.

However, its consumer device chief Richard Yu told CNBC that it had become “unable to supply the PC”.

“[It’s] unfortunate,” he added via a WeChat message to the business news network. He added that the product itself might have to be scrapped.

“[It] depends on how long the Entity List will be there,” he wrote.

This refers to a list of foreign parties that the US Department of Commerce has judged to pose a potential national security or foreign policy threat.

Specifically, Huawei is accused of having committed bank fraud to evade Iran sanctions, and obstruction of justice, among other violations.

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As a result, other companies with business activities in the US have been forbidden to sell or transfer technologies to the Shenzhen-based firm unless they have a special licence.

Huawei denies any wrongdoing, and has said that claims its poses a security threat are “unsubstantiated”.

Self-drive cars

Huawei launched new smartphones shortly after the decision was taken last month.

But its inability to buy computer chips and other components from Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom – among others – appears to have hindered its ability to produce the new laptop in the volumes required, despite the fact it had built up stockpiles of parts in case such a crisis occurred.

In addition, there has been speculation that Huawei would be unable to license copies of the Windows 10 operating system from Microsoft.

Washington’s intervention has resulted in some non-US companies breaking links too. The chip designer ARM, for example, which is UK-based and owned by Japan’s Softbank, told staff to suspend business with Huawei because some of its R&D work is carried out in the States.

Despite this, the Chinese firm continues to pursue partnerships with overseas companies.

The Financial Times has reported that Huawei has begun working with Audi and Toyota among others, to develop self-driving cars.

GozNym cyber-crime gang which stole millions busted

An international crime gang which used malware to steal $100m (£77m) from more than 40,000 victims has been dismantled.

A complex police operation conducted investigations in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts.

The gang was put together from criminals who advertised their skills on online forums.

The details of the operation were revealed at the headquarters of the European police agency Europol in The Hague.

It said that the investigation was unprecedented, especially in terms of cross-border co-operation.

Cyber-crime service

Ten members of the network have been charged in Pittsburgh, US on a range of offences, including stealing money and laundering those funds using US and foreign bank accounts.

Five Russian nationals remain on the run, including one who developed the GozNym malware and oversaw its development and management, including leasing it to other cyber-criminals.

Various other gang members now face prosecution in other countries, including:

  • The leader of the network, along with his technical assistant, faces charges in Georgia
  • Another member, whose role was to take over different bank accounts, has been extradited to the US from Bulgaria to face trial
  • A gang member who encrypted GozNym malware to make sure it was not detected on networks faces prosecution in Moldova
  • Two more face charges in Germany for money-laundering

Among the victims were small businesses, law firms, international corporations and non-profit organisations.

One of the things that the operation has highlighted is how common the selling of nefarious cyber-skills has become, says Prof Alan Woodward, a computer scientist from University of Surrey.

“The developers of this malware advertised their ‘product’ so that other criminals could use their service to conduct banking fraud.

“What is known as ‘crime as a service’ has been a growing feature in recent years, allowing organised crime gangs to switch from their traditional haunts of drugs to much more lucrative cyber-crime.”

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What is GozNym?

It is a hybrid of two other pieces of malware, Nymaim and Gozi.

The first of these is what is known as a “dropper”, software that is designed to sneak other malware on to a device and install it. Up until 2015, Nymaim was used primarily to get ransomware on to devices.

Gozi has been around since 2007. Over the years it has resurfaced with new techniques, all aimed at stealing financial information. It was used in concerted attacks on US banks.

Combining the two created what one expert called a “double-headed monster”.

Game of Thrones: Now TV glitch hits Apple TV owners

Sky has apologised to Game of Thrones fans after it had problems streaming the show via its Now TV app on Apple TV set-top boxes.

The issue coincided with the highly anticipated premiere of season eight of the fantasy series on the firm’s UK internet service.

Some users were unable to log in at all while others were shown poor quality video with smeared colours and green digital artefacts spoiling the image.

Other overseas apps also had glitches.

A spokesman for Sky said that only a minority of its overall Now TV user-base had been affected over the course of Monday evening but was unable to provide a detailed explanation for the fault.

“We know how big an event Game of Thrones is and we’re sorry some fans had problems watching it on Apple TV,” he added.

“We fixed it as quickly as possible and have put in place extra measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The programme had been available for most of Monday daytime after going live on the service at 03:00 BST.

Facebook challenged to give TED talk on political ads

The investigative journalist who revealed the Cambridge Analytica scandal has demanded answers from tech giants about political ads.

In her TED talk, Carole Cadwalladr called on the executives of Facebook and Twitter to come to the conference and discuss their role in influencing elections around the world.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey is due to speak later this week.

TED curator Chris Anderson also invited Facebook to address the conference.

Alongside staff of the New York Times, Cadwalladr was named as a finalist for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for journalism for her work on the Cambridge Analytica story.

It involved the discovery that an academic at the University of Cambridge used a personality quiz to harvest up to 87 million Facebook users’ details.

Some of this was subsequently shared with the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which used it to target political advertising in the US.

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Cadwalladr, who writes for the Guardian and Observer, used her TED talk to directly address who she called the “gods of Silicon Valley”.

Many of the top executives of technology firms attend the TED conference in Vancouver, Canada.

“We are what happens to a Western democracy when elections are disrupted by technology,” said Cadwalladr, referring to how voters in the Brexit referendum may have been influenced by online political campaigns.

“Technology has been amazing but now it is a crime scene,” she added.

She said the technology giants had acted as “accessories to spreading lies”.

‘Wrong side of history’

She challenged Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to come to TED and criticised his refusal to address the UK parliamentary committee tasked with investigating Facebook’s role in the Brexit referendum.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has suggested that the government makes major changes in electoral law to ensure future online campaigns are more transparent.

Cadwalladr said that there were still questions for Facebook to answer.

“The whole referendum took place on Facebook and we have no idea who saw what ads, who placed them and what money was spent,” she said.

“Facebook is on the wrong side of history in refusing to give answers,” she added.

The BBC asked Facebook for its response but it has not replied.

The social network has changed its rules around political ads in the UK, asking anyone placing them to verify their identity and location, and prove who is paying for the advert.

People buying the ads must provide their identity by submitting ID, which will be verified by a third party. They must also demonstrate that they have a UK address.

After Cadwalladr’s talk, TED curator Mr Anderson promised to “hold a space” at the conference for Facebook executives, some of whom he said “were watching”.

A challenge like this has been met before. In 2014, former National Security Agency (NSA) worker Edward Snowden was a surprise guest at TED, appearing by telerobot from an undisclosed location in Russia.

After his talk, a representative of the NSA also made an unscheduled appearance at the conference, offering to be more transparent about its surveillance work in future.

Wikileaks: Document dumps that shook the world

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he had been granted asylum since 2012.

The United States alleges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers. He could be jailed for up to five years.

Since it launched in 2006, Wikileaks has become renowned for publishing thousands of classified documents covering everything from the film industry to national security and wars.

Bounty pregnancy club fined £400,000 over data handling

Pregnancy club Bounty UK has been given a £400,000 fine for illegally sharing the personal information of more than 14 million people.

The fine was issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in what it said was an “unprecedented” case.

Bounty compiled personal data but did not tell people that it was shared with 39 other organisations, said the ICO.

Bounty said it “acknowledged” the ICO’s findings and had now made changes to how it handled member data.

‘Careless’ data-sharing

The Bounty pregnancy and parenting club offers free samples, vouchers and guides to prospective and new parents via packs given out in hospitals or sent to people who use its apps.

Bounty gathered information from apps, its website, cards in merchandise packs and from new mothers in hospital.

The ICO said that while many knew Bounty as a pregnancy club, few knew that it was also a data broker supplying information to third parties that would use it to fine-tune direct marketing.

Bounty breached the 1998 Data Protection Act by not being “open and transparent” with people about what would be done with their personal data.

It shared 34.3 million records from June 2017 to April 2018 with 39 organisations including marketing agencies Acxiom, Equifax and Indicia.

The data shared was of “potentially vulnerable” people including new mothers and very young children, said the ICO.

“The number of personal records and people affected in this case is unprecedented in the history of the ICO’s investigations into the data broking industry and organisations linked to this,” said Steve Eckersley, the watchdog’s director of investigations.

Mr Eckersley said the “careless” data-sharing was likely to have caused distress to many people because they did not know it was being shared so widely.

Jim Kelleher, Bounty’s managing director, said: “In the past, we did not take a broad enough view of our responsibilities and as a result our data-sharing processes, specifically with regards to transparency, were not robust enough.”

He added that the ICO had recognised that Bounty had changed its data-handling policies and that it now kept fewer records for less time. It had also ended relationships with all data brokers. Staff had also been trained to handle data to comply with the latest legislation.

In addition, said Mr Kelleher, Bounty planned to appoint an independent data expert to carry out an annual survey to ensure it did not breach data protection laws.