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Gaza: Worst famine fears realised as 10th child reportedly ‘starves to death’

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“The official records yesterday or this morning said there was a tenth child officially registered in a hospital as having starved to death,” said UN health agency spokesperson Christian Lindmeier. “A very sad threshold…(but) the unofficial numbers can unfortunately be expected to be higher.”

The development followed media reports overnight that four children had died in northern Gaza’s Kamal Adwan Hospital, in addition to six other youngsters who died on Wednesday at the same facility and at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Hunger ‘catastrophe’

A two-year-old girl in Gaza is screened, indicating severe acute malnutrition and drastic weight loss and muscle atrophy.

A two-year-old girl in Gaza is screened, indicating severe acute malnutrition and drastic weight loss and muscle atrophy.

The deepening food insecurity crisis in the enclave – which UN aid coordination office OCHA said had left one in four facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity – prompted renewed international alarm on Thursday, when more than 100 Palestinians were apparently killed and hundreds were injured trying to get aid from a relief convoy stopped at a roundabout southwest of Gaza City.

Swift condemnation of the incident by UN Secretary-General António Guterreswho also called for an independent investigation – was echoed by other top UN officials, including UN relief chief Martin Griffiths, amid reports of continuing intense Israeli bombardment from air, land and sea across much of the Gaza Strip. 

“We saw pictures from Al-Shifa (hospital) where victims of the killings were lying next to each other waiting for any treatment,” the UN World Health Organization (WHO)’s Mr. Lindmeier told journalists in Geneva.

Water and power cut

“The system in Gaza – we’ve said it many times that it’s on its knees – it’s more than on its knees,” the WHO official continued, explaining that all of Gaza’s “lifelines have more or less been cut”, notably water and electricity, since immediately after Hamas-led terror attacks on Israeli communities on 7 October. 

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke meanwhile insisted that before the conflict “people had food; people were able to produce their own food.”

Today, finding food within Gaza itself, whether from farming or fishing, “is almost impossible”, Mr. Laerke continued. “Putting food on the table…has completely stopped. The very foundation for people’s daily sustenance is being ripped away.”

Latest humanitarian food insecurity assessments – the IPC classification index which is used as a reference by aid agencies – indicate that the entire population of Gaza – 2.2 million people – face “crisis” levels of food insecurity, the OCHA spokesperson said. Of that number, around 1.17 million face “emergency” levels of food insecurity, and the plight for another 500,000 is “catastrophic”.

‘Dire situation’

“We have a dire situation coming towards us at very high speed,” Mr. Laerke said, his comments echoing a recent UN humanitarians’ warning to the Security Council that famine in the enclave is “almost inevitable” unless aid is massively scaled up.  

According to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the quantity of aid supplies reaching Gaza in February was just half of January’s total, “and we know that January was not enough at all”, the WHO spokesperson said.

Just last week, the Council heard briefings from top humanitarian organisations, including medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, which reported that a pattern of attacks by Israeli forces against hospitals and other civilian buildings, together with humanitarian personnel and convoys, was “either intentional or indicative of reckless incompetence”.

Thursday evening, the Security Council held closed consultations, but were deadlocked over a presidential statement related to the aid emergency, according to media reports.

Vital signs

Reiterating repeated UN calls for a ceasefire, Mr. Lindmeier maintained that Thursday’s tragic aid convoy deaths had highlighted how desperate Gazans were for food, fresh water and other essentials after nearly five months of war. 

“This is the real drama; this is the real catastrophe here, that food and supplies are so scarce that we see these situations coming up, and the food supplies have been cut off deliberately,” he maintained, noting that Gazans were no longer able to provide for themselves.

“The fields which were existing – the greenhouses, the little bit of agriculture – all that needs water supply, or water supply depending on electricity and pumping stations,” he explained. “This is the real drama; this just underlines more and more that we need an urgent ceasefire now. If not now, then when?”

 



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What is an AI PC? (And should you buy one?)

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How does a computer powered up to handle artificial intelligence tasks differ from a regular PC? Who’s making them? And where does Windows 12 fit in? We answer all your burning questions.



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How to Install Moodle Learning Management System in Linux

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Moodle is a free, feature-rich, open-source learning management system (LMS), which is used by many online schools and universities as well as private educators.

Moodle is extremely customizable and it is meant to meet the requirements of a wide range of users including teachers, students, and administrators.

Moodle Features

Some of the most noticeable features that Moodle has are:

  • Modern and easy-to-use interface
  • Personalized dashboard
  • Collaborative tools
  • All-in-one calendar
  • Easy file management
  • Simple text editor
  • Notifications
  • Progress tracking
  • Customizable site design/layout
  • Multiple supported languages
  • Bulk course creation
  • Quizzes
  • User roles
  • Plugins for additional functionalities
  • Multimedia integration

The latest stable Moodle version (4.3.3) was released just recently on 12 February 2024.

Hardware Requirements

The release has the following hardware requirements:

  • Disk Space: 200MB for the Moodle code, plus as much as you need to store content. 5GB is probably a realistic minimum.
  • Processor: 1 GHz (min), 2 GHz dual-core or more recommended.
  • Memory: 512MB (min), 1GB or more is recommended. 8GB plus is likely on a large production server.

Software Requirements

The release has the following software requirements:

  • Web Server: Moodle is compatible with web servers such as Apache or NGINX.
  • PHP: Moodle requires a supported version of PHP (usually 7.2 or later) along with necessary extensions like XML, JSON, and others.
  • Database: Moodle supports databases like MySQL, MariaDB, or PostgreSQL.

It’s crucial to review the official documentation for detailed and up-to-date system requirements based on the specific version of Moodle you intend to install.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install Moodle LMS (Learning Management System) on RedHat-based distributions such as CentOS, Fedora, Rocky & AlmaLinux and Debian-based distributions such as Ubuntu using LAMP or LEMP (Linux, Apache/Nginx, MySQL/MariaDB and PHP) stack with subdomain moodle.tecmint.com and IP address 192.168.0.3.

Important: The commands will be executed with root user or sudo privileges, so make sure that you have full access to your system.

Step 1: Installing LAMP or LEMP Environment

LAMP/LEMP is a stack of open-source software designed to build and host websites. It uses Apache/Nginx as a web server, MariaDB/MySQL for a relational database management system and PHP as an object-oriented programming language.

You can use the following single command to install LAMP or LEMP stack in your respective Linux operating systems as shown:

Installing LAMP Stack

sudo yum install httpd php mariadb-server       [On RedHat-based systems] 
sudo apt install apache2 php mariadb-server     [On Debian-based systems]

Installing LEMP Stack

sudo yum install nginx php php-fpm mariadb-server     [On RedHat-based systems] 
sudo apt install nginx php php-fpm mariadb-server     [On Debian-based systems]

Step 2: Installing PHP Extensions and Libraries

Next, you need to install the following recommended PHP extensions and libraries to run Moodle error-free.

--------------------- On RedHat-based systems ---------------------
sudo yum install php-iconv php-mbstring php-curl php-opcache php-xmlrpc php-mysqlnd php-openssl php-tokenizer php-soap php-ctype php-zip php-gd php-simplexml php-spl php-pcre php-dom php-xml php-intl php-json php-ldap wget unzip
--------------------- On Debian-based systems ---------------------
sudo apt install graphviz aspell php-pspell php-curl php-gd php-intl php-mysqlnd php-xmlrpc php-ldap

Step 3: Configure PHP Settings

Now open and modify PHP settings in your php.ini or .htaccess (Only if you don’t have access to php.ini) file as shown below.

Important: If you’re using an older PHP version, then some of the following PHP settings are removed and you won’t find them in your php.ini file.

memory_limit = 256M
max_execution_time = 300
post_max_size = 100M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_input_vars = 3000
date.timezone = "Your/Timezone"

Make sure to replace “Your/Timezone” with your actual timezone, for example, “America/New_York“.

On the Nginx web server, you need to enable the following variable in the php.ini file as well.

cgi.fix_pathinfo=1

After making the above changes, restart the web server as shown:

--------------- For Apache --------------- 
sudo systemctl restart httpd.service	[On RedHat-based systems]    
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service 	[On Debian-based systems]

--------------- For Nginx ---------------
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service	
sudo systemctl restart php-fpm.service	

Step 4: Install Moodle in Linux

Now we are ready to prepare our Moodle files for installation. For that purpose, navigate to the web root directory of your Apache or Nginx server. You can do this via:

cd /var/www/html              [For Apache]
cd /usr/share/nginx/html      [For Nginx]

Next, go to the Moodle download page and grab the latest Moodle (i.e. version cd /var/www/html at the time of writing this article) archive or with the help of following the wget command.

sudo wget https://download.moodle.org/download.php/direct/stable403/moodle-latest-403.zip

Now unzip the downloaded archive, this will create a new directory called “moodle” and move all of its contents to the web server’s root web directory (i.e. /var/www/html for Apache or /usr/share/nginx/html for Nginx) using following series of command.

sudo unzip moodle-latest-403.zip
sudo cd moodle
sudo cp -r * /var/www/html/           [For Apache]
sudo cp -r * /usr/share/nginx/html    [For Nginx]

Now let’s fix the file ownership to the webserver user, depending on your distribution Apache might be running with user “apache” or “www-data” and Nginx running as a user nginx.

To fix the file ownership, run the following command.

sudo chown -R apache: /var/www/html	[On RedHat-based systems] 
sudo chown -R www-data: /var/www/html 	[On Debian-based systems]
OR
sudo chown -R nginx: /usr/share/nginx/html/ [For Nginx] 

Moodle also uses a data directory meant to keep teachers’ and students’ data. For example, this directory will keep videos, documents, presentations, and others.

For security purposes, you should create that directory outside of the web directory root. In this tutorial, we will create a separate moodledata directory.

sudo mkdir /var/www/moodledata              [For Apache]
sudo mkdir /usr/share/moodledata            [For Nginx]

And again fix the folder ownership with:

sudo chown -R apache: /var/www/moodledata	[On RedHat-based systems]    
sudo chown -R www-data: /var/www/moodledata 	[On Debian-based systems] 
OR
sudo  chown -R nginx: /usr/share/moodledata     [For Nginx]

Step 5: Create Moodle Database

Moodle uses a relational database to store its data so we will need to prepare a database for our installation, but before that, we need to start and secure the mysql installation by running the following command.

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service
sudo mysql_secure_installation

The above mysql installation script is used to improve the security of your MySQL installation, which is typically run after a fresh MySQL installation to perform several security-related tasks such as setting root password, removing anonymous users, disallowing root login remotely, removing test database, and reload privilege.

Once your mysql installation is secure, you can log in to the MySQL database server with the root user account using elevated privileges (sudo).

sudo mysql -u root -p

Enter your password and proceed. Now create a new database called “moodle”:

create database moodle;

Now let’s grant a user “moodle” with all privileges on the database moodle:

grant all on moodle.* to moodle@'localhost' identified by 'password';
flush privileges;
quit;

Step 6: Start the Moodle Installation

We are now ready to continue with the installation of Moodle. For that purpose open your IP address or hostname in a browser. You should see the Moodle’s installer. It will ask you to choose the language for your installation:

Choose Moodle Language
Choose Moodle Language

In the next step, you will be selecting the path for your Moodle data directory. This directory will contain the files uploaded by teachers and students.

For example, videos, PDFs, PPT, and other files you upload on your website. We have already prepared this directory earlier, you just need to set the Moodle data dir to /var/www/moodledata or /usr/share/moodledata.

Set Moodle Data Directory
Set Moodle Data Directory

Next, you will be selecting the database driver.

  1. For MySQL – Select Improved MySQL driver.
  2. For MariaDB – Select native/mariadb driver.
Choose Moodle Database Driver
Choose Moodle Database Driver

After that, you will be prompted for the MySQL credentials that Moodle will be using. We already prepared those earlier:

Database Name: moodle
Database User: moodle
Password: password
Moodle Database Settings
Moodle Database Settings

Once you have filled in the details, continue to the next page. The page will show you the copyrights related to Moodle:

Moodle Copyright Notice
Moodle Copyright Notice

Review those and continue to the next page. On the following page, Moodle will perform system checks for your server environment. It will inform you if there are missing modules/extensions on your system. If such are to be found, click on the link next to each extension that is shown as missing and you will be provided with instructions on how to install it.

Moodle Server Requirement Checks
Moodle Server Requirement Checks

If everything is good, proceed to the next page, where the installer will populate the database. This process may take longer than expected. After that, you will be asked to configure the administrative user. You will need to fill in the following details:

  1. Username – the username with which the user will log in
  2. Password – password for the above user
  3. First name
  4. Surname
  5. Email address for the administrative user
  6. City/town
  7. Country
  8. Timezone
  9. Description – enter information about yourself
Moodle User Information
Moodle User Information

After you have configured your site administrator’s profile, it’s time to set up some info about the site. Fill in the following information:

  • Full site name
  • Short name for the site
  • Front page summary – information that will be displayed on the site frontpage
  • Location Settings
  • Site registration – choose the registration type be self-registration or via email.
Moodle Frontpage Settings
Moodle Frontpage Settings

When you have filled in all that information, the installation is complete and you will be taken to the administrator profile:

Moodle Admin Dashboard
Moodle Admin Dashboard

To access the Moodle administrative dashboard go to http://your-ip-address/admin. In my case, this is:

http://moodle.tecmint.com/admin
Moodle Admin Panel
Moodle Admin Panel

Now your Moodle installation is complete and you can start managing your website and create your first courses, and users or simply customize your site settings.

In case you have any questions or comments related to Moodle’s installation, please submit them in the comment section below.



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What Plant Migrations Tell Us about Ourselves

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What Plant Migrations Tell Us about Ourselves

New insights into why animals play, how to hunt an asteroid, and more books out now

An underwater view of a kelp forest.

Credit:

Brent Durand/Getty Images

NONFICTION

Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging
by Jessica J. Lee
Catapult, 2024 ($27)

As a child in Canada, Jessica J. Lee squirmed at the kelp her Taiwanese mother sprinkled in sparerib soup and at the laverbread her father’s Welsh parents made from pureed boiled seaweed. “How can I love something I remain afraid of?” asks Lee, a memoirist and environmental historian. In this lyrical essay collection, she decides that she needs “to think about seaweeds objectively—hold them out in front of me like ideas.” By rendering them as physical marvels while parsing the ideas we project onto them, Lee makes visible the entanglements between our lives and theirs.


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Algae are everywhere, from biofuels to toothpaste, and Lee reveals how much our knowledge of them was shaped by 19th-century female algologists, who were encouraged to study the plant because its nonflowering structure made it “polite” for women to research. “Like seaweeds, how much of their lives went unnoticed?” Lee asks. Dispersals shows us that we cannot view the trajectory of a plant without bumping into trajectories of human power.

Weaving material from literary, personal, scientific and historical sources, Lee examines plants—including seaweed and far beyond it—that broach human borders, exploring their migrations alongside her own. “What is it to be a world citizen amongst species?” she asks. “The natural world presses against our tendency to lay arbitrary geopolitical boundaries upon it—and we, by our own movements, likewise transgress the borders we apply.” Calling something a weed is less about describing a plant than about naming a desire for the world around it, and Lee writes intimately about her own oscillating cravings for movement and rootedness against a backdrop of COVID and new motherhood. She devotes essays to plants encountered in the kitchen, such as soy and tea, as well as often overlooked ones, like the heath star moss: tiny, starlike and one of the world’s most invasive species.

Dispersals asks readers to consider how plants challenge not only spatial borders but taxonomic ones. “All the citruses we value were shaped by human hands,” Lee writes. “Are they, too, human descendants?” 

IN BRIEF

Kingdom of Play: What Ball-Bouncing Octopuses, Belly-Flopping Monkeys, and Mud-Sliding Elephants Reveal about Life Itself
by David Toomey
Scribner, 2024 ($29)

Although author David Toomey offers delightful examples of animal play—snowboarding crows, tumbling piglets, sharks playing with a ball—he argues that, despite all the apparent whimsy, “nature takes play seriously.” Scholars are using methods as unique as tickling rats and tallying the results of faux fights between meerkats to fill surprising gaps in our understanding of play; in doing so, they deepen our insight into what, exactly, play is. Toomey makes a compelling case that not only does play offer advantages in natural selection and serve as a potential generator of animal evolution, but the innovation it sparks may even help primates like us influence our own evolution. —Dana Dunham

The Asteroid Hunter: A Scientist’s Journey to the Dawn of Our Solar System
by Dante S. Lauretta
Grand Central, 2024 ($30)

It’s rare that a book with such an epic premise delivers on the excitement teased by its cinematic title. The Asteroid Hunter joins this elite club with its story of the OSIRIS-REx mission, definitively relayed by Dante S. Lauretta, its principal investigator since 2011. In September 2023 OSIRIS-REx culminated in nasa’s first-ever retrieval of samples from an asteroid. Lauretta’s at times poetic account relays what’s at stake: investigating the origins of life and preventing a calamitous asteroid impact in 2182. Heartbreak and intrigue abound, but what most stands out from Lauretta’s career—which has included searching for meteorites in Antarctica, devising OSIRIS-REx’s “backronym” and selecting a landing site on the asteroid Bennu—is how joyfully fun science can be. —Maddie Bender

Waves in an Impossible Sea: How Everyday Life Emerges from the Cosmic Ocean
by Matt Strassler
Basic Books, 2024 ($32)

Physicists often struggle to simplify complex concepts for nonexperts, leading to “physics fibs” or “phibs”—straightforward but inaccurate explanations. Writer and theoretical physicist Matt Strassler unveils how fundamental physics and human existence intertwine through an imaginative, piece-by-piece deconstruction of the greatest hits of phibs, from misconceptions about sound-wave vibrations to descriptions likening the Higgs field to a “soup that fills the universe.” Strassler urges readers who want to understand the cosmos to resist the alluring but misleading guides of observation and intuition. Abundant with analogies and anecdotes, this book exemplifies how experts should write about matter, motion and mass for the masses. —Lucy Tu



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Nicaragua: Rights experts decry persecution of Government opponents

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President Daniel Ortega and other high-level officials should be held accountable “as should Nicaragua, as a State that goes after its own people targeting university students, indigenous people, people of African descent, campesinos and members of the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations,” they said in a statement

The accusation comes in their latest report which details how the situation in the country has deteriorated over the past year. 

Long-term objective 

The report found that violations, abuses and crimes have been perpetrated not only to dismantle active opposition efforts, but also to eliminate all critical voices and dissuade any new organization and initiative to mobilize society in the long term. 

Nicaragua is caught in a spiral of violence marked by the persecution of all forms of political opposition, whether real or perceived, both domestically and abroad,” said Jan Simon, the group’s chair. 

As the Government has moved closer to its goal of total destruction of critical voices in the country, patterns of violations of the right to life, and personal security are less prevalent today, the experts noted. 

Instead, there has been an exponential increase of patterns of violations focusing on incapacitating any kind of opposition in the long term. 

‘Violations by extension’ 

People who have left Nicaragua have also been affected as they have been deprived of nationality and access to official documentation, as well as consular support.

Nicaraguan citizens have been left stateless and devoid of access to legal remedies. Relatives of victims of human rights violations are also victimized by the Government for their connections to real or perceived opponents. 

The experts said these “violations by extension” are particularly serious when they affect children, many of whom have been separated from parents who were deported or banned from entering Nicaragua. Some have been denied valid passports to join their parents. 

Centralization of State power 

The report also highlighted the consolidation and centralization of all State powers in the hands of President Ortega and his Vice-President Rosario Murillo, particularly the total control exerted over the judicial branch. 

“Centralization of power not only ensures impunity for perpetrators, but also undermines efforts towards accountability, “said Ariela Peralta, one of the experts.  

They urged the Government to immediately release all persons who have been arbitrarily detained, while also calling for expanding sanctions against individuals and institutions involved in human rights violations.  

Sanctions are a minimum form of accountability in a country where impunity and criminalizing democracy is the rule,” they said. 

The Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua is an independent body mandated by the UN Human Rights Council.  

Independent experts are not UN staff and do not receive payment for their work. 



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5 Microsoft Edge settings to change for more secure browsing than Chrome offers

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https-gettyimages-478186613

KTSDESIGN/Getty Images

Once upon a time, had you told me that one day I’d install and use a web browser made by Microsoft on Linux, I’d have thought you’d gone mad. I’m not saying Edge has become my default browser (that title still belongs to Opera) but after using Edge for a while on Linux, I can certainly see why it’s quickly becoming such a popular option.

Also: 5 Microsoft Edge features that might make it my new favorite Linux browser

It’s based on Chromium but offers quite a bit more features and options than Chrome. It’s pretty fast, and  — more importantly — it can be made much more secure than Google’s browser. 

However, by default, a number of those settings are either not enabled or set to their less secure options. Fortunately, those settings are easily changed.

If you open the Microsoft Edge Settings window, you won’t find a Security section because these settings are included in the Privacy, Search, and Services section. But which settings do you change? There are five security settings I would recommend looking into. Here they are:

1. Disable Save Payment Methods

Although saving your payment methods in a web browser is convenient, it’s not something I would ever recommend. To that end, I always disable the saving of payment methods. The problem is that disabling the saving of payment methods is sort of hidden within Edge. On top of that, depending on your operating system, the saving of payment information will vary. For instance, when I installed Edge on Linux, the option was enabled. (It’s enabled on Windows 11 as well.) On MacOS however, not only was the option disabled, but there was an extra option for Automatically Save Payment Info (which was off by default). Whatever operating system you use, you should make sure that Saving Payment Methods and Save Payment Info are disabled.

Also: 5 reasons why Opera is my favorite browser (and you should check it out too)

Now, you might think this setting would be found in, well, Settings — but it’s not. Instead, the disabling of payment methods is handled within Microsoft Wallet. To open Wallet, click the small wallet icon in the left sidebar. If you don’t see that icon, open Settings and search for wallet. When you do that, the Wallet opens in the browser and you can immediately click Settings and then disable the Save and Fill Payment Info option. 

I would also suggest you disable one more option that is related to payment methods. Open Edge Settings (by clicking the gear icon in the sidebar) and type payment in the search bar. You should see, under Privacy, a listing for Allow Sites to check if you have payment methods saved. Click the on/off slider until it’s in the off position.

The Edge save payment method option.

Disabling the saving of payment information can help prevent your credit card information from getting into the wrong hands.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

To enable this feature, open Security and go to Privacy, search, and services and locate Block potentially unwanted apps under Security. Click the on/off slider until it’s in the on position.

2. Don’t save passwords

Most browsers have a built-in password manager and I recommend not using them. Why? Because a dedicated password manager is exponentially more secure than a feature within a browser. Password managers are built for one purpose, to keep your passwords secure. 

With every web browser I use, I disable the saving of passwords (if possible). Fortunately, it is possible with Microsoft Edge and I would highly recommend you do this the first time you open the browser.

Also: I tried two passwordless password managers, and was seriously impressed by one

To disable the password saving, go back to Microsoft Wallet, click Settings, and look for the Passwords section. Click the on/off slider until it’s in the off position and your browser will never ask if you want to save a password again. Once you’ve done that, download and install a reputable password manager.

The Edge save password option.

Never allow a browser to save your passwords. Instead, use a dedicated password manager.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Clear cookies and data upon close

Another setting I would highly recommend you enable is the automatic deletion of cookies and other site data. If you allow cookies to remain saved, they can be used against you in numerous ways. Companies can not only collect data about you, but a bad actor could use those saved cookies for any number of nefarious purposes. And because we’re really bad about remembering to delete cookies and site data, why not allow Edge to automatically delete them when you close the browser?

Also: Best secure browsers to protect your privacy online

To do that, go to Settings > Privacy > Choose what to clear every time you close the browser. In the resulting window, click the on/off slider for Cookies and other site data until it’s in the on position. You can also add sites for this feature to ignore, if you know of a site that depends on those cookies to function properly.

The Edge cookies and data save on/off slider.

This should be considered a must-do.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Create profiles

If you use Microsoft Edge for both business and personal purposes, I would highly recommend you create separate profiles for each and make sure to switch between them, as needed. When you do this, the information for each profile is protected from other profiles, so there’s no cross-pollination of data. Do this and you can be certain the more sensitive information from work won’t accidentally be “used” when going to social networks or other sites that could use information from your place of employment in a way management might frown upon. 

To create a new profile, go to Settings > Profiles and click the Add Profile button in the top right corner. Walk through the wizard to complete the process and remember to switch to the correct profile when you need.

The Edge Profiles window.

Create as many profiles as needed to protect different types of use cases.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Disable Personalization & Advertising

Unless you have a reason to allow Microsoft to save your browsing activity (which includes history, usage, favorites, web content, etc.), you should certainly disable this feature. This option is used to create a profile for you so that targeted ads can be displayed within the browser. Should the wrong person steal this information, they could use it against you. 

Also: How to stop Google from selling your browser history for ad targeting

To disable the feature, go to Settings > Privacy > Personalization & Advertising. Click the on/off slider until it’s in the off position.

The Edge personalization and advertising option.

I never allow a browser to save my information for targeted ads.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you’ve taken care of these five settings, you’ll find Microsoft Edge is a much more secure web browser. 





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6 Best Centralized Log Management Tools for Linux in 2024

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Centralized logging, just like security, is a fundamental aspect of monitoring and sound management of core resources in an IT infrastructure including web applications and hardware devices.

Competent operation teams always have in place a log monitoring and management system which proves beneficial especially when there’s a system failure or an application behaves weirdly.

Why is Logging So Important?

When systems crash or applications malfunction, as they will sometimes do, you need to get to the bottom of the matter and uncover the cause of failure.

Log files record system activity and give insights into the possible sources of error and subsequent failure. They give an elaborate sequence of events, including a detailed timestamp, that occasioned or led to an incident.

The diagnosis and recovery of any system start with the review of system logs. Analyzing log files can help operation teams find evidence of suspicious activity such as unauthorized logins which points to a security breach.

It can help database administrators to tune their database for optimal performance and also help developers troubleshoot issues with their applications and write better code.

Centralized Logging

Managing and analyzing log files from one or two servers might be an easy undertaking. The same cannot be said of an enterprise environment with dozens of servers.

For this reason, centralized logging is most recommended. Centralized logging consolidates log files from all systems into one dedicated server for easy log management. It saves time and energy that would have been used in logging in and analyzing log files of individual systems.

In this guide, we feature some of the most notable open-source centralized logging management systems for Linux.

1. ManageEngine Log360

ManageEngine Log360 is an SIEM or security analytics solution that helps you combat threats on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.

It also helps organizations adhere to compliance mandates such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, and more. You can customize the solution to cater to your unique use cases and protect your sensitive data.

With Log360, you can monitor and audit activities that occur in your Active Directory, network devices, employee workstations, file servers, databases, Microsoft 365 environment, cloud services, and more.

Log360 correlates log data from different devices to detect complex attack patterns and advanced persistent threats. The solution also comes with machine learning-based behavioral analytics that detects user and entity behavior anomalies and couples them with a risk score.

The security analytics are presented in the form of more than 1000 pre-defined, actionable reports. Log forensics can be performed to get to the root cause of a security challenge.

The built-in incident management system allows you to automate the remediation response with intelligent workflows and integrations with popular ticketing tools.

The solution can be installed on-premises and is also available on the cloud as Log360 Cloud. Support is offered via phone, email, and other online resources.

Here’s what Log360 can do for you:

  • Identify malicious communications with blacklisted IPs, URLs, and domains by corroborating data from threat intelligence services.
  • Monitor widely used public cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Salesforce.
  • Monitor file and folder creation, deletion, modification, and permission changes in Windows file servers, NetApp file servers, EMC file servers, Linux, and more.
  • Monitor and audit critical Active Directory changes in real time.
Log360 SIEM Solution
Log360 SIEM Solution

2. Elastic Stack ( Elasticsearch Logstash & Kibana)

Elastic Stack, commonly abbreviated as ELK, is a popular three-in-one log centralization, parsing, and visualization tool that centralizes large sets of data and logs from multiple servers into one server.

ELK stack comprises 3 different products:

Logstash

Logstash is a free and open-source data pipeline that collects logs and events data and even processes and transforms the data to the desired output. Data is sent to logstash from remote servers using agents called ‘beats’.

The ‘beats’ ship a huge volume of system metrics and logs to Logstash whereupon they are processed. It then feeds the data to Elasticsearch.

Elasticsearch

Built on Apache Lucene, Elasticsearch is an open-source and distributed search and analytics engine for nearly all types of data – both structured and unstructured. This includes textual, numerical, and geospatial data.

It was first released in 2010. Elasticsearch is the central component of the ELK stack and is renowned for its speed, scalability, and REST APIs. It stores, indexes, and analyzes huge volumes of data passed on from Logstash.

Kibana

Data is finally passed on to Kibana, which is a WebUI visualization platform that runs alongside Elasticsearch. Kibana allows you to explore and visualize time-series data and logs from elasticsearch.

It visualizes data and logs on intuitive dashboards which take various forms such as bar graphs, pie charts, histograms, etc.

3. Graylog

Graylog is yet another popular and powerful centralized log management tool that comes with both open-source and enterprise plans. It accepts data from clients installed on multiple nodes and, just like Kibana, visualizes the data on dashboards on a web interface.

Graylogs plays a monumental role in making business decisions touching on user interaction of a web application. It collects vital analytics on the apps’ behavior and visualizes the data on various graphs such as bar graphs, pie charts, and histograms to mention a few. The data collected inform key business decisions.

For example, you can determine peak hours when customers place orders using your web application. With such insights in hand, the management can make informed business decisions to scale up revenue.

Unlike Elastic Search, Graylog offers a single-application solution for data collection, parsing, and visualization. It rids the need for installation of multiple components unlike in ELK stack where you have to install individual components separately. Graylog collects and stores data in MongoDB which is then visualized on user-friendly and intuitive dashboards.

Graylog is widely used by developers in different phases of app deployment in tracking the state of web applications and obtaining information such as request times, errors, etc. This helps them to modify the code and boost performance.

4. Fluentd

Written in C, Fluentd is a cross-platform and open-source log monitoring tool that unifies logs and data collection from multiple data sources. It’s completely open source and licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. In addition, there’s a subscription model for enterprise use.

Fluentd processes both structured and semi-structured sets of data. It analyzes application logs, events logs, and clickstreams and aims to be a unifying layer between log inputs and outputs of varying types.

It structures data in a JSON format allowing it to seamlessly unify all facets of data logging including the collection, filtering, parsing, and outputting of logs across multiple nodes.

Fluentd comes with a small footprint and is resource-friendly, so you won’t have to worry about running out of memory or your CPU being overutilized.

Additionally, it boasts of a flexible plugin architecture where users can take advantage of over 500 community-developed plugins to extend its functionality.

5. LOGalyze

LOGalyze is a powerful network monitoring and logs management tool that collects and parses logs from network devices, Linux, and Windows hosts. It was initially commercial but is now completely free to download and install without any limitations.

LOGalyze is ideal for analyzing server and application logs and presents them in various report formats such as PDF, CSV, and HTML. It also provides extensive search capabilities and real-time event detection of services across multiple nodes.

Like the aforementioned log monitoring tools, LOGalyze also provides a neat and simple web interface that allows users to log in and monitor various data sources, and analyze log files.

6. NXlog

NXlog is yet another powerful and versatile tool for log collection and centralization. It’s a multi-platform log management utility that is tailored to pick up policy breaches, identify security risks, and analyze issues in system, application, and server logs.

NXlog has the capability of collating events logs from numerous endpoints in varying formats including Syslog and Windows event logs. It can perform a range of log-related tasks such as log rotation and log rewrites. log compression and can also be configured to send alerts.

You can download NXlog in two editions: The community edition, which is free to download, and use, and the enterprise edition which is subscription-based.



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UN chief ‘committed’ to Sudan as mission ends

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In a statement, the UN Secretary-General extended his “deep appreciation” to all international and national personnel of the United Nations Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan – UNITAMS.

The United Nations is not leaving Sudan,” the UN chief insisted, as he noted that heavy fighting continues throughout the country between rival militaries that has displaced millions and created a worsening humanitarian emergency.

“(The UN) remains strongly committed to providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance and supporting the Sudanese people in their aspirations for a peaceful and secure future,” he said.

In a call to the Sudan’s warring parties to lay down their weapons, Mr. Guterres urged them to commit to “broad-based” peace talks and a transition to civilian-led democratic government.

Security of entire region at stake

“The conflict that continues to rage in Sudan is further eroding the rule of law and protection of civilians, as well as jeopardizing the entire country and region,” the UN Secretary-General warned.

High-level UN-partnered mediation efforts towards a peaceful future for Sudan have already begun, led by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Sudan, Ramtane Lamamra.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria is working with African and other international partners to complement the ongoing essential work of the UN Country Team on the ground, which includes providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

Mr. Guterres highlighted the need for continued international support for this unhindered aid relief, while also calling on the Sudanese authorities to continue cooperation regarding the issuance of visas to the UN and partners.



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Ice shell thickness reveals water temperature on ocean worlds

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Cornell University astrobiologists have devised a novel way to determine ocean temperatures of distant worlds based on the thickness of their ice shells, effectively conducting oceanography from space.

Available data showing ice thickness variation already allows a prediction for the upper ocean of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, and a NASA mission’s planned orbital survey of Europa’s ice shell should do the same for the much larger Jovian moon, enhancing the mission’s findings about whether it could support life.

The researchers propose that a process called “ice pumping,” which they’ve observed below Antarctic ice shelves, likely shapes the undersides of Europa’s and Enceladus’ ice shells, but should also operate at Ganymede and Titan, large moons of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively. They show that temperature ranges where the ice and ocean interact — important regions where ingredients for life may be exchanged — can be calculated based on an ice shell’s slope and changes in water’s freezing point at different pressures and salinities.

“If we can measure the thickness variation across these ice shells, then we’re able to get temperature constraints on the oceans, which there’s really no other way yet to do without drilling into them,” said Britney Schmidt, associate professor of astronomy and of earth and atmospheric sciences. “This gives us another tool for trying to figure out how these oceans work. And the big question is, are things living there, or could they?”

Along with current and former members of Planetary Habitability and Technology Lab, Schmidt is a co-author of “Ice-Ocean Interactions on Ocean Worlds Influence Ice Shell Topography,” published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

In 2019, using the remotely operated Icefin robot, Schmidt’s team observed ice pumping inside a crevasse beneath Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf.

The researchers mapped ranges of potential shell thickness, pressure and salinity for ocean worlds with varying gravity and concluded that ice pumping would occur in the most probable scenarios, though not in all. They found that ice-ocean interactions on Europa may be similar to those observed beneath the Ross Ice Shelf — evidence that such regions may be some of the most Earth-like on alien worlds, said Justin Lawrence, a visiting scholar at the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science and a program manager at Honeybee Robotics.

NASA’s Cassini probe generated data sufficient to predict a temperature range for Enceladus’ ocean, based on the slope of its ice shell from poles to equator: minus 1.095 degrees to minus 1.272 degrees Celsius. Knowing temperatures informs understanding of how heat flows through oceans and how they circulate, affecting habitability.

The researchers expect ice pumping to be weak at Enceladus, a small moon (the width of Arizona) with dramatic topography, while at larger Europa — nearly the size of Earth’s moon — they predict it acts quickly to smooth and flatten the ice shell’s base.

Schmidt said the work demonstrates how research investigating climate change on Earth can also benefit planetary science, a reason NASA has supported Icefin’s development.

“There’s a connection between the shape of the ice shell and the temperature in the ocean,” Schmidt said. “This is a new way to get more insight from ice shell measurements that we hope to be able to get for Europa and other worlds.”

The research was supported by NASA’s Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) program and the National Science Foundation.



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Plan to double power of e-bikes sparks fire fears

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Cycling groups and charities have criticised government proposals for more powerful e-bikes.



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