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Photo: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Symantec announced Sunday that it's opening up for its customers the use of advanced machine learning tools that helped the antivirus firm do pioneering research on state-sponsored cyber threats.

Why it matters: The tool being offered to the public has ties to some heavy-duty research. Alejandro Borgia, Symantec's vice president of product management, said the newly-public "Targeted Attack Analytics" software was key in the firm's work connecting the Wannacry ransomware to the same attackers that hacked Sony — which the U.S. government confirmed had been North Korean operations. Borgia also also credited the TAA software with Symantec's influential work on the "Dragonfly" energy sector espionage campaign.

The details: TAA will analyze telemetric data from Symantec clients and report red flags to clients automatically. Until now, TAA had only been used as a tool to assist Symantec employees — not as an automated detection system. "We've been able to identify around 10 attackers a week before they've done any damage," said Borgia.

  • TAA is designed to search for what the industry sometimes calls advanced persistent threats — targeted attacks from well-funded actors. "By design, they're the hardest attackers to discover," said Borgia.
  • It analyzes everything from how network users traverse a network to scripted commands that are run.
  • Borgia said the software was trained to mimic Symantec's internal research team. They knew it was effective, he said, when it began to identify threats that the researchers themselves have never seen before.

Go deeper

27 mins ago - Health

J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said Monday that he is "absolutely" confident that the company will be able to meet its distribution goals, which include 100 million doses by June and up to a billion by the end of 2021.

Driving the news: J&J is already in the process of shipping 3.9 million doses this week, just days after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the one-shot vaccine. Gorsky said he expects vaccines to be administered to Americans "literally within the next 24 to 48 hours."

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Clash of the central bankers

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Bloomberg, Samuel Corum (Stringer)/Getty Images

While Fed chair Jerome Powell is brushing off the seismic rise in government bond yields and a corresponding decline in stock prices, a group of central bankers in the Pacific are starting to take action.

Driving the news: Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament on Friday the BOJ would not allow yields on government debt to continue rising further above the BOJ's 0% target.

Biden expresses support for Amazon workers' union vote in Alabama

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a union vote by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama in a two-minute video posted on Twitter Sunday, though he did not name the tech giant specifically.

Why it matters: A vote by workers at the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union would make the facility the first Amazon warehouse to unionize in the U.S., per NPR. The election will run through March 29.