Jun 5, 2018

What Microsoft's GitHub acquisition means for cybersecurity

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Much of the conversation around Microsoft's purchase of computer code repository GitHub revolves around the potential culture clash — a corporate giant buying the keys to a scrappy open source community. But there are some potential consequences in security worth taking a gander at, too.

Why it matters: GitHub is so big in the coding world that no nation with a software industry could ever block it. Some freedom fighters have weaponized that indispensability.

In 2015, the "Great Firewall of China" — the nationwide system China uses to censor the internet — was reconfigured to launch a cyberattack on GitHub. It's widely believed that the attack was a Chinese response to GitHub posting a Chinese translation of the New York Times and a mirror of the anti-Chinese-censorship site GreatFire.org.

  • GitHub also contains the code for components of several internet privacy applications that could not make it into countries like China without them.

Microsoft wouldn't comment on what happens to material hosted on GitHub if a government asked it to filter certain content from its country. Microsoft is more powerful than GitHub on the world stage, but an oppressive government also has a lot more levers it can pull to influence a corporation of Microsoft's size.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

Go deeperArrow10 hours ago - World