The news: A hacking group linked to China has spent the last three years targeting human rights organizations, think tanks, news media, and agencies of multiple foreign governments, according to a new report shared exclusively with MIT Technology Review.

Who are they? The hackers, known as RedAlpha, have taken aim at organizations including Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights, Radio Free Asia, the Mercator Institute for China Studies, and other think tanks and government and humanitarian groups around the world. 

Why it matters: The report, from the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, offers new clues about how private contractors and front companies operating with relatively few resources can run long-standing hacking operations and succeed against high-value targets with crude but effective tactics. 

What else?: These new findings show that RedAlpha is still operating with the same simple and inexpensive playbook that it used years ago. In fact, this latest slate of espionage was linked to previous campaigns because the group reused many of the same domains, IP addresses, tactics, malware, and even domain registration information that has been publicly identified by cybersecurity experts for years. Read the full story

—Patrick Howell O’Neill

What to expect when you’re expecting an extra X or Y chromosome

Sex chromosome variations, in which people have a surplus or missing X or Y, occur in as many as one in 400 births, yet the majority of people affected don’t even know they have them. That’s because these conditions can fly under the radar; they’re not life threatening or necessarily even life limiting and don’t often have telltale characteristics that raise red flags. Still, the diagnosis can cause distress.

As more expectant parents opt for noninvasive prenatal testing in hopes of ruling out serious conditions, many of them are surprised to discover instead that their fetus has a far less severe—but far less well-known—condition.

And because so many sex chromosome variations have historically gone undiagnosed, many ob-gyns are not familiar with these conditions, leaving families to navigate the unexpected news on their own. Read the full story.

—Bonnie Rochman



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