Welcome to Wednesday’s news overview – this is the place where we keep you up to date on the latest technology updates, cybersecurity news, and more. Here’s what’s going on in the tech world today:

NFT blockchain cryptocurrency NFTs

NFT blockchain is driving a surge in digital art auctions

What’s the difference between the Mona Lisa and a photograph of the Mona Lisa? Understanding the answer to that question, and applying it to digital art has resulted in a boom at art auctions.

An NFT – aka a non-fungible token – is a kind of digital certificate of authenticity; it represents ownership of a piece of digital art. NFTs exists on the blockchain – the same tech underpinning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – and that is how the transactions get logged.

The token is recorded on a digital ledger and can be sold on again, turning NFTs into highly desirable collectibles. Recently, the 250+ year-old auction house Christie’s stepped into the 21st century by opening its first auction of 100% digital work – and patrons went wild. Additionally, just last month an NFT of a 10 year old meme was sold for $580,000 and a video clip of Lebron Jones went for $100,000. Our favourite goth gf, and mother of the inimitable X  AE A-12. Grimes is one of several high profile figures who are making millions thanks to NFT tech. Read more here.

Microsoft cybersecurity China nation state hackers

Microsoft points the finger at China over email cyber-attacks

Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Centre has a bone to pick with China. The tech giant has recently accused a Chinese cyber-espionage group of a hacking campaign against its mail server software.

The series of attacks made use of four previously undetected vulnerabilities that were present within different versions of Microsoft’s software, allowing the hackers to access their target’s email inboxes remotely. The blame has been firmly laid on Hafnium – potentially a state-sponsored group operating out of China.

Is there any proof of this? Not yet, but the tech giant said this hack looked like the work of a “highly skilled and sophisticated actor” and based their conclusion on “observed victimology, tactics and procedures”. This is the 8th time in over a year that Microsoft has publicly accused nation-state sponsored hacking groups of targeting critical institutions. Read more here.

Japanese billionaire Elon Musk SpaceX

A Japanese billionaire is looking for 8 guests for a trip around the moon.

In 2018, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa was named as the 1st private passenger for the upcoming SpaceX flight around the moon. Lucky for us everyday folk, he doesn’t want to travel alone. The billionaire is offering eight people the trip of a lifetime – to accompany him into space, and don’t worry, he’s picking up the bill.

How much does it cost for a quick jaunt around the moon? The sum remains undisclosed, although SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, assured the press it was “a lot of money.” What will it cost you? Absolutely nothing, Maezawa just wants a bit of company.

The billionaire was initially looking for artists to join him on his journey, but has since amended the criteria, on the grounds that everyone can be an artist, as long as they see themselves as one. Fortunately, applicants now only have to meet 2 criteria. According to Maezawa, they should advance “whatever activity” they’re in to “help other people and greater society in some way”, and they need to be “willing to support other crew members who share similar aspirations”, he said.

The dearMoon mission is scheduled for 2023, so you’ve got plenty of time to put in your application. Read more here.

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