This month’s roundup of news from the technology sector includes growth in commercial space tourism; Marriott disputes breach fine; and more.
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Commercial space travel going public
We’re still not at the point of having a Hilton on the moon, but Richard Branson has announced plans to take his space tourism company Virgin Galactic public, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A special purpose acquisition company called Social Capital Hedosophia Holding Corp has already announced plans to spend roughly $800 million to pick up a 49% stake in the company.
Branson’s company is in a literal space race with companies funded by other high-profile investors.
“Virgin Galactic expects that this deal will give it enough capital to fund the business until its spaceships can commercially operate and turn a profit,” the newspaper reports. “It is in a race with companies including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which are also working on ways to send tourists into space.”
French authorities warn of ransomware increase
The French Interior ministry is warning the country is seeing more large companies targeted by ransomware, Bloomberg reports, and authorities are asking more companies to report the attacks.
There are concerns, too, that money isn’t the only goal in the latest wave of attacks.
“We can’t exclude that the aim could be destabilization and spying, not just financial gain,” Colonel Philippe Baudoin, who leads the Interior Ministry office focused on cyber threats, told Bloomberg.
Marriott disputing data breach fine
Marriott International officials have confirmed the plans of the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office to issue a £99.2-million ($123.6 million) fine related to the yearslong breach of Starwood Hotels & Resort Worldwide’s reservation database announced in 2018, according to a news release.
Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson said he believes his company is being unfairly targeted.
“We are disappointed with this notice of intent from the ICO, which we will contest,” he said in the release. “Marriott has been cooperating with the ICO throughout its investigation into the incident, which involved a criminal attack against the Starwood guest reservation database.”
Compiled by Sean McCracken.