Daily Drop: (435)
Sunday, March 19, 2023 // (IG): BB // Cyber-Roundup// Coffee for Bob
Huawei has replaced thousands of US-banned parts with Chinese versions
Analyst Comments: Replacement of banned components with domestic versions highlights Huawei's resilience and adaptability in the face of US sanctions. This development may have both tactical and strategic implications, as it could potentially reduce the company's reliance on US components, strengthen China's domestic supply chain, and fuel the growth of the Chinese technology sector. However, challenges remain in manufacturing advanced microchips domestically, which may limit Huawei's ability to fully compete with US counterparts in this area.
FROM THE MEDIA: Huawei, a leading Chinese technology company, has replaced over 13,000 product components banned by the United States with domestically produced versions, according to the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei. Huawei, which supplies telecom gear, smartphones, and other advanced equipment, has faced cybersecurity and espionage concerns, leading to multiple US sanctions. The company has redeveloped more than 4,000 circuit boards and now has a stable supply of domestically produced components. However, Ren acknowledged that China still faces difficulties in manufacturing advanced microchips. Huawei spent $23.8 billion on research and development in the previous year and plans to increase investment in the coming years as profits grow.
READ THE STORY: The News (PK)
Putin’s war in Ukraine through the eyes of a KGB insider
Analyst Comments: Barsky's perspective on Russian intelligence and the invasion of Ukraine highlights potential intelligence failures and the role of propaganda in shaping the public's perception of the conflict. Putin's focus on re-establishing a "great Russia" has strategic implications, as it suggests potential further aggression in the region. However, Barsky also notes that the Russian intelligence services may not be as well-funded or effective as they were during the KGB era, which could limit their ability to anticipate and respond to challenges in the future.
FROM THE MEDIA: Jack Barsky, a former KGB agent who trained alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussed Putin's motives behind the invasion of Ukraine and the workings of the Russian propaganda machine. Barsky believes Putin's main goal is to re-establish a great Russia, fueled by Russian nationalism rather than communist ideology. He also highlights the historical tensions between Ukraine and Russia, which Russian intelligence agencies failed to consider when planning the invasion. Barsky notes that while Putin has support from the majority of the Russian people, he has been using brainwashing tactics similar to those employed by Adolf Hitler. Despite recent setbacks, Barsky thinks Putin will continue his current course in Ukraine and has no immediate plans for military action elsewhere.
READ THE STORY: Ekathimerini
Deepfake ‘news’ videos ramp up misinformation in Venezuela
Analyst Comments: The use of AI-generated media in Venezuela's propaganda and disinformation campaign represents a significant development in the information landscape. The potential for AI-generated media to create convincing false narratives can have tactical and strategic consequences, undermining the credibility of legitimate news sources and potentially destabilizing the social and political environment. Efforts to counter such disinformation will require ongoing monitoring, increased public awareness, and collaboration among technology companies, media organizations, and civil society.
FROM THE MEDIA: Venezuela's government has reportedly been using deep fake technology to spread propaganda and misinformation. AI-generated media, including fake newsreaders and videos, were distributed on outlets such as the "House of News" YouTube channel. YouTube has since suspended five accounts sharing government-aligned misinformation. The deep fake technology used was from Synthesia, a London-based artificial intelligence company. Synthesia has since banned the Venezuelan client from using its service and implemented new restrictions on the use of its technology. Venezuela has faced significant issues related to censorship and access to trustworthy news, which makes it easier for disinformation to thrive.
READ THE STORY: FT
The roots of hunger in Africa go deeper than Russia’s war in Ukraine
Analyst Comments: The African food crisis demonstrates the urgent need for governments to address the core issue of agricultural resource mismanagement and broader economic reforms. Collaboration with the U.S. and other international partners can help develop and implement agricultural technology and improve food security. However, unless African governments address these core issues and create a more competitive and open economic environment, the continent will remain vulnerable to global shocks and future crises.
FROM THE MEDIA: U.S. officials are currently visiting African countries, encouraging them to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and drawing attention to the impact it has on Africa's hunger crisis. Although Russia's actions have certainly worsened food shortages in Africa, the primary cause is rooted in decades of agricultural resource mismanagement and broader economic issues. Over 300 million Africans are facing hunger, and countries like Somalia are experiencing extreme food shortages. Factors such as high oil prices, drought, violent instability, and disrupted global supply chains have intensified the crisis, in addition to reduced wheat exports from Ukraine and Russia. The significant drop in Russia's fertilizer exports has also rendered it unaffordable for numerous African farmers.
READ THE STORY: The Hill
Xi Jinping: Promote the private sector economic and technological development zones
Analyst Comments: China's emphasis on the private sector and its development can help the country achieve economic recovery and resilience against external pressures. Supporting the private sector can create more job opportunities, stimulate innovation, and increase China's technological independence. As China continues to focus on the private sector's growth, it will be better equipped to face external challenges and maintain its position as a global economic power.
FROM THE MEDIA: During the two sessions in 2023, the Chinese government emphasized the importance of supporting the private sector and outlined various measures aimed at improving the welfare of the Chinese people. These measures include reviving the economy, boosting the manufacturing sector, addressing rural unemployment, and implementing economic reforms. China's efforts demonstrate its determination to recover after the pandemic and serve the global community. The private sector plays a significant role in China's development, and President Xi Jinping stresses the importance of the private sector in overcoming economic challenges, including external pressures from countries like the United States.
READ THE STORY: Moderndiplomacy
Two Cyber Crime Gang Members Charged With Federal Data Portal Hack
Analyst Comments: The arrest and charging of two cyber criminals involved in the DEA web portal hack demonstrate that government and law enforcement databases remain vulnerable to cyber attacks. Ensuring the security of sensitive data is essential to protect citizens from cybercrime. By implementing stronger cybersecurity measures and fostering cooperation between various stakeholders, the risk of future attacks can be mitigated.
FROM THE MEDIA: Two men, Nicholas Ceraolo and Sagar Steven Singh, have been arrested for their involvement in the 2022 hack of the Drug Enforcement Agency's web portal. Federal prosecutors accuse the men of using compromised law enforcement passwords and government email accounts to obtain victims' information for blackmail and extortion purposes. Ceraolo is charged with wire fraud and computer crimes and faces up to 20 years in prison, while Singh is charged with computer crimes and faces up to five years in jail. The hackers, part of the cybercriminal group 'ViLE,' gained access to 16 different law enforcement databases containing sensitive information through the DEA portal.
READ THE STORY: PCMAG
What is the best drone defeat technique
Analyst Comments: One method of drone countermeasures involves exploiting unencrypted command streams between the operator and specific drone models to gain complete control of the drone. However, this approach is limited by its reliance on a library of known drone models and protocols, as well as susceptibility to encryption and protocol changes, making it ineffective against swarming drone threats. On the other hand, RF Signal Jamming can be a more effective countermeasure as it disrupts the RF links between the operator and the drone, as well as the drone's satellite navigation system, without relying on signature libraries or reverse engineering, and can neutralize entire drone swarms. Nevertheless, it is important to note that RF Signal Jamming may have unintended collateral effects in certain environments, and its use should be approached with caution.
FROM THE MEDIA: As drone threats continue to rise, counter-drone technologies are developing rapidly. There are several ways to combat rogue drones, including passive detection systems and active defeat methods. Soft-kill defeat techniques, such as RF cyber takeover and RF signal jamming, can disrupt drone communication and navigation. When choosing a counter-drone solution, organizations should consider their threat profile, the strengths and weaknesses of each technique, and the relevant legal and regulatory environment. A vendor-agnostic Command-and-Control (C2) platform can provide flexibility and future-proofing for counter-drone systems.
READ THE STORY: APDR
Satellogic sells Earth-imagery satellites
Analyst Comments: Satellogic's Space Systems product is expected to appeal to customers interested in expanding their space capabilities beyond buying imagery, with its offering of Earth-observation satellites for $10 million or less. The company's fast delivery times and consultation services for customers setting up their assembly, integration, and test facilities provide additional value. Moreover, the lack of US export controls or licensing requirements is expected to be a significant advantage for the company and its customers. Satellogic's business model, which enables the building of high-quality smallsats at scale for relatively low costs, has prompted growing demand, particularly among emerging space programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, leading to the establishment of its Space Systems arm.
FROM THE MEDIA: Satellogic, a South American company specializing in high-resolution multispectral imagery, has launched its new Space Systems product line, offering Earth-observation satellites for $10 million or less. Designed to appeal to customers seeking to establish or expand their space capabilities, the company's dishwasher-sized satellites can be delivered in orbit within three months of ordering. Satellogic is also offering to transfer intellectual property and advise customers on setting up assembly, integration, and testing facilities. The company is not subject to U.S. export controls or licensing requirements, making it an attractive option for space agencies and emerging space programs worldwide. Satellogic operates a constellation of 30 Earth-observation satellites and plans to have over 40 by year-end.
READ THE STORY: SN
GPT-4 from OpenAI shows advances — and moneymaking potential
Analyst Comments: The launch of GPT-4 represents a significant advancement in artificial intelligence and its potential applications, particularly in language processing. Its “human-level” performance on standardized tests highlights its advanced reasoning and parsing abilities, making it proficient at analyzing complex legal contracts for risks. Its ability to accept input in both text and image form and generate and ingest far bigger volumes of text makes it suitable for various industries, including finance, literature, and technical manuals. However, OpenAI’s lack of transparency regarding the technical details of GPT-4 has raised concerns within the AI community. Its ability to provide detailed information on illegal activities and generate hateful and discriminatory speech also poses risks that need to be addressed. Overall, GPT-4’s launch signifies the increasing commercialization of AI technologies and their potential impact on businesses and society.
FROM THE MEDIA: OpenAI, the artificial intelligence (AI) research and development company, has launched its latest language model, GPT-4, to a select number of partners. Unlike previous versions, no technical details have been provided as to the data, computing capacity, or other technical aspects of the model, a situation that has raised concerns in the AI community. It is also believed that the model was developed using more human training than its predecessors. According to OpenAI, GPT-4 can process up to 25,000 words at a time, compared with 3,000 words for ChatGPT, an earlier model. It has also demonstrated an ability to handle complex legal documents and contracts. However, the company also warned that the system may be used for activities such as generating hate speech or offering instructions for the creation of biological weapons.
READ THE STORY: FT
Adapting to the Future: 5 Ways the Electronic Supply Chain Will Evolve in 2023
Analyst Comments: The electronic supply chain in 2023 will be characterized by changes that businesses and governments alike must prepare for. While the promotion of domestic chip manufacturing in several countries presents opportunities for innovation and technological advancement, chip shortages and geopolitical tensions pose significant challenges. Organizations must take a proactive approach to cost and risk analysis, invest in partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers, and adopt a long-term perspective to manage supply chain challenges. As the digitalization of various industries continues, demand for electronics is expected to increase, requiring the industry to become more resilient to disruptions.
FROM THE MEDIA: The electronic supply chain is expected to face both opportunities and challenges in 2023, such as promoting domestic chip manufacturing, geopolitical tensions, chip shortages, and increased demand for electronics. Organizations must be proactive in managing supply chain challenges by investing in partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers, analyzing costs and risks, and adopting a long-term perspective. In addition, the industry must become more resilient to disruptions caused by the digitalization of various industries.
READ THE STORY: Electronics 360
Japan, German Agree to Strengthen Ties, Supply Chain
Analyst Comments: The first round of government consultations between Germany and Japan signifies the two nations' desire to strengthen their economic and defense ties to better cope with China's growing influence and global security concerns. The agreement to strengthen supply chains in strategic areas and deepen economic and national security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region will improve the resilience of their societies against economic coercion and non-market practices. The coordination between the defense ministers will lead to increased joint defense activities, cooperation in defense equipment and technology, and future regional deployments of the German military. Japan's deployment of long-range cruise missiles to strengthen its strike-back capability is a major break from the country's postwar self-defense-only principle. This event is significant in a strategic sense as it strengthens the relationship between Germany and Japan, and provides a counterbalance to China's growing influence in the region.
FROM THE MEDIA: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held government consultations in Tokyo to strengthen economic and defense ties to counter China's growing influence and global security concerns. The leaders agreed to strengthen supply chains in strategic areas and discussed deepening economic and national security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. They also condemned Russia's war on Ukraine, called for nuclear disarmament, and agreed to a legal framework to facilitate increased joint defense activities and cooperation in defense equipment and technology. The two defense ministers agreed to coordinate closely in future regional deployments of the German military and step-up joint exercises. The partnership between Japan and Germany may serve as a model for other nations seeking to strengthen their resilience against China's coercive economic practices and military activities.
READ THE STORY: VOA
Asian century: The creation of new world order and its impacts on existing global economic governance
Analyst Comments: The emergence of the “Asian century” is a significant challenge to the existing global economic governance structures. The rise of China and India, along with other Asian countries, has enabled the region to become a major player in the global economy. The creation of new regional economic organizations and initiatives has facilitated increased economic integration within Asia and has facilitated increased economic ties between Asian countries and the rest of the world. The impact of the “Asian century” on global economic governance is likely to continue in the years ahead, and the successful narrative for the region will be crucial for its success.
FROM THE MEDIA: An “Asian century” is challenging the existing global economic governance structures. The rise of China and India, along with other Asian countries, has enabled the region to become a major player in the global economy. The Beijing Consensus has also been an important alternative to the Washington Consensus, which has been criticized for its inadequacy in addressing the needs of developing countries. The article highlights the challenges to the existing economic governance structures and their West-centric design. The creation of new regional economic organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement have facilitated increased economic ties between Asian countries.
READ THE STORY: Moderndiplomacy
New AI platform will predict ag supply chain disruptions
Analyst Comments: AI has the potential to revolutionize the agricultural industry by providing actionable insights that can improve crop yield, reduce waste, and manage supply chain risks. By analyzing vast amounts of data on weather patterns, soil conditions, and crop growth, AI algorithms can help farmers optimize planting, irrigation, and harvesting practices, leading to more efficient resource use and higher yields. AI can help predict and mitigate the impact of natural disasters and other disruptions on the agricultural supply chain, helping to ensure that food is available to consumers when they need it. By identifying risks to yields and finding alternative suppliers, AI can help mitigate supply chain disruptions caused by climate change, economic shocks, or other factors.
FROM THE MEDIA: Helios Artificial Intelligence, Inc. has launched an open beta platform that uses AI to identify agricultural supply chain disruptions before they occur. The platform offers a one-stop solution for agricultural importers to manage supply chain risks and get ahead of their competitors. With time, the AI will predict supply availability ahead of competitors and find alternative suppliers before they do, using insights from billions of data points. By identifying climate and economic risks to yields, the AI can work with supply chain partners to mitigate these risks before they lead to disruptions. The AI will also provide actionable input into the negotiation process, providing insights to help companies get ahead of their competitors. William Hovis, who previously worked with Coca-Cola, stated that Helios provides companies with actionable insights to help them get ahead of their competitors, preventing missed sales caused by supplier delivery issues.
READ THE STORY: DRGNEWS
Deep fake technology a future affliction
Analyst Comments: Deep fake technology can be used as a political ploy to cause social unrest and is significant on a tactical level as it can manipulate public opinion and create chaos. However, the potential for deep fake technology to be used in criminal malfeasance, and espionage, and to undermine public trust in government institutions is significant on a strategic level as it can threaten national security. The development of deep fake detection technologies and stronger data borders, as well as legislation to prohibit the dissemination of deep fakes in areas that raise political concerns, are necessary to combat this threat.
FROM THE MEDIA: On a busy street in Kuala Lumpur, a deep fake video of the prime minister resigning was broadcasted, causing mass confusion and social unrest. Deep fake technology uses artificial intelligence software that undergoes the process of “deep learning” to produce accurate forgeries of videos and images, allowing the program to depict a subject in a realistic way, even saying or doing things that they never did. The technology has been used to create sexually explicit content, blackmail individuals, and incite geopolitical tensions. However, it could also be used positively in the film and advertisement industries, education, and research. The government must develop a comprehensive strategy to counteract and combat deep fake technology, including stricter legislation and raising awareness of the technology and its detrimental effects.
READ THE STORY: The Sun Daily
Emotet malware is now distributed in Microsoft OneNote files to evade defenses
Analyst Comments: Emotet has been one of the most distributed malware in the past, and the use of Microsoft OneNote attachments is a new tactic that could make it more difficult to detect and prevent. Emotet is a highly dangerous malware that can be used to conduct a range of cyberattacks that could cause significant harm to businesses and individuals. Microsoft OneNote has become a significant malware distribution problem, with multiple campaigns using these attachments. While Microsoft has promised to add improved protections to OneNote against phishing documents, it is not clear when these protections will be available. Windows admins can currently configure group policies to protect against malicious Microsoft OneNote files, either by blocking embedded files altogether or specifying specific file extensions that should be blocked from running. It is recommended that Windows admins utilize these options until Microsoft adds further protections to OneNote.
FROM THE MEDIA: Emotet malware is being distributed using Microsoft OneNote email attachments to bypass Microsoft security restrictions and infect more targets. Historically, Emotet has been distributed through Microsoft Word and Excel attachments containing malicious macros, which would download a DLL that installs the Emotet malware on the device. Once installed, the malware will steal email contacts and content for future spam campaigns and download other payloads that provide initial access to the corporate network. This access can be used for a range of cyberattacks, including ransomware, data theft, cyber espionage, and extortion. After a period of inactivity, Emotet was recently reactivated but the initial campaign was unsuccessful due to Microsoft automatically blocking macros in downloaded Word and Excel documents. However, Emotet has now switched to Microsoft OneNote attachments as they have become a popular method for distributing malware after Microsoft began blocking macros.
READ THE STORY: Bleeping Computer
How war crimes prosecutions work
Analyst Comments: An arrest warrant against Putin marks a significant event in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, the likelihood of Putin being brought to the ICC courtroom seems beyond slim as long as he remains in power in Russia. The ICC's efforts to seek justice for war crimes in Ukraine could affect the diplomatic space for negotiations and weaken Putin at home. It is interesting to note that neither the US nor Russia is a member of the ICC, and while the US supports ICC efforts to seek justice, it opposes joining the court since it could open US service members to allegations of war crimes. The ICC investigation could change the international justice movement's perception of slow and ineffective justice, as it is a test for the court and its chief prosecutor.
FROM THE MEDIA: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova for their alleged involvement in forcibly deporting thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. The ICC has been investigating allegations of war crimes in Ukraine since Russia's invasion of part of the country in 2014. Although Russia rejected the charges, the ICC operates independently and tries people who hold the most responsibility. However, since the ICC does not conduct trials in absentia, Putin would either have to be handed over by Russia or arrested outside of Russia, which seems unlikely as long as Putin is in power. The ICC is a court of "last resort" that tries four types of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, and war crimes. Investigations at the ICC take many years, and only a few convictions have been won.
READ THE STORY: WAPT
History Shows How Russia’s U.S. Reaper Drone Shootdown Ends
Analyst Comments: Downing of a U.S. Reaper drone by Russia is a significant event in terms of its potential implications for U.S.-Russian relations and the use of military force in the region. While it is unlikely to lead to immediate military action, the incident highlights the ongoing tensions between the two countries and raises concerns about the possibility of future confrontations. The U.S. response is likely to be carefully calibrated to avoid escalation, but the incident underscores the need for continued vigilance and strategic planning in the region.
FROM THE MEDIA: The recent downing of a U.S. Reaper drone by Russia has drawn comparisons to several previous incidents involving U.S. aircraft, including the 2019 shootdown of a Global Hawk drone by Iran, the 2001 collision with a Chinese fighter that forced a U.S. EP-3 spy plane to land in Hainan, the 1968 North Korean capture of the USS Pueblo, and the 1962 U.S. U-2 overflights of enemy territory during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In each case, the key questions were: what happened, what did the parties say about where the aircraft was, and how did the United States respond? The U.S. response to the Russian shootdown is expected to include presenting competing narratives and potentially filing a complaint at the United Nations, imposing additional sanctions, and conducting cyber attacks, but not retaliating militarily.
READ THE STORY: National Interest
Items of interest
Pornhub owner sold to Canadian private equity firm Ethical Capital
Analyst Comments: The acquisition of MindGeek by ECP has significant implications for the adult industry and the regulation of pornographic content online. The controversy surrounding MindGeek and the lawsuits against it demonstrate the need for increased regulation and transparency in the industry. The acquisition by ECP may lead to greater transparency and accountability, which could help to prevent the exploitation of minors and illegal content on tube sites. However, it remains to be seen how ECP will manage MindGeek and whether it will be successful in addressing the issues that have plagued the company. The acquisition also highlights the financial potential of the porn industry, with MindGeek reporting revenues of $460mn in 2018 and profit margins nearing 50 percent at times.
FROM THE MEDIA: Ethical Capital Partners, a Canadian private equity firm, has acquired MindGeek, the parent company of the controversial porn site, Pornhub. MindGeek is currently facing lawsuits over explicit videos of minors found on its tube sites and has been criticized for its business model, causing the departure of its top management team and partial loss of access to the Visa and Mastercard payment networks. The company claims to have more than 115mn daily visitors to porn sites such as YouPorn and Brazzers. ECP has not disclosed how much it paid for the acquisition but stated that the previous shareholders no longer have any ownership, right, or control of the company. ECP has complete control of the acquisition and its assets, with the remaining executives of MindGeek continuing to run the company.
READ THE STORY: FT
How China's Spy Balloon Isn't So Unique For Espionage Technology (Video)
FROM THE MEDIA: The video discusses a recent incident where a spy balloon was shot down by the US military, and how it is part of a wider surveillance program that covers several continents. The video highlights that advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) can make old technologies, like surveillance balloons, surprisingly effective. The video also discusses Google's Project Loon, which aimed to provide internet access to rural areas through high altitude balloons, and how AI can be used to analyze large amounts of data from a single location to increase the speed and accuracy of surveillance efforts. The video concludes that the use of new AI techniques on top of old hardware can transform the way that some of these older technologies are viewed and can have strategic military value.
Bin Laden's Hard Drive (Video)
FROM THE MEDIA: The video is about the discovery of Osama bin Laden's hard drives by the Navy SEALs who killed him and what they reveal about him. The hard drives contained over 250 GB of data, including personal communications, propaganda videos, pornography, and his handwritten journal. The documentary examines the contents of the hard drives with the help of experts in various fields, including forensic psychology, Islamic studies, and terrorism. It delves into bin Laden's private life, his family, and the compound he was hiding in. The video explores the contradiction between bin Laden's humble public image and his calculated self-presentation. Ultimately, the documentary concludes that bin Laden was a complex personality and that he will end up as a footnote in history.
These open-source products are reviewed by analysts at InfoDom Securities, providing possible context about current media trends related to the realm of cyber security. The stories selected cover a broad array of cyber threats and are intended to aid readers in framing key publicly discussed threats and overall situational awareness. InfoDom Securities does not endorse any third-party claims made in their original material or related links on their sites; the opinions expressed by third parties are theirs alone. For further questions, please contact InfoDom Securities at email@example.com.