• 4. Chinese Firms Secretly Own Leading VPNs

    China’s efforts to implement its persistent surveillance approach outside its borders go beyond helping Huawei to make the company’s 5G technology more competitive, and thus more appealing, to Western and non-Western countries. A recent study found that almost a third (30 percent) of the world’s top virtual private network (VPN) providers are secretly owned by six Chinese companies.

  • ISIS Is Experimenting with This New Blockchain Messaging App

    The Islamic State has discovered blockchain. The technology which powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum promises to revolutionize almost all facets of society, from payment processing to online voting. David Gilbert writes that now ISIS is actively testing a blockchain-based messaging app that could provide everything it needs to thrive: secure, anonymous communication, a tamper-proof repository for beheading videos and other ISIS propaganda, and perhaps most ominously, the ability to transfer cryptocurrency anywhere in the world.

  • Click Here to Kill

    The idea of an online assassination market was advanced long before it was possible to build one, and long before there was anything resembling the dark web. Susan Choi writes that a threshold had been crossed: advances in encryption and cryptocurrency make this dark vision a reality: Journalists at BBC News Russia confirmed that on 12 March 2019, the first known case of a murder being ordered on the dark web and successfully carried out by hired assassins. The FBI and DHS are worried.

  • FDA Details Rising Sales of Antibiotics for Meat Production

    New data released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that the amount of medically important antibiotics sold and distributed for use in food-producing animals rose by 9 percent between 2017 and 2018, after a 3-year decline. “I’m concerned that we’re going in the wrong direction,” says one expert.

  • Telefonica Deutschland Chooses Huawei to Build Its German 5G Network

    Rebuffing U.S. pressure, German mobile provider Telefonica Deutschland announced Wednesday that it has chosen Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei to build its 5G network in Germany, the company. Huawei is a global leader in constructing equipment and infrastructure for ultra-high-speed 5G data networks, but the intelligence services of leading Western countries have argue that Huawei is a security threat because of its close ties with the Chinese military and intelligence establishments. 

  • Global Arms Sales Up 4.6 Percent Worldwide; U.S. Companies Dominate

    Sales of arms and military services by the sector’s largest 100 companies (excluding those in China) totalled $420 billion in 2018, marking an increase of 4.6 percent compared with the previous year. The new data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that sales of arms and military services by companies listed in the Top 100 arms-manufacturing companies have increased by 47 percent since 2002. The database excludes Chinese companies due to the lack of data to make a reliable estimate.

  • The Challenges Facing Fisheries Climate Risk Insurance

    The world’s first “Fisheries Index Insurance” scheme, launched by an international consortium in July, is a sovereign-level instrument designed to protect Caribbean fishing communities from extreme weather events which may become more frequent and intense due to climate change. But insurance schemes with the potential to improve the resilience of global fisheries face a host of future challenges, researchers say.

  • Going After the Good Guys: The Government’s Ransomware Identity Crisis

    Government agencies find it difficult to keep pace with the rapidly evolving cybercrime – especially when it comes to ransomware and malware. Ryan Blanch, a criminal defense attorney who has been involved in myriad cybercrime cases, writes that “sometimes, the government seems to be going after the good guys instead of the bad guys.”

  • Telegram: The Latest Safe Haven for White Supremacists

    Telegram, the online social networking, may not be as popular in the U.S. as Twitter or Facebook, but with more than 200 million users, it has a significant audience. And it is gaining popularity. ADL reports that Telegram has become a popular online gathering place for the international white supremacist community and other extremist groups who have been displaced or banned from more popular sites.

  • Mobile Devices Blur Work and Personal Privacy Increasing Cyber Risks

    Organizations aren’t moving quickly enough to identify cyber security threats linked to the drive toward using personal mobile devices in the workplace, cybersecurity researchers warn. “The breakneck speed of digital transformation brought with it opportunities as well as threats,” one researcher said. “Organizations don’t appear to be keeping up with the pace of change, deliberately putting the brakes on digital transformation because it comes with security challenges.”

  • Two Russians Charged with Series of Hacking, Bank Fraud Offenses, Malware Deployment

    The U.S. Justice Department announced computer hacking and bank fraud charges against Russian national Maksim Yakubets, the alleged leader of a cybercriminal organization that has illicitly earned more than $100 million since 2016. Simultaneously, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against Yakubets and his Evil Corp, which is behind the widespread use of a multifunctional malware package that has harvested online banking credentials from infected computers in more than 40 countries. The Justice Department alleges that Yakubets “also provides direct assistance to the Russian government’s malicious cyberefforts, highlighting the Russian government’s enlistment of cybercriminals for its own malicious purposes.”

  • Weather Is Turning into Big Business. And That Could Be Trouble for the Public.

    This may well be the future of weather forecasting: “Now for your local weather forecast: That’ll be $10, please.” Climate change is inflicting an increasingly heavier costs on the U.S. economy, and those rising costs — along with advances in data-gathering and processing, and cheaper access to low Earth orbit — have spurred start-ups and established companies to get into the business of weather forecasting.

  • Should Santa Use a Drone to Deliver Gifts to Well-Behaved Children?

    Santa has always run a one-sleigh operation, but a new analysis could help him speed deliveries and save energy, if he ever decided to add a drone to his route. The new routing algorithm anticipates the day trucks and drones cooperate to drop packages at your doorstep quickly and efficiently.

  • FCC Bans Use of Federal Funds in Purchases of Chinese Telecom

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on 22 November blocked U.S. telecommunications providers from using an $8.5 billion subsidy fund – the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) — to buy Chinese-made telecommunications gear deemed a national security threat to critical infrastructure. The U.S. said that given Huawei and ZTE’s close relationship and legal obligations to the Chinese government, their gear poses a threat to telecommunications critical infrastructure, as well as to national security.

  • The Case That Could Hand the Future to China

    What would the future look like if China leads 5G technology? We should contemplate this question because, as Mercy Kuo writes, fifth-generation cellular network technology, or 5G, will transform our daily lives with such inventions as autonomous-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and smart cities. If we want to maintain U.S. technology leadership and protect our values, we should be clear-eyed about the perilous consequences that could come with losing our unique lead.”