The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief


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  FEATURED STORY            

MONDAY, MAY 14, 2018

ZTE BECOMES PAWN IN U.S.-CHINA TRADE BATTLE

In a Sunday morning tweet, President Trump surprised many political observers in saying that his administration would turn to help ZTE “get back into business, fast”. The tweet signalled a stark reversal of fortune for the Chinese telecommunications giant, which only last month was banned by the U.S. Commerce Department from purchasing technology from American companies for seven years.

Analysts say that Trump’s overture paves the way for a high-level Chinese delegation’s arrival in Washington this week for days of talks aimed at averting a costly trade war. The move also looks to ease U.S.-China tensions ahead of Trump’s summit in Singapore next month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (NYT, FT, Reuters, Bloomberg)

  HACKERS                                          

Iran: American and Israeli intelligence officials and security experts say that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement may prompt a surge in retaliatory cyberattacks from Iran. State-sponsored Iranian hackers have the motive and the skill to launch destructive cyberattacks, they say. (NYT)

Tennessee Election: Investigators say that a cyberattack and suspicious activity by foreign computers preceded the crash of a website reporting primary election results. Voting data was not affected, but the outage caused confusion among voters. (AP)


  COURTS                                          

West Point Hacker: A California man believed to have illegally accessed numerous military, government, and business websites, including that of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, was arrested. Billy Ribeiro Anderson faces three counts of computer fraud and up to 21 years in prison if convicted on all charges. (NYT)

Warcraft Hacker: A federal court in California sentenced Calin Mateias of Romania to one year in prison for orchestrating a series of distributed denial of service attacks on the European servers of the World of Warcraft. Mateias pleaded guilty in February to one count of intentional damage to a protected computer. (DOJ)


  ON THE HILL                                    

AI: In its first meaningful engagement with the technology, the Trump administration hosted leaders in artificial intelligence from industry, academia, and government. Attendees described the meeting as positive, if preliminary. (Wired)

FTC: The Federal Trade Commission is expected to appoint Andrew M. Smith, an industry lawyer, to lead the agency’s consumer protection bureau. Smith would have to recuse himself from any investigations involving the many companies he has worked for over the past two years, including Facebook and Uber. (NYT)


  DOD                                                

Cyber Command: A new Integrated Cyber Center and Joint Operations Center, or ICC/JOC, will be U.S. Cyber Command’s first dedicated building, when it becomes operational this August. The hub at Fort Meade, Maryland, will put Cyber Command, NSA, other government organizations and foreign partners together under the same roof. (AP)


  PRIVATE SECTOR                             

Facebook: The social media company has suspended around 200 apps in the first stage of its review into applications that had access to large quantities of user data. The apps are suspended pending an investigation into whether they misused any data. (Reuters)

Driverless Cars: The Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing will soon start testing self-driving vehicles in California. It’s the 53rd company to receive a permit from the state. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley startup Drive.ai will start testing driverless taxis outside of Dallas, Texas, this summer. (FT, NYT)


  THE WORLD                                     

United Kingdom: The academic community is worried that the poaching of the country’s best computer science brains by U.S. companies such as Amazon, Google, and Uber is threatening Britain’s competitiveness in AI and machine learning. (FT)

MUST READS

Should Google Sell AI to the Military?: “Inside a company whose employees largely reflect the liberal sensibilities of the San Francisco Bay Area, the [Project Maven] contract is about as popular as President Donald Trump. Not since 2010, when Google retreated from China after clashing with state censors, has an issue so roiled the rank and file. Almost 4,000 Google employees, out of an Alphabet total of 85,000, signed a letter asking Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai to nix the Project Maven contract and halt all work in ‘the business of war,’” writes Mark Bergen for Bloomberg.

 

Data Protectionism: The Growing Menace to Global Business: “Governments have sharply increased 'data localisation' measures requiring information to be held in servers inside individual countries. The European Centre for International Political Economy, a think-tank, calculates that in the decade to 2016, the number of significant data localisation measures in the world’s large economies nearly tripled from 31 to 84,” writes Alan Beattie in the Financial Times.

When Spies Hack Journalism: “For the most part, the 2016 stories based on the hacked Democratic emails revealed true and important things, including the party leadership’s hostility to Bernie Sanders’s campaign and the texts of Mrs. Clinton’s private speeches, which she had refused to release. The problem was that Russian hackers chose not to deliver to American voters the same inside material from the Trump campaign. The tilt of the coverage was decided in Moscow. By counting on American reporters to follow their usual rules, the Kremlin hacked American journalism,” writes Scott Shane in the New York Times.

 






 

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