12 November 2019

The Strange Triumph of Narendra Modi

By Milan Vaishnav 

When India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, ran for the top job five years ago, he campaigned as the country’s best hope for economic reform. The government he ran against, led by the Congress party, had mismanaged the economy, fallen into paralysis, and faced one major corruption scandal after another. Modi convinced voters that he was the answer to their economic woes. He spouted slogans like “minimum government, maximum governance” and promised that the “government has no business to be in business.” On the strength of such promises, he led his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a sweeping general election victory in 2014 and followed that with a landslide reelection in 2019.

Modi has enjoyed remarkable political success in that time. Public opinion surveys show that he is as popular today as he was five years ago. He has created the most powerful, centralized prime ministerial office since that of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi 35 years ago, concentrating many cabinet functions in the hands of close aides. Modi’s party has secured a second straight parliamentary majority and radically expanded its grip on India’s states: today, two-thirds of all state governments rest with the BJP or its allies. If current projections hold, the BJP and its allies could occupy a majority in India’s upper house of parliament—which must confirm major legislation passed in the lower house—by the end of next year.

Why Are Nigerians Illicitly Landing In India’s Northeast From Bangladesh?

By Rajeev Bhattacharyya

As many as twenty three Nigerian citizens have been apprehended during the last couple of months in India’s frontier region of the Northeast for unlawfully crossing the border from Bangladesh.

The foreign nationals were apprehended by police at different places in Meghalaya and Assam after they entered India through a porous stretch in Tripura in the Northeast, which borders Bangladesh.

“We are taking this case very seriously. All ramifications and possibilities are being probed,” Meghalaya police chief R Chandranathan said. The probe has unraveled vital leads, but nothing conclusive so far that would reveal the real purpose of the mission undertaken by the Nigerians.

According to sources in the Meghalaya government, all the Nigerian citizens who were travelling in groups hail from the southern zone of the country, which is Christian dominated. Their travel and itinerary had been fixed by Bangladeshi agents at the Nigerian capital of Lagos who might have also arranged the touts to help them cross the border into India. They arrived in Dhaka through a meandering route via Addis Ababa and Bangkok while one of the groups also landed in Istanbul before proceeding further in the journey.

Is India cyber security ready?

Towards end-October, social media was agog with reports of a cyber attack at Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), on October 29, denied such a development and said both the reactors were running without ‘any operational or safety concerns’.

In a disturbing move, within 24 hours, NPCIL ate its own words and admitted that there indeed was an incident. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), it said, had noticed a malware attack that breached India’s largest nuclear power facility’s administrative network on September 4.

Further investigations had revealed that a user had connected a malware infected personal computer to the administrative network.

NPCIL emphasised that the nuclear plant’s operational systems were separate (in technical parlance this is called an air-gap) and the administrative network was not connected to it. Hence there was nothing to fear.

What the cyber attacks on Kudankulam and Isro show | Analysis

Pukhraj Singh

On September 3, I notified the National Cyber Security Coordinator about network intrusions into the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after being tipped off by a third-party. It was right around the time of Chandrayaan-2’s final descent.

I made a responsible disclosure on social media on October 28, after the technical indicators of the attack started trickling into the cybersecurity community at-large. It seemed that the infection was still prevalent, nearly two months after the notification.

I did, however, post a cryptic tweet on September 7, which hinted at a “casus belli” – an act of war – in Indian cyberspace.

Public attribution of the attack led to the North Korean threat actor Lazarus and its intrusion toolkit DTrack. It is said to have commanded a persistent presence in Indian networks, also linked to the 2016 breach of a debit card database.

How to Get Past the US-China Trade War


CAMBRIDGE – China’s economic rise poses significant political and strategic challenges to the existing global order. The emergence of a new superpower in Asia has inevitably produced geopolitical tensions that some have warned may eventually result in military conflict. Even absent war, the hardening of China’s political regime, amid credible allegations of myriad human-rights abuses, raises difficult questions for the West.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, open societies were triumphant and international cooperation became the dominant creed. Thirty years later, however, nationalism has turned out to be much more powerful and disruptive than internationalism.

Then there is the economics. China has become the world’s top trader, and its increasingly sophisticated manufacturing exports dominate global markets. While China’s international economic role is unlikely to be insulated from political conflict, it is also inconceivable that the West will stop trading with China.


Jared Wilhelm

WASHINGTON — The Chinese People’s Liberation Army shocked the world last November when they activated nearly two million reservists, mobilized the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia, and executed a surprisingly successful cross-strait invasion of Taiwan.

In a marathon day of testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense Barry McDermott revealed how the PLA’s cyber branch used artificial intelligence and the “internet of things” to help Chinese conventional forces achieve strategic military aims far from the conventional battlefield in Taiwan. McDermott told committee members the artificial-intelligence capabilities China employed will force a redefinition of “the battlefield” and must change how the US military trains for future conflict.

“We’d worked for years creating and exercising joint operational plans, but at almost every phase our ops seemed to be out of sync,” McDermott said in his opening statement. “They were in our heads.”

US-China Competition Will Heat up the South China Sea

By Wu Shicun

On June 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense officially released its first “Indo-Pacific Strategy” report. The essence of this strategy is to strengthen the United States’ bilateral alliances and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in economics, security, and maritime affairs in order to build a joint network encompassing South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia.

In terms of strategy, the United States has used the South China Sea issue as a wooing mechanism to force countries inside and outside of the region to take sides with the ultimate goal of building a military alliance against China in the Indo-Pacific region. Tactically, the U.S. has increased its unilateral or joint power deployment operations under the framework of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy.” This practice has not only caused the geopolitical competition triggered by naval military games between China and the United States to become increasingly fierce, but also posed new challenges to maritime security in the region.

The main consideration of the U.S. “Indo-Pacific Strategy” is to prevent the bilateral balance of maritime power from continuing to develop in favor of China. Its tactics are designed to weaken the continually growing influence of China in the vast Indo-Pacific region, including the South China Sea, and to maintain the United States’ overwhelming superiority of strength. Because of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” the future will witness increasingly violent contests between China and the U.S. system of allies and partners. Therefore, the security pattern in the South China Sea region is increasingly evolving into a competition between major countries.

Tibet’s Rivers Will Determine Asia’s Future

By Dechen Palmo

Over the last seven decades, the People’s Republic of China has constructed more than 87,000 dams. Collectively they generate 352.26 GW of power, more than the capacities of Brazil, the United States, and Canada combined. On the other hand, these projects have led to the displacement of over 23 million people.

The Tibetan plateau is a rich repository of indispensable freshwater resources that are shared across Asia. After damming most of its rivers, China is now casting its eyes on the major international rivers flowing out from the Tibetan plateau, heralding a new era of damming Tibet’s rivers.

Tibet, known as the “Water Tower of Asia,” serves as the source of 10 major Asian river systems flowing into 10 countries, including many of the most densely populated nations in the world: China, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan.

China, through its political control over Tibet, has complete upper riparian control over all major rivers flowing out of the Tibetan plateau. Compared to China, Tibet remains a virgin territory with less than 0.6 percent of its hydropower resources being utilized for developmental purposes. But this is changing rapidly. As China seeks to meet its renewable energy targets, Beijing will have to harness yet more hydropower. Chinese hydropower and energy companies have been lobbying the government to allow more hydropower projects to tap into Tibet’s fast-flowing rivers, with as many as 28 proposals awaiting approval.

US Reliance on China Is a ‘Hard Problem’ for AI Efforts, Commission Says


But despite concerns, Eric Schmidt and Bob Work warn that decoupling from China 'will hurt the United States.'

The importance of artificial intelligence to national security is a rare area of consensus between America’s political right and left, and between Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley. But disagreement is emerging around the issue of tech talent and the large number of Chinese students studying in the United States and getting jobs in the tech industry. 

That finding and more were unveiled Monday by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt and former Defense Deputy Secretary Bob Work in a new report for Congress. Since March, their National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has been looking at how the U.S. can retain an edge over China and other AI-seeking rivals. 

The good news out of the report is that policy-makers and defense leaders are addressing the bad news, which is that the United States’s position of tech leadership in AI is dissolving rapidly, said Work and Schmidt. The government still isn’t spending enough on AI research and development, despite some recent increases, and there is too much red tape around the Defense Department, they tell lawmakers. The Defense Department currently has about 600 artificial intelligence projects and is working to unite them under the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. The report applauds many of the military’s small, pathfinding projects but says the department has yet to scale them up successfully. In other words, Schmidt and Work’s key concerns are ones with which most Defense Department leaders and politicians would agree. 

Analysis | The death of Baghdadi isn’t the end of ISIS

by Jenna Jordan

On Oct. 26, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, arguably the most wanted terrorist in the world, detonated a suicide belt to avoid capture by U.S. forces. His death, an important and symbolic event in the fight against the Islamic State, was soon followed by the announcement of a successor last Thursday.

ISIS has suffered significant setbacks over the past two years, losing most of its territorial control, and has returned to its roots as an insurgent organization. Although the group no longer operates as a proto-state governing vast amounts of land, it remains active, with estimates of between 10,000 and 15,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. According to the Global Terrorism Database, ISIS has carried out thousands of attacks since 2014.

Given the recent successes in the fight against ISIS, many analysts and government officials are optimistic that Baghdadi’s death will result in substantial weakening and perhaps the demise of ISIS. Advocates of this view argue that Baghdadi is irreplaceable, given his claim of lineage to the prophet Muhammad, religious credentials and education in Koranic studies, and operational success in creating an Islamic State. Despite this belief in Baghdadi’s authority and legitimacy as a leader of the self-proclaimed caliphate, however, ISIS is not a cult of personality. Baghdadi was successful in institutionalizing essential organizational structures.

A Battle for Supremacy in the Middle East

The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for dominance in the Middle East has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers.

Saudi Arabia has ramped up its regional adventurism since Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful son of King Salman, was appointed crown prince in 2017. And it has cracked down on its opponents, including the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That appears to have had little effect on the crown prince’s increasingly close ties to the Trump administration, though. Determined to undermine the Iranian regime, Washington has pulled out of the nuclear deal with Tehran and used its economic might to block five countries from continuing to purchase Iranian oil.

The Middle East is rife with ongoing conflicts, including a civil war in Yemen that has fueled one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and another in Syria that may finally be reaching a no-less bloody endgame. These conflicts exist on two levels: domestic battles for control of the countries’ futures and proxy wars fueled by the regional powers.

Iran needs no WMDs - Tehran is a world leader at cyber warfare, says report

The alarming assessment is included in Iran’s Networks of Influence in the Middle East, a strategic dossier published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) today.

The document, prepared by IISS director general and chief executive Dr John Chipman and his staff, is the culmination of an 18-month long study based on field work, interviews and analysis examining how Tehran has worked to extend its influence by working with regional partners including Hizbollah in the Lebanon, utilising a system of “asymmetrical warfare”.

Specifically in relation to cyber activities, the report says: “In 2015, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed a Supreme Council for Cyber Space, reportedly a policymaking and supervisory body.

“Between 2009–10 and 2019, and often via non-state proxies such as the Iranian Cyber Army, Iran has invested heavily in developing and using cyber capabilities, for propaganda, intelligence exploitation and disruption.

“This appears to be an attempt to offset its conventional military weakness when compared with Saudi Arabia and the US, with an IRGC general claiming in 2013 that Iran was the ‘fourth biggest cyber power among the world’s cyber armies’.

A Saudi-Brokered Deal Averts Yemen’s War Within a War—for Now

Rachel Furlow

After months of standoffs and halting negotiations, Yemen’s internationally recognized government signed a power-sharing agreement with southern separatists that, as the International Crisis Group put it, “has averted a war within Yemen’s civil war, at least for the time being.” The deal, brokered by Saudi Arabia and signed in Riyadh on Nov. 5, lays out the terms of a cessation of hostilities between President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government and the separatist movement known as the Southern Transitional Council, or STC. Whether the agreement holds—let alone precipitates an end to Yemen’s devastating civil war and a new way forward for its southern movement—depends primarily on if its ambitious reforms can be fully implemented.

The breakthrough seeks to bring an end to armed confrontations in recent months sparked by longstanding tensions between Hadi’s government and the military wing of the Southern Transitional Council. The two groups have found themselves both strategic allies and wary adversaries throughout the course of Yemen’s civil war, a complicated dynamic that is rooted in a longer history of separatism in southern Yemen, which was an independent state until 1990.

Ukraine Needs More Than Lethal Aid From the United States

By Sophie Pinkham

In a 2015 episode of the Ukrainian television program Servant of the People, president-elect Vasyl Holoborodko practices for his inaugural meeting with Angela Merkel. Holoborodko is played by the comic actor Volodymyr Zelensky, who won Ukraine’s real-life presidential election in a landslide last May.

“Shake her hand gently,” Holoborodko’s adviser chides him. “She should dominate. The handshake decides how much aid Germany’s central bank will give us.” Ukraine’s dependence on German and EU goodwill is a given, as is the Ukrainian president’s duty to submit. Such is the lot of one of Europe’s poorest countries.

The real-life Zelensky’s deferential posture now features in an international scandal. In August, a whistleblower reported that President Trump threatened to withhold nearly $400 million in promised military aid until the Ukrainian president delivered dirt on Joe Biden’s supposed corrupt activities in Ukraine. Trump responded by releasing a rough, partial transcript of his call with Zelensky, who was recorded making laughably servile remarks such as, “You are absolutely right. Not only 100 percent, but actually 1000 percent.” He agreed with Trump’s assertion that Merkel had failed to help Ukraine; in fact, Ukraine has received an estimated $16.4 billion in grants and loans from the EU and from European financial institutions over the last five years, and Germany and France are still striving to help bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern regions, which were seized by Russian-backed separatists in 2014.

The New German Question

By Robert Kagan

Many have been lamenting the dark path that Europe and the transatlantic relationship are currently on, but there hasn’t been much discussion of where that path leads. European weakness and division, a strategic “decoupling” from the United States, the fraying of the European Union, “after Europe,” “the end of Europe”—these are the grim scenarios, but there is a comforting vagueness to them. They suggest failed dreams, not nightmares. Yet the failure of the European project, if it occurs, could be a nightmare, and not only for Europe. It will, among other things, bring back what used to be known as “the German question.”

The German question produced the Europe of today, as well as the transatlantic relationship of the past seven-plus decades. Germany’s unification in 1871 created a new nation in the heart of Europe that was too large, too populous, too rich, and too powerful to be effectively balanced by the other European powers, including the United Kingdom. The breakdown of the European balance of power helped produce two world wars and brought more than ten million U.S. soldiers across the Atlantic to fight and die in those wars. Americans and Europeans established NATO after World War II at least as much to settle the German problem as to meet the Soviet challenge, a fact now forgotten by today’s realists—to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down,” as Lord Ismay, the alliance’s first secretary-general, put it. This was also the purpose of the series of integrative European institutions, beginning with the European Steel and Coal Community, that eventually became the European Union. As the diplomat George Kennan put it, some form of European unification was “the only conceivable solution for the problem of Germany’s relation to the rest of Europe,” and that unification could occur only under the umbrella of a U.S. security commitment.

Pentagon claims with a straight face that the US mission in Syria isn’t all about the oil (It is)

Jeff Schogol

Top defense officials tried to convince reporters on Thursday that the U.S. military's mission to protect oil fields in eastern Syria isn't just about the oil.

"The mission is the defeat of ISIS," said Navy Rear Adm. William Byrne, Jr., vice director of the Joint Staff. "The securing of the oil fields is a subordinate task to that mission. The purpose of that task is to deny ISIS the revenues from that oil infrastructure."

Let's back up for a minute. On Oct. 13, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that most U.S. troops were withdrawing from Syria because Turkey's invasion of Kurdish territories had gone further than expected.

Everything changed six days later when President Donald Trump tweeted that the United States had "secured the Oil" in eastern Syria, prompting the U.S. military to deploy Bradley fighting vehicles around Deir ez-Zor.

Trump has tweeted or otherwise commented since then that U.S. troops in Syria are securing the oil fields. For example, the president used the word "oil" 23 times when he announced the death of ISIS founder and former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Oct. 27.


The title above comes from Stacy Liberatore’s November 7, 2019 article in the DailyMail.com. She notes that The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (AI), in a newly published interim report (artificialintellreport), concludes that Russia and China are ahead of the U.S. in utilizing AI in their military operations and equipment. The report urges the Pentagon to “develop AI-powered security and defense technologies; before the U.S. falls victim to increased cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns, and the erosion of privacy and civil liberties.”

The interim report was released on Tuesday, with the final report expected to be out in the spring of 2020.

“We are concerned that America’s role in the world as the leading innovator is threatened,” wrote Commission Chair Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, and Commission Vice Chair and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. “We know strategic competitiors are investing in [AI] research and applications. It is only reasonable to conclude that AI-enabled capabilities could be used to threaten our critical infrastructure, amplify disinformation campaigns, and wage war.”

This is a war Trump can end

By William J. Burns 

William J. Burns is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former deputy secretary of state and author of “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal.”

President Trump’s instinct to end America’s involvement in “endless wars” is sensible. But he has too often acted in ways that fan the flames of war in the Middle East rather than extinguish them.

In Syria, the remarkable operation against Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is undercut by a wider strategic incoherence. By impulsively deciding to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria — uncoordinated with allies and partners, let alone his own commanders and diplomats — Trump has opened the door to further conflict. We’ve boosted the interests of Damascus, Tehran, Moscow and Ankara, as well as exacerbated the local Sunni grievances on which the Islamic State feeds.


The title above comes from Stacy Liberatore’s November 7, 2019 article in the DailyMail.com. She notes that The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (AI), in a newly published interim report (artificialintellreport), concludes that Russia and China are ahead of the U.S. in utilizing AI in their military operations and equipment. The report urges the Pentagon to “develop AI-powered security and defense technologies; before the U.S. falls victim to increased cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns, and the erosion of privacy and civil liberties.”

The interim report was released on Tuesday, with the final report expected to be out in the spring of 2020.

“We are concerned that America’s role in the world as the leading innovator is threatened,” wrote Commission Chair Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, and Commission Vice Chair and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. “We know strategic competitiors are investing in [AI] research and applications. It is only reasonable to conclude that AI-enabled capabilities could be used to threaten our critical infrastructure, amplify disinformation campaigns, and wage war.”

“China, which the report names as the ‘most strategic competitor,’ has declared its mission [strategic intent] to become the world leader in AI by 2020,” Ms. Liberatore wrote. China has pledged to spend $150B from now till 2030, underscoring the importance that China and President Xi have placed on becoming the dominant AI player on the world stage.

America’s Original Identity Politics

By Charles King

“You know what I am?” U.S. President Donald J. Trump said at a rally in October 2018. “I’m a nationalist.” Rich Lowry’s The Case for Nationalism can be seen as a way of working through, and defending, what the president meant. As the editor of National Review, the prominent conservative magazine, Lowry is an intellectual gatekeeper on the American right. He was one of the speakers at the National Conservatism conference in July 2019, an event that brought together such thinkers as J. D. Vance and Patrick Deneen, with keynotes by the billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel and the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, along with a notorious intervention on the perils of immigration by University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax. 

Lowry’s central claim is that Americans are, and have been from their country’s founding, a nation and not a community of universal ideas. Although intellectuals and left-wing pundits are openly hostile to expressions of national sentiment, the United States has a unique national tradition that is today obscured by fissiparous identity politics. If Americans reacquaint themselves with their true national heritage, they will be better equipped to overcome dangerous tribalism, protect their borders, and make their country great again. To the degree that the United States has a global role, it should be as “vindicator of the prerogatives of other democratic nation-states”—in other words, a defender of the idea that a world of culturally defined nations is humanity’s state of nature.

Analyzing Obstacles to Venezuela’s Future

Despite stiff sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and internal civil protests, Nicolas Maduro and his inner circle have resisted the pressures to negotiate an exit. Three internationally-sponsored dialogue processes and two efforts at mediated negotiations within the last five years have failed, with Maduro using the time to intensify his hold on power. Different factors are impeding a transition in Venezuela. This brief investigates challenges and opportunities to help support a transition toward democracy. It describes the possible role of a Track II diplomacy initiative to produce a feasible exit ramp for Maduro—essentially the achievement of significant progress outside of the formal negotiation process. The brief also discusses potential roles for chavistas in today’s struggle and for ‘day after’ challenges, the required elements for a transitional justice process, and the basic conditions necessary for holding free and fair elections to elect a new president.


Amid numerous blackouts, fuel shortages impacting agriculture and food production, and inflation on pace to reach over 10 million percent by the end of 2019, Venezuela’s humanitarian, economic, and political crisis has forced more than 4 million citizens to flee their homeland. That number could surge past 5 million by the end of 2019.

How to build a fairer gig economy in 4 steps

First, that it’s big. In 2019, roughly one-in-10 workers in the UK earns a living in the gig economy. In the US, the equivalent figure is an estimated 8%. Earlier this year, there was a pan-African survey that showed that 1.3% of adult Africans now earn money from gig economy platforms (the online companies that provide the work). All over the world, a lot of people are now working in this realm.

Second, that the jobs being created are not necessarily of good quality. Because of the ways that platform work is organised, the practice seems to lend itself structurally to a number of undesirable outcomes for workers - who can suffer from low pay, wage theft, precariousness, dangerous working conditions and discrimination. When any of these issues arise, platforms simply tend to point to the fact that they aren’t responsible. They tend instead to present themselves as a simple intermediary rather than an entity that has the ability to shape actual on-the-ground working conditions.

Image: Boston Consulting Group

Google Wants More Work from the Defense Department

Source Link

A senior vice president ruled out working directly on weapons programs, but said other areas are fair game.

If you thought that Google was getting out of the national security business, think again. The company’s senior vice president for global affairs said Tuesday that the search giant has Pentagon contracts to work on cybersecurity, business automation, and deepfake detection — and is looking for more. 

“It’s been frustrating,” said Google’s Kent Walker, referring to rising public perceptions that the company is opposed to doing national security work — and to the narrative pushed by some Google rivals, such as Palantir’s Peter Thiel and their allies in Congress, such as Rep. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri.

Speaking at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference, Walker said that Google is “fully engaged in a wide variety of work with different agencies” within the Defense Department. Its work with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center includes cybersecurity, healthcare, and business automation. It is working with DARPA to “ensure the robustness of AI” and “progress the operation of hardware” beyond the expiration of Moore’s Law. 

Lessons (So Far) From WhatsApp v. NSO

By Nicholas Weaver 

NSO Group, an Israeli vendor of “lawful” hacking tools designed to infect a target’s phone with spyware, is regarded by many as a bad actor. The group claims to be shocked when its products are misused, as they have been in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. One incident might be excusable, but the group’s continued enabling of misbehavior has resulted in well-earned enmity. Recently, Facebook struck back.

NSO Group deployed a weaponized exploit for Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger, integrated it into its Pegasus malcode system, and offered it to its customers (a mix of legitimate government agencies and nefarious government actors) interested in hacking WhatsApp users beginning in April. This was a particularly powerful exploit because it required no user interaction and the only sign of the exploit a user might discover would be a series of “missed calls” received on the user’s phone. Facebook patched the vulnerability on May 13, blocking the NSO campaign.

Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record

By Daniel Garisto

In the race to create a quantum computer that can outperform a classical one, a method using particles of light (photons) has taken a promising step forward. Jian-Wei Pan and Chao-Yang Lu, both at the University of Science and Technology of China, and their colleagues improved a quantum computing technique called boson sampling to achieve a record 14 detected photons in its final results. Previous experiments were capped at only five detected photons. The increase in the number of the particles is small, but it amounts to a 6.5-billion-fold gain in “state space,” or the number of ways in which a computer system can be configured. The larger the state space, the less likely a classical computer can perform the same calculation.

The result was reported in a paper posted at the preprint server arXiv.org on October 22 and has yet to be peer-reviewed. But if it is confirmed, it would be an important milestone in the race for quantum-computational supremacy—a fuzzy goalpost defined as the point where quantum computers outpace their best classical counterparts.

Cybersecurity can teach business how to succeed with platform models. Here's how

In the early era of industrial growth, the only option for a successful business was to fully integrate supply chains and human capital. The rise of the use of digital technology in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in radically reduced transaction costs between businesses. Communications between organizations driven by early cyber pioneers became flexible and dynamic – collaboration and outsourcing, rather than ownership, started to become the new normal.

In an era of artificial intelligence, 5G and ubiquitous connectivity, some economists predict that the organizations of the future will be platform models, organizations that have shed ownership and only concentrate on the matching of needs.

Since the turn of the millennium, the cybersecurity industry has been grappling with the most ruthless adopters of platform models: cybercrime networks.
Cybersecurity and platform models

The creation of highly efficient and dynamic systems by criminals to provide malicious services exploiting computer networks and enable fraud has created a global, underground digital economy. For criminals, the advantages of digital networks are obvious: they deliver faster growth, better return on capital and larger profit margins than traditional organized crime activity. As Europol has been documenting since 2011, thousands of criminal online forums, platforms and crimeware service models have proliferated and enabled an explosion of online crime. Criminal markets are the backbone of the cybercrime explosion of the past 20 years.

How the Space Cybersecurity Working Group fosters communication

By: Nathan Strout

In September 2018, the Trump administration added space cybersecurity to the National Cyber Strategy.

Of course, adding space cybersecurity to a strategy document doesn’t automatically make those systems secure from cyberthreats. In the year since that document was adopted, the Space Cybersecurity Working Group has been trying to make the administration’s desire that United States space assets are cybersecure a reality.

“The National Security Council, in very close coordination with the National Space Council, as well as the Office of the vice president, decided to form an inner agency group called the Space Cybersecurity Working Group,” explained Jaisha Wray, cybersecurity director of the National Security Council. “The goals of our working group are to identify and coordinate and prioritize U.S. government efforts to manage cybersecurity risks to space systems.”

As the cybersecurity director of the National Security Council, Wray is in charge of developing international cybersecurity partnerships. Previously she served as the acting deputy director of emerging security challenges at the Department of State, where she helped build space and cyber policies. At the CyberSat19 conference Nov. 7, Wray explained how her Space Cybersecurity Working Group was fostering communications between various organizations to enhance cybersecurity in space.

Here’s how the Army plans to visualize cyberspace

By: Mark Pomerleau   

The Army wants companies to provide a tool for commanders in the tactical space to be able visualize and understand the cyber component to their battlespace. (William B. King/Army)

The Army is kicking off its program for a tactical cyber tool that will allow the commander to not only visualize, but also understand the cyber environment within their battlespace.

Cyber Situational Understanding, or SU, is currently looking for vendors to demonstrate technologies on their own dime, using a variety of realistic test environments to show how they work. Currently, the Army plans to award a contract in March 2020.

The Army is beginning work on how to provide commanders a visual depiction of the invisible domains of warfare.

A new electronic warfare system for the Army is getting closer

By: Mark Pomerleau
Source Link

Work has begun on Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool capability drop 4, the final phase of the first stage of the program. (Raytheon)

The Army is moving into the final phase of bringing its electronic warfare visualization and planning tool to the entire force.

The system is a command-and-control planning capability that allows commanders and soldiers to visualize the potential effects of electronic warfare in the field. It also helps chart courses of action to prevent jammed capabilities.

The Gulf Military Balance in 2019: A Graphic Analysis

The military balance in the Gulf region has become steadily more complex with time. Conventional forces have been been reshaped by massive arms transfers, and changes in major weapons, technology, and virtually every aspect of joint warfare, command and control, sensors, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.

Missile warfare is changing radically as diverse mixes of ballistic and cruise missiles, UAVs and UCAVs, and missiles are deployed. Precision-guided, conventionally armed missiles are becoming a key aspect of regional forces, and so are missile defenses. The threat of nuclear proliferation remains, and at least one state – Iran – is a declared chemical weapons power while the Assad regime in Syria has made repeated use of chemical weapons.

At the same time, asymmetric forces, “proxy” forces, and various forms of military advisory and support missions are playing a growing role in local conflicts and gray area operations. So are local militia and security forces – often divided within a given Gulf state by sect and ethnicity. Terrorist and extremist forces continue to pose serious threats, as do political tensions and upheavals, and the weaknesses and failures of some regional governments to meet the needs of their people.