4 October 2023

Rapid Military Infrastructure Expansion in Tibet: A Satellite Imagery Analysis


  • China has made substantial investments in the Western Theatre Command, including constructing new airbases and heliports and improving existing infrastructure.
  • Many of these airbases in Tibet and Xinjiang serve dual civilian and military purposes.
  • China's rapid construction pace and utilisation of cutting-edge technology indicate its commitment to maintaining a long-term presence in the region.
  • All military installations aim to be constructed with self-sufficient infrastructure and amenities.
  • This study used high-resolution satellite images to analyse three operational dual-purpose airports and two airbases under construction in Central Tibet. Additional analysis will follow.
Since the confrontations between India and China in both 2017 and 2022, there has been a noticeable strengthening of China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) presence in the strategically important places of Tibet and Xinjiang provinces, which are situated in close proximity to Indian territory. This enhancement has primarily focused on bolstering air defence capabilities and power projection.

China has undertaken significant developments in Western theatre command in these regions, including constructing new airbases and heliports and substantially improving existing infrastructure. These upgrades encompass lengthening runways and enhancing defence systems to ensure heightened operational efficiency.

The Western Theatre Command, one of the five Theatre Commands within the People's Liberation Army, includes Tibet and Xinjiang. Headquartered in Chengdu, this command is tasked with safeguarding China's borders with India and Russia, a challenging mission due to the region's imposing mountainous terrain complicating troop movement. The Western Theatre Command has operational responsibility for the Sion-Indian Border.

Shifting Shadows: Military Radar Dynamics in Tibet


Recent developments have shed light on China's military readiness as tensions rise between China and India on border issues. For the past few years, China has been increasing the deployment of military radars in Tibet, both permanent and mobile installations, to strengthen the first line of defence. In this article, we have studied the satellite-based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery and mapped out the locations of these radar systems on the ground using an open-source tool. We also analysed the radar footprints' spatial and temporal aspects, providing a detailed understanding of China's strategic position in Tibet. These findings are crucial in comprehending the current situation in the region and have potential implications for India’s combat readiness.

Role of the Radar in modern-day Military

In the present era, military systems have increasingly relied on deploying radar installations to achieve critical capabilities in various areas such as surveillance, reconnaissance, target detection, tracking, and situational awareness. These capabilities are essential for adequate defence, intelligence gathering, and strategic decision-making and play an integral role in safeguarding national security interests.

Though there are multiple applications of radar, we have picked some specific ones relevant to the current study as follows:

a. Missile Defence - The significance of early warning radars cannot be overstated when detecting, tracking, and intercepting inbound missiles. These advanced systems are critical in granting vital seconds to react to missile threats and take proactive measures to prevent potential harm or damage.

Indian Navy’s Mq-9b Sea Guardian Purchase Puts Pakistan’s Subs on Notice

Usman Haider

India recently signed an agreement with the U.S. to purchase 31 Mq-9B Sea-Guardian high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) worth $3.07 billion. The deal will profoundly boost the Indian Navy’s airborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities. Of the total 31, the Indian Navy will get 15 UAVs. Once India inducts the Mq-9b shortly, the Indian Navy will become the second in the world, after the US Navy, to operate an airborne anti-submarine triad. Moreover, the acquisition will allow it to search and destroy Pakistan’s conventional attack submarines with greater precision than before.

The Mq-9b is a cutting-edge UAV manufactured by General Atomics, designed to execute various tasks. However, what makes it unique is its capability to hunt and kill enemy submarines effectively . It is the only fixed-wing UAV in the world with the capacity to carry sonobuoys. The capacity to carry sonobuoys as its payload makes Mq-9b a formidable weapon. It is a marine device deployed by maritime planes and helicopters in anti-submarine operations. It has four wing stations that can hold 4 SDS pods, permitting it to carry either 40 ‘A’ size or 80 ‘G’ size sonobuoys.

Mq-9b can analyze data from around 32 sonobuoys, to detect, classify and track underwater systems. The platform demonstrated this capability in a recent exercise conducted by the US Navy known as Integrated Battle Problem in 2021. It provides naval commanders with a low-cost, stand-alone capability, as well as a potent replacement to manned maritime patrol aircraft.

Russia Delivers First Batch Of Uranium For Bangladesh Nuclear Power Plant

Kamran Reza Chowdhury

A Russian cargo flight carrying the initial batch of uranium for Bangladesh’s U.S. $12 billion Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant landed in Dhaka on Friday and was trucked to the facility’s site on the same day.

This was the first delivery from Russia with materials for the power plant since Bangladesh in December prevented a U.S.-sanctioned Russian ship from docking at a local port. A Russian state-owned company is building the plant.

“Uranium has reached the plant – this means that we will very soon get clean nuclear power from Rooppur. This is a big achievement for the country,” A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, chairman of a parliamentary committee on science and technology, told BenarNews.

Mohammad Hossain, a senior official with the energy ministry, told BenarNews that the plant was not expected to generate electricity before 2025, mainly because of a delay in setting up the distribution network.

“Unless the distribution line is finished, we cannot transfer electricity from Rooppur to the national grid,” he said.

The delivery of uranium comes less than a month after a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Dhaka, when both countries agreed to deepen the bilateral relationship.

Not Destined for War


CAMBRIDGE – The great-power competition between the United States and China is a defining feature of the first part of this century, but there is little agreement on how it should be characterized. Some call it an “enduring rivalry” analogous to the one between Germany and Britain prior to the last century’s two world wars. Others worry that America and China are like Sparta (the dominant power) and Athens (the rising power) in the fifth century BC: “destined for war.” The problem, of course, is that a belief in the inevitability of conflict can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Enduring rivalry” itself is a misleading term. Just think of all the phases the Sino-American relationship has gone through since the Communist Party of China (CPC) came to power in 1949. In the 1950s, American and Chinese soldiers were killing each other on the Korean Peninsula. In the 1970s, after US President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China, the two countries cooperated closely to counterbalance the

What Happens If China Collapses?

Brandon Weichert

China’s property market, which accounts for about 30 percent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP), has been in freefall since the collapse of Evergrande Bank in the Fall of 2021. The fallout from that, as well as the disastrous “Zero COVID” policies of President Xi Jinping, has prompted the largest correction of China’s economy in recent history.

There are now serious discussions among China experts that China is collapsing.

Whether the total collapse of China—a truly nightmare scenario—or something less destabilizing occurs, it’s important to understand how a collapsing China could negatively impact the world.

The first thing to remember is that China is a 4,000-year-old country. It has endured countless regime changes before. China has been invaded, colonized, and reconstituted over that period of time. In fact, China was enmeshed in a lawless warlord era for the first few decades of the twentieth century, following the collapse of the Qing Dynasty. Ultimately, Mao Zedong’s Communist Party took power and effectively created a new dynasty.

Xi's article on advancing Chinese modernization to be published

An article on handling major issues properly to advance Chinese modernization by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, will be published on Sunday.

The article by Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will be published in this year's 19th issue of the Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.

Noting that advancing Chinese modernization is a systemic cause, the article urges efforts to take into account various factors, make systemic plans, take steps in a holistic way, and properly handle a series of major relationships.

The article stresses the need to properly address the relationship between top-level design and practice. Top-level design is essential to achieving development goals in different stages and development strategies in different fields of Chinese modernization, while bold explorations are also required in practice to promote Chinese modernization.

With regard to the relationship between strategies and tactics, the article urges efforts to integrate principle-based strategies with flexible tactics.

The article also underlines the relationship between upholding fundamental principles and breaking new ground. The exploration of Chinese modernization is a historical process in which development is made on the basis of past achievements, and new ground is broken on the basis of upholding fundamental principles, it says.

Ukraine’s War of Drones Runs Into an Obstacle: China

Paul Mozur and Valerie Hopkins

Surrounded by rooms filled with stacks of cluster munitions and half-made thermobaric bombs, a soldier from Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade recently worked on the final part of a deadly supply chain that stretches from China’s factories to a basement five miles from the front lines of the war with Russia.

This is where Ukrainian soldiers turn hobbyist drones into combat weapons. At a cluttered desk, the soldier attached a modified battery to a quadcopter so it could fly farther. Pilots would later zip tie a homemade shell to the bottom and crash the gadgets into Russian trenches and tanks, turning the drones into human-guided missiles.

The aerial vehicles have been so effective at combat that most of the drone rotors and airframes that filled the basement workshop would be gone by the end of the week. Finding new supplies has become a full-time job.

“At night we do bombing missions, and during the day we think about how to get new drones,” said Oles Maliarevych, 44, an officer in the 92nd Mechanized Brigade. “This is a constant quest.”

Chinese Spies Infected Dozens of Networks With Thumb Drive Malware

Andy Greenberg

FOR MUCH OF the cybersecurity industry, malware spread via USB drives represents the quaint hacker threat of the past decade—or the one before that. But a group of China-backed spies appears to have figured out that global organizations with staff in developing countries still keep one foot in the technological past, where thumb drives are passed around like business cards and internet cafés are far from extinct. Over the past year, those espionage-focused hackers have exploited this geographic time warp to bring retro USB malware back to dozens of victims’ networks.

At the mWise security conference today, researchers from cybersecurity firm Mandiant revealed that a China-linked hacker group they’re calling UNC53 has managed to hack at least 29 organizations around the world since the beginning of last year using the old-school approach of tricking their staff into plugging malware-infected USB drives into computers on their networks. While those victims span the United States, Europe, and Asia, Mandiant says many of the infections appear to originate from multinational organizations’ Africa-based operations, in countries including Egypt, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, and Madagascar. In some cases, the malware—in fact, several variants of a more than decade-old strain known as Sogu—appears to have traveled via USB stick from shared computers in print shops and internet cafés, indiscriminately infecting computers in a widespread data dragnet.

Mandiant researchers say the campaign represents a surprisingly effective revival of thumb drive-based hacking that has largely been replaced by more modern techniques, like phishing and remote exploitation of software vulnerabilities. “USB infections are back,” says Mandiant researcher Brendan McKeague. “In today’s globally distributed economy, an organization may be headquartered in Europe, but they have remote workers in regions of the world like Africa. In multiple instances, places like Ghana or Zimbabwe were the infection point for these USB-based intrusions.”

Russia Deploys World War II Tactic In Ukraine: ‘Inflatable Tanks’

Maya Carlin

The presence of inflatable main battle tanks in Ukraine has made headlines this week after images of balloon decoys spread on social media. According to reports, a Ukrainian drone operator spotted the Russian army’s 45th Separate Camouflage Engineer Regiment deploying inflatable T-72 tanks along the southern front of the war. Decoy units of the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System and other heavy weaponry were also discovered.

The Kremlin is hoping Kyiv will diminish its ammunition stockpiles by mistaking the decoys for real military equipment. Considering the dismal state of Moscow’s real tank fleet, this strategy appears to be more of a last-ditch effort to safeguard its existing MBTs.

Since the onset of the invasion against Ukraine, Russia is estimated to have lost at least half of its tank arsenal. From its more modern T-90s to Soviet-era T-72s, and T-80s, Moscow’s armored vehicles have struggled to survive against Ukraine’s use of advanced anti-tank weaponry.

The U.S. and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have provided scores of military equipment to aid Kyiv’s defensive efforts. Over the last year and a half, Ukrainian forces have received sophisticated anti-tank systems like the FGM-148 Javelin and HIMARS, which have particularly supported its offensive abilities. Earlier this year, the London-based Institute for Strategic Studies estimated that Russia’s inventory of T-72s has shrunk by 50 percent, while its inventory of T-80s has shrunk by more than two-thirds.

Russian Cyber Attacks in 2023: Shifting Patterns, Goals, and Capacities


The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) and State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP) have just released a report analyzing the evolution of cyber tactics, objectives, and capacities of the Russian government and government-controlled threat groups in the first half of 2023. The report and details here.

From the SSSCIP website announcing the availibiity of the report:

“The SSSCIP has prepared an analytical report – Russia’s Cyber Tactics H1 2023 – in which they “analyzed and explored cyber threats by Russian hacking groups in 2022 and the first half of 2023 as well as shifts in the cybercriminals’ behavior. The report contains information that may be helpful to Ukrainian cybersecurity specialists as well as to…international partners.

Specifically, it will be useful for:
  • Understanding Russian hackers’ motives, capabilities to carry out cyber operations as well as their choice of targets;
  • Anticipating the extent of cyber capacities that may be employed by the enemy in the current and future geopolitical conflicts; and
  • Seeking new tools and methods to counter hostile cyberattacks, etc.
The new trends of 2023 include:
  • Increased focus of the enemy hackers on Ukrainian law enforcement.
  • Intelligence operations aimed at accessing the data…evidence of Russia’s war crimes, collected and submitted materials for trials and prosecution, arrest warrants for suspected agents, etc.
  • Energy and media sectors remain among the major targets of the enemy hackers.

Leaked U.S. strategy on Ukraine sees corruption as the real threat


Biden administration officials are far more worried about corruption in Ukraine than they publicly admit, a confidential U.S. strategy document obtained by POLITICO suggests.

The “sensitive but unclassified” version of the long-term U.S. plan lays out numerous steps Washington is taking to help Kyiv root out malfeasance and otherwise reform an array of Ukrainian sectors. It stresses that corruption could cause Western allies to abandon Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion, and that Kyiv cannot put off the anti-graft effort.

“Perceptions of high-level corruption” the confidential version of the document warns, could “undermine the Ukrainian public’s and foreign leaders’ confidence in the war-time government.”

That’s starker than the analysis available in the little-noticed public version of the 22-page document, which the State Department appears to have posted on its website with no fanfare about a month ago.

The confidential version of the “Integrated Country Strategy” is about three times as long and contains many more details about U.S. objectives in Ukraine, from privatizing its banks to helping more schools teach English to encouraging its military to adopt NATO protocols. Many goals are designed to reduce the corruption that bedevils the country.

Russian power substation hit in latest Ukrainian drone wave attack

A combat drone dropped explosives on an electricity substation in a Russian village near the border with Ukraine, while Russia’s Ministry of Defence reported shooting down more than a dozen Ukrainian drones over the Russian regions of Belgorod, Kursk and Kaluga.

In the Russian village of Belaya, located less than 25km (16 miles) from the border, “a Ukrainian drone dropped two explosive devices on a substation”, Kursk regional governor Roman Starovoyt said on the Telegram messaging app early on Friday.

“One of the transformers caught fire. Five settlements and a hospital were cut off from power supply. Fire crews rushed to the scene,” he said.

“Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Russian authorities said earlier that two Ukrainian drones were destroyed over the neighbouring Belgorod region.

The Defence Ministry in Moscow said the first drone was “thwarted” at about 5pm local time (14:00 GMT) on Thursday. A second drone was brought down about four hours later.

‘All systems need to be hardened’: Officials, industry sound the alarm on quantum threat to encryption


WASHINGTON — Here at only the second-ever Quantum World Congress, there’s excitement in the air about the prospects for everything from picosecond-precise timing to unhackable communications using entangled particles. But a shadow looms on the horizon: the potential for quantum computers to crack the current encryption algorithms that safeguard everything from bank transactions to weapons systems.

“It is important to us to make sure we are investing in both sides — to make sure that we are protecting ourselves [from quantum attacks] while we are also seeking to figure out … how to leverage quantum technology” for America’s own use, said Stacey Dixon, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, in a Q&A with conference attendees. “All systems need to be hardened.”

This is not a problem for the distant future but today, said James Kushmerick, director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is finalizing new “quantum-resistant” encryption standards. “The sooner we get this out,” he told the conference, “the better off we’ll be whenever a cryptographically relevant quantum computer is developed.”

Such an all-conquering computer doesn’t actually exist yet. But there lies the paradox of what’s called quantum-resistant or “post-quantum” encryption: You don’t need a quantum computer to start laying the foundations for a quantum-powered hack — or, fortunately, to start building a defense.

Ukraine war: Cyber-teams fight a high-tech war on front lines

Gordon Corera

Ukraine cyber-operators are being deployed on the front lines of the war, duelling close-up with their Russian counterparts in a new kind of high-tech battle.

"We have people who are directly involved in combat," says Illia Vitiuk, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service's (SBU) cyber department.

Speaking inside the heavily protected SBU headquarters, he explains how his teams mix the skills of hackers and special forces - getting inside Russian systems, working alongside snipers and deploying the latest technologies.

The department uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) visual recognition systems to analyse information gathered from aerial drones (alongside intelligence from human sources, satellites and other technical sources) to provide targets for the military.

"We understand which type of military weapons they are about to use and on what direction," Mr Vitiuk says.

His teams will also hack into surveillance cameras on occupied territory to watch Russian troop movements. And they direct kamikaze drones to take out Russian cameras spying on Ukrainian movements. Doing this often requires teams working undercover, close to the target.

Gen. Mark Milley Warns of Fealty to Dictators, in Exit Speech Aimed at Trump

Gordon Lubold

Army Gen. Mark Milley greeted his sucessor, Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, during a tribute for Milley.

WASHINGTON—Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Pentagon’s top officer, warned in his retirement speech on Friday that military officers must adhere to the Constitution and not bow to political pressures, in what appeared to be thinly-veiled comments about former President Donald Trump.

Retiring Milley warns of ‘wannabe dictator’ in apparent jab at Trump

Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Joint Chiefs chairman who clashed with President Donald Trump but found new footing under President Biden, reiterated in his retirement speech Friday that the U.S. military is loyal to the Constitution above anything or anyone else.

“We don’t take an oath to a king, or a queen, to a tyrant or dictator or wannabe dictator,” Milley said in an apparent reference to Trump. He added that troops did not risk their lives to watch “this great experiment in democracy perish.”

Milley stepped aside Friday as his successor, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., was sworn in to the top military post in front of military personnel at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia on a day filled with ceremonial traditions. That included Milley inspecting the units lined up in a large field at the base, some in Revolutionary War uniforms, a military band playing the national anthem and the presentation of a retirement certificate. Brown will officially take over the post this weekend.

Biden, alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Vice President Harris, praised the general for providing advice that was steady and to the point. Biden also commended him for prioritizing American democracy above all. “When it comes to the Constitution, that is and always has been Mark’s North Star,” Biden said.

Milley’s sometimes-tumultuous four-year tenure as chairman capped a career that spanned more than four decades. His was one of the most consequential and polarizing tenures of any military leader in recent memory. Milley was atop the Pentagon during the Trump administration’s chaotic final months, the Biden administration’s frantic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ongoing effort to aid Ukraine as the Russian invasion draws close to the two-year mark.

In Poland’s ‘J-Town,’ Soldiers Move Arms to Ukraine as Russian Spies Try to Stop Them

Sharon Weinberger

RZESZÓW, Poland—Polish authorities first got wind of a Russian-organized espionage operation targeting a crucial logistics hub for Ukraine’s war from an unexpected source: an inebriated man stumbling along spotted a suspicious camera pointed at railroad tracks not far from the local airport.

Ukraine Situation Report: Russia Has Gained The Most Ground This Year


Despite all the bloodshed, destruction of towns and farmland and the loss of war materiel on both sides, little territory has been gained by either side this year, but Russia achieved the largest net increase in territory, according to The New York Times.

In a sobering graphics-based story, the publication reported that ultimately, "the front line, after months of grueling combat and heavy casualties, remains largely unchanged."

"Less territory changed hands in August than in any other month of the war," the newspaper said, based on its analysis of data from the Institute for the Study of War. While Ukraine made small gains in the south, Russia took slightly more land overall, mostly in the northeast.

Overall, Russia has gained 331 square miles while Ukraine has gained 143 square miles compared with the start of this year. The Russian net gain of 183 square miles is smaller than either New York City or Kyiv.

The bulk of Ukraine's gains in the counteroffensive have come in a salient between the towns of Robotyne and Verbove in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russian forces have been shifting reserves there and mounting fierce counterattacks. Complicating matters for Ukraine is the fact that is has to wade through dense lines of minefields and anti-armor trenches and fortifications. Whether it can achieve further breakthroughs this year before bad weather sets in is still very much an open question.

Army taps DRS, Intelsat for pioneering SATCOM service pilot


WASHINGTON — The Army has contracted DRS Global Solutions and Intelsat for its long-awaited pilot program for acquiring satellite communications services — that is, buying access in the same way that individuals subscribe to a mobile phone plan.

“This is a blanket purchase agreement with an approximate $3.6 million ceiling for each of the two vendors,” Paul Mehney, director of public communications for the Army’s Program Executive Office, Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), told Breaking Defense.

“It will provide commercial SATCOM subscription services, which include SATCOM coverage in different locations, terminals, bandwidth, training if required by the unit and help desk services. The goal of this pilot is to establish a managed subscription service (marketplace) that encompasses SATCOM capabilities that are currently being used in private industry. The ‘marketplace’ in essence entails a contractual vehicle for which funding can be placed to order within the scope capabilities for a period of 12 months,” he explained.

The Satellite Communications (SATCOM) as a Managed Service (SaaMS) pilot is intended to “inform decisions on the Army’s potential use of commercially leased SATCOM network services that would be flexible and tailorable to changing mission needs, versus procuring, fielding, sustaining and modernizing the equipment in house,” the Army said in an announcement today. The actual contract was awarded on Tuesday.

Takshashila Policy Advisory - Regulatory Mechanism for Over-The-Top (OTT) Communication Services and Selective Banning of OTT Services

Bharath Reddy & Rijesh Panicker

A. Issues Related to Regulatory Mechanism for OTT Communication Services

Over-The-Top (OTT) communication services differ significantly from traditional telecom services, and treating them similarly could harm consumer welfare. These services operate globally, and subjecting them to diverse regulations across different regions could hinder their growth and adaptability.

Far from substituting traditional services leading to a loss of revenue, OTT communication services create additional demand for data, which generates revenue for telecom service providers. Furthermore, intense market competition among platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, and Signal leads to continual innovation and improved services. Imposing stringent licensing or regulations on OTT communication services poses challenges in complying with diverse regulations globally, inhibiting innovation and consolidation among players and reducing consumer welfare.

OTT communication platforms are agile and can quickly adapt to market needs, and over-regulation might hinder their ability to serve consumers effectively.

Six Months Ago Elon Musk Called for a Pause on AI. Instead Development Sped Up


SIX MONTHS AGO this week, many prominent AI researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause on development of AI systems more capable than OpenAI’s latest GPT-4 language generator. It argued that AI is advancing so quickly and unpredictably that it could eliminate countless jobs, flood us with disinformation, and—as a wave of panicky headlines reported—destroy humanity. 

This is an edition of WIRED's Fast Forward newsletter, a weekly dispatch from the future by Will Knight, exploring AI advances and other technology set to change our lives.

As you may have noticed, the letter did not result in a pause in AI development, or even a slow down to a more measured pace. Companies have instead accelerated their efforts to build more advanced AI.

Elon Musk, one of the most prominent signatories, didn’t wait long to ignore his own call for a slowdown. In July he announced xAI, a new company he said would seek to go beyond existing AI and compete with OpenAI, Google, and Microsoft. And many Google employees who also signed the open letter have stuck with their company as it prepares to release an AI model called Gemini, which boasts broader capabilities than OpenAI’s GPT-4.

WIRED reached out to more than a dozen signatories of the letter to ask what effect they think it had and whether their alarm about AI has deepened or faded in the past six months. None who respond

Mark Zuckerberg reveals Meta AI chatbot, his answer to ChatGPT


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled his firm’s new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant — Meta AI — his answer to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which will integrate with Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and, eventually, the company’s mixed reality devices.

Speaking at the Meta Connect event on Sept. 27, Zuckerberg explained that Meta AI is powered by the company’s large language model, Llama 2, and has been built in partnership with Microsoft Bing to allow users access to real-time information from the internet.

In addition to answering questions and talking with users, the newly unveiled bot can generate images, leveraging a new image generation tool called Emu that Meta trained on 1.1 billion pieces of data, including photos and captions shared by users on Facebook and Instagram.

Zuckerberg unveils the new Meta AI chatbot at the Connect event. 

Google Cybersecurity Action Team Releases First Cloud Threat Intel Report


Google’s Cybersecurity Action Team was launched in early October of this year, as part of the company’s $10 billion pledge to strengthen cybersecurity, all of which grew out of the launch in August, by CISA Director Jen Easterly, of the CISA JCDC (Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative). Google is a partner company with CISA in the JCDC.

The Cybersecurity Action Team’s efforts begin with Google Cloud. They recently released their first publicly available intelligence offering – Threat Horizons, Cloud Threat Intelligence, November 2021, Issue 1 – a monthly report based on “threat intelligence observations from the Threat Analysis Group (TAG), Google Cloud Security and Trust Center, Google Cloud Threat Intelligence for Chronicle, Trust and Safety, and other internal teams.” The report provides:
  • Actionable intelligence that enables organizations to ensure their cloud environments are best protected against ever-evolving threats; and
  • Threat horizon scanning, trend tracking, and Early Warning announcements about emerging threats requiring immediate action.
At the same time as the launch of the Cybersecurity Action Team initiative by Google, the company announced that CrowdStrike will provide endpoint protection and Palo Alto Networks will provide network protection for Google Cloud customers. The entire cybersecurity initiative is also aligned with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

From the Inaugural Threat Horizons Report

Due to the sheer scale of Google and Google Cloud, the company’s findings and recommendations promise to be best-in-class and the entire report is worth a detailed review. The report begins by reinforcing that cybersecurity fundamentals still matter: “While cloud customers continue to face a variety of threats across applications and infrastructure, many successful attacks are due to poor hygiene and a lack of basic control implementation.”

Swamped with cybersecurity data, NGA hopes ChatGPT-like tools can help


Every second, some 70,000 new data points flow into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s cybersecurity center. Agency officials hope new generative-AI tools can help cyber defenders keep better tabs on it all.

“The amount of data that we are bringing in from a cyber perspective is absolutely astounding,” said Gary Buchanan, NGA’s chief information officer. “And there isn't a workforce large enough to sift through that level of data every day, which is why we really need artificial intelligence and machine learning for our future.”

A typical day delivers 10 to 20 terabytes of data to the agency’s Cybersecurity Operations Center, Buchanan said during an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event on Thursday.

“That's an astronomical volume of data, he said. “Most people are familiar with like a gigabyte of data. A thousand gigabytes makes a terabyte.”

To put it in perspective, one terabyte equals 250,000 photos or 500 hours of high-quality video, he said. Now, multiply that by ten.

And those numbers are only going to increase as the Pentagon accelerates its digital modernization efforts. The agency’s cyber center could soon process petabytes worth of data, Buchanan said.