6 March 2024

Israel-Gaza briefings: Biden treading carefully through political minefield

Anthony Zurcher

"My national security adviser tells me that we're close," he said.

His words, which the White House has since walked back, landed with a thud for many in the American Palestinian community.

Then on Tuesday night in Michigan, one of the key battlegrounds in November's presidential election, more than 100,000 people in the Democratic primary cast their ballot for "uncommitted" as part of a protest organised by pro-Palestinian groups.

"This is a warning sign," said Lexis Zeidan, one of the organisers, on Tuesday night.

This has been a week in which Mr Biden has been reminded that the turmoil in the Middle East, and the White House's response to it, could translate into electoral peril.

Since the start of the conflict after the 7 October attacks, the president has been caught in a vice, forced to make Middle East policy choices that anger key parts of his coalition.

But the Biden administration is treading carefully when it comes to substantive policy shifts. And despite this week's domestic pressure, the White House has largely remained set on its current course.

At a briefing on Thursday, US State Department Press Secretary Matt Miller said the US continues to give aid to Israel to support the nation's "legitimate right" to protect itself and prevent an attack like 7 October from happening again.

"There is a mistaken belief that the United States is able to dictate to other countries' sovereign decisions," he said. "Israel makes its sovereign decisions - we make clear where we disagree with them."

U.S.-India Defense Innovation Collaboration: Building on a Promising Start


On June 21, 2023, India and the United States launched INDUS-X, or the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem. The primary objective of INDUS-X is to vitalize defense cooperation between the industrial bases of the two countries. In the past as well, a wide array of agreements have been executed between the two governments, and it is therefore worth reflecting on the arc of progress following these initiatives, in particular INDUS-X.

To this end, Carnegie India convened a defense innovation workshop during the Global Technology Summit 2023 in collaboration with FedTech, a venture accelerator firm based in the United States. This essay lays out some key takeaways from the workshop, notes the developments that have taken place in the U.S.-India defense relationship so far, and charts the possible way forward.


Thus far, two key accomplishments have been made under the INDUS-X framework.

The Launch of the DIU-iDEX Joint Challenges

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which is tasked with accelerating the adoption of commercial technology throughout the U.S. military, and Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) under the Indian Ministry of Defence jointly announced the launch of two challenges under INDUS-X in September 2023. The first dealt with the domain of maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and focused on oil spill detection and tracking technologies. The second challenge pertained to the realm of underwater communication, with a specific focus on technologies that can support high-bandwidth communication under water.

To see India’s future, go south

Most people know that India is a rising economic power. It is already the world’s fifth-largest economy and is growing faster than any big rival, with a turbocharged stockmarket that is the fourth-largest of any country’s. It is also common knowledge that India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is its most powerful in decades and that, as well as economic development, his agenda includes a Hindu-first populism that can veer into chauvinism and authoritarianism. Less well known is that these competing trends of development and identity politics are together fuelling a striking third trend: a growing north-south split.

The wealthy south is where you will find the slick new India, with its startups, it campuses and gleaming iPhone-assembly plants. Yet Mr Modi’s party gets a low share of its votes from there and relies on the poorer, more populous, rural, Hindi-speaking north. This north-south divide will be a defining issue in the election in April and May, in which Mr Modi is expected to win a third term. How the split is managed in the long run is of critical importance to India’s prospects. In one alarming scenario, it could create a constitutional crisis and fracture India’s single market. In a more benign future, resolving this divide could moderate India’s harsh identity politics.

Don’t fight wars of tomorrow with weapons of yesterday. Armies must prepare for future battles


The character of war has, is, and will always be in a state of flux. From swords and shields to ballistic and anti-ballistic missile defence systems, the development of newer and newer ways to prosecute wars is a never-ending cycle. Armies, therefore, have to crystal gaze to anticipate the contours of the future battlefield and develop systems to meet next-generation challenges. Failure to do so will mean fighting the wars of tomorrow with the weapons of yesterday.

Donald Rumsfeld, the United States’ former Secretary of Defense, had once said: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Yet, this is precisely what armies around the world must do – anticipate during peacetime, rather than improvise during war or war-like conditions.

Envisioning futuristic battlefield scenarios must factor in existing and emerging technologies and how these might be weaponised, thereby impacting the future battlefield. This would, in turn, lead to the formulation of new doctrines based on the exploitation of these weapons systems. The development of the tank, for example, led to the concept of blitzkrieg, first used by the Germans during World War II. The army that can field a better future-ready system is more likely to prevail.

Prepare for wars of the future

The Indian Army’s Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) and Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programmes for replacing its ageing fleet of tanks and personnel carriers respectively, are just two examples of wanting to fight with the weapons “you wish you had”. The Armed Forces, though, are often accused of wanting the moon when floating proposals for modern weapons systems. It may seem so now, but perhaps not when you factor in the detail that the systems on the drawing board today will be the same ones in use 30 or 40 years from now. God only knows what the prevailing battlefield milieu will be then. If a system were to be developed based on what is available today, it would already be obsolete by the time it enters service.

Royal Navy combine with Japanese forces to battle cyber attacks

Royal Navy specialists joined forces with Japanese counterparts in Tokyo to fend off cyber-attacks during a large-scale cyber battle exercise.

Forty-one teams from 17 nations tested their cyber defence skills during the British Army’s Defence Cyber Marvel 3 exercise in Estonia, but with an international network plugging in from across three continents.

The Royal Navy’s cyber operations specialists based in Portsmouth are usually on the front line across the world, protecting ships and bases from threats around the clock, but were deployed to Tokyo for this valuable exercise.

They worked closely with Ukrainian teams in 2023 while in Tallinn, but this year – for the first time – formed a joint team with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force’s Communication Security Group.

The 22-strong team – 12 RN and 10 JMSDF – were tasked with protecting an island in the Indo-Pacific facing aggressive cyber-attacks from a ‘hostile’ nation state.

The cyber battle – which increased in its complexity throughout – helped forge closer bonds and understanding between Japanese and British personnel as they prepare to work with each other next year as the UK deploys its Carrier Strike Group to the region.

These skills are highly valuable given the ever-evolving attacks by hackers seen across the globe on a daily basis.

The team battled attacks on national infrastructure amid an ongoing insurgency in this mock island state.

Lieutenant Commander Paul Adkins, in charge of the RN team, said: “Our participation in the exercise with the Communications Support Group based in Tokyo represents a culmination of activity that only came into being last year; but has already cemented an enduring relationship with our friends in the JMSDF.

China data leak spotlights cyber-spying across Southeast Asia


Hackers at a Chinese state-linked security contractor targeted government agencies across Southeast Asia for years, a major document leak shows, revealing rare details of cyberespionage in countries where Beijing has strong political and economic ties.

The hacks -- which appear to have penetrated state systems in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia, as well as private companies -- add to a long pattern of Chinese actors attacking smaller, more vulnerable neighbors to keep tabs on hot-button issues and glean information about Western tech companies operating in the region, experts said.

Piercing the Veil of Secrecy: The Surveillance Role of China’s MSS and MPS

China has two security services responsible for domestic surveillance. The “political security protection” bureau of the Ministry of Public Security and its local equivalents perform most of the duties of domestic political spying. The Ministry of State Security and its local outfits play a largely secondary role in domestic political spying, with a remit to target individuals suspected of external connections or being ethnic minorities. Not much is known about the organization, size, and operational tactics of these two secret police services due to the secrecy surrounding them. This analysis uses open-source materials to construct a basic profile of their organizational structure, missions, and activities.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of recent attention to China’s hi-tech surveillance apparatus is the widespread impression that the Chinese party-state relies mostly on fancy technologies, such as video-cameras, facial recognition, big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence, to track the movements and activities of ordinary Chinese people and to spy on suspected enemies. It is easy to understand why so much of the spotlight has been focused on China’s adoption of advanced surveillance technology. Journalists and researchers can readily find evidence of a techno-totalitarian dystopia. Surveillance cameras on Chinese streets and at other public venues are difficult to miss. Government procurement records of surveillance equipment are often available to resourceful internet sleuths. In a few instances, obliging local police officers even have allowed Western journalists to evaluate the potency of their spying gears.[1]

What most journalist accounts and research reports on the Chinese surveillance state miss is the role of the security bureaucracies – specifically the Ministry of State Security (MSS) and the domestic security units of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) – in domestic political spying. Although the use of surveillance technologies evidently has enhanced the Chinese party-state’s capabilities to maintain political repression, it is also clear that even the most advanced spying technologies have limited reach and coverage. Subjects under surveillance can take easy evasive measures, such as wearing masks and hoods, (as some did during the anti-lockdown protests in November 2022), turning off mobile phones or wrapping them in aluminum foil to make them harder to detect, and simply speaking in hushed voices or turning on the television to thwart listening devices.

The drums of US-China cyber war

Stephen S. Roach

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently upped the ante in America’s anti-China campaign. In congressional testimony on January 31, he sounded the alarm over intensified Chinese hacking activity and warned that US infrastructure – telecommunications, energy, transportation, and water – is acutely vulnerable to the Chinese state-sponsored hacker group Volt Typhoon. Front-page coverage by the New York Times added to the sense of urgency.

A few days after Wray’s testimony, a joint report from the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the National Security Agency (NSA) provided detailed documentation of the Volt Typhoon threat. More front-page coverage by the Times duly followed. And then came the outage of a major cellular network on February 22. Suddenly, cyber fears have taken on a life of their own.

Largely ignored in this frenzy is an important conditionality to Wray’s warning. China, he alleged, was “prepositioning” for future conflict. That is not the same as Russian President Vladimir Putin massing troops on Ukraine’s border in late 2021 and early 2022. In Wray’s words, Volt Typhoon could be expected to attack US critical infrastructure, “If or when China decides the time has come to strike” (my emphasis).

Thus, the FBI, in concurrence with CISA and the NSA, is basing its very public alarm purely on conjecture about China’s future intent, not on any concrete information of an imminent cyberattack. Far be it for me to doubt the veracity of the US intelligence community’s evidence on Volt Typhoon; I would merely point out that this is circumstantial evidence that has revealed absolutely nothing about the likelihood of action. For those who remember the dire, but erroneous, warnings about Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, which the United States used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, this is no small concern.

Houthi fight extracts heavy cost from Pentagon


More than two months of direct fighting with the Houthis has heavily taxed the U.S. military, which is spending a significant amount of money to take down cheap drones, launch retaliatory strikes and defend against rebels who are, in turn, shooting down pricey American drones.

In most cases, the U.S. is launching $2 million defense missiles to stop $2,000 Houthi drones, a discrepancy that the Yemeni rebel group has noted in its statements mocking Washington.

The cost of taking on the Houthis is also becoming more apparent as the defiant fighters show no signs of stopping and could lock the U.S. into a long conflict — and it’s throwing the world into a tough spot.

“North Yemen is becoming like North Korea when it comes to firing rockets over the seas,” said Mohammed al-Basha, a Yemen and Middle East expert at Navanti Group. “It’s going to be a long-term issue for not just us, but for the world.”

Since late November, the Houthis have attacked commercial boats and U.S. ships dozens of times, with most of the attacks unsuccessful, as the U.S. shoots down drones or anti-ship cruise missiles on a near-daily basis.

But they successfully hijacked a ship in November, set a ship on fire in January and sunk a British cargo vessel.

To date, the Houthis have hit 15 commercial ships since the fighting between Israel and Hamas began in October, with four of those ships being U.S. vessels, according to Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Pete Nguyen.

The U.S. in December set up a task force called Operation Prosperity Guardian, which involves a coalition of other allied nations, to patrol the waters of the Red Sea and defend commercial shipping against the Houthis. In January, the U.S. began launching strikes on the Houthis with the U.K., and both nations have continued to target the group in Yemen to knock out military capabilities before they can be used in attacks.

5 Ways the Age of the Aircraft Carrier Could End Forever

Robert Farley

Summary: Threats to the era of aircraft carriers dominating other weapons platforms are multiplying fast. Submarines, now joined by autonomous undersea vehicles, remain significant threats, while cyberattacks and UAVs could disable or destroy aircraft carriers by exploiting digital vulnerabilities and overwhelming defenses. Hypersonic weapons and orbital bombardments offer new, nearly indefensible attack vectors due to their speed and unexpected trajectories. Despite these threats, it is an open question whether the aircraft carrier can adapt and continue its role in geopolitical influence.

We know how to kill aircraft carriers—or at least we know how best to try to kill aircraft carriers. Submarine-launched torpedoes, cruise missiles fired from a variety of platforms and ballistic missiles can all give an aircraft carrier a very bad day. Of course, modern carriers have ways of defending themselves from all of these avenues of attack, and we don’t yet have any good evidence of the real balance between offensive and defensive systems.

But what of the future? How will we plan to kill carriers thirty years from now? Here are five problems that the next generation of aircraft-carrier architects will need to worry about.

Undersea Unmanned Vehicles

Submarines have long posed the deadliest threat to aircraft carriers. In World War II, every major carrier fleet suffered losses to submarines; in the Cold War, the U.S. Navy viewed Soviet subs as a critical problem. Against modern antisubmarine warfare capabilities, the biggest difficulties faced by a submarine involve finding a carrier, then getting into firing position (with either missiles or torpedoes) before the carrier’s aircraft and escorts can detect and kill the sub. If the boat’s commander isn’t suicidal, finding a potential avenue for escape is also an issue.

A Silent World War – Russia’s Cyberwar Against the West

Leo Chiu

The war with Russia might have already reached the West.

A report prepared by the Henry Jackson Society, a UK-based think tank, on cybersecurity for the UK Parliament has highlighted past and ongoing Russian cyberattacks against targets in Ukraine and the West, including critical infrastructure, with real-world consequences reaching far beyond cyberspace.

David Kirichenko, the report’s author, described the Russo-Ukrainian war as the “first all-out cyber war between two nation-states” where Moscow has continued to incorporate cyberattacks with physical strikes, and he emphasized the importance for the West to assist Ukraine and learn from the experience to prepare for future Russian incursions.

“The West must reframe its thinking about how it supports Ukraine and helps to improve Ukraine’s capabilities to conduct a larger cyber offensive against Russia in support of its battlefield objectives.

“Russia’s cyber war against Ukraine and the West is part of its wider campaign to prevail on the physical front and destroy Ukraine before moving further West. Keeping Ukraine alive in the fight and supporting its defense won’t bring victory and peace, but giving Ukraine the abilities and means to win on the digital and physical fronts will protect the Western world,” reads the report.

Collateral Financial Damage to the West

In the report, Kirichenko said cyberattacks against Ukraine could – and had in the past – spill over to the West with real-world consequences, citing the infamous NotPetya attack that took place on Ukraine’s Constitution Day in 2017.

Tariq Ahmad, UK Minister for Cybersecurity at the Foreign Office, said the attack also cost European organizations hundreds of millions of pounds.

Conflict in the Age of Fractured Publics

Timothy R. Heath

As the United States finds itself sliding into conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, commentators have invoked the specter of a “Third World War.” The confrontation between the United States and its rivals China, Russia, and Iran has undoubtedly intensified, and the possibility of a broader conflagration cannot be discounted. Nevertheless, real great power conflict is unlikely to resemble the world wars of the twentieth century. The weakness of the participating states stands out as perhaps the defining feature of the current contest. Incapable of carrying out large-scale popular and economic mobilizations, the principal rivals may have little choice but to rely primarily on proxy, information, political, and economic warfare while avoiding large-scale conventional combat.

Although the U.S. economic advantage over all other countries remains undisputed, its political weaknesses have worsened. Polls show that trust in the federal government remains at historic lows, with about 15 percent expressing confidence in the government to “do what is right most of the time.” Acute partisanship has further eroded the president’s ability to act. No crisis in the past two decades has rallied public opinion around the president. Instead, each crisis has merely provided fodder for political factions to rally supporters and lambaste their rivals. The COVID-19 virus killed over a million Americans, for example, yet the pandemic did not draw the country together. Instead, it became another occasion for mutual recrimination and partisan bickering.

China, Russia, and Iran also exhibit equally severe signs of domestic weakness. To bolster flagging support, China’s government relies on relentless repression and indoctrination. Despite these efforts, public support hovers around 50-70 percent and is likely falling as the economy decelerates, prospects dim, and problems of corruption and malfeasance persist. With a shrinking population and mismanaged economy, Russia faces a grim future. Many have voted with their feet, with a million people having fled the country since the war against Ukraine began. Iran’s government remains deeply unpopular and has resorted to brutal violence to suppress waves of popular protests.

Europe’s Farmer Protests Are Part of a Bigger Problem

Christina Lu

After months of protests by outraged farmers in cities across the continent, European lawmakers are struggling with how to quell the anger sparked in part by new green agricultural regulations.

Germany accuses Russia of waging an ‘information war’ after alleged military leak

Germany’s defence minister has accused Russia of conducting an “information war” aimed at creating divisions within the country, in his first comments after the publication of an audio recording of a meeting of senior German military officials.

Russian media on Friday published a 38-minute recording of a call in which German officers were heard discussing weapons for Ukraine and a potential strike by Kyiv on a bridge in Crimea, prompting officials in Moscow to demand an explanation.

On Saturday, Germany called it an apparent act of eavesdropping and said it was investigating.

“The incident is much more than just the interception and publication of a conversation … It is part of an information war that Putin is waging,” defence minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday.

“It is a hybrid disinformation attack. It is about division. It is about undermining our unity.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations of spreading false or misleading information when faced with allegations from other countries. On Friday, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said the country was demanding an “explanation from Germany,” without detailing its particular concerns.

JAS-39 Gripens Train With US Bombers In ‘Russia’s Backyard’ As Sweden Set To Boost NATO’s Might

Sakshi Tiwari

Shortly after Hungary removed the final obstacle preventing Sweden from joining NATO and confirming the latter’s ticket to the European security alliance, Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets teamed up with US B-1 Lancer bombers on February 26 to train against an array of threats in Russia’s backyard.

The US Air Force announced in a press release that two B-1 Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force Base teamed up with Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighters on February 26 -27 in the Arctic and Baltic Sea In preparation for the surface assault, air interdiction, and close air support scenarios.

The mission, Vanguard Adler, was carried out as a component of Bomber Task Force 24-2. The goal was to combine American bombers with Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighters and combined terminal attack controllers that operated in the Baltic and Arctic.

The release said, “The capability to generate sorties from locations like Luleå is a key focus area for US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa. Through Vanguard Adler, BTF 24-2 sought to exercise the ability to quickly integrate forces and equipment at Allied and partner locations.” All training objectives were met, according to officials.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Jamison, 37th Bomb Squadron, director of operations and leader of Bomber Task Force 24-2, said in the release: “This timely opportunity for our crews to exercise our collective defense capabilities … in the Arctic region is incredible.”

“It demonstrates our ironclad commitment to our partners and allies, demonstrates our expansive reach, and sends a strong deterrent message to potential adversaries,” he added.

On February 23, B-1 Lancers arrived at Luleå-Kallax Air Base after taking off from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, U.S.A. Aiming to “build partnerships and increase readiness,” this was also the first multi-day deployment of American bomber aircraft to Sweden as part of the Air Force’s BTF mission.

The Coming Storm of Autonomous War Robots and the West’s Dangerous Phobias

Dr. Konstantinos Grivas

The war in Ukraine has shattered notions of “traditional” military power, yet many armed forces around the globe insist on remaining stubbornly attached to antiquated military technologies and methodologies. This blindness to an unprecedented new military reality is not unique in human history. It has occurred before, sometimes with dramatic consequences.

The belief that new military technologies and methodologies will permanently and irrevocably replace the old, and therefore never need updating or superseding, is wrong. Moreover, in some cases there is not just stagnation but a deliberate bucking of the historical current. This can arise out of a desire to maintain a social, political and military status quo so the privileges of various elites are not affected – but it can also occur simply because a society’s obsessions and phobias prevent its acceptance of the new reality. This was the case of the Mukluks in Egypt, but the most typical case was the ban on firearms in Japan.

A massive ban on firearms was imposed in Japan at the beginning of the seventeenth century. This was done because firearms undermined the sovereignty of the central government and the prominent role of the samurais in the country’s social structure. Samurais derived their social and political status from their fighting skills with melee weapons – skills they spent their whole lives acquiring. Firearms, by contrast, gave any peasant, after only a short period of training, the ability to kill a samurai with ease. The new weapons thus threatened the country’s social and political establishment.

Other factors also played a role in the prohibition of firearms at that time. The sword had an aesthetic grace and a symbolic function compared to what was perceived as the ungainly appearance of firearms. Firearms required clumsy and ugly movements to wield, in contrast to the elegant and harmonious movements required by the sword and spear. Eastern forms of warfare depended heavily on hereditary traditions that were entirely absent in the case of firearms. Also, there was a strong reaction against foreign influences during the seventeenth century, and firearms were considered by the Japanese to be just such an unwelcome intrusion.


LTC Amos C. Fox


The Russo-Ukrainian War is passing into its third year. In the period leading up to this point in the conflict, the defense and security studies community has been awash with arguments stating that the war is a stalemate. Perhaps the most compelling argument comes from General Valery Zaluzhny, former commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, who stated as much in an interview with the Economist in November 2023.1 Meanwhile, there are others, including noted analyst Jack Watling, who emphatically state the opposite.2

Nonetheless, two years in, it is useful to objectively examine the conflict’s strategic balance. Some basic questions guide the examination, such as: is Ukraine winning, or is Russia winning? What does Ukraine need to defeat Russia, and conversely, what does Russia need to win in Ukraine? Moreover, aside from identifying who is winning or losing the conflict, it is important to identify salient trends that are germane not just within the context of the Russo-Ukrainian War, but that are applicable throughout the defense and security studies communities.

This article addresses these questions through the use of the ends-ways-means-risk heuristic. In doing so, it examines Russia and Ukraine’s current strategic dispositions, and not what they were in February 2022, nor what we might want them to be. Viewing the conflict through the lens of preference and aspiration causes any analyst to misread the strategic situation. The goal of this article, however, is to take a sobering look at the realities of the conflict, offer an assessment of the situation, and posit where the conflict is likely to go in 2024.

The overall conclusion is that Russia is winning the conflict. Russia is winning because it possesses its minimally acceptable outcome: the possession of the Donbas, of the land bridge to Crimea, and of Crimea itself. This victory condition, however, is dependent upon Ukraine’s inability to generate a force sufficient to a) defeat Russia’s forces in each of those discrete pieces of territory; b) retake control of that territory; and c) hold that territory against subsequent Russian counterattacks. No amount of precision strike, long-range fires or drone attacks can compensate for the lack of land forces Ukraine needs to defeat Russia’s army and then take and hold all that terrain. Thus, without an influx of resources for the Ukrainian armed forces—to include a significant increase in land forces—Russia will likely prevail in the conflict. If U.S. support to Ukraine remains frozen, as it is at the time of this writing, then Russian victory in 2024 is a real possibility.

Jamestown FoundationChina Brief, February 16, 2024, v. 24, no. 4

Special Issue: Taiwanese Voices On The 2024 Elections

Civil Society Defense Initiatives

Seeds of the Sunflower Movement

KMT Bottom Lines Following The 2024 Election

TikTok: An Expanding Front in Cognitive Warfare

KMT Appeal To The Younger Generation

Analyzing Taiwan-PRC Relations in 2024 from the Perspective of PRC Internal Affairs and Xi Jinping’s Mode of Governance

Fortifying Taiwan: Security Challenges in the Indo-Pacific Era

Electronic Weapons: Electronic Weapons: Russian Botnets on the Offensive

March 2, 2024: For over a decade Ukraine has been subject to an ominously large amount of Russian network reconnaissance of Ukrainian networks and growing Russian Cyber War attacks. None of this was a major news story and that was typical for the massive Cyber War campaign Russia has carried out against Ukraine in 2022. In 2023 Russian hackers attacked American internet users by quietly infiltrating hundreds of routers belonging to home and small business users and installing botnet malware. This is software that carries out illegal tasks. In this case the Russian malware was called Moobot, which was created by Russian gangsters who specialize in hacking to make money.

This particular hacking mission was carried out by the Russian GRU, which is the foreign military intelligence agency of the Russian military. This operation was carried out by GRU Military Unit 26165 to carry out espionage on Ukraine and sabotage of Ukrainian and other foreign networks. In this case the US FBI became aware of the GRU attack in 2024 and used its own malware to delete Moobot malware the GRU had installed on American routers and restore these routers to their pre-GRU attack status. The FBI also installed software that would prevent the GRU from reinstalling Moobot. The FBI has been dealing with attacks by other Russian hacker groups as well as Chinese hackers working for the Chinese government and Chinese gangsters.

Russia has always been considered a major Cyber War threat. Since the 1990s Russian Internet based espionage has been very active and effective. That led to fears of a Cyber Pearl Harbor. Russia had hoped for such a daring and damaging attack on Ukraine but was disappointed because Ukraine had looked for and noticed the Russian preparations. Before and after the first Russian attack in 2014, Ukraine had been receiving more military aid and assistance from NATO countries. Ukraine and NATO Cyber War experts agreed that an international effort, including the major American providers of Internet infrastructure and services had to be involved. This meant Amazon, Cloudflare, Google, Microsoft and several smaller but essential Internet services or security firms had to be involved.

It is not known for sure if Russia was aware that this international coalition of Internet infrastructure and services was involved with defending Ukraine. This organization came to be known as Cyber NATO because most of the major resources came from NATO nations.

Smoke, Mirrors, and Self-Attribution: Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Service in Cyberspace

Stefan Soesanto

Hacktivist and Cybercriminals alike regularly self-attribute the cyber operations they are responsible for. Ransomware groups, for example, leave behind ransomware notes and set up leak sites, so victims know whom to pay and negotiate with. And Hacktivists have been using social media to even publicly claim ownership of campaigns that were conducted by someone else or have never taken place to begin with. Meanwhile, state-actors – in particular, military and intelligence agencies – have very rarely engaged in this kind of public self-attribution.[i] Instead, common practice has been to neither confirm nor deny responsibility for a cyber operation. The behaviour of Ukraine’s military intelligence service (GURMO) has broken that mould when they started to self-attribute cyber operations beginning in November 2023. Why did they make that change? Is GURMO’s self-attribution credible? And is it effective? To answers these questions, this article looks at eight news items GURMO published between November 23, 2023, to February 8, 2024, in which it either self-attributed or reported about cyberattacks by other pro-Ukrainian groups.

Between the start of the invasion in February 2022 to November 2023, no credible reports existed on GURMO’s activities in cyberspace. Meanwhile, Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU) has been highly visible on the global stage, being likely responsible for the Viasat hack on the day of the invasion and the destructive campaign again Kyivstar in December 2023.[ii]

It is unclear why GURMO decided to come out of the shadows. What we do know is that on November 23, 2023, GURMO self-attributed – for the first time ever – a cyber operation against Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia), which resulted in the exfiltration of “a large volume of confidential documents.”[iii] To proof operational success and highlight that Moscow’s aviation sector is “on the verge of collapse,” GURMO posted numerous incident figures it summarized from the stolen documents.[iv] Three weeks later, GURMO also announced that it hacked Russia’s Federal Tax Service and deployed malware on the agency’s 2,300+ regional servers.[v]

How Open Networks May Change Market Access and Internet Governance


The concept of an open network represents a potentially transformative shift in how transactions are conducted over the internet. By providing an approach that facilitates equitable market access for all participants, open networks aim to democratize the digital landscape. They are rooted in the foundational principles of the internet—decentralization and openness—and propose an architecture that can foster inclusivity, flexibility, and equitable access.

Based on discussions that took place at the Global Technology Summit 2023 in New Delhi, this essay explores the multifaceted dimensions of open networks. We cover their purpose, the governance structure they operate under, the challenges they face, and their implications for the future of digital transactions.

The primary objective of an open network is to unbundle transactions on the internet, allowing diverse participants to access the market on equal footing regardless of their size. This approach is envisioned as a “platform of platforms,” characterized by its openness and interoperability. In this context, openness can be interpreted in either way: it may signify the absence of barriers to entry and exit within an ecosystem, or it may imply inclusiveness and flexibility.

Brazil’s Open Finance and Pix payment systems and India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) exemplify open networks in action. They evoke the early days of the internet, where each node holds equal authority, further enhanced by layers of auditability and data minimization for improved governance. Although they are still works in progress, open networks are beginning to demonstrate the benefits of an open, interoperable approach toward breaking market monopolies.

Escalating Chinese Cyberattacks on Taiwan: Google’s Alarming Findings

Tensions between China and Taiwan have reached alarming heights in recent times, with Google’s threat analysis unit revealing a substantial surge in Chinese cyberattacks on Taiwan over the last six months.

Kate Morgan, a senior engineering manager at Google, disclosed that there has been a significant increase in the number of groups from China targeting the computers of Taiwan’s defense sector and government agencies.

Reports also indicate that these cyber assailants are extending their reach to infiltrate private companies on the island, potentially to aid espionage activities.

Let’s examine Google’s recent findings, highlighting the Chinese hackers’ complex tactics, diplomatic silence about these incidents, potential preparations for cyberwar, and the significance of defense against evolving cyber threats.

‘Cyber-physical attacks' fueled by AI are a growing threat, experts say

Kevin Williams

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray said Chinese government hackers are targeting water treatment plans, the electrical grid, transportation systems and other critical infrastructure inside the U.S.
  • MIT researchers have simulated cyberattacks in the lab that can trigger fires and explosions in equipment such as motors, pumps, valves and gauges.
  • Attacks on physical infrastructure would be tantamount to war, and so far, that is something nation-states have avoided.

Network security graphic user interface background.

When most people hear about cybersecurity hacks they envision frozen monitors, ransomware demands, and DDoS attacks that compromise connectivity for a few hours or even days.

Some experts, though, are worried that with the arrival of widespread artificial intelligence in the hands of hackers — both lone wolves and nation-states — we may be entering the era of the "cyber-physical attack."

In fact, last month the FBI warned Congress that Chinese hackers have burrowed deep into the United States' cyber infrastructure in an attempt to cause damage. FBI Director Christopher Wray said Chinese government hackers are targeting water treatment plans, the electrical grid, transportation systems and other critical infrastructure inside the U.S.

Stuart Madnick, an MIT professor of engineering systems and co-founder of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (CAMS), has studied and written about the cyber-physical nexus. He said with the widespread arrival of generative AI, concerns about physical attacks being the next phase of cybercrime have grown.

How to better study—and then improve—today’s corrupted information environment

Sean Norton, Jacob N. Shapiro

Social media has been a connector of people near and far, but it has also fueled political conflict, threatened democratic processes, contributed to the spread of public health misinformation, and likely damaged the mental health of some teenagers. Given what’s come to light about these platforms over the last several years, it is increasingly clear that current guardrails—both government regulations and the companies’ internal policies—aren’t sufficient to address the issues plaguing the information environment. But for democracies and their citizens to thrive, a healthy virtual ecosystem is necessary.

To get there, experts need an international effort to link policymakers to research by gathering, summarizing, and distilling relevant research streams. Two such initiatives, the International Panel on the Information Environment and the proposed International Observatory on Information and Democracy, have begun working towards that goal. Both are inspired by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a multinational organization that elects a scientific bureau to conduct evaluations of climate research and create policy recommendations. Since its founding in 1988, the IPCC has firmly established the anthropogenic origin of climate change and provided policy recommendations that formed the basis of two major international agreements, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015. Policymakers and researchers have called for similarly structured efforts to create research-informed, globally coordinated policies on the information environment.

For such efforts to work, though, they have to able to draw on a well-developed research base. The IPCC’s first report, written from 1988 to 1990, capitalized on decades of standardized measurements and research infrastructure, including atmospheric carbon dioxide monitoring, sophisticated measurements from weather balloons and meteorological satellites, and 16 years of satellite imagery of the Earth’s surface.

An open source challenger to GitHub Copilot? StarCoder2, a code generation tool backed by Nvidia, Hugging Face, and ServiceNow, is free to use and offers support for over 600 programming languages

Solomon Klappholz

The StarCoder code generation tool has received a massive update that could position it as a leading open source alternative to services such as GitHub Copilot.

Initially launched in May 2023 as part of a collaboration between Hugging Face and ServiceNow, the latest iteration, StarCoder2, now also has major industry backing in the form of Nvidia.

The code generation tool supports developers by automating code completion, similar to GitHub Copilot or Amazon CodeWhisperer. It’s also capable of summarizing existing code and generating original snippets

StarCoder2 is available in three different model sizes, each trained by a different member of the partnership.

The smallest version is a three billion-parameter model trained by ServiceNow, with a seven billion-parameter model trained by Hugging Face.

Nvidia was responsible for the largest iteration of StarCoder2 with a 15 billion-parameter model built using its NeMo generative AI platform and trained on Nvidia’s accelerated AI infrastructure.

Each fork of the StarCoder2 models offers a significantly expanded array of programming languages they can work in.

The original StarCoder tool was trained on over 80 different programming languages, whereas StarCoder2 boasts the ability to generate code in 619 languages.

StarCoder2 is underpinned by the Stack v2 dataset, the largest open code dataset suitable for LLM pretraining, according to Hugging Face. The AI company said this latest dataset is seven times larger than the original Stack v1.