23 May 2017

*** Security in the Internet of Things

By Harald Bauer, Ondrej Burkacky, and Christian Knochenhauer

Security issues may represent the greatest obstacle to growth of the Internet of Things. How can semiconductor companies help resolve them? 

Over the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has captured headlines across the world, with newspaper and magazine articles describing its potential to transform our daily lives. With its network of “smart,” sensor-enabled devices that can communicate and coordinate with one another via the Internet, the IoT could facilitate computer-mediated strategies for conducting business, providing healthcare, and managing city resources, among numerous other tasks. For the public, the IoT could transform many of our most mundane activities by enabling innovations as diverse as self-driving cars and connected refrigerators capable of sending pictures of their contents to shoppers in grocery stores. 

Although the IoT is still a nascent phenomenon, with many aspects of its infrastructure under development, the McKinsey Global Institute predicts it could have an annual economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion worldwide by 2025. For the semiconductor sector, one of the many industries poised to benefit from the IoT’s growth, the economic gains could be particularly significant. 

The IoT’s way forward may be complicated, however. As with any market in its early stages, growth projections could prove overly optimistic if innovators and business leaders are unable to overcome various technological, regulatory, and market challenges. In the case of the IoT, weak security may be the most important issue—a point underscored by a survey that McKinsey conducted in 2015 in collaboration with the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA).1When we asked respondents about their greatest concerns about the IoT, security topped the list. 

*** For China, All Roads (and Belts) Lead to Europe

By: Jen Judson

TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. Special Operations Command is struggling to develop and implement technology that will help get a handle on the large amount of information it must sift through to stay informed, make decisions and execute operations.

And SOCOM is not alone in the struggle. It’s a problem that plagues U.S. Armed Forces as a whole.

But mastering “big data” is imperative for special operations activities that rely on real time intelligence and very early indicators to make crucial life or death maneuvers. Leaders from around the command called upon industry for help mastering the seemingly endless data pouring in to be used for intelligence at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference Tuesday.

The message echoed that of USSOCOM Commander Gen. Raymond Thomas in recent testimony: “We’re dealing, literally swimming, in the morass of information and intelligence, a mixed bag,” he told a House Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee hearing earlier this month.

“But how we sort through that in terms of business solutions – we’re on the cusp of it,” Thomas said. “And the good news is, we’re starting to marry up the right people with our operators and our problem solvers to get at this wicked problem of information management and deep data, all the things that go with it that, arguably, corporations have already addressed.”

*** Winds of change? Why offshore wind might be the next big thing

Falling costs and rising acceptance are promising signs, but the industry needs to keep improving.

The landscapes of Rembrandt glow with the great painter’s rendering of light. And they are distinctive for another reason: windmills are everywhere. As far back as the 13th century, the Dutch used windmills to drain their land and power their economy. And now, 800 years later, the Netherlands is again in the vanguard of what could be the next big thing, not only in wind power but also in the global energy system as a whole: offshore wind.

In December, the Netherlands approved a bid for its cheapest offshore project yet—€54.50 per megawatt-hour, for a site about 15 miles off the coast. Just five months before, the winning bid for the same site was €72.70. Denmark has gone even further, with an auction in November 2016 seeing a then record-winning bid of €49.90 per megawatt-hour, half the level of 2014.

Europe, which has provided considerable economic and regulatory support, accounts for more than 90 percent of global capacity. As a result, Europe now has a maturing supply chain, a high level of expertise, and strong competition; it is possible that offshore wind could be competitive with other sources within a decade. By 2026, the Dutch government expects that its offshore auctions will feature no subsidies at all. But it might be even sooner: in the April 2017 German auction, the average winning bid for the projects was far below expectations, and even less than the Danish record set only six months before. Some of the bids were won at the wholesale electricity price, meaning no subsidy is required.
Prices and costs

For Kashmir, CPEC Highlights Divisions

By Fahad Shah

The disputed Kashmir region is now at the center of the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as the route passes through the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. India’s opposition to the CPEC is based primarily on its claim to Gilgit-Baltistan. China’s position has, however, been neutral on the matter to date; it has asked India to join CPEC and solve the Kashmir issue with Pakistan through dialogue.

CPEC, worth $56 billion, is a network of motorways, railways, hydropower, and other developmental projects that is going to give a new dimension to Pakistan’s economy and development in the coming years. The China-Pakistan relationship goes back decades, with Beijing having long helped Islamabad enrich its defense and nuclear capabilities. Between the three nuclear powers, Kashmir has been a long-standing conflict; around half-a-million Indian troops currently control the Indian side against the majority’s will.

The debate over Kashmir in relation to the CPEC started after India raised concerns that China and Pakistan were using a territory that is an “integral part” of India. However, Gilgit-Baltistan has been part of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir with minor opposition from locals. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, the view of the pro-independence leaders and the pro-India regional government is that Kashmir could become a gateway to Central Asia. The question, however, is whether the political dispute over Kashmir will be affected by the rift over CPEC continuing between India and the so-called “iron brothers,” China and Pakistan.

Guns At Last: Indian Army Is Finally Getting New Artillery Guns It Desperately Needs

Prakhar Gupta

With over thee different type of guns ordered and indigenous initiatives taken up, India seems well on its way to plug the critical gaps in the Army’s firepower.

The Indian Army on Thursday received the first two of the 145 M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) ordered from the United States, the first batch of new artillery units that the country has bought after it imported Bofors guns from Sweden starting 1986. The delivery of these guns, first addition to the Indian artillery strength in over 30 years, brings an end to what is termed as the ‘Bofors jinx’.

Manufactured by BAE Systems, the guns were bought by India in a $737 million deal inked in November 2016. Of the 145 guns sold to India under the Foreign Military Sales programme of the US government, 25 will be imported and the remaining assembled in India in partnership with the Mahindra group.

The purchase of these guns was a part of the Army’s wider strategy, drawn in the Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan of 1999, aimed at acquisition of 3,000 modern artillery systems of various types, to equip its 220 artillery regiments by 2027.

Over a decade and a half later, the plan has finally begun to materialise. But what delayed the acquisition of new artillery guns for over 30 years?

What’s Behind the Taliban’s Major Gains in Northern Afghanistan?

By Barin Sultani Haymon and Michael Kugelman

Over the past few weeks, the northern Afghan province of Kunduz — until recent years a region relatively unaffected by the Taliban insurgency — has been the site of heavy clashes between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

The Taliban recently seized control of Qala-e-Zal, a western district of Kunduz, and are also making advances on the province’s eastern border. These Taliban triumphs raise troubling questions about the future of Kunduz, which has seen its provincial capital (also called Kunduz) briefly fall to the Taliban twice over the last few years.

Once considered relatively stable, northern Afghanistan more broadly has become increasingly volatile since the drawdown of foreign troops at the end of 2014. Just last week, the Taliban overtook Ishkashim district, in Badakhsan province near the Tajik border. And last month, Taliban forces brazenly raided an Afghan Army base in Balkh Province and slaughtered dozens of troops.

As insurgents make strides across northern Afghanistan, the problem of displacement has intensified. Around 91,000 people nationwide have been displaced this year due to fighting and insecurity, adding to what is already a crisis situation. In 2016, the figure was 661,000 – according to OCHA (The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), 33 out of 34 provinces reported some amount of forced displacement. And yet the majority of those uprooted have been in the north.

Nepal: Elections at the Epicenter

By Peter Gill

Nepal: Elections at the EpicenterTwo years after major earthquakes rocked the country, a Nepali family makes a 30-hour journey to cast their ballots. 

LAPRAK, GORKHA, NEPAL — Tulsi Gurung, 35, woke up at dawn on May 13 to board a bus at Kathmandu’s Naya Bus Park with his wife, Ri Maya Gurung, 32, and their daughter Rebika Gurung, 4. The bus park was crowded despite the early hour; passengers awaiting departure loitered with glasses of tea and hawkers announced bottled water and pustakari, a Nepali sweet, for sale. Tulsi and his family had come to catch a bus to their village of Laprak in Gorkha District, just kilometers from the epicenter of the April 2015 earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and left over 750,000 families homeless. Tulsi, a trekking guide, had recently completed a climb of Tukche Peak in the Annapurna region of the country. Ri Maya usually stays in the village, where she lives in a temporary shelter with the children and farms potatoes and buckwheat, but she had brought Rebika to the capital city several days earlier to treat an eye infection. The family was in a hurry to return home to vote in local elections — the country’s first since 1997.

For many Nepalis, the election represents their first chance to choose local representatives responsible for governance and development, and to influence the ongoing earthquake recovery process.

Can China Afford Its Belt and Road?

China's just-completed conference touting its Belt and Road initiative certainly looked like a triumph, with Russian President Vladimir Putin playing the piano and Chinese leaders announcing a string of potential deals and massive financial pledges. Underneath all the heady talk about China positioning itself at the heart of a new global order, though, lies in uncomfortable question: Can it afford to do so?

Such doubts might seem spurious, given the numbers being tossed around. China claims nearly $900 billion worth of deals are already underway, with estimates of future spending ranging from $4 trillion to $8 trillion, depending on which Chinese government agency is doing the talking. At the conference itself, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged another $78 billion for the effort, which envisions building infrastructure to link China to Europe through Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

From no other country in the world would such pledges be remotely plausible. Yet even for China, they'll be difficult to fulfill without clashing with the country's other objectives.

The first question is what currency to use for all this lending. Denominating loans in renminbi would accelerate China's stated goal of internationalizing its currency. But it would also force officials to tolerate higher levels of offshore renminbi trading and international price-setting. So far, they've shown little appetite for either.

A great wall of paranoia

Zorawar Daulet Singh

As China pushes ahead with B&RI, India must reconcile geopolitical interests with wider developmental goals

In a consequential development over the past week, India decided to stake out a clear position of defiance against the Belt & Road Initiative (B&RI), an ambitious Chinese idea that seeks to reshape the Eurasian geo-economic space. India’s absence in Beijing’s high-profile summit with representatives from over 100 countries, including 29 heads of state, has evoked surprise and debate. What is the calculus driving India’s China policy? Does India risk isolation as Eurasia moves towards a new chapter of connectivity and interdependence?

Delhi’s position can be clearly gauged from the Ministry of External Affairs’ May 13 statement. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the B&RI, is seen as a blatant disregard for India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir because it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. But Delhi’s protest goes beyond the “core concerns” over sovereignty. The objection to the B&RI is actually more deep-rooted, namely, that China’s rise and projection of geo-economic influence is a direct challenge and threat to India’s great power aspirations and traditional position in the subcontinent.



Somewhat obscured the recent outpouring of penny dreadful news from Washington (from the dubious termination of the director of the FBI to Sean Spicer ensconcing himself in the White House shrubbery) was the announcement of a U.S.-China 100-day economic action plan.

It is a pedestrian, workmanlike document, committing to a raft of bilateral trade, investment and regulatory measures. Its references to poultry, beef (which left the president enthused), and clearing houses are not obviously the stuff of grand strategy, or grand bargains.

It could prove economically beneficial, on its own merits, if China can be persuaded to open its market on more reciprocal terms. Interestingly, China will start importing U.S. liquefied natural gas to meet its energy needs, within existing U.S. export quota limits for non-free trade agreement countries.

Politically, it is a significant step forward, given the gathering American domestic headwinds against seemingly any kind of trade deal. A potentially damaging trade conflict with China, widely feared at the outset of the Trump administration, has been averted – for now.

Also tucked away with the action plan was an instantaneous commitment to send a U.S. delegation to this week’s Belt and Road Initiative summit in Beijing. They must have had their bags packed.

China’s PLAN—Breaking Out to Blue Waters

By Eli Huang

On 25 December 2016, the PLAN deployed its Liaoning carrier group beyond the First Island Chain for the first time, in what many considered to be a warning to Taipei after President Tsai Ing-wen’s phone call with US President-elect Donald Trump. The PLA’s activities in the Western Pacific continued after President Trump told President Xi that the US would honor the ‘One China’ policy.

On March 2, PLAAF fighters, bombers, and early warning aircraft transited the Miyako Strait and entered the western Pacific for joint exercises with the PLAN’s far-sea training taskforce including the destroyers Changsha and Haikou and supply ship Luomahu. A PLAN task force left Sanya on 10 February for a joint exercise with an aviation force in the South China Sea and the eastern Indian Ocean, and then returned by the south-eastern waters of Taiwan to the Western Pacific.

The PLAN’s naval drills are not only political exercises and a warning to the US, but also a basis for routine PLAN activities in the future. China’s maritime strategy is clearly moving beyond the traditional ‘island chain’ boundary that has limited the PLAN’s operations and development in the past

What history tells us about Saudi Arabia's 2030 plan

Saeed Alwahabi

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 is helping the country address the challenging mission of freeing itself of its dependency on oil revenues. This ambition has been a repetitive theme of the kingdom's development plans since 1975.

Those who doubt Saudi Arabia’s capabilities to deliver something quite so substantial by 2030 should not forget what happened more than 40 years ago.

In December 1974, my family assets were a small house in the coastal city of Jeddah and a barely functioning Toyota sedan. By the mid-1980s, my father bought a brand new GMC Suburban shortly after finishing two beautiful buildings beside our house, which was given to us free of charge, as he was a member of the armed forces.

It was not only my family who went through this class transition, but also a generation of Saudi families who became today’s middle class.

I maintain that in 1975 the government had a vision to establish the modern state of Saudi Arabia, which required massive infrastructure projects and the empowerment of the Saudi people.

U.S. Fight Against Islamic State Is Accelerating, Mattis Says by The Wall Street Journal SWJ Blog Post | May 20, 2017 - 10:09am Login or register to post comments Share this Printer-friendly version Send to friend PDF version U.S. Fight Against Islamic State Is Accelerating, Mattis Says

by Paul Sonne, Wall Street Journal

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said changes in the fight against Islamic State that were approved by President Donald Trump have given the U.S. the ability to move more quickly and forcefully on the battlefield, though the overall strategy remains largely unchanged from the Obama era.

Mr. Mattis said the president had given U.S. military commanders more leeway to make battlefield decisions and approved a tactical shift that directs U.S.-backed troops to focus on annihilating Islamic State rather than waging a war of attrition.

“No longer will we have slowed decision cycles because Washington, D.C., has to authorize tactical movements on the ground,” Mr. Mattis said at a Pentagon news conference, where he appeared alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford and the State Department’s special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, Brett McGurk.

Mr. Mattis said U.S.-backed troops previously were surrounding Islamic State positions and allowing enemy fighters to escape through a designated exit route, because the goal was to oust them from occupied cities as quickly as possible and allow residents to return.

But the effect, the defense secretary said, was essentially to move Islamic State fighters around the area…Read on.

North Korea: The Military Options


What would a strike actually entail?

The Trump administration claims “all options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program—from using military force, to pressuring China to cut off economic relations with North Korea, to Donald Trump negotiating directly with Kim Jong Un. But what do those options look like? And what consequences could they have? This series explores those questions, option by option.

Trump’s Reddish Line

Millions of lives may depend on what Donald Trump means by the word “it.”

At some point, the American president recently told CBS’s John Dickerson, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will develop “a better [missile] delivery system” for its small but growing stockpile of nuclear weapons. “And if that happens,” Trump vowed, “we can’t allow it to happen.”

Behind the seemingly contradictory statement was a hazy hint of what might prompt the world’s mightiest military to use force against an emerging nuclear power, potentially drawing China, Japan, and South Korea into one of the most volatile conflicts in living memory.

Why net neutrality needs a congressional solution

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) web site reportedly crashed after late night television host John Oliver told viewers to flood the comments system in support of net neutrality, which calls for all internet traffic to be allowed equal access by internet service providers.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah introduced legislation to nullify Obama-era regulations established through the FCC 2015 Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband service providers as telephone companies under Title II of the outdated 1934 Communications Act.

Both actions exemplify the strong tides of dissent over who controls the internet and reveal the differences in perspectives and the approach around internet regulations. With the looming FCC repeal of the 2015 Order, Chairman Ajit Pai’s ultimate goal is to return the Commission to a light-touch regulatory approach to broadband in order to stimulate the necessary conditions to reach new digital milestones, including the anticipated rollout of 5G wireless infrastructure.

Despite the chairman’s intentions, the issue will remain gridlocked. Net neutrality advocates and opponents alike have demonstrated their steady investment in a specific outcome that juxtaposes regulation over no regulation. These deep seated divisions are played out among members of Congress, industry leaders, activists, and even academics.

The Army Wants to Let Troops off the ‘Digital Leash.’ That’s Easier Said Than Done.


Gen. Mark Milley’s injunction against IT-enabled micromanagement will require leaders at all levels to re-think what it means to be part of the profession of arms. 

Troops in future wars will have to think and act independently, especially as adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran undercut American technological superiority with cyber warfare, jammers, and anti-satellite weapons. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley knows this, which is why he recently castigated Army leaders’ tendency to use sophisticated information technology to micromanage troops.

It’s a noble goal, to be certain. But separating subordinates from the so-called “digital leash” works against several broad trends.

Historically, every improvement in information technology has led tomore centralized and direct control—a phenomenon observed both on the battlefield and in business. Prussian generals griped about constant telegrams from higher headquarters during the 19th century. Ditto for American GIs and radios during the Second World War. Today, satellite communications and surveillance drones allow so-called “tactical generals” to bypass several layers of leadership and send orders to individual soldiers on the battlefield.

Here’s What Gen Scales Thinks The Next Infantry Rifle Should Look Like

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales hates the M16 family of rifles, and he won’t stop until everyone knows it.

Scales has spent the last few years railing against the standard-issue infantry rifle as little more than a lighter but less effective version of the infamous M16 model that left so many American troops dead in the jungles of Vietnam (In response to Scales’ condemnation of the M4 in the pages of The Atlantic in January 2015, Task & Purpose’s Christian Beekman mounted a vocal defense of the rifle).

Wednesday was no different. Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Scales decried the Department of Defense’s post-World War II small-arms programs as “inferior.” Thousands of American troops “have died because the Army’s weapon buying bureaucracy has consistently denied that a soldier’s individual weapon is important enough to gain their serious attention,” said Scales in his prepared testimony.

“A soldier in basic training is told that his rifle is his best friend and his ticket home,” he told assembled lawmakers. “If the lives of so many depend on a rifle why can’t the richest country in the world give it to them?”

After testifying about the issues that plague the M16 and M4, Scales offered his interpretation of what the next‐generation, all‐purpose infantry rifle should look like. Here are his requirements: 

Broken and Unreadable: Our Unbearable Aversion to Doctrine

by Steve Leonard - Modern War Institute

In 2016, when the University of Kansas opened the doors to the new DeBruce Center, the main attraction was a display of two simple, yellowed pieces of paper, stored behind a pane of electrochromic glass. In 1891, when tasked with creating an indoor game that would occupy the young men of Springfield College during an especially bitter New England winter, Dr. James Naismith framed the rules of a game that would one day capture a nation (and increasingly, the world): basketball. In 1898, Naismith brought his game to the Heartland, where he planted the roots of the modern sport as the first coach of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Basketball has always been a part of my life. From summers on the concrete playground to winters in the gym, I long ago lost count of the hours spent playing the sport. I knew the language of the court. I understood the guiding principles—the fundamentals—that shape how we play the game. I knew every dimple in the leather of the ball and how to make it respond to my will. Yet, in all those years, I’d never once read those rules. Not once. But I knew them—every last one of them.

Basketball, it seems, has much in common with doctrine. We teach it. We talk about it. We profess its virtues. We just don’t read the rules. We’re often so proud of the fact we don’t read our own doctrine that we joke about it (“it’s only a lot of reading if you do it”), while at the same time mocking peers who admit to not reading doctrine as TOADs (“totally oblivious of all doctrine”). The problem with all of that? The costs associated with doctrinal ignorance are measured in blood and treasure. The time to admit that you don’t know the difference between ADCON and OPCON is not when your soldiers are going hungry in a remote outpost.

Combat, Orders and Judgment

by Keith Nightingale

Combat is decidedly mortal to the participants. Leaders, officers, and enlisted, are charged with execution of orders and the strict adherence to commander’s intent as the responsible agents for the men they serve—both above and below them. Failure to do so in peacetime can be professionally suicidal. Failure to do so in combat may be either suicidal or the key to success. The difference is called judgment. And good judgment is the Holy Grail of any combat unit. 

On rare occasions in our history, the leader on the ground, at the crux of a fleeting moment on the battlefield, has decided to disobey his instructions for what he judges as the greater good of the unit and the larger task at hand. 

A point often forgotten is that enemy gets to vote. Conditions may be assumed by the chain of command when orders are developed, but they cannot rigidly be assumed at the sound of the first hostile round. We pay our leaders, at all levels, to exercise judgment rather than rote mindless adherence when the enemy votes. Judicious leadership, combined with the changed nature of the environment and the immediate necessary actions, lead to success. Failure to recognize significant changed conditions leads to defeat. D Day is replete with positive examples of this and should serve as a guide for future combat leadership.

Cyber attack: Latest evidence indicates 'phishing' emails not to blame for global hack

James Titcomb

Thousands of computers in China and Japan hit by WannaCry virus

Putin says Russia had 'nothing to do' with global ransomware outbreak

Microsoft attacks US government over developing 'EternalBlue' exploit that led to hack

New strains of virus reported but having little effect

Jeremy Hunt says there has been no second wave of attacks

Latest evidence suggests "phishing" emails are unlikely to have caused the global cyber attack that wreaked havoc at dozens of NHS trusts and hit hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries. 

Security experts have disputed claims that the virus was spread through suspicious emails, saying that computers were vulnerable to the bug regardless of how vigilant users were. Experts said that unless IT departments patched the virus and backed up their files they could be hit by the attacks. 

Affected NHS trusts were criticised for not adding the patch despite warnings from NHS Digital a month ago that they were vulnerable to a possible attack. 

WannaCry Highlights India's Patching Challenge

India was one of the nations most affected by the global WannaCry ransomware epidemic. Key challenges revealed in the aftermath of the attacks include poor patching hygiene, widespread use of unlicensed software and a reactive security posture.

Security experts and analysts tell Information Security Media Group that although many private-sector industries responded to the attack well, public-sector organizations haven't fared as well because of insufficient security practices.

The frenzied response to the threat indicates that many organizations are neglecting basic security practices, such as patching, and failing to take advisories seriously despite growing awareness. "The security culture is to blame," says Sahir Hidayatullah, co-founder and CEO at Mumbai-based Smokescreen Technologies. "People are not being proactive, and the focus is on preventing what has already happened."

Reactive Security to Blame

While there is no official list of companies affected by WannaCry ransomware in India, media reports refer to multiple infections in the banking and the financial sector, a national stock exchange, research labs, fast-moving consumer goods companies, manufacturing companies, systems of the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh police, major IT companies and other infections in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Post-WannaCry, Microsoft Slams Spy Agency Exploit-Hoarding

Microsoft's chief legal officer directed criticism at U.S. spy agencies Sunday, warning that civilians are at risk if governments stockpile libraries of software vulnerabilities that may eventually fall into the hands of cybercriminals.

The warning comes just days after an unprecedented global wave of file-encrypting malware, which spread quickly because of a software worm believed to have been developed by the National Security Agency.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world," writes Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal officer, in a blog post. "Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage."

More than 200,000 endpoints reportedly have infected worldwide by the WannaCry - aka WannaCrypt - ransomware, which has been demanding $300 to unlock files. The attacks have crippled hospitals, telecommunications companies and medical organizations, among other organizations, in more than 150 countries. The worm capability being used to spread WannaCry also means that once the malware had entered a network, it could quickly spread throughout an organization, warns U.K.-based security researcher Kevin Beaumont.

High Time For Us To Look At Policy Implications Of Artificial Intelligence

Smrithi Adinarayanan

As researchers are grappling with questions that AI explosion is raising, it is only getting more intriguing, exciting and opening up new vistas that humanity is yet to venture into.

It is not going to be a simple task to redesign some of the policies but nevertheless the time has come.

An explosion is happening in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) world ranging from self-driven (driver-less) cars to automated code that can take care of most of the work that is being done manually today.

While this explosion is leading to a multitude of possibilities, this also means that there would be a huge downsizing of companies. People at the lower rung of ladder involved in routine tasks are likely to lose their jobs.

In the past weeks we have been hearing from many tech giants about job cuts and companies like Microsoft have announced that they are going to include AI in almost all of their products going forward. Machine learning, speech recognition and computer vision are going to be part of some cutting edge products that are awaited.

Every Marine a rifleman no more?

By: Jeff Schogol

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter shocked the military last summer when he called for boosting the military’s high-tech force by finding civilians who already have those vital skills like cyber security and offer them “lateral entry” into the military — a chance to skip boot camp and put on a uniform as a mid-career rank from Day One. 

In effect, he suggested having a Marine Corps that included "Marines," pinned with a staff sergeant’s rocker, who had never been to boot camp and spent no time in the junior tanks. Marines scattered across the force who had little knowledge of Marine culture and whose colleagues quietly questioned their status as a “real Marine.” 

Nobody in the military was more skeptical than the Marines. 

Yet now as the Corps begins planning to grow the force significantly during the next several years, the controversial idea is back on the table, Marine Corps Times has learned. One way or the other, the Marine Corps needs those high-tech capabilities. Currently there are big shortages in some of those career fields. It’s a top priority for today’s leaders. 

The era of cyber-disaster may finally be here

By Adam Taylor

Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know? 

On Friday, the world was hit by one of the biggest cyberattacks in recent history. 

The culprit was “ransomware” known as WanaCryptOr 2.0, or WannaCry. It operates by encrypting a computer system and demanding a ransom to release it. This money would be paid in the digital currency bitcoin to an unknown source, who would — in theory, at least — provide a decryption key to unlock the system. To do all this, the software exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that is thought to have been first identified by the National Security Agency and was later leaked online. 
Interpol thinks that more than 200,000 people in more than 150 countries were affected — and things could get worse. Experts are warning that many office workers could return to work Monday and find their computers compromised. 

The attack was a remarkable global event. It appears to have hit first in Britain, where it effectively shut down parts of the National Health Service. But reports soon came in from all over the world. Users in China, Germany, India and the United States were among those affected. 

For a few hours Friday, it seemed as if the world was facing a disruption of disaster-movie proportions. Then, just as quickly as it started, the attack was stalled by a 22-year-old British cybersecurity researcher who discovered a “kill switch” that stopped the ransomware from spreading. 

It’s Time For A Dedicated Military Cyber Force, Says Former NATO Commander

It is time for the U.S. defense community to consider creating a dedicated cyber force in the U.S. military, unique from the other branches, retired Adm. James Stavridis told the Senate Thursday.

The former NATO commander and chief of U.S. European Command argued that the threat posed by inadequate cyber security will eventually require the military to create a unique cyber force. Stavridis praised the efforts of U.S. Cyber Command, which went fully operational in 2010, but noted that a combatant command may not be enough to confront such a massive challenge.

“United States Cyber Command declared Full Operational Capability (FOC) in 2010 and seven years later, despite the valiant and well-intentioned efforts of Admiral Mike Rogers and his predecessor, General Keith Alexander, the Cyber Mission Force has demonstrated to be a less than formidable and sustainable model,” Stavridis said in his written statement.

The Cyber Mission Force is tasked with defending the military’s information networks, supporting the missions in other combatant commands and defending U.S. infrastructure. U.S. Cybercom eventually wants the force to be made up of 133 teams capable of applying “military capability at scale in cyberspace,” Air Force Lt. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin told the House Armed Services Committee in June.

U.S. Diplomacy Options for Security & Adaptability in Cyberspace

By Matthew Reitman

National Security Situation: U.S. competitors conducting national security activities in cyberspace below the threshold of war aka in the “Gray Zone.”

Background: State actors and their non-state proxies operate aggressively in cyberspace, but within a gray zone that violates international norms without justifying a “kinetic” response. Russian influence operations in the 2016 U.S. election were not an act of war, but escalated tensions dramatically[1]. North Korea used the Lazarus Group to circumvent sanctions by stealing $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank[2]. Since a U.S.-People’s Republic of China (PRC) agreement in 2015 to curb corporate espionage, there have been 13 intrusions by groups based in the PRC against the U.S. private sector[3]. The State Department has helped to curb Islamic State of Iraq and Syria propaganda online via the Global Engagement Center[4]. The recent creation of another interagency entity, the Russia Information Group, suggests similar efforts could be effective elsewhere[5].

The State Department continues to work towards establishing behavior norms in cyberspace via multilateral channels, like the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts, and bilateral channels, but this remains a slow and tedious process. Until those norms are codified, gray zone activities in cyberspace will continue. The risk of attacks on Information Technology (IT) or critical infrastructure and less destructive acts will only grow as the rest of the world comes online, increasing the attack surface.

U.S. Cyber Command: Russia hacking “the new normal”


Admiral Michael S. Rogers, head of U.S. Cyber Command, called Russia’s cyber operations “destabilizing.” During recent exchanges on Capitol Hill, Rogers appeared to be in agreement with the U.S. intelligence community that Russia's election interference is likely to be a new normal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “figured that he was no military match for the United States, but he could launch a Manhattan Project for cyber attacks,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., declared last month at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform information technology subcommittee.

It is still an open question how the United States will fight back, whether it’s Russia or other foreign hacking onslaught. U.S. officials and experts warn that it is time for fresh thinking on how to combat these threats, both in government agencies and in the cybersecurity industry.

A cybersecurity executive order President Trump signed May 11 says the government for “too long accepted antiquated and difficult–to-defend” information technology systems.

And as the government turns to the private sector for ideas and solutions, the industry has a big challenge at hand, says Roger Hockenberry, founder and CEO of the consulting firm Cognitio.