Tag Archives: State

New UK laws will block China's Huawei from sensitive state projects: The Sun
February 9, 2019 12:00 am|Comments (0)

FILE PHOTO – A woman sits next to a salesperson at a Huawei shop in Bangkok, Thailand, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

(Reuters) – New laws on foreign investment in the UK will block Chinese firm Huawei from sensitive UK tech projects, The Sun newspaper reported on Friday.

Many are concerned that allowing Huawei an inside track on the rollout of the 5G mobile network in the UK would let China spy on private lives and hack UK companies, The Sun said.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson are among those concerned about the Chinese firm’s reach, the report said.

Reporting by Gaurika Juneja in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler

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Trump's State of the Union Is Silent on Key Tech Issues
February 6, 2019 6:04 am|Comments (0)

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Trump promised legislation to invest in “the cutting edge industries of the future.” But the speech was characteristically backward-looking. Trump talked up gains in manufacturing jobs and oil and gas exports, but didn’t once mention the word “technology,” nor any other tech policy issue, such as privacy, broadband, or antitrust.

Aides filled in the blanks. “President Trump’s commitment to American leadership in artificial intelligence, 5G wireless, quantum science, and advanced manufacturing will ensure that these technologies serve to benefit the American people and that the American innovation ecosystem remains the envy of the world for generations to come,” Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for technology policy, said in a statement.

Still, some of the administration’s other signature policy positions, such as the trade war with China and its hardline position on immigration, may be holding back progress in these areas.

5G Wireless

Of these issues, the Trump administration has perhaps been most active on 5G, an umbrella term for “next generation” wireless technologies and standards that could one day enable download speeds of up to 10GB on your phone, or around 10 times the speed of Google Fiber’s standard home service. We’re still a long way from seeing those types of speeds in reality, even as carriers begin offering “5G” branded services in a few cities.

Politicians and pundits across the political spectrum warn that if the US falls behind China in deploying 5G, the next generation of mobile platforms could emerge in China, just as Android and iOS and their respective app stores emerged in the US during earlier wireless eras.

The Trump administration sees the race to 5G as a national security issue, as much as an economic issue. The US has long feared that Chinese telco giant Huawei could plant “backdoors” in its equipment that the Chinese government could use to spy on US citizens. US carriers like AT&T and Verizon are effectively banned from using Huawei gear in their networks; but the Trump administration fears that if China gets a leg up on 5G, there will be few if any alternatives to Huawei and other Chinese vendors to build the next generation wireless networks. That led to the unusual decision to block Singapore-based chipmaker Broadcom from buying US wireless chip giant Qualcomm, even though Broadcom offered to relocate to the US.

Beyond efforts to curb Huawei’s global reach, the White House hosted a summit on 5G last September, and Trump has encouraged federal agencies to accelerate the construction of 5G networks. Much of the focus is on opening up more wireless spectrum to carriers. The Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for licensing access to the spectrum, has identified a few chunks of spectrum that can be repurposed for 5G. Its first 5G-related spectrum auction ended last month, and another is scheduled to begin March 14. But carriers say they need more.

In a comment filed last month with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which advises the president on telecommunications policy issues, the industry group CTIA complained that less than 6.5 gigahertz of spectrum is devoted to mobile wireless while nearly 30 gigahertz is dedicated to satellite communications.

Trump signed a memo last year calling for a national strategy to allocate more spectrum to 5G, but it was short on specifics. In 2017, Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) introduced a more detailed plan called the Airwaves Act, which identifies several ranges of spectrum frequency that could be repurposed and auctioned off several years. The bill was reintroduced in the House last year but has yet to see a vote in either chamber.

Apart from auctioning spectrum, the government has been mostly focused on slashing telecom regulations on the theory that it will encourage more investment.

For example, the FCC repealed its Obama-era net neutrality protections, which banned broadband providers from blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against lawful content. FCC Chair Ajit Pai argued, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that the change was necessary, in part, because the rules deterred investment in broadband infrastructure.

LEARN MORE

The WIRED Guide to 5G

A real national broadband policy needs to serve the needs of the public, not just the carriers. “The problem is that the wireless industry is very good at using this hype to blow through any sort of regulatory oversight that’s designed to protect consumers, and to ignore the problem of rural broadband,” says Harold Feld of the consumer group Public Knowledge. Without oversight, Feld says, the industry might not deploy the fastest 5G technologies in places they consider less profitable, like low-income areas.

Regulators would do well to keep that in mind when considering T-Mobile’s proposed acquisition of Sprint. The companies say the merger would enable them to build 5G networks faster. But it would also reduce competition for wireless services, and could lead to higher prices.

Meanwhile, there’s more the government could do to help the US stay competitive in 5G. Building 5G networks will be expensive. One of the main technologies that carriers hope to use takes advantage of what’s called “millimeter wave” spectrum. Using this part of the spectrum could enable the mind-boggling speeds 5G boosters promise, but blanketing cities and towns with millimeter wave signals would require a huge number of cellular towers. These could be as small as smoke detectors, but just like your home WiFi router, these “micro-cells” will need wired connections to the internet. That will mean a big investment in fiber-optic networks that hardly anyone is talking about.

Last year, leaked documents revealed a proposal for the government to build a 5G network to complement commercial networks. The idea was widely panned across the political spectrum, and the White House denied that the idea was ever seriously considered. But, as Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford wrote for WIRED last year, a national program to build more fiber optic networks isn’t a crazy idea.

Ironically, the Trump administration’s trade war with China may be hampering the US’s progress on 5G, says FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “There are new tariffs on Chinese imports on key network inputs like modems, routers, and antennas,” she tells WIRED in statement. “They raise the price of deployment of 5G domestically and make it harder for the United States to lead.”

But during Tuesday’s address, Trump doubled down on tariffs.

AI and Quantum Computing

Although Trump didn’t mention the technology specifically Tuesday night, the White House had already signalled it would take a stronger interest in artificial technology in 2019.

National AI strategies are becoming quite popular—outside the US. A Canadian report from December noted 18 national or pan-national AI plans, including those from China, France, and the European Union.

The US should join that roll in the next few months. In December the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s lead on AI said that the US would have a new AI research strategy this spring.

The OSTP statement released Tuesday name-checked AI but didn’t offer any specifics on what new support Trump might offer people or companies working on the technology. In its limited AI engagement so far, the administration has portrayed AI primarily as a way to exert dominance over other nations. The Pentagon has established a Joint AI Center to speed adoption of the technology by US forces. A one-day White House summit on AI last year focused on how it gives the US an economic advantage. And the Department of Commerce is considering whether to use arms-control rules to restrict US companies from exporting some AI technologies, in areas such as image recognition or machine translation.

Chris Meserole, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, hopes the Trump administration can broaden its view of AI. The government needs to pay close attention to the technology’s effects on society as it is adopted in areas such as finance, education, law enforcement, and moderating online speech, he says.

Trump will also need to consider how his tough stance on immigration could undermine what OSTP’s Kratsios called his “commitment to American leadership in artificial intelligence.” That leadership is built on the diverse talent at American research institutions and tech companies. “It’s a small pool of folks, maybe ten to twenty thousand people, and a lot of those are foreign born Americans,” Meserole says. “We’re going to need a sensible immigration policy to maintain our lead in AI.”

Talent is also an area of concern for quantum computing, another emerging technology in which the US has a lead Trump says he wants to maintain. In December, he signed a bill that authorizes more than $ 1.2 billion of spending in support of quantum R&D and talent development over five years.

But new funds have not yet been appropriated for the program. Backers of the bill like Chris Monroe, a professor at the University of Maryland and CEO of quantum computing startup IonQ, say that Trump’s immigration policies are undermining efforts to expand America’s pool of quantum engineers. “The scientific community is aligned on that we want to keep these people here, and encourage more people to come,” he says.

As expected, Trump talked up his dream of a border wall. But he had nothing to say about attracting the sort of talent the US will need to lead in the cutting edge industries of the future. Let’s hope the actual legislation has more substance.


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Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp Accuses Georgia Democrats of Hacking
November 5, 2018 12:02 am|Comments (0)

In December 2016, Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp accused the Department of Homeland Security of attempting to hack his office’s systems, which include the Georgia voter registration database. Six months later, the DHS inspector general concluded that the allegations were unfounded; someone on a DHS computer had simply visited Georgia Secretary of State website. Now, two days before an election in which Kemp himself is the Republican candidate for governor, he has levied similarly unsupported charges—this time against his democratic opponents.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office released a short statement on Sunday morning that it had opened an investigation into the Democratic Party the previous evening, “after a failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system.”

The Democratic Party of Georgia sharply denied the accusations in a statement to reporters. “Brian Kemp’s scurrilous claims are 100 percent false, and this so-called investigation was unknown to the Democratic Party of Georgia until a campaign operative in Kemp’s official office released a statement this morning,” wrote Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the state’s Democratic Party. “This is yet another example of abuse of power by an unethical Secretary of State.”

Kemp’s office said it has alerted DHS and the FBI. A DHS official told WIRED in a statement that, “The State of Georgia has notified us of this issue. We defer to the State for further details.” The National Association of Secretaries of State declined to comment on state-specific investigations.

While anything is possible, Kemp’s claims seem unlikely on their face, especially when you parse what little information his team has provided. “We opened an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia after receiving information from our legal team about failed efforts to breach the online voter registration system and My Voter Page,” his office said in a statement. “We are working with our private sector vendors and investigators to review data logs.”

A legal team seems like a surprising source for the discovery of a hacking attempt, and the fact that security teams then began reviewing the logs makes whether any suspicious activity was actually seen an open question. Kemp’s office did not provide any information about the alleged attack, or when it purportedly occurred.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber crimes,” Georgia secretary of state press secretary Candice Broce wrote in a statement. Not sharing details of an investigation is a common practice, but that supposed restraint apparently did not apply to the direct, vocal accusation of Kemp’s Democratic opposition.

In his dual role as Georgia secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate, Kemp wields tremendous influence and faces monumental conflicts of interest. Over the past year, for instance, Kemp purged more than a million voters from Georgia’s rolls and has backed restrictive voter ID laws. On Friday, a federal judge determined that Kemp’s “exact match” policy, which required that a voter’s name on the roles perfectly mirror that on their identification, was likely to infringe on voting rights, and issued a preliminary injunction allowing impacted people to simply show proof of citizenship to a poll worker before voting.

Under Kemp’s watch, Georgia is also one of only five states that still uses electronic voting machines that do not generate a voter-verified paper backup—meaning there is no auditable alternative accounting of votes aside from the digital record. Kemp has resisted finding the funding to replace the machines, and was one of only about 11 top election officials who declined assistance from DHS to secure election infrastructure in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Georgia’s digital election infrastructure has had numerous vulnerabilities and data exposures while Kemp has been in charge.

“There are already allegations that the Georgia voter registration page is vulnerable to attack and data is vulnerable to modification,” says Jake Williams, founder of the Georgia-based security firm Rendition Infosec. “Instead of dealing with the potential fallout of that, Kemp is redirecting his administration’s failure to secure state infrastructure to his opponents.”

In his own preliminary evaluation of Georgia’s voter registration system, Williams says he found numerous signs that the system is badly coded and may be poorly secured. He did not download or alter data or probe the site, and simply reviewed publicly accessible information.

Indeed, it seems within the realm of possibility that Kemp has conflated concerns about vulnerabilities with actual hacking. A report from WhoWhatWhy on Sunday detailed a memo from the Democratic Party of Georgia that outlined flaws in the state’s voter registration system. If Democrats had actually tested those flaws without permission, they would have run afoul of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. But plenty of third-party security researchers have identified issues with Georgia’s voter registration system without actively testing them.

Kemp’s opponent in the Georgia gubernatorial race, Democrat Stacey Abrams, told CNN’s State Of The Union on Sunday that Kemp’s office’s hacking accusations are “a desperate attempt…to distract people from the fact that two different federal judges found him derelict in his duties and forced him to allow absentee ballots to be counted and those who are being held captive by the exact match system be allowed to vote.”

Meanwhile, Kemp has plastered the accusations on the front of the Georgia Secretary of State website, where state residents also go to find voting information. And the Kemp for Governor campaign issued a parallel statement about the accusations of voter registration service hacking. “In an act of desperation, the Democrats tried to expose vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voter registration system,” the campaign wrote. “Thanks to the systems and protocols established by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, no personal information was breached.”

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office did not specifically accuse Democrats of attempting to penetration test the voter registration system to reveal flaws. It is also unclear why the party would attempt to steal voters’ personal information in the first place, given that the Georgia Secretary of State’s office will send it—minus Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses—to any member of the public who requests it. It costs $ 250.


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Chinese electric car makers, nurtured by state, now look for way out of glut
October 17, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Humming away in an industrial estate in the eastern Chinese resort city of Hangzhou, electric vehicle designer Automagic is one of hundreds of companies looking to ride the country’s wave of investment in clean transportation.

The company wants to find a niche in a crowded sector that already includes renewable equipment manufacturers, battery makers and property developers like the Evergrande Group, as well as established auto giants.

But not all of these electric vehicle hopefuls will make it to the finish line.

“This (large number of firms) is inevitable, because whenever there is an emerging technology or emerging industry, there must be a hundred schools of thought and a hundred flowers blooming,” said Zhou Xuan, Automagic’s general manager, referring to Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s ill-fated 1956 “Hundred Flowers” campaign aimed at encouraging new ideas.

China is using preferential policies and brute manufacturing power to position itself at the forefront of global efforts to electrify transportation. By the end of 2017, ownership of new energy vehicles (NEV) – those powered by fuels other than petrol – reached 1.8 million in China, over half the world’s total.

With market expectations high, Chinese EV maker NIO, a rival to Tesla, launched a high-profile IPO in New York last month.

In July, the industry ministry published a list of 428 recommended NEV designs built by 118 enterprises throughout the country. It included not only established carmakers like FAW Group and Geely Automobiles, but also small, new entrants with names like Greenwheel, Wuhu Bodge Automobiles and Jiangsu Friendly Cars.

But regulators are already concerned about overcapacity and “blind development.” As subsidies are cut, smaller start-ups need to develop a competitive edge.

“After a period of intense competition, the rocks will appear, and the weak will be consolidated or eliminated,” Zhou said.

STRATEGIC GLUTS

Overcapacity has been a persistent concern for many Chinese industries, with thousands of firms, backed by growth-hungry local governments and supported by risky loans, expanding quickly.

Over the years, China has been forced to take action against price-sapping supply gluts in steel, coal and solar panels, among others.

Electric vehicles could be next, as local governments feel pressure to create champions while following state instructions to “upgrade” their heavy industrial economies.

Some executives say the market is already distorted by subsidies granted to inefficient and poorly performing firms.

“Right now, the rapid growth of NEVs is not a market choice but government-guided behavior, with growth stimulated by subsidies,” said Li Lei, deputy director of the new energy department of Jiangxi Dacheng Autos, a new joint venture carmaker in eastern China’s Jiangxi province.

Though sales soared 88 percent in the first eight months of 2018, hitting 601,000 units, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has promised to tackle irrational growth in the sector.

In draft rules released this year, it said it would “plan and arrange the new energy vehicle industry scientifically,” and block new production capacity in regions where the utilization rate was less than 80 percent.

But China has often relied on “strategic” supply gluts to boost competitiveness. Excess production in solar power forced producers to reduce costs and compete, subsidy-free, with conventional energy sources.

Liu Xiaolu, sales manager with ICONIQ Motors, a Tianjin-based luxury electric vehicle maker, said the large number of companies could be a “necessary stage” of development for the sector.

“You cannot say that 20 enterprises will definitely be able to develop the entire industry by themselves, and it probably needs everyone to come together, and then gradually get eliminated afterwards,” he said.

COMPETITIVE EDGE

Established automakers told Reuters they’d already had plenty of time to prepare for the shift towards electric transportation.

Xu Hongfei, general manager with Zotye Automobile, a mid-sized Chinese automaker, said it had been preparing for China’s “exit schedule” from traditional vehicles for more than a decade and had developed core technologies such as batteries.

With a staff of 20, Automagic was founded in 2015 by former engineers from IBM and Geely. It is talking with partners to bring its models to the market.

The company is focusing on small, short-distance family vehicles rather than large-scale cars built by the likes of BYD. It is also seeking better ways to produce, recharge and recycle batteries.

“The most important point is that new energy vehicles need to be energy efficient, with low energy consumption, so we focus on cutting weight and making cars smaller so battery use can be reduced,” said Zhong Jin, Automagic’s co-founder and chief executive.

GCL, one of China’s biggest renewable developers, plans to turn its “new energy town” at Jurong in Jiangsu province into a major manufacturing center with its expertise in batteries and recycling expertise, and even create a battery rental system.

Although all the companies are trying to get an edge through innovation, Li of Jiangxi Dacheng said success could simply come down to market positioning.

“Our company doesn’t have any very big advantages or very big disadvantages and competition is dependent first on branding, second on financing, and third on sales channels,” he said.

Additional reporting by Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Gerry Doyle

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Ohio allows testing self-driving vehicles on state roads
May 9, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Ohio on Wednesday became the latest U.S. state to open its roads for testing self-driving vehicles, in a boost to a nascent industry that is facing heightened scrutiny over safety concerns.

The self-driving vehicles should meet safety requirements and comply with Ohio’s traffic laws, Republican Governor John Kasich said in an executive order.

Autonomous vehicle testing is also under way in Michigan, Pittsburgh, Arizona and California.

Calls for more regulation for companies developing self-driving cars followed the death of a woman in March after being hit by an Uber SUV in Arizona.

The Ohio order mandates that the self-driving vehicles register with Drive Ohio, created by Kasich in January, and have designated operators to monitor the vehicles and report accidents.

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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Italian state lender CDP set to buy stake of up to 5 percent in Telecom Italia: sources
April 5, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian state lender CDP intends to buy shares in Telecom Italia (TIM) on the market or in block orders, a source told Reuters on Thursday.

Telecom Italia new logo is seen at the headquarter in Rozzano neighbourhood of Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

CDP, which is controlled by Italy’s Treasury, does not currently hold any shares in TIM, the source, who is close to the matter, added.

The decision on the share acquisition, including its size, will be taken at CDP’s board meeting on Thursday.

Reporting by Stefano Bernabei, writing by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Kim Coghill

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China busts smugglers using drones to transport smartphones: state media
March 30, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Customs officers in southern China’s technology hub Shenzhen busted a group of criminals using drones to smuggle 500 million yuan ($ 79.8 million) worth of smartphones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, the official Legal Daily reported on Friday.

Authorities arrested 26 suspects who used drones to fly two 200-meter (660-feet) cables between Hong Kong and the mainland to transport refurbished iPhones with a total value of 500 million yuan, the paper said in a report on the crackdown by Shenzhen and Hong Kong customs.

“It’s the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes,” the Legal Daily reported, citing a news conference held by Shenzhen customs on Thursday.

The smugglers usually operated after midnight and only needed seconds to transport small bags holding more than 10 iPhones using the drones, the report quoted customs as saying. The gang could smuggle as many as 15,000 phones across the border in one night, it said.

Regulating the use of drones has become an important task for China, the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer drones.

China published strict rules last year to tackle incidents of drones straying into aircraft flight paths, including requiring owners of civilian drones to register craft up to a certain weight under their real names.

Shenzhen customs was quoted by the Legal Daily as saying it would closely monitor new types of smuggling with high-tech devices and enhance their capability with technical equipment, including drones and high-resolution monitors, to detect smuggling activity.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Se Young Lee; Editing by Paul Tait

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Prosecutors say Long Island woman tried to use bitcoin to aid Islamic State
December 15, 2017 12:43 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – A suburban New York hospital technician accused of using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to launder money meant for the militant group Islamic State was arrested on charges of money laundering in support of a foreign terrorist organization and bank fraud, prosecutors said Thursday.

Federal prosecutors in New York’s Suffolk County claimed in court papers that Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, used fraudulent credit cards and loans to accumulate $ 85,000, which she attempted to transfer to the radical group Islamic State before attempting to go to Syria to join it.

Prosecutors said that after traveling to Jordan to work with the Syrian American Medical Society, Shahnaz returned to the United States and applied for six credit cards, which she used to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The resident of the hamlet of Brentwood in Islip on Long Island appeared before a federal judge late on Thursday and was ordered detained, prosecutors said.

Shahnaz’ lawyer, Steve Zissou, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

After borrowing about $ 85,000 with fraudulently obtained credit cards and loans and withdrawing another $ 22,000 from bank accounts in her own name, Shahnaz sent funds to recipients in Pakistan, China and Turkey, prosecutors said.

Some of that money came in the form of $ 63,000 in bitcoin and other crypto-currencies purchased with the credit cards, prosecutors said.

Arraignment and detention documents released on Thursday showed that Shahnaz, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said that in July Shahnaz obtained a Pakistani passport and booked a flight to Pakistan with a layover in Istanbul with the intention of going to Syria. She was stopped by law enforcement investigators at John F. Kennedy airport and questioned about her trip and the financial transactions, prosecutors said.

She had $ 9,500 in cash with her, just under the limit of $ 10,000 that a person can take out of the country without declaring it to immigration and customs officials, they said.

Subsequent searches of Shahnaz’ electronic devices showed numerous searches for Islamic State-related material, including travel checklists.

She faces three charges of money laundering, including money laundering in support of a foreign terrorist organization, and is also charged with bank fraud. She faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the money laundering charges and up to 30 years for the bank fraud charge.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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Tanium CEO’s Refreshingly Honest Take on the State of Internet Security
October 22, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

This is your Cyber Saturday edition of Fortune’s tech newsletter for October 7, 2017.

On Tuesday, the wood-smoke air of California’s wildfires descended on the Bay Area as cybersecurity professionals gathered at the Palace Hotel for an industry event.

I spent the morning interviewing Orion Hindawi, CEO of Tanium, the world’s highest privately valued cyber startup (worth $ 3.75 billion at last appraisal in May), for a fireside chat at his company’s second annual conference, Converge 2017. Hindawi has a no-nonsense approach to business—a suffer-no-fools attitude that landed him in the sights of a couple of unflattering stories about his management style earlier this year. (He later apologized for being “hard-edged.”)

On stage the chief exec delivered his peculiarly unvarnished view of the state of Internet security. “The idea that we’re going to give you a black box and it auto-magically fixes everything, that’s a lie,” Hindawi told the audience. (One could almost hear a wince from part of the room seating his PR team.) “All I can tell you is we can give you better and better tooling every day. We can make it harder for the attackers to succeed. That’s the best I can offer.”

Hindawi is a realist through-and-through. His outlook is perhaps best summed up by his response to a question about whether he subscribes to a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty view of the cyber threatscape. His reply would become a running joke for the rest of the conference. He said simply, “It’s just a glass, dude.”

Other tidbits of wisdom from Hindawi: not all hackers are Russian spies (the majority are lowly criminals). Unsecured Internet of Things devices pose a risk to everyone. And sometimes cyber insurance is the way to go when old systems are all but impossible to patch; the decision boils down to managing “operational risk, like earthquakes,” he said.

Hacking is not a dark miasma that penetrates all things, although it can sometimes feel that way. Companies, like Tanium, that are building the tools to swing the balance back in defenders’ favor without over-promising provide hope. Enjoy the weekend; I will be heading north of San Francisco, visiting friends who, luckily, were unharmed by the area’s recent conflagrations.

Robert Hackett

@rhhackett

[email protected]

Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach me via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my about.me), PGP encrypted email (see public key on my Keybase.io), Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.

THREATS

Always use (advanced) protection. Google debuted an opt-in mode for high-risk users who wish to lock down their accounts on services such as Gmail, Google Drive, and YouTube with extra security. (Paging John Podesta.) The feature requires people to log-in using a special USB key (or Bluetooth dongle for mobile devices), it prevents third-party applications from accessing your Google data, and it adds beefed up malware-scanning of incoming documents. This author plans to sign up.

Gather ’round the good stuff. Pizza Hut warned customers that their personal information and payment card data may be at risk after hackers gained access to the company’s website and app for a 28-hour period starting on Oct. 1. An estimated 60,000 customers are thought to have been impacted. The company is offering victims free credit monitoring for a year.

Unicorn? More like Duo-corn. Duo Security, a Mich.-based cybersecurity startup whose tools help companies manage people’s digital identities, said it raised $ 70 million at a $ 1.17 billion valuation (including the capital raised) this week. Th round catapults the firm into “unicorn” territory, the swelling ranks of private firms occupied by young guns valued at $ 1 billion or more. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s security chief, recently praised Duo as the maker of his favorite cybersecurity product.

KRACKing Wi-Fi. A couple of Belgian researchers published a paper containing proof of concept code that exploits vulnerabilities in the way cryptographic keys are exchanged over Wi-Fi, allowing hackers to steal people’s data. Big tech companies like Microsoft issued a patch for the so-called KRACK bug on Oct. 10, Apple is in the middle of testing patches for iOS and macOS, and Google, whose Android 6.0 devices are the most vulnerable, said it would release a patch in early Nov.

Cyber insurers are going to get Mercked. Cyber insurers might be on the hook to cough up $ 275 million to cover damage to drugmaker Merck as a result of a June cyber attack, dubbed “NotPetya,” according to one firm’s forecast. The companies at issue have not yet disclosed figures themselves.

Surprise! It is depressingly easy for penetration testers to break into places where they are not supposed to be.

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ACCESS GRANTED

Boycotts are hardly an option: To opt out of a credit score is to opt out of modern financial life itself. As Equifax’s now former CEO Richard Smith testified in October, if consumers were allowed to abandon the credit system, it would be “devastating to the economy.” The better answer is systemic reform to the credit oligopoly.

—Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts and Jen Wieczner explain what practical recourse consumers and regulators have when it comes to dealing with the major credit bureaus in the wake of a massive data breach at Equifax. 

ONE MORE THING

The adventures of John Titor.  Namesake of a bygone Internet hoax, “John Titor” claimed to be a man sent from the future to retrieve a portable computer. Titor sent faxes to an eccentric radio program, Coast to Coast AM, that specialized in the paranormal. Here’s an oral history of that running joke; the pseudo-scientific explanations of time travel are delightful.

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10 Key Takeaways From The RightScale State of The Cloud Report
February 19, 2017 8:10 am|Comments (0)

Key takeaways for enterprise CXOs from the RightScale State of the Cloud 2017 report


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