Category Archives: Cybersecurity

Global Tech Stories (April 5, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

A fungal spray that can fight soil degradation and air pollution has been developed in India.

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Zyxel, a hardware company, has released a patch for the CVE-2022-0342 flaw. The flaw affected VPNs and Firewalls due to an authentication bypass vulnerability in the common gateway interface of a device.

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Twitter and Elon Musk reached a deal to allow Musk onto the board but limited to 14.9% common stock. This deal would prevent a buyout of the company’s stock.

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Darknet site Hydra, the largest cybercrime forum globally, has been shut down by German authorities.

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According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there are five things we can do to fight climate change effectively with current technology and tools.

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Deeper dive on the IPCC report.

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Filed under Agriculture, Climate Change, Cybersecurity, News, Technology and Proto Types, Water

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of March 27, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of March 27, 2022.

Global News

Two state-backed North Korean hacker groups exploited a vulnerability in Chrome to launch a zero-day attack. The vulnerability, CVE-2022-0609, has been patched but the primarily means to actually target people was a complex social engineering operation that involved either compromising legitimate sites or creating fake profiles and sites to lure potential targets in various industries.

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The deep ocean current is impacted by global temperature and carbon, and it’s getting faster with more carbon. This could have a major impact on future sequestration of carbon and on ocean life.

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A new lithium battery that can stretch and flex. This could one day lead to clothing that can recharge and power electronics.

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Americas

Canadian Indigenous delegations will be meeting with Pope Francis this week to ask for a formal apology from the Catholic Church for abuses and crimes against Indigenous communities due to the residential schools that operated between the early 19th Century and 20th Century.

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El Salvador is moving forward with trying to popularize bitcoin as a legal tender, including the release of bitcoin-backed bond for the treasury. While the president and crypto enthusiasts love the idea, many Salvadorans are not using the currency and critics, such as the International Monetary Fund, point to the risks and volatility of the digital currency as threat to the economy.

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Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Organization of American States, Arturo McFields, resigned on Wednesday after accusing president Daniel Ortega and his government of suppressing freedoms and attacking opposition parties.  

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Africa

A court in Uganda issued an arrest warrant for Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, an author and critic of the government who fled the country for Germany after he was allegedly tortured by government agents. He is the second critic to flee the country.

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A ceasefire and truce were have taken hold yesterday in Ethiopia between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. First initiated unilaterally by the government, the TPLF has agreed to the truce, which could help deliver humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands living in the Tigray region and possibly lead to an end of the conflict.

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The NGO Big Ship is mobilizing communities in Mombasa, Kenya, use plastic waste to fight both marine plastic pollution and deforestation. They accomplish this by using yoghut cups to replant mangrove seedlings. With a survival rate of 95% for the mangrove seedlings, these communities reforest critical swampland in Tudor Creek while taking hundreds of thousands of plastic cups out of the marine and mangrove environment.

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Europe

According to General Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ministry of Defence’s Intelligence Directorate in Ukraine, Putin is attempting to cut the country into two and install a pro-Kremlin government in Russian-occupied territory.

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Explainer- What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, why does it exist, and what it’s doing to help Ukraine?

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Russia’s anti-war protestors and activists are still operating despite massive repression by Putin’s government and over 15,000 arrests and sentences of more than 15 years in prison for individuals protesting the Ukrainian war. While opposition to the war keeps some in Russia, others fear being unable to come back should they leave.

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Middle East

The Houthi movement and the Yemeni government agreed to a prisoner swap on Sunday. The swap will be 1,400 Houthi prisoners in return for 823 prisoners, including the brother of the Yemeni president, according to the Houthis’ national committee for prisoner affairs, however the Yemeni government has not reached a final agreement with the Houthis yet.

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Qatar’s state fund for development will be going into a 50-50 partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help farmers adapt to climate change. The total promised investment is 200 million dollars, and will focus on projects to help low-income farmers in Africa adapt agricultural practices and technologies to better prepare for the changes brought on by climate change.

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The LGBTQ+ community in Iraq faces persecution from state-backed authorities such as the police, and disorganized private groups according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

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Asia

North Korea tested new intercontinental ballistic missiles last week. While promising future tests and greater military capabilities, some analysts see this as both part of the typical activity marking the anniversary of the founder of North Korea’s birthday, Kim Il-Sung, on April 15.

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The United States, U.K. and Canada are launching targeted sanctions on the Myanmar military and government and arms dealers.

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Thousands are heading to Islamabad to rally as embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan potentially faces a no-confidence vote.

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Filed under Agriculture, Asia, Climate Change, Cybersecurity, International Conflict, News, Russia, South Asia, Technology and Proto Types

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of March 14, 2022)

After two week hiatus, we’re back with more news from the world.

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of March 14, 2022.

Global News

The global reset following the COVID pandemic could provide an opportunity to combat gender inequality.

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According to Ukraine’s top climate scientist, Svitlana Krakovska, the underlying root of the war’s devastation and climate change are fossil fuels. Russian oil and gas exports contribute to climate change and are sold for weapons and cash to fund the war.

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Investors are calling on a 14-point plan for companies lobbying on climate. The coalition of companies and investors supporting The Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying represent more than $130 trillion dollars.

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Americas

To combat anti-Asian violence, Asian American and Pacific Islander American teachers are sharing their history and culture in class.

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Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro confirmed a U.S. delegation met with government officials to discuss several issues, including energy.

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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is pushing for a mining law that targets indigenous lands in the Amazon. Despite having only 11% of potash reserves being on tribal lands, the law is being touted as needed.

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Africa

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pfizer to supply COVID antiviral pills.

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Burkina Faso has more militant attacks and violence than Mali.

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The war in Ethiopia killed 750 civilians in the Amhara and Afar regions in the second half of 2021.

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Europe

Greece and Turkey are working to improve bilateral relations.

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In Moldova, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has a mixed response. Officially neutral in the conflict, Moldova holds historic ties to Russia and a minority are traditionally supportive of Russian policies, but some are now blaming the Kremlin for the invasion.

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Internet service providers balance efforts to provide access to service to Russian customers in face of the Kremlin’s censorship and control tools. While cutting down on Internet access would limit the reach of cyber-attacks, it also curtails access to outside information and news.

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Middle East

Iranian oil may provide an advantage in the nuclear negotiations, but it will not be enough to replace Russian oil and natural gas.

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The Saudi-led coalition has killed tens of thousands since 2015 according to UNICEF.

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Saudi redevelopment projects in Jeddah are stirring protests.

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Asia

U.S. officials reported that Moscow might be trying to buy military equipment and possibly weapons from Beijing. Representatives from Beijing have denied this claim.

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The proposed summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and U.S. President Joe Biden will be postponed due to scheduling conflicts according to Indonesian and Cambodian officials.

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Relations between Japan and South Korea may improve soon as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol talked over the phone Friday. Both sides agreed on mending relations between the two nations.

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Filed under Climate Change, Coronavirus, Cybersecurity, International Conflict, News, Russia

Global Tech Stories (February 15, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

Explainer: What is the Ethereum Swarm?

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The BlackByte group launched attacks that penetrated at least three critical infrastructure sectors and several US and foreign businesses last year.

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In 2021, 74% of all revenue from ransomware attacks went to Russian-affiliated hacker groups.

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The James Webb Space Telescope has taken its first pictures in space. The object was of the star HD 84406 in the constellation of Ursa Major.

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After testing bionic implants to improve eyesight for sheep, Researchers in Australia came one step closer to bionic eyes for humans.

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Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan developed a way to produce hydrogen using cobalt and manganese.

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Filed under Climate Change, Cybersecurity, News, Technology and Proto Types

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of December 19, 2021)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of Dec. 19, 2021.

Global News

The “hacker-for-hire” industry is taking on new and threatening potential with competing spyware companies targeting political dissidents for authoritarian countries.

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The United Nations has failed to open new negotiations governing the use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) after push back by weapon system creators such as Russia and the United States.

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United Nations special rapporteur for the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called upon the international community to work with Bangladesh to help with Rohingya refugees in the country while cutting off resources and support to the Myanmar military.

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Americas

Anvisa, the national health regulator of Brazil, has requested additional law enforcement support after growing threats from anti-vaccine proponents stemming from the organization’s approval of COVID-19 vaccines for young children. Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil and major source of anti-vaccine sentiments, has threatened to release identities of those working at Anvisa and has spread misinformation throughout the country.

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Chile elected the youngest president in the country’s history, Gabriel Boric, with 56% of the vote. Boric plans on introducing European style social democracy to the country to tackle economic and social inequalities, but faces a divided congress and a rewriting of the nation’s constitution. However, this may also be a bell weather for the rest of Latin America.

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Africa

Morocco is starting to implement recycling via composting waste with the help of Swiss company Elephant Vert (translated as Green Elephant). However, the kingdom still lacks a comprehensive sorting and collection.

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The United Nations voted to set up a three-person team to investigate human rights abuses in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, much to the objections of the government. While a report on abuses in the region already exists, it may be under reporting abuses.

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A national public consultation is scheduled to be held between January and March 2022, according to Tunisian president Kais Saied, as part of plans to create a national referendum on political reforms scheduled for July 25, 2022. The Parliament is still frozen and will be until December 17, 2022, though they will be impacted by the referendum.

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Europe

Thousands are protesting proposed legislation that would force the sale of TVN, a US-owned channel that has been critical of the government. This follows other attempts by the Polish government to target critics in the media, according to opposition parties and protestors.

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Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated Moscow is ready to increase provocative actions along the border with Ukraine and other former Soviet countries if their demands are not taken seriously by NATO and the West. Among those demands are keeping Ukraine and other former Soviet countries from joining NATO and rolling back military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe. These demands may be viewed as provocative to the West, but they might be considered defensive by Moscow, which views their regional security as under threat by an expanding NATO encircling Russia’s Western border.

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German environment minister, Steffi Lemke, warns of the next crisis is a biodiversity crisis. While fighting against climate change is needed, lawmakers and society also need to combat the loss of species, and there can be overlap of efforts such as restoration of natural habitats to fight both.

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Middle East

Artifacts ravaged by Daesh (Islamic State) are being restored in the Museum of Mosul in Iraq, with the help of French and American and local experts. In addition, the Iraqi government is making repatriation of stolen artifacts a priority and plans restoring the museum to its pre Daesh state.

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The first confirmed case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been announced in Iran by the health ministry. There are two more potential cases under review, and the alleged source was a middle-aged man coming back from travel in the United Arab Emirates.

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Idlib, Syria still needs aid and humanitarian assistance, but the deliveries into rebel-held territory by the United Nations requires authorization that is set to expire Jan. 10, 2022.

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Asia

Laos and China opened a scenic railway connecting the capital of Laos, Vientiane, with Kunming in Southern China. Laos is heavily indebted to China already and faces potential risks from the rail project such as being unable to pay off the investment and being on the hook for some or all of the debt if the project fails to generate a profit.

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The Organization for Islamic Cooperation concluded a summit in Islamabad, Pakistan to create ways to provide financing and support to the people of Afghanistan without directly dealing with the Taliban. The country is on the brink of economic collapse as the Taliban have taken little effort to actually fulfil the promises they made on women’s rights and protecting minorities, forcing nations with assets from Afghanistan to find ways to help the people without rewarding the Taliban for ignoring their own promises.

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21,000 people have been displaced by major flooding in Malaysia after the equivalent of one month’s rainfall fell within 48 hours between Friday and Saturday.

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Filed under Central Asia, Coronavirus, Cybersecurity, East Asia, International Conflict, News, Technology and Proto Types