• Nations Must Work Together to Fight Online Fraud, UN Official Says

    A top U.N. official last week said the syndicates running Asia’s massive online fraud industry will rotate operations among lawless areas of Southeast Asia unless governments cooperate to bring them down, after Cambodia said it was cracking down on cybercrime compounds. The networks have swindled hundreds of millions of dollars, regional police have told VOA, setting up fake profiles offering romance, moonshot investment schemes with huge returns or posing as police officers to solicit payoffs. They target residents of countries from China to Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the United States and Australia. “The response needs to be strategic and regional, because today it might be a location in Cambodia but tomorrow a group uproots under pressure and shifts to Myanmar, Laos or the Philippines,” Jeremy Douglas, the Bangkok-based regional representative of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime told VOA. “Until governments across the region address, disrupt and police the places …

    29/09/2022

  • Rohingya Seek Reparations from Facebook for Role in Massacre

    With roosters crowing in the background as he speaks from the crowded refugee camp in Bangladesh that’s been his home since 2017, Maung Sawyeddollah, 21, describes what happened when violent hate speech and disinformation targeting the Rohingya minority in Myanmar began to spread on Facebook. “We were good with most of the people there. But some very narrow minded and very nationalist types escalated hate against Rohingya on Facebook,” he said. “And the people who were good, in close communication with Rohingya. changed their mind against Rohingya and it turned to hate.” For years, Facebook, now called Meta Platforms Inc., pushed the narrative that it was a neutral platform in Myanmar that was misused by malicious people, and that despite its efforts to remove violent and hateful material, it unfortunately fell short. That narrative echoes its response to the role it has played in other conflicts around the world, whether …

    29/09/2022

  • Oregon Town Hosts 1st Wind-Solar-Battery ‘Hybrid’ Plant

    A renewable energy plant being commissioned in Oregon on Wednesday that combines solar power, wind power and massive batteries to store the energy generated there is the first utility-scale plant of its kind in North America. The project, which will generate enough electricity to power a small city at maximum output, addresses a key challenge facing the utility industry as the U.S. transitions away from fossil fuels and increasingly turns to solar and wind farms for power. Wind and solar are clean sources of power, but utilities have been forced to fill in gaps when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining with fossil fuels like coal or natural gas. At the Oregon plant, massive lithium batteries will store up to 120 megawatt-hours of power generated by the 300-megawatt wind farms and 50-megawatt solar farm so it can be released to the electric grid on demand. At maximum …

    28/09/2022

  • Meta Disables Russian Propaganda Network Targeting Europe

    A sprawling disinformation network originating in Russia sought to use hundreds of fake social media accounts and dozens of sham news websites to spread Kremlin talking points about the invasion of Ukraine, Meta revealed Tuesday. The company, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said it identified and disabled the operation before it was able to gain a large audience. Nonetheless, Facebook said it was the largest and most complex Russian propaganda effort that it has found since the invasion began. The operation involved more than 60 websites created to mimic legitimate news sites including The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom and Germany’s Der Spiegel. Instead of the actual news reported by those outlets, however, the fake sites contained links to Russian propaganda and disinformation about Ukraine. More than 1,600 fake Facebook accounts were used to spread the propaganda to audiences in Germany, Italy, France, the U.K. and Ukraine. The findings …

    27/09/2022

  • Counter-drone Technology Stopping Malicious Drones from Doing Harm

    As military and civilian drones become increasingly popular, there are growing concerns about the threats some of them may pose over places like airports, prisons, and electrical grids. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports on a company that has developed counter-drone technology that can identify and mitigate threats from malicious drones. VIdeographer: Adam Greenbaum Produced by: Julie Taboh, Adam Greenbaum …

    27/09/2022

  • Musk Faces Deposition With Twitter Ahead of October Trial

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk is scheduled to spend the next few days with lawyers for Twitter, answering questions ahead of an October trial that will determine whether he must carry through with his $44 billion agreement to acquire the social platform after attempting to back out of the deal. The deposition, planned for Monday, Tuesday and a possible extension on Wednesday, will not be public. As of Sunday evening, it was not clear whether Musk will appear in person or by video. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it’s scheduled to last just five days. Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. Twitter shares closed Friday at $41.58. Musk indicated in July that he wanted to …

    26/09/2022

  • VOA Interview: Anne Neuberger

    Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, spoke about Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine and Iranian cyberattacks on Albania with VOA White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara on Thursday. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. VOA: Anne Nueberger, thank you so much for joining me all today. I’m going to start with Russia. President Vladimir Putin has significantly increased his war efforts. He’s announced mobilization, referendums, threatening nuclear attacks. Are we also expecting an increase in cyberattacks? DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FOR CYBER AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGY ANNE NEUBERGER: So first, thank you so much for having me here. It’s really great to be here. Throughout the conflict, beginning when Russia first did its further invasion of Ukraine, we’ve seen Russia use destructive cyberattacks as well as intelligence collection to advance its war mission. We saw the initial destructive attacks on satellite systems, then …

    23/09/2022

  • Experts Warn US Is Falling Behind China in Key Technologies

    At a gathering of current and former U.S. officials and private-sector executives Friday in Washington, concern was rampant that the United States has fallen behind China in the development of several key technologies, and that it faces an uncertain future in which other countries could challenge its historic dominance in the development of cutting-edge communications and computing technology. The gathering was convened by the Special Competitive Studies Project, an effort spearheaded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the stated purpose of which is “to ensure that America is positioned and organized to win the techno-economic competition between now and 2030, the critical window for shaping the future.” Among attendees, the prevailing sentiment was that the nation’s ability to actually win that competition was under threat. Dire predictions A few days before the summit, the SCSP issued a report predicting what would happen if China became the global technological leader. “Understanding …

    17/09/2022

  • Privacy Threatened as More Governments Use Spyware to Monitor Their People

    A U.N. report warns the right to privacy is under siege as an increasing number of governments are using spyware to keep tabs on their people. The U.N. human rights office said urgent steps are needed to address the spread of spyware. It noted many governments are using modern digital networked technologies to monitor, control and oppress their populations. U.N. officials say the technologies must be reined in and regulated in accord with international human rights laws and standards. Human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said the report details how surveillance tools such as the Pegasus software can turn most smartphones into 24-hour surveillance devices. She said the encroachment into peoples’ privacy is very concerning. “For example, the smartphones that people have, they can be made into devices that actually offer people insights into what we do, where we go, who we meet with, what we say,” she said. “And that …

    16/09/2022

  • YouTube, Meta Will Expand Policies, Research to Fight Online Extremism

    Major tech companies on Thursday committed to taking fresh steps to combat online extremism by removing more violent content and promoting media literacy with young users, as part of a White House summit on fighting hate-fueled violence. Platforms such as Alphabet’s YouTube and Meta’s Facebook have come under fire for years from critics who say the companies have allowed hate speech, lies and violent rhetoric to flourish on their services. U.S. President Joe Biden earlier Thursday called on Americans to combat racism and extremism during a summit at the White House that gathered experts and survivors and included bipartisan local leaders. YouTube said it will expand its policies on violent extremism to remove content that glorifies violent acts, even if the creators of the videos are not related to a terrorist organization. The video streaming site already prohibits violent incitement, but in at least some cases has not applied existing …

    16/09/2022

  • With $19.5 Billion Investment, India Joins Global Race to Make Semiconductors

    India’s ambitions to create a domestic semiconductor manufacturing capability got a boost with this week’s announcement of a $ 19.5 billion investment by Taiwanese electronic company Foxconn and local conglomerate Vedanta. The companies will set up manufacturing facilities for producing the chips in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Gujarat. The plants are expected to be operational by 2024. Modi called the agreement an important step in “accelerating India’s semi-conductor manufacturing ambitions” in a tweet Tuesday following the announcement. India has joined the global race to make the chips at the heart of modern electronic devices from smartphones to cars, but for which there have been global shortages since the COVID-19 pandemic caused supply chain constraints. India announced a $10 billion economic package in December to attract semiconductor makers as it looks to become a production hub for the critical components. It has also promised to expand incentives. So far …

    15/09/2022

  • Whistleblower Tells Senators of Twitter Security Flaws

    U.S. senators expressed empathy with Twitter’s former security chief during a hearing on Tuesday as he outlined serious concerns about the influential social media platform. “It doesn’t matter who has keys if you don’t have any locks on the doors. And this kind of vulnerability is not in the abstract. It’s not far-fetched to say an employee in the company could take over the accounts of all of the senators in this room,” said Peiter “Mudge” Zatko in testimony before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. “Given the real harm to users and national security, I determined it was necessary to take on the personal and professional risk to myself and to my family of becoming a whistleblower.” Zatko, appearing under subpoena, added he was not making the disclosures “out of spite or to harm Twitter.” Zatko, who made a number of revelations previously in an 84-page complaint to the Securities and …

    13/09/2022

  • Twitter Whistleblower Bringing Security Warnings to Congress

    Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the Twitter whistleblower who is warning of security flaws, privacy threats and lax controls at the social platform, will take his case to Congress Tuesday.  Senators who will hear Zatko’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee are alarmed by his Twitter allegations at a time of heightened concern over the safety of powerful tech platforms.  It’s Zatko’s second Capitol Hill appearance, and in some ways a 21st-century echo of his first. In 1998, he testified before a Senate panel along with fellow members of a hacker collective who warned about the security dangers of the then-emerging internet age.  Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert, was Twitter’s head of security until he was fired early this year. He brought the stunning allegations to Congress and federal regulators, asserting that the influential social platform misled regulators about its cyber defenses and efforts to control millions of “spam” or fake accounts.  …

    13/09/2022

  • Ethereum Blockchain Set for ‘Monumental’ Overhaul

    An army of computer programmers scattered across the globe is set to attempt one of the biggest software upgrades the crypto sector has ever seen this week to reduce its environmentally unfriendly energy consumption. Developers have spent years working on a more energy-efficient version of the ethereum blockchain, a digital ledger that underpins a multibillion-dollar ecosystem of cryptocurrencies, digital tokens (NFTs), games and apps. Ethereum — the second most important blockchain after bitcoin — burns through more power each year than New Zealand. Experts say the changeover, expected to take place between Tuesday and Thursday, would slash energy consumption by more than 99%. Enthusiasts hope a greener ethereum will spur wider adoption, particularly as a way of enabling banks to automate transactions and other processes. But so far the technology has been used largely to create speculative financial products. The ING bank said in a recent note that the switchover …

    11/09/2022

  • Small Nuclear Reactors Emerge as Energy Option, but Risks Loom

    A global search for alternative sources to Russian energy in light of the war in Ukraine has refocused attention on smaller, easier-to-build nuclear power stations, which proponents say could provide a cheaper, more efficient alternative to older model mega-plants. U.K.-based Rolls-Royce SMR says its small modular reactors, or SMRs, are much cheaper and quicker to get running than standard plants, delivering the kind of energy security that many nations are seeking. France already relies on nuclear power for a majority of its electricity, and Germany kept the option of reactivating two nuclear plants it will shut down at the end of the year as Russia cuts natural gas supplies. While Rolls-Royce SMR and its competitors have signed deals with countries from Britain to Poland to start building the stations, they are many years away from operating and cannot solve the energy crisis now hitting Europe.   Nuclear power also poses …

    10/09/2022