Monday October 21, 2019
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Here’s How Chinese Hackers Got Hold of US NSA Tools

Scientific research organisations, educational institutions and computer networks were among the targets

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Representational image.

Chinese state-sponsored hackers got some of the US National Security Agency’s tools and they repurposed these tools to attack allies of the US and private firms in Asia and Europe in 2016, the New York Times reported.

Rather than stealing the code, the Chinese intelligence agents captured it from an NSA attack on their own computers, said the report on Monday, citing research by cybersecurity firm Symantec.

The repurposed American tools were used by Chinese intelligence contractors to carry out attacks in at least five places – Belgium, Luxembourg, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong, according to the research.

cyber attacks, hackers
Representational image. Pixabay

Scientific research organisations, educational institutions and computer networks were among the targets.

Instead of naming China explicitly in its research, Symantec identified the attackers as the Buckeye group, the cybersecurity firm’s own term for hackers that the US Department of Justice has identified as a Chinese Ministry of State Security contractor operating out of Guangzhou, the New York Times report said.

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The Buckeye attack group has been active since at least 2009, when it began mounting a string of espionage attacks, mainly against organisations based in the US, Symantec’s security response attack investigation team wrote in a blog post. (IANS)

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Restricting AI Research with China Harmful: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes

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China is a leading force in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and blocking AI research with the country will do more harm than good for humanity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.

In an interview with the BBC, Nadella said that despite national security concerns, backing out of China would “hurt more” than it solved.

“A lot of AI research happens in the open and the world benefits from knowledge being open,” he said.

Quoting Microsoft President Brad Smith, Nadella said: “We know any technology can be a tool or a weapon. The question is, how do you ensure that these weapons don’t get created? I think there are multiple mechanisms.”

Microsoft Research Asia, the company’s fundamental research arm in the Asia Pacific region, was founded in Beijing in November 1998.

The media reported in April alleged that Microsoft has been collaborating with researchers linked to a Chinese military-backed university on AI. The research covered several AI topics, such as face analysis and machine reading.

Microsoft defended the research, saying that it was part of a worldwide effort by its scientists “to work with their international counterparts on cutting-edge technology issues”, reported the Financial Times.

Microsoft
Microsoft doesn’t use customers’ data for profit: Satya Nadella. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Nadella, they have control on who gets to use their technology.

“And we do have principles. Beyond how we build it, how people use it is something that we control through Terms of Use. And we are constantly evolving the terms of use,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the trade war between the US and China was triggering a global economic slowdown.

On September 1, the US followed through on plans to impose a 15 per cent tariff on certain Chinese consumer-goods imports including apparel, electronics, footwear and dairy products, that were valued at around $112 billion in 2018.

Those tariffs were in addition to 25 per cent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports that began to be imposed on July 2018.

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US President Donald Trump’s administration said that it would wait until December 15 to impose tariffs, now set at 15 per cent, on certain mass-consumption products imported from China, including smartphones, laptops, video games and toys.

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes. (IANS)