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Cyberspace Turns Full-Blown War Zone-FireEye

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Cyberspace has become a full-blown war zone as governments across the globe clash for digital supremacy in a new, mostly invisible theater of operations, according to an executive summary of a report released by FireEye at the weekend.

The report made available to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek said that, once limited to opportunistic criminals, cyber attacks are becoming a key weapon for governments seeking to defend national sovereignty and project national power.

From strategic cyber espionage campaigns, such as Moonlight Maze and Titan Rain, to the destructive, such as military cyber strikes on Georgia and Iran, human and international conflicts are entering a new phase in their long histories.

In this shadowy battlefield, victories are fought with bits instead of bullets, malware instead of militias, and botnets instead of bombs, the report contained.

A word of warning from the cyber security power house reiterated that the analytical waters surrounding cyber warfare are inherently murky, as these covert assaults are largely unseen by the public.

“Unlike the wars of yesteryear, this cyber war produces no dramatic images of exploding warheads, crumbled buildings, or fleeing civilians. But the list of casualties—which already includes some of the biggest names in technology, financial services, defense, and government —is growing larger by the day”.

A cyber attack is best understood not as an end in itself, but as a potentially powerful means to a wide variety of political, military, and economic goals.

“Serious cyber attacks are unlikely to be motiveless,” said Martin Libicki, Senior Scientist at RAND Corp. “Countries carry them out to achieve certain ends, which tend to reflect their broader strategic goals. The relationship between the means chosen and their goals will look rational and reasonable to them if not necessarily to us.”

Just as each country has a unique political system, history, and culture, state-sponsored attacks also have distinctive characteristics, which include everything from motivation to target to type of attack.

This report describes the unique characteristics of cyber attack campaigns waged by governments worldwide. We hope that, armed with this knowledge, security professionals can better identify their attackers and tailor their defenses accordingly.

A quick overview of the report painted Asia-Pacific as home to large, bureaucratic hacker groups such as the “Comment Crew” who pursue many goals and targets in high-frequency, brute-force attacks, while Russia/Eastern Europe, these cyber attacks are more technically advanced and highly effective at evading detection.

In the Middle East, the hackers are dynamic, often using creativity, deception, and social engineering to trick users into compromising their own computers and in the United States are the most complex, targeted, and rigorously engineered cyber attack campaigns to date.

FireEye noted that at the strategic level, governments desire to have a degree of plausible deniability.

“At the tactical level, military and intelligence organizations envelop such operations in layers of classification and secrecy. To be effective, information operations rely on deception—and the Internet offers an ideal venue for a spy’s smoke and mirrors.

“In practical terms, hackers often run their attacks through cyber terrain (such as compromised, third-party networks) that present investigators with technical and jurisdictional complications. And finally, cybercriminal tools, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) evolve so quickly that cyber defense, legislation, and law enforcement remain behind the attacker’s curve.

“The biggest challenge to deterring, defending against, or retaliating for cyber attacks is the problem of correctly identifying the perpetrator,” said Prof. John Arquilla, Naval Postgraduate School in an email interview with FireEye.®

“Ballistic missiles come with return addresses. But computer viruses, worms, and denial of service attacks often emanate from behind a veil of anonymity. The best chance to pierce this veil comes with the skillful blending of forensic back-hacking techniques with deep knowledge of others’ strategic cultures and their geopolitical aims.”

Cyber “attribution”—identifying a likely culprit, whether an individual, organization, or nation-state—is notoriously difficult, especially for any single attack. States are often mistakenly identified as non-state actors, and vice versa.

To make matters worse, ties between the two are increasing. First, a growing number of “patriotic cybercriminals” ostensibly wage cyber war on behalf of governments (examples include Chechnya and Kosovo in the 1990s, China in 2001, Estonia in 2007, Georgia in 2008, and every year in the Middle East).

“Second, cybercrime organizations offer anyone, including governments, cyber attack services to include denial-of-service attacks and access to previously compromised networks. FireEye researchers have even seen one nation-state develop and use a sophisticated Trojan, and later (after its own counter-Trojan defenses were in place) sell it to cybercriminals on the black market.

“Thus, some cyber attack campaigns may bear the hallmarks of both state and non-state actors, making positive attribution almost impossible. And finally, “false flag” cyber operations involve a hacker group behaving like another to mislead cyber defense researchers,” the report contained.


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Shell to Sack 9,000 over Oil Output Drops

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Shell said on Wednesday that volumes of both Liquefied Natural Gas and crude production were down in the third quarter.

Shell to Sack 9,000 over Oil Output Drops

The oil major disclosed this in an update to the market, which also detailed plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022 as it adjusts to the COVID-19 price collapse, according to S&P Global Platts.

Upstream production of oil and associated streams was significantly down in the quarter, in a range of 2.2 million to 2.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, from 2.6 million boe/d in Q3 2019.

LNG output was down in a range of 7.9 million to 8.3 million metric tonnes for the quarter, compared with nine million mt a year earlier.

In the update ahead of a full results statement on Oct. 29, Shell said its oil sales in July and August had reflected a 15-20 per cent discount to Brent pricing, similar to the second quarter, and its LNG business in the quarter had suffered a ‘significant impact’ from a lag effect in the oil-linked pricing of LNG.

It also highlighted refining weakness, with a utilisation level of just 64-68 per cent and margins “significantly lower” than in the second quarter 2020, and said it intended to reduce its refining footprint globally to less than 10 sites.

On its restructuring plans, Shell said, “Reduced organisational complexity, along with other measures, are expected to deliver sustainable annual cost savings of between $2.0bn to $2.5bn by 2022.

“This will partially contribute to the announced underlying operating cost reduction of $3bn to $4bn by the first quarter 2021.”

Worldwide job reductions of 7,000 to 9,000 are expected by the end of 2022, including 1,500 people who have agreed to take voluntary redundancy this year, Shell said.

It also said production levels in both the upstream business and the LNG business had been lower than in the second quarter, partly reflecting seasonal maintenance, but also the impact of hurricanes in the US Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 


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Western Digital Unveils Speed, Portable SanDisk SSDs

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Western Digital Corp. yesterday released two new SanDisk® portable SSDs that offer nearly 2x the speed over previous generations. The SanDisk Extreme® and SanDisk Extreme PRO® portable SSDs are purpose-built to keep up with today’s high-quality content demands.

Professional photographers, videographers and enthusiasts capture and keep life’s best moments every day and they need reliable solutions that perform on the move at astonishing speeds.

With capacities up to 2TB*, the new NVMe™ drives are perfect for creating amazing content or capturing and moving incredible 4K and 8K footage with ease.

The flagship SanDisk Extreme PRO portable SSD features a forged aluminum chassis made to stay cool under the pressure of a heavy workload and a durable silicone design to withstand the rigors of production. The drives also help keep content safe with password protection and an upgrade to 256-bit AES hardware encryption1.

“When every second counts, I need fast and powerful solutions that work as quickly as I do. I rely on SanDisk SSDs to keep up with my creativity,” said Tyler Stableford, SanDisk Extreme Team member.

“As an artist, speed is one of my greatest strengths, and I know with the SanDisk Extreme line of SSDs, I can get the job done with greater efficiency and capacity, and I never have to worry about running out of memory wherever the job takes me.”

Rugged and Powerful SSD Performance

Designed with professionals in mind, the new SanDisk portable SSDs were built to reliably handle the most challenging assignments – whether at home, in the office or out on location.

The SanDisk Extreme portable SSD is a great go-to drive for those who need more memory and a durable and fast drive, while the SanDisk Extreme PRO was built for an avid pro who needs even, sustained performance and a drive that can go anywhere.

“For our customers, life is an adventure and they rely on us to raise the bar across our portfolio when it comes to delivering powerful solutions to consumers and professionals alike,” said Brian Pridgeon, director of marketing, Consumer Solutions, Western Digital.

“The SanDisk brand is trusted by professional photographers worldwide, which is why we built our Extreme family of drives to perform at the highest level. We amped up the speeds with the latest NVMe technology and used robust materials in our designs to handle the best shots and the most demanding jobs.”

Key Features

  • SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD

– Save time storing and transferring data with powerful NVMe solid state performance featuring up to 2000MB/s** read and up to 2000MB/s** write speeds.

– A forged aluminum chassis acts as a heatsink to deliver higher sustained speeds in a portable form factor.

– Up to two-meter drop protection and an IP55 rating2 make the drive tough enough to take on any adventure. The drive’s forged aluminum chassis and silicone shell design offer a premium feel and added protection.

– Helps keep private content private with password protection and an upgrade to 256-bit AES hardware encryption1.

  • SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

– Get NVMe solid state performance featuring up to 1050MB/s** read and up to 1000MB/s** write speeds in a portable, high-capacity drive that’s perfect for creating amazing content or capturing incredible footage.

– For added durability, the drive features up to two-meter drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance2.

– Durable silicone shell that offers a premium feel and added protection to the drive’s exterior.

– Helps keep private content private with password protection and an upgrade to 256-bit AES hardware encryption1.

Ready to move, consumers can use the handy carabiner loop to secure the drives to a belt loop or backpack for extra peace of mind. The new drives are compatible with PC and Mac computers.

In addition to moving content to a PC or laptop, the new products also now allow users to back up mobile content quickly and easily thanks to compatibility with a range of USB Type-C™ smartphones.

Availability

The SanDisk Extreme and SanDisk Extreme PRO portable SSDs are backed by a five-year limited warranty3 and are now available at the Western Digital Store, and at select e-tailers and retailers worldwide.

The SanDisk Extreme portable SSD is available now in 500GB* and 1TB*, and is expected to ship in 2TB* later this holiday season. The SanDisk Extreme PRO portable SSD is available now in 2TB*, and is expected to ship in 1TB* later this holiday season.


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ID Africa Announces ‘Neusroom Untold’ In Celebration Of People, Places And Events That Have Shaped Nigeria’s History

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In celebration of Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary, ID Africa, Marketing, Media and Technology company and media platform, Neusroom have announced the Untold project, a collection of 78 stories about important people, places and events that have shaped Nigeria’s history and some little known facts that are yet to penetrate mainstream consciousness, especially amongst young citizens.

 

Nigeria was under colonial rule from 1900 to 1960. Sixty years after independence, the country has survived a civil war, endured eight military coups and rule, and grown to become one of the most populous black nations on earth. With a GDP of $376.3bn, and $1.2 trillion PPP, Nigeria is ranked by the IMF as the largest economy in Africa. But many of the stories, ideas, and events that can unite, motivate, and inspire the mostly youth population appear to have been forgotten.

 

The Untold project is in line with the Neusroom’s long-term mission to research, document and publish important stories about Nigeria and its people.

 

The collection includes the work of six Neusroom and Netng writers published over the past two years, and are being presented to the world in honour of the country’s 60th year of breaking free from colonial rule.

 

At a critical time when access to historical facts  and verifiable information on some of Nigeria’s most important people, places and events has become a challenge for the younger generation, Neusroom is taking a position as a reliable information outlet by providing the public with credible, verifiable, and objective information about Nigeria and other African nations.

 

The Untold project includes profiles of some of Nigeria’s most revered and celebrated personalities such as potter Ladi Kwali, and Alimotu Pelewura, a fish seller who led Lagos market women’s protest against colonial masters. It also includes the detailed account of how Kudirat Abiola fought valiantly to ensure her husband’s mandate as elected President was returned to him, and how Samuel Okwaraji slumped and died on the football field while representing Nigeria.

 

Events and places such as the Nigerian Civil War, the Oyo town where every household has a set of twins, and the Kiriji war which is popular as the world’s longest ethnic war that pitched powerful Yoruba towns against Ibadan, also make up a part of the collection.

 

The collection which will be updated quarterly, is aimed at serving as a source of entertainment, knowledge and insight, in easily digestible formats, for today’s youth and future generation of Nigerians.

 

Speaking on the idea behind the project, ID Africa CEO, Femi Falodun says, “We are using Nigeria’s 60th Independence celebration as an opportunity to share some of the most remarkable stories we’ve curated over the past few years with a wider audience of young Nigerians who may not have previously known about these people, places and events.

 

Our ultimate goal for the Neusroom Untold Project is to document obscure parts of Nigeria’s past and recent history in short multimedia formats that are interesting, easy to read and readily accessible to anyone on the internet. And as history is constantly being made, we believe that this project will always be work-in-progress.”

 

Ayeni Adekunle, founder and publisher of Neusroom and Netng, said, “With The Neusroom Untold Project, we are celebrating Nigeria’s journey as a progressive nation with a spotlight on all of its important contributors whose stories may have been lost in the archives or not being told at all.

 

“We have and will continue to put together, through a thorough editorial process, this project which reflects the country’s rich history, achievers and events that particularly young Nigerians will find interesting and useful.”

 

Since it was founded in 2015, Neusroom has been a trailblazer in telling the most relevant and impactful Nigerian stories. In June 2020, the ID Africa-owned platform unveiled The Neusroom 100 Project, in recognition of 100 people, organizations, countries, and things helping the world fight the pandemic and flatten the COVID-19 curve.

 


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