Friday November 18, 2022
The only source dedicated exclusively to the emerging technologies shaping the future of business and national security.
This week’s Next5 Matrix Monitor features the launch of NASA’s Orion exploration spacecraft, Tencent’s secret testing of palm-print payment devices, a technology that could detect eczema in babies, a method of shutting down lithium-ion batteries when they get too hot, a technology that lets farmers use land for both solar panels and crops, Israel’s small search and attack drone, Chinese spyware in Uyghur-language apps, and a shortage of common pharmaceuticals.
NEXT5 EDITOR’S HIGHLIGHTS
→ In a historic launch on November 16, the Orion rocket took off, under the Artemis program, putting the US one step closer to returning humans to the moon and later Mars. The launch followed two scrubbed attempts in August and September – one halted by a warm engine and the other by a hydrogen leak in a fuel line. For NASA, the mission ushers in a new era of lunar exploration, one that seeks to explore craters in polar regions, test technologies for trips to Mars, and spur private enterprise to chase entrepreneurial frontiers farther out in the solar system. Other countries have similar goals including competitors like China who plan to go to the moon in the 2030s. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson warned that China could become the dominant lunar superpower, but unlike the Soviet Union during the Cold War, they are unwilling to partner and communicate norms for space activities. Wednesday’s launch also highlights a growing philosophical tension about how America should pursue its space aspirations. NASA has spent more than $40B to get Artemis off the ground. Similar to the development of the F-35 fighters, the Artemis program is expensive and slow, and most notably primarily controlled by the federal government because no commercial market yet exists for the kinds of large rockets and deep space transports that NASA considers vital for its moon exploration program. The alternative approach where NASA is a customer or passenger on commercial spacecraft, could be cheaper and faster, but bears risk that it would not achieve NASAs needs as companies change their direction or potentially go out of business. The next Artemis mission, which will take four astronauts on a journey around the moon, will launch no earlier than 2024. Artemis III, in which two astronauts will land near the moon’s south pole, is currently scheduled for 2025. #AER #Geopolitics #USA #CHN #RUS NYTimes
→ Russian software disguised as American was found in thousands of smartphone applications, making its way into the US Army and CDC networks. The software, developed by a technology company called Pushwoosh, exists on thousands of apps in both the Apple and Google online stores. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had been deceived into believing Pushwoosh was based in the US capital and removed the software from seven public-facing apps when it learned of its Russian roots. The US Army removed an app containing Pushwoosh code for similar concerns. According to company documents publicly filed in Russia, Pushwoosh is headquartered in the Siberian town of Novosibirsk, where it is registered as a software company that also carries out data processing. It employs about 40 people and reported revenue of $2.4M last year. It is registered with the Russian government to pay taxes in Russia. On social media and in US regulatory filings, however, it presents itself as a US company, based in the capital area and California. While no evidence exists that Pushwoosh misused user data, the company provides code and data processing support for developers, enabling them to profile the online activity of smartphone app users and send tailor-made push notifications from Pushwoosh servers. However, Russian authorities have compelled local companies to hand over user data to domestic security agencies. Pushwoosh publicly denied the allegations, originally uncovered by Reuters, and has yet to provide evidence to defend its stance. #Cybersecurity #DIG #USA #RUS #Geopolitics Reuters
→ After mysterious thieves stole hundreds of millions of dollars from FTX, crypto-tracing blockchain analysis may be able to identify them. When it is stolen, the blockchains that almost every cryptocurrency is built on make it possible to follow that money’s every movement, and very often, identify the thieves. When cryptocurrency was stolen from FTX, most of it moved to only a handful of cryptocurrency addresses – where the entire cryptocurrency industry, crypto sleuths, and law enforcement are watching, making it challenging for a thief to cash out their stolen loot. According to Elliptic, at least $220M of funds stolen were quickly traded through a variety of decentralized exchanges – trading platforms that allow users to swap coins without giving identifying information – to convert them into the cryptocurrencies ether and dai. However, cashing them out into traditional cash will require trading it on a centralized exchange, which almost always requires users to hand over identifying information. The thieves could put the money through a mixing service that launders the coins by blending them with those of other users. But crypto-tracing blockchain analysts have proven they can defeat mixers. Some mixers, like the Tornado Cash service that was sanctioned by the US Treasury in August render cryptocurrency untouchable for many exchanges or vulnerable to seizure. However, the real question remains whether identifying the thieves will be actionable as many of the most prolific crypto thieves are Russians or North Koreans operating in non-extradition countries, beyond the reach of Western law enforcement. #Cybersecurity #Geopolitics #FIN WIRED
→ Italy prohibited the use of facial recognition and “smart glasses” on Monday as its Data Protection Agency issued a rebuke to two municipalities experimenting with the technologies. The exception is when such technologies play a role in judicial investigations or the fight against crime. The agency was reacting to measures taken in the southern Italian city of Lecce, where authorities said they would begin using a technology based on facial recognition.The municipality was ordered to provide a description of the systems adopted, their purpose and legal basis, and a list of databases accessed by its monitoring devices, the watchdog said. The privacy watchdog also targeted the Tuscan city of Arezzo, where local police were due to be equipped with infrared super glasses that can recognise car number plates. #DIG #BIO #AI #USA #ITA Reuters
→ According to the Michigan Attorney General’s office, Google will pay ~$391M to settle allegations by 40 states that the search and advertising giant illegally tracked users’ locations. According to the Iowa attorney general’s office, In addition to the payment, Google must be more transparent with consumers about when location tracking is occurring and give users detailed information about location-tracking data on a special web page. The state attorneys opened a probe in 2018 following a report that Google recorded location data even when users instructed it not to. Arizona filed a similar case against Google and settled it for $85M in October 2022. Google had revenue of $111B from advertising in the first half of this year, more than any other seller of online ads. A consumer’s location is key to helping an advertiser cut through the digital clutter to make the ad more relevant and grab the consumer’s attention. Google stated in a blog post on Monday that it would be “making updates in the coming months to provide even greater controls and transparency over location data.” #DIG #Cybersecurity #USA Reuters
→ Oracle is in talks with several Chinese companies about providing cloud infrastructure services to support their global expansion, according to the company’s President of Oracle Japan and Asia Pacific, Garrett Ilg. Ilg stated that Oracle is negotiating with Chinese companies in retail, social, technology, and manufacturing, and that the cloud provider is “being very respectful” of the geopolitical situation. To capture the growth, Ilg stated that Oracle plans to build additional data centers in the region, which are currently in Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and Singapore. He identified Indonesia and Malaysia as potential countries for expansion. #DIG #SCRM #Geopolitics #USA #CHN #JPN #KOR #AUS #IND #SGP #IDN #MYS Nikkei Asia
→ Satellites discovered two vessels with their trackers turned off in the area of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline before the suspected sabotage in September. The first gas leaks on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea were detected in the early hours of September 26, pouring up to 400k tons of methane into the atmosphere – officials immediately suspected sabotage of the international pipeline. According to a new analysis by satellite data monitoring firm SpaceKnow, the two “dark ships,” each measuring around 95 to 130 meters long, passed within several miles of the Nord Stream 2 leak sites with their beacons off – they were trying to keep their location hidden. The discovery, which was made by analyzing images from multiple satellites, is likely to further increase speculation about the cause of the blasts. Multiple countries investigating the incident believe the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were hit by a series of explosions, with many suspicions directed at Russia as its full-scale invasion of Ukraine continues. After SpaceKnow identified the ships, it reported its findings to officials at NATO, which is presently investigating the Nord Stream incidents. While there are multiple ongoing investigations into the explosions, determining the full picture of what happened may take some time. Police in Copenhagen said its initial investigations have determined that “powerful explosions” caused “extensive damage” to the pipes. Images taken from around the exploded sections of the pipe appear to show that at least 50 meters of the pipeline were destroyed in the explosions. #SAT #AI #DNK #RUS #UKR WIRED
→ The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) plans to double spending on contracts to monitor global economic activity from space, according to the agency on November 15. NGA said it will increase the contract ceiling for its Economic Indicator Monitoring (EIM) program from $30M to $60M over five years. The program seeks to use commercial geospatial data and analytics services to improve the US government’s insights on economic activity and trends around the world, such as the flow of raw materials, agricultural products, fuels, and vehicles. The additional funds for EIM are expected to be appropriated in the 2023 defense budget. #SAT #USA Space News
→ Silicon Valley AI computing startup SambaNova Systems delivered eight units of its latest AI system to the US Argonne National Laboratory, which is expanding its AI offering to researchers. Each of the systems has eight DataScale SN30 chips, launched in September, and triples the speed of the previous generation. With AI work taking center stage in research, Argonne National Laboratory has been testing out various AI chips and systems according to Rick Stevens, associate lab director for computing, environment, and life sciences at Argonne lab. In addition to SambaNova, AI systems from startups including Cerebras Systems, Groq, Graphcore, and Intel-owned Habana Labs have been tested. According to Stevens, the lab was evaluating AI hardware for its next supercomputer to see if SambaNova and others can be included. The lab, which is a Department of Energy national lab run by the University of Chicago, is currently building a two-exascale supercomputer dubbed Aurora. #AI #USA Reuters
→ AI and cutting-edge data analysis software are enabling predictions about the weather, natural disasters, and senile dementia. Mikio Okumura, president of Japanese insurance company Sompo Holdings, is preparing to roll out Japan’s first dementia prevention insurance package – a product designed for the world’s oldest society and based on analysis of the heartbeats, appetite, and sleeping patterns of thousands of nursing home residents. Okumura outlined a plan for an insurance scheme that not only pays out when symptoms of dementia occur but also attempts to delay the onset of the disease by incentivizing customers to change their daily behavior. Sompo and other insurers also want to use more powerful tools to update the insurance business model for a world increasingly affected by climate change. Insurers around the world have been forced to confront a steep rise in natural catastrophe payouts, with events ranging from Europe’s worst drought in 500 years this summer to devastating floods in Pakistan. By combining historical data on damages caused by typhoons or floods with predictions of future climate change, Okumura believes Sompo can, for example, estimate the degree of natural disasters and economic losses, and give suggestions to customers to change the structure of buildings to mitigate damage. #AI #GRN #DIG #BIO #JPN Financial Times
→ New research published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology suggests that future AIs could benefit from sleep like humans. Unlike humans and animals, while AI systems can achieve excellence in a new task, it’s at the expense of the performance of a previous task. As sleep is said to spike learning by enabling the “spontaneous reactivation of previously learned memory patterns,” the study notes that neuroscience-inspired AI could be a solution. Building on previous work in memory plasticity and sleep modeling, the researchers used a neural network model to simulate sensory processing and reinforcement learning in an animal’s brain, and then gave it two separate tasks to complete. In both tasks, the network learned how to discriminate between being punished and being rewarded—enough so that eventually, it could make decisions on its own. The team then found that the network exhibited catastrophic forgetting. Each training session for the second task damaged the knowledge of the first, and if continued, the program’s original knowledge would have been slowly obliterated. But by making the network mimic biological sleep, researchers eventually found that in another experiment, interspersing sleep phases between short periods of the second task could allow the AI to remember how to accomplish the first task. #AI #CZE VICE
→ On November 14, AST SpaceMobile announced that the wide antenna of its recently launched test satellite deployed successfully which is a critical milestone in the company’s development of a global network to provide 5G broadband service. The BlueWalker 3 satellite, launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in September, deployed its 693-square-foot antenna — which the company calls the largest-ever array deployed in low Earth orbit. AST’s network would consist of a constellation of 168 satellites, with the company saying it will reach global coverage once about 110 are in orbit. BlueWalker 3 represents AST’s second test satellite to date, and it plans to begin deploying its operational BlueBird satellites late next year. AST went public via a SPAC last year and has raised over $600M. AST has racked up a number of mobile telecom partnerships for its service, including AT&T, Vodafone, and Rakuten. AST SpaceMobile stock swung in heavy trading to close down 9.5% at $7.99 a share. The company’s shares are flat this year as of Monday’s close. #5G #SAT #USA CNBC
→ The now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX may owe more than 1M people money, according to a Tuesday court filing. CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s net worth went from more than $15B to essentially nothing over the course of just a few days. FTX faced a severe liquidity crisis that necessitated the filing of these [bankruptcy] cases on an emergency basis last Friday. The filing states that, “in fact, there could be more than one million creditors,” meaning that FTX could owe money to more than a million people. FTX operated a highly complex corporate structure with dozens of companies, each of which filed for bankruptcy separately last week.The fate of customers’ money is still up-in-the-air as FTX halted withdrawals last week. #FIN #USA VICE
→ SpaceX launched two telecom satellites on Saturday, November 12, tying its own rocket reuse record in the process. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Saturday, carrying Intelsat’s Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32 satellites. It was the 14th mission for this Falcon 9’s first stage, tying a SpaceX record. There will be no 15th flight for this booster, however; SpaceX did not try to bring it down for a safe landing and future reuse. Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32 are both heavy, and the Falcon 9 carried them to a distant geosynchronous transfer orbit. The duo will help Intelsat refresh its communications fleet, according to the company. The high-speed satellites represent a “new generation of technology” for customers that largely include television broadcasters, Intelsat officials stated. Saturday’s launch was the 52nd overall for SpaceX in 2022, adding to the company’s growing single-year record (which had been 31, set in 2021). It was also the 48th flight this year using a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket. #AER #SAT #USA Space.com
→ J&J and Swedish biotech startup SciBase are developing a new technology that could detect eczema in babies before it develops fully and when it is still possible to prevent it completely. A dysfunctional skin barrier has been demonstrated in allergic and autoimmune conditions and diseases, and studies have shown increases in allergic and autoimmune diseases worldwide, according to the SciBase. The two companies will expand on SciBase’s existing Nevisense Go system, a portable device that analyzes the skin for abnormalities using AI, AR, and electrical impedance spectroscopy without requiring an invasive biopsy. To date, the device has been cleared to aid in the detection of melanoma in the US, Europe, and Australia. Combining AI and precision medicine may also result in personalized diagnoses, an area where significant investments in biotechnology are being made. #BIO #AI #DIG #USA #SWE #EUR #AUS Fierce Biotech Healthcare IT News
→ UK-based startup Kuano is using quantum computing advances in biomolecular simulation and AI to add ultra-precise detail to structure-based drug discovery, and the startup’s early results show promising new approaches for therapeutic areas such as Alzheimer’s disease research. Kuano’s approach to drug design is based on the fundamental physics of how enzymes accelerate reactions in the body, specifically an intermediate configuration along the reaction pathway known as the transition state, where potential energy is at its highest value. Unlike traditional inhibitor design, which starts with the initial binding, the startup uses the unique configuration and chemistry of the transition state to efficiently design drug-like compounds that mimic humans’ natural chemistry. The startup used the platform in Alzheimer’s research because there was no experimental transition state data. NOTUM, an enzyme that removes chemical tags from specific proteins in order to regulate the body’s signaling pathways, was identified as a promising target for Alzheimer’s disease therapy while working with the Alzheimer’s Research UK UCL Drug Discovery Institute. The startup’s platform simulated the enzyme stripping the palmitoleic acid (PAM) tag from the Wnt protein, which required hundreds of quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics (QMMM) simulations to run. The platform was able to deduce the reaction pathway and transition states for each reaction step, identifying the second step as the rate limiting one and thus the targeted transition state. Without any prior data, the Kuano platform successfully replicated one potent NOTUM inhibitor and discovered two promising, novel compounds that were synthesized, tested, and found to be potent NOTUM inhibitors. #BIO #DIG #AI #QNT #MFG #GBR Fast Company
→ Chinese tech giant Tencent has been secretly testing palm-print payment devices in the country for months and has recently rolled them out to the city of Guangzhou, raising data privacy concerns among experts and researchers. Because of WeChat Pay’s widespread adoption in all types of stores, the technology could soon become ubiquitous throughout China; WeChat Pay is already used by over 800M individuals and 50M vendors in China. Even with the benefits of palm-print recognition, widespread implementation would pose privacy risks to consumers, according to experts. Other Chinese companies are already attempting to commercialize the new technology in their own ways. According to the director of the biometrics intelligence department at Shanghai-based AI company DeepBlue Technology, palm-print recognition is useful in smaller, closed communities where an internal system is required to authenticate members and complete services. Governments, too, are now stepping into this space. On October 28, the city of Shenzhen debuted a new subway line that allows certain demographic groups to register their palm-vein information and use it to “swipe” into the subway station for free. The government collection of palm-print data of course creates clear potential for additional abuses by the Chinese surveillance state, according to an analyst. In fact, MELUX, another Chinese palm-print recognition tech company that built the devices used in the Shenzhen subway line, was founded by Xie Qinglu, who also built a data processing system called YISA OmniEye for China’s mass policing surveillance infrastructure Skynet. The company publicly states that its palm-print scanners, which will be part of an “unnoticeable governance” system, have already been used for local government offices, public services, customs, financial services, and more.
→ Lithium-ion batteries used in EVs are prone to catching fire or exploding, but recent research published in ACS’ Nano Letters presents a technology that can shut these batteries down when they get too hot. The chemistry found in many batteries involves the shuttling of electrons through an electronic device in a circuit from one electrode in the battery to another. But in a Li-ion cell, the electrolyte liquid that separates these electrodes can evaporate when it overheats, causing a short circuit. In certain cases, short circuiting can lead to thermal runaway, a process in which a cell heats itself uncontrollably. When multiple Li-ion cells are chained together – such as in electric vehicles – thermal runaway can spread from one unit to the next, resulting in a very large, hard-to-fight fire. To prevent this, some batteries now have fail-safe features, such as external vents, temperature sensors, or flame-retardant electrolytes. But these measures often either kick in too late or harm performance. The Chinese team wanted to create a Li-ion battery that could shut itself down quickly, but also work just as well as existing technologies.They used a thermally-responsive shape memory polymer covered with a conductive copper spray to create a material that would transmit electrons most of the time, but switch to being an insulator when heated excessively. #GRN #CHN ScienceDaily
→ A new technology lets farmers use land for both solar panels and crops. Historically, farmers have needed to choose between installing solar panels on a piece of land and planting crops. Now, they are increasingly able to do both. According to researchers, this concept of agrivoltaics – being able to grow crops on the same land where solar panels are in use – will not only free up limited farmland for multiple simultaneous uses but also contribute to emissions reductions in the US. Keeping solar paneled acres separate from those containing crops is becoming less appealing as land for farming becomes scarcer and its value soars. Farmland in the US has contracted nearly 25% since the 1950s, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture, and it is selling for record prices. Agrivoltaics accounted for roughly 2.9 gigawatts at the end of 2020, according to research firm Fitch Solutions. That capacity is expected to grow to more than 10 gigawatts by 2030, or the equivalent of more than 3k wind turbines, according to the US Department of Energy – still a small portion of global solar-energy capacity. Worldwide, just over 1k gigawatts of solar capacity has been installed, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
→ A new MIT-developed heat treatment transforms the microscopic structure of 3D-printed metals, making the materials stronger and more resilient in extreme thermal environments. The technique could make it possible to 3D print high-performance blades and vanes for power-generating gas turbines and jet engines, which would enable new designs with improved fuel consumption and energy efficiency. In metallurgy, creep refers to a metal’s tendency to permanently deform in the face of persistent mechanical stress and high temperatures. While researchers have explored printing turbine blades, they have found that the printing process produces fine grains on the order of tens to hundreds of microns in size – a microstructure that is especially vulnerable to creep. The MIT team found a way to improve the structure of 3D-printed alloys by adding an additional heat-treating step, which transforms the as-printed material’s fine grains into much larger “columnar” grains – a sturdier microstructure that should minimize the material’s creep potential since the “columns” are aligned with the axis of greatest stress. #MFG #GRN #USA MIT News
→ Israel’s Elbit Systems has unveiled a small but powerful search and attack drone called Lanius. The system can identify, categorize, and sync to Elbit Systems’ Legion-X solutions – an autonomous networked fighting system – while autonomously scanning and mapping buildings and places of interest for potential threats. Lanius can conduct a wide range of mission profiles for special forces, the military, law enforcement, and HLS and can carry lethal or non-lethal payloads.
While Elbit extensively highlights Lanius’ capacity to work with a man-in-the-loop, the drone can also autonomously carry out a full flight profile without assistance. Lanius can communicate over Wi-Fi or a software-defined radio. According to the manufacturer, the highly maneuverable drone is made to perform GPS navigation, scanning, and mapping tasks in challenging urban combat scenarios. This capacity is made possible by the drone’s AI systems, which are driven by an NVIDIA Jetson TX2 CPU. The drone can create a 3D map of its surroundings and transmit it to the operator through a handheld remote. The launch of Lanius highlights how quickly small yet lethal drones are evolving in the defense sector. #AUT #AI #USA #ISR Interesting Engineering
SEMICONDUCTORS & CHIPS
→ ASML is considering M&A to meet the high global demand for advanced chip manufacturing, according to the company’s CEO, defying the broader sector downturn. As countries race to build domestic chip plants, the Dutch chip production gear maker expects strong demand to continue for the foreseeable future. ASML stated that it expects sales to more than double to $41B by 2025 and more than triple to $62B by 2030. That scale of growth necessitates a bigger supplier base, according to CEO Peter Wennink. ASML will invest more than $180M in South Korean maintenance and training centers by 2024. Wennink stated that ASML’s investments in South Korea are “just getting started.” Some of its biggest customers are in Asia, including Samsung, SK Hynix, TSMC, Nikon, and Canon. The company is raising output to 90 of its EUV lithography machines and 600 deep-ultraviolet machines by 2025 to 2026. Five companies dominate the global market for semiconductor manufacturing equipment: ASML, Tokyo Electron of Japan, and three companies from the United States: Applied Materials, Lam Research, and KLA. #CHP #MFG #SCRM #NLD #KOR #TWN #JPN #USA Bloomberg
→ Despite an increase in short-term orders, China’s chip equipment manufacturers are struggling to turn a profit at home due to US export restrictions and Chinese suppliers falling behind in supporting sophisticated semiconductor technology. Since Washington imposed broad restrictions last month, YMTC, China’s largest memory chipmaker, has issued at least 20 bidding contracts for a wide range of chipmaking equipment, putting it at risk of being placed on a US ban list. YMTC’s current strategy is to buy from Chinese companies if there is viable domestic semiconductor production equipment or buy from non-US vendors, mostly Japanese companies, according to a senior YMTC engineer. According to Bernstein Research, Chinese semiconductor equipment revenues tripled between 2018 and 2021, driven by expansion by domestic chipmakers. However, the investment firm estimates that only 15% of equipment demand from Chinese chipmakers was met by domestic suppliers this year, falling far short of the government’s ambitious target of 30%. While YMTC has not cancelled or postponed existing equipment orders, the company’s expansion plans have been halted. ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT), YMTC’s rival, has also put some expansion plans on hold. According to Jefferies analysts, this disruption in Chinese chipmakers’ capital spending plans, particularly in the memory segment, will result in a dramatic drop in demand for chip production equipment over the next 2-3 years. As a result, China’s total investment in chipmaking tools would fall from the previously forecast $26B to $18B in 2024, and from $24B to $16B in 2025. This would rob Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment (AMEC), one of China’s largest chip equipment manufacturers, of a quarter of Jefferies’ 2025 revenue forecast. Furthermore, AMEC competitor, US-based ACM Research, would lose nearly 20% of its projected revenue for that year. Moreover, as engineers seek higher-paying jobs in chip design houses and semiconductor manufacturers, Chinese equipment manufacturers are facing a talent drain. In fact, a Chinese county (Changge) is currently rallying retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel to “answer the government’s call” and “take part in the resumption of production” at the world’s largest iPhone factory, operated by Apple supplier Foxconn, in the latest sign of a talent shortage. #CHP #SCRM #Geopolitics #CHN #USA #JPN Financial Times Reuters SCMP
→ Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway recently purchased a ~$5B stake in TSMC. The Taiwanese firm manufactures semiconductors for clients such as Nvidia and Qualcomm, and is the sole supplier of custom Silicon chips to Apple. Following the announcement, TSMC’s shares rose as much as 9.4% in Taiwan, the largest intraday increase in more than two years. #CHP #SCRM #USA #TWN Bloomberg SCMP
→ Algorithmiq, a Finland-based quantum computing startup, has struck a deal with IBM to accelerate its research into quantum algorithms. The collaboration will attempt to significantly reduce the time and cost of drug discovery and development. The widely accepted maxim is that it takes around 10 years and $1B for a new drug to get to market. The company also intends to contribute to Qiskit, an open-source software development kit (SDK) for quantum computers. As a result, Algorithmiq will be integrated into the IBM Quantum Network. #QNT #DIG #BIO #FIN #USA TechCrunch
→ Chinese researchers have developed a quantum engine that can drive nanorobots inside the human body using a single atom as a motor. Chinese Academy of Sciences’ researchers overcome a barrier to running a power system at the microscopic scale by precisely manipulating the state of a quantum ion with a laser. A single calcium ion acts as a steam-like working medium in this quantum engine, and the cycle’s compression and heating processes are pushed by laser beams of varying frequencies and intensities. The engine generates power in the form of light, which varies in intensity, allowing the ion’s mode changes to be seen. Previously, it was widely assumed that the stronger the quantum feature of the ion, the higher the efficiency of the heat engine, with a quantum engine’s working efficiency only relevant to the motor’s starting power. Using a controllable laser, the researchers discovered that elaborately increasing and suppressing the ion’s quantum feature during the various engine modes achieved the highest efficiency. #QNT #MFG #CHN SCMP
→ A senior US official said China is uncomfortable with Russia’s rhetoric and invasion of Ukraine, as President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping prepared for a meeting aimed at dialing down tensions between Washington and Beijing. The US official, who declined to be identified, was characterizing comments Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made to world leaders during a closed-door summit in Cambodia over the weekend. Mr. Li, who was Beijing’s most senior representative at the summit hosted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, offered a veiled rebuke of Moscow’s threats to employ nuclear weapons, according to people who attended the weekend meeting in Cambodia. Mr. Li said that no country should use or threaten to use nuclear weapons and that humanity should learn from history, the people said. Mr. Li’s comments, which didn’t explicitly name Russia, echoed earlier remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who mentioned the US atomic bombings of Japan during World War II. Though China has underscored its ties to Russia, officials in Beijing have begun to express discomfort with the war. At a meeting between Mr. Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, the Russian leader said he would seek to address Beijing’s concerns about the Ukraine war, without specifying what those concerns were. #Geopolitics #USA #CHN #RUS #UKR WSJ
→ The Treasury Department announced new sanctions against three firms and two individuals involved in the production and transport of drones from Iran to Russia to aid in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
- Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center, which is responsible for the design and production of Shahed-series unmanned aerial vehicles the US says Russia is using in Ukraine.
- Success Aviation Services FZC i Jet Global DMCC for organizing the transfer of UAVs to Russia.
Shahed-series drones have been used to target civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Odesa, and the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, according to the Treasury. The sanctions come as the US and its allies look to punish individuals and organizations supporting Russia’s war efforts. The State Department has also issued concurrent sanctions against paramilitary organization Wagner Group, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, and Qods Aviation Industries. In addition, the Treasury issued sanctions against two individuals – Abbas Djuma and Tigran Khristoforovich Srabionov – for facilitating Wagner Group’s acquisition of drones. #Geopolitics #USA #IRN #RUS #UKR CNBC
→ Cybersecurity researchers have found evidence of Chinese spyware in Uyghur-language apps that can track the location and harvest the data of Uyghurs living in China and abroad. These apps include dictionaries, religious apps, maps and even pirated versions of WhatsApp available on third-party stores or shared on Uyghur-language channels on Telegram. According to researchers, these apps could have been used to detect evidence of religious extremism or separatism, for which Uyghurs have been imprisoned, some for decades, as part of a sweeping anti-terrorism crackdown in Xinjiang. For years, China has engaged in mass monitoring of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, creating a province-wide surveillance platform that collects Uyghurs’ personal data from their phones and tracks their movements through facial recognition. According to the report, “samples of the infected apps were dated from 2018 onwards, and the vast majority of apps infected with one strain of spyware were discovered in the second half of this year.” #Cybersecurity #Geopolitics #USA #CHN ABC News
→ According to a report by Symantec, a group allegedly backed by China has attacked a certificate authority in Asia, as well as multiple government agencies within the region since March. If the attackers were successful in compromising it, they could use their access certificates to sign malware with a valid certificate that would allow them to avoid detection on devices or also intercept HTTPS traffic. The researchers attributed the incident to a Billbug, an APT group active since at least 2009. All of Billbug’s victims were located in Asia. Historically, Billbug has appeared to be primarily interested in targets in the government, defense and communications sectors, primarily in Southeast Asia, indicating that those behind these operations likely have a strategic interest in countries in that region. However, in activity the company did also see the group targeting organizations based in the US, according to researchers. Symantec concludes that the primary motive of the campaign is espionage and data theft. #Cybersecurity #DIG #Geopolitics #CHN #USA The Record
- Only 6% of these 473 vulnerabilities have ever been exploited broadly by more than 100 organizations. The fact that an exploit is “in the wild” does not imply that it is rampant on the Internet.
- There is no “typical” life cycle for vulnerabilities. Only 16% of the CVEs followed the most prevalent sequence of Reserved-Patched-Scanning-Publication-Exploitation. Several significant milestones tend to converge around the time of CVE publication.
- Exploit code was already available for >50% of vulnerabilities (eventually exploited in the wild) by the time they were published to the CVE List. One month after the CVEs were published, 75% had been exploited.
- It generally took defenders a month after a patch is released to remediate 50% of the vulnerable assets in their environment. By comparison, attackers reached 50% of max exploitation prevalence across target organizations in about 2.5 months.
- Because of the relationship between patch availability and exploitation, defenders usually had some time before becoming the target of active exploitation attempts. Using the common enterprise goal of deploying patches within a month of their release, ~45% of all observed exploited vulnerabilities had initial detections in the wild before that window was closed.
- By 6 months after patch availability, 90% of CVEs that were exploited in the wild had been detected. The longer a vulnerability is known and patched, the less likely it is to progress from potential to active exploitation in the wild.
→ According to Samsung, the global technology industry is in search of alternative sources for advanced semiconductors given rising political risks. Speaking at the South Korean company’s investor briefing, Sim Sang-pil, the head of corporate planning for its foundry business, laid out ambitious goals for the operation, which competes directly with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). Samsung expects to increase its foundry capacity by 3.3 times by 2027 compared with 2022. TSMC manufactures the world’s most advanced semiconductors, crafting silicon to meet the designs of clients like Apple and Nvidia. The world’s reliance on that single company, based in Taiwan – which China considers part of its territory – has grown into an area of concern for political leaders in the US and Europe. According to Sim, Samsung’s foundry was slightly behind TSMC in 4-nanometer and 5nm technology, but it sees an opportunity to catch up in more advanced nodes. Samsung’s development of a new iteration of chip design called Gate All Around, or GAA, is one area where the company thinks it will gain an edge over TSMC and US rival Intel. Samsung is also working closely with the US government, which passed legislation this year to subsidize the development of domestic chip manufacturing. The company is building a new fab in Taylor, Texas, in large part to supply the domestic US market. #SCRM #CHP #Geopolitics #USA #CHN #TWN #KOR Bloomberg
→ On Monday, November 14, Microsoft announced the preview of Microsoft Supply Chain Center for supply chain visibility and transformation. The company is seeking to attract companies roiled by several years of logistical disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and severe weather. A supply-and-demand insights module will use AI to predict shortages and supply constraints, while a tool for order management will help organize and automate filling orders. The software integrates with Microsoft’s Teams chat and conferencing software to ease communication with outside suppliers and will include features and services from partners such as C.H. Robinson Worldwide and FedEx. #SCRM #AI #USA Bloomberg Yahoo Finance
→ Pediatricians and families across the country are raising concerns about difficulty getting access to common pharmaceuticals that are largely produced in China. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added amoxicillin – an antibiotic used to treat many bacterial infections – to its list of drugs that are currently experiencing shortages on October 28, its website reports. The shortage announcement comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports upward trends of respiratory virus (RSV) positive tests and detections nationwide. According to Fox News medical contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, the antibiotic shortage problem is twofold – there’s a scarcity of raw materials to make the drugs, coupled with needless prescriptions. She noted that 25% of prescriptions written each year are deemed “unnecessary.” Dr. Nesheiwat noted that China essentially monopolizes the industry, controlling about 90% of the global supply input of raw materials needed to make these antibiotics. #SCRM #USA #CHN Fox Business