Indian hackers & more stuff

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Indian hackers

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism have an interesting article on Indian hackers who work in the ‘hack-for-hire’ industry: Inside The Global Hack-For-Hire Industry. Indian hackers are typically used because their clients are unlikely to be prosecuted under their home country laws like the UK Computer Misuse Act. Indian hackers have gone after British journalists, businesses, NGOs and even politicians. Jay Solomon, a former journalist with the Wall Street Journal accused a US legal firm of using Indian hackers to steal emails between him and one of his sources. This was bundled up in a dossier used by the law firm to get Solomon fired from his job as a journalist.

Phone hacking
bin hacken | Flickr

Business technology origins of blackhat hacking services

India is known for its enterprise technology work. Most bank computing systems and telecoms billing systems in the UK are managed by Indian technologists out of India. The Indian hacker for hire business sprang out of a company called Appin that looked to sell clients services to help secure those services. Other companies engaged in cybersecurity for corporate clients also provide Indian hackers and tools for offensive computer work. Ethical hacking at the firm was the main business, but a lucrative sideline was blackout Indian hackers working for the highest bidder.

Favourable environment

Presumably the same factors that favour software programming and technology services in India also favour these blackhat Indian hackers:

  • Plentiful volume of talented software engineers
  • Relatively low cost compared to their counterparts elsewhere
  • Global connections via a diaspora for firms providing Indian hackers for hire
  • Lax or loosely enforced regulations
  • ‘Clusters’ of talent similar to the US Silicon Valley, notably Gurugram

It’s interesting that much of the demand for Indian hackers has come from the Gulf states. Indian hackers have also worked on behalf of foreign governments including Cambodia, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey – all of this government work was carried out with the approval and sometimes behest of the Indian government. Indian hackers working for Pakistan, with Indian government approval! For western corporate intelligence employees, who are clients of these firms, they’ve done foolish things like endorse the Indian hackers and their firms on LinkedIn.


Estee Lauder cuts forecasts on China curbs, tightening inventories | Reuters 


China Gender Law: Country Tells Women to ‘Respect Family Values’ – BloombergAn amendment to the Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law passed by the nation’s top legislative body on Sunday introduced a list of moral standards for women to observe. …“China is attempting to use laws to regulate and discipline women,” said Xiaowen Liang, a New York-based feminist and lawyer. “Why do you only need women to observe family values? What kind of family values are we talking about? These are very vague ideas.” – inching towards A Handmaiden’s Tale with Chinese socialist characteristics

Biden froze out China’s ambassador. He may regret that. – POLITICOA Washington, D.C.-based diplomat familiar with Qin’s relations with the administration said Beijing’s apparent unresponsiveness to Qin fueled skepticism about his influence back home. “There were one or two issues where the U.S. wanted his help on some things, but he just wasn’t able to do it — he didn’t seem to be totally in the loop,” the diplomat said, declining to name the issues… “Somebody got this wrong in our system — either [Qin] was more influential than we appreciated and we should have known that or he somehow snuck onto the Central Committee without us understanding that was possible,” said the former administration official. “But either way, if we’d known what we know now, we probably would have operated a bit differently and put in a little bit more energy in trying to build some trust with him.” – To be fair to the Biden Administration, I think lots of people in the PRC system were also surprised with Qin’s selection for the Central Committee and likely promotion to be Foreign Minister. And even they thought it might happen, would being nicer to him change any of the fundamental policies? And how could they have managed the optics of giving Qin more access to US officials than Amb. Burns gets to PRC officials?

Xi vowed “political, diplomatic, economic, & law” countermeasures against “long-arm,” but few noticed 

Consumer behaviour

Coronavirus: Hong Kong allows restaurants and bars to stay open all night, but step ‘too little, too late’, industry leaders warn | South China Morning Post – Residents have grown used to eating dinner earlier and cooking at home during the pandemic, industry leaders say. If this habit sticks it has negative implications for food services and entertainment, but positive opportunities for FMCG, food delivery and media sectors. When I lived in Hong Kong, one thing that I noticed was the ‘insomniac’ nature of the city with late night restaurants and take-outs together with late night mall shopping all of which added to the city’s ‘Blade Runner’ vibe


Finding Talent to Run New Fabs Might Be Challenging – EE Times – and a good deal of the problem is educational institutions not being run for the benefit of their countries and having perverse incentives. Related to that 4 Schools Seek to Help Intel, SkyWater Staff New Fabs – EE Times 

China stops publishing data metrics of vast domestic apps market amid declining internet service revenue, faltering economy | South China Morning PostThe Chinese government has stopped reporting data metrics of domestic apps for the last three months without explanation, which makes it difficult for outside analysts to assess the health of this industry in the world’s largest internet and smartphone market. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), one of the government agencies responsible for regulating apps, started omitting this market segment’s data metrics from its monthly reports from July, according to the latest information on its website


The Crypto Art Crash: What Remains of the NFT Hype – DER SPIEGELNFT Lose on Average 92 Percent of Their Value


Everything you need to know about Spam — Quartz Weekly Obsession — Quartz“Spam became iconic in Asia because it was a taste of America without being in America. It’s like drinking Coke. While you can’t afford to travel to America, you can eat and drink America or enjoy a little piece of America in your life.” — Ayalla Ruvio, consumer behavior researcher and professor in the department of marketing at Michigan State University


Business As Usual: German Companies Ignore Major Risks in China – DER SPIEGELThe doctrine of “transformation through trade,” to which Germany adhered for decades, was exposed as an illusion by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a truth that even Germany’s president accepts. “We must become less vulnerable and reduce one-sided dependencies,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier told public broadcaster ARD, “and that applies to China in particular.” Germany has seen trade with the People’s Republic quadruple since 2005, but during that same period, China has developed into a full-blown dictatorship. The West’s hopes for further market-economy reforms have been dashed. President Xi Jinping, who had his power cemented  last week at the 20th Party Congress, is fully committed to a state-controlled economy. “Henceforth: Marx gets precedence over the markets,” says Jörg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China – worthwhile reading in conjunction with: We don’t want to decouple from China, but can’t be overreliant – POLITICO – this op-ed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz is embarrassing


Irreversible Contraception: Why Female Sterilization Is Both Widespread and Under Fire – DER SPIEGEL 


Govt. to create special budget category to develop air, sea ports for defense purposes – The Japan News 


How Graphene Is Innovating the Medical Device Sector – EE Times 


The mystery of Biden’s deadlocked FCC – The Verge – media sector and telecoms lobbying BS


Social media will never be the same | Yahoo Finance Tech with Daniel Howley  – interesting analysis on the business challenges of Meta and Twitter


Beijing’s Long Arm: China’s Secret Police Stations in Europe – DER SPIEGEL 

Japan considering hypersonic missile deployment by 2030 – Nikkei | Reuters 

Hong Kong exiles in UK unnerved by ‘weak’ response to beating of protester | Hong Kong | The Guardian 

Google proposes list of five principles for IoT security labeling – SiliconANGLE 


POSITs, CFA Tech Help Save Compute Time at JAXA – EE Times 

Web of no web

Yes the metaverse is a pile of hokum, but the buzz behind it in markets like Hong Kong and Singapore is palpable: HSBC | Tyson Yoshi x Serrini 《DuoVerse》Music Show 

Polo Ralph Lauren does a collaboration with Fortnite – also has a good nod towards diversity.