Uninsurable hacks + more things

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Uninsurable hacks

As cybercrime has become more common there has been a move towards the incidents becoming uninsurable hacks in nature. 2022 looks like a watershed moment in the move to uninsurable hacks.

Lloyd’s of London defends cyber insurance exclusion for state-backed attacks | Financial Times – Lloyds of London were looking at state backed exclusions. The parallel between a state backed cyber attack and and an act of war have clear parallels from an insurance point of view. An act of war would be exempt from most insurance policy cover. A state backed cyber attack then becomes an uninsurable attack. However, while a business could expect government retribution and likely support in an act of war, the uninsurable hack exists in a grey zone just below the threshold of government response.

The closest thing that has happened was criminal charges filed against Park Jin Hyok for the Wannacry ransomware that affected the NHS, Bangladesh Central Bank theft and the Sony Pictures hack. Russia has attempted attacks against at an oil refinery in at least one NATO country likely due to the material support that Ukraine has been receiving. NATO isn’t in a state of war with Russia and there are likely to be few repercussions and deterrents. Chinese backed hackers dismantled Nortel and helped drive the business into bankruptcy. These would all be uninsurable hacks as the risk is unmanageable in nature.

North Korea presents a particular type of risk for uninsurable hacks, using cyber crime to finance its sanction hit economy.

Companies like NSO and service companies based in India have democratised sophisticated intrusions for legal firms and business purposes. Widening the risk even further and creating a shadow economy of such scale that it creates uninsurable hacks by his own nature. Some of these law firms may even work with insurance companies in other areas; indicating the kind of perverse business incentives that drive these uninsurable hacks.

The final aspect ushering in uninsurable hacks is one of scale. Due to the economics of digital business – criminal or otherwise; they scale in a non-linear fashion. Insurance insiders see these as uninsurable attacks as they are ‘civilisation level’ attacks. Uninsurable hacks also come from an inability of the insurance industry to absorb pay-outs on a massive scale. But what can be done about uninsurable hacks since Pandora’s box has been opened?


This story how Balkan organised crime groups completely compromised MSC is stunning for its audacity and impact.


Chinese business confidence falls to lowest in a decade | RTÉ 

China to step up support for local chipmakers – supported businesses include NAND flash memory maker Yangtze Memory Technology (YMTC) and AI chip developer Cambricon Technologies

Notebook component makers see large absences at China plants due to COVID – some notebook supply chain companies in China have seen infections in their plants affect up to 50% of their workers, resulting in the temporary shutdown of production lines

China’s Bureaucratic Slack: Material Inducements and Decision-Making Risks among Chinese Local Cadres | The China Journal – We find bureaucratic slack among lower-ranked cadres to be caused mainly by the lack of material inducements, while higher-ranked officials are more discouraged by increased risks

Mao and markets – great talk on the permeable membrane between communist thought and capitalism.

China Makes Moves in Middle East After Biden’s Frosty Reception – An eagerness to offer “Chinese wisdom” to the Middle East’s problems is symbolic of Xi’s decade in power, during which time he has thrown off the humble shackles of his predecessors to raise his country’s stature on the international stage. Welcome or not, his offer signals to China’s domestic audience Beijing’s growing influence abroad and its capacity to advise others on successful governance. However, China’s exact role in realizing its peacekeeping recipe remains unclear. A frequent critic of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and elsewhere, Beijing knows all too well the political, economic and military costs of becoming involved. Its willingness to do so is also a matter of constant debate. “China is cautiously increasing its presence in the Middle East, driven more by Middle Eastern states than its own ambitions,” said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “China sees the Middle East as volatile and an area still dominated by the United States. They are cautious about getting sucked into the region’s conflicts.”

Consumer behaviour

Why the U.S. middle class is feeling squeezed | Noahpinion 

Fascinating talk by Scott Galloway


Mr Tape used custom modified reel-to-reel tape recorders. The reason why he can handle the reels is that its actually the tape capstans rather than the reels that are powered on a tape machine. So very different to how a cassette tape recorder works.

Henry Cavill on his love for Warhammer 40K. He is seriously invested in the universe.


Shedding some light on “dark patterns” and advertising regulation – ASA | CAP 


Making Products in America Means Stuff Will Be More Expensive | Business Insider – cost is less clear when one takes into account carbon tax. It is also worthwhile thinking about how this could drive an improvement in product quality as well as production moves away from China. Improved quality could help reduce consumption and improve environmental impact


The Camp Fix: Infrastructural Power and the “Re-education Labour Regime” in Turkic Muslim Industrial Parks in North-west China | The China Quarterly | Cambridge CoreDrawing on worker interviews, government documents, industry materials and images this article shows that for-profit public-private industrial parks have been built as part of a “camp fix” mechanism centred on detaining and “re-educating” Uyghurs and Kazakhs at the periphery of the nation. It argues that these industrial parks concentrate forms of repressive assistance and “dormitory labour regimes” that operate at other frontiers of Chinese state power and point these strategies of disempowerment towards a seemingly permanent, ethno-racialized underclass, producing a “re-education labour regime.” It further argues that the material infrastructures of these surveiled and policed spaces themselves are productive in enforcing the goals of the “camp fix”: the creation of high-quality, underpaid, docile and non-religious Muslim workers who are controlled through the built environment – this is the environment that large corporates have used in their supply chain. Companies such as VW Group and Anta (aka Salomon, Arc’teryx etc)


Scott Galloway breaks down a number of financial stories from 2022.


Starbucks Sales Forecast to Decline Due to Customer Cuts in Add-Ons 

Hong Kong

Visual Framing: The Use of COVID-19 in the Mobilization of Hong Kong Protest | The China Quarterly | Cambridge Coremessages and images posted on Lennon Walls between January and April 2020 have used COVID-19 to extend public expression of sentiment on the debates around the Hong Kong government and to further mobilize a sense of Hong Kong identity against China. The findings contribute to the understandings of how the cultural politics surrounding the pandemic became a collective action frame in the mobilization of a localized Hong Kong political identity against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments – this linking of COVID-19 to political discourse makes public health communications much more complex

Hong Kong property: developers mourn demise of ‘coffin homes’ boom | Financial TimesAnalysts, including Goldman Sachs, expect Hong Kong home prices to drop by 30 per cent by the end of next year. Shares of CK Asset and Henderson Land have fallen about a tenth in the past six months. The latter trades at 10 times forward earnings, which is more than 40 per cent lower than even 2014 levels — during the last property market decline — reflecting the dire outlook. – add into this also the amount of Hong Kongers leaving the city as well


Indonesia’s foreign retirees fear being driven out as new visa scheme targets ‘filthy rich’ | South China Morning Post 

In Indonesia, ‘all-gendered’ priests are fighting to keep their traditions alive | South China Morning PostWith fewer than 40 Bissu remaining in areas across South Sulawesi, a community which once held divine status is now fighting against extinction. Many Bissu were accused of violating Islamic principles and faced persecution, but some are trying to preserve their heritage by performing cultural, shaman-like roles – the implicit influence of gulf Arab style muslim beliefs is not only about extremism but presenting a dead orthodoxy that will make Indonesia as unattractive as Malaysia has become


Chipmaker TSMC in talks with suppliers over first European plant | Financial Times – it will take a while for TSMC to get a European project under way


This is fascinating, it shows how Irish consumers have become much more sophisticated in the 50 years that Ireland has been in the European Union.


Sapporo, Japan Olympic Committee hit pause on Winter Games bid -Kyodo | Reuters – the scandal that encompassed Japan could be a good thing on balance as it allows Japan to press pause on a Winter Olympics bid. The IOC is more hassle than its worth for Japan. Japan already has a great reputation


Jinni’s shock departure from new K-pop group NMixx, just three days after its Loewe fashion campaign launched and within a year of debuting – | South China Morning Post – girl group seems to have been formed to become brand ambassadors for a luxury brand. Much of the money is in sponsorship but usually its mainstream brands like LG, Samsung, G-Shock etc


From meme fashion to gamified drops: The top consumer trends of 2022 | Vogue Business 

Rolex Sales: Pricey Luxury Swiss Watch Exports Jump to Record High on US Demand – Bloomberg – Americans snap up pricey timepieces, lifting exports by 33%. Retailers in Qatar stocked up ahead of the football World Cup

From meme fashion to gamified drops: The top consumer trends of 2022 | Vogue Business 


Google agrees NFL streaming deal as Big Tech chases sports rights | Financial Times 


Legal basis for removing inaccurate Hong Kong anthem results from Google, John Lee says citing tech giant’s policy – Hong Kong Free Press HKFP 

Read Zuckerberg’s 2019 Deposition on Facebook User Data | Business InsiderA 2017 report in The New York Times had said Cambridge Analytica previously claimed it could use data to glean voters’ inclinations. Zuckerberg appeared to address those types of news reports in his testimony to SEC regulators, saying it piqued his interest about how the company might have been using Facebook at the time.  “I kind of remember having this reaction to this, which is, if they are using our systems for advertising, then I’m curious to understand if they’re actually doing anything novel that matches the rhetoric that they have, or if they’re just kind of puffing up rhetoric around what would be a relatively standard use of our ad systems,” he told the SEC in 2019, according to the newly released testimony. – to be fair Zuckerberg’s reaction reminds me of a lot of discussions that I was having with peers about Cambridge Analytica at the time

Netflix password sharing may be illegal – British government warns – Nadine Dorries has already confessed at sharing a password. I think we need a strong a approach to law enforcement and use her as a demonstration case. I think 10 years inside should do it ;-)


Amazon hit by ECJ ruling on online sale of counterfeit goods | Financial Times 


Why everyone needs a dedicated GPS device. TL;DR don’t rely on wireless networks

How This Bombardier Challenger 650 Jet Became a High-Tech Spy Plane – Robb Report – interesting that this appearing in luxury publication Robb Report

How SpaceX’s Starlink terminals first arrived in Ukraine | QuartzWeeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, the US began scrambling to find satellite communications equipment that could keep the Ukrainian government connected to the rest of the world, new documents reveal. Those efforts resulted in thousands of satellite-antenna terminals that connect to SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet network being sent to Ukraine. They have proven vital to Ukraine’s war effort, but became a source of controversy for both SpaceX and the US over the service’s cost, and who is paying for it. Government contractor DAI began searching for the right equipment as early as Feb. 11, according to documents Quartz obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, shocking many, but not the US government, which sounded the alarm ahead of the invasion

TikTok admits tracking FT journalist in leaks investigation | Financial TimesByteDance, the Chinese owner of viral social media platform TikTok, has admitted it inappropriately obtained the data of users, including a Financial Times journalist, in order to analyse their location as part of an internal leaks investigation. Over the summer, four employees on the ByteDance internal audit team looked into the sharing of internal information to journalists. Two members of staff in the US and two in China gained access to the IP addresses and other personal data of FT journalist Cristina Criddle, to work out if she was in the proximity of any ByteDance employees


How Amazon Uses AI To Automate Work In Its Corporate HeadquartersI was struck by how deeply artificial intelligence was already ingrained in their cultures. With in-house AI research labs that rank among the globe’s best, the tech giants were automating wide swaths of their operations and changing the nature of work within their companies. This commitment to AI in the workplace is newly relevant as powerful tools like Dall-E, ChatGPT, and their ilk make their way into the public’s hands. As access to this powerful technology spreads, nearly all companies will soon have tools like those I saw inside Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. So work inside our companies will change as well


Foxconn to sell stake in Tsinghua Unigroup, faces fine | EE Times 


Asianometry does a run down of Sun Microsystems history. A few things. When I started working agency side, this was what our client websites were hosted on. Sun had a partnership with Netscape to have a great software stack. Oracle’s hardware business is the old Sun Microsystems business. Cisco routers and other manufacturers as well were basically a Sun motherboard and a raft of ethernet ports together with a look-up database that handled the routing.

Revenge of reality: how technology was discounted in 2022 | Financial Times 


Vietnam loses 25 ancient books related to culture and sovereign territory — Radio Free Asiaone of which is “relevant to Vietnam’s sovereign territory,” according to the deputy head of the literature department, Nguyen Xuan Dien. Posting on his Facebook page on Tuesday, a day after the institute’s annual meeting, Dien said the books were “extremely important for national culture.”The institute said Wednesday the books were among 35,000 volumes it had cataloged and preserved at the request of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences When it inspected the inventory in April 2020, for the first time in over 10 years, it discovered that 29 books were missing. Four of the books were later found on the wrong shelves. Among the books still unaccounted for are four written by scientist Le Quy Don and two books which record the precise geography, boundaries and borders related to Vietnam’s sovereign territory, according to Dien. Those two volumes could help substantiate Vietnam’s territorial claims in the South China Sea – I would guess that these books have been incinerated in China, as it helps China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and debilitates Vietnam’s rival claims

Web of no web

How successful are Roblox branded experiences? – Peter Gasston – low continued engagement