Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Pope, China, Israel, and my Diesel VW
It's been a big week! The Pope, Xi Jinping in DC on back to back visits, Boehner resigns, and Netanyahu heading to Moscow, meeting with Putin, to ensure there are no misunderstandings between Russian forces (meaning, supplying the Hezbollah).  The Pope story hit GMA first this morning, followed by Boehner, and then, Michelle Obama's Vera Wang gown. Apparently Mrs. Jinping is a bit of a fashionista in China, but I'm looking at this photo, asking myself if we're going to see hacking from Chinese kids motivated by our news suggesting that our first lady is better looking than their first lady! I know it sounds silly, but it was the first thing I thought when GMA put these clearly two gorgeous women in a head to head competition for best dress.

Seriously though... one of the big takeaways from the visit is cyber reform.  The two leaders said they agreed that neither government would knowingly support cyber theft of corporate secrets or business information.  

This talk is huge, but I'm here to tell you... we will continue to see cyber/corporate espionage used to support the Chinese economy.  The US makes it a practice to not use our espionage capabilities for competitive advantage, but most other companies in the world do... including China. In fact, collections are built into their constitution --affecting even those who leave the country.  And if you're a supply chain company, regardless of industry, there will be no rest for your security teams.  Most larger companies have learned to protect themselves, but the companies who support them are largely the soft white underbelly --the place where the cyber dagger penetrates most easily --the place where protections are generally either not in place, or not as effective.

And for the Chinese, they too will continue to be victimized and exploited by those wishing to point the finger at them. Talk to any hacker worth their salt.. they don't go direct. They go through someone else first.. many, through China. The bandwidth is open like the autobahn. There's SO much activity coming from China that hackers can hide in the everyday noise.
And why do we think about about Syria, Putin, and Netanyahu? Because Russia is making its way across the middle east looking for easier ways to deliver oil and gas to Europe without going through Ukraine.  In fact, we think Ukraine may become irrelevant in the movement of oil and gas very soon. There's turmoil brewing --Putin's been wooing Turkey, now stepping into Syria, worrying Israel --and for good reason. The graphic to the left shows oil and gas pipelines connecting largely through Turkey, into Syria, and to ports in the Med. Russia and Iran have made some great deals, but Syria offers other advantages. Russia used to deliver much of its fuels through Ukraine, but we all know what's happening there right now. We will see cyber fallout from all of this.  Putin doesn't act without a cyber component. We've seen activities in Georgia and Turkey, and there will be more. We've been tracking Russian cyber geopolitical activities and implications in the area about two years now. And now, we'll see (my opinion) more as Russians establish real estate in Syria.  This is a story for another day. In fact, Rick's probably working on it as we speak.

Thankfully no Pope hacks. But attacks from China? We see them every day. Israel, Russia, Syria? There will be major implications here. We've reported on cyber in the middle east on a number of occasions, and I'm betting we'll see more as Russian forces get closer to to access directly to the Med. If only Turkey and Georgia would go along with the plan... will we see cyber being used against them? We already have. 

Last?  As a side note, VW got busted... maybe that was last week... but, do you think for one second that VW is the only company fudging software to offset hardware deficiencies? I could go on with a rant about my diesel VW Touareg (it's not affected), but I'll spare you that.. but for VW, this is nothing more than a sign of things to come. This is the perfect example of how software can be built to deceive; and then be deployed into millions of locations around the world.

On the upside? The Vatican doesn't hack us (at least I don't think so)...

Have a great weekend!