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NSA asks congress to reauthorize warrantless data collection • The Register

In brief A US intelligence boss has asked Congress to reauthorize a controversial set of powers that give snoops warrantless authorization to surveil electronic communications in the name of fighting terrorism and so forth.

NSA director General Paul Nakasone told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board yesterday that the loss of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would mean American spies would “lose critical insights into the most significant threats to our nation” if allowed to lapse on December 31. 

In his speech, Nakasone said Section 702 is “irreplaceable,” and he provided several stories of the FBI and NSA cooperating using the law to stop terrorist plots and online attacks to justify his claim. 

Section 702 was added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008, and has long been a bone of contention between civil liberties groups arguing it’s a gross privacy violation, and those who say that, if you’re not a terrorist, surely a little harmless observation by Uncle Sam is okay.

The NSA has long held that Section 702 saved American lives and protected the nation and its allies, though documents declassified in 2019 showed that it was frequently used against US persons, despite the law specifically being designed to only apply to foreign targets.

Despite those restrictions, the FBI was found to have used the database of electronic communications gathered from US telecom and tech companies under S.702 to search for records of US persons who were caught up in data gathering sweeps.

When asked about the use of Section 702-gathered data to surveil US persons during hearings over its previous renewal in 2017, the NSA refused to provide figures. “Seems like baloney to me … It’s the greatest intelligence service on the planet. You’d think they’d be able to know that,” House Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) said during the hearings. 

“Section 702 cannot be used to target Americans anywhere in the world or any person inside the United States regardless of nationality. No exceptions,” Nakasone said. 

The records beg to differ, and this time they’re known about before reauthorization hearings. Whether that’ll change the outcome is another thing altogether. 

Avoid this Pokémon

South Korean security firm Ahnlab says it has discovered a malware-spreading campaign that tries to trick netizens into downloading a remote access trojan – a backdoor for remote control in other words – disguised as a beta version of a new Pokémon card game. 

This Pokemon-themed malware is hiding in the tall grass, having been subtly tweaked to bypass security tools, the researchers warned. We’re told that the trojan uses various legit tools, such as NetSupport Manager, AnyDesk, TeamViewer and others, to provide the backdoor access. These programs include config files with hard-coded command-and-control server IP addresses, as well as the ability to gain persistence by adding a shortcut to the Windows startup folder and adding a hidden appdata path. 

Once installed, Ahnlab said, the attacker can make use of any of the features the remote control software includes, giving them potential total control over an infected system.

While nothing in this malware campaign is particularly innovative or exceptionally dangerous, its Pokemon-themed delivery method is, even though the idea of using a children’s game to trick kids into downloading malware isn’t new.

Federal parks agency fails password security audit … badly

The US Department of the Interior’s mission is to protect America’s natural resources, but it might have a hard time doing so if its systems remain as unsecured as a recent Office of the Inspector General report uncovered. 

There’s no better way to relay the conclusions than the report itself: “We found that the Department’s management practices and password complexity requirements were not sufficient to prevent potential unauthorized access to its systems and data,” the OIG said [PDF].

Several of the bad practices found in DOI systems were the same that allowed the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack to occur in 2021, the OIG said. 

Inspectors were able to crack 21 percent of the agency’s passwords (totaling 18,174) – 16 percent of which they figured out within the first 90 minutes of investigating. Of the accounts it managed to break into, 288 had elevated privileges, and 362 belonged to senior US Government employees.

In addition, the OIG said multifactor authentication wasn’t consistently implemented at the DOI and password complexity requirements were “outdated and ineffective … allow[ing] unrelated staff to use the same inherently weak passwords—meaning there was not a rule in place to prevent this practice.”

The DOI also wasn’t deactivating unused accounts or enforcing password age limits, leaving more than 6,000 additional accounts vulnerable to attack, inspectors found. 

The Inspector General had eight recommendations for the DOI, including not implementing MFA methods that can be bypassed, as is currently the case, and enhancing password complexity requirements.

More broadly, the OIG seems to want the DOI to develop a security posture that’s less fly-by-night crypto space fintech startup, and more federal government agency with an $18.1 billion dollar budget. ®

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Ways Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Can Hire Big Tech Talent

In response to mounting financial concerns, tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have recently implemented significant staff cuts. This has prompted industry leaders to reevaluate their hiring practices, recognizing the limitations of Big Tech’s ability to weather challenging economic times.

While the tech industry’s overall stability is assured, the combination of a declining economy and a previous surge in hiring has resulted in substantial job losses. However, this situation also presents an opportunity for small businesses and start-ups to tap into a pool of available tech experts.

To capitalize on this unique scenario, small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners must act swiftly to gain a competitive advantage over larger companies and attract highly skilled candidates.

In this article, John Elf, Technology Contributor at ‘Voice of EU’ and Head of Marketing at Vibertron Technologies, provides insights into some simple but effective strategies for attracting talent in a candidate-heavy market.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can leverage consulting services to attract the best talent, just like big tech companies do. Here’s how SMBs can make use of consulting services to enhance their talent acquisition efforts:

1. Talent Acquisition Strategy Development: SMBs can engage consulting firms specializing in talent acquisition and HR strategies to help them develop a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy. These consultants can assess the organization’s needs, identify talent gaps, and devise effective recruitment and sourcing strategies tailored to the SMB’s specific industry and requirements. This strategic approach ensures that the SMB is targeting the right candidates and maximizing its resources.

2. Employer Branding and Positioning: Consulting firms experienced in employer branding can assist SMBs in developing a strong employer brand that resonates with their target talent pool. They can help SMBs articulate their unique value proposition, culture, and growth opportunities, ensuring that the organization stands out as an attractive employer. These consultants can also provide guidance on how to effectively communicate the employer brand across various channels to attract the best talent.

3. Recruitment Process Optimization: Recruitment service provider can help SMBs, same as LCEs, optimize their recruitment processes, making them more efficient and effective. Consultants can review and streamline the entire hiring process, from job postings and candidate screening to interview techniques and selection methodologies. By improving the candidate experience and ensuring a smooth and timely process, SMBs can enhance their reputation as an employer of choice.

4. Candidate Sourcing and Evaluation: Consulting firms specializing in talent acquisition can assist SMBs in sourcing and evaluating candidates. They can leverage their networks and resources to identify top talent and conduct thorough assessments, including skill evaluations, cultural fit analysis, and background checks. By leveraging external expertise, SMBs can access a broader candidate pool and make well-informed hiring decisions.

5. Compensation and Benefits Consulting: Attracting and retaining top talent often requires competitive compensation and benefits packages. SMBs can engage consulting firms that specialize in compensation and benefits to ensure their offerings align with industry standards and meet the expectations of high-caliber candidates. These consultants can provide insights into market trends, salary benchmarks, and innovative benefit options, enabling SMBs to remain competitive in talent acquisition.

6. Training and Development Programs: SMBs can leverage consulting services to design and implement training and development programs. These programs not only help attract talent but also contribute to employee retention and growth.

Consultants can identify skill gaps, design customized training modules, and provide guidance on employee development initiatives, ensuring that SMBs create a culture of continuous learning and professional advancement.

By utilizing consulting services in talent acquisition, SMBs can access specialized expertise, best practices, and industry insights that are typically associated with larger companies. This approach enables SMBs to compete for top talent on a more level playing field, enhancing their ability to attract and retain the best candidates.


By John Elf

John Elf is Head of Marketing at Vibertron GYPOTech, and an Honorary Contributor at ‘Voice of EU’. A version of this article has already been published.


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Imandra’s AI Innovation Boosts Operational Resilience While Transforming European Exchanges

Imandra’s AI Innovation Transforming European Exchanges

Revolutionizing the landscape of European exchanges, Imandra, an AI startup at the forefront of automated reasoning technology, is making waves with its groundbreaking solutions. Offering a suite of AI-powered services through its flagship product, Imandra Markets, the company is reshaping the way exchanges and trading venues operate, test, and improve their systems.

Imandra Markets leverages advanced AI and digital twin technology to provide exchanges with tools for designing, testing, and auditing complex financial systems. This innovative approach enhances business intelligence and system resiliency, ultimately ensuring compliance and correct implementation while meeting regulatory obligations.

The significance of Imandra’s impact is evident, as its technology now supervises exchange technology responsible for a quarter of all European equities trading. By digitizing venue design and creating ‘digital twins’ powered by automated reasoning AI, Imandra Markets allows exchanges to test and enhance their system operational resiliency, mitigating the risk of outages and failed technology upgrades.

Market outages, with their far-reaching consequences, have prompted regulatory bodies to seek solutions for improving market-wide resilience. The IOSCO Consultation Report, released in December 2023, underscores the importance of addressing software-related issues, which have been responsible for the majority of market outages. Imandra’s Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Brennan, emphasizes the significance of their technology in preemptively identifying defects and inefficiencies, thereby averting potential disruptions before they impact the market.

Imandra Markets empowers organizations to implement changes to their financial infrastructure confidently, ensuring predictability and unlocking avenues for innovation and revenue enhancement. With Imandra’s solutions, newly designed or updated systems can be brought to market more efficiently, allowing for a leap forward in governance and operational excellence.

Imandra’s groundbreaking AI technology is reshaping the operational landscape of European exchanges, offering a cost-effective and efficient approach to system design, testing, and auditing. As the financial industry continues to evolve, Imandra remains at the forefront, driving innovation and ensuring the resilience and reliability of exchange systems.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson | Team ‘The Voice Of EU

— For information: Info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous news submissions: Press@VoiceOfEU.com

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Innovative Kite Sail Technology Startup Paves the Way for Greener Shipping Industry | “EU20”

The maritime sector faces increasing pressure to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Recently, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced new emissions-reduction targets. In this piece, we will analyze:

  • Beyond The Sea’s Revolutionary Kite Sail Technology
  • A Game-Changer for the Maritime Industry
  • Expanding Possibilities and Environmental Commitments
Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Government Support

Future Opportunities

In response, startups like Beyond The Sea are revolutionizing the industry with their innovative kite sail technology. With the ability to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%, these kite sails have the potential to transform the way ships and vessels operate.

In response, startups like Beyond The Sea are revolutionizing the industry with their innovative kite sail technology. With the ability to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%, these kite sails have the potential to transform the way ships and vessels operate.

Beyond The Sea’s Revolutionary Kite Sail Technology

In southwest France’s Arcachon Bay, Beyond The Sea conducted successful tests of their blue inflatable kite sail. The company’s founder, Yves Parlier, combined his sailing expertise with artificial intelligence and automated traction systems to develop a highly efficient kite sail. This innovative technology adapts the sail’s position based on wind conditions, resulting in significant fuel savings.

A Game-Changer for the Maritime Industry

The impact of kite sails on the maritime industry cannot be understated. With approximately 100,000 merchant ships and 4.6 million fishing trawlers worldwide, the potential for widespread adoption of this technology is enormous. The Wind Ship association predicts that by 2030, the market for kite sails could be worth four billion euros, with around 1,400 vessels equipped with this sustainable solution.

READ MORE: ALL ABOUT ‘BEYOND THE SEA’

Expanding Possibilities and Environmental Commitments

Beyond The Sea plans to further develop their kite sail technology. In upcoming tests off the waters of Norway, Japan, and the Mediterranean, they will explore larger kite sizes, aiming to reach 800 square meters within four years. Meanwhile, other companies like Airseas and Chantiers de l’Atlantique are also pioneering alternative solutions, such as larger kites for larger ships and rigid sails for ocean liners.

Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Government Support

While the wind propulsion sector shows promise, challenges remain. The cost of heavy fuel oil and the need for environmental regulations are key considerations. Lobbying for wind to be recognized as a fuel, the sector is working closely with the French government to create a supportive regulatory framework.

Recognizing wind as a viable fuel source could not only accelerate the adoption of wind propulsion technology but also create over 30,000 new jobs by 2030.

Future Opportunities

The innovative kite sail technology developed by Beyond The Sea and other companies presents a game-changing opportunity for the maritime industry. With the ability to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions, these sustainable solutions align with the industry’s growing focus on environmental responsibility.

By harnessing the power of the wind, the maritime sector can chart a course toward a greener and more sustainable future.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Johnathan Elf, Contributor ‘The Voice of EU

— Contact Us: Info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous News Submissions: Press@VoiceOfEU.com


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