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We can’t arrest our way out of cybercrime • The Register

As cybercriminals become more sophisticated and their attacks more destructive and costly, private security firms and law enforcement need to work together, according to Interpol’s Doug Witschi.

It’s tough to argue with either of these two statements. But considering the constant barrage of ransomware-attack headlines, as well as politicians’ calls for more public-private threat intelligence sharing, they both begin to sound a bit hollow.

Witschi, the assistant director for cybercrime threat response and operations at Interpol, told The Register about recent successes that the agency’s Gateway cyber-threat intel sharing project has had, and the increasingly well-funded, targeted attacks that law enforcement agencies are trying to prevent. 

“We’re not going to be able to arrest ourselves out of this problem,” he told The Register. “We need to work as a global community on this challenge. And Gateway is one step in that direction.”

Through the project private-sector security shops including Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, Kaspersky Lab and others share intelligence with Interpol member countries’ law enforcement agencies to help them investigate cybercrime and attribute attacks to the various crime rings.

Recently, the public-private effort participated in an operation that led to the arrest of 11 people in Nigeria, thought to be members of a prolific business email compromise (BEC) scam ring that victimized “thousands” of companies globally. 

And late last year the Interpol-led effort led to the arrest of six Clop ransomware gang members in Ukraine, following an international law enforcement operation code named “Operation Cyclone.”

This 30-month-long operation was coordinated from Interpol’s Cyber Fusion Centre in Singapore and used threat intel provided by Trend Micro, CDI, Kaspersky Lab, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet and Group-IB through the Gateway project.

“Cybercrime is such a global threat, unlike transnational organized crime,” Witschi said.

If a gang was funneling drugs and drug money between two countries, the local cops could work together to take down the crime ring using legal tools like mutual assistance treaties and bilateral agreements between the two, he explained.  

“But cybercrime is just purely global,” Witschi added. “I can’t see a single nation being able to get on top of it when you think that 13 per cent of countries don’t have law – let alone policy – around cybercrime. It just means that any international legal framework doesn’t exist in those countries.”

Plus, law enforcement agencies typically don’t have the budgets to hire cybersecurity and other technical specialists to help combat cybercrime.

‘You need a room full of these people’

“I’d love to have those people within my teams here at Interpol,” Witschi said. “But the problem is, I generally can’t afford them. And when you think of the nuances and the issues across all cybercrime, you really need a big room full of these types of people to canvas all the issues – whether it’s DDoS or BEC or ransomware attacks or phishing.”

“The Gateway project really gives us a lot more capacity and capabilities to get things done on a global stage,” he noted.

Fortinet is one of Gateway’s founding private-sector partners. In an interview with The Register, Derek Manky, chief security strategist at Fortinet, said that this partnership is different from other threat-sharing relationships between private vendors and public agencies. These typically involve working with government agencies to harden infrastructure, create new security policies or share technical indicators of compromise, he explained.

“But within the Gateway program, what’s unique is that it allows us a channel to respond to requests for intelligence,” Manky said. “It could be a piece of malware, or a new vulnerability that’s breaking. And we contextualize that.”

Global security vendors have much greater visibility across regions that a local law enforcement team has, which helps with the contextualization piece, he explained. They can also look at the key indicators and techniques to tie a campaign to a particular threat actor and help with attribution, Manky added.  

“But then, how do you operationalize that? That’s critical, and that’s where we pass the ball” back to Interpol and law enforcement, he said. “This is how we work together. It can lead to arrest, it can lead to prosecutions, it could lead to possible freezing of assets. Any one of those is a step in the right direction and it sends a message back to the criminals.”

Interpol ‘cyber surge’ targets African crime rings

Over the summer, Interpol will lead what it calls a “cyber surge” in 30 African countries. These coordinated efforts, which also involve the Gateway threat-sharing security partners, focus on pumping resources into both identifying threats and then helping local law enforcement disrupt cybercrime rings. 

Fortinet participated in this surge, and Manky said these efforts illustrate another point about why Gateway works: because it makes it more expensive for cybercrime rings to operate. “You have years of profiting, deeper pockets, which allows the cybercriminals to invest and create more,” he said, noting that last year NIST’s National Vulnerability Database tracked more than 20,000 new vulnerabilities, which set a new record. “So that’s also driving this,” Manky said.

This is why efforts like Gateway are needed, he added.

“We need to partner to fight back and disrupt” cybercrime, Manky said. “Because without that, it’s a runaway train.” ®

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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