Navy officer: ‘We would have preferred Egypt did not have German submarines’

A senior Israeli Navy officer commented at a military correspondents’ briefing Monday on the German submarines Israel purchased from German firm ThyssenKrupp, which stand at the heart of a criminal investigation into both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several of his confidants.

It marked the first time a senior officer spoke on the matter. In fact, the briefing was called to discuss the commencement of construction in Germany on the new Sa’ar 6-class corvettes, which are slated to arrive at the start of the next decade and are intended to defend Israel’s natural gas offshore rigs.

The officer spoke frankly on the Navy’s position, at least as it pertained to the deal reached between Germany and Israel on the sale of advanced submarines, as part of which Israel irregularly waived an exclusivity clause, thereby allowing ThyssenKrupp to sell four similar submarine to Egypt—according to publications not confirmed by the Navy.

The officer said the Navy's position was that all of the submarines procured from ThyssenKrupp were necessary (Photo: Reuters)

The officer said the Navy’s position was that all of the submarines procured from ThyssenKrupp were necessary (Photo: Reuters)

“Despite the fact Egypt is not part of the circle of threats Israel faces,” the officer said, “I would have preferred they did not have German submarines similar in capabilities to ours, as they comprise a significant improvement.”

The officer also stressed that while the Egyptian army had indeed been building up its force in the past decade, it was not considered a direct threat to Israel.

Yedioth Ahronoth uncovered this past July that in 2015 President Reuven Rivlin communicated the Israeli defense establishment’s concern to Germany over ThyssenKrupp’s intentions to sell submarines to Egypt.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to Rivlin’s reservations by noting that Israel had already authorized the deal with Egypt to move forward—without the defense establishment or the president being made aware of the fact.

In a different meeting, German officials claimed that the person who authorized the exclusivity clause’s waiver was attorney Yitzhak Molcho, former envoy on diplomatic matters to Prime Minister Netanyahu who may soon face indictment for his part in the submarine affair—involving alleged impropriety by senior Israeli officials in the submarines’ procurement.

Molcho, PM Netanyahu's confidant, may face indictment for his role in the submarine affair (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Molcho, PM Netanyahu’s confidant, may face indictment for his role in the submarine affair (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Responding to a question on the number of submarines Israel needed, the officer—the person most knowledgeable on the matter—said, “The minimal number is five and the optimal number is six.”

He further elaborated the optimal number of six submarines would allow five submarines to be active in operations at any given time, while one underwent maintenance work.

In any event, the officer stressed, “no one intended for us to have nine submarines”—giving credence to reports that the Navy intended to procure three submarines to gradually phase out of service three existing subs, rather than expand their cadre.

“The (submarine probe) affair is present and we aren’t ignoring it,” the officer added. “We’re speaking to our people about it, but have no active role. The only question we ask ourselves is whether the submersibles are truly needed and whether they fit our operational needs. The answer is unequivocally yes.”

“The affair has an impact (on the Navy) by its mere existence, but we continue to carry out our duties with enthusiasm,” the officer further clarified.

Planning work on the new submarines was back underway with ThyssenKrupp, the officer said (Photo: AFP)

Planning work on the new submarines was back underway with ThyssenKrupp, the officer said (Photo: AFP)

On the advancement of the submarines’ procurement, the officer said the Navy had resumed planning work on the three new subs with ThyssenKrupp’s shipyards, following the German corporation’s announcement that the deal was suspended due to the suspicions aroused relating to its completion.

Replying to a question regarding former MK Erel Margalit’s claims that the submarines’ blueprints were stolen in a cyber attack on ThyssenKrupp, the officer said he was unfamiliar with such an occurrence.

On the topic for which the press originally convened—the Sa’ar 6-class corvettes—the officer divulged that four such defensive ships were purchased, along with dozens of interception missiles belonging to the naval Iron Dome system.

Each ship will also be able carry a payload of precision-targeted offensive missiles with ranges of dozens of kilometers, as well as electronic and cyber warfare systems and an enormous radar dish.

The first ship, slated to arrive in 2020, will patrol the waters around Israel’s gas rigs during routine operations. In emergencies, however, a ship will be stationed near each rig to defend them against Hezbollah’s own precision-targeted missiles.

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Cyberwarfare is taking to the skies, aboard drones

Uber uses a master algorithm to determine how much money its drivers make—and women are ending up with less.

The gap: In a study released today of over 1.8 million drivers on the platform, women were found to earn $1.24 per hour less than men. Women also earned $130 less per week on average, in part because they tend to drive fewer hours.

The cause: The study, which was carried out by researchers at Stanford and Uber and has not undergone peer review, attributed the difference in pay to fact that male Uber drivers:

—Are more likely to drive in higher-paying locations

—Drive faster

—Take on trips with shorter distances to the rider

—Chose to drive longer trips

All of these are variables in the formula Uber uses to calculate driver wages, and the study showed they all tilted in men’s favor (the study claims men earn $21.28 an hour, on average). Women also have higher turnover on the platform, and more experienced drivers tend to get higher pay.

Though it wasn’t covered in the study, one reason women may avoid higher-paying areas is that they don’t feel safe—they may opt not to drive late at night in certain places, for instance, or stay away from neighborhoods that are considered dangerous.

Closing the gap: The study shows there’s a persistent disparity in pay by gender, and Uber may have a hard time fixing it. Stanford economist Rebecca Diamond, one of the paper’s coauthors, says the researchers considered recommending taking speed out of the equation, for example. But as she says, “both riders and drivers would prefer to arrive at the destination sooner.”

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When Reconnecting to Disconnected Published Desktop, Session Hangs on the “Welcome” Screen For a Few Minutes

DisableGPCalculation, to avoid the GPO recalculation during the re-connections and give the user the best possible experience:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARECitrixReconnect

Name: DisableGPCalculation

Type: REG_DWORD

Data: 1

Note: For the first time this registry key was intrudced to XenApp 6.5 Hotfix Rollup Pack 2 (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136248) . Since then, it has been added to all the Hotfix Rollup Packs, for XA 6, 6.5 and in the XA/XD 7.X.

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Russia’s startup-style approach to cyber warfare is why it’s so good with fake news

If you’re going to build a self-driving delivery vehicle from scratch, why include space for a dumb human? Well, that’s what Silicon Valley startup Nuro thought.

What is it? A van. That drives itself. And hauls loads. But seriously, it’s designed to specialize in low-speed, local, and last-mile deliveries. And Nuro did decide to scrap human-friendly things like seats to maximize storage space.

Under the hood: The van weighs 1,500 pounds—most of that is battery packs that are hooked up to an electric motor—and uses lidar, cameras, and radar to navigate. The point of its glass windshield? To keep other drivers from freaking out.

But: Nuro must convince regulators to approve its vehicles for use on the roads. Most states require a safety driver, so a vehicle without a human, or seatbelts, or a steering wheel will need a special exception before it hits the roads. Of course, assuming Nuro takes care of all that, it will still need to find customers willing to have it deliver things.

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Maersk needed 10 days to recover from NotPetya attack fully

Maersk was forced to fully reinstall its IT systems after infamous NotPetya attack

Maersk needed 10 days to recover from NotPetya attack

The chairman of the logistics giant Maersk, Jim Hagemann Snabe, announced the full extent of the damages caused by the ransomware epidemic in the World Economic Forum. The company was hit by NotPetya[1] virus last summer. The cyber assault cost $250-$300 million and required 10 days to recover fully.

Due to the ransomware attack in June 2017, Maersk’s entire IT infrastructure had to be shut down. 4000 new servers, 45,000 new PCs, and 2500 applications had to be reinstalled in the short period.

Snabe came from an IT industry and was expecting the full operation to last around six months. It is remarkable that the employees and partners managed to achieve the goal in just ten days, however.

While the work was on-going, the entire company had to process extensive amounts of shipping containers manually. Considering that Maersk operates in 121 countries, serving 343 ports, the task required tremendous efforts. While operating manually, the company managed to keep up with 80% of their typical workload.

Considering the damages caused by the cyber attack, Maersk chairman gave credit to “human resilience” which made it possible to overcome the dangerous ransomware strike.

“Basically average” cybersecurity management is not enough for companies

The damage caused by NotPetya was enormous and proved that businesses have to take more responsibility and put more effort into cyber security. Snabe claims that they had “basically average” cyber security management; however, the attack was a “wake-up call” to think about higher security standards.

Therefore, he urged global organizations, technology companies, and law enforcement to cooperate and create a more secure digital world. He explained that being good at cybersecurity can transfer into a competitive advantage. No matter how big or small the organization is – the virtual security could be breached at any time if no proper measures are undertaken.

However, human resilience is still an issue. Though, Snabe told that Maersk would be more digitalized in the future:

The next level of dependency is everything will be digital — all the documents will be digital, the boats will be autonomous, and hence the criticality of the infrastructure becomes even more urgent, and you cannot overcome with human resilience anymore.

NotPetya affected multiple high-profile organizations in 2017

Maersk was not the only giant which was affected by the treacherous ransomware. Similarly to Merck, FedEx[2] was hit with $310m bill, while TNT and WPP restrained themselves from revealing their losses.

NotPetya, a variant of Petya ransomware[3] that emerged in March 2016, started spreading mid-last year and was suspected of infecting IT infrastructure in Ukraine. Malware used NSA exploit EternalBlue[4] to penetrate Microsoft Windows machines.

NotPetya ransomware caused the worldwide hoax in June. Malware hit hundreds of organizations and companies in the United States, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. However, the biggest damage was done to Ukraine.

UPDATE: Russia is accused of being responsible for the cyber attack in June

Security researchers assume that NotPetya attack was created and held by Russia in order to target organizations in Ukraine.These countries have a tense relationship, so political reasons seem legit to arrange a cyber attack too. But Russia did not accept responsibility.

However, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced that the attack was held by Russian military hackers[5] in January 2018. The attack is said to be a part of “hybrid warfare” that combines traditional military aggression with cyber attacks to dominate in the country.

According to the investigation, Russian hackers used “watering hole” attack to infect the specific website that provides updates to M.E. Doc – one of the two accounting programs used by Ukraine companies.

Additionally, attackers hacked into industrial control system networks to cause havoc in the country. Finally, they used a ransomware-type cyber threat to camouflage state-based cyber attack. Typically, demands to pay the ransom for data recovery are held by individuals or hacking groups.

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Report: ADS-B is a Cyber Risk to US Military Aircraft

ADS-B airspace. Photo courtesy of the FAA

U.S. Defense Department officials have yet to address known cybersecurity risks associated with a military aircraft tracking tool and have only two years before the system must be fully integrated, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published Jan. 18.

The ADS-B Out tracking tool, part of an FAA program to provide transparency on military aircraft, falls short of fully protecting operational information from adversaries and remains vulnerable to electronic warfare and cyberattacks, according to the report.

Since 2008, the Defense Department and the FAA “have identified a variety of risks related to ADS-B Out technology that could adversely affect DOD security and missions,” the GAO wrote in its report. “However, they have not approved any solutions to address these risks.”

Defense has until 2020 to equip its aircraft with ADS-B Out in an effort to upgrade its radar systems and provide increased transparency. The program is part of the FAA NextGen initiative to modernize radar-driven, ground-based air transportation systems to satellite-driven space-based systems.

The U.S. Senate tasked GAO with assessing Defense’s plan to address known vulnerabilities with ADS-B Out, which provides real-time information on an aircraft’s location, velocity and airframe dimensions.

Concern has been raised about the satellite-based ADS-B Out technology’s potential to pose operational risk if adversaries are able to expose the positions of military aircraft.

“DOD and FAA have drafted a memorandum of agreement that focuses on equipping aircraft with ADS-B Out but does not address specific security risks,” the report said. “Unless DOD and FAA focus on these risks and approve one or more solutions in a timely manner, they may not have time to plan and execute actions that may be needed before Jan. 1, 2020 — when all aircraft are required to be equipped with ADS-B Out technology.”

Defense has only fully implemented two of the eight initiatives included in the NextGen program from 2007 and has yet to finalize a mitigation plan for addressing cyber risks with ADS-B Out, according to the report.

One of the initiatives Defense has yet to address is devising a cohesive plan for integrating defense-wide components needed to properly secure ADS-B across all military aircraft.

“As a result of DOD not fully implementing the 2007 NextGen memorandum, DOD components have lacked direction and cohesion while trying to address FAA’s requirement to equip military aircraft,” GAO said.

GAO recommends Defense and the FAA approve at least one solution for the time being to solve known ADS-B security risks.

This article was originally published on Avionics sister publication Defense Daily.

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IBM, Maersk Announce Global Blockchain Shipping Venture

IBM and A.P. Moeller-Maersk on Tuesday announced a joint venture to create a platform based on Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, with the goal of creating huge efficiencies in the global supply chain.

IBM and Maersk, one of the world’s leading shipping container firms, have teamed up to provide a more efficient method of standardizing shipping logistics using blockchain technology.

“Adoption of Hyperledger Fabric by Maersk and its partnership [with] IBM has the potential to remake the shipping sector landscape and its use of information technology,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of The Linux Foundation, which hosts Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

The new firm, which will be based in the New York metropolitan area pending regulatory approval, will be 51 percent owned by Maersk, with the remaining 49 percent owned by IBM. Mike White, former president of North America for Maersk, will be CEO of the venture. Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk will be chairman of the board.

The venture will offer the platform to a variety of companies. Among those that have expressed early interest are automaker General Motors; Procter & Gamble, the makers of Tide detergent, Bounty paper towels and Pampers diapers; and freight forwarding company Agility Logistics, which will be able to provide more streamlined customs clearance brokerage.

“Maersk is a strategic partner of General Motors,” noted Nick Richards, product development/purchasing and supply chain communications manager at GM.

“We believe this initiative will improve efficiency in how we manage our logistics network, as well as improving visibility of our cargo,” he told LinuxInsider. “We have started testing this in a few international lanes with Maersk.”

Efficient Entities

The new company will provide an opportunity to use blockchain technologies to reduce inefficiencies and build revenues across the global industry, said Maersk spokesperson Katherine Mosquera.

“Today blockchain opens up an entirely new set of possibilities and a unique opportunity to engage the entire global shipping ecosystem,” she told LinuxInsider.

The new venture will employ cloud-based artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technology through IBM to help create a more efficient logistical network, according to Maersk.

Blockchain technology gives companies the ability to trace the origin and destination of various goods in ways that previously were not available, moving anything from digital currency to a diamond or a photograph, according to IBM.

Customs officials in Singapore and Peru plan to utilize some of the venture’s capabilities to enhance supply chain security and facilitate trade flow. In addition, international terminal operators APM Terminals and PSA International will work with the new venture to improve terminal planning and improve port collaboration.

IBM and Maersk first launched a joint venture in June 2016 to develop technology involving blockchain. They have run pilot programs with several major companies to test how they can use the new platform to create more efficient logistical operations.

The pilots have involved a wide range of entities, including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Global Buy-In

This major commitment by two important companies may provide the impetus for many others to jump on board, leading blockchain to its full potential.

Maersk has been successful in running pilot programs of blockchain in the past, noted Stewart Bond, research director of data integration software at IDC.

That said, in order to work on a global scale, blockchain networks need buy-in and participation, he told LinuxInsider.

“Both of these companies can bring forth vast depth and range of existing business relationships,” said Jessica Groopman, industry analyst at Kaleido Insights.

“This isn’t just an advantage over startups working on blockchain supply chain applications,” she told LinuxInsider. “It’s an essential enabler of value.”


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.

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