Debugged Weekly: Jul 15th-21st

The United Kingdom, IBM’s new invention, and China. Tune in to see what’s been in the news this past week!

1. Hacks ‘probably compromised’ UK industry

Summary: Some industrial software companies in the UK are “likely to have been compromised” by hackers, according to a document reportedly produced by British spy agency GCHQ. The National Cyber Security Centre report specifically discusses the threat to the energy and manufacturing sectors.

Why this matters: This is another addition to the several cyber-issues which have plagued UK industries.

2. China Disrupts WhatsApp Service in Online Clampdown

Summary: The last of Facebook’s major products that still worked in China was disrupted by the government on Tuesday, as Beijing broadly tightened its controls over the internet. The disruption of WhatsApp (messaging service) was the latest in a long line of big digital services running up against China’s “Great Firewall,” the country’s system of internet filters and controls.

Why this matters: The disruption of WhatsApp indicates another move by China to control the flow of information domestically.

3. IBM unveils new mainframe capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions a day

Summary: IBM has launched a new mainframe system capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day. The mainframe, called IBM Z, seeks to address cyberattacks which have compromised financial data. It also aims to help firms automate financial regulatory compliance, in line with confidentiality and data protection laws

Why this matters: This new tech can allow companies to widely encrypt more consumer data.

4. Senator wants govt-wide use of email tool to thwart impersonating hackers

Summary: A member of the Senate is pressing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to mandate the government-wide use of an email authentication tool “to ensure that hackers cannot send emails that impersonate federal agencies.” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) made the request in a letter to a top official at the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD.

Why this matters: A member of congress has now formally requested for the NPPD to add an email tool.

­­­5. AI could revolutionize war as much as nukes

Summary: Nuclear weapons may be easier than ever to build, but still require resources, technologies, and expertise in relatively short supply. Code and digital data tend to get cheap, or end up spreading around for free, fast. Machine learning has become widely used and image and facial recognition now crop up in science fair projects. As time goes on, improvements in AI and related technology may shake up balance of international power by making it easier for smaller nations and organizations to threaten big powers like the US.

Why this matters: Technology can drastically shift how war, diplomacy and international politics operates throughout the world.