Posts Tagged ‘computers’

Singapore: New Smart Nation and Digital Government Office to be formed on May 1

March 20, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

21 Mar 2017 00:18

SINGAPORE: Staff from digital and technology teams in several ministries will form a new office in charge of digital transformation in the public service on May 1, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Monday (Mar 20).

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), to be formed under the Prime Minister’s Office, will comprise staff from the Ministry of Finance’s Digital Government Directorate, the Ministry of Communications and Information’s Government Technology Policy department and the Smart Nation Programme Office.

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) will also be placed under the Prime Minister’s Office as the implementing agency of SNDGO.

Together, GovTech and SNDGO will form the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG).

The SNDGG’s responsibilities include driving digital transformation for the public service to strengthen the Government’s information and communications technology infrastructure and improve public service delivery.

The group will lead the development of a national digital identity framework to facilitate digital transactions as well as a national platform to support Government agencies’ use of Internet of Things applications, which link physical items such as cars, health devices and home appliances to the Internet.

It will work with other Government agencies, industries and the public to apply technologies to improve Singaporeans’ lives in areas such as urban mobility, the Prime Minister’s Office said. For example, the SNDGG will work with the Land Transport Authority on technologies to improve public transport, enhance urban logistics and reduce congestion.

It will also build on ongoing work by GovTech to enhance data sharing through the portal and collaborate with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to promote e-payments.


Permanent Secretary of Defence Development in the Ministry of Defence Ng Chee Khern will concurrently lead the SNDGG as Permanent Secretary from May 1.

The SNDGG will be overseen by a ministerial committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will be the deputy chairman. Other committee members include Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Ong Ye Kung – who has been appointed to champion public service innovation – and Minister of State for Communications and Information and Education Janil Puthucheary, who will be the Minister-in-charge of GovTech.

Mr Ng will also retain his appointment as chairman of the GovTech Board, which will oversee GovTech’s operations and guide the agency’s efforts to support Smart Nation and digital government, the Prime Minister’s Office said.


Dr Balakrishnan said the reorganisation will put the Smart Nation’s master planning, policy and implementation together and “turbo-charge” the Government’s efforts towards this goal.

“This is not really a technical or technological issue per se. It requires a change in mindset, a change in relationships, the way we work together as a whole of Singapore,” he said.

For example, it requires a whole-of-Government effort to put together a common platform for e-payments, along with the cooperation of the whole private sector as well as banking and financial institutions, Dr Balakrishnan said.

Dr Puthucheary also said efforts to improve the way the Government is run will not work as well as desired without “excellent people”.

“A big part of what we want to do is to build a deep engineering talent in Singapore, bringing more people into engineering, into ICT engineering, cyber security engineering, data analysis, whether they’re here in Singapore or Singaporeans residing overseas.”

He added that there are many talented Singaporeans working in these fields overseas. “We’re hoping we can attract people back into Singapore to build that engineering team here.”

WikiLeaks Dump Adds to China’s Foreign-Tech Wariness

March 9, 2017

Revelation of purported CIA hacking methods hands ammunition to the country’s cyberspace hawks

While the purported CIA documents leaked this week by WikiLeaks focus on the likes of Apple and Samsung, Chinese companies like Huawei do get some coverage. 

While the purported CIA documents leaked this week by WikiLeaks focus on the likes of Apple and Samsung, Chinese companies like Huawei do get some coverage.  PHOTO: SADILEK JAN/ZUMA PRESS

BEIJING—The latest WikiLeaks trove hands fresh ammunition to China’s cyberspace hawks, already pushing to reduce dependence on foreign products that could be vulnerable to espionage, observers say.

“The level of alarm in China will certainly increase, and with it a renewed determination to clamp down still further on U.S. technology companies’ operations in China,” said Peter Fuhrman, chairman of Shenzhen-based advisory firm China First Capital, which follows China’s tech sector.

The documents released this week—more than 8,000 pages in all—purport to show how the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency breaks into computers, smartphones, TVs and other electronics for surveillance. Many documents deal with leading non-Chinese brands like Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., though there is some coverage of Chinese products, including routers from Huawei Technologies Inc. and Baidu Inc.’s search engine.

The Chinese-product references are relatively sparse—and, in some cases, obscure. An undated list of CIA internal hacking demonstrations, for example, includes the “Panda Poke-Huawei credless exploit”—which one cybersecurity specialist says may be a method for taking advantage of vulnerabilities without logins or other “credentials.” There is also the “Huawei VOIP Collection,” a reference to “voice over internet Protocol,” making phone calls over the internet.

The document doesn’t say whether these methods were used for intelligence gathering. Huawei declined to comment.

A file titled “Small Routers Research-work in progress” lists router models from Huawei and ZTE Corp. It also mentions China’s three state-owned telecom companies and Baidu’s search engine, without further details.

The telecom companies and Baidu declined to comment.

The leak also offered what seem to be workaday notes among colleagues, including one CIA worker’s complaint about one piece of software’s default-language setting. “I don’t speak Chinese,” he griped.

WikiLeaks’ website is blocked in China, but Chinese state-run media reported the document leak, focusing on U.S. companies. Overall response has been muted, possibly because the official spotlight this week is on Beijing’s annual legislative gathering.

Cybersecurity experts say China maintains its own robust cyberhacking apparatus, though Beijing characterizes itself as purely a hacking victim, not a perpetrator.

“China is opposed to any form of cyberattack,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday. “We urge the U.S. side to stop its wiretapping, surveillance, espionage and cyberattacks on China and other countries. China will firmly safeguard its own cybersecurity.”

In recent years, China has seized on leaks about U.S. surveillance to fan public support for its domestic tech products. U.S. tech brands felt a chill after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed NSA surveillance methods in 2013.

“It is like snow on more snow,” one China executive of a U.S. technology company said of the potential sales impact of the latest leaks.

These leaks could help countries counter CIA tapping and develop their own capabilities, said Nigel Inkster, former deputy chief of U.K. spy agency MI6.

“China, Russia et al will now both be better attuned to the risks posed by these capabilities,” he said, “and will no doubt seek to use them themselves.”

Commentary: How ‘evolving’ technology leads to fewer choices and creates mountains of waste

February 22, 2017

Using older devices is constraining because of the limited support for its hardware and software. Hence, consumers have no choice but to upgrade or look for people with the skills to repair it.

Let me ask you a question. Are you periodically forced to buy a new laptop because the technology – hardware or software – in your current laptop is no longer supported even though it is fully functional?

The Microsoft Windows operating system is estimated to power about 90 per cent of world’s personal computers today. Newer versions of Windows appear every couple of years or so. Once that happens, many applications, such as your favourite web browser, rush to support the new version. Over a few years, these applications move away from supporting older versions to the same extent as the new one.

Google Chrome is a case in point. When it’s running on Windows Vista (a much older Windows operating system) on my laptop, it no longer receives updates from Google — that support has been removed. Microsoft has itself stopped support for Windows Vista.

Another example: I have found it very difficult to find an external hard drive – the device you use to back up your data, photographs of family and friends and songs – that works with my fully functional eight-year-old Windows Vista-based laptop.

Almost all easily available external hard disks now support some of the more recent versions of Windows. So, how can consumers like me get the required hard disk? The answer is that they probably can’t.


Companies design products with an expected lifespan, and they plan technical support and product warranty accordingly. A good rule of thumb to estimate a product’s lifetime is to look at its warranty period, as it can help you guess how often its manufacturer would be launching new products.

Apple provides a one-year limited warranty and launches a new iPhone almost every year. After the initial warranty period, you need to purchase an additional warranty for extended coverage.

The warranty period is clearly not the actual expected lifetime of a product. But it does mean that if you don’t care for your device, you will be paying extra money for additional coverage in the best case scenario, or buying a new and more expensive device in the worst.

After a few years, even your caring attitude will inevitably reach a point of diminishing returns because no matter how functional the hardware is, the software technology driving it evolves much faster.


New products are seen as new choices but, unless you have the financial means, you actually have fewer choices.

Using your older device constrains you because of the limited support for its hardware and software. And what happens when your old device runs into issues, even if they are minor ones? Since there’s no more support available for the hardware or the software, your options are to upgrade, or look for people with the skills to repair it.

An upgrade can be expensive and the people with the necessary skills may simply not exist. Technical repair skills have sadly been on the decline.

This is not just the case in the consumer electronics industry, where the US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a decline of 2 per cent from 2014 to 2024 for electrical and electronics engineering technician jobs, but also in the automobileand other industries. This is a trend seen across in advanced economies.

Developing countries tend to have secondhand markets and thriving repair bazaars, such as Nehru Place and Gaffar Market in New Delhi, Harco Glodok in Jakarta and 25 de Marco in Sao Paolo. You may have access to these markets, but the quality of their services is seldom guaranteed – and not all services are legal.


It is one thing to have purchasing power limited by financial means and another entirely to have it curtailed because of reduced choices.

While companies may claim that user expectations change market dynamics, it’s also true that many companies make tireless efforts through advertisements and promotions to influence user expectations. Some actually try to set user expectations.

The latter is typified in the idea that “customers don’t know what they want”, which is eschewed by many because of Steve Jobs. The goal of this idea is essentially to manoeuvre customers to satisfy a company’s goals.

When a large customer base moves towards a particular set of products, a company need not continue offering support for pre-existing products. Many people may not need the new product, but they sell in the name of technological ‘evolution’ even when this evolution is nothing more than feature enhancement.


In countries where a service provider also sells consumer devices on contract, reduced choices may not be apparent. Take for example, smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone, which are sold by mobile carriers. With the launch of every a new iPhone, customers may have the option to upgrade to the latest device at a cost. Many see this as an opportunity to get a new device every few years.

Some of the devices discarded as a result may find their way through vendor buyback programs, others may be recycled or refurbished versions in certain markets – but mostly without any warranty. Many others still, though, find their way to a landfill and thus contribute to electronic waste.

Even if we give consumers the choice to not contribute to e-waste or delay it as much as possible, will they be likely to exercise it? Probably not, given the rate of technological evolution. Devices discarded because of a lack of technical support (like my laptop) are likely to find their way to landfills.

A lot of the technological evolution in consumer electronics market today is not trying to solve a pressing need. Rather, it’s trying to fulfill desires, not all of which are innately human. And, in the process, it is reducing the choices we have.

This article first appeared in The Conversation. Author Sharad Sinha is a Research Scientist at the Computer Science and Engineering faculty of Nanyang Technological University. Read the original report here


Cyberattacks on International Banks Show Links to Hackers Who Hit Sony

February 13, 2017

Hacks began late last year, installing unauthorized code on websites belonging to financial regulators

Researchers at Symantec and BAE Systems say that some of the software and internet infrastructure in the global hacking effort was also used in the Sony attack and—more recently—other attacks on banks in Asia.

Researchers at Symantec and BAE Systems say that some of the software and internet infrastructure in the global hacking effort was also used in the Sony attack and—more recently—other attacks on banks in Asia. PHOTO: DAVID BECKER/REUTERS

Updated Feb. 12, 2017 12:01 p.m. ET

Cybersecurity specialists have found evidence suggesting that recent attacks on institutions in Poland are part of an international hacking effort targeting financial institutions in the U.S., Mexico and the United Kingdom—an attack that shares traits with the 2014 attack on Sony Corp.

The hacks began late last year, installing unauthorized code on websites belonging to financial regulators, then using those to attack computers belonging to a select list of global financial institutions, according to researchers who have examined the attacks at security vendors Symantec Corp. and BAE Systems PLC.

It is unclear to the researchers exactly how many banks were compromised or whether any suffered financial losses. But the researchers say it appears to be part of a well-organized and broad hacking effort that shares links to other attacks including the devastating 2014 hack that destroyed systems and exposed email messages at Sony Pictures Entertainment. U.S. officials have said North Korea was responsible for that attack. North Korea has denied that, though said its supporters might have done it.

Researchers at BAE Systems and Symantec say that some of the software and internet infrastructure in the global effort was also used in the Sony attack and—more recently—other attacks on banks in Asia. Security researchers call the North Korea-linked group they believe is behind these attacks “Lazarus.” It has been active since 2009, according to Kaspersky Lab ZAO, a Russian cybersecurity company.

If the recent attacks are indeed by Lazarus, it suggests the group is broadening its banking attacks. The group’s bank hacking previously had focused on Asia, said Eric Chien, technical director of Symantec’s Security Technology and Response division. “We never saw them do anything, for example, to the U.S., let alone Europe,” he said. “Now we see them targeting the U.S. and Europe.”

In November the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned U.S. financial institutions that it was “monitoring emerging reports indicating that well-resourced and organized malicious cyber actors have intentions to target the U.S. financial sector.”

The FBI didn’t respond to requests for comment about the latest attacks.

The attacks started in October by compromising the website of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, an incident that was reported last week by the blog. The hackers programmed that website to attack banking computers that visited the site, the researchers say.

Security investigators call this technique a “watering hole.” It lets criminals use one common access point to break into a range of other organizations. In this case, by infecting a website commonly visited by banking employees, the hackers could hope to spread malicious software onto computers within the financial institutions on their list, said Adrian Nish, head of BAE Systems’ Threat Intelligence team.

A Polish Financial Supervision Authority spokesman confirmed that the regulator had “identified an external attempt to interfere in the operating IT system,” and had turned over evidence of the incident to law enforcement after restoring the website. The Polish National Police Agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

The hackers programmed the hacked web servers to attack computers only if they originated from a short-list of approximately 75 institutions—an apparent effort to keep a lower profile and help evade detection, the researchers say.

This list includes 19 financial institutions in Poland, 15 in the U.S., nine in Mexico, and seven in the U.K., said BAE Systems, which declined to name the institutions.

The attacks also compromised a website belonging to Mexico’s financial regulator, the National Banking and Securities Commission, and a state-run bank in Uruguay, Dr. Nish said. A spokeswoman for the National Banking and Securities Commission said that it has seen no evidence that its computers were compromised. “During the past weekend, we received notice of a coordinated attack addressed to banking institutions world-wide,” she said. “Our Security Operations Center performed a thorough inspection, from which no abnormal behavior was detected.” The Commission’s investigation is continuing she said.

The attacks, with their use of the “water hole” technique, appear to be more sophisticated than previous Lazarus attacks, Dr. Nish and Mr. Chien said. In the shadowy world of cybersecurity, code can be stolen and reused, which makes the business of linking attacks to specific actors time consuming and often inexact. Dr. Nish, at BAE, said he has a “high confidence” that the group involved is Lazarus. “We know the tools that they’re using very well and we know the infrastructure they’re using and their tactics,” Dr. Nish said. “And we can strongly confirm that the tools that have been found on the bank networks and in these [website] attacks are part of the group’s tool kit.”

Mr. Chien said that Symantec hadn’t yet done analysis required to definitively make the connection, but that the tools used in these latest attacks are linked to Lazarus tools used in the past.

Write to Robert McMillan at


Waste from discarded electronic gadgets and electrical appliances causing human health risks — Laws needed to ensure proper recycling

January 15, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The waste from discarded electronic gadgets and electrical appliances has reached severe levels in East Asia, posing a growing threat to health and the environment unless safe disposal becomes the norm.

Image may contain: outdoor

China was the biggest culprit with its electronic waste more than doubling, according to a new study by the United Nations University. But nearly every country in the region had massive increases between 2010 and 2015, including those least equipped to deal with the growing mountain of discarded smartphones, computers, TVs, air conditioners and other goods.

On average, electronic waste in the 12 countries in the study had increased by nearly two thirds in the five years, totaling 12.3 million tons in 2015 alone.

Rising incomes in Asia, burgeoning populations of young adults, rapid obsolescence of products due to technological innovation and changes in fashion, on top of illegal global trade in waste, are among factors driving the increases.

“Consumers in Asia now replace their gadgets more frequently. In addition, many products are designed for low cost production, but not necessarily repair, refurbishment or easy recycling,” said the study. It urges governments to enact specific laws for management of electronic waste or rigorously enforce existing legislation.

No automatic alt text available.

Only South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have long established recycling systems based on laws introduced in the 1990s. Open dumping of lead- and mercury-laden components, open burning of plastics to release encased copper and unsafe backyard operations to extract precious metals are the norm in most countries including Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia, which also lack laws governing the treatment of electronic and electrical waste.

The study said open burning and unsafe recycling is associated with a slew of health problems for workers and communities near recycling operations They include infertility, childhood development problems, impaired lung function, liver and kidney damage, inheritable genetic damage and mental health problems.

Backyard recyclers are after gold, silver, palladium and copper, mainly from printed circuit boards, but the crude acid bath extraction process releases toxic fumes and is also inefficient, recovering only a portion of the valuable material.

Asia as a whole is the biggest market for electronics and appliances, accounting for nearly half of global sales by volume, and produces the most waste.

Guiyu, a heavily-polluted rural town in China that specializes in dismantling consumer electronics, some of it exported from rich countries, has become synonymous with the costs of a throwaway high-tech world.

China has cleaned up Guiyu and other centers like it but the Basel Action Network, which brought Guiyu to international attention, said most of the dangerous practices continue in Guiyu albeit concentrated within a new industrial park on its outskirts.

Ruediger Kuehr, one of the study’s authors, said the amount of waste being generated is higher than governments estimate, partly because of their narrower definitions, and should be a wake-up call to policymakers and consumers.

Image may contain: one or more people

Valuable materials like copper, silver, gold etc. can be recycled from electronics like computers, cell phones, tablets and laptops.

“We are all benefiting from the luxury of these electrical and electronic products to a certain extent, it makes our lives easier, sometimes more complicated,” he said. “However if we want to continue like this we must be reusing the resources contained in electronic and electrical equipment.”

A smartphone, for example, uses more than half the elements in the periodic table, some of which are very rare, and in the longer-run will be exhausted without recycling, said Kuehr.


US hard-disk drive manufacturer Seagate Technology will lay off more than 2,000 Chinese workers

January 14, 2017

BEIJING: US hard-disk drive manufacturer Seagate Technology will lay off more than 2,000 Chinese workers as it shutters a factory in eastern China, reports said Saturday (Jan 14), prompting anger among employees.

The factory, one of two operated by Seagate in China, is based in Suzhou city in eastern Jiangsu province, and was established in 2004.

Factory workers received notice of its impending closure last Saturday, and were told they would lose their jobs in just over a week’s time, state-funded digital news outlet The Paper cited employees as saying.

“At the very least, the company should hold a meeting with us workers. They should make clear to us how compensation will be dealt with, at what point wages will be cut off, and whether the company is being relocated or shut down,” one disgruntled laid-off worker told The Paper.

The decision to close the factory was made in order to “decrease the scale of Seagate’s global production so as to better adapt to current and future market demands,” The Paper cited an internal company memo as saying.

It cited workers as saying that large-scale layoffs in Suzhou had been occurring since February, with a number of those incensed by the cuts staging a small strike in December.

Seagate Suzhou plant officially announced its dissolution.

Seagate Suzhou plant officially announced the dissolution

According to the announcement of the Seagate Suzhou plant, said, because of the continued optimization of operational efficiency considerations, according to the board of directors decided that Seagate had to make a decision to dissolve the factory in Suzhou, china. The employees will be affected, we regret the early dissolution of Suzhou factory is Seagate to continue to reduce the global adaptation of current and future market demand measures the scale of production, in order to better.” In addition, Seagate also said that from January 11th to January 18th will apply for staff leave procedures, and in accordance with the People’s Republic of China labor law to pay compensation to employees.

Note: this year the announcement should be wrong. Arguably the announcement date on December 2016 is not wrong, but only appeared in Seagate Suzhou factory employees gathered discussion to say, the earth can see. There is no reason why the factory has been closed for a year. And there is no information on the factory shut down last year. In addition, the current state of business information is business, May 28, 2016 also updated the annual report in 2015. It is the wrong time for the announcement.

In addition, micro-blog certified on behalf of Jiangsu Heng Heng law firm Zhou Xiaosong lawyers in December 19, 2016 also released micro-blog said: Suzhou Seagate relocation, the staff stopped working.” The evening of January 10th, following with the assessment of the users @ vicese _ Wu Haiquan also posted a picture, “said today announced the closing”.

The vicese @ _ Wu Haiquan posted pictures of the mail content is in front of the notice, but also can vaguely see the messages received by the time of 10:31 AM, and the photograph of the time for the January 10, 2017 12:20.

On the whole, in January 10, 2017, Seagate officially announced the dissolution of the Suzhou news.

According to statistics, Seagate Technology (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. was founded in June 2004, operating range of research, development, manufacturing, processing, all kinds of optical disk drive, drive and other parts, all kinds of computer software and storage system and its components, all kinds of computer peripheral products and parts, sales of the products and provide customer service and maintenance service and related technical and consulting services.

In fact, Seagate Suzhou factory today announced the collapse is not accidental. As early as in September 2015, Seagate Suzhou factory began to lay off. At the end of June 2016, Seagate once again announced global layoffs of 3%, or about 1600 people. The layoffs seem to be aimed at their factories in china.

December 2016 industry sources said the Seagate Suzhou plant is about to close, then also led to the Seagate factory employees gathered in Suzhou protest, is said to be required to compensate employees 2N+1+1. But from the Seagate factory in Suzhou notice, should be gone.

Another source said that after the closure of Seagate Suzhou plant, its enterprise class hard drive production line will be moved to Seagate Wuxi plant, other production lines will be closed directly.

According to Baidu encyclopedia update in October 2016, Seagate Suzhou factory employs about 3000 people. Before taking into account the network data lag and the Seagate factory in Suzhou, there have been some layoffs, and some employees may be with the enterprise hard line moved to Wuxi, with 1600 Seagate previously announced layoffs, layoffs this seems to be aimed at the Seagate factory in Suzhou. In other words, the dissolution of the Seagate Suzhou plant will lead to nearly 1600 unemployed.

Mechanical hard disk market downturn, overcapacity, layoffs

In recent years, although the PC market continues to decline, but the storage component PC SSD solid state drive is growing rapidly. From this table we see not hard, 2011-2015 years, SSD shipments from 1460 growth to 102 million, growth of nearly 700%; while shipments of HHD mechanical hard disk has continued to decline, from 621 million 500 thousand to 468 million 900 thousand, fell by 24%, fell to the lowest point in history.

HHD traditional mechanical hard disk drive, mainly by mechanical components, read and write data need to rely on physical rotation disk, waiting for the spindle motor, a magnetic head and a magnetic head arm to find the data in the disc position, the whole process is quite complicated, seriously restricts the performance of the whole PC. The SSD does not have any mechanical components, without the need for complex mechanical movement, relying on flash memory chip, can quickly and accurately access any position of the driver. At the same time SSD has excellent random access speed, excellent multi tasking capability and excellent durability and reliability. The only constraint on the development of SSD is the price and storage capacity.

But now the development of SSD technology, SSD’s mainstream capacity has grown from 32GB to 128\/256GB, and now the maximum capacity of SSD and nearly 10TB, it is predicted that in 2018 the maximum capacity of SSD will be raised to 128TB. At the same time, SSD prices are falling all the way. Although the price of SSD like 1TB\/2TB is still very expensive, but the price of 128\/256GB SSD accepted by the general public, the capacity to meet the basic needs of the system disk or disk. You can see that in just a few years time, the mechanical hard disk has begun to face the situation is eliminated by SSD.

In the face of changes in the trend of the environment, as the world’s two largest traditional HHD hard drive manufacturers – Western data and Seagate also suffered a dilemma. To this end, WD in 2015 announced the acquisition of one of the world’s largest flash chip maker SanDisk for $19 billion to SSD, both arms, has become the second flash resources of traditional hard disk manufacturers will benefit storage products WD and HGST two brands of the west. Plus had flash resources of Toshiba, Seagate is not only in the four hard disk flash production resources. Although Seagate in 2014 to $450 million in cash to acquire Avago’s LSI solutions (ASD) and flash memory component (FCD) assets, with the ability to provide a full range of storage solutions. Seagate’s lack of flash production line, and other strategic resources lost three hard drive manufacturers competition, especially Seagate early shut down consumer SSD production line (Seagate 600 series SSD), SSD in the consumer field, Seagate’s market share is almost negligible.

With the sharp decline in the HHD market demand, overcapacity Seagate also had to take layoffs, closing factories and other measures to ease the pressure.

January 2015, Seagate has announced 2950 layoffs worldwide, accounting for about 6% of the total number of employees. The same day, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of both class chairman Steve Luczo, CEO of back, and cut 25% salary. In September of the same year, Seagate announced that as part of the global workforce optimization measures, layoffs 1050 people, accounting for about 2% of the total number of employees. Less than a year later, the end of June 2016, Seagate will once again announced layoffs of 3%, or about 1600 people. This also led directly to the closure of Seagate Suzhou factory.

Seagate has announced its first quarter fiscal year 2017 earnings, in terms of mechanical hard disk shipments from the lowest point in the last quarter, but still not optimistic. As of the quarter of September 30, 2016, Seagate shipped hard disk 38 million 900 thousand, an increase of 6% over the previous quarter of 36 million 800 thousand, but still far less than the same period last year, 47 million 200 thousand.

If you continue to do so, Seagate will be more difficult. However, at present, China is actively promoting the domestic storage industry, if Seagate is willing to cooperate with domestic storage manufacturers, then, may be a new opportunity.

Editor: core commtech – Rogue sword

Dry cargo, more revelations, sole opinion, welcome to subscribe to the core commtech

Official WeChat public number: core intelligence

Vietnam’s Hospitals and Health Care: Patients wait for 10 hours on average after walking in — IT not effectively used

June 27, 2016

Thanh Nien News

HO CHI MINH CITY – Monday, June 27, 2016 09:51

Image may contain: 7 people, people sitting and indoor

Vietnamese patients wait to be examined at Binh Dan Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Khanh An

Ho Chi Minh City’s public hospitals need to make better use of information technology to improve their services since a patient has to wait for 10 hours on average to be examined, experts said at a conference in the city Saturday.

Vu Anh Tuan, general secretary of the HCMC Computer Association, said most hospitals do not use information technology efficiently.

“Vietnam’s medical system needs effective IT use to better manage patients’ records, reduce the waiting time and improve examination and treatment services,” he said.

Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of the city health department, said, “Cloud is not widely used.”

The city with more than 10 million inhabitants has a total of 113 hospitals with nearly 34,400 beds.

“A medical network that provides healthcare services for millions of people needs an advanced information technology system for better treatment,” Thuong said.

According to a survey by the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, city hospitals examine and treat 40 million people annually.

On average, a patient has to wait around 10 hours for being examined and a doctor sees around 90 patients a day.

German government to use Trojan spyware to monitor citizens

February 25, 2016

Intelligence agencies in Germany can now use malware to track computers of people under suspicion. The Trojan will be able to track user chats and conversations on smartphones and PCs.

A spokesman for the German interior ministry announced on Monday that the government had approved the usage of Trojans to monitor suspected citizens.

The interior ministry spokesman defended the government’s decision, saying “basically we now have the skills in an area where we did not have this kind of skill.” The program was already endorsed by members of the government in autumn 2015, the ministry said.

Trojans are software programs, also known as malware, specially designed to get into users’ computers. They are often used by hackers and thieves to gain access to somebody else’s data.
In order to use the malware, government officials will have to get a court order, allowing authorities to hack into a citizen’s system.

The new software will be able to monitor users’ activities in real time

The approval will help officials get access to the suspect’s personal computer, laptop and smartphone. Once the spyware installs itself on the suspect’s device, it can skim data on the computer’s hard drive and monitor ongoing chats and conversations.

Members of the Green party protested the launching of the Trojan, with the party’s deputy head Konstantin von Notz saying, “We do understand the needs of security officials, but still, in a country under the rule of law, the means don’t justify the end.”

Germany-based hacker association Chaos Computer Club (CCC) also expressed doubts with the government’s decision. Its spokesman, Frank Rieger, told German radio Deutschlandfunk that the technical capabilities of the software needed to be toned down. “It’s almost like you’re watching people think, if you’re reading as they type,” Rieger said.

According to a 2008 decision by the German Constitutional Court, remote access to a citizen’s computer is permissible only if there is life-threatening danger or suspicion of criminal activity against the state.
mg/rc (dpa, Reuters)

Cracking Terrorist Encryption: Can it Be Done? If So, How Fast? How Reliably?

December 10, 2015


Pictured: Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham renewed his calls on technology companies to give law enforcement entry into its encrypted information to fight terrorism. His message to Silicon Valley: “Change your business model tomorrow.”

Graham said encryption on consumer devices is leaving the U.S. vulnerable to attacks. He cited an incident from May of this year when two gunmen opened fire outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. The FBI argued encryption stymied the probe.

“One of the shooters in Texas … had 109 messages sent between him and a known terrorist overseas that we could not look at because of encryption,” Graham told Fox News’s Greta van Susteren. “There is technology available to terrorists where they can communicate without — even with a court order, they can communicate without us knowing. That has to change.”

Companies like Apple and Google have bolstered encryption on smartphones because of heightened consumer privacy concerns in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations that the government had been spying on its citizens. Graham said that’s a business decision.

“Here is my message to Silicon Valley,” Graham said. “Change your business model tomorrow.”

The senator’s challenge isn’t new, but the terror attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, just weeks apart, have heightened the rhetoric, with encryption coming to the forefront. Still, critics argue the tech industry itself has become a convenient political mark.

Apple, Google and Facebook have all been under mounting pressure to create backdoor keys that would allow law enforcement access to encrypted communications. The companies maintain that this change would make consumers vulnerable to hackers and cyber crime.

Apple changed its encryption policy in 2014 with the introduction of its iOS 8 mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices. The company began encrypting communications between its devices, so whenever a person uses iMessage or FaceTime, those messages are encrypted on the device in such a way that they can’t be accessed without a passcode — and Apple has no way to decrypt those messages.

Google offers similar encryption on mobile devices powered by its Android operating system.


FBI: Access to encrypted messages could help fight terrorism — But some experts call that “next to impossible”

December 10, 2015


FBI director James Comey is using a thwarted terrorist attack in Garland in May to make his case that the government needs access to encrypted internet communications.

“That morning before one of those terrorists left to try to commit mass murder he exchanged 109 messages with an overseas terrorist,” Comey told a senate committee Wednesday. “We have no idea what he said because those messages were encrypted.

“To this day I can’t tell you what he said because it was encrypted. That is a big problem.”

Police spotted and killed two gunmen when they arrived at a cartooning event featuring drawings of the prophet Muhammed.

Director Comey wants congress to push companies, like Google and others, to create back doors into the data so analysts can see encrypted messages if they have a court order. Comey said it’s a matter of changing the business model, not a technical problem.


FBI Director James Comey said the government needs access to encrypted messages to help fight terrorism. Experts don’t all agree. Jim Douglas reports.

TCU criminologist Michael Bachmann disagrees.

“It’s simply impossible. Technically, it’s impossible,” Dr. Bachmann said.

He said encryption technology is so sophisticated it can take years for current computers to decipher them. He added that encryption provides vital protection for corporate secrets, law enforcement, academics and journalists — virtually all commerce and correspondence.

“It’s vital to our democracy,” Bachmann said.

He said if data companies open back doors, then bad guy hackers will find their way in. And he points out that terrorists will find ways to encrypt anyway, without using western technology.

“Encryption is being developed in China, Russia, the middle east,” Bachmann said.

Former FBI counter-terrorism specialist Gamal Abdel-Hafiz sees it differently.

“The government has to have access,” he said. “We’re not asking for the key, just let us in with a court order. Let us see what is encrypted.”

Abdel-Hafiz recently retired from the FBI to start Gibraltar Security Consultants. He said so many terrorists are now so good at hiding communications, that any threat to confidentiality is outweighed by the need to know.

“I would like to lose confidentiality to keep us safe,” he said.


F.B.I. Chief Says Texas Gunman Used Encryption to Text Overseas Terrorist

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said Wednesday that investigators could not read more than 100 text messages exchanged by one of the attackers in a shooting this year in Garland, Tex., because they were encrypted, adding fuel to law enforcement agencies’ contention that they need a way to circumvent commercially available encryption technology.

Mr. Comey, who two months ago appeared to have lost a battle inside the Obama administration over forcing companies like Apple and Google to give investigators a way to decode messages, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that one of the attackers “exchanged 109 messages with an overseas terrorist” the morning of the shooting.

“We have no idea what he said because those messages were encrypted,” Mr. Comey said. “And to this day, I can’t tell you what he said with that terrorist 109 times the morning of that attack. That is a big problem. We have to grapple with it.”

Read the rest:


Whitfield Diffie

For Renowned Cryptographer, Encryption Remains As Important As Ever

Whitfield Diffie may have helped lead a revolution in computer cryptography decades ago, but he still spends plenty of time worrying about the same questions: How safe are our digital communications? And what’s the next threat up around the bend?

For decades, Diffie has held a senior statesman position among those crypto specialists who work outside the military and the halls of the NSA. The 71-year-old spends some of his days at Stanford University now, where he is a consulting scholar for the Center for International Security and Cooperation. But the technology he helped developed — public key cryptography — underlies many Internet services in constant use around the world, and the encryption of online communications has once again become a hot topic after politicians raised fears about terrorist use of encrypted apps in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

These days, nearly 40 years after he and partner Martin Hellman published a paper describing their public key breakthrough, in which they built on the work of computer scientist Ralph Merkle, Diffie says he is as worried as ever about the threats to privacy and security in an ever-evolving online world.

“To my mind, the most critical thing is [that] our grand vulnerability is not to physical terrorism, but to a cyber attack on our critical infrastructure,” Diffie said in an interview with NBC News on Monday.

“There are half a dozen critical infrastructures: power, of course, gas and water, transportation, banking, communications,” Diffie said. “They’ve been growing up for a long time, and opponents who have real capability to survey these systems stand a chance of developing a technique for causing them to collapse.”

Read More: Paris Attack Could Renew Debate Over Encrypted Messaging Apps

Even with more people concerned about hacks in the aftermath of prominent breaches at Sony, Anthem and Target, among others, the sort of future threat Diffie envisions still isn’t the kind of thing most Americans worry about regularly. Far more topical, at least in recent months, has been the issue of whether terrorists are using encryption to hide from the watchful eyes of Western intelligence.

In the United States, officials from the director of the FBI to the Manhattan district attorney have pushed for a legal “backdoor” into encrypted devices and services, as tech companies including Google and Apple have set up their systems so that they don’t even have the keys to turn over should the cops come knocking.

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told a Senate committee hearing that one of the Garland, Texas, shooters had exchanged 109 messages with an “overseas terrorist” before carrying out the attack, but that the messages couldn’t be read by investigators because they were encrypted.

Diffie, who spoke to NBC News before Comey’s remarks, doesn’t think it’s a good idea to limit the use of encryption just because it can be misused by a few.

“This is like saying, well, you know, cars are of use to bank robbers. This was at one time a very major thing,” he said. “Nobody ever took seriously at that time the notion that you should cut down the abilities of cars in order to solve one particular sort of crime.”

And while the men and women tasked with keeping Americans safe say they fear that encryption will help terrorists “go dark,” Diffie says that building in access for investigators will open a number of new and challenging questions. Diffie was one of 15 cryptography and computer experts who authored a 31-page report published in July in which they said that creating “exceptional access” for law enforcement would lead to “unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws.”

Read More: Encrypted Data is a Simple Idea Built on Some Pretty Complex Math

Those could include making it difficult to deny ally countries or other partners access to the “backdoors,” even if that was not the original intent, he said.

“If you think about building trapdoors into these things, there are several problems that come up. There have been people who’ve said — I think too carelessly — that basically, if you build a trapdoor into it, somebody else will discover it,” Diffie said. “I think what’s actually true is, if you build a trapdoor into it, you will not be able to not deny use of that trapdoor to other people. So you have other governments, maybe other kinds of entities, economically powerful, militarily powerful, the people you want favors from.”

“Once you have a capability, the basic thing that happens with it is you begin trading it with other people,” Diffie said. “And so it’s hard to see how that could ever be kept just to the U.S. government.”