World War, Cold War… Cyber War.

 

Homeland Security

Homeland Security

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) emphasizes the U.S is facing a sustained and massive cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening the country’s economic competitiveness. The NIEs are classified documents prepared for policymakers. According to the NIE, the campaign is seeking to access businesses and institutions’ data to gather economic intelligence through cyber-attacks.  The sectors that have been the focus of hacking over the past five years include energy, finance, information technologyaerospace and automotives, according to the individuals familiar with the report.

Besides China, the NIE names three other countries — Russia, Israel and France — as having engaged in hacking for economic intelligence but makes clear that the cyber-espionage’s quality carried out by these countries are compared with those of China. Nonetheless, China repeatedly rejects such allegations.

President Obama states that foreign governments and criminals are looking into U.S. financial, energy and public safety systems “every day.” As a reaction, the U.S. military has put $3 billion into cyber security effortsFormer Deputy Defense Secretary William. Lynn states on this issue, “We need the NIE on cyber for a systematic and comprehensive understanding of what the most dangerous technologies are, who are the most threatening actors and what are our greatest vulnerabilities.”

The White House is considering imposing trade sanctions and visa restrictions on response to these cyber-attacks. Today, The Washington Post says President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order on cyber security soon, intended to help private companies defend themselves against hacking. So far, Washington’s response has included giving written guidance to businesses on intellectual property crimes, to setting up a toll-free number to report problems, to unsuccessful efforts to get Congress to pass legislation on the issue.

Worldwide- known U.S. dailies such as The New York Timesthe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post recently disclosed that they believe their networks were compromised in powerful and sophisticated intrusions that originated in China.

Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Officer, says China is the world’s “most sophisticated and prolific” hacker, adding: “It’s fair to say we’re already living in an age of state-led cyber war, even if most of us aren’t aware of it.” A new war is already starting, a cyber war, and the U.S. Government needs to take actions as soon as possible to fight this problem. This issue needs to be worked out closely between the public and private sector, since both parties are being constantly affected. Several experts have said that cyber-espionage’s cost to the U.S. economy might range from 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or $25 billion to $100 billion

E-Book’s Market Rising

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Launching the idea of e-books looked ridiculous about 5 years ago since many customers were reluctant to pay for them. Now, this idea is becoming more accepted among customers. This acceptance has been reflected on customers’ behaviors and e-books sales is the proof. Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in the company’s fourth-quarter earning report, released days ago “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting.” After five years, e-books are multibillion-dollar category for us and growing fast—up approximately 70 percent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just five percent.”

Nonetheless, this report shows that not all e-books categories are having the same results. For example, important U.S. book publishers are reporting slowing sales of adult e-books: What was once triple-digit growth has fallen to double digits. Books like adult fiction and nonfiction—and such categories as cookbooks and travel haven’t seen nearly as much growth from e-books as expected. However, the general ebook’s trend means that the table’s market is expected to continue increasing. Many publishers are focusing more on developing editions for iPad first, since it’s by far the most popular tablet, meaning that kindle has to work harder to get that specific market.

The Year of the Snake: Happy New Year!!!

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Today, China celebrated the start of a new year, the year of the snake. Each Chinese’s year is associated with one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, and Boar. The year 2013 is the year of the Snake. This animal is associated with the dragon and many called it the junior dragon. According to the Chinese astrology, all the people born on the year of the snake are said to be thoughtful, stylish, determined, but complex characters. These people are said to know how to manage their lives, destinies and destinations. They are calm, sophisticated, but not emotional. China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong was born in the year of the snake.

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For many Chinese people, this is their only holiday in the year and they try to celebrate it as the most important day of their life. The Chinese government tried to restrict the celebration by decreasing the number of fireworks to help deal with Beijing’s notorious air pollution; however, the population seemed to not pay attention to this call.  Lets start the Snake’s year and see how it goes for China and the world.

E-diplomacy in Action

The U.S. Department of State just launched about a week ago a video to recruit talented, smart, and capable American citizens to consider the Foreign Service as their career path. This video is part of the increasing initiative “21st Century Statecraft.” Now, the State Department is heavily using social media networks as a way  to recruit its workforce.

February 5th: Safer Internet Day

Today, several countries all over the world are celebrating the Safer Internet Day. These countries are advocating for a safer online community, where their users can feel secure while surfing the web.

Newly U.S. Secretary of State and the American E-Diplomacy

john kerry sworn in secretary state

America is running a newly Secretary of State. On January 29, 2013 the U.S. Senate confirmed former U.S. Senator John Forbes Kerry as the new U.S. Secretary of State with a vote of 94-3. Kerry was the United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1983 to 2013, and Former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He took office on Feb. 1, 2013. It is imminent that Secretary Kerry has a vast experience dealing with Foreign Relations issues, as U.S. President Barack Obama pointed out on his press conference, “John’s played a role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly thirty years;” however, the question is, is he ready to advance former Secretary Clinton’s e-diplomacy?

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During the last few years, State Department has greatly increased its presence in social networks and it has gone through a change in its online platforms. In 2003, to cover this new tech trend, the Department opened an office for e-diplomacy; however, it was until Hillary’s term that the Department aggressively used all the social media possible to communicate with the general public. Nonetheless, Former Secretary Clinton took it to the next level by starting the well-known initiative “21st Century Statecraft,” which was launched in 2010.  After the initiative was put on place, several U.S. Embassies all over the world started using all of these tools as much as possible to keep in touch with their respective communities and communicate the American Diplomacy to the world. It is really hard to see a shift in such a priority from Clinton’s term, but it is still uncertain because the newly State Secretary has not given his stand regarding this trend. Now, the new challenge that needs to be addressed by Secretary Kerry is “how to make social networks a safe place for U.S. Diplomacy.”

Bennett Freeman, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Albright’s term stated that “I can’t prejudge Kerry’s beliefs, but the reason I have confidence Kerry will carry forward (existing eDiplomacy initiatives) is first and foremost because the Internet is already demonstrating benefits for the United States, at least in terms of using it as a tool for public diplomacy,”