Categories ArchivesNews and Analysis

A New Report Suggests There is Honor Among Cyber Thieves link

A new report looking at the behavior, market conduct and outcomes of ransomware attacks, suggests that there is not only honor among cyber thieves, but that the ransomware market is becoming efficient, even automated. Coveware, a company that specializes in cyber incident response and successfully negotiating ransomware attacks, sheds light on this frequent scourge in the cyber risk landscape, which has moved “down market” as larger and more valuable targets harden their virtual defenses. Not unlike the other dark recesses of the internet, the world of cyber threats is not only misunderstood, it is woefully under-reported because of the twin stigma victims carry. The first being the potential embarrassment and business backlash of having to report compromised systems or a ...

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An Apoplectic Economist Wages War On Crypto link

The economist, Nouriel Roubini, who goes by the apt nom de guerre Dr. Doom, has made a declaration of open warfare against cryptocurrencies and blockchain, or what he refers to as a “stinking cesspool,” in a scathing 37-page Senate testimony. Hardly striking the tone and tenor of a respected economist or professor at such a venerable institution as NYU, Dr. Doom pulls no punches when he likens cryptocurrencies to the world’s largest bubble, pyramid scheme and criminal thrift and blockchain as the world’s most overhyped technology. Many of these premises are wrong and his more serious message about the immaturity of risk management standards for cryptocurrencies as an asset class are lost in invective. Meanwhile, Peter Van Valkenburgh, Coin Center’s ...

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Supergovernance: The Impossible Expectations of Corporate Boards link

In Roman mythology the two-faced god Janus has one face looking forward towards the future and one backward toward the past guarding against any lurking surprises. This may be an apt description of a single corporate director or officer, who carries substantial personal obligations and liabilities in steering their companies forward with an eye to the past. The expectations on modern boards, however, are not just singular and bidirectional, boards are expected to form an omnipresent panopticon where all facets of their organizations and the attendant risks are not only known to them, but measured, managed and mitigated in a mythical form of supergovernance. Corporate and institutional governance along with myriad organizational failures have been on the docket lately. There ...

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Elon Musk Versus The SEC – When A Tweet Costs $40 Million link

Elon Musk, Tesla’s crestfallen chairman and CEO, is arguably a controversial leader. At once heralded as the type of prolific entrepreneur and visionary for whom space and the internal combustion engine are not complex obstacles, but rather the next frontier for his companies, SpaceX and Tesla. To others, however, he is the very emblem of erratic corporate leadership, marking the limits of imagination, personal restraint and hyper-productivity, even suffering from what some would call an Icarus complex, with one wax wing a Twitter account and the other hubris. Elon Musk has not only flown to close to the sun, he has perhaps Tweeted all too often under the twin guise of impetuousness and imperviousness, which resulted in a $20 million ...

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Crypto-Caribbean: The World’s Most Idyllic Blockchain Sandbox link

The concept of a financial or technology sandbox, popularized over the last decade, is gaining sway around the world, particularly as regulators try to put cryptocurrency, blockchain and technology genies back in the bottle and under observation (perhaps even starving them of oxygen). For some regulators in mature jurisdictions, such the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, FCA, fintech or insuretech sandboxes and the entrepreneurs that populate them are largely coming from positions of strength and, as a result, may promote innovations that “fit the mold” or marginally improve status quo. Lloyd’s, the world’s oldest specialty insurance market, for example, has recently launched Lloyd’s Lab under similar pretense and with great fanfare. However, when scanning the world’s self-identified crypto-friendly jurisdictions, the idyllic ...

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Hurricane Maria’s Grim Anniversary in Puerto Rico link

Today marks the one-year anniversary since Hurricane Maria’s deadly direct hit on the island of Puerto Rico. The devastation to Puerto Rico’s already enfeebled infrastructure was so complete that the island’s blackout, lasting more than 9 months, ranks as the second most severe in history, following the blackout in the Philippines in super typhoon Haiyan’s wake. Like bones, infrastructure can be rebuilt and heal to the tune of more than $94 billion, proving that when it comes to climate resilience, prevention is better than cure. Adding Puerto Rico’s eye-watering municipal dept of $73 billion to the hurricane reconstruction tab, and Puerto Rico’s economy is in the hole by 150% of GDP. Meanwhile the island’s purse strings are held by a ...

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Misfortune and Misery as New Asset Classes link

It may not be widely known looking at the embarrassment of riches on Wall Street, but the world’s best hope of reining in the modern era’s four horsemen riding on steeds of climate change, extreme income inequality, pandemic threats and the erosion of institutional trust, largely depends on financial engineering, technological innovation and political will. In development circles the case for financial leverage, or the billions to trillions narrative, is widely understood, representing a critical path to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now it is time for business and the asset management community to realize their double-jeopardy, which is betrayed by buoyed short-term returns – namely, we are living in an invest now or pay later world. Either ...

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With a Stroke of a Pen the U.S. Brings Cyberwarfare Closer to Home link

Cybercrime damage costs are predicted to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021, however the Trump administration’s recent repeal of the Presidential Policy Directive 20 could see that number increase dramatically. Its repeal will aim to give the military much more autonomy in how and when it carries out a cyber-attack against foreign adversaries, including launching offensive first strikes. With this new posture, counterattacks are likely to increase along with the prospects of escalating cyber warfare and unintended consequences. Unlike the traditional wars of yester year, this new digital battleground will see collateral damage hitting right at the feet of America’s main street small business sectors – a concept our country is woefully unprepared for. The Presidential Policy Directive 20, or ...

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Hurricane Florence Will Be The Harvey of the East Coast link

As Hurricane Florence intensifies in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to arrive on the Southeast coast of the U.S. as of strong category 4 or category 3 hurricane, the mix of threats from wind, storm surge and rain make this a catastrophic weather event. People in this hurricane’s path, in coastal or low-lying areas, should heed evacuation warnings from local and Federal officials and not tempt Florence’s wrath. Looking at hurricane models, Hurricane Florence’s real threat, once the immediate landfall abates, is the potential for record-breaking, Hurricane Harvey-like rain fall, especially if the storm system stalls. Hurricane Harvey marked the opening salvo of 2017’s truly catastrophic hurricane season by dropping the most rain recorded in the U.S., largely over ...

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While Data May be Worth Trillions, It is Not the New Oil link

Just because today’s tech titans are the new robber barons, does not mean data is the new oil. This oft made comparison not only smacks of convenience, it lacks imagination, which in turn leads to serious miscalculations when it comes to information security, data privacy, valuation and, perhaps most critically, public policy. Yes, countries will go to war over data and the 2015 nation-backed attack on Sony Entertainment was likely the opening salvo. Yes, the world is ravenously dependent on data and the technologies and infrastructure that pipes it like so many cars, pipelines and oil wells before it. Yes, data poses systemic risks to the global economy. However, this is perhaps where the comparison stops. For one, despite naive ...

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