Connect with us

Tech

Nicaragua creates Ministry of Extraterrestrial Space Affairs

Published

on

Nicaragua creates Ministry of Extraterrestrial Space Affairs

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua has created a new National Ministry for Extraterrestrial Space Affairs, The Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which is drawing amused reactions on social media in a nation that has been struggling since anti-government protests three years ago.

The agency was approved by 76 legislators Wednesday in the country’s congress, which is dominated by President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista Party. Fifteen opposition legislators abstained.

In a country that has a hard time supplying its people with food, fuel and coronavirus vaccines, it is not clear exactly what the ministry is supposed to do.

It will be under the control of the Nicaraguan army, which has no space program. The law says the ministry “will promote the development of space activities, with the aim of broadening the country’s capacities in the fields of education, industry, science and technology.”

Geologist Jaime Incer Barquero, president of Nicaragua’s Academy of Geography and History, told CNN: “Nicaragua does not have a scientific capacity or tradition, does not have a serious (space) observatory. We are not scientifically able as a country to undertake this type of research.”

Social media users were quick to create memes of Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, dressed as astronauts and of Nicaraguan police expropriating the moon, as Ortega has done with some buildings in Nicaragua that belonged to media outlets and civic groups he disagreed with.

Critics said the country does not have the money to spare for dreams of space exploration. It has yet to acquire any coronavirus vaccines and has been in a deep social and economic crisis since the government quashed mass protests in 2018.

The space agency is not be the first time Ortega has endorsed quixotic proposals. In 2014 he authorized a Chinese company to build a $50 billion canal across Nicaragua. The project has made little headway.

Human rights organizations, meanwhile, said Thursday that they will demand a “strong resolution” on Nicaragua’s human rights situation at the Feb. 22 opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Violations of human rights continue in Nicaragua and they require a mission to visit the country and make recommendations for overcoming this challenges and for the county to return to normality before the elections” next fall, said Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, the UN special investigator on the rights to peaceful assembly and association.

National elections are scheduled for Nov. 7. Ortega is expected to run for his fourth consecutive term as president since 2007 and his fifth in total, combined with his stint in power in 1979-1990, Nicaragua has already spent almost a quarter-century under Ortega’s rule.

In recent months, Ortega’s government has proposed, passed and implemented a number of laws making it more difficult for nongovernmental organizations to operate.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Pindrop: Only 34% of call centers are prepared to fight fraudsters

Published

on

Firms have seen more fraud and new types of fraud since the pandemic began.

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


During the pandemic, as in-person customer service interactions became impractical, consumers found they needed access beyond traditional service options, including online, mobile, and other self-service outlets. For call centers, this meant increasing call volumes — even as they, too, dealt with changes as a result of the pandemic, such as the shift to remote work. According to Pindrop’s recent 2021 Voice Intelligence & Security Report, for some businesses, call volumes grew over 800% in the second quarter of 2020, resulting in staffing challenges and increased hold times for customers. During this time, fraud attempts at the call center agent level shrank by 25%. Good news, right? Wrong.

Above: Participants were asked how Covid-19 pandemic has affected their business.

Image Credit: Pindrop

While fraud at the agent level may have decreased during the pandemic, 57% of fraud detection and prevention decision makers reported experiencing an increase in fraud attacks, and 66% reported seeing new types of fraud. As a result of increased hold times, fraudsters didn’t stop their attacks, but found new ways to perpetrate them to perform account takeover attacks as well as unemployment and loan scams.

How did they do it? By targeting vulnerabilities in contact center Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, allowing fraudsters to bypass the agent and abuse the IVR for intelligence on customer accounts and updates on transaction and loan details. Using advanced algorithms, fraudsters auto dial IVRs, crack PINs, DOBs, and the last 4 of a SSN in a matter of hours. The IVR has become a critical piece to the account takeover process, with 57% of call center firms reporting incidents of IVR account mining. And with only 34% of firms reporting they’re able to discover and stop fraud in real time with a high degree of confidence and accuracy, there’s a good chance fraudsters are getting away with it.

As technology evolves, the IVR may bear more responsibilities assisting the consumer. That means contact centers bear even more responsibility to secure it.

Data was sourced from Pindrop Labs and a commissioned study and survey of 259 global fraud detection and prevention decision makers conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Pindrop in October 2020.

Read Pindrop’s full 2021 Voice Intelligence & Security Report.

 

VentureBeat

VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact.

Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:

  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more

Become a member

Continue Reading

Tech

A question no one is asking about the Colonial Pipeline ransom attack

Published

on

Building AI that doesn't give your users 'algorithmic fatigue'

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


Reading multiple reviews and analysis on recent ransomware attacks, especially the most famous one on Colonial Pipeline which paid a ransom of 75 bitcoins (about $4 million), I am seeing a lot of discussion about what the victims did wrong and how they can avoid such attacks in the future. But no one is asking (let alone answering) a very simple question: What did the hackers do wrong that allowed the FBI to recover at least a half of the ransom already successfully transferred to them by Colonial Pipeline? And an even more important question: How did they make the mistake of allowing their transaction to be traced?

For anyone working with blockchain tech, it is obvious that ransomware hackers who use bitcoin for the payoff don’t care much about their anonymity. People dealing with crypto know that bitcoin is a pseudonymous cryptocurrency, meaning that it does provide some basic degree of anonymity, but scrutinization of the bitcoin blockchain unleashes a lot of information about both the sender and the recipient. And, of course, all the details of transfers and their amounts are publicly visible to anyone. So using bitcoin as a payment method, especially for illegal activity such as ransom is extremely dangerous for the attackers. They can be easily traced and caught, and their money can be seized. The probability that the Colonial Pipeline attackers didn’t know such basics about crypto is near zero. They would certainly have known there are well-developed privacy-centric cryptocurrencies tht provide almost absolute anonymity and security to their users.

Monero is one outstanding example; it hides all the details of its transactions from public view, including the sender, the recipient, and the transfer amount. And it is very liquid, with a market capitalization of more than $4.5 billion and a presence on most cryptocurrency exchanges. So why did the attackers not use it — or another privacy-centric cryptocurrency? There are two possible answers to this question. I don’t know which one is right.

The first possibility is that they simply didn’t care. Most are probably located in the hacker-haven countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran, that don’t have extradition agreements with the West. So they are not afraid of the FBI, not worried about being caught, and simply did not think the law enforcement agencies would be clever enough to find a way to seize their money. The second possibility is that they intentionally used bitcoin so that they would be traced and clues about their location would be exposed. In this scenario, the attack would have been more than just a commercial transaction; it would have been a demonstrative action.

As I said, I don’t know the right answer, but there is an important outcome of this attack, especially if it was a commercial one. Attackers are learning, and for the future attacks, other hackers, whose interests are purely commercial, will be using better methods that will allow them to slip away unnoticed while keeping their money (well, our money) safe. So it’s important that companies brace for impact.

While ransomware sounds terrible for most people, the security community knows how to avoid those attacks, so there is no reason companies shouldn’t be protected. A “Zero trust” architecture, with total multi-factor authentication coverage will deter hackers and prevent security breaches. Security is not free, but recent examples show that ignoring reality can be much more expensive.

Slava Gomzin is Director of Payments and Cybersecurity at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions and an expert in blockchain technology. He is author of Hacking Point of Sale and Bitcoin for Nonmathematicians. He is also Co-founder of the Lyra blockchain.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact.

Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:

  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more

Become a member

Continue Reading

Tech

CCP Games launches Eve Academy to onboard players for Eve Online

Published

on

CCP Games launches Eve Academy to onboard players for Eve Online

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


CCP Games has unveiled Eve Academy, an accessible way for new players to learn how to play the massively multiplayer online game Eve Online.

Eve Academy is a resource hub that contains easily digestible information and outlines the available career paths in Eve Online.

Eve Online is a massive and complicated game, offering career paths and many ways to play. It has been around since 2003, and it offers roles such as mining, piracy, manufacturing, trading, exploration, and combat. But it’s not an easy game to play with its complex economy, and so CCP Games has made Eve Academy available on a website to help new players set goals and understand the MMO’s various intricate systems.

Eve Academy launched out of beta at the conclusion of CCP Games’ segment during the PC Gaming Show today. The show was part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) all-digital event.

The academy awaits

Above: Eve Online is welcoming new recruits.

Image Credit: CCP Games

The site offers videos, guides, and articles to help players embark on their intergalactic journey after completing the tutorial. It is localized in English, German, Russian, French, and Japanese, which are languages natively supported in Eve Online.

Bergur Finnbogason, creative director for Eve Online, said in a statement that it’s no secret that Eve Online is a complex game and new players are hungry for information. He said the developers have learned that players who have goals they want to accomplish in Eve Online get more enjoyment out of the game. Everyone has to start somewhere, and Eve Academy gives the devs an opportunity to help new players, or Capsuleers, learn the ropes and set their own goals.

Created with input from Eve players with expertise in the game’s different professions and specializations, Eve Academy contains vital information about the game’s varied mechanics and intricate systems all in one easy-to-navigate location, making the galaxy-spanning MMO more accessible to new players. After deciding on a career path in Eve Academy, Capsuleers should be well-equipped with everything they need to confidently explore the vast universe of New Eden.

The academy helps players with information on character creation, the onboard AI “Aura,” and the available career paths. It lets players jump into activities, whether that means fighting in massive player-vs-player battles, exploring New Eden’s 8,000 solar systems, building an industrial corporation, or joining one of the NPC empires.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties

Become a member

Continue Reading

Trending