Enterprise

Trade War: China’s loss is everyone’s gain

The flow of technology remains untouched

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Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have reached a stage where hostility has become a new normal. Both countries have imposed high tariffs on a substantial proportion of each other’s goods and just when we thought the war is de-escalating, President Trump announced 10 percent tariffs on a further US$ 300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

It’s not surprising that China’s technology muscle is independent to a huge extent. The country is the world’s number one smartphone maker in terms of volume, almost every company on this planet relies on components that are made in China, and giants like Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba offer everything to the end-user.


Sure, Chinese technology giants still rely on a huge chunk of western technology and we’ve already seen how Huawei took the biggest hit. But, while all of us are busy analyzing and understanding the trade war, other countries are making moves, and they’re making them fast.

Other countries swooping in

It’s a classic story of two cats fighting for a piece of cake and a monkey swoops in, fooling both of them. The two incumbents gain nothing in the end and a third-person reap all the benefits. Obviously, a literal translation would be an exaggeration, but we’re seeing a similar anomaly with the Trade War.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, Chinese imports have dropped by US$ 31 billion in the first half of 2019. But, Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, India, and South Korea have successfully bridged the gap. Vietnamese imports to the U.S increased by a whopping US$ 7.6 billion, followed by South Korea at US$ 3.8 billion and India at US$ 2.7 billion.

These records are a combined figure of all imports and not just limited to technology products and services. But, the tides are changing massively in this industry as well.

Companies are uncertain about their long-term investments in China and are looking for alternatives. Samsung and Intel were looking for safer options for years and currently employ 182,000 workers in Vietnam. These factories assemble smartphones, processors, and almost every component one needs.

According to Bloomberg, the Vietnamese government allowed investment licenses to 1,720 projects in the first half of 2019. Nintendo has decided to shift its Switch production to Vietnam and even Sharp has announced relocation plans.

Samsung’s factory in Noida, India

Foxconn, the maker of iPhones in China has bought a land parcel in Vietnam and announced a US$ 200 million investment in India. Apple, in partnership with Wistron India and Foxconn, is already making iPhones in the country and recently top-of-the-line models were also being shipped out.

Samsung already has the world’s largest mobile phone factory in India that assembles top-tier variants, ready for export. While the quantity is negligible when compared to China’s output, these small steps are an indication that China is slowly losing its edge.

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SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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Enterprise

Huawei thinks about selling its 5G business

Will hopefully appease Western tensions

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Once again, Huawei is weighing all its options. As time rolls by, the company is slowly losing its grip on the Western market. Even after a temporary wave of full support, the US government has gone cold turkey. Huawei is still on the blacklist. In the meantime, the company’s temporary operating license is merely receiving extensions. Unfortunately, extensions don’t mean much without a definitive end.

Huawei is in dire straits. According to a recent interview with The Economist, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is mulling over a drastic move: selling its 5G business to the highest bidder.


Throughout the entire controversy, Huawei’s detractors have often decried the company’s 5G technology as a potential security threat. According to the detractors, the Chinese government can seize control of the company at any time.

Hence, a potential sale can alleviate geopolitical pressures. If a sale is concluded, the purchasing customer will have access to the technology’s inner workings. The customer can check if the network does have a Chinese backdoor built into it. Further, they can tailor the technology in any way they want.

Since plans are plans, the Huawei boss still doesn’t have any potential customers in mind. Likewise, the company has not announced a price yet. If you’re eyeing your wallet for a huge purchase, you’ll have to wait for when Huawei announces the sale.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is still getting the Android 10 update

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Enterprise

Razer CEO goes all-in for gaming and esports in Singapore

A whopping SG$ 10 million over one full year

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The world of gaming and esports is rapidly growing within Southeast Asia. So much so, that one of its biggest victories for recognition on the world stage is its inclusion in the 30th Southeast Asian Games later this year. Not only is esports part of the list of sports each SEA country will participate in, but it is also a medalled sport in the competition.

For Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, it is time to take esports in Singapore to the next level. Earlier today, he announced through his Facebook account that he is committing SG$ 10 million to fund gaming and esports programs in Singapore. He plans to fund all gaming and esports activities — including its esports athletes over the next 12 months. Citing his gratitude for the continuous support from the Singaporean government, he wants to “give back and do more” for the gaming community in Singapore.


Razer, the official esports partner for the 30th SEA Games will also dedicate a portion of its investment to gaming companies in Singapore. In addition, Tan plans to continually fund Singapore’s esports team — Team X that will be participating in the upcoming SEA Games. 

The company launched initial efforts earlier this month in preparation for the SEA Games with the Razer SEA Games esports Bootcamp. Partnering with one of the world’s top DotA 2 teams in Evil Geniuses, they hosted  and trained over five eSports teams across SEA countries. Apart from that, they also opened a new RazerStore in Las Vegas, one of the major hot spots for esports in the United States.

The company hopes to fully transition their initiatives by 2020, when they will officially move operations to their new Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore.

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