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.

Enterprise

Huawei praises American technology, reevaluates own lineup

In rare public letter

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Mate 40 Pro

For a while now, Huawei has stayed silent following the recent slew of American bans. However, amid the silence, the Chinese company has suffered endless misery in the hands of the Trump administration. Now, under a new president, Huawei might finally get a well-deserved reprieve. In a rare public address, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei praises American technology and is reevaluating his own product lineup.

In the public letter, written sometime in June last year and reported by Reuters, Ren called out the Trump administration’s actions for creating “a great mismatch between [Huawei’s] strategy and [their] abilities.” The heavily restrictive policies have, in turn, forced Huawei to reevaluate their lineup, including cutting some products and some staff.

Since the letter was penned last year, Huawei’s cost-cutting might have already come to pass after selling Honor away. The company hasn’t eradicated much of its product lineup, though. Huawei is still planning to launch its tentpole series soon.

Despite criticizing Trump’s actions, Ren also praised the caliber of American technology as a “beacon of technology” and something to be emulated. The public praise makes the timing a bit conspicuous. There is a possibility that Huawei is trying to court the Biden administration into laxer policies going forward. Before the Trump administration ended, the ex-president landed a farewell blow, reportedly revoking some already accepted applications for operating licenses. With a new administration, Huawei is enjoying some renewed hope.

SEE ALSO: Huawei buys 90 patents from BlackBerry

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Enterprise

OnePlus and OPPO are merging research departments

A new era for R&D

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OnePlus Nord N10 5G

Everyone knows about the relationship between OPPO and OnePlus. Last year, renowned OnePlus CEO Pete Lau controversially switched sides over to OPPO, despite retaining some form of responsibility with his former company. Both companies have evolved side-by-side for a while. Today, they are taking a step further. Now confirmed by both companies, both companies have merged research departments.

Some rumors about the merge have emerged late last year. However, at the time, the rumors were just that — rumors. Now, it’s 100 percent confirmed.

In a statement sent to Android Authority, a OnePlus spokesperson has confirmed that both companies are integrating their research efforts into OPLUS, an overseeing holding company now led by Lau. Now, both companies are in a joint research partnership with one another.

However, the OnePlus statement also assures users that all involved parties will continue to operate independently despite the partnership. However, given that they are now working together, all companies under the BKK flag can now share new innovations and features with one another.

At the very least, the partnership cements a fact that was formerly known anyway: that OPPO and OnePlus share a strong relationship between themselves. At the moment, no one knows what the partnership will create, but it’s a good sight, at least.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus CEO Pete Lau will allegedly move to OPPO, rumor says

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Computers

Cybersecurity threats to lookout for in 2021 and beyond

Threats to intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will increase

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Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

Researchers from Fortinet have identified several cybersecurity threats for 2021 that will greatly impact both the consumer and enterprise sector. By 2021, cybersecurity threats on intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will double as most companies continue to implement remote working schemes.

A new wave of cybersecurity threats will also arise due to advances in computing. These threats have the potential to disrupt a large number of businesses and consumers in the future. Thus, preparation and eventual mitigation are key to stemming the potential disruption by these threats.

Threats on the intelligent edge are on the rise

Intelligent edge computing is more popular than ever thanks to remote work with most employees making use of personal and interconnected devices to access the company network. However, intelligent edge computing presents new threats as cybercriminals exploit these “edges” (i.e. connected IoTs, personal devices) thanks to a decentralized approach by companies.

These threats can run the gamut from ransomware to malware. As intelligent edge computing booms, cybercriminals can specifically target edge devices with malware that could disrupt corporate networks. They can design malware that could understand usage patterns, adapt accordingly, and attack networks with little to no risk of suspicion. Moreover, sophisticated malware may spread through networks to propagate additional attack commands or disrupt more networks and devices.

Ransomware on the rise

This 2021, consumers and businesses should be more concerned with social engineering-based attacks and ransomware. One of the most common forms of social engineering-based attacks is phishing. In phishing, cybercriminals send fake emails supposedly from legitimate entities coercing users into sending their personal information. For example, a user may receive a fake bank email notice warning of impending account closure but contains malicious links instead.

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

These attacks may even lock users from their personal data, holding them hostage until they pay a hefty amount of cash. Ransomware attacks do just that, affecting not only consumers but also the enterprise sector. As more businesses rely on edge devices for critical operations, the potential for a future ransomware attack rises significantly posing more risks than ever before.

Human lives are also at stake with ransomware attacks that blow out of control. An example of this happened last year when several hospitals across the US were hit by a variant of the Ryuk ransomware. As a result, several hospitals have to transfer their patients to other facilities since their systems cannot perform patient monitoring and other critical operations.

Advances in crypto mining and attacks on satellite-based networks

Bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning could also open up advances in crypto mining. While not inherently bad, cybercriminals can infect consumer devices more easily and gain access to system resources. When abused, crypto mining could potentially impact any device and affect users’ experience.

Meanwhile, network operators should prepare for more advanced attacks as they become reliant on satellite-based systems. Cybercriminals could infect a satellite base station and propagate malware to connected devices. Satellite-based networks could become a conduit for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in this way.

As an example, a cybercriminal could hijack a base station and inject scripts into other devices. In turn, infected devices could run malicious commands that could disrupt the connection of other networks.

Quantum computing, preparing for present and future threats

Quantum computers are the next big thing in computing, relying on qubits instead of the traditional binary bit present in all devices today. Research in quantum computing has made significant progress over the years, with working quantum computers not too far on the horizon.

Quantum computers, however, could also pose a new problem in the future. In the future, these can break traditional encryption algorithms rendering encryption moot. Fortinet advises businesses to adapt accordingly by using the principles of crypto agility.

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

In the meantime, businesses can readily adapt to these threats through a careful combination of technology, people, training, and partnerships. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also key technologies for preparing against and mitigating future cybersecurity threats. Businesses can train AI to spot attack patterns and identify threats even before they become a reality.

Partnerships are also vital in stemming the tide against cybercriminals. The enterprise sector, for example, could partner with law enforcement agencies for information sharing and dismantling of malicious networks.

Cybersecurity threats are here to stay

Connected devices have transformed society by enabling instant communication and richer user experiences. However, it also opens up new threats from cybercriminals willing to exploit and gather sensitive data.

There’s an old adage that says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same adage applies all the more in cybersecurity. Threats are here to stay, so consumers and businesses should prepare and mitigate potential impacts as much as possible. Thankfully, it is easy to stay safe and protected by following best practices.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more secure and private

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