Dubai summit’s stark warning to workers on tech takeover

Residents follow moves made by humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ during an afternoon exercise routine at Shin-tomi nursing home in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters)
Updated 06 December 2018
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Dubai summit’s stark warning to workers on tech takeover

  • More than 100 leading technology and innovation specialists from across the world are taking part in Dubai Knowledge Summit
  • Etisalat’s Khalifa Hassan Al-Forah Al-Shamsi: Robots are going to rule the education and health sectors. We need professionals who are trained to cope with the technology pressure

DUBAI: Workforces will face a growing challenge in coming years coping with rapidly advancing technology and innovation, knowledge and innovation experts at a Dubai summit have warned.

Addressing a panel discussion at the Knowledge Summit, Khalifa Hassan Al-Forah Al-Shamsi, group chief corporate strategy and governance officer at Etisalat, said that the IoT (Internet of things) and AI (artificial intelligence) will play a greater role in future.

“Robots are going to rule the education and health sectors. We need professionals who are trained to cope with the technology pressure,” he said.

Sarfaraz Alam, chairman of TEXPO group of companies, said that in the near future the jobs of lawyers, doctors and pharmacists will vanish with robots taking their places.

“Those professions that have the ability to integrate, evolve and disrupt will survive. The rest will be replaced by AI and robots,” Alam said.

More than 100 leading technology and innovation specialists from across the world are taking part in the Knowledge Summit, which brings together prominent decision-makers, academics and pioneers from various sectors to explore best practice and propose answers to future challenges.

The summit, under the theme “Youth and the Future of the Knowledge Economy,” is an annual initiative of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.

Delivering an opening address at the two-day event, Dr. Boris Cizelj, president of the Knowledge Economy Network, said that innovations are reaching mass markets on an exponentially reducing timescale.

“The telephone took 50 years to reach a market of 50 million people; the mobile phone took 12 years, YouTube four, Facebook three and Twitter only two years. This really shows the acceleration of change — it is difficult to imagine it, but we have to adapt to it,” he said.

Dr. Simon Galpin, managing director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, warned summit participants of a possible backlash against technology.

“If we focus only on technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, we won’t go anywhere. We need to encourage skills to keep our children human — skills such as creativity and interpersonal communication,” he said.


Hackers hit global telcos in espionage campaign: cyber research firm

Updated 25 June 2019
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Hackers hit global telcos in espionage campaign: cyber research firm

  • Attackers compromised companies in more than 30 countries
  • Multiple tools used by the attackers had previously been used by a Chinese hacking group known as APT10

TEL AVIV: Hackers have broken into the systems of more than a dozen global telecoms companies and taken large amounts of personal and corporate data, researchers from a cybersecurity company said on Tuesday, identifying links to previous Chinese cyber-espionage campaigns.
Investigators at US-Israeli cybersecurity firm Cybereason said the attackers compromised companies in more than 30 countries and aimed to gather information on individuals in government, law-enforcement and politics.
The hackers also used tools linked to other attacks attributed to Beijing by the United States and its Western allies, said Lior Div, chief executive of Cybereason.
“For this level of sophistication, it’s not a criminal group. It is a government that has capabilities that can do this kind of attack,” he told Reuters.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said he was not aware of the report, but added “we would never allow anyone to engage in such activities on Chinese soil or using Chinese infrastructure.”
Cybereason declined to name the companies affected or the countries they operate in, but people familiar with Chinese hacking operations said Beijing was increasingly targeting telcos in Western Europe.
Western countries have moved to call out Beijing for its actions in cyberspace, warning that Chinese hackers have compromised companies and government agencies around the world to steal valuable commercial secrets and personal data for espionage purposes.
Div said this latest campaign, which his team uncovered over the last nine months, compromised the internal IT network of some of those targeted, allowing the attackers to customize the infrastructure and steal vast amounts of data.
In some instances, they managed to compromise a target’s entire active directory, giving them access to every username and password in the organization. They also got hold of personal data, including billing information and call records, Cybereason said in a blog post.
“They built a perfect espionage environment,” said Div, a former commander in Israel’s military intelligence unit 8200. “They could grab information as they please on the targets that they are interested in.”
Cybereason said multiple tools used by the attackers had previously been used by a Chinese hacking group known as APT10.
The United States indicted two alleged members of APT10 in December and joined other Western countries in denouncing the group’s attacks on global technology service providers to steal intellectual property from their clients.
The company said on previous occasions it had identified attacks it suspected had come from China or Iran but it was never certain enough to name these countries.
Cybereason said: “This time as opposed to in the past we are sure enough to say that the attack originated in China.”
“We managed to find not just one piece of software, we managed to find more than five different tools that this specific group used,” Div said.