Chinese Operations Expanding Businesses in America

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Even after more than a year of the China virus, why is no one saying NO?

Let’s begin in California, shall we?

Chinese autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai has received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to test its driverless cars without human safety drivers behind the wheel on specified streets in three cities.

China’s Robocars Are Way Behind Their U.S. Counterparts

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Pony has been authorized to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers in California since 2017, but the new permit will let it test six autonomous vehicles without safety drivers on specific streets in Fremont, Alameda County; Milpitas, Santa Clara County; and Irvine, Orange County. According to the DMV, the vehicles are designed to be driven on roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or less, in clear weather and light precipitation. The first testing will be in Fremont and Milpitas on weekdays between 10AM and 3PM.

A total of 55 companies have active permits to test driverless vehicles in California according to the DMV, but Pony is only the eighth company to receive a driverless testing permit, joining fellow Chinese companies AutoX, Baidu, and WeRide, along with US companies Cruise, Nuro, Waymo, and Zoox. Nuro is the only company so far to receive a deployment permit that allows it to operate its autonomous vehicles in California commercially.

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The Finer Details of the DarkSide, Hackers of the Colonial Pipeline

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: Five months before DarkSide attacked the Colonial Pipeline, two researchers discovered a way to rescue its ransomware victims. Then an antivirus company’s announcement alerted the hackers.

Colonial Pipeline hack is latest example of cybersecurity ...

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On January 11, antivirus company Bitdefender said it was “happy to announce” a startling breakthrough. It had found a flaw in the ransomware that a gang known as DarkSide was using to freeze computer networks of dozens of businesses in the US and Europe. Companies facing demands from DarkSide could download a free tool from Bitdefender and avoid paying millions of dollars in ransom to the hackers.

But Bitdefender wasn’t the first to identify this flaw. Two other researchers, Fabian Wosar and Michael Gillespie, had noticed it the month before and had begun discreetly looking for victims to help. By publicizing its tool, Bitdefender alerted DarkSide to the lapse, which involved reusing the same digital keys to lock and unlock multiple victims. The next day, DarkSide declared that it had repaired the problem, and that “new companies have nothing to hope for.”

“Special thanks to BitDefender for helping fix our issues,” DarkSide said. “This will make us even better.”

DarkSide soon proved it wasn’t bluffing, unleashing a string of attacks. This month, it paralyzed the Colonial Pipeline Co., prompting a shutdown of the 5,500-mile pipeline that carries 45% of the fuel used on the East Coast—quickly followed by a rise in gasoline prices, panic buying of gas across the Southeast, and closures of thousands of gas stations. Absent Bitdefender’s announcement, it’s possible that the crisis might have been contained, and that Colonial might have quietly restored its system with Wosar and Gillespie’s decryption tool.

Instead, Colonial paid DarkSide $4.4 million in Bitcoin for a key to unlock its files. “I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this,” CEO Joseph Blount told the Wall Street Journal.

The missed opportunity was part of a broader pattern of botched or half-hearted responses to the growing menace of ransomware, which during the pandemic has disabled businesses, schools, hospitals, and government agencies across the country. The incident also shows how antivirus companies eager to make a name for themselves sometimes violate one of the cardinal rules of the cat-and-mouse game of cyberwarfare: Don’t let your opponents know what you’ve figured out. During World War II, when the British secret service learned from decrypted communications that the Gestapo was planning to abduct and murder a valuable double agent, Johnny Jebsen, his handler wasn’t allowed to warn him for fear of cluing in the enemy that its cipher had been cracked. Today, ransomware hunters like Wosar and Gillespie try to prolong the attackers’ ignorance, even at the cost of contacting fewer victims. Sooner or later, as payments drop off, the cybercriminals realize that something has gone wrong.

Whether to tout a decryption tool is a “calculated decision,” said Rob McLeod, senior director of the threat response unit for cybersecurity firm eSentire. From the marketing perspective, “You are singing that song from the rooftops about how you have come up with a security solution that will decrypt a victim’s data. And then the security researcher angle says, ‘Don’t disclose any information here. Keep the ransomware bugs that we’ve found that allow us to decode the data secret, so as not to notify the threat actors.’”

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The Psychopaths in Beijing, Moscow, and Washington

By: Cliff Kincaid

The Netflix documentary, “American Murder,” tells the story of a Colorado man who killed his pregnant wife and kids so he could start a new life with his mistress.  I look forward to the Netflix documentary, “Chinese Mass Murder,” on how the Red Chinese regime released a biological weapon on the world, as part of a plan to destroy the United States and other Western nations, in order to achieve global domination.

Perhaps Barack Hussein Obama can recommend such a film since Barack and Michelle Obama signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce original shows.

I somehow doubt it.

Perhaps Netflix can also prepare a documentary on the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, labeled a “killer” by the American president China Joe Biden. Putin has been linked to the poisoning of various dissidents who threaten his power. Nevertheless, Biden is meeting with Putin on June 16. This is a killer Biden can do business with. Xi is another.

Not only that, but Biden has preceded the Putin meeting by approving his lucrative gas pipeline to Germany, giving the dictator leverage over Europe. Perhaps Biden’s next summit meeting will be with the Chinese president, to say all is forgiven for releasing a virus that has killed almost 600,000 Americans.

President Xi makes Putin look like a piker when it comes to extermination campaigns.

The mind of a murderer is something to ponder.

The Netflix show is instructive in that the killer, Chris Watts, demonstrates how he was able to lie with a straight face and deny any role in the murders. He was a very good liar. After killing his family, he comes to his house to meet with neighbors and police looking for them. He acts as if he is genuinely perplexed by them going missing. He calls his wife as if he is expecting her to answer. He uses the media as a mouthpiece to find the “truth.”

This cold and calculating approach to mass murder is contrasted with home videos of the family having fun and enjoying life. An observer must have thought this poor guy was a physical and emotional wreck as authorities try to find his loved ones. The “worried husband” Watts is captured in body cam and interrogation footage as the police try to find the missing family members. He seems cooperative. The only discordant note is one neighbor saying that Watts seemed unusually nervous as they search an empty house and watch security camera footage of Watts’ truck backing up to his garage.

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