The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 31/05/2017

Ransomware, Wannacry, Malware, Security

Foreign Affairs—B. Schneier / Why the NSA makes us more vulnerable to cyberattacks

  • The NSA must be blamed for the WannaCry ransomware, as it found the relevant vulnerability years ago and decided to exploit it rather than disclose it.
  • The U.S government can choose between keeping a vulnerability secret and use it offensively—to gather foreign intelligence, help execute search warrants, or deliver malware—or to alert the software vendor and see that the vulnerability is patched, protecting the country and the world from similar attacks by foreign governments and cybercriminals.
  • Given the alarming ease with which both the NSA and CIA are having their attack tools stolen, any vulnerabilities that are discovered and used for offense should only remain secret for as short a time as possible.
  • A time frame that could be contemplated is six months, with the right to appeal for another six months in exceptional circumstances.
  • In any case, another lesson from WannaCry is that security won’t improve unless users download and install patches, and organizations take responsibility for keeping their software and systems up to date.

Financial Times—J. Brunsden / Brussels presses plan to bundle Eurozone debt

  • A European Commission paper on the future of the Euro advocates the launching of a market of “sovereign bond-backed securities” — packaging different countries’ national debt into a new asset.
  • Officials hope that the plans would boost demand for debt issued by governments with relatively weaker economies while avoiding political battles over whether the currency bloc should issue common bonds.
  • If the ECB were to back off on quantitative easing, some Eurozone countries could again become vulnerable.
  • In addition to new financing instruments, the paper sets out a broader reform agenda up to 2019 and another set of more ambitious options for the period leading up to 2025.

POLITICO—J. Delcker / Germany pushes for post-Brexit EU trade deal with India

  • After hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Angela Merkel stressed that Germany was committed to reviving efforts to conclude a free trade agreement between the EU and India.
  • Talks on a free-trade deal between the EU and India got under way a decade ago but hit the buffers after six years.
  • Brexit may make it easier for the EU to do such a deal as it will no longer have to take account of British concerns.
  • An ambitious trade agreement with India, slashing both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, would have the potential to more than double EU exports to the country within a decade, according to the research group Ifo Institute.
  • At the same time, imports from India to the EU would rise by 87 percent, the study estimated.

Brookings—Shanta Devarajan / How to use oil revenues efficiently: universal basic income

  • The oil-rich countries of Africa and the Middle East all seem to suffer from a common malady: the inefficient use of their oil revenues.
  • In these countries, oil revenues go directly from the oil company to the government without passing through the citizen. As a result, citizens may not know the size of oil revenues accruing to the government, and there is a lack of accountability.
  • If governments were to distribute these revenues directly to citizens (in equal amounts to all citizens), and then tax them to finance public goods, there would be better knowledge about how much revenues there were and a greater incentive to monitor public expenditure.
  • The net result would be a dynamic private sector, efficient public spending, and—in the case of poor countries—less poverty.
  • Technological progress and other contemporary factors indicate that the time to introduce UBI in oil-rich countries may have arrived.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. 

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