Welcome to The Flyover — A weekly curation of news with the potential to influence your business, accompanied by actionable insight from Dovetail.

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Main Story

No Ransom Payments for Hackers, Announces American-led Cybersecurity Coalition

Along with a host of allied nations, the U.S. government announced on Tuesday that it would be expanding its long-held hostage policy to hacking. Announced at the third annual meeting of the largest cyber partnership in the world, the International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI), the joint pledge declares that the majority of the 48 member nations will refuse to pay ransom demands to hackers. The list of nations who have yet agreed to join the pledge is unknown, though the declaration marks a stunning multi-national agreement to counter a threat that has reached an all-time high and continues to grow.

As the estimated payment victims will have paid ransomware groups by the end of the year is on pace to surpass $900 million, deputy national security advisor Anne Neuberger hopes the initiative will “counter the illicit finance that underpins the ransomware ecosystem.” As major U.S. companies have been forced to pay millions to hackers in the past, causing major disruptions to their operations, companies are encouraged to invest heavily in their security and backup practices to avoid finding themselves in such situations. The full scope of the agreement is yet to be revealed, and more information will certainly become available in the coming weeks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Escalation of Ransomware Attacks: Ransomware attacks are on the rise globally, and the United States is particularly hard-hit, accounting for 46% of these incidents. This means that organizations, regardless of their size, face an elevated risk from these constantly evolving threats. It's imperative to grasp the growing prevalence of ransomware to bolster your cybersecurity measures effectively.
  • High-Profile Ransomware Incidents: Recent high-profile ransomware attacks on companies such as MGM Resorts International and Clorox underline the significant disruptions and financial impacts that these attacks can have.
  • How To safeguard your company: Start by investing in strong cybersecurity measures, such as continuous employee training, robust access controls, and keeping your software up to date. Regularly back up your critical data and develop a well-tested incident response plan. Vigilance in these areas is the best defense against ransomware attacks.

More on this story

Alliance of 40 countries to vow not to pay ransom to cybercriminals, US says - Reuters

Insight from this week

Meta Launches Paid Ad-Free Subscriptions for European Consumers

Meta announced it would be launching a Paid Ad-free subscription in Europe as part of an effort to tackle its ongoing struggles with EU regulators. The subscription, which will cost a little under the equivalent of $14, will remove ads from Facebook and Instagram in an effort to “comply with evolving European regulations,” according to the company’s blog. Meta has been embroiled in a battle with European regulators over its ad targeting and data collection practices, and hopes this new subscription offering will address those concerns without sacrificing the effectiveness of its ad-supported model. The move will come as a relief to many willing subscribers in the EU and Switzerland, who have long voiced concerns about Meta’s targeted advertising and data collection. It remains unclear, however, whether this will be enough to shake the ire of European regulators, who have been far more outspoken and successful in their battle against the company than their American counterparts.

Read Article from The Verge

AI Safety Summit Brings Nations Together to Tackle Risks

On Wednesday, delegates from 28 nations, including the U.S. and China, came together at the iconic Bletchley Park for the inaugural AI Safety Summit. The location of the event, known for the codebreaking achievements that occurred there at the height of World War II, felt apt for a first meeting concerning what global leaders feel to be a pressing and total risk: the growth of “frontier AI.” The summit, organized by the administration of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, aimed to start a global conversation surrounding the safety of AI. Vice President Kamala Harris attended as the American delegate to the Summit, and spoke beforehand about the importance of striking the right balance between affording opportunities for the utility of AI and developing safeguards for the potential risks it poses. She explained that global leaders possess a “duty to make sure that AI is adopted and advanced in a way that protects the public from potential harm and ensures that everyone is able to enjoy its benefits.” As the summit continues on Thursday, the agreement of the 28 national delegates to make AI safety a priority comes as a heartening sign, yet it is still unclear exactly what a concrete plan to tackle the many concerns surrounding AI could look like.

Read Article from NBC

Amazon’s Algorithm Helped Illegally Raise Prices by Over $1 Billion Illegally, According to FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released an expanded version of a previously released, heavily redacted complaint against Amazon on Thursday, which alleges Amazon used an algorithm to illegally inflate prices to American households, generating over $1 Billion in excess profit. The original complaint was filed in September, but this new version shed light onto the scale of Amazon’s organized efforts to push prices. A secret algorithm called “Project Nessie,” which Amazon began testing in 2010, was used to “identify specific products for which it predicts other online stores will follow Amazon's price increases…extract[ing] more than a billion dollars directly from Americans' pocketbooks,” according to the FTC. Amidst a host of other concerns raised by the FTC over Amazon’s business practices in the September lawsuit, this concerted effort to inflate prices is certain to capture the attention of the American public.

Read Article from Reuters

Sam Bankman-Fried Convicted, Faces Decades in Prison

The jury in federal court found Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced figurehead crypto exchange FTX, guilty on all 7 counts facing him in the month-long trial in Manhattan. Bankman-Fried “perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history — a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the King of Crypto,” said New York Southern District attorney Damian Williams in a statement following the guilty verdict. While his elaborate scheme saw him skyrocket to the top of a multi-billion dollar crypto empire, conviction could see him face decades in prison for a host of fraud charges. In a trend that somewhat followed the rise and fall of crypto’s popularity at large, Sam Bankman-Fried’s collapse from popularity to infamy has now been solidified, bringing an end to a major chapter in the story that has dominated headlines since his December arrest in the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried is now a convicted felon and the face of crypto failure and fraud, though he is likely to appeal the verdict.

Read Article from NPR

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