Connect with us

Tech

Exclusive: Europe seeks industry views on China’s older generation chips

Exclusive: Europe seeks industry views on China’s older generation chips

Published

on

Exclusive: Europe seeks industry views on China's older generation chips

 The European Commission has begun canvassing the region’s semiconductor industry for its views on China’s expanded production of older generation computer chips, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Commission, the EU executive, has sought feedback ahead of two voluntary surveys for the chip industry and major chip-using industrial firms that will be due in September.

A spokesperson on Friday confirmed the Commission had begun a “targeted consultation (with) the industry to assess further the use of legacy chips in supply chains.” 

In an emailed response to questions, the spokesperson said the EU and US may “develop joint or cooperative measures to address dependencies or distortionary effects.”

Advertisement

It is unclear what action will result from the study but tensions between Brussels and Beijing are already rising as the European Union seeks to protect its industries from Chinese competition.

The Commission on Friday began imposing provisional tariffs of up to 37.6% on Chinese electric vehicles. Trade analysts say the tariffs could be just the start of a toughened EU stance towards Beijing.

Chinese industry is investing heavily in expanding production of older chips, known as legacy chips, with help from state subsidies. That’s in part because U.S.-led restrictions limit its access to buying or making more advanced computer chips.

In the short run, China’s investment will lessen its dependence on foreign chips but Western governments are worried about the long-term implications, including potential oversupply of the chips needed for countless appliances and cars.

The Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager indicated in April the executive might investigate legacy chips after a meeting in Belgium with U.S. officials, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimundo.

Advertisement

Also in April, the Commission released a 712-page report on the many layers of support it says the Chinese government provides to domestic firms.

The report included research into a wider range of industries including semiconductors, telecom equipment and renewable energy. Trade analysts interpreted it as a signal Brussels would be prepared to open more cases.

The new chip-focused surveys are a fact-finding mission, broader in scope than a security-focused survey sent by the U.S. Department of Commerce to U.S. firms, according to the two sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The Commission has sought feedback on draft questions including where industrial firms source their chips. It is seeking information on chip firms’ products and pricing, as well as their estimates of the same information from their competitors, including their Chinese competitors.

For equipment suppliers such as Europe’s biggest tech firm ASML, China’s expansion of legacy chip production is an important source of revenue that mitigates U.S.-led export restrictions on more advanced technology.

Advertisement

For chipmakers such as Infineon of Germany, STMicroelectronics of France and NXP of the Netherlands, the picture is mixed: all are important makers of chips for cars and for electrical infrastructure. They face increasing Chinese competition, but also do business in China.

Europe’s industrial, aerospace, automotive, health-tech and energy firms may be reluctant to disclose their use of Chinese legacy chips.

They may also be uncertain where the chipsets they use are made, given the cross-border, multi-step nature of chipmaking and packaging. German carmakers are opposed to tariffs on Chinese EVs, given their significant sales in China.

They have sought to diversify their chip suppliers to include production inside and outside China and Taiwan after costly shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advertisement

Tech

Three ‘pro-Russian’ hackers arrested in Spain over cyberattacks

Three ‘pro-Russian’ hackers arrested in Spain over cyberattacks

Published

on

By

Three 'pro-Russian' hackers arrested in Spain over cyberattacks

Three pro-Russian hackers have been arrested for alleged cyberattacks against Spain and other NATO countries for terrorist purposes, Spanish police said on Saturday.

The suspects were detained for their alleged participation in distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyber attacks against public institutions and strategic sectors, the Civil Guard said.

It did not say if the three suspects, who have not been named, have been charged or detained.

The cyberattacks were allegedly carried out against web pages of public and private organizations in the government sectors, critical infrastructures and essential services in countries which support Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, it said.

Advertisement

Police released a video on social media platform X of a raid at the home of one of the suspects in which a Soviet-era hammer and sickle flag was mounted on a wall.

“These computer attacks have been organized by the hacktivist group NoName057(16), (which started) after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and (which has been) one of the most active,” the Civil Guard said in a statement.

“In their own founding manifesto, this group acknowledges that they ‘will respond proportionately in response to the hostile and openly anti-Russian actions of Western Russophobes’.”

The arrests took place in Manacor on Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca, and in Huelva and Seville, in southern Spain, police said. Police said the investigation was ongoing.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Tech

Microsoft says about 8.5 million of its devices affected by CrowdStrike-related outage

Microsoft says about 8.5 million of its devices affected by CrowdStrike-related outage

Published

on

By

Microsoft says about 8.5 million of its devices affected by CrowdStrike-related outage

A global tech outage that was related to a software update by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike affected nearly 8.5 million Microsoft devices, Microsoft said in a blog post on Saturday.

“We currently estimate that CrowdStrike’s update affected 8.5 million Windows devices, or less than one percent of all Windows machines,” it said in the blog.

A software update by global cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, one of the largest operators in the industry, triggered systems problems that grounded flights, forced broadcasters off air and left customers without access to services such as healthcare or banking. 

“While the percentage was small, the broad economic and societal impacts reflect the use of CrowdStrike by enterprises that run many critical services,” Microsoft said in its blog post.

Advertisement

CrowdStrike has helped develop a solution that will help Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure accelerate a fix, Microsoft said, adding that it was working with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, sharing information about the effects Microsoft was seeing across the industry.

The air travel industry was recovering on Saturday from the outage that caused thousands of flights to be cancelled, leaving passengers stranded or grappling with hours of delays as airports and airlines were caught up in the IT outage.

Delta Air Lines, one of the hardest-hit airlines, said that as of 10 a.m EDT (1400 GMT) on Saturday, more than 600 flights had been canceled, adding that additional cancellations were expected.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Tech

Malicious actors trying to exploit global tech outage for their own gain

Malicious actors trying to exploit global tech outage for their own gain

Published

on

By

Malicious actors trying to exploit global tech outage for their own gain

As the world continues to recover from massive business and travel disruptions caused by a faulty software update from cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, malicious actors are trying to exploit the situation for their own gain.

Government cybersecurity agencies across the globe and CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz are warning businesses and individuals about new phishing schemes that involve malicious actors posing as CrowdStrike employees or other tech specialists offering to assist those recovering from the outage.

“We know that adversaries and bad actors will try to exploit events like this,” Kurtz said in a statement. “I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and ensure that you’re engaging with official CrowdStrike representatives.”

The UK Cyber Security Center said they have noticed an increase in phishing attempts around this event.

Advertisement

Microsoft said 8.5 million devices running its Windows operating system were affected by the faulty cybersecurity update Friday that led to worldwide disruptions.

That’s less than 1% of all Windows-based machines, Microsoft cybersecurity executive David Weston said in a blog post on Saturday.

He also said such a significant disturbance is rare but “demonstrates the interconnected nature of our broad ecosystem.” 

What’s happening with air travel?

With their tightly timed, interwoven schedules and complex technology systems, many big airlines struggle to stay on time when everything goes well. It perhaps was not surprising that the industry was among the hardest hit by the outage, with crews and planes caught out of position.

Advertisement

By mid-afternoon Saturday on the U.S. East Coast, airlines around the world had canceled more than 2,000 flights, according to tracking service FlightAware. That was down from 5,100-plus cancellations on Friday.

About 1,600 of Saturday’s canceled flights occurred in the United States, where carriers scrambled to get planes and crews back into position after massive disruptions the day before. According to travel data provider Cirium, U.S. carriers canceled about 3.5% of their scheduled flights for Saturday. Only Australia was hit harder.

Canceled flights were running at about 1% in the United Kingdom, France and Brazil and about 2% in Canada, Italy and India among major air-travel markets.

Robert Mann, a former airline executive and now a consultant in the New York area, said it was unclear exactly why U.S. airlines were suffering disproportionate cancellations, but possible causes include a greater degree of outsourcing of technology and more exposure to Microsoft operating systems that received the faulty upgrade from CrowdStrike.

Which airlines are getting hit the hardest?

Advertisement

Delta Air Lines canceled more than 800 flights, or one-fourth of its schedule for Saturday, and that number did not include Delta Connection regional flights. It was followed by United Airlines, which dropped nearly 400 flights.

The worst airport to be, for a second straight day, was Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where Delta is the dominant carrier. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that thousands of people spent the night at the airport, many sleeping on the floors.

European airlines and airports appeared to be recovering slowly, although Lufthansa and its affiliates canceled dozens of flights. Its Eurowings budget subsidiary said check-in, boarding, booking and rebooking flights were all available again, although “isolated disruptions” were possible.

London’s Heathrow Airport said it was busy but operating normally on Saturday and that “all systems are back up and running.” Flights at Berlin’s main airport were departing on or close to schedule, German Press Agency dpa reported, citing an airport spokesman.

How are healthcare systems holding up?

Advertisement

Health care systems affected by the outage faced clinic closures, canceled surgeries and appointments and restricted access to patient records.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif., said “steady progress has been made” to bring its servers back online and thanked its patients for being flexible during the crisis.

“Our teams will be working actively through the weekend as we continue to resolve remaining issues in preparation for the start of the work week,” the hospital wrote in a statement.

In Austria, a leading organization of doctors said the outage exposed the vulnerability of relying on digital systems. Harald Mayer, vice president of the Austrian Chamber of Doctors, said the outage showed that hospitals need analog backups to protect patient care.

The organization also called on governments to impose high standards in patient data protection and security, and on health providers to train staff and put systems in place to manage crises.

Advertisement

“Happily, where there were problems, these were kept small and short-lived and many areas of care were unaffected” in Austria, Mayer said.

The Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital in northern Germany, which canceled all elective procedures Friday, said Saturday that systems were gradually being restored and that elective surgery could resume by Monday.

Will the tech industry face a reckoning?

“I wasn’t that surprised that an accident caused severe global digital disruption. I was a little surprised that the cause of it was a software update from a very well-respected cybersecurity company,” said Oxford University management professor Ciaran Martin, a former chief executive of the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center.

“There are some very hard questions for CrowdStrike. How on earth did this update get through quality control?” he said. “Clearly the testing regime, whatever it is, failed.”

Advertisement

Martin said governments in the U.K. and the European Union will be powerless to take steps to prevent such breakdowns “because we have become dependent on a very American version of technology, and the power to do anything about that doesn’t rest in this continent.”

Other analysts doubted that the outage would lead Washington or any other government to propose new mandates on tech companies.

“I don’t know what the mandate would be. Do better QA?” said Gartner analyst Eric Grenier, using an acronym for quality assurance.

What did scam artists learn from the outage?

Grenier expects that a majority of affected machines will be fixed in about a week, with more time needed to reach laptops used by far-flung workers because the work can’t be done remotely – it’s a hands-on operation.

Advertisement

In the meantime, there will be scammers trying to take advantage of businesses that have indicated they were affected by the outage.

“The threat is very real,” Grenier said. “Bad actors have the information to send targeted phishing emails and calls. They know what endpoint-protection tools you use. They know you use CrowdStrike.”

Grenier said affected businesses need to make sure they use a fix supplied by CrowdStrike. “Don’t accept the help of somebody coming out of the blue and saying, ‘I’ll fix that for you,’” he said.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © GLOBAL TIMES PAKISTAN