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The work of the Runet was tested in the exercise of disconnection from the global network

 In June—July, regular exercises on the stability of the Runet were held. This time the possibility of working in conditions of physical disconnection of the Russian internet from the global network was tested

Seven main operators of Russia took part in the exercises. The purpose of the exercises was to determine the possibility of the Runet working in the event of external distortions, blockages and other threats. According to preliminary data, the exercises were a success.

Roskomnadzor noted that in accordance with the legislation, such exercises, which are aimed at improving the integrity, stability and security of the Russian Internet infrastructure, are held annually.

In February, the head of the information and analytical agency TelecomDaily, Denis Kuskov, suggested that if Russia is disconnected from the global network, it will be possible to use Runet and domestic resources. At the same time, in the context of sanctions pressure on Russia, disconnection from the global network can be perceived as additional restrictions.

In turn, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said that disconnecting Russia from the global network is possible, but the authorities have a plan of action for this case. He added that everything is ready for the autonomous operation of the Runet both technologically and at the legislative level.

Recall, on May 1, 2019, Putin signed a law on the isolation of the Runet. The new law determines that Roskomnadzor assumes all the authority for managing networks in case of threats to the Russian Internet. In addition, Roskomnadzor has the right to directly block websites with prohibited information.

The Runet isolation will affect all Russian business, but only Telecom operators must install special equipment to monitor cyber threats at the state’s expense. The State financed about 30 billion rubles ($ 460 000 000) for its execution.

Moreover, representatives of big business warned that banning modern website encryption protocols in Russia is tantamount to disconnecting the country from the global Internet. The adoption of the bill in the proposed form, in their opinion, will formally make it illegal to use smartphones and computers and will entail "catastrophic consequences".

Industrial Switches Given by the Vendors Affected by a Same Vulnerability

Industrial switches that were given by the vendors have been affected by a same vulnerability, the reason being they all have the same firmware from Korenix Technology, an industrial networking solutions provider based in Taiwan. SEC Consult, an Austrian-based cyber security company revealed the vulnerability. The company (which is owned by Atos) was trying to get the security holes patched since last year, but it took more than an year for Korenix to release security fixes. 

Security Week reports "Properl+Fuchs did release some patches and workarounds last year after being notified about the vulnerabilities, but the company’s response was limited due to the fact that the flaws existed in the Korenix firmware. SEC Consult’s initial attempts to get Korenix to patch the vulnerabilities failed, until late November 2020, when the company had been preparing to make its findings public." Westermo for PMI-110-F2G and Pepperl+Fuchs for Comtrol RocketLinx industrial switches also use the same firmware made for Jetnet Industrial switches by Korenix. Beijer Electronics Group owns both Westermo and Pepperl+Fuchs. 

As per SEC consult, the companies which made these devices have the same firmware base, hence, a single vulnerability affects all of them. SEC Consult found 5 kinds of vulnerabilities, assigned high severity, and critical ratings. It includes unauthorised device administration, cross-site request forgery, authentication command injection, TFTP file/read/write issues, and backdoor accounts. If a hacker has network access, he can attack a device and make unauthorised changes in configuration, steal sensitive data, or make it enter into a DoS state. The affected devices are used in automation, transportation, heavy industry, surveillance, power and energy, and other sectors. 

These switches, according to experts, hold a crucial position in a network and attacker can exploit these vulnerabilities and disruption the connection to the attached network systems.  Apart from releasing firmware updates for the security fixes, Korenix has also suggested some measures to prevent from potential threats. "This vulnerability can also be exploited via Cross-Site Request Forgery attacks as there is no protection for that kind of attack. The NMS (Network Management System) of Korenix, also known as JetView or Korenix NMS, communicates via UDP and triggered all actions without prior authentication," reports Security Week.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia will launch a program for recognizing deepfakes in the fall of 2022

The scientific and industrial company "High Technologies and Strategic Systems" (HT and SS SIJSC) will develop a computer program for the Ministry of Internal Affairs that recognizes face substitution in videos, the so-called deepfake videos.

It is not the first time that the company has worked with Russian law enforcement agencies. According to the company's website, their specialists participated in the development of products for the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

The amount that the company will receive is set at 3 million 550 thousand rubles ($48,000). The deadline for the completion of research work is scheduled for November 30, 2022. The program for recognizing deepfakes was named "Mirror".

The Ministry of Internal Affairs explained that with the help of deepfakes, scammers can easily substitute any person by inserting his image on a video in which an immoral act or crime is committed. In addition, experts believe that this technology can be very easily used by phone scammers, so it is important to learn how to quickly and effectively detect such fakes as soon as possible.

According to Yuri Zhdanov, Lieutenant General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, this technology poses a huge threat, and it is extremely difficult to fight it. It is becoming more and more difficult to figure out where the truth is and where the fake is, so powerful systems for protecting a person from deepfakes should come to help here.

Moreover, the technology is widely used to create realistic pornographic videos featuring celebrities in which they have never been filmed, or fake speeches of major political figures.

One of the most popular deepfakes on the Internet was a video with the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, in which he allegedly sings the song "Grass at Home", which is actually performed by the group “Zemlyane”  ("Earthlings").

By the way, the use of DeepFake technology is now prohibited by the largest sites, including Reddit and Twitter.


The sharp drop of the cryptocurrency provokes cyber fraudsters

According to cybersecurity experts, the fall in the cryptocurrency exchange rates may cause another increase in DDoS attacks. The fact is that the same tools are used for conducting attacks as for mining. It becomes more profitable for the owners of the tool to conduct DDoS attacks.

Cybersecurity experts said that the fall of bitcoin from the April historical high of $64.9 thousand to $31.4 thousand, which occurred recently, along with the collapse of other cryptocurrencies, can cause an increase in DDoS attacks.

The fact is that botnets, which are also used for mining cryptocurrency, are used to carry out DDoS attacks, explains Alexander Gutnikov, an analyst at Kaspersky DDoS Prevention. "Attackers usually redirect power to mining when cryptocurrency prices are high, as it is more profitable to use bot farms for this than for DDoS attacks," he said.

Accordingly, the power is reoriented to custom attacks when cryptocurrency prices are low.

According to the report of Kaspersky Lab on attacks for the first quarter of 2021, the exchange rate of cryptocurrencies, in particular bitcoin, declined, for example, in January, and at the same time, there was a surge in DDoS activity. In early March, there was another peak of DDoS attacks, before which there was again a decline in the bitcoin exchange rate.

"DDoS attacks are always activated, when the cryptocurrency exchange rate changes", confirms Alexander Lyamin, CEO of Qrator Labs. According to him, the reason is also that attackers can earn money on the difference in exchange rates, for example, to slow down operations by staging an attack. "Although payments for DDoS attacks are often made in cryptocurrency, their cost is usually set in dollars", says Ramil Khantimirov, CEO and co-founder of StormWall.

"DDoS attacks can be carried out on a specific blockchain to create problems in it and lower the value of coins", adds the technical director of the cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO Dmitry Volkov. He said that in theory unscrupulous competitors can do this, but in practice such attacks are rare.

Russian researchers developed methodology to predict cyber risks

 Scientists from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University have developed a methodology for assessing cyber risks in smart city systems. The developed methodology has been tested on the "smart intersection" test bed (a component of smart transport system of smart city).

It should be reminded that St.Petersburg participates in the formation of Smart City program, which will provide new services for the residents of megacities, increasing the safety of citizens. Digital services are an integral part of such system.

Experts explained that cybercriminals have new goals: to disrupt the functioning of large enterprises and urban infrastructure, as well as to intercept control over them. Attackers using wireless channels can remotely penetrate a target subnet or device, intercept traffic, launch DoS attacks and take control of IoT devices to create botnets.

"At present, traditional cyber risk analysis strategies cannot be directly applied to the construction and assessment of smart city digital infrastructures, as the new network infrastructure is heterogeneous and dynamic," said Vasily Krundyshev, a researcher at the Institute of Cybersecurity and Information Protection.

At the same time, he stressed that the purpose of this project is to provide the level of protection of information assets of the smart city taking into account specific features of modern cyber threats.

The methodology of cybersecurity risk analysis of the smart city includes the stages of assets type identification, threat identification, risk calculation and analysis of obtained values. The proposed methodology is based on a quantitative approach. At the same time, according to scientists, it is easily and quickly calculable, which is especially important in conditions of modern dynamic infrastructures.

Experimental studies using a set of developed simulation models of typical digital infrastructures of a smart city (Internet of Things, smart building, smart intersection) have demonstrated superiority over existing Russian and foreign counterparts.

It is interesting to note that earlier St. Petersburg scientists created an innovative installation for cleaning water reservoirs.

A Russian specialist warned of the deadly dangers of the smartphone

 Smartphones of the company Samsung are frequently exploding. There are also known cases when Apple products exploded in the hands of users

The leading analyst of Mobile Research Group Eldar Murtazin warned about the lethal danger that can occur when buying non-original chargers and other accessories for smartphones.

According to him, non-original chargers can ignite during use. So, a charger bought from an unfamiliar seller could turn out to be fake, which could lead not just to battery failure and wear, but also to the device igniting and breaking down.

"These are not empty words, it happens every year, and in Russia, several people die from it every year," warned the specialist.

In addition, the use of a smartphone in a bath, when it is on recharge, poses a danger, the analyst emphasized.

Also, the danger can threaten if the user decides to disassemble his smartphone.

"If you do disassemble the device, never touch the battery, because if you break its shell, it can ignite," said Murtazin.

Cheap smartphone accessories, such as headphones or cases, can also be dangerous to health, as they can cause allergic reactions or skin burns.

At the same time, Mark Sherman, managing partner of the B&C Agency communications agency, stressed that the smartphone itself can not be dangerous, but if it happens, it may be the fault of the user.

"If the smartphone breaks, you need to take it to specialists, rather than trying to fix the device yourself", added Mr. Sherman.

Earlier, Pavel Myasoedov, partner and director of Intellectual Reserve, said that contact with water, a blow or prolonged charging can lead to an explosion. According to him, most often explode smartphones of Samsung, which even had to recall all phones Galaxy Note 7 from sale on a wave of panic. There are also known cases when Apple products exploded in the hands of users.

Hackers Exploit Windows BITS Feature To Launch Malware Attack

Microsoft released the BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) in Windows XP to coordinate and ease uploading and downloading files with large size. Systems and applications component, specifically update in Windows, use this BITS feature to provide application updates and OS so that they can work in minimal user disruption. BITS interact with applications to make jobs with one or more application to download or upload. The BITS feature operates in service and it can make transfers happen at any time. A local database stores file, state and job info.  

How the hackers exploit BITS?

The BITS, like every other technology, is used by applications and exploited by hackers. When harmful apps make BITS jobs, the files are uploaded and downloaded in the service host process context. This helps hackers to avoid firewall detection that may stop suspicious or unusual activities, allowing the attacker to hide the application that requests the transfer. Besides this, the transfers in BITS can be scheduled for later, which allows them to happen at given times, saving the hacker from depending on task-scheduler or long-running processes. 

Transfers in BITS are asynchronous, resulting in a situation where the apps that made jobs may not be working after the transfers that are requested are complete. Addressing this situation, these jobs in BITS can be made through a notification command that is user-specific. The command can be used in case of errors or after a job is complete. The BITS jobs linked with this notification command may authorize any command or executable to run. The hackers have exploited this feature and used it as a technique for continuously launching harmful applications.  

For BITS jobs, the command data is stored in a database rather than the traditional directory register, this helps hackers as the tools that are used to identify persistent executables or commands by unknown actors may overlook it. The jobs in BITS can be made using the BITS-admin command lines tool or via API functions.  Cybersecurity firm FireEye reports, "the Background Intelligent Transfer Service continues to provide utility to applications and attackers alike. The BITS QMGR database can present a useful source of data in an investigation or hunting operation. BitsParser may be utilized with other forensic tools to develop a detailed view of attacker activity." 

Creator of McAfee Antivirus Software Charged For Conspiracy?

 

Creator of McAfee antivirus software, Businessman John McAfee is charged under a conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering in the U.S. McAfee and his bodyguard Jimmy Gale Watson Jr are found guilty of advertising cryptocurrencies on Mr. McAfee's huge Twitter follower base to inflate prices. As per prosecutors, these currencies were then sold, earning a total of $2m (€1.45 M). The accused have not issued any response to the charges made.  Currently, McAfee (age 75) is under detention in Spain due to separate charges relating to tax fraud, that he is denying. 

The fresh charges were filed in the Manhattan Federal Court, New York. He is facing potential extradition to the U.S, whereas Watson was captured earlier this week. According to BBC, "in 2012, he made headlines after police in the Central American country of Belize investigated the death of one Mr. McAfee's neighbors and named him as a 'person of interest'. Mr. McAfee left the country saying he feared for his own safety. Officials ultimately said he was not a suspect." McAfee and his bodyguard are accused of buying promoting the cryptocurrency assets on Twitter, where Mr. McAfee has millions of followers. 

As per the US justice department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the plan was to sell these assets the moment the asset's price rose. The pair is said to make $11M (€8m) from the cryptocurrency startup payments via promoting the assets on Twitter, while the investors who bought them were unaware of the payments. As per the federal prosecutor, this equals exploiting a widely used social media platform (in this case Twitter) and the enthusiasm of investors in the growing cryptocurrency sector to profit millions via deceit and lies. In the former case which was disclosed the previous year. 

Mr. McAfee was charged for not filing tax returns from 2014-2018. He is also accused of using different people's names to hide his assets which include a yacht and property. "The entrepreneur, who was born in the UK, also launched unsuccessful bids to become the Libertarian Party's candidate for the US presidential elections in 2016 and 2020. Mr. McAfee has previously expressed his disdain for taxes, tweeting in 2019 that he had not filed tax returns for years because "taxation is illegal", reports BBC.  

FacePay fare payment system to launch in Moscow metro by the end of the year

"In the Moscow metro, by the end of 2021, we plan to launch contactless fare payment for travel through a face recognition system", said deputy head of the metro Andrey Kichigin. This payment method will be available at the turnstiles and at the ticket offices. This feature is currently being tested.

According to him, to pay for the fare, you only need to go to the camera, and it counts the face of the passenger, even in a mask. Similar systems have proven themselves in London, Singapore and Dubai.

"First of all, the facial recognition system ensures the safety of trips. We all want to live and move around in a safe city and provide our passengers with the highest level of security," added Kichigin.

According to the deputy head of the metro, the facial recognition system does not know any surnames, names, or other personal data.

The information is stored in a data center that only law enforcement agencies have access to. The protection is reliable, the system can not be connected from the outside, unauthorized access is impossible. The system records each operation, which allows you to understand who, when and what data was requested.

Information security expert Sergei Vakulin criticized the FacePay fare payment system.

"No system is secure. There is a possibility that the data will leak somewhere, and it may be discovered years later. As for security in general, facial recognition, biometric data, then the situation is 50-50. The fact is that the system will not be fully debugged with our technologies, because the person is changing. Clearly, there will be some mistakes, maybe he will grow a beard, and how will he be recognized?" noted the expert.

AI makes fewer mistakes than experienced radiologists and takes into account ethnic differences

CureMetrix: AI provides an equalization of care across countries. A well-trained algorithm that has been trained on a variety of dense breasts, across different ethnicities, provides a significant advantage to a general radiologist

Breast cancer remains an acute and most urgent problem. In the United States, the number of diagnosed breast cancer cases increased by 28.7% in 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized breast cancer as the most common type of cancer in the world.

Kevin Harris, president of CureMetrix, Inc., said in an interview that there are some racial and ethnic groups that are statistically more likely to develop breast cancer. In addition, some physiological differences in these groups make it difficult to diagnose breast cancer.

Therefore, CureMetrix developed cmTriage™, the first FDA-cleared mammography triage AI program, and diagnostic software cmAssist™ by training their algorithms on mammogram images from women worldwide in order to provide that service to radiologists.

Kevin Harris believes that AI can help solve the problem of inequality in access to health care in the United States and around the world.

For example, there may be cultural or religious issues that prevent women from undergoing routine mammograms. In these situations, it is possible to create mammography clinics that can be fully staffed by female radiology technicians who will use AI-based CAD to identify suspicious cases.

Moreover, the initial screening using the CAD algorithm will save women money.

According to the American Cancer Society, mammography is imperfect and does not allow radiologists to detect about 20% of cases of the disease. At the same time, more than half of the women who were examined over the past 10 years received a false-positive result. It leads to unnecessary treatment, which Health Affairs estimated at $4 billion a year in 2015.

Research shows that doctors are all prone to bias in the field of medicine, and this bias may well show up in their diagnosis.

Therefore, Kevin Harris believes that AI-based radiology tools are useful for a wider range of patients, as the AI-based CAD Algorithm never sees the patient and knows nothing about this woman.

It has already been proven that the use of AI can improve the accuracy of diagnosis: for example, according to numerous studies, "use of cmTriage™ and cmAssist® can lead to a 27% increase in early cancer detection, without an increase in false-positive recalls, and a 69% reduction in false positives".


Putin announced a digital transformation in Russia

 In the next decade, Russia will face digital transformation and the widespread introduction of artificial intelligence and big data analysis, said President Vladimir Putin during the Artificial Intelligence Journey conference.

"In the implementation of our plans, we must use the developments of domestic innovative companies and startups, our mathematical schools,” noted the Russian leader.

He pointed out that billions of rubles will be spent only on the digital transformation of public administration and the transfer of all public services to an electronic format.

In addition, it is planned that next year a tenth of Russian medical institutions will be able to use AI technologies in their work.

According to the President, breakthrough technologies should improve the well-being and quality of life of Russians.

"We must build relations with artificial intelligence in such a way that breakthrough technologies will help us achieve our national goals, if we talk about our country, transform Russia, strengthen its position in the world,” stressed Putin.

At the same time, according to the head of state, artificial intelligence will never replace a person. In his opinion, it is important for humanity to learn how to manage artificial intelligence, and for this, it is necessary to "be skilled and competent". The state, society, business and every person need to meet the impressive dynamics of change and master new knowledge and technologies.

"When I say that people will control machines, that's what I mean. It is necessary to subdue one of the greatest technologies that humanity has ever created,” said Putin.

At the same time, he called for reducing the risks of using the Internet in advance, including eliminating the possibility of leakage of personal data of Russians and "ensuring unconditional respect for the rights of citizens."

The President noted that it depends on a person how carefully he will manage the opportunities provided by artificial intelligence.

Facial recognition payments(Face ID) to be introduced in Moscow metro in 2021

Deputy Mayor for Transport Maxim Liksutov said that paying for public transport in Moscow using facial recognition technology (Face ID) will be available next year.

All turnstiles in the Moscow metro already have cameras that recognize faces. If a passenger has linked biometric data to their Bank card, the turnstiles will open automatically in front of them. The reading speed should be no more than a second in order to avoid crowding. The system will be able to recognize faces even in masks. Mr. Liksutov clarified that the personal data of passengers will be stored in banks. The metro will provide only infrastructure.

Banks have been actively collecting customer biometric data for several years. Thanks to this, many operations can be safely performed online. However, there are certain risks. It is unclear how this data will be protected.

In addition, there is a risk of incorrect identifications. And if the system recognizes another person instead of one person and the money is debited from the wrong passenger, it is unclear how this will be formalized legally. There is no legal basis for such a case.

Last fall, the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan, tested a similar fare payment mechanism, but in buses. Passengers sent their photos to a special telegram bot, and then linked the image to a Bank card account. At the entrance to the bus, the passengers' faces were captured by cameras. The fare was automatically debited from Bank cards. The test showed good results, the project is going to be launched in two more cities.


MyOffice, the Russian alternative to Office 365 gains momentum in Africa

The MyOffice platform, the Russian equivalent of Microsoft Office 365, is conquering Africa. The Russian software developer has signed deals for the licensing of the MyOffice package with the governments of Cameroon, Burundi, and the Congo. In the future, the Russian company plans to enter the markets of 23 more African countries.

An important advantage of the information product for customers was the absence of the need to store data on foreign servers.

"We can be sure that government secrets will be protected from hackers or any third parties," said Minister of Education of Cameroon Laurent Etundi.

Dmitry Komissarov, founder and CEO of MyOffice, said that sales in Africa can make up 15% of the company's total revenue. "We were very surprised by the growth of the project in Africa,” added he.

"MyOffice is a small company. It is expected that this year its total income will be $26 million. However, the company is supported by Kaspersky Lab, which had sales of almost $700 million last year. The administration of President Vladimir Putin also helped promote the company in Africa.

Years of declining oil revenues have pushed Putin to find other ways to expand trade, including with Africa. Some MyOffice agreements are a consequence of a summit held last year in Sochi to promote trade with Africa. A representative of the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications was present at the signing of the agreement between the company and Congo.

Millions of people in Africa are only now beginning to access the Internet. According to the GSMA, more than 300 million devices will be connected to the Internet in sub-Saharan Africa by 2026.

Interview with Dhruv Bagri, founder of the copyright timestamped entity Digital Witnessor

 The world is changing, technology is changing. We conducted an interview with one of the founders of a new startup Digital Witnessor(https://www.digitalwitnessor.com/) and lawyer Mister Dhruv Bagri. He shared with us his knowledge about copyright, how to securely register it, quickly and easily, using Blockchain, and from a legal point of view.

If you have created your own software, your clothes design, a choreographic dance, wrote a poem and do not know how to register copyrights to your creation, how to protect your rights, then this article is for you.


  • Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Dhruv Bagri, I am a  Lawyer at RDB Associates. We frequently work on matters relating to Intellectual Property protection, including a lot of copyright infringement work. I’m also one of the founders of the platform Digital Witnessor.


  • How would you describe Digital Witnessor?

We have developed a platform called Digital Witnessor that creates timestamps using blockchain on your works. This allows you to protect your intellectual property rights in just a few seconds. The timestamp is considered official proof of ownership, and this saves you a considerable amount of time and legal fees in case of infringements and helps in more than one way. As the Company is based out of Estonia and the Service provided has been structured, studied, and developed by industry veterans from Cyber Security Privacy Foundation PTE Ltd, a Singapore based cyber security company, it boasts of maintaining high levels of privacy in accordance with GDPR guidelines and also provides high levels of security protection to any and all content passing through the Platform.


  • Why copyright is so important?

A copyright is a right in rem, which means that the right exists on the person who created the work right from the time such work was created. The platform is created at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty in the law with regard to copyright. Music and Art and their associated businesses are booming in the last decade. All these come under copyrightable work.  So, the copyright timestamped entity that is Digital Witnessor helps protect individuals and companies against copyright theft.


  • Are companies secure from their own programmers/employees and third parties?

Typically, the company would be the copyright holder, even though an employee might create it on behalf of the company. That is usually the structure that is in place and is an industry-standard. However, there are times when the company would not be holding the copyright. And that basically implies that the company needs to go ahead and register the copyright with country-specific entities/registrars that are available within their respective jurisdictions, which would create a legally binding registration that could be affected in a court of law. However, without that, litigation becomes a big hassle when copyright has not been registered. It becomes harder to prove that the work is originally theirs. So, Digital Witnessor takes away this problem for the company. We will generate a timestamp for the company data that needs copyright using blockchain technology. In fact, it's just a hash that is created and that could stamp your creation. The main file would also not be required to be uploaded. A file would be stamped without giving us access to its contents in case of any sensitive and confidential information which creates a bit of a hesitation in the holder of the works as to providing such content to us. 


  • How can a timestamp be useful in court? It’s legal?

From a legal point of view, a proceeding that includes a hash-signed block is an electronic document that can serve as written evidence in court.

It would also be helpful in case you are applying for copyright after a particular period of time, for example, you need to apply for copyright because the company is selling its entity and the buying entity would require such IP rights to exist. Similarly, a company receiving investments, the investor would always be more favorable to companies holding IP rights as this would deem to be an intangible asset in the company books. So, a timestamp would help the registration authorities to access this document in itself and in determining the exact time on which such the work was created. That makes things simpler. Secondly, a timestamp would be binding in a court of law. Blockchain has been implemented in quite a few countries across the world. So, it would definitely be helpful in most of the countries around the world.

Timestamp plays the role of a virtual notary and is much more credible than the traditional one. Because nobody can alter the information on the blockchain, not even the Company and I think that is the beauty of this Product. 


  • What kind of blockchain - private/public are you using? Why?

We are using a public blockchain. Firstly, in a public blockchain, anyone can take part by verifying and adding data to the blockchain. Secondly, A public network is more secure due to decentralization and active participation. Thirdly, a private blockchain is more prone to hacks, risks, and data breaches/ manipulation. In a private blockchain, anyone who is overseeing the network can alter or modify any transactions according to their needs.


  • How does it work? For example, I am a designer and I want to copyright a shoe model. What should I do and how will it happen?

As I mentioned earlier, it can be uploaded on the platform. It is not necessary that the design in itself be uploaded onto the platform.

Post which the platform would timestamp that particular uploaded file, in this case, that file will contain a shoe design. Once that is timestamped and the credentials of the author are stamped, it enters the blockchain. 


It should be noted that the content of the original works is never available to be viewed on the blockchain or exposed publicly. It is not visible to us as and it's not visible to any third party either.


So, what we provide is a time stamping facility which allows you to do three things:

    •    Legally establish yourself as the copyright owner of the work.

    •    Legally establish the date of creation.

    •    Take legal action against anyone who infringes on your copyrighted work.

Ease in assignment and transfer of said Copyrighted works to 3rd Party entities and individuals 


  • We know that Digital Witnessor works together with legal company RDB Associates? What is the role of this company?

RDB Associates is a full-service multi-specialty law firm based out of Bangalore in India and with multiple offices across India. I am one of the founding partners of the firm, which started in 2017. We believe that in our country as well many people are not going to go and get their copyrights registered, or we see that people do that for their other available Intellectual property rights such as trademarks, industrial designs, Patents, etc.

But with copyright, no one really gives that extra push to get their works registered. So, we noticed that there were many infringement matters wherein copyrights were in question and it was very hard for even the opposing counsel and for us to prove that such and such copyright existed at a particular time or not.

We did find a way to prove that the creations are in fact created on those particular timelines. It made the process a little more streamlined and a little more simple especially since it's not easy for everyone to approach the registrar for the Copyright and requires properly drafted applications. With the introduction of the platform Digital Witnessor, one can do it in a few seconds and get the process of registration started with ease.


We have a separate intellectual property team that works on registration and cases of infringement. We are integrated into the whole aspect through the onboarding of our clients onto this Platform or giving legal opinions on whether copyright exists or not, sending out legal notices in case of any infringements, and so on and so forth.


What is the distinctive feature of your company from others on the market?

Presently there aren’t many timestamping companies. We don't technically provide the same service as other competitors in the market dealing with similar platforms. However, one of the features that is distinctive is that we provide for easy assignment of copyrights from the copyright owner to third parties. So, that is a great feature that is available on our platform.

However, our other main USP is that our platform is going to be used across the world. Most of the companies that exist are very jurisdictional specific, so they only apply to certain areas thereby limiting their rights to such certain jurisdictions alone. 


  • What are the benefits that a company would get by using the platform Digital Witnessor?

Some benefits that the company would get is primarily establishing their definite right in rem and streamlining the process of registering with applicable registrars/entities in their jurisdictions by making it much easier for registration of their work.

It will ease the process in a way that quicker decisions would be made regarding the infringement of copyrights. And individuals do not have to wait longer and go through a long, arduous litigation process to get justice. So we believe that in case of IP rights, it is important to establish definite rights and to not leave it open-ended whereby one invites liability. Streamlining the process is very important and that's the main benefit that the platform would be providing.


  • How do you see the company in 5 years?

We do have certain things lined up and planned for the next couple of years, for starters, the integration of the technology for agreements. Enforceability of contracts and agreement terms would be made much easier. So once this facility is provided, I think many companies would be or would in fact like using this platform just to streamline the internal processes as well.

But currently, I think we need to concentrate on copyright protection, and we shall take it one step at a time.


  • We've covered quite a bit in this conversation. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to share about?

I think we covered most of the aspects of the platform and its benefits.  Just looking forward to see how this develops, grows, and integrates itself into the market in the coming few months

Group-IB presents patented-technologies to protect against cyber threats

The international company Group-IB presented its own patented technologies designed to identify hackers, search for threats on the Internet and investigate cybercrime

Using artificial intelligence technology, the patented system of Group-IB has helped Interpol identify members of the Nigerian hacking group TMT, which has attacked hundreds of thousands of private and state-owned companies in recent years.

In addition, Group-IB was involved in the Carding Action 2020 operation of Europol and the UK police, which aims to combat the illegal market for the sale of stolen bank cards. Using its own technologies, Group-IB analyzed and transmitted to the police data on 90 thousand compromised cards of clients of financial organizations in Europe. As a result, it was possible to prevent damage that could have been caused to European banks in the amount of 40 million euros.

"Law enforcement agencies effectively use our technology in cybercrime investigations to find criminals. There is a result, so our technologies work, "said Ilya Sachkov, founder and CEO of Group-IB.

Group-IB presented its solutions at the CyberCrimeCon 2020 cybersecurity conference. The Threat Intelligence&Attribution system, which has no analogs, saves all possible data about hackers, including those that were tried to delete, and sets detailed information about them, up to the identity of the criminals.

The second system, Threat Hunting Framework, is able to protect the entire company: from traditional IT networks to remote workplaces of employees. The AI system finds unknown threats and targeted attacks both inside and outside the protected perimeter, giving the security service the tools to properly respond to an incident.

All Group-IB technologies are integrated into a single system that automatically blocks attacks and immediately goes to specific criminals.

The Ministry of Digital Development of the Russian Federation developing monitoring application to combat COVID-19

The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation (the Russian Ministry of Digital Development) will launch an application to track contacts of patients with COVID-19

The head of the Department Maksut Shadaev confirmed that the Ministry of Digital Development is completing testing of a mobile application under the name "Stopcoronavirus. My contacts". It will be used to track the social contacts of Russians to fight the coronavirus.

According to the app's video presentation, the Phone will scan a person's surroundings within a radius of up to ten meters. All contacts will be recorded anonymously on his device. If someone gets sick, the person who contacted them will receive a notification about the possible risk. A sick person will have to report their illness via the app. To do this, they will need to enter a special code. Presumably, it can be obtained only by passing a positive test for coronavirus. This is necessary in order to avoid false notifications.

It is reported that the information will be anonymous, the identity of the patient will not be disclosed. Data is automatically deleted after 14 days. According to the presentation, the app "cares not only about your health, but also about personal data, does not collect or give away any personal information."

Mr. Shadaev said that the use of the app will be " absolutely anonymous and safe." "No registration required — just install and activate it. At the same time, installing the app, as well as informing about the fact of the disease— is a voluntary matter, but the more users install it, the wider the coverage will be," he said.

The development was carried out by the Ministry of Digital Development in cooperation with the Moscow government, as well as "in partnership with Apple and Google". The app should be available in the App Store and Google Play soon.

It's worth noting that the app uses Bluetooth-based anonymous "coronavirus" monitoring technology, launched this year jointly by Apple and Google. Devices, iPhones or Android smartphones, will communicate with each other via the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) short-range protocol. Applications based on this technology are already working in many countries.

New €4.2 Million fund to empower internet innovators to develop blockchain-based solutions

 Get up to €123k (equity-free funding), free coaching and free access to top infrastructure

The EU-funded project ONTOCHAIN has €4.2 Million euros to develop a new software ecosystem for trusted, traceable, and transparent ontological knowledge management, and is looking for internet innovators to co-create it.

18 proposals will be selected in the first open call of the project to produce functional and technical specifications for the ONTOCHAIN framework.

Through a 7-month supporting programme, participants will get up to €123k (equity-free funding), free coaching and free access to top infrastructure.

“Today, the digital life is an extension of our physical world and demands the same critical, moral and ethical thinking. By bringing ONTOCHAIN to you and building it with you we expect to contribute to a more distributed and transparent internet that respects and promotes the fundamental values of diversity, equality, privacy and participation.” Caroline Barelle, ONTOCHAIN Coordinator.

How it works?

In the first phase of the programme the 18 selected projects will start by conceptualizing a research project for one of the following topics:

    • Applications

    • Semantic interoperability

    • On-chain data management

    • Off-chain knowledge management

    • Ecosystem economy

    • Ecosystem scalability and integration

Six of them will proceed to the second phase to elaborate the concept proposed in phase one and prepare design specifications to be implemented. Additionally, the best projects will be awarded for the publication of their outcomes.

Applications are open on F6S until 15 January 2021, at 17:00 CET.

http://www.f6s.com/ontochain/apply

For more information about the ONTOCHAIN open call go to

https://ontochain.ngi.eu/apply

About ONTOCHAIN

ONTOCHAIN marries the Semantic Web with Blockchain to deliver a novel software ecosystem for trusted, traceable, and transparent ontological knowledge management. ONTOCHAIN, which is developed under the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative, explores and delivers novel interoperable on-chain and off-chain data, ontology, knowledge and information management methods. The ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem consists of a novel protocol suite grouped into high-level application protocols, such as data provenance, reputation models, decentralised oracles, market mechanisms, ontology representation and management, privacy aware and secure data exchange, multi-source identity verification, value sharing and incentives and similar, and core protocols that include smart contracts, authorisation, certification, event gateways, identity management and identification, secure and privacy aware decentralised storage, data semantics and semantic linking, ONTOCHAIN optimisation and similar. The ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem will demonstrate its potential in high impact domains, such as eHealth, eGovernment, eEducation, eCommerce, decentralised infrastructures and similar in order to achieve trustworthy information exchange and trustworthy and transactional content handling.

The project is operated by 7 partners with complementary expertise that form the core of a vibrant ecosystem: European Dynamics (Luxembourg), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), IntelliSemantic (Italy), iExec Blockchain Tech (France), Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), German Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Greece) and F6S (Ireland). 

Interview with experts who lead the project ONTOCHAIN

On 9 November E Hacking News conducted an interesting interview with experts from different parts of the world that lead the project ONTOCHAIN. It is a new European funded project, with the goal to empower internet innovators with a novel software ecosystem for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological blockchain-based knowledge management. This three years innovation project will distribute a total amount of 4.2 million euros via three open calls in order to build the ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem.

  • Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Caroline Barelle: I’m Docteur Caroline Barelle, the Coordinator of the European project ONTOCHAIN. I am working for European Dynamics (Luxembourg), one of the partners of the ONTOCHAIN project among seven partners from six countries with complementary expertise that form the core of the ONTOCHAIN vibrant ecosystem: University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), IntelliSemantic (Italy), iExec Blockchain Tech (France), Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), the German Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Greece) and F6S (Ireland). ONTOCHAIN is also part of the Next Generation Internet initiative that is developed actually in Europe with the ambition to ensure that the development and progressive adoption of advanced technologies, concepts and methodologies contributes to make the future Internet more human-centric, particularly in these times of crisis.

Vlado Stankovski: I’m the scientific and technical coordinator of ONTOCHAIN. I work as a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Actually, our earlier initiative was the Human Centered Cloud, which we developed under the IFIP organization, established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO. The idea here is that the Internet in the past couple of decades has been governed by pretty strong software companies around the world. And now what we want to achieve with the Next Generation Internet initiative is to include in the core protocols of the Internet mechanisms so that people can rely and build on their historical and cultural achievements gained in the past couple of thousand years of European history. for example, the Internet backbone should support pluralism, diversity, democracy, human-rights and other aspects like this. So, we are very much engaged in this type of activity.

Miguel Gonçalves: I’m EU projects manager at F6S (Ireland), a company that has become the largest tech founder community. We are supporting the ONTOCHAIN project making sure that we deliver all the money that comes from taxpayers to the best applicants who will participate in the open calls, this is very important. So we will make sure that we found the best innovators to join us to build this novel software ecosystem called ONTOCHAIN. 

  • How Would You Describe Your Project?

Caroline Barelle: So from a general point of view, this project is funded by the European Commission and under the program, ICT-54-2020, blockchain for the next generation internet. The idea is to empower Internet innovators to co-develop with us a novel software ecosystem that will provide trustworthy and transparent applications for knowledge and information management as well as for knowledge, information and service exchange. We will do this via three Open Calls implemented successively over a period of 3 years and a total budget of equity free funds to be distributed to third parties of 4,2M€. The first Open Call is dedicated to the conceptualisation of the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem around 6 axis: Applications,Semantic Interopearbility, On-Chain Data Management, Off-Chain Data Management,Ecosystem Economy and Ecosystem Scalability and Integration . It is actually is actually open for Innovators. The second Open Call  is about from the concept, to transfer the relevant specifications and to develop appropriate applications for vital sector of the economy (eScience, eEducation, eHealth, eGovernment, eCommerce, eTourism, eInfrastructures) that will be tested and validated then during the third Open Call.

Vlado Stankovski: From my viewpoint, we have funding to build a software ecosystem that will be built and used by stakeholders that share our common goal, which means to improve the Internet protocols in a way that people can trust the knowledge and information that is being generated, stored and shared among individuals and organizations on the Internet. And by doing so to enable many dynamic, semantically complex and heterogeneous ecosystems of resources and actors that would underpin our future smart and sustainable society. 

This project follows the general idea of the Semantic Web, which is to deliver trust by delivering a Semantic Web technologies stack which is now part of the World Wide Web. You probably all know about the initiatives of the World Wide Web consortium, such as the Web Ontology Language (OWL), and other initiatives like this. And the ultimate goal of this technological stack is the trust between the different parties that share knowledge and information on the Internet.

Now, in our ONTOCHAIN project, what we want to achieve is to design and integrate an additional technology, which is coming from the area of blockchain. Blockchains are proven for people to trust them because they already do monetary transactions across the world by using different types of Ledgers. Blockchain is a shared database of transactions. In a way, this is resembles ontologies which are shared conceptualization of physical or abstract entities or shared organization of human knowledge. With these two database and knowledge base technologies put together what we hope about is to “marry" the Semantic Web with blockchains and by doing so, build a new software ecosystem that would improve the the trustworthiness of content and information on the Internet. 

Caroline Barelle:  What I would like to add, is that also one of our goals is to integrate ONTOCHAIN in a specific legal and regulatory and ethical framework that is currently thought over for blockchain and smart contracts. Standardisation and interoperability are also important aspects of what we are doing.

  • What do you mean by ontological knowledge?

Vlado Stankovski: Ontology is a shared conceptualization. We as humans have shared a lot of concepts together, for example, the concept of a car, is the same concept in Japan, in Europe,in the United States and in Latin America, all over the world. We know that carriages and later cars have existed for several thousand years. Carriages have been run using horses, but today we have battery run cars and so on. Yet, we have the concept of a car. So, having these concepts shared helps improve the interoperability of applications, the data which are stored by one application can be sent as input other applications, and easily understood by the other applications. An example of a computer language that helps solve such interoperability problems is the XML (eXtensible Markup Language) of the W3C, and is part of the already mentioned Semantic Web technologies stack. At a practical level, this helps applications communicate information among each other. Ontology languages may be used for more complex specifications of the knowledge that we have about different concepts, so that we can share the same understanding among applications and among each other. We can describe the concept of a car, but we can also describe concepts such as news items, elections, artificial intelligence methods in all their complexity.

  • Who will benefit from this project and how?

Caroline Barelle: We are, in fact, looking for innovators, developers and Internet experts. They will be our partners in co-developing the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem. A part from the equity free funding, they will also benefit from mentoring from worldwide recognised experts in the diverse fields related to ONTOCHAIN. The added value also for them would be a gain in visibility and community building with other innovators, industry and potential investors.

Vlado Stankovski: The inclusion of semantics into blockchains has the potential to open immense possibilities for new smart applications in practically all domains important for people, life and nature around the world.

Existing applications already use blockchains to record hashtags of documents in order to ensure the immutability of the information, which is stored off-chain. Now, imagine that more complex semantics, which means complex structures representing important concepts, such as trustworthy news, elections, automated doors and cars, are being recorded on the blockchains. This would make it possible, for example, to commit to the specific ontologies and consequently commit to the same democratic rules, for example, when distributing important news, going to elections, or sharing cars. Once the common rules are specified on blockchain, on ONTOCHAIN, as a matter of fact, that would enable that people follow the same rules that have been democratically agreed among each other. So, ONTOCHAIN enables organizations not only to establish the common concepts and facts that can be trusted but to rely on diversity, democratic and pluralistic means, when engaging in very dynamic, semantically complex ecosystems in practically all domains. Our goal is to support the smart specialization wave, which is in the heart of the European Horizon 2020 programme of research and innovation.

Miguel Gonçalves: So, there are three levels of beneficiaries. The applicants who take part in the open calls and receive funding, support and mentoring. A second line of beneficiaries will be all the innovators who will use this novel software ecosystem to build the new applications and software. And finally, the citizens who will benefit from trusted, traceable, and transparent based solutions. This will be the end goal of the project.

  • How might your project evolve over time?

Caroline Barelle: From our view point, even if ONTOCHAIN is a three-year project, we foresee sustainability for this ecosystem and we hope to make it last for ever as far as possible. This is the goal. 

  • You announced your project publicly 2 months ago. Did you get the expected response from the public?

Vlado Stankovski: Yes, it is fantastic. We have received really a lot of interest from people who work on different aspects, for example, from the viewpoint of ontologies and the Semantic Web. We know there are several tens of thousands of researchers in the world working only on the development of the Semantic Web technologies stack, such as the Protegé community and other innovators. Then, from the blockchain viewpoint, many hundreds of people already expressed their interest. Moreover, from the viewpoint of cryptography, experts of post-quantum cryptography have shown their interest, security in general. We have some interest from the United States, from people who lead blockchain projects for defense agencies and many other domains. I would say this technology has a lot of perspectives. That's why it has been recognized already for funding as one of the key blockchain projects for the Next Generation Internet. It is amazing that we received so much interest from different experts. And this is what we need in order to be able to build something new and useful for the future generations of users of the Internet.

Miguel Gonçalves: As mentioned the project just started two months ago. We already had the opportunity to promote five ONTOCHAIN TALKS now available on Youtube, and other events. In terms of applicants, the open call is not launched yet. It will be launched very soon, on the 16th of November and will be open for a period of two months. And we then expect to receive a lot of high-quality applications from all over Europe and 16 H2020 associated countries. 

  • Are you going to launch your own blockchain? 

Vlado Stankovski: On the baseline of our ONTOCHAIN architecture we have Interledger. Many smart applications would use private and public blockchains. For example, a smart car may move from Ljubljana to Vienna and would enter the transactions there. Some, but not all data generated in Ljubljana may be needed in Vienna. We need to convey the higher-level semantics of the Ljubljana transactions and to move that to another smart environment, such as Vienna. This is the key idea of how Interledger will support ONTOCHAIN’s semantic transactions. We have an architecture about this that is made of four or five layers. We have applications for trustworthy content handling and information exchange, we have application protocols, then we have ONTOCHAIN protocols and we have underneath this Interledger. In short, ONTOCHAIN is not a typical ledger one may think. 

  • As I understand, you'll work on Etherium and Hyperledger?

Vlado Stankovski: For the time being, but we have also some other people who have attended our meetings, for example, from Tezos and other ledgers. We are really not restricted to few particular ledgers. This project will deliver some showcase applications in the short term, but it intends to open an area of new research where the semantics is shared among blockchains, we would like to see the generation of new type of blocks that we call them ONTOBLOCKS.

  • Would you launch your own tokens or is it just purely application?

Vlado Stankovski: Our partner company iExec Blockchain Tech (France) has already tokens, which will be used in one area. However, the point is that what we want to support a variety of ecosystems. The idea is that by using our ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem, one can establish their own applications that include trusted knowledge management mechanisms. Instead of just recording hashtags, one can record more complex semantics on blockchains. One key challenge in the project is how do we make the interface between what is trusted and resides on the blocks and what is trustless, inherently I mean, which is the sensing environment, the data and information, and the decentralised oracles that reside outside the blockchains.

Any ONTOCHAIN stakeholder can, of course, launch their own tokens and make business. One topic of our first open call, topic number five, is devoted to the development of new economic mechanisms benefiting from trusted knowledge management. 

  • And how do you deal with the censorship of anything that might be required in any sort of network like this, or would it be totally trustless? 

Vlado Stankovski: Censorship in our context is rather a new ONTOCHAIN infrastructure supporting diversity, pluralism, democracy, human-rights, sustainability and other historical achievements of humankind. Imagine that the resulting infrastructure will be a forest of ONTOBLOCKS, or rather an ONTOBLOCKS graph. . This means that our key achievements as humanity can be built into this trusted knowledge management structure. This is the key technological idea of the project. It is not the same as the current World Wide Web that are currently governed by a few big players.

  • We've covered quite a bit in this conversation. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to share about?"

Caroline Barelle:  Just that we are actually calling for all Internet researchers, innovators and developers whether from high tech companies, academia or natural person(s) to be part of this adventure with us!