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Big Revolution - Ramping up defences on a new battlefront

Welcome to the start of another week on the newsletter. Some exciting news on Friday was that Big Rev
June 17 · Issue #447 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week on the newsletter. Some exciting news on Friday was that Big Revolution will be producing a new podcast with social media commentator and consultant Matt Navarra. More details on that soon, and it’s only one podcast series we’re working on…
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Genius says Google is stealing its database of song lyrics. Google says it licenses lyrics from a third party, but Genius says its clever placement of alternating types of apostrophes in the lyrics proves their origin. Google says it will end its third-party lyrics licensing agreement if it is found the data isn’t legitimately obtained.
The big thought
Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash
Ramping up defences on a new battlefront
It’s been widely reported in the past that Russia has hacked parts of the US power grid. Any smart person would assume the US has been doing the same back.
Now the New York Times reports that this is very much the case…
Since at least 2012, current and former officials say, the United States has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid.
But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow.
Set aside the amusing point that apparently the Pentagon hasn’t gone into detail about the project with President Trump in case he blabs about it or cancels it, and you’re left with a simple observation: when it comes to nation states, it’s likely that everyone is hacking everyone else. There are no ‘goodies’ and 'baddies’ here — hacking power grids and other infrastructure is just sensible self-defence in the modern age.
Yesterday Argentina, Uruguay and parts of other South American countries suffered a total power outage. Mains electricity was cut off for tens of millions of people. While officials say they don’t think the cause was a cyber attack, the outage happened on an election day in parts of Argentina, showing how such events can disrupt important parts of life even if they take place for a short amount of time.
It’s only a matter of time before an outage like this is caused by a cyber attack. Russia’s drive to build the capability to disconnect itself from the international internet has been widely criticised as an authoritarian move to control the information flowing to citizens, but it’s easy to see how other countries’ may be jealous of the ability to cut off outsiders when their own civilians’ basic utilities become the new battlefront.
One big read
Amazon's next big thing may redefine big Amazon's next big thing may redefine big
Illuminating interviews with Amazon executives about the future of the company which CTO Werner Vogels sees as “a technology company that just happened to do retail.”
One big tweet
I’d love to read an in-depth article about how being a teenager is affected by modern home security tech…
Alex Kantrowitz
My parents got Ring Doorbell since my last visit. Thing tracks every time you enter and exit the house. If it existed back in the day I would’ve spent my entire childhood grounded.
8:44 PM - 16 Jun 2019
That’s all for today...
See you back in your inbox tomorrow.
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