“Frankly, the United States is under attack.”

This February 2018 warning to the Senate from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats included a message that “there should be no doubt” that Russia, emboldened by its 2016 cyberattacks and informational warfare campaign, will target the U.S. midterm elections this year.

We agree. However, our research suggests that, although states like Russiawill continue to engage in cyberattacks against the foundations of democracy (a serious threat indeed), states are less likely to engage in destructive “doomsday” attacks against each other in cyberspace. Using a series of war games and survey experiments, we found that cyber operations may in fact produce a moderating influence on international crises.

Here’s why: Cyberspace offers states a way to manage escalation in the shadows. Thus, cyber operations are more akin to the Cold War-era political warfare than a military revolution.

Would you like to play a game?

To understand how actors use cyber operations to achieve a position of relative advantage, we designed a series of analytical war games. This methodology lets us assess how multiple factors could combine in a competitive environment, and helps identify recurrent strategic preferences associated with cyber operations. We ran military officers and university students through these war games. Next, we turned the war games into survey experiments via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) — so randomized respondents answered questions about how to respond to an international crisis.

War games offer a time-tested means of assessing the changing character of crisis and competition. Following scripted scenarios, players are assigned to different “teams” and armed with resources to meet their objectives. They earn points based on their choices, with referees guiding the play and military/security analysts interpreting the results.


Since the introduction of computers, user names and passwords have been the primary method used for access control and authentication. However, as post-mortem analysis of data breaches reveals, compromised credentials have become the primary point of attack for today’s cyber adversaries. In fact, 81 percent of hacking-related breaches leverage either stolen, default, or weak passwords. A contributing factor for these stats is the fact that users often reuse the same password across multiple accounts and applications. For example, according to a report from TeleSign, 73 percent of users leverage the same password for multiple online accounts. 

This behavior doesn’t differ much in the enterprise environment. Meanwhile, account compromise provides a perfect camouflage for attackers since they look just like legitimate users. When exploiting legitimate credentials — all security analysts see, is regular user activity. This also causes a domino effect and increases the risk of lateral movement by the attacker. 

Multi-Factor Authentication to the Rescue?

To make things more difficult for cyber-attackers, security-minded organizations are supplementing passwords with either two-factor or multi-factor authentication (MFA). In this case, users provide extra information or factors when they access applications, endpoints, or infrastructure. MFA uses a combination of the following factors:

● Something you know (i.e., username, password, PIN, security questions)

● Something you have (soft or hard tokens in different forms and shapes, smart card)

● Something you are (biometric traits like fingerprints, voice recognition, facial scan)

Since MFA requires multiple methods for identification, it’s one of the best ways to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data and moving laterally within the network. Organizations often make the mistake of limiting MFA usage to application access and only to end users. However, applying MFA for only certain apps, users, or resources, still leaves organizations exposed. Instead, MFA should be implemented across every user (end users, privileged users, contractors, and partners), and every IT resource (cloud and on-premises applications, VPN, endpoints, and servers). This ultimately minimizes weaknesses in the attack chain — and protects against compromised credentials.


In an interview, Amazon's head of devices and Ring's CEO talk about Amazon completing its purchase of the smart doorbell maker and a new price drop for Ring's first smart doorbell.

Amazon Key, the e-commerce giant's in-home delivery service that's off to a bumpy start, may soon get backup from one of the hottest smart home startups around.

Fortunately for Amazon, that startup is now part of the family.

The e-commerce titan on Thursday said it has completed its purchase of Ring, a maker of video doorbells and security cameras, after revealing the deal in late February. Now the work starts in earnest to figure out how to combine forces, including potentially adding Ring into Key, according to Dave Limp, head of Amazon's devices and services.

"As it relates to Key, that's obviously one that we'll look at pretty closely," he said Tuesday. "I wouldn't want to make any commitments at this point in time, but it's certainly one that's on the list that we'll start thinking about."

Limp's comments, which were part of an interview that included Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff, offer a hint as to how Ring fits into Amazon's broader strategy for the smart home. The deal comes as Amazon is working hard to maintain its dominant position in the area, where its Echo devices control 70 percent of the US smart speaker market. Also, its Alexa voice assistant works with thousands of gadgets, including Ring's products. 

But with Google, Apple and Samsung all pushing into the same business, Amazon is trying to keep its edge by continually growing its portfolio of devices, from the Fire TV stick to the Cloud Cam security camera to smart doorbells.

The acquisition also marks a shaky time in Amazon's relationship with smart thermostat and camera maker Nest, a long-time Alexa partner that's owned by Alphabet, Google's parent company. Google in early February merged itself back with Nest so both companies can work more closely together and create a potentially stronger competitor to Amazon. Meanwhile, Amazon has decided not to stock several new Nest devices, including the Nest Hello doorbell that competes against Ring's products.


Welcome to Industry 4.0, the new age where smart technology and smart appliances are moving us closer and closer to a fully digitized society. Potentially valued at almost $4 trillion by 2020, studies show that businesses everywhere will be able to benefit by embracing the fourth industrial revolution. And, with the emergence of blockchain, we're already on the pathway there.

What is Industry 4.0 ("i4.0")

Industry 4.0 is not a new technology, nor is it a new business structure. It is our society's current trend of data exchange and automation in the creation and development of new technologies. It is simply an acknowledgement that technology had advanced so much since the 19th century, where we saw the beginnings of mass production.


1st Revolution 2nd Revolution 3rd Revolution Industry 4.0
Factory Production Mass Production / Assembly Line Digital Automation Smart-Systems / Cyber-Physical Systems


The Revolutions


The First and Second Industrial Revolutions

In the 19th century, we witnessed Britain move from farming to an industrial sector, focusing on factory production. The Second Revolution, introduced mass production and steel. Factories were becoming more 'electrical,' giving birth to Henry Ford's assembly production line, allowing for voluminous production and mass distribution to come into play.