Sunday, January 31, 2016

Two Rare Gifts For The Next 20 People Who Register for Suits and Spooks DC 2016

Suits and Spooks DC 2016 is now less than two weeks away and I'd like to make it our best attended event in the five years since I founded this security forum. To that end, I'm giving away two rare gifts for the next 20 people who register for a full two day pass ($599 for Industry; $499 for Gov't and Academia).

The first gift is an autographed and personalized 2nd edition copy of my book Inside Cyber Warfare (O'Reilly Media, 2011). The Russia section alone has been praised by Russia and China cyberwarfare expert Lt. Col. Timothy Thomas as containing unique material not found anywhere else.

The second gift is a 2011 Plank Holder Challenge Coin issued at our very first Suits and Spooks event at Facebook's old loft space in Palo Alto. The flip side of the coin says "PLANK HOLDER - SUITS AND SPOOKS 2011 - Palo Alto, CA".

This offer will end once we sell out so act today and pick up your book and challenge coin at the event on Feb 11-12 at the National Press Club.

Full details on the agenda and speakers as well as your registration options are at

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3: A Collaboration Between Dreamworks and China's State Council

Kung Fu Panda 3 opens simultaneously in the U.S. and China on Jan 29th to high hopes by Dreamworks Animation and Oriental Dreamworks, which is a joint venture formed with China Media Capital and Shanghai Media Group. A test run of two screenings at various Chinese theaters last weekend yielded an impressive $6.5 million, and January 29th is a coveted opening date in China due to its proximity to the Chinese New Year and Valentines Day.

The Shanghai Media Group is a State-run organization, and animation is a strategic technology that has its own Five-Year Plan. The following is a high level overview from the 12th Five Year plan (2011-2015):
  • Guiding the production of original animation creation
  • Creating a system to make innovation profitable
  • Promoting the balanced development of the animation industry
  • Advancing the technical innovation ability of the animation industry
  • Implementing the strategy for key enterprises and major projects
  • Strengthening talent support
  • Facilitating the animation industry to “go global”
  • Enhancing the international cooperation of the animation industry
  • Encouraging the animation industry to “go global”
  • Safeguarding measures including increasing financial input to the industry, protecting intellectual property, and improving investing and financing policies
China's emphasis on improving its animation production facilities is a double-edged sword for foreign companies. On the one hand, it gives foreign animation companies like Dreamworks (NASDAQ: DWA) or Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) hard-to-get access to China, which is arguably the most important market in the world. On the other hand, it gives China access to the foreign company's intellectual property through overt technology transfer that happens when foreign companies hire Chinese engineers who eventually leave the foreign company and take their newly found skills to a Chinese animation company. There is also covert technology acquisition which can occur through hacking and other secretive means.

One reason why the Chinese government is so enthusiastic about animation is that it serves the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda function. Song Lei, an expert in the subject and a former employee of China's Ministry of Culture wrote a blog post about Japan and America's use of animation as propaganda (machine translation):
"Of course. Japanese anime serve as propaganda in postwar Japan an important role in East Asian countries have large numbers of young people are fond of Japanese anime, there are tens of thousands of Chinese students learning Japanese because the Japanese anime away every year, the book in Japanese scholars Endo reputation , also devoted to the "knowledge-Japanese" and "Hari clan" generation. American animation also with its strong capital in the world to promote their liberty, equality of the world, the US-centered values, as well as a variety of American superheroes."
Later in the post Song writes that in comparison to Japan and America, China's animation propaganda has just started and the quality is relatively low. This is at least partly why foreign film and animation companies will find open arms in China, at least until China's ambitions in this area have been achieved. When that happens I predict that access to China's market will tighten considerably for those same foreign firms.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

7 Reasons Not To Miss Suits and Spooks DC This Year

#7: The Rise of Global Terrorism

Engage in a discussion about the evolution and expansion of terrorism by the Islamic State with CIA and DOD experts Mark Kelton and Dave Kilcullen.

#6:  Are Commercial Airlines Safe From Hacking

Should you be worried about hackers interfering with the control systems of commercial aircraft? What safety measures are in place to keep that from happening? Jim Vasatka, the Director of Aviation Security at Boeing will answer your questions in a special CLOSED TO THE PRESS briefing.

#5: Is The Cyber Security Industry Over-Valued

Should you invest in the cyber security industry or is the industry vastly over-valued? Niloo Howe, Elad Yoran, and other VCs will share their thoughts.

#4: How Do Adversaries Track U.S. Executives Overseas

Are you an executive who frequently travels overseas? Learn how foreign agents can target you through your mobile device's electronic signature and other means. A retired Navy SOF Chief will walk you through it.

#3: How Can Your Company Do Business In High Risk Countries Without Losing Its IP

If you work for a multinational corporation, learn how your company can do business in high risk nations and not lose your intellectual property to foreign governments or criminal hackers. Panelists: Jody Westby, Joel Brenner, and Jeffrey Carr

#2: How Are Criminals Using Digital Currencies

Hear Will Gragido explain what digital currencies are, how criminals are using them, and whether you should be concerned.

#1: What Legal Regimes Control Cyber Warfare, And How Are They Changing

Listen to NATO, DOD, and legal scholars (Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Gary Brown, and Catherine Lotrionte) debate the legal ramifications of digital attacks against civilian infrastructure and how that may change the way that warfare is conducted.

Only 30 seats remaining. Grab yours today.