Thursday Readings

Federal Reserve Likely To Stay The Course – For Now
Minutes taken from meetings of the Federal Reserve in January indicate there likely will not end a policy of quantitative easing soon due to concerns about the impact it will have on consumers and the economy. However, support for the program is weakening.

“Several participants stressed the economic and social costs of high unemployment. However, many participants also expressed some concerns about potential costs and risks arising from further asset purchases,” said the minutes.

The market reacted negatively to the release with the Dow dropping 100 points to 13,935 shortly before the closing bell.

Cyber Warfare Complicates Foreign And Domestic Relations
New York Times reporter David Sanger told CNN that cyber warfare is “one of the most complicated problems” and that the mere possibility of a cyber attack is enough to can have an impact.

“The fact that your adversary would know that you could get into their systems and turn them on or off at any time – whether it was cell phones or air traffic control or whatever – might well affect your future behavior,” he says.

According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is preparing to launch a more aggressive campaign to stop cyber attacks, partly in response to the targeting of non-economic interests.

“Cyber Spying against what could be called the ‘information industry’ differs from hacks against traditional economic targets such as Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola and Apple, whose computer systems contain valuable intellectual property that could assist Chinese industrial or military capabilities,” notes the paper.

The Chinese, however, see their actions as a natural response to US actions targeting Chinese military and infrastructure targets.

Domestic Efforts To Bolster Cyber Security Face Opposition

Efforts to toughen up cyber security is not an easy sell despite the ease at which companies and government institutions can be hacked. One such legislative proposal in Congress is facing stiffening opposition from privacy advocates, who fear that the bill’s “broad language” would permit companies to transmit consumers’ personal information to federal intelligence agencies.

Ironically, Congress itself, according to experts, have a weak record on implementing policies and procedures to shore up their own networks.

Tom Kellermann, vice president of cyber security for security software firm Trend Micro tells The Hill that Congress lacks “their own appropriate levels of funding for technologies and manpower to deal with this properly. A major corporation has more resources than they do.”


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