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Sam Jayne / Axios

From robotics to cyber-war, developing countries are being lashed by the powerful new technological forces sweeping the globe — and seem likely to face worse.

  • Before cyber-attackers have struck targets in the U.S. and Europe, they have often tested out their strategies in India, Taiwan, South Korea, and other second- or third-tier powers, per the New York Times' Sheera Frenkel. The defenses in countries like India are often lower, and fewer security experts are watching.
  • Among malware tested: quasi-intelligent software that learns about the computer environment it's attacking as it moves. In addition, India has been hit with outsized waves of ransomware — Wannacry and Petya — that have struck some 60 countries in recent weeks.
  • The next fear: Robots will stymie the traditional pathway up the economic ladder for poor nations, said Daniel Runde, an analyst with the Center for Security and International Studies. As rich nations adopt more robots, they can economically keep assembly and manufacturing industries at home rather than shipping them abroad to low labor-cost countries, he said.

Why it matters: Cyber security experts are now increasingly looking to the developing world to discover what malware might hit the more sophisticated economies next. These second-tier economies are a playing ground — a pickup basketball court — where cyber criminals can practice.The economic side is perhaps more worrying because it means exacerbation of a dynamic already in play — what Harvard economist Dani Rodrick has called "premature de-industrialization," in which poorer countries barely or never get to see the fruits of a manufacturing economy.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

4 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.