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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

21 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.