KW 27: German election an „attractive target“ for disinformation campaigns and hacker attacks; Economics ministry supports startups in the AI sector; Police authorities shut down service provider for cybercriminal


German election an „attractive target“ for disinformation campaigns and hacker attacks: Voter turnout and sentiment within the German population are being influenced by hackers and forgers through sophisticated campaigns involving disinformation, discrediting politicians and attacks on IT infrastructures of political parties and public institutions. The increased use of networked devices also poses a risk, according to Professor Claudia Eckert, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC). Although the systems are fast and flexible due to their IoT software, there is not much knowledge about the function of the interactions. Arne Schönbohm, president of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), has already reported that the office has set up an „emergency phone“ for urgent cases to bypass cumbersome reporting chains. In addition, the BSI has produced an IT security guide for politicians that highlights dangers and explains preventive measures.

German economics ministry supports startups in the AI sector: Until the end of 2024, both the Exist funding program and the German Accelerator program will be funded with 46.5 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The funding is intended to support AI startups. Science & Startups will be the first project to receive 6.85 million euros. The network of startup services of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is to cover the entire innovation chain from the identification of startup potential in research, to the targeted acceleration of the feasibility phase, to an accelerator program at the new AI Campus Berlin. The funding is intended to improve not only startups, but also the networking of research institutions with existing AI companies and the business community. The goal is for Germany to become more visible to AI hotspots such as Silicon Valley, Boston or Singapore.

Police authorities shut down service provider for cybercriminals: European and American police authorities have shut down the provider DoubleVPN in a coordinated action. The service is accused of harboring ransomware extortionists and online fraudsters. On Wednesday, Europol in The Hague announced that servers in numerous countries had been seized, rendering the service useless. Using a so-called virtual private network, DoubleVPN offered an encrypted internet connection that could disguise the origin of criminal attacks. 600 people are said to have used the service, which was available for amounts starting at 22 euros, according to Europol.

British company Oneweb successfully launches 36 satellites: The launch of the satellites will enable the operator to provide satellite internet to the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland and the Arctic region. It also increases the number of Oneweb constellations in orbit to 254 satellites. The service is expected to be available worldwide from 2022, but initial service demonstrations are already being prepared in the next six months. The launch was carried out by Arianespace from the Russian Vostochny Cosmodrom spaceport in the Amur region.

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Mobile World Congress: Mobile trade fair in Barcelona with poor visitor numbers
Ransomware attack: Blackmailer group „REvil“ demands record ransom of $70 million
Mobile network: Telekom and Vodafone switch off 3G and upgrade their radio masts to 5G
Traffic management concepts: IOTA foundation joins EU project for IoT traffic management
Smartcity Saarbrücken: City offers companies use of its LoRaWAN network


For 60 percent of companies, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) represents an important key technology for the digital transformation process.


Networking old existing machines: A new monitoring system wants to make it possible for small and medium-sized companies to monitor and network old existing machines. The system was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. One reason for its development are the numerous decades-old machines that still function but cannot be networked with each other. Since the budget for further digitization measures is often lacking, the new system could provide aid in this area. The power supply is used by a contactless AC measuring transformer to retrieve basic machine data. This is stored in a cloud and then displayed in an app in the form of easy-to-understand graphics reduced to minimal function. On the one hand, it can be seen whether the machine is running smoothly, and on the other hand, curves are used to show which forces are acting on the workpiece while the machine is working. After a learning phase, the system can also perform simple process monitoring and detect wear, for example. The app can also indicate when certain parts need to be replaced. So far, the retrofit monitoring system exists only as a prototype, but its development will be advanced further.

Researchers want to make AI more transparent: Scientists from two universities are researching how artificial intelligence can be made more transparent as part of a doctoral thesis. The project, called „(RL)3 Representation, Reinforcement, and Rule Learning,“ aims to strengthen the basis of trust in this technology, among other things. Moritz Lange from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum deals with representation learning in his dissertation. Representations are information on which reinforcement learning is based and through which this process is facilitated. A decisive factor for the learning ability of an algorithm is how well the relevant information can be read from the data. In reinforcement learning, the computer software is supposed to learn through rewards whether its action leads to a better or worse state. It can be a number, for example, and always depends on the specific case. The rewards that the software receives are added up so that the system should choose actions for which it receives the largest possible total reward. The project sees the control of technically complex systems as its intended field of application and has a duration of three and a half years. The Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding the project with 500,000 euros, and the two universities involved in the project will each receive 250,000 euros.

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A laboratory for the smart city in Munich: The UnternehmerTUM business incubator and the state capital Munich are jointly launching a unique cooperation model. Under the name Munich Urban Colab, the expansion of intelligent and networked structures in metropolitan areas is to be accelerated for the Isar metropolis. Startups, established companies, scientists, creatives and artists are to develop concepts for the intelligent city of the future. What is special about this is that the city administration is closely involved as an active partner. The public will also be involved in the model. According to the initiators, the Munich Urban Colab is „an internationally unique place for smart city solutions“ that has not yet existed in this form.


„The number of attacks has continued to rise during the coronavirus pandemic because companies are even more vulnerable in the home office.“
Matthias Wachter, head of security at BDI, sees companies in particular as easy targets for cyberattacks in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Code of the World Wide Web sold at auction for 4.5 million euros: Tim Berners-Lee had the idea for a global information exchange system in 1989. This eventually gave rise to the World Wide Web. Now the owner certificates of the file with the source code to the first web browser in the form of an NFT were auctioned for 4.5 million euros.,

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