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PERU BLOCKCHAIN CONFERENCE 2023 AND BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT LULA INTERESTED IN CHINESE INVESTMENT

April 13-19, 2023 | Issue 10 - SOUTHCOM and CICYBER

Mia McGillan, Emanuela Bulferetti, Lidia Nduka, Megan McCluskey, and Martina Sclaverano

Evan Beachler, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor


Blockchain Technology[1]


Date: April 13, 2023

Location: Lima, Peru

Parties involved: Factum Investments; conference sponsors; conference attendees; Peru; Latin America

The event: The PeruBlockchain Conference 2023 is an upcoming event in Lima’s Auditorio NOS PUCP on April 28 and 29. The conference, sponsored by Factum Investments, plans to address a wide range of topics, including blockchain, Web3, crypto, DeFi, regulation, and artificial intelligence. It is considered the most important technology event in Peru and the Andean region. With over 11,000 expected attendees, the conference will serve as a platform for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among Web3 companies, investors, banks, governments, enthusiasts, academics, and entrepreneurs.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • There is a roughly even chance that the conference's focus on cryptocurrencies and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) will motivate cybercriminals to launch targeted social engineering or ransomware attacks on attendees. Malicious actors will likely use tools like remote template injection in disguised phishing emails from organizers or sponsors to harvest data during the recipient's interaction with fraudulent mail. These will likely allow hackers to steal information on digital wallets and private keys to access cryptocurrencies or digital assets stored in them. Organizers will very likely implement security measures such as publishing Sender Policy Framework records (SPF) to verify the legitimacy of senders authorized for their domain to avoid email spoofing.

  • Enthusiasts about the conference will likely focus on Web3’s potential, considering its policy of granting users control over their data and choice over monetizing their personal information. It is likely that malicious actors will not be able to use the blockchains that host Web3 applications, but will likely use this initial enthusiasm and lack of expertise to exploit the vulnerabilities within the project’s smart contracts. Malicious actors will likely exploit the smart contract’s capabilities and run unauthorized code that can break the mechanism, likely resulting in a loss of funds for investors.


Date: April 14, 2023

Location: Brazil

Parties involved: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping; China; Huawei Technologies Co Ltd; Chinese Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysts; Brazil; private companies in Brazil; US and/or European agencies in Brazil; US; non-state actors mandated by China

The event: Lula da Silva defended Brazilian interest in China’s communication and semiconductor technologies after his state visit to the Huawei research center in Beijing. Lula declared that “no one will prohibit Brazil from improving its relationship with China''[3] despite security concerns raised by Western nations. President Lula signed 15 agreements with Xi Jinping, including deals on cybersecurity technology development, 5g mobile communications, and for a sixth satellite to monitor the Amazon. Both countries agreed to establish a working group to strengthen ties and pursue cooperation on semiconductors and sensitive technology.[4]

Analysis & Implications

  • With Huawei controlling the Brazilian 5G network infrastructure, there is a roughly even chance that Huawei will intercept and access data from US and/or European agencies operating in Brazil. This will likely allow China to have significant influence over Brazil's telecommunication infrastructure through disruptions or shutdowns of communication networks if Brazil does not comply with China's demands. Private companies in Brazil will likely invest in extra cybersecurity and alternatives to using Chinese-controlled infrastructure, to lower the risk of infiltration and maintain a good reputation with investors. The US will very likely be less inclined to cooperate with Brazil on matters regarding national security and intelligence-sharing due to perceived security risks associated with Huawei.

  • China will likely exploit the bilateral agreements to conduct industrial espionage on the condition of Brazil’s cyber industry. With joint cybersecurity technology research, China will very likely access new information about Brazil’s weaknesses in fighting cyber attacks. This will likely allow China or non-state actors mandated by China to plan more sophisticated cyber attacks and know which institutions to target. China has a roughly even chance to use the satellite program with Brazil to spy on military activity in the region, likely sharing the images with third-party Chinese GIS analysts.

 

[2] Peru Blockchain Conference 2023: Driving Crypto Community Growth in Latin America, Benzinga, April 2023, https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cryptocurrency/23/04/31755335/peru-blockchain-conference-2023-driving-crypto-community-growth-in-latin-america

[3] Lula courts Chinese tech for Brazil, brushed off “prejudices”, Reuters, April 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/china-brazil-reset-ties-with-tech-environment-accords-agree-ukraine-2023-04-14/

[4] Ibid

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