Why Brazil Put Its Military In Charge of Cyber Security

January 15, 2015

Robert Muggah and Misha Glenny – Defense One, 1/13/2015

Brazil has embraced the digital age with more gusto than most. It is one of the top users of social media and recently signed-off on a bill of rights for the Internet, the Marco Civil. The country is also a leader in the development of online banking with more than 43 percent of web users engaging such services, and can be proud of a thriving software industry, including some world class companies.

But as computer users around the world are beginning to grasp, the spread of the digital world has its dark side. Alongside all the great things the Internet offers, not least new forms of political and economic empowerment, it brings some very serious threats.

Brazilians are waking up to the reality of online scams, hacking, espionage and digital surveillance. And while the government is taking cyber malfeasance seriously, it may have seriously misinterpreted the nature and significance of those threats and, as a consequence, the best way to tackle them.

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Brazil tops banking malware list

December 12, 2014

Angelica Mari – ZDNet, 12/12/2014

Cybercriminals have placed Brazil as the number one nation in a online banking trojan ranking as attempts to steal cash online saw a massive increase during the World Cup.

New research by Kaspersky Lab covering the period from November 2013 to October 2014 lists Brazil as the country with the largest number of users attacked by banking malware, followed by Russia and Germany.

Some 299,830 users fell victim to banking malware in Brazil during the period. Second on the list is Russia with 251,917 attacked users and Germany, with 155,773 malware attacks in 2014.

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Brazil becomes an international hub for research and development

December 3, 2014

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 12/2/2014

It is easy to see why BG Group of the UK is an enthusiastic investor in Brazil.

The company hit the landmark 100,000 barrels a day mark in October in its projects in Brazil and averaged 81,000 bpd during the third quarter, making the country its second-largest contributor after the UK.

The strong promise of Brazil, in which the company has invested $8bn over two decades and plans to invest another $3bn annually in the coming years, has led it to base its chief technology officer Richard Moore in Rio de Janeiro.

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Why isn’t Brazil exploiting its amazing wind capacity?

November 21, 2014

Fabíola Ortiz – The Guardian, 11/21/2014

Brazil has made huge strides in divesting from fossil fuels. In 2009 the country produced a staggering 85% of its electricity from renewable resources. Nearby Argentina hit just 29.2%, while renewably generated electricity is a scant 19.5% of the world’s supply.

Those impressive figures have been harvested mainly through heavy investment in hydro power, with 75% of its total renewable energy coming from this resource. Meanwhile its potential for wind power has been left largely untouched. At present Brazil invests just $5.42bn (£3.4bn) in wind power despite having a total estimated potential of 300 gigawatts (GW). However, spending on hydropower projects, which have a smaller total energy potential of 260GW, has topped $150bn.

It seems that Brazil has no plans to change the direction of its renewables investments. Headed by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and state-run energy research company Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE), Brazil’s 10-year plan for energy expansion states that installed capacity from hydro will increase from 84.8GW to 119GW by 2022, yet installed capacity for other renewables (small hydroelectric, biomass and wind) will rise from 15.3GW to 38.1GW in the same time period.

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Brazil to Approve $275 Million for River Water Diversion

November 13, 2014

Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg, 11/12/2014

Brazil’s government is close to approving 700 million reais ($275 million) in aid for a project that would divert river water from Rio de Janeiro to help refill Sao Paulo’s biggest reservoir. Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, which provides water to the city, will use the money to send it from the Paraiba do Sul River to the Cantareira reservoir, a project that will take about 15 months to complete, Water Resources Secretary Mauro Arce said today in interview in Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin met this week with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to seek aid to help tackle the water crisis in the state, facing the worst drought in eight decades. The diversion from the Jaguari dam is one of eight projects Alckmin said that Sao Paulo needs, at a cost of 3.5 billion reais.

“We are going to have a meeting to finish technical details and we are going to ask for financing from the Planning Ministry,” Arce told reporters. “Taking off five cubic meters per second from Paraiba do Sul won’t disturb Rio de Janeiro’s population.”

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Brazil begins laying its own Internet cables to avoid U.S. surveillance

November 4, 2014

Nancy Scola – The Washington Post, 11/03/2014

There’s a new wrinkle in Brazil’s plan to build a $185 million undersea fiber-optic cable that would connect it to Portugal and help the country avoid surveillance by U.S. intelligence authorities, reports Bloomberg: The cable will be built without the help of any U.S. companies.

While Brazil arguably led the world’s outrage over the Edward Snowden disclosures, its ire has mellowed a bit in recent months. But that Brazilian authorities are still talking about a U.S.-free undersea link to Europe only underscores something that may be especially destructive to U.S. tech companies: Once you write foreign policy into fiber-optic cables, it stays that way for a long, long time.

To be sure, under President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil reacted strongly negatively, in ways big and little, to the Snowden disclosures in September 2013: Rousseff railed at the United Nations  about Brazil’s commitment to “redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.”

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Brazil gives go-ahead to 31 solar parks in push for new energy

November 3, 2014

Marcelo Teixeira – Reuters, 10/31/2014

Brazil finally entered the solar power sector on Friday, granting contracts for the construction of 31 solar parks as it tries to diversify its sources of generation amid an energy crisis caused by the worst drought in eight decades.

Brazil’s energy regulator, Aneel, concluded its first exclusive solar power auction on Friday, clinching 20-year energy supply contracts with companies that will invest 4.14 billion reais ($1.67 billion) and start to feed the national grid in 2017.

The 31 solar parks, the first large-scale solar projects to be constructed in Brazil, will have a combined installed capacity of 1,048 megawatts (MW). Market expectations were for projected total awards of 500 MW.

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