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Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

FGS Global is closely monitoring the war in Israel and Gaza. These are very difficult days, particularly with the horrifying loss of so many innocent lives. Many clients have begun to ask for advice and guidance on communicating with their stakeholders. 

From Washington, we’re paying particularly close attention to the political implications and public responses in the United States. 

  • The White House has pledged unstinting support for Israel and is in close contact with its government. Israel will receive Iron Dome missile interceptor replenishments from the U.S. Additional military aid is expected to follow. 

  • The Biden administration, Congress and Republican presidential candidates are all engaged and issuing statements, with nearly all condemning Hamas’ attack and recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense.

  • The House of Representatives lacks a Speaker. The weekend developments in Israel could expedite a resolution within the Republican Conference on this matter since Members of Congress will want to formally express their support for Israel and may need to vote if additional emergency funding for Israel is contemplated. There is also discussion among Democrats of advancing additional aid to Israel alongside further support for Ukraine. 

  • The United States also lacks an ambassador to Israel. Ambassador Thomas Nides left his post over the summer and President Biden nominated former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to replace him. He has not yet had a confirmation hearing, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could speed up that process.

FGS Global will continue to provide additional insight and updates as the war unfolds.

By the Numbers

State of the Union

With support for the UAW hitting a record high after recent visits by President Biden and former President Trump, it’s clear union issues aren’t just for Democrats any more.  

The autoworkers strike led the top of the most recent Republican presidential debate. While South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott criticized workers for wanting “four-day French workweeks,” others on the debate stage expressed sympathy for autoworkers. Other Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Josh Hawley and J.D. Vance, have joined United Autoworkers picket lines in their states.  

The reason is simple for the political shift: Widespread growing public support for labor, including among Republican voters. And the United Auto Workers strike in particular gives them an opening to criticize Biden’s electric vehicle policies.  

But it’s a pure political play. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Republicans have made gains among white, working-class voters -- a group that includes many in organized labor -- who in previous generations had voted mostly for Democrats. Meanwhile, support among Americans for organized labor is on the rise, polls show, making attacks on unions less politically attractive.” 

What does that mean for organizations in labor disputes? The debate no longer divides along party lines, and no employer can count on Republican allies to stick with a pro-business position when the going gets tough

Go Phish

What does generative AI (gen AI) mean for corporate cyber risk? FGS Partner Jenny Davey, co-lead of our UK crisis communications team, recently sat down with a panel of experts on cybersecurity to discuss the challenges faced by corporates and the potential countermeasures.

Here were their takeaways: 

  • Gen AI has the potential to turbocharge the threat environment. Attackers can now mimic human behaviors and craft phishing emails at massive scale. Using tools based on gen AI, criminals can now automatically generate more customized, context-specific phishing messages tailored to their targets, which removes the need for time-intensive manual crafting of messages.

  • Gen AI could democratize the ability to write malicious code. Before, only skilled coders could create malware. AI text generation today allows anyone with a keyboard to generate new malware—no coding experience required. "WormGPT", a malign clone of ChatGPT advertised on dark web forums, is designed specifically to write phishing emails and code malicious programs.

  • Companies’ preventative measures to safeguard personal data must evolve with the sophistication of cybercrime threats. With the bar for addressing cyber risks already high and only set to rise, companies must remain agile and adapt their protective measures to keep personal data safe.

  • Employee education is key. Even the most secure technological defense measures can be compromised in an instant by human error: Verizon confirmed this in its annual data breach investigations report last year, which found that as many as 82% of data breaches involved human error in some way. To account for this, the panelists suggest that companies need not only to educate their employees of the emerging risks but also instill a culture of hypervigilance.

  • Corporates should roll out cyber communications playbooks that include messaging about how a company treats its proprietary data, where it is held and how it is managed to effectively respond in a time of crisis. This includes perfecting the basics and doubling down on the traditional aspects of preparation and education. Practice is the key mantra - there is no substitute for regular drilling in the form of war-gaming simulations for senior leadership and the key members of the crisis response committee.

October 10, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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