Biden invokes emergency powers to avoid fuel shortage | Palestinians slam social media companies for censoring attacks by Israeli forces | Mauritian government to intercept encrypted web traffic
The Biden administration has invoked emergency powers as part of an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to avoid fuel shortages after the worst-ever cyber-attack on US infrastructure shut down a crucial pipeline supplying the east coast. The federal transport department issued an emergency declaration on Sunday to relax regulations for drivers carrying gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products in 17 states and the District of Columbia. It lets them work extra or more flexible hours to make up for any fuel shortage related to the pipeline outage. The Guardian
Palestinians have slammed social media companies for shutting down their personal accounts and censoring content about attacks on residents and activists by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Social media users from the ground and around the world have uploaded and shared video content and images about the attacks, using the hashtag in both English and Arabic #SaveSheikhJarrah. Yet many have complained that their accounts have been censored, limited, or shut down altogether. Al Jazeera
The Mauritian government is considering plans to monitor and censor social media by intercepting web traffic. In a consultation document, the country’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority calls for “harmful and illegal contents” to be removed. The Daily Swig
Democracy’s Digital Defenses
The Wall Street Journal
Technologies aimed at surveilling populations, suppressing dissent and spreading propaganda have long been used by authoritarian governments. But in recent years, democracies are discovering they can fight fire with fire, using their own digital tools to defend freedom and undermine autocracy. New tools, many of them developed by the commercial sector as privacy safeguards, are increasingly being repurposed as democracy’s digital defenses.
The Guardian view on online abuse of female journalists: a problem for all
The statistics are shocking. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed had experienced online hostility of some sort, while a quarter had been threatened with sexual violence and death; the likelihood of attack increased greatly if the women belonged to a minority. Incidents included personal details spilled on to the internet; finances hacked, families harassed and intimidated and employers sent doctored photos. A fifth reported being subsequently attacked or abused offline. About 2.5m threatening posts were directed at just two women: Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Carole Cadwalladr of the UK. Ms Ressa was at one point receiving 90 hate messages an hour on Facebook alone. Ghada Oueiss, an Al Jazeera Arabic presenter, gets at least one death threat every day she is on air.
News Corp formalises Google and Facebook deals, announces hiring spree
The Sydney Morning Herald
The executive chairman of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia has confirmed the company has formalised payments from tech giants Google and Facebook as he announced plans to hire a further 100 editorial staff.
Government needs to ensure Australia’s digital sovereignty
The concept of ‘sovereignty’ has recently gained new life in Australia and around the world. Increased tensions with China, a constant flow of fake news, frequent references to cyberattacks conducted by sophisticated state actors, and public announcements on foreign espionage have placed sovereignty front and centre in the Australian psyche. We’re in an era of cyber spies and cyber warriors. Territorial sovereignty has always been understood and accepted. Increasing geopolitical uncertainty for Australia has seen political and economic sovereignty dominate conversations from the barbecue to the boardroom. But Facebook’s recent shutdown of its Australian services has brought digital sovereignty squarely into the national consciousness.
China's progress in advanced semiconductor technology slows
China is facing delays in miniaturizing semiconductors. In a Nikkei survey, most of the seven major Chinese semiconductor manufacturing equipment makers that responded said their mainstay products were those for making 14 nanometer to 28 nm chips, which are two or three generations behind the world's advanced chips. Some said even older generation machines were their main products. Many of the respondents said U.S. sanctions against China had hindered their procurement of parts and materials from abroad. They also said using domestic parts and materials in place of items from overseas had resulted in lower yield rates.
When Covid Hit, China Was Ready to Tell Its Version of the Story
The New York Times
The government has been using its money and power to create an alternative to a global news media dominated by outlets like the BBC and CNN.
Meituan shares slide after chief posts ancient poem
The share price of the Chinese food delivery app Meituan fell as much as 9.8 per cent on Monday after its chief executive posted an ancient poem that investors interpreted as criticising Chinese President Xi Jinping on social media.
Tesla, under scrutiny in China, steps up engagement with regulators
Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, facing scrutiny in China over safety and customer service complaints, is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources said.
Huawei CEO tells staff to keep fewer records, write shorter memos
The Washington Post
Huawei's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has ordered staff to keep records only as long as necessary and write shorter memos, following several crises involving internal documents, including the detention of his daughter.
Suspected Chinese state hackers target Russian submarine designer
Hackers suspected to work for the Chinese government have used a new malware called PortDoor to infiltrate the systems of an engineering company that designs submarines for the Russian Navy. They used a spear-phishing email specifically crafted to lure the general director of the company into opening a malicious document.
Seven Apple Suppliers Accused of Using Forced Labor From Xinjiang
An investigation found that Apple’s suppliers participated in labor programs suspected of being part of China's alleged genocide against Uyghurs. The newly uncovered evidence stands in contrast to Apple's statements that it hasn't found evidence of forced labor.
US invokes emergency powers after cyber-attack on fuel pipeline
The Biden administration has invoked emergency powers as part of an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to avoid fuel shortages after the worst-ever cyber-attack on US infrastructure shut down a crucial pipeline supplying the east coast. The federal transport department issued an emergency declaration on Sunday to relax regulations for drivers carrying gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products in 17 states and the District of Columbia. It lets them work extra or more flexible hours to make up for any fuel shortage related to the pipeline outage.
US fuel pipeline hackers 'didn't mean to create problems'
A cyber-criminal gang that took a major US fuel pipeline offline over the weekend has acknowledged the incident in a public statement. "Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society," DarkSide wrote on its website.
Shedding Light on the DarkSide Ransomware Attack
Unlike many attacks on industrial organizations that have been connected to adversarial nation-states, it seems that the pipeline attack might be a cybercrime case motivated by a large bounty. The group suspected in this hit goes by the name “DarkSide.”
Colonial Pipeline aims to be "substantially" back online by end of week
Colonial said in a statement at 12:25pm ET on Monday that segments of the pipeline are being brought back online in a "stepwise fashion," with the goal of "substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week."
Cyber Sleuths Blunted Pipeline Hack, Choked Data Flow to Russia
A small group of private-sector companies, with help from several U.S. agencies, disrupted ongoing cyber-attacks against Colonial Pipeline Co. and more than two dozen other victims, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Biden Plans an Order to Strengthen Cyberdefenses. Will It Be Enough?
The New York Times
@SangerNYT @nicoleperlroth @julianbarnes
A pipeline that provides the East Coast with nearly half its gasoline and jet fuel remained shuttered on Sunday after yet another ransomware attack, prompting emergency White House meetings and new questions about whether an executive order strengthening cybersecurity for federal agencies and contractors goes far enough even as President Biden prepares to issue it. The order, drafts of which have been circulating to government officials and corporate executives for weeks and summaries of which were obtained by The New York Times, is a new road map for the nation’s cyberdefense.
City of Tulsa hit by ransomware over the weekend
The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the 50 largest cities in the US, has been hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend that affected the city government’s network and brought down official websites.
The making of a myth
The Washington Post
@emmersbrown @byaaroncdavis @jonswaine @jdawsey1
Key elements of the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump took shape in an airplane hangar here two years earlier, promoted by a Republican businessman who has sold everything from Tex-Mex food in London to a wellness technology that beams light into the human bloodstream.
Online Cheating Charges Upend Dartmouth Medical School
The New York Times
The university accused 17 students of cheating on remote exams, raising questions about data mining and sowing mistrust on campus.
NSA offers advice: connecting OT to the rest of the net can lead to “indefensible levels of risk”
The State of Security
The US Defense Department and third-party military contractors are being advised to strengthen the security of their operational technology (OT) in the wake of security breaches, such as the SolarWinds supply chain attack.
DHS launches warning system to find domestic terrorism threats on public social media
The Department of Homeland Security has begun implementing a strategy to gather and analyze intelligence about security threats from public social media posts, DHS officials said. The goal is to build a warning system to detect the sort of posts that appeared to predict an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but were missed or ignored by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the officials said.
The Pentagon Inches Toward Letting AI Control Weapons
General John Murray of the US Army Futures Command told an audience at the US Military Academy last month that swarms of robots will force military planners, policymakers, and society to think about whether a person should make every decision about using lethal force in new autonomous systems.
Nicole Perlroth @nicoleperlrothThe ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline has prompted emergency meetings as the White House finalizes its cybersecurity Executive Order. With new details on the attack and the EO w/ @SangerNYT https://t.co/NhGo5yBsdN
New Zealand & The Pacific
Caretaker Samoa govt walks back Tuilaepa's Facebook call
Radio New Zealand
The party of Samoa's caretaker government is walking back suggestions from its leader that Facebook could be banned before the next election.
Wipe references to China to protect students, Soas lecturers told
A university has told academics not to record lectures or class discussions in case students and staff are arrested if they visit Hong Kong or China. Soas University of London has also said that they risk being jailed for carrying lecture notes, or laptops that have not been wiped of their work, when travelling to those areas.
The United Kingdom's new vision of cyber power
War on the Rocks
Resilience remains crucial in the U.K. vision to achieving cyber security, but the Integrated Review signals a growth in ambition for the United Kingdom’s cyber aspirations.
The Critical Geopolitics of Standards Setting
Technical standards are the type of policy issue that have long been critically important, but only rise to prominence in the aftermath of notable breaches or incidents. However, as technology increasingly becomes the central pillar on which we build our security and interact as a global society, technical standards setting can no longer be allowed to languish towards the bottom of the policy priority list.
Palestinians criticise social media censorship over Sheikh Jarrah
Palestinians have slammed social media companies for shutting down their personal accounts and censoring content about attacks on residents and activists by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Social media users from the ground and around the world have uploaded and shared video content and images about the attacks, using the hashtag in both English and Arabic #SaveSheikhJarrah. Yet many have complained that their accounts have been censored, limited, or shut down altogether.
Sheikh Jarrah content takedowns reveal pattern of online restrictions in Palestine
The National News
Information about the eviction of Palestinians from an East Jerusalem neighbourhood was systematically removed from social media, say digital researchers who have collected evidence of the content takedowns. Hundreds of posts and accounts documenting events in Sheikh Jarrah were deleted or restricted, the researchers said.
What If Dictators and Autocrats Learn to Love Clubhouse, Too?
The New Republic
Clubhouse is surging in popularity in the Middle East—with more than a million downloads this year—where it’s being hailed as an important new space for discussing politics, sex, abortion, alcohol, and other verboten subjects. Clubhouse users are “practicing democracy in real time,” Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former Iranian vice president, recently told The New York Times.
Mauritian government’s plan to intercept encrypted web traffic marks ‘death knell for freedom of speech’
The Daily Swig
The Mauritian government is considering plans to monitor and censor social media by intercepting web traffic. In a consultation document, the country’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority calls for “harmful and illegal contents” to be removed.
The more Africans do business online, the more they hate internet shutdowns
Many leaders seem threatened by the way digital media make it possible to share information and organize. Research shows that 2020 saw 156 full or partial shutdowns of the internet or social media like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. South Asia accounts for almost three quarters of these shutdowns, with India leading the way. Africa was the next most affected region, with 20 shutdowns affecting 12 countries.
The Rise of Private Spies
The New Republic
Whether their intentions and actions are noble, or mercenary and corrupt, or somewhere in between—whether they are a Bellingcat or a Black Cube or one of the investigators involved in the Steele dossier—these entities are all operating outside the channels of oversight and accountability, however imperfect, that governments attempt to impose on groups like the CIA. And their influence on politics, business, and other aspects of our lives is escalating.
Introducing the Public Interest Internet
Electronic Frontier Foundation
This blog series, we hope, will serve as a guided tour of some of the less visible parts of the modern public interest internet. None of the stories here, the organizations, collectives, and ongoing projects have grabbed the attention of the media or congressional committees (at least, not as effectively as Big Tech and its moguls). Nonetheless, they remain just as vital a part of the digital space.
WhatsApp to restrict features if you refuse Facebook data sharing
ASPI Webinar: In-Conversation with Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner
ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre is delighted to invite you to the webinar ‘In-Conversation with Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner’. With legislation proposed to increase the broad powers of the eSafety Commissioner to tackle adult cyber abuse and image-based abuse, the eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant joins ASPI ICPC Senior Analyst, Tom Uren to provide an overview of the eSafety Commissioner’s role and functions and what these new powers may mean. The Commissioner will deliver remarks and context about eSafety’s approach to supporting Australian citizens online and the different technology challenges and trends that are emerging. These include policy and societal issues such as deepfakes, decentralisation, the safety risks of immersive technologies, and end-to-end encryption. This will be followed by a moderated Q&A with the online audience.
International Cyber Policy Centre – Strategic engagement, program & research coordinator
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding early career role for a talented and proactive individual to support senior centre staff on strategic engagement, program and research coordination.