Biden names first national cyber director | Iranian nuclear facilities sabotaged by Israel | Deep fakes might reshape South African politics
The Biden administration plans on Monday to name a former senior National Security Agency official as the first national cyber director and another former NSA official to head the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency. The Washington Post
Israel appeared to confirm claims that it was behind a cyber-attack on Iran’s main nuclear facility on Sunday, which Tehran’s nuclear energy chief described as an act of terrorism that warranted a response against its perpetrators. The apparent attack took place hours after officials at the Natanz reactor restarted spinning advanced centrifuges that could speed up the production of enriched uranium, in what had been billed as a pivotal moment in the country’s nuclear programme. The Guardian
As South Africa’s political battles continue, and ahead of the local elections, there is now evidence that we are about to enter a new phase that could undermine trust and legitimacy even further. Soon, voice recordings and videos of our political leaders will be subject to manipulation that could have a major impact in ways that are as yet impossible to fully assess. Daily Maverick
Revealed: the Facebook loophole that lets world leaders deceive and harass their citizens
The Guardian has seen extensive internal documentation showing how Facebook handled more than 30 cases across 25 countries of politically manipulative behavior that was proactively detected by company staff. The investigation shows how Facebook has allowed major abuses of its platform in poor, small and non-western countries in order to prioritize addressing abuses that attract media attention or affect the US and other wealthy countries. The company acted quickly to address political manipulation affecting countries such as the US, Taiwan, South Korea and Poland, while moving slowly or not at all on cases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia, Mexico, and much of Latin America.
China extends crackdown on Jack Ma's empire with enforced revamp of Ant Group
China has imposed a sweeping restructuring on Jack Ma’s Ant Group, the fintech conglomerate whose record $37 billion IPO was derailed by regulators in November, underscoring Beijing’s determination to rein in its internet giants.
China is using our legal systems against us
Facing growing scrutiny over its sharp power operations, the crackdown in Hong Kong and the ongoing cultural genocide in Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has launched an all-out propaganda campaign to rewrite the facts and discredit its critics. Recently, the CCP has also begun resorting to lawfare — the use or threat of legal action — to intimidate, silence and impose financial and psychological costs on researchers and journalists who are uncovering facts that Beijing doesn’t want us to know about. Two high-profile cases have gained attention over the past year: Huawei’s defamation lawsuit against Valérie Niquet, a researcher at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research; and a domestic civil lawsuit by Chinese businesses against German researcher Adrian Zenz, over his work on Xinjiang’s Uyghurs.
China opens 5G signal station at world's highest radar location near Tibet border
China has opened a 5G signal base at the Ganbala radar station in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet which is the world's highest manually operated radar station at an elevation of 5,374 meters, the Chinese military's official website reported on Monday.
Biden administration plans to name former senior NSA officials to White House cyber position and head of CISA
The Washington Post
The Biden administration plans on Monday to name a former senior National Security Agency official as the first national cyber director and another former NSA official to head the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency.
Fed chair deems cyber threat top risk to financial sector
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he is on alert for cyberattacks against U.S. financial systems and companies, above and beyond any other risks to the economy… Particularly of concern to Powell are scenarios in which cyberattacks cripple financial institutions to the point that they can’t track payments or to the point that payment systems don’t function.
Biden Team Eyes Potential Threat From China’s Digital Yuan
The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, according to people familiar with the matter. Now that China’s digital-currency efforts are gathering momentum, officials at the Treasury, State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council are bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications, the people said.
U.S. Faces Uphill Climb to Rival China’s Rare-Earth Magnet Industry
The Wall Street Journal
Businesses and governments across the West are gearing up to counter China’s dominance in a key component of modern technology: the magnet. But the dozens of companies jostling for government support will struggle to establish a supply chain to rival China’s rare-earth magnet industry, which has a decadeslong head start and steadfast state support, analysts and executives say.
Surveillance For Sale: Cameras On Amazon Tied To China Military, Abuse
Dahua and Hikvision are accused of being connected to China's military and human rights abuses. Amazon profits by selling their products online.
How Asia came to dominate chipmaking and what the U.S. wants to do about it
If you talk about chipmaking, two companies usually spring to mind — Taiwan's TSMC and South Korea's Samsung Electronics. The two Asian firms combined control more than 70% of the semiconductor manufacturing market. The U.S., which was once a leader, lags behind in this space after monumental shifts in the business models in the semiconductor industry.
Barry O’Farrell: ‘Power and wealth shifting from Atlantic… Quad not an Indo-Pacific UN… nations will determine own positions’
The Indian Express
The 5G decision demonstrated to India that Australia makes decisions based on its national interest, just as India makes decisions on its national interest… I don’t think the decision itself was surprising in that sense. But I think its impact in India has helped bring us closer over the past couple of years. We know that whether it is AI (artificial intelligence), or these other technologies, they are going to change our world again, open up even more opportunities for citizens, for companies and for countries to do good, positive work. Equally though, they can be used for coercive and other purposes… We have talked about some of the cyber attacks that we’ve seen with some of the early versions of this technology. The rate at which this technology is evolving, we should be concerned about these things and all governments should be making decisions based on their national interest.
NHS Covid-19 app update blocked for breaking Apple and Google's rules
An update to England and Wales's contact tracing app has been blocked for breaking the terms of an agreement made with Apple and Google. The plan had been to ask users to upload logs of venue check-ins - carried out via poster barcode scans - if they tested positive for the virus. This could be used to warn others… But the two firms had explicitly banned such a function from the start.
Dutch supermarkets run out of cheese after ransomware attack
A ransomware attack against conditioned warehousing and transportation provider Bakker Logistiek has caused a cheese shortage in Dutch supermarkets.
Israel appears to confirm it carried out cyberattack on Iran nuclear facility
Israel appeared to confirm claims that it was behind a cyber-attack on Iran’s main nuclear facility on Sunday, which Tehran’s nuclear energy chief described as an act of terrorism that warranted a response against its perpetrators. The apparent attack took place hours after officials at the Natanz reactor restarted spinning advanced centrifuges that could speed up the production of enriched uranium, in what had been billed as a pivotal moment in the country’s nuclear programme.
Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage
The New York Times
@ronenbergman @rickgladstone @farnazfassihi
A power failure that appeared to have been caused by a deliberately planned explosion struck Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site on Sunday, in what Iranian officials called an act of sabotage that they suggested had been carried out by Israel.
Covid vaccine passports: what can we learn from Israel? – video explainer
Israel became the first country in the world to test vaccine passports when it announced the 'green pass' scheme in February. The passes allow people who have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to return to restaurants, theatres and sport events.
Stop believing your lying eyes: Deepfakes are coming, and they might reshape SA’s politics
As South Africa’s political battles continue, and ahead of the local elections, there is now evidence that we are about to enter a new phase that could undermine trust and legitimacy even further. Soon, voice recordings and videos of our political leaders will be subject to manipulation that could have a major impact in ways that are as yet impossible to fully assess.
Technology and microplanning are vital to a successful African Covid-19 vaccine roll-out
To defeat the Covid-19 pandemic at scale, health authorities need to invest in microplanning on the ground as well as a global control tower approach backed by digital resources and data management.
Worried About Disinformation? Let’s Get Strategic
The National Interest
Success in the information environment requires an approach that seeks to understand and improve the interactions within the system, rather than an atomistic approach that seeks to strengthen its elements, whether technological or human.
A Different Kind of Army: The Militarization of China’s Internet Trolls
This article illuminates the shifting size and mission set of the forces behind China’s struggle to control online public opinion. It finds that, in addition to 2 million paid internet commentators, the CCP today draws on a network of more than 20 million part-time volunteers to engage in internet trolling, many of whom are university students and members of the Communist Youth League (CYL; 共产主义青年团, gongchan zhuyi qingnian tuan). It concludes that although internet commentators are primarily concerned with shaping China’s domestic information environment, they are growing in number, and the scope of the Party’s public opinion war (舆论战; yulun zhan) is broadening to include foreigners.
Jamestown China Brief @ChinaBriefJTExploring Chinese Military Thinking on Social Media Manipulation Against Taiwan, by @NathanMBM and @jessicadrun - https://t.co/vjvw0XxrTL
Locked Shields 2021 largest cyber defense exercise worldwide
This year's high-level cyber security Exercise Locked Shields is the largest of its kind, organizers, the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE), have announced.