China used stolen data to expose CIA operatives | Universities warn foreign interference measures must be 'carefully calibrated' | Far-right chat groups discovered in German police department
U.S. officials believed Chinese intelligence operatives had likely combed through and synthesized information from these massive, stolen caches to identify the undercover U.S. intelligence officials. It was very likely a “suave and professional utilization” of these datasets, said the same former intelligence official. This “was not random or generic,” this source said. “It’s a big-data problem.” The battle over data—who controls it, who secures it, who can steal it, and how it can be used for economic and security objectives—is defining the global conflict between Washington and Beijing. Foreign Policy
Australia's elite research universities have warned that partnerships with Chinese institutions, including those which have led to world-leading research developments, could be jeopardised if the Morrison government fails to carefully calibrate foreign interference measures. The Sydney Morning Herald
Far-right extremism is resurgent in Germany, in ways that are new and very old, horrifying a country that prides itself on dealing honestly with its murderous past. This month, a two-year parliamentary inquiry concluded that far-right networks had extensively penetrated German security services, including its elite special forces. The New York Times
Australia must do more to prepare for a SolarWinds-style supply-chain attack
The Australian government’s 2020 cyber security strategy is overwhelmingly focused on increasing the cybersecurity efforts of the defence organisation and law enforcement agencies. The mounting crisis in the United States from the hacking of software company SolarWinds indicates that this is not enough.
Universities warn foreign interference measures must be 'carefully calibrated'
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Drew Pavlou affair at the University of Queensland, the Elaine Pearson incident at UNSW, inadequate agreements with Confucius Institutes at many universities, questionable deals with foreign state-owned enterprises and revelations researchers were participating in the Thousand Talents programs without full knowledge of their employers all indicate a serious, sector wide problem warranting further investigation," Senator Paterson said. The Group of Eight submission argued that it has "always undertaken significant and appropriate due diligence" and pointed to the fact that it was a foundation member of the Universities' Foreign Interference Taskforce, which brings together universities, security agencies and government departments.
NBN caught in the middle of a geopolitical storm
Australian Financial Review
NBN Co's fragile supply chain reflects rising geopolitical and trade tensions between the US and China. It could also point to a tectonic shift in global tech leadership.
Message Control: How a New For-Profit Industry Helps China’s Leaders ‘Manage Public Opinion’
Across the country, officials are arming themselves for this battle with a new arsenal of technology and squadrons of human recruits. To better understand the tools and techniques Chinese officials use to stem the tide of public opinion at home and abroad, ChinaFile analyzed some 3,100 procurement notices and corresponding documents, issued by both central and local governments across China and dated between January 2007 and late August 2020. In these notices, authorities express their desire to more easily track, manipulate, or erase online speech through purchases of “public opinion monitoring” software and services.
China Used Stolen Data to Expose CIA Operatives in Africa and Europe
CIA officials believed the answer was likely data-driven—and related to a Chinese cyberespionage campaign devoted to stealing vast troves of sensitive personal private information, like travel and health data, as well as U.S. government personnel records. U.S. officials believed Chinese intelligence operatives had likely combed through and synthesized information from these massive, stolen caches to identify the undercover U.S. intelligence officials. It was very likely a “suave and professional utilization” of these datasets, said the same former intelligence official. This “was not random or generic,” this source said. “It’s a big-data problem.” The battle over data—who controls it, who secures it, who can steal it, and how it can be used for economic and security objectives—is defining the global conflict between Washington and Beijing.
Read Danielle Cave’s Australian Foreign Affairs essay Data driven: How Covid-19 and cyberspace are changing spycraft here.
COVID-19 vaccine distribution algorithms may cement health care inequalities
Earlier this month, following the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration’s emergency approval, the federal government began distributing doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to health systems throughout the country. With Moderna’s vaccine to follow, the Trump administration aims to deliver the first shots to 20 million people by year’s end.
She Called Police Over a Neo-Nazi Threat. But the Neo-Nazis Were Inside the Police
The New York Times
The officer who had been logged into the work station that had been used to access Ms. Basay-Yildiz’s home address, and the names and birthdays of her daughter, husband, mother and father, turned out to be part of a WhatsApp group containing half a dozen police officers who shared racist, neo-Nazi content.
Dozens of Al Jazeera journalists allegedly hacked using Israeli firm's spyware
Spyware sold by an Israeli private intelligence firm was allegedly used to hack the phones of dozens of Al Jazeera journalists in an unprecedented cyber-attack that is likely to have been ordered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to leading researchers.
ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an exceptional and experienced China-focused senior analyst or analyst to join its centre in 2021. This role will focus on original research and analysis centred around the (growing) range of topics which our ICPC China team work on. Our China team produces some of the most impactful and well-read policy-relevant research in the world, with our experts often being called upon by politicians, governments, corporates and civil society actors to provide briefings and advice.
ICPC Analyst - Information operations & disinformation
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and proactive analyst to join its centre. The successful candidate will work with a small, high-performing team to produce original research and analysis centred around policy responses to information operations and disinformation by state and non-state actors. They will also work with senior staff in the centre to engage globally with governments, social media and Internet companies.
ICPC - Strategic engagement & program 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.
For more information and to apply for these roles go to the ASPI Jobs Page.