Discover more from Daily Cyber and Tech Digest
China using cloud-based tech to provide police service in Aus | Microsoft says Russia-linked hackers behind Teams phishing attacks | US DoD releases plan for implementing cyber workforce strategy
Good morning. It's Friday 4th August.
At least one of these Chinese police liaison points, established in May last year, is still operating in Australia. It works with the Hai'an police force in the eastern city of Nantong, and uses a cloud-based system without a fixed business address, according to an official internal government document uncovered by the ABC. The cloud system, which combines Chinese technology-giant Tencent’s cloud meeting platform and app WeChat, provides a channel for Chinese nationals in Australia to connect with local police officers in China. ABC News
A Russian government-linked hacking group took aim at dozens of global organizations with a campaign to steal login credentials by engaging users in Microsoft Teams chats pretending to be from technical support, Microsoft researchers said on Wednesday. These ‘highly targeted’ social engineering attacks have affected ‘fewer than 40 unique global organizations’ since late May, Microsoft researchers said in a blog, adding that the company was investigating. Reuters
‘[The DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy Implementation Plan] is a comprehensive and proactive approach that will further assist the department in advancing talent management initiatives aimed at cultivating an agile, flexible and responsive cyber workforce,’ Gorak said. ‘The implementation plan sets the foundation for how the department will successively execute the 22 objectives and 38 initiatives tied to the four goals in the Cyber Workforce Strategy.’ US Department of Defense
China's overseas police 'contact point' joins the cloud and remains operational in Australia
At least one of these Chinese police liaison points, established in May last year, is still operating in Australia. It works with the Hai'an police force in the eastern city of Nantong, and uses a cloud-based system without a fixed business address, according to an official internal government document uncovered by the ABC. The cloud system, which combines Chinese technology-giant Tencent’s cloud meeting platform and app WeChat, provides a channel for Chinese nationals in Australia to connect with local police officers in China.
Humans must have final say over decisions made by artificial intelligence
Humans must remain central to decisions made by artificial intelligence, and businesses need to be aware of the risks posed by AI, including harm to customers and cyber security threats, according to cyber expert Rachael Falk. Ms Falk said the world was 'on the precipice' of an AI-led revolution, yet many Australians had little understanding of how AI worked and where and when it was used.
Australian dual-use tech must serve global market
Local companies have called on the federal government to aggressively support local dual-use technology exports to reach an internationally competitive scale, as a pathway to developing Defence capability. The views were expressed across several discussion panels hosted during InnovationAus.com’s ‘Capability Papers Showcase’ event on Thursday.
AI spawning ‘fake science’, tertiary watchdog warns
Artificial intelligence can rig research results to spawn fake science, Australia’s universities regulator has warned, as research funding bodies ban the use of AI to assess grant applications. The federal government’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has called on universities to beat chatbot cheats by 'transforming' student assessment.
Linda Reynolds sues Brittany Higgins for defamation over Instagram post
According to the writ lodged on Monday, Reynolds is suing Higgins for aggravated damages over an Instagram story on July 4 and a Twitter post on July 20, both of which she claimed were defamatory of her. The former defence minister is also claiming the posts constituted a breach of a deed of settlement and release the pair signed back in March 2021, which contained a non-disparagement clause.
China proposes further limits on children’s use of tech
Ryan McMorrow, Nian Liu and Qianer Liu
Beijing has unveiled a new system to limit minors’ device usage and control the content young people can consume online, in a move that poses a fresh challenge to tech groups already tightly policed by the state. The proposed rules require device makers, operating systems, apps and app stores to build out a new function called 'minor mode' that will set time limits and curfews on usage, as well as create an age-based classification system for content.
China looks to limit children to two hours a day on their phones
The Cyberspace Administration of China said it wanted providers of smart devices to introduce so-called minor mode programmes that would bar users under 18 from accessing the internet on mobile devices from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Tech shares fall as China mulls child smartphone limits
Shares of firms like Alibaba and video-sharing site Bilibili fell on Wednesday and saw more losses early on Thursday. Technology giants will likely be made responsible for enforcing the rules, much like how it worked with gaming restrictions, Ray Wang, the founder and chief executive of Silicon Valley-based consultancy Constellation Research, told the BBC.
China's Tencent says it is expanding testing of 'Hunyuan' AI model
China's Tencent Holdings said on Thursday that it has started internal testing of its self-developed artificial intelligence model, which is now being integrated with a number of internal services and products. In a statement sent to Reuters on Thursday, Tencent said its foundation AI model named ‘Hunyuan’ has been integrated with a range of products such as Tencent Cloud, Tencent Meeting and Tencent Docs.
Baidu’s Ernie Bot to be used in Great Wall Motor’s vehicles
South China Morning Post
Great Wall Motor, China’s largest sport-utility vehicle assembler, looks set to become the first carmaker to use Baidu’s ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence technology, which enables conversation between driver and car. The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it has partnered with Baidu, a search and AI giant, to develop vehicles fitted with the chatbot tool known as Ernie Bot, reinforcing a push to make cars more intelligent and user-friendly.
Chinese media boast imminent chip-making tech breakthrough, as US threatens more equipment export restrictions
South China Morning Post
Chinese media have played up the possibility that the country could deliver its first home-grown 28-nanometre lithography machine by the end of this year, in what would be a breakthrough in Beijing’s drive towards technological self-sufficiency amid intensifying US-led chip equipment export restrictions.
China’s natural science fund supports new ‘chiplet’ tech research to advance semiconductor self-sufficiency amid threat of fresh US sanctions
South China Morning Post
The National Natural Science Foundation of China, a major domestic funding source for basic research and frontier exploration, has launched a new programme to finance dozens of projects focused on ‘chiplet’ technology, which is seen as a shortcut for the country to achieve semiconductor self-sufficiency amid US sanctions.
DoD releases plan for implementing cyber workforce strategy
US Department of Defense
Today, the department released a plan for how it will go about implementing that strategy — the ‘DOD Cyber Workforce Strategy Implementation Plan.’ ‘[This] is a comprehensive and proactive approach that will further assist the department in advancing talent management initiatives aimed at cultivating an agile, flexible and responsive cyber workforce,’ Gorak said. ‘The implementation plan sets the foundation for how the department will successively execute the 22 objectives and 38 initiatives tied to the four goals in the Cyber Workforce Strategy.’
Under new plan, DoD aims to cut its cyber workforce vacancy rate in half by 2025
Federal News Network
DoD’s cyber workforce has a vacancy rate of about 25% and Gorak said the department expects to use the new plan to reduce the vacancy rate by half over the next two years. The plan lists seven objectives to increase hiring, including recruiting previously untapped or under-represented sources of talent, creating a plan to pair talent with development programs and training pipelines and improving and expanding new employee development programs.
White House adviser on microchips steps down
Chatterji’s departure this Friday comes as the Biden administration’s semiconductor strategy has evolved from a frenzied search for a short-term fix to the global chips shortage to placing long-term bets on US-based manufacturing facilities in an effort to depend less on suppliers in Taiwan, which has become a political liability amid rising tensions with China.
How Silicon Valley is helping the Pentagon in the AI arms race
The Irish Times
US military opening up to defence and weapons start-ups as evolving technology begins to transform modern warfare. It is a blueprint that could prove crucial for the US as it races to evolve its defence strategy from a reliance on heavy hardware such as tanks, ships and aircraft to more nimble investments in disruptive systems. These include new tech such as artificial intelligence that has the power to transform modern warfare.
Tenable CEO accuses Microsoft of negligence in addressing security flaw
Elias Groll and AJ Vicens
Cybersecurity veteran Amit Yoran says Microsoft has a culture of toxic obfuscation when it comes to addressing security threats. His harsh public critique of Microsoft — a relatively rare event for a high-profile corporate figure in cybersecurity — follows criticism from lawmakers and researchers alike after a recent cyberattack affecting US government officials resulted from a Microsoft security lapse.
Beijing's control of media in Canada enabled election interference
China’s election interference and political influence in Canada has been enabled by Beijing’s covert ‘takeover’ of Chinese-language media, plus sophisticated, massively-funded schemes targeting mainstream outlets and seeking to control ‘key media entities’ according to intelligence documents. These clandestine operations have involved threats against journalists, the documents say, but also inducements, such as benefits offered by Vancouver’s Chinese Consulate to cultivate ‘key editors, producers and high-ranking managers.’
Japan eyes tech solutions to combat AI-generated misinformation
The Japan News
The government’s proposals for generative artificial intelligence regulations will call for technological initiatives to help combat misinformation, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. The government will present the proposals Friday at a meeting of the AI Strategic Council, which is chaired by University of Tokyo Prof. Yutaka Matsuo.
South & Central Asia
Pro-Islamist cyber group ‘Mysterious Team Bangladesh’ launches cyber-attacks in India
A pro-Islamist hacktivist organization, going by the name ‘Mysterious Team Bangladesh,’ has been responsible for a series of cyberattacks in India since June 2022. The group is believed to have ties to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Hefazat-e-Islam, and other Islamist-jihadist outfits in Bangladesh, allegedly funding and supporting their activities.
Ukraine - Russia
Microsoft says Russia-linked hackers behind dozens of Teams phishing attacks
A Russian government-linked hacking group took aim at dozens of global organizations with a campaign to steal login credentials by engaging users in Microsoft Teams chats pretending to be from technical support, Microsoft researchers said on Wednesday. These 'highly targeted' social engineering attacks have affected 'fewer than 40 unique global organizations' since late May, Microsoft researchers said in a blog, adding that the company was investigating.
France’s AFP sues Elon Musk’s X over payments for news
French news agency Agence France-Presse has filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s X, accusing the social media platform of refusing to engage in discussions about payments for the distribution of news. AFP said on Wednesday it had filed the lawsuit in Paris to compel the platform formerly known as Twitter to hand over information that would allow it to calculate fair compensation for the sharing of its content.
Iris scanning technology better than a finger print
German company Worldcoin develops iris scanning technology. Ricardo Macieira, Worldcoin regional manager Europe says 'the iris has enough entropy to distinguish every single human from each other.'
UK chip sector cannot ‘recreate Taiwan in south Wales’
Paul Scully says Britain will focus on semiconductor design over subsidising chipmaking, as government unveils advisory panel to develop sector. Britain’s semiconductor industry must focus on niche manufacturing and designs rather than seek to challenge international rivals in chipmaking, according to the UK’s tech minister, who admitted that 'we are not going to recreate Taiwan in south Wales'.
AI for all? Google ups the ante with free UK training courses for firms
Google’s move is a ‘vote of confidence in the UK’, supporting the government’s aim to make the UK ‘both the intellectual home and the geographical home of AI’, says Donelan. Google’s educational courses cover the basics of AI, which it says will help individuals, businesses and organisations to gain skills in the emerging technology.
Senegal suspends TikTok amid clampdown on dissent
Senegalese authorities have blocked access to social media app TikTok, widening a clampdown on dissent days after they dissolved the main opposition party and detained its leader. ‘The TikTok application is the social network of choice for ill-intentioned people to spread hateful and subversive messages threatening the stability of the country,’ the minister of communications and the digital economy, Moussa Bocar Thiam, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Meta falls in line with EU directives on targeted advertising
Facebook parent Meta has changed its data processing rules for those living in the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland, saying it would from now on seek consent for targeted advertising. Meta said the changes would not have an immediate effect on its services in the region.
X, formerly Twitter, lets users hide once-vaunted blue check
South China Morning Post
Users on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, will now be allowed to hide their once-prized blue ticks, the company says. A coveted status symbol at Twitter before Elon Musk bought the company, the blue checks have been mocked by some as a sign that the user is willing to pay for special treatment.
What is Elon Musk’s ‘everything app’ and what can it learn from China?
Elon Musk has indicated his desire to transform X, the microblogging site formerly known as Twitter, into an ‘everything app’. In a post explaining his decision to dump the Twitter name and bird logo last week, Musk said the rebranded platform would be expanded to offer ‘comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world’.
Uber is developing a ChatGPT-like AI bot to integrate into its app, as rivals DoorDash and Instacart do the same
South China Morning Post
Jackie Davalos, Emily Chang, and Edward Ludlow
Uber Technologies Inc is developing an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot to integrate into its app, joining the long list of companies that are turning to the language tool to improve customer service, marketing and other automated tasks. DoorDash is also working on a system called DashAI to speed up ordering, while Instacart launched a bot powered by OpenAI’s tech to answer customer questions.
The Daily Cyber & Tech Digest is brought to you by the Cyber, Technology & Security team at ASPI.