China's coronavirus Twitter propaganda machine / Zoom sending data to Facebook / Phineas Fisher paid $10k to hacker of Chilean military emails

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  • ProPublica analyzed thousands of fake and hijacked Twitter accounts to understand how covert Chinese propaganda spreads around the globe. ProPublica

  • Zoom iOS app sends data to Facebook even if you don’t have a Facebook account. Their privacy policy isn't explicit about the data transfer to Facebook at all. Motherboard

  • The notorious hacktivist Phineas Fisher said they paid a bounty of $10,000 to another hacker who obtained and leaked Chilean military emails. Motherboard


WPS and the cyber coronavirus
Policy, Guns and Money Podcast
Renee DiResta, who’s the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, talks with Elise Thomas of ASPI’s cyber centre about the misinformation and malign narratives appearing on social networks as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds. And finally, we hear from our cyber centre’s Tom Uren and Jocelinn Kang, who discuss how criminals are exploiting the pandemic to carry out cyberattacks on hospitals.

How China Built a Twitter Propaganda Machine Then Let It Loose on Coronavirus
@jeffykao @MiaInChina
Since August 2019, ProPublica has tracked more than 10,000 suspected fake Twitter accounts involved in a coordinated influence campaign with ties to the Chinese government.. Those accounts’ content and behavior closely mirrored the tactics of the Chinese government influence campaigns publicly unmasked by Twitter in August and September 2019. Elise Thomas, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, co-authored a report that discovered content and tactics that we found in the activities of the more recent influence network. In both instances, posts criticized the Hong Kong protests and government opponents such as Guo Wengui and were primarily made during working hours in Beijing. In addition, accounts with established histories suddenly began posting propaganda and disinformation in a different language. Thomas’ analysis found covert Twitter campaigns by the Chinese government going back at least two years: “These actors appear to have been active for much longer than we previously realized,” she said.

Covid-19 is a long-term crisis that will need long-term solutions
The Strategist
The coronavirus pandemic is a fast-moving crisis, but there are many opportunities for long-term investments that will pay off over its duration. The Australian government should immediately create a body to identify, lead, fund and drive solutions to critical capacity and capability shortfalls.

Canadian Writer Fuels China-U.S. Tiff Over Coronavirus’s Origins
The Wall Street Journal
“Beijing is seeking to sow doubt about the origins of the coronavirus as a way of distracting rising public anger over the outbreak,” said Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The World

Cybersecurity experts come together to fight coronavirus-related hacking
An international group of nearly 400 volunteers with expertise in cybersecurity formed on Wednesday to fight hacking related to the novel coronavirus.

Countries are using apps and data networks to keep tabs on the pandemic
The Economist
And also, in the process, their citizens.

Surging Traffic Is Slowing Down Our Internet
The New York Times
Cecilia Kang, Davey Alba and Adam Satariano
With people going online more in the pandemic, internet traffic has exploded. That’s taking a toll on our download speeds and video quality.

As world struggles to stop deaths, far right celebrates COVID-19
Al Jazeera
And it was on Telegram, the online messaging application that has been the target of much criticism for allowing openly violent content on its platform, where the most ardent far-right fans of COVID-19 can be found.


How anti-China sentiment is spreading on social media
The anti-Chinese discourse, whether veiled or apparent, has been online from the very beginning of the outbreak, but there’s been a clear increase starting in the second week of March, despite a direct plea on March 2 from the World Health Organization.

Hong Kong politician arrested under colonial-era offence of sedition
Alvin Lum, Christy Leung and Karen Zhang
An opposition politician was arrested under the colonial-era offence of sedition early on Thursday morning, over an online post which criticised a police officer who shot a journalist, and called for “an eye for an eye”.


U.S. prepares crackdown on Huawei's global chip supply - sources
Senior officials in the Trump administration agreed to new measures to restrict the global supply of chips to China's Huawei Technologies, sources familiar with the matter said, as the White House ramps up criticism of China over coronavirus.

Did the Cyberspace Solarium Commission Live Up to its Name? - War on the Rocks
War on the Rocks
Last week, as a real virus upstaged computer viruses, the congressionally mandated Cyberspace Solarium Commission released a sweeping plan to organize and guide U.S. cybersecurity policy.

Facebook Removes Network of White Supremacist Accounts
Facebook Inc. has removed dozens of user accounts plus other Pages and Groups on its social network associated with the Northwest Front, a group pushing for a white nation-state in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The company doesn’t allow groups that “proclaim hateful and violent missions,” according to a statement on Wednesday from Brian Fishman, Facebook’s policy director for counter-terrorism and dangerous organizations.

White House Releases National Strategy for 5G Security
The strategy focuses on four lines of effort and will guide how the government approaches 5G for the near future.

Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don’t Have a Facebook Account
Zoom's privacy policy isn't explicit about the data transfer to Facebook at all.



Italy’s Far-Right And Nationalist Leaders Are Pushing Debunked Conspiracy Theories About The Coronavirus To Millions Of Followers
BuzzFeed News
@AlbertoNardelli @josephmdurso
Struggling for attention, Italy’s former deputy prime minister and others are sharing false claims the virus was engineered in a Chinese lab.

Beijing twisted my words on coronavirus’s Italian origin, says scientist Giuseppe Remuzzi
The Times
A well-known Italian scientist has said Beijing’s attempts to twist his words to suggest the coronavirus originated in Italy is a textbook example of “propaganda”.

Huawei joins China’s Big Tech donation spree in Europe
The company, locked in a controversy over 5G security, says face mask donations are ‘not about getting a PR boost.’


The Logic Behind Russian Military Cyber Operations
Booz Allen
Our cyber threat intelligence analysts combed through 15 years (2004 to 2019) of public sources that have documented the activities of one prolific threat actor, Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. The statements of at least a dozen governments link the GRU to more than 200 espionage, disruption, and disinformation incidents and campaigns. Our analysis revealed novel links between these activities and Russia’s stated military doctrine.


Phineas Fisher Says They Paid $10,000 Bounty to Person Who Hacked Chilean Military
The notorious hacktivist Phineas Fisher said they paid a bounty of $10,000 to another hacker who obtained and leaked Chilean military emails. Phineas Fisher told Motherboard that this was the first payment part of the controversial bounty they announced last year called the “Hacktivist Bug Hunting Program.” The money went to the person responsible for stealing around 3,500 emails from several email accounts belonging to Chilean military personnel, a hack dubbed “Milico Leaks” by the leaking platform Distributed Denial of Secrets.

Middle East

Location Surveillance to Counter COVID-19: Efficacy Is What Matters
Susan Landau
As the novel coronavirus spreads, governments have turned to surveillance to counter the pandemic. Most recently, Israel implemented emergency regulations using cellphone location histories to warn people about coronavirus exposure and require that they self-quarantine. It's notable that recipients of the warnings aren’t receiving them because of voluntary sign-ups. Shin Bet, the Israeli internal intelligence service, obtains location information from the telephone companies and then sends out the quarantine notices to exposed individuals.


Kenya cyber attacks up by half to 37m in one quarter
Business Daily
Kenyan organisations were hit by about 37.1 million cyber threats in the last three months of last year.


Apple: 5G-shock
The Financial Times
Hyped up for years, 5G wireless technology was supposed to give sluggish smartphone sales a shot in the arm this year. The global pandemic has put paid to that. Unless lockdowns end and supply chains fire back up soon, new launches will have to go on hold until 2021.

Coronavirus Ad Blocking Is Starving Some News Sites Of Revenue
BuzzFeed News
New data reveals how a major company's COVID-19 ad keyword blocking starves the news media during a global pandemic.

A.I. Versus the Coronavirus
The New York Times
A new consortium of top scientists will be able to use some of the world’s most advanced supercomputers to look for solutions.

Tagging Manipulated Media in a Polarized World
International Policy Digest
When the microblogging platform Twitter applied its “manipulated media” tag for the first time on 8 March 2020, it was on an edited video of a speech by former Vice President Joe Biden. The tag informs netizens when a photo or video has been “significantly altered or fabricated,” a more focused approach at targeting disputed visual-based content. While certainly a step forward, tackling the challenges of disinformation on social media remains an uphill battle.


Research Fellow- Cyber Policy
Chatham House
The International Security Programme (ISP) at Chatham House has a long-established reputation for high quality and policy-relevant insights and analysis on a range of security and defence issues. The Programme is seen as a world leader on cyber and Internet policy, nuclear security, safety and disarmament issues amongst other areas.

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