Discover more from Daily Cyber and Tech Digest
Defence chief warns of a 'truth decay' era driven by AI and deepfakes | Labor’s throwing six cybersecurity shields around Australia | TikTok fined $379M in EU for failing to keep kids’ data safe
Good morning. It's Monday 18th September.
General Angus Campbell has sounded the alarm on misinformation warfare methods being rapidly deployed by regimes such as Russia and China. In an overnight speech, General Campbell has predicted artificial intelligence and deepfakes will further damage public confidence in elected officials and pose a serious risk. ABC News
By 2030, the number of devices connected to the internet may double, to 30 billion. Imagine a world where we are surrounding by digital devices, more efficiently running our households and continuously collecting data. The implications for cyber are massive, and obvious. Australian Financial Review
TikTok has finally been found in breach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation in relation to its handling of children’s data. Under the decision issued today by the Irish Data Protection Commission, TikTok has been reprimanded and fined €345 million. TechCrunch
Defence chief warns of a ‘truth decay’ era driven by AI and deepfakes
In an overnight speech, General Campbell has predicted AI and deepfakes will further damage public confidence in elected officials and pose a serious risk. ‘As these technologies quickly mature, there may soon come a time when it is impossible for the average person to distinguish fact from fiction, and although a tech counter response can be anticipated, the first impression is often the most powerful,’ he told the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
In risky hunt for secrets, US and China expand global spy operations
The New York Times
Julian E. Barnes and Edward Wong
Both countries are racing to develop their AI technology, which they believe is critical to maintaining a military and economic edge and will give their spy agencies new capabilities. Taken together, US officials say, China’s efforts reach across every facet of national security, diplomacy and advanced commercial technology in the United States and partner nations.
Labor’s throwing six cybersecurity shields around Australia
The Australian Financial Review
When I look around the world, most countries have a year when their nation wakes up to the pivotal way in which cybersecurity will affect the lives of their citizens. For Australians, this last year was it. The cyber threat will grow and change over the years to 2030, creating new dangers, but also new opportunities for us to tackle it.
The CIA’s cyber warning for Australian miners
The Australian Financial Review
The agency’s former chief information security officer, Michael Mestrovich, has some frank advice for Australia about cybersecurity, including that weird pixel on the Chinese hotel room TV. In a small booth at the back of a dimly lit restaurant in Denver, Colorado, the Central Intelligence Agency’s former chief information security officer, Michael Mestrovich, has some information to pass on that you might want to know.
China’s AI boom depends on an army of exploited student interns
Rest of World
Viola Zhou and Caiwei Chen
China’s AI industry exploits student interns from vocational schools, making them do tedious and labor-intensive data labeling work to fulfill their graduation requirements. Vocational schools have deployed student labor to annotate data for tech companies and carmakers, sometimes taking a cut from students’ earnings.
Hopes China cracking down on the scam epidemic could ease symptoms in Australia
Earlier this month China’s Ministry of Public Security announced the latest raids in an ongoing campaign targeting scam operations outside the country’s borders. Chinese police on September 3 launched a joint crackdown with local law enforcement to ‘knock down’ the cyber fraud groups across the border in northern Myanmar ‘in one fell swoop’, a ministry statement said.
The foreigners in China’s disinformation drive
Kerry Allen & Sophie Williams
Foreign video bloggers denouncing what they say is negative coverage of China on highly controversial subjects such as Xinjiang are attracting large numbers of subscribers on platforms like YouTube. In recent years, the ‘vloggers’ have been increasingly presenting themselves as China-lovers, spreading Communist Party disinformation.
Beijing instructs Chinese EV makers to use domestically produced electronic parts
The Japan News
The Chinese government is unofficially instructing its electric vehicle makers to use domestically produced electronic components, including semiconductors, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. China is believed to be aiming to establish a self-sufficient supply chain for EVs, a rapidly growing field in the global market. Japanese, US and European parts manufacturers are highly likely to be excluded from supplying Chinese EV makers in the future.
Verizon executive kicks off week two of US v Google antitrust trial
The trial began Tuesday with talk of the ‘future of the internet’ but quickly plunged into the weeds of commercial agreements with Android makers like Motorola and Samsung. On Monday, the first witness will be Brian Higgins from Verizon who says on his LinkedIn profile that he is a ‘senior vice president of device and consumer product marketing’ who focuses on Verizon’s ‘device, product, and accessory portfolio.’
America’s potential Achilles’ heel in a cyber battle with China: Guam
Chinese hackers have found a dangerous vulnerability in US military computer networks nearly 8,000 miles from the Pentagon — on the serene South Pacific island of Guam. It’s a scenario that has gotten little attention in the media amid Chinese hacks into US government agencies and threats against Taiwan, but one that is becoming increasingly worrying to those in Washington tracking Chinese preparations for conflict.
US and other foreign venture firms pull back from China’s biotech sector
The Wall Street Journal
Venture capitalists from the US and other countries have reduced investment in Chinese drugmakers, denting momentum in China’s developing biotechnology industry. Their retreat reflects a global pullback in venture investment as well as China’s faltering economy and rising geopolitical tensions, analysts said.
All thanks to ‘Big Yellow Taxi’: how State discovered Chinese hackers reading its emails
John Sakellariadis and Maggie Miller
A recent Chinese-linked hack of US government emails detected in June may have gone unnoticed for much longer were it not for an enterprising government IT analyst. A State Department cybersecurity expert spearheaded an effort to implant a custom warning mechanism into the agency’s network more than two years ago in anticipation of future hacks, the officials said, shedding new light on how they spotted the breach, top State Department officials told POLITICO.
Major trucking software provider confirms ransomware incident
The Record by Recorded Future
One of the biggest providers of software for the trucking industry acknowledged a ransomware attack on Friday after reports emerged of issues that customers had with its products. An executive of the company, New Jersey-based ORBCOMM, confirmed the attack to Recorded Future News but would not say which ransomware group was behind the incident or whether a ransom would be paid.
Japan has plenty to offer in the field of detecting threats
Sensing technology nurtured in Japan is now coming under the spotlight on a new stage — economic security. Based on the Economic Security Promotion Act, the government designates cutting-edge emerging technologies that need to be nurtured as specified critical technologies. In other words, the Japanese government has in mind to develop and deploy ‘multiuse’ technologies that can be used widely for disaster prevention, public safety, defense and the private sector, to support a safe and secure society.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu talks elections and China
Taiwan goes to the polls in January to choose a new president, with the candidate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party currently leading the race. Outgoing Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told Al Jazeera that Taipei is ‘watching carefully’ any attempts by Beijing – which claims the island as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal – to shape the outcome of the poll.
Live shopping’ is on the rise in Indonesia, but the country’s government plans to crack down on the trend
Live shopping is on the rise in Indonesia, with retailers finding they can make huge profits in a matter of hours. But the Indonesian government is unhappy about the trend and plans to crack down on live shopping, because of concerns the practice harms offline retailers.
Berlin blocks complete takeover of satellite startup by Chinese firm
The German government on Wednesday forbid the complete takeover of satellite startup KLEO Connect by a Chinese firm, two government sources told Reuters. The cabinet agreed a decision by the economy ministry not to let Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology, which already has 53% of the company, acquire the 45% minority stake of German company EightyLeo, according to the sources.
How Silicon Valley doomers are shaping Rishi Sunak’s AI plans
Back in the spring, Britain was sounding pretty relaxed about the rise of AI. Then something changed. The country’s AI white paper — unveiled in March — dealt with the ‘existential risks’ of the fledgling tech in just four words: high impact, low probability. Less than six months later, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seems newly troubled by runaway AI.
TikTok fined $379M in EU for failing to keep kids’ data safe
It’s been a long time coming but TikTok has finally been found in breach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation in relation to its handling of children’s data. Under the decision issued today by the Irish Data Protection Commission, the video sharing platform has been reprimanded and fined €345 million (~$379 million). It has also been ordered to bring its offending data processing into compliance within three months.
Bots on X worse than ever according to analysis of 1m tweets during first Republican primary debate
Bot activity on the platform formerly known as Twitter is worse than ever, according to researchers, despite X’s new owner, Elon Musk, claiming a crackdown on bots as one of his key reasons for buying the company. ‘It is clear that X is not doing enough to moderate content and has no clear strategy for dealing with political disinformation,’ associate professor Dr Timothy Graham tells Guardian Australia.
Google’s next 25 years may be more difficult than its first
Dan Van Boom
When Michael Stocks began his stint at Google Australia as product marketing manager in 2014, the local outfit was small enough that he knew most people by face, if not by name. By the time he left five years later, staff numbers had more than doubled to over 1400. Stocks’ time at Google represents just one fifth of the company’s lifespan: it celebrated its 25th birthday on 4 September... Yet there are risks that mean its next 25 years are likely to be just as challenging as its first.
Australian marketers and creative leaders embrace generative AI
Australian marketing and creative leaders are among the most bullish globally when it comes to the uptake of generative AI technology, according to a new survey from graphic design platform, Canva. Canva surveyed more than 4000 marketing and creative leaders from nine countries – which included more than 300 in Australia – about their attitudes towards the content-generating AI tools.
Recruiters warn against overuse of AI tools such as ChatGPT to write resumes, cover letters
Recruiters are urging jobseekers to use AI platforms sparingly when applying for jobs — or risk missing out on their dream role. Systems driven by AI such as ChatGPT, which launched last year, have been used by job applicants to write a range of content, including resumes, cover letters and responses to interview questions.
NASA signals turn to data-driven approach in search for UFOs
NASA is expected to call on companies, citizen scientists, pilots and air traffic managers to track UFO sightings as part of its efforts to gather more robust data on unidentified flying objects. The US space agency on Thursday unveiled the results of a nearly year-long study of unclassified UFO sightings, now more commonly known as unexplained anomalous phenomena.
Cyber, Technology & Security Centre Coordinator
ASPI Cyber, Technology & Security Centre has an outstanding early career role for a talented and proactive individual to support senior staff on program and research coordination and strategic engagement. We are looking for a highly organised, team-oriented, enthusiastic individual to join a dynamic and proactive team. The person we seek will be practical and able to use their initiative to create opportunities and solve problems. This role will suit candidates with experience in events coordination and project management, and an interest in foreign policy and/or national security.
The Daily Cyber & Tech Digest is brought to you by the Cyber, Technology & Security team at ASPI.