Facebook establishes center to moderate violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict content | Myanmar military spies on citizens | Russia's head of foreign intelligence service denies SolarWinds involvement
Facebook set up a "special operation center" that is active 24 hours a day to moderate hate speech and violent content related to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a senior Facebook executive said Wednesday. The center gathers native speakers of Arabic and Hebrew to "stay ahead of the trends," remove content that violates the company's policies or reinstate material that was wrongfully deleted, Bickert said. "We’ll keep it going as long as necessary," she added. Politico
In the months before the Myanmar military’s Feb. 1 coup, the country’s telecom and internet service providers were ordered to install intercept spyware that would allow the army to eavesdrop on the communications of citizens, sources with direct knowledge of the plan told Reuters. Reuters
In an exclusive interview with BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service has denied that his agency was linked to a massive cyber-attack in the US last year. Sergei Naryshkin was responding to accusations from UK and US authorities that Russian intelligence carried out the SolarWinds attack, which was described as the world’s most sophisticated hack. Mr Naryshkin suggested it was Western intelligence that may have orchestrated the operation. BBC News
How China’s military–civil fusion policy ties into its push for world-class universities
A new update to ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre’s China Defence Universities Tracker, built by then ASPI analyst Alex Joske in 2019, has added 15 new universities. They include 11 of the remaining 42 double first-class universities not originally covered in the tracker, in addition to Guangdong University of Technology, the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian Maritime University and Southern University of Science and Technology. As well as the addition of new universities, we have also updated existing university entries on the tracker.
See ASPI ICPC’s updated China Defence Universities Tracker here.
Southeast Asia on the forefront of disinformation for profit and power
Some of the most egregious examples of disinformation campaigning in recent times have come not from shadowy state operatives but from mainstream political parties. Politicians and their parties in Southeast Asia have long been ahead of the curve, argued Nicole Curato, associate professor at the University of Canberra’s Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, in a panel discussion on disinformation in the region at ASPI’s grey zone and disinformation masterclass.
‘Call the Prime Minister out’: Wong says Morrison stoking fears of China conflict
The Sydney Morning Herald
Senator Wong also called on the government to better fund Chinese language broadcasting on SBS and the ABC to ensure “a greater plurality of Chinese media voices in this country”. Some Chinese language media organisations in Australia have been linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
In our 2020 report ‘The influence environment: A survey of Chinese-language media & WeChat in Australia’, as a part of our 19 recommendations, we argued the government expand funding for Chinese‐language media through greater funding for the National Foundation for Australia–China Relations & media grant schemes and that it also subsidise or facilitate the syndication of articles from selected Chinese‐language media outlets, such as ABC Chinese & SBS Mandarin. And finally that ABC Radio Australia’s Mandarin and Cantonese services be re-established, which were respectively shut down in 1997 and 2014. Read more here.
UniSA disables computers, applications after 'cyber attack'
University of South Australia (UniSA) said a “security incident” over the weekend had led it to disable desktop computer access and a number of systems, including staff email and remote access.
Final Frontier: Space control will be 'realm of cyber warfare'
The Canberra Times
Australia's catch-up in the space arms race will focus on information and cyber warfare, including helping other countries protect their orbital assets from dangers. Space Agency chair Megan Clark says nations were responding to the increasingly militarised and weaponised space capability of the United States, Russia and India, which have the capability to destroy or disarm space assets.
Indonesia responds to the cyber dark side
@greta_nabbs RM Wibawanto Nugroho Widodo
In Australia’s immediate region, recent policy developments in Indonesia also suggest a growing awareness about the vulnerability of national critical infrastructure to cyber-attack, and the need to hasten comprehensive regulatory and policy responses. Australian security agencies are well-placed to play a key role in partnership with Indonesia as it moves to strengthen its cyber security fundamentals.
Petrol prices in Australia hit by US pipeline cyber-attack and Middle East conflict
Sydney drivers are being advised to fill up their tanks now ahead of an expensive fuel cycle, as pump prices in Australia are hit by the global ripples of a cyber-attack on a major US fuel pipeline operator and conflict in the Middle East.
A Snapshot of Far-Right Activity on Gab in Australia
Institute for Strategic Dialogue
@CecileNGuerin, Mario Peucker, Thomas J. Fisher, @jacob_p_davey
As mainstream social media platforms increase their content moderation and scrutiny of far-right extremists, the role of alternative social media and online platforms in driving extremist mobilisation of the far-right has been the subject of growing concern.
China Deepens Fintech Dominance With New Digital Currency
China is still just chipping away at U.S. financial hegemony; the digital yuan will never be attractive to a wide swath of investors who don’t want the Chinese Communist Party snooping through their affairs. Nevertheless, China has the technological tools to lay a foundation for the success of its digital currency, and the U.S. should be paying attention.
Read ASPI ICPC's report The flipside of China's central bank digital currency
It just got harder to use crypto in China
Chinese authorities have long looked askance at cryptocurrency, a volatile instrument well beyond Beijing's control. On Tuesday, China pushed back yet again when three government-linked associations banned member financial institutions and payment companies from registering, trading, clearing and settling crypto transactions, according to a Reuters report.
Firm founded by son of China finance tsar invests heavily in tech
@tmitchpk @Tabby_Kinder @Dimi
An investment firm founded by the son of China’s most powerful financial official has invested heavily in technology companies, including units of leading Chinese internet groups Tencent and JD.com.
China Mobile to List in Shanghai as It Departs NYSE
The Wall Street Journal
China Mobile said it plans to sell billions of dollars’ worth of shares in Shanghai, days after learning it would definitely be ejected from U.S. markets under a Trump-era investment blacklist.
Florida water plant compromise came hours after worker visited malicious site
An employee for the city of Oldsmar, Florida, visited a malicious website targeting water utilities just hours before someone broke into the computer system for the city’s water treatment plant and tried to poison drinking water, security firm Dragos said Tuesday. Ultimately, the site likely played no role in the intrusion, but the incident remains unsettling, the security firm said.
U.S. Blocked Uniqlo Shirts on Xinjiang Forced-Labor Concerns
The U.S. customs agency blocked a shipment of Fast Retailing Co.’s Uniqlo shirts in January for violating an order prohibiting imports of items suspected to be produced by forced labor from China’s state-owned Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Facial recognition, fake identities and digital surveillance tools: Inside the post office's covert internet operations program
The post office’s law enforcement arm has faced intense congressional scrutiny in recent weeks over its Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), which tracks social media posts of Americans and shares that information with other law enforcement agencies. Yet the program is much broader in scope than previously known and includes analysts who assume fake identities online, use sophisticated intelligence tools and employ facial recognition software, according to interviews and documents reviewed by Yahoo News. Among the tools used by the analysts is Clearview AI
SolarWinds CEO reveals much earlier hack timeline, regrets company blaming intern
SolarWinds saw signs of hackers invading their networks as early as January of 2019, about eight months earlier than the previously publicly disclosed timeline for the sweeping cyber-espionage campaign, and nearly two years before anyone discovered the breach.
Japan to pour cash into domestic chipmaking, following US and China
Rieko Miki, Takashi Tsuji, Kozuke Takeuchi
Japan will support domestic production of advanced semiconductors and batteries under this year's growth blueprint, Nikkei has learned, as it seeks to buffer against chips shortages that have buffeted the nation's core industries.
How Myanmar's military moved in on the telecoms sector to spy on citizens
In the months before the Myanmar military’s Feb. 1 coup, the country’s telecom and internet service providers were ordered to install intercept spyware that would allow the army to eavesdrop on the communications of citizens, sources with direct knowledge of the plan told Reuters.
Myanmar’s Military Struggles to Control the Virtual Battlefield
International Crisis Group
In order to silence opposition to the February coup, Myanmar’s military is vigorously policing the internet as it quashes street protests. Outside powers and technology companies should endeavour to keep the online space free of interference and deny the junta tools of virtual repression.
Will Italy’s police communications run on Chinese tech?
@otto_lanza @GabrielCarrer @FrancescoBechis
The police are selecting their comms equipment provider (including 5G). But operators use Chinese technologies, such as Huawei and ZTE. A billion euros and national security are at stake.
Russia spy chief suggests West behind SolarWinds cyber-attack
In an exclusive interview with BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service has denied that his agency was linked to a massive cyber-attack in the US last year. Sergei Naryshkin was responding to accusations from UK and US authorities that Russian intelligence carried out the SolarWinds attack, which was described as the world’s most sophisticated hack. Mr Naryshkin suggested it was Western intelligence that may have orchestrated the operation.
Putin, Xi Launch Nuclear Power Projects in Show of Warming Ties
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin joined Wednesday in a videoconference to initiate a series of nuclear energy projects, an event intended to display warming ties between two nations that have paired-up as the chief geopolitical rivals to the United States.
Read ASPI ICPC’s report A new Sino-Russian high-tech partnership
Psy-ops in high places
Denis Dmitriev @Alexey__Kovalev
On May 11, Vladimir Putin made significant changes to the Sovbez’s Science Council, which provides “scientific-methodological and expert-analytical support,” assists with the development of Russia’s national security strategy and strategic planning documents, and helps define priorities, criteria, and metrics. One newcomer to the Science Council is a man named A. G. Starunsky, a deputy commander of Russia’s Military Unit 55111. Meduza has learned that intelligence agencies in Estonia and the United States suspect this person of involvement in online disinformation campaigns run by Russia’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU).
Facebook set up ‘special operation center’ for content related to Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Facebook set up a "special operation center" that is active 24 hours a day to moderate hate speech and violent content related to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a senior Facebook executive said Wednesday. The center gathers native speakers of Arabic and Hebrew to "stay ahead of the trends," remove content that violates the company's policies or reinstate material that was wrongfully deleted, Bickert said. "We’ll keep it going as long as necessary," she added.
YouTube Removes Israeli Government-Linked Ad That Justified Bombing of Gaza
YouTube removed at least one ad linked to the Israeli government that aimed to justify the country's catastrophic bombing campaign in Gaza. So far, Israeli bombing has killed at least 213 people, including 61 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The ad consisted of a video that in recent days has been shared across social media channels belonging to Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
Chinese media: US supports Israel because of wealthy Jews
The Jerusalem Post
Israel is a US military proxy that enjoys US support because of the influence of wealthy Jews, Chinese government-affiliated English-language news channel CGTN said Tuesday in a video posted online.
‘Social Media Is the Mass Protest’: Solidarity With Palestinians Grows Online
The New York Times
As Israeli airstrikes pummel Gaza, the reaction from Arab capitals has been muted and protests scattered. But the voices on social media have been loud and clear.
Israeli Mob Organized Destruction of Arab Business on WhatsApp
Israeli extremists have formed more than 100 new groups on the Facebook-owned encrypted messaging app in recent days to target attacks.
Crypto-mining gangs are running amok on free cloud computing platforms
Over the course of the last few months, some crypto-mining gangs have switched their modus operandi from attacking and hijacking unpatched servers to abusing the free tiers of cloud computing platforms.
After just 9 months, Darkside ransomware gang brings in $90 million in Bitcoin
A new report from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic has found that the Darkside ransomware group, which has been in the news for its recent attack on the Colonial Pipeline, brought in $90 million in Bitcoin from an estimated 47 victims.
The illusion of digital inclusion in the post-COVID-19 world
We are living through a decisive moment. The COVID-19 pandemic’s devasting impact is reaching every corner of the world. As we look back at this period, we will see history divided into a pre-COVID and a post-COVID-19 world. And a defining feature of the post-COVID-19 world will be the digital transformation that has permeated every aspect of our lives.
Cyber security as counter-terrorism: Seeking a better debate
War on the Rocks
@SimonPHandler @emmacs26 Trey Herr
Cyber security looks more like counter-terrorism than nuclear strategy — with frequent and repeated interactions between antagonists, a continual contest for information, and multi-party engagements amidst a sea of unaligned parties. Approaching cyber security with reference to counter-terrorism strategy would offer benefits to policymakers, particularly by highlighting the importance of ruthlessly prioritizing risk, winning the intelligence competition, privileging detection over reaction, and promoting strong private sector cooperation.
Truth, Lies, and Automation
@BuchananBen @AndrewJLohn @mrmusser Katerina Sedova
Growing popular and industry interest in high-performing natural language generation models has led to concerns that such models could be used to generate automated disinformation at scale. This report examines the capabilities of GPT-3--a cutting-edge AI system that writes text--to analyze its potential misuse for disinformation. A model like GPT-3 may be able to help disinformation actors substantially reduce the work necessary to write disinformation while expanding its reach and potentially also its effectiveness.
China’s Artificial Intelligence Industry Alliance
@ngor_luong Zachary Arnold
As part of its strategy to achieve global leadership in AI, the Chinese government brings together local governments, academic institutions, and companies to establish collaboration platforms. This data brief examines the role of China’s Artificial Intelligence Industry Alliance in advancing its AI strategy, and the key players in the Chinese AI industry.
International Cyber Policy Centre – Strategic engagement, program & research 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.