FBI director Wray warns of China election interference | EU imposes the first ever sanctions against cyber-attacks | Four HK students arrested for 'inciting secession'
FBI Director Christopher Wray and other intelligence community officials warned about China’s increased capability to interfere in U.S. elections in separate classified hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, two sources familiar with the hearings tell Axios. Axios
The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures against six individuals and three entities responsible for or involved in various cyber-attacks. Sanctions are one of the options available in the EU’s cyber diplomacy toolbox to prevent, deter and respond to malicious cyber activities directed against the EU or its member states, and today is the first time the EU has used this tool. European Council
Four students have been arrested in Hong Kong in the first police operation to enforce China's new national security law for the territory. The four were detained for "inciting secession" on social media after the new law began on 1 July, police said. A pro-independence group said those arrested included its former leader, Tony Chung. BBC
Report Sheds Light on China’s Use of Military-Linked Researchers
The Wall Street Journal
China’s use of researchers with undisclosed ties to the military went little noticed until groundbreaking 2018 research from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-backed think tank. It found the PLA had sponsored more than 2,500 military scientists and engineers to study abroad over the past decade, at times without their host schools’ knowledge. Since then the U.S. has taken quickening actions to deal with the issue.
Read ASPI ICPC’s 2018 report Picking flowers, making honey: The Chinese military’s collaboration with foreign universities
China’s cyber espionage surge in Australia: opportunism not punishment
Cyber operations have large opportunity costs and their typically covert nature means that they’re not well suited for punishment or deterrence.
Ottawa faces call to probe forced-labour camps operating in China’s Xinjiang province
The Globe and Mail
Concerns about coerced labour go beyond cotton and clothing. In March, a report issued by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank, estimated that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were also transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps. It said they are working in factories in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors.
Read ASPI ICPC’s groundbreaking report Uyghurs for sale
The Disinfomercial: How Larry King Got Duped Into Starring in Chinese Propaganda
The broadcasting icon’s fake interview with a Russian journalist went viral on social media, spread by accounts tied to China’s government.
Australia urged to invest in quantum computing ahead of future pandemics
The Sydney Morning Herald
The founder of Sydney startup Q-CTRL says quantum computing could deliver new tools for drug development during future pandemic scenarios and Australia should invest now to reap the benefits.
China Criticizes Trump for ‘Double Standards’ Over TikTok
China’s government blasted the U.S. for flouting the rules of global trade and business by threatening to ban TikTok, in Beijing’s strongest defense yet of ByteDance Ltd.’s viral video app.
Hong Kong security law: Four students arrested for 'inciting secession'
Four students have been arrested in Hong Kong in the first police operation to enforce China's new national security law for the territory. The four were detained for "inciting secession" on social media after the new law began on 1 July, police said. A pro-independence group said those arrested included its former leader, Tony Chung.
Donald Trump suggests delay to 2020 US presidential election
Donald Trump has suggested November's presidential election be postponed, saying increased postal voting could lead to fraud and inaccurate results. He floated a delay until people could "properly, securely and safely" vote. There is little evidence to support Mr Trump's claims but he has long railed against mail-in voting which he has said would be susceptible to fraud.
FBI director Wray warns of China election interference
FBI Director Christopher Wray and other intelligence community officials warned about China’s increased capability to interfere in U.S. elections in separate classified hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, two sources familiar with the hearings tell Axios. A spokesman for Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told Axios that Rubio is "increasingly concerned about how China is expanding its influence and interference efforts in America. They have a proven capability to carry out cyber attacks and spread disinformation and the clear intent to influence our government policies and pressure policy makers, including members of Congress."
Local U.S. election officials try to ward off 'virus' of disinformation in November
As the clock ticks toward the U.S. presidential election in November, state election officials are devoting more time - and money - to educating voters about the dangers of disinformation while reassuring them that the system is fundamentally sound. On a recent Zoom call, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state's top election official, ran through slides showing altered Facebook photographs, misleading tweets from the last presidential election and photographs of Russian hackers.
Chinese-backed hackers targeted COVID-19 vaccine firm Moderna
Chinese government-linked hackers targeted biotech company Moderna Inc, a leading U.S.-based coronavirus vaccine research developer, earlier this year in a bid to steal valuable data, according to a U.S. security official tracking Chinese hacking activity.
US provides new expanded set of espionage charges against former Twitter employees
Fresh off dismissing spying charges against two former Twitter employees and another individual on Tuesday, the US government has unfurled a new superseding indictment that accuses the three individuals of even more offences. The two former Twitter employees, Ahmad Abouammo and Ali Alzabarah, and the third person named Ahmed Almutairi were originally charged with fraudulently accessing private information and acting as illegal agents of a foreign government for allegedly spying on Twitter users critical of the Saudi royal family.
US Army cyber chief outlines ten-year plan for information warfare
The U.S. Army’s top cyber general has described three phases that will prepare the service for information warfare over the next decade. Appearing in a special edition of the Cyber Defense Review, a journal produced by the Army Cyber Institute at West Point, Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of Army Cyber Command, provided a road map for where his organization is headed.
US defense and aerospace sectors targeted in new wave of North Korean attacks
While the world was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korean hackers were targeting the US defense and aerospace sectors with fake job offers in the hopes of infecting employees looking for better opportunities and gaining a foothold on their organizations' networks.
Don't Be Fooled by Big Tech's Anti-China Sideshow
During Wednesday's antitrust hearing, tech CEOs leaned into the same pernicious argument to distract from the fact that US tech companies do bad things too.
AI Is All the Rage. So Why Aren’t More Businesses Using It?
With so much hype around artificial intelligence, you might imagine that it’s everywhere. In fact, a new report says fewer than 10 percent of US companies are using the technology. The findings emerge from one of the broadest efforts to date to gauge the use of AI. The US Census Bureau surveyed 583,000 US businesses in late 2018 about their use of AI and other advanced technologies. The results were revealed in a research paper presented at a virtual conference held by the National Bureau of Economic Research on July 16.
Desperate TikTok allays Indian govt's misgivings - but will it be enough?
TikTok may be banned in India right now. But the under-fire Chinese app has not given up on India, as it seems pretty confident of making a comeback in the country. TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi has asserted that his company had not shared information of Indian users with any foreign government, nor has it used such data to compromise the integrity of the country.
China fires warning shot to UK over ‘cold war’ with Beijing
The Financial Times
China has warned the UK not to allow “cold war warriors” to “kidnap” cordial relations between Beijing and Britain, firing a new salvo in the ongoing diplomatic row between the two countries. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador in London, said disagreements over Beijing’s imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong, as well as the UK’s ban on using Huawei in its 5G mobile networks, had “seriously poisoned the atmosphere” in Sino-British relations.
EU imposes the first ever sanctions against cyber-attacks
The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures against six individuals and three entities responsible for or involved in various cyber-attacks. These include the attempted cyber-attack against the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and those publicly known as 'WannaCry', 'NotPetya', and 'Operation Cloud Hopper'. The sanctions imposed include a travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
Catalan separatists sue Spain's ex-spy chief over phone hacking
Two Catalan separatist politicians have filed a lawsuit against the former head of Spain's intelligence agency and an Israeli technology company for allegedly trying to hack their mobile phones. Roger Torrent, the speaker of Catalonia's regional parliament, and Ernest Maragall, a member of Barcelona's town council, filed the suit on Thursday at a Barcelona court against former spy chief Felix Sanz Roldan and the Israeli company NSO Group.
TikTok launches £54m fund for European users
It's the first time the app's made money available to EU users. It wants to hold onto existing talent and attract new ones.
Telegram is the latest company to file an EU antitrust complaint against Apple
If big tech thought that its antitrust reckoning would end with yesterday’s hearings, it’ll have its optimism sorely dented by what’s likely to follow. A number of smaller players are lobbing grenades over the fence in the hope of forcing regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to intervene. Today, secure messaging app Telegram is joining in, filing a formal antitrust complaint to the European Union’s competition authority.
EU will reportedly open full investigation into Google’s Fitbit acquisition
Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit will reportedly face greater scrutiny from EU regulators. Reuters reports that the deal will face a full-scale antitrust investigation, which the European Commission will reportedly open next week. Regulators and consumer advocacy groups have shared fears about Google’s planned acquisition of Fitbit, related to the search giant gaining access to sensitive data like fitness activities, heart rates, sleep patterns, and more.
Russia may be withholding missile deliveries to China
Moscow has also reportedly bridled at Beijing’s covert copying and drive to ratchet up indigenous research and development of key defense parts and technologies to ease its reliance on Russian products. Chinese orders have long been a lifeline for ailing Russian defense suppliers.
Read ASPI ICPC’s report A new Sino-Russian high-tech partnership
Meet DPO Group: The Pan-African Fintech Company Powering Digital Commerce, Acquired For $288 Million In Watershed Deal For African Tech
Powering this digital commerce across Africa is DPO Group, a home-grown Kenyan technology champion headquartered in Nairobi, that has spent the last 14 years quietly building and scaling electronic payment solutions now used by 50,000 merchants across Africa and growing revenues at a rapid pace of 40% per year between 2017 and 2019. This week, in a strong boost to the African tech scene, DPO Group announced that it would be acquired by the multi-billion dollar London Stock Exchange listed payments company, Network International, for $288 million.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Australian Foreign Affairs is delighted to invite you to a panel discussion on the new issue of Australian Foreign Affairs: Spy vs Spy: The New Age of Espionage. This issue of Australian Foreign Affairs explores the threat facing Australia as changes in technology enable malign actors to target individuals, officials, businesses and infrastructure – challenges that have only sharpened due to Covid-19. Speakers: Professor Anne-Marie Brady, Danielle Cave, Andrew Davies, Kim McGrath, Jonathan Pearlman and Penny Wong. Register now.
A chance to get smarter in cyber space of intelligence | The Australian @daniellescave