Israeli spyware company involved in WhatsApp hacking | The White House asks intel agencies to look for COVID coverup | 3 in 5 Americans don't want a COVID tracking app
WhatsApp has alleged in new court filings that an Israeli spyware company used US-based servers and was “deeply involved” in carrying out mobile phone hacks of 1,400 WhatsApp users, including senior government officials, journalists, and human rights activists. The Guardian
The White House has ordered intelligence agencies to comb through communications intercepts, human source reporting, satellite imagery and other data to establish whether China and the World Health Organization initially hid what they knew about the emerging coronavirus pandemic, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News. NBC News
Nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they are either unable or unwilling to use the infection-alert system under development by Google and Apple, suggesting that it will be difficult to persuade enough people to use the app to make it effective against the coronavirus pandemic. The Washington Post
Weaponised deep fakes - National security and democracy
Deep fake technology isn’t inherently harmful. The underlying technology has benign uses, from the frivolous apps that let you swap faces with celebrities to significant deep learning algorithms (the technology that underpins deep fakes) that have been used to synthesise new pharmaceutical compounds and protect wildlife from poachers. However, ready access to deep fake technology also allows cybercriminals, political activists and nation-states to quickly create cheap, realistic forgeries. This technology lowers the costs of engaging in information warfare at scale and broadens the range of actors able to engage in it. Deep fakes will pose the most risk when combined with other technologies and social trends: they’ll enhance cyberattacks, accelerate the spread of propaganda and disinformation online and exacerbate declining trust in democratic institutions.
COVID-19 Resource Hub
EU Disinfo Lab
ASPI’s COVID-19 Disinformation & Social Media Manipulation research highlighted by the EU Disinfo Lab here.
Read our latest report on COVID-19 Disinformation here.
WhatsApp: Israeli firm 'deeply involved' in hacking our users
WhatsApp has alleged in new court filings that an Israeli spyware company used US-based servers and was “deeply involved” in carrying out mobile phone hacks of 1,400 WhatsApp users, including senior government officials, journalists, and human rights activists.
A Scramble for Virus Apps That Do No Harm
The New York Times
Dozens of tracking apps for smartphones are being used or developed to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. But there are worries about privacy and hastily written software.
App is no silver bullet for virus, yet a honey pot for the malign
COVIDSafe is about more than health. It’s about how government views the individual, their privacy and their security. This is an opportunity for the government to get things right, and build the trust that’s needed for strong democracies.
Tracing the challenges of COVIDSafe
@chrisculnane @noneuclideangrl @rgmerk @VTeagueAus
The Australian COVIDSafe app's architecture seems approximately similar to the Singaporean TraceTogether architecture, but there are some important differences that users should understand when they are deciding whether to install the app. Not all of these have been well understood by the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) or the Department of Health's response to it.
Trump administration asks intelligence agencies to find out whether China, WHO hid info on coronavirus pandemic
@KenDilanianNBC @ckubeNBC @carolelee
The White House has ordered intelligence agencies to comb through communications intercepts, human source reporting, satellite imagery and other data to establish whether China and the World Health Organization initially hid what they knew about the emerging coronavirus pandemic, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Most Americans are not willing or able to use an app tracking coronavirus infections. That’s a problem for Big Tech’s plan to slow the pandemic.
The Washington Post
Nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they are either unable or unwilling to use the infection-alert system under development by Google and Apple, suggesting that it will be difficult to persuade enough people to use the app to make it effective against the coronavirus pandemic.
Cyberscammers: Pay Up or We’ll Infect Your Family With Coronavirus
The Daily Beast
The NYPD is on alert over a sick COVID-19 blackmail scheme where unsuspecting people are targeted online by scammers who threaten to infect their families with the coronavirus if they refuse to pay the fraudsters money or cryptocurrency. According to a sensitive law enforcement document, "the pandemic has created an environment ripe for fraudulent activity with threat actors leveraging fears of the virus to perpetrate a variety of malicious and criminal exploitation.”
Amazon turns to Chinese firm on U.S. blacklist to meet thermal camera needs
Amazon has bought cameras to take temperatures of workers during the coronavirus pandemic from a firm the United States blacklisted over allegations it helped China detain and monitor the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
Read more about Dahua in our Mapping China’s Technology Giants project.
ASEAN, 5G and the great tech game
East Asia Forum
For all its economic promise, 5G technology has the potential to be a nightmare in the making for ASEAN — an organisation that lists choosing sides between major powers as one of its most prominent concerns.
POLITICO Brussels Playbook
Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell is set to be quizzed by MEPs about disinformation campaigns sponsored by foreign actors — including questions on Chinese attempts to influence the public version of a report on that very subject.
CyberOwl nabs €2 million to increase global maritime cyber security
UK-based but globally-minded CyberOwl, a cyber curity startup whose platform helps to safeguard transport and infrastructure systems, has raised a further €2 million to help expand its business in the maritime sector.
The Covert Reach of NSO Group
At face value, Circles Bulgaria, a hacking/surveillance firm under the control of the infamous Israeli spyware company NSO Group, and FloLive, a cloud-based internet connectivity and cybersecurity company in London look to be two entirely different operations. However, under a dizzying web of shell companies spanning numerous countries as well as multiple common principals between the two firms, the companies appear to be intimately connected, an arrangement that has severe privacy, counterintelligence, and cybersecurity concerns.
TikTok, Gates pledge $20 million to help Africa tackle COVID-19
The social media platform TikTok and the philanthropic Gates Foundation donated $10 million each on Wednesday to the vaccine alliance GAVI to help fund efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. GAVI said the funds would be used to distribute and deploy any new vaccines against COVID-19 once they are developed, trialled and licensed.
Why Zoom Is Terrible
The New York Times
Psychologists, computer scientists and neuroscientists say the distortions and delays inherent in video communication can end up making you feel isolated, anxious and disconnected.
China’s Smart Cities Development
SOS International LLC
While the improvement of municipal infrastructure is ostensibly benign, the pace, scale, and application of China’s smart cities development poses new and substantive challenges to U.S. interests at home and abroad.
Space & Cybersecurity @SpaceandCyberThe 30th of April at 4pm CET we have our 2nd Space and Cybersecurity webinar, with @beyzaunal with “Cybersecurity of Space-based Weapons Systems” and Stefano Zatti with "Protecting Space Missions from Cyber Threats"🚀🛰️ #sgac More info & registration here https://t.co/hh9pwcGFOb
Cybersecurity in a Pandemic and a Changing World
How can businesses assess and mitigate the cybersecurity risks brought on by a pandemic—and a fundamental change in the nature of work?