Mobile phone industry explores worldwide tracking of users | Tencent launches videoconferencing app | Chinese hackers hit Citrix, Cisco vulnerabilities

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  • The Guardian has learned that a senior official at GSMA, an international standard-setting body for the mobile phone industry, held discussions with at least one company that is capable of tracking individuals globally through their mobile devices, and discussed the possible creation of a global data-sharing system. The Guardian

  • Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings has launched a videoconferencing app for the overseas market as the coronavirus pandemic forces people globally to embrace the work-from-home model, putting the company in direct competition with international players such as Zoom. South China Morning Post

  • Earlier this year, state-backed Chinese hackers embarked on one of the most sweeping Chinese espionage campaigns FireEye has seen in years, according to new research the security firm published Wednesday. Cyberscoop

The World

Chinese hackers hit Citrix, Cisco vulnerabilities in sweeping campaign
Cyberscoop
@shanvav
Earlier this year, state-backed Chinese hackers embarked on one of the most sweeping Chinese espionage campaigns FireEye has seen in years, according to new research the security firm published Wednesday.

Mobile phone industry explores worldwide tracking of users
The Guardian
@skirchy
The Guardian has learned that a senior official at GSMA, an international standard-setting body for the mobile phone industry, held discussions with at least one company that is capable of tracking individuals globally through their mobile devices, and discussed the possible creation of a global data-sharing system.

Australia

Deal with ISPs to block terror attack websites
The Australian Financial Review
@andrewtillett
Australia's biggest internet service providers have agreed to a new regime allowing them to be ordered to block websites that host material depicting terrorist attacks or violent crimes.

China

Tencent launches videoconferencing app overseas amid coronavirus pandemic
The South China Morning Post
@YanziDeng_Iris
Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings has launched a videoconferencing app for the overseas market as the coronavirus pandemic forces people globally to embrace the work-from-home model, putting the company in direct competition with international players such as Zoom.

How Telegram became a refuge for WeChat users during the coronavirus outbreak
Abacus News
@
Shenxinmeie
Telegram features like channel broadcasts and optional chat encryption have helped some people stay up to date amid heavy censorship on Tencent’s WeChat
Telegram features like channel broadcasts and optional chat encryption have helped some people stay up to date amid heavy censorship on Tencent’s WeChat.

China Is Trying to Rewrite The Present
Foreign Policy
@limlouisa
The composition of China’s coronavirus task force highlights its priorities: Two out of nine members are from the propaganda bureau. They faced a challenging job in shifting the narrative when Beijing’s cover-up of the initial outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year allowed the virus to spread unabated. There was further dismal publicity after nine doctors who tried to raise the alarm were punished.

China adopts Russia's disinformation playbook
Axios
@BethanyAllenEbr
The Chinese Communist Party has spent the past week publicly pushing conspiracy theories intended to cast doubt on the origins of the coronavirus, and thus deflect criticism over China's early mishandling of the epidemic. Why it matters: The strategy is a clear departure from Beijing's previous disinformation tactics and signals its increasingly aggressive approach to managing its image internationally. What's happening: Verified Chinese government Twitter accounts, Chinese embassies and consulates, and some Chinese media outlets have promoted several different conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus.

Twitter Says Beijing’s Coronavirus Lies Are Just Fine
The Daily Beast
@lachlan
Coronavirus disinformation spread by senior Chinese government officials does not violate Twitter’s terms of service, a spokesperson for the company told The Daily Beast on Monday.

U.S. cybersecurity experts see recent spike in Chinese digital espionage
Reuters
A U.S. cybersecurity firm said Wednesday it has detected a surge in new cyberspying by a suspected Chinese group dating back to late January, when coronavirus was starting to spread outside China.

USA

White House Announces New Partnership to Unleash U.S. Supercomputing Resources to Fight COVID-19
Office of Science and Technology Policy
The White House announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world’s most powerful high performance computing resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus.

Faked Coronavirus Fever Detection, Athena Used Hikvision
IPVM
John Honovich,  @CharlesRollet1
US company, Athena Security, faked its coronavirus fever detection marketing, faked a customer, faked comments, and is now using Hikvision, IPVM has determined though Athena denies.

Twitter Deletes Post From The Federalist Proposing ‘Chickenpox Parties’ to Deliberately Spread Coronavirus
Mediaite
Twitter temporarily locked the account of The Federalist Wednesday after the conservative opinion site published a piece, written by a dermatologist based in Oregon, that proposed the deliberate spread of the coronavirus in order to boost immunity to the disease.

North Asia

Europe

Disinformation on the coronavirus—short assessment of the information environment
European External Action Service
With the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen the proliferation of significant quantities of news, myths, and disinformation about it – coming from various sources both within and outside of the European Union. The World Health Organisation has stated that the outbreak of and response to COVID-19 has been accompanied by a massive “infodemic”, which the WHO describes as an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – rendering it difficult to find trustworthy sources of information and reliable guidance.

Paris Hospitals Target of Failed Cyber-Attack, Authority Says
Bloomberg
The Paris hospital authority, AP-HP, was the target of a cyber-attack on March 22, according to France’s cybersecurity agency. The attack sought to disable hospital service in the French capital by overwhelming its computers, the ANSSI said. The AP-HP successfully handled the attack, it added.

Russia

100,000 cameras: Moscow uses facial recognition to enforce quarantine
France24
@samwball
In Moscow, a network of 100,000 cameras equipped with facial recognition technology are being used to make sure anyone placed under quarantine stays off the streets. Russia is just one of several countries using high-tech surveillance in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

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. We showed that, by aligning cyber activity with strategic doctrine, we can reveal the logic underlying state-linked cyber activity.

Middle East

‘Divine Retribution’: The Islamic State’s COVID-19 Propaganda
The Diplomat
Nur Aziemah Azman
The jihadist community has generally done very little to actively support the Uyghur cause against China; whether thanks to a lack of capability or focus is debatable. What has been interesting, however, has been their reaction to COVID-19, a now-global pandemic that originally emerged in China. Islamic State (IS) has both spoken of it as God’s divine retribution to China while at the same time chiding its followers for crowing about the toll the virus is taking.

Misc

Infodemic: a threat to cyberpeace
CyberPeace Institute

Facebook, Microsoft partner with WHO for coronavirus hackathon
CNBC
@sal19
The #BuildforCOVID19 hackathon was announced on Tuesday and will begin accepting project submissions on Thursday. Along with Facebook and Microsoft, tech companies Twitter, WeChat, TikTok, Pinterest, Slack and Giphy are also participating. The tech companies "will be sharing resources to support participants throughout the submission period."

In video chats, familiar forms of online harassment make a comeback
NBC News
As classes, lectures and other educational activities move to videoconference tools during the coronavirus pandemic, "Zoombombing" has become another vector for organized harassment.

Mind that Zoom in the work-from-home boom
The Australian Financial Review
Cyber security and privacy experts say remote workers should exercise caution when using video-conferencing platform Zoom, and recommend that sensitive business and legal conversations be kept off the platform due to Zoom's data and privacy policies.

The trouble with Zoom
The Australian Financial Review
Patrick Doyle, James Mortensen, @damicli
Video conferences are now king. But a popular technology could be putting corporate privacy at risk with little power to prevent it.

COVID-19 and Social Media Content Moderation
Lawfare
@evelyndouek
The coronavirus pandemic has forced people around the world to reexamine many things that are usually taken for granted. On that list is social media content moderation—the practice of social media platforms making and enforcing the rules about what content is or is not allowed on their services.