QAnon received early boost from Russian accounts on Twitter I Microsoft thwarts series of cyberattacks by Iranian hacker group I Russian Sentenced for Role in $100 Million Botnet Conspiracy
Russian government-backed social media accounts nurtured the QAnon conspiracy theory in its infancy, earlier than previously reported, according to interviews with current and former Twitter executives and archives of tweets from suspended accounts. Reuters
Microsoft says it has thwarted a series of cyberattacks by Iranian hacking group Phosphorus targeting attendees to two high-profile international conferences. It's unclear whether any compromising information was given up to the group, although Microsoft said that event organizers had been made aware of the hacking attempt, who had in turn warned attendees. ZDNet
A Russian national was sentenced Oct. 30 to eight years in prison for his role in operating a sophisticated scheme to steal and traffic sensitive personal and financial information in the online criminal underground that resulted in an estimated loss of over $100 million. The United States Department of Justice
Explainer: Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai's aide, and the 'anonymous' Hunter Biden China dossier
Hong Kong Free Press
Even before NBC published its report on October 29, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Elise Thomas, posted a Twitter thread detailing evidence showing that Martin Aspen, the man linked to the Typhoon Investigations firm, was a fabricated persona with a computer-generated profile picture.
Thailand king trending high on social media amid protests
"With Twitter's greater potential for anonymity and global reach, more people in Thailand are recognizing it as a platform for political resistance and pressure for change," researcher Tracy Beattie wrote in April for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. "In tweets often intertwined with pop culture references and catchy slogans, Thais are now openly discussing the scandals and shortfalls of not just the military government, but the royal family as well."
Human dimension presents new hurdles for AI in medicine
The gulf between the technical brilliance claimed for Google’s deep learning model and its real-world application points to a common problem that has hindered the use of AI in medical settings. “Accuracy is not enough,” says Emma Beede, lead researcher on the paper. “In a lab setting, researchers can miss out on those socio-environmental factors that surround use of a system.”
BT and Ericsson sign 5G deal as Huawei ban takes shape
The announcement comes just one month after BT sealed a similar deal with Nokia, as part of an effort to remove Huawei equipment entirely from the country's 5G networks, following the UK government's ruling that the Chinese company should be barred from participating in the deployment of next-generation mobile connectivity. Ericsson appeared to be the obvious choice, given the Swedish company's well-established relationship with BT. In fact, earlier this year Ericsson was selected by BT to replace Huawei's equipment in core 5G networks, which are more sensitive parts of the infrastructure.
The Australian Secret Intelligence Service: purposes and principles
In the second of our interviews, Australia’s top spy discusses how that business is conducted today. The director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Paul Symon, talks about the purposes of ASIS. Technology shifts the tradecraft, in an era of great-power competition driving a multipolar contest. Much is happening in the ‘grey zone’ (an area of focus of Australia’s 2020 strategic update). Symon explains: The grey zone really is increasingly being used in the lexicon to reflect the fact that we are in this environment of coercion short of conflict. And that is keenly felt inside the intelligence community, whether it is on the defence or the offence.
Govt seeks input on looming AI action plan
Australian governments, businesses and individuals need to act now to ensure the country benefits from artificial intelligence systems and doesn’t fall behind the rest of the world, a new government discussion paper says. The industry department has released a new 27-page discussion paper on Australia’s AI action plan and is now taking submissions on how to maximise the benefits of the technologies and manage the potential challenges.
An AI Action Plan for all Australians: A call for views. Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
The Wire China
The ruling Communist Party has just offered signals on politics, technology and the economy. How will the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan shape China and the world?
QAnon received earlier boost from Russian accounts on Twitter, archives show
Russian government-backed social media accounts nurtured the QAnon conspiracy theory in its infancy, earlier than previously reported, according to interviews with current and former Twitter executives and archives of tweets from suspended accounts.
What to Expect From Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on Election Day
The New York Times
@MikeIsaac @kateconger @daiwaka
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were misused by Russians to inflame American voters with divisive messages before the 2016 presidential election. The companies have spent the past four years trying to ensure that this November isn’t a repeat. We asked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to walk us through what they were, are and will be doing before, on and after Tuesday. Here’s a guide.
False video of Joe Biden viewed 1 million times on Twitter
A deceptively edited video of Joe Biden making it appear the Democratic presidential nominee forgot what state he was in was viewed more than one million times on Twitter over the weekend.
Read ICPC’s report Weaponised deep fakes - National security and democracy here.
Twitter Bots Promote Right-Wing Conspiracies, Paper Shows
Twitter bots are nearly twice as likely to amplify right-wing content than are humans, a new paper finds, shedding light on how these largely automated social media personas can shape public opinion.
Facial recognition used to identify Lafayette Square protester accused of assault
The Washington Post
The case is among a growing number nationwide in which authorities have fed images from racial justice rallies into facial recognition systems to track down protesters suspected of violence.
The Cybersecurity 202: CISA’s political independence from Trump will be an Election Day asset
The Washington Post
During four years in which government agencies have been increasingly manipulated to serve President Trump’s aims, the agency tasked with protecting the 2020 election against hacking has managed to steer clear of partisan politics.
Who am I to decide when algorithms should make important decisions?
The Boston Globe
Workers for Shipt, the grocery-delivery platform owned by Target, are protesting the firm’s recent implementation of a new algorithm dictating workers’ schedules and wages. How the algorithm makes these decisions isn’t clear: Shipt has provided few details to their more than 200,000 employees, and the company refuses to share anything with the public, claiming that the system is “proprietary.” But even without access to the inner workings of the algorithm, workers feel its impacts.
Taiwan’s Digital Minister Knows How to Crush Covid-19: Trust
Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang explains how the Asian nation used open data and transparent governance to empower its citizens to code their own way out of a pandemic.
Women Are Leading Taiwan’s Public Relations War Against China
Diplomatically isolated, the democratic island of Taiwan has amplified its message and pushed back against Chinese propaganda with one of the few things Beijing doesn’t have many of -– high-profile women taking the lead in defending the government’s interests..Twitter remains the main platform for delivering Taiwan’s message to the world. Tsai now has more than 1.3 million followers on Twitter, which she recently highlighted with her successful outreach to Indian Twitter users. Tang has more than 130,000 followers, and Hsiao, who only recently became active on the site, is followed by nearly 35,000.
North Korean Malware Helps Hackers Target #COVID19 Vaccines
Security researchers have discovered new North Korean malware being used to drive information-stealing attacks against COVID-19 vaccine makers and other targets. Cybereason Nocturnus said it had been able to track new attack infrastructure linked to the prolific Kimsuky group via BabyShark and AppleSeed malware previously attributed to it.
Vodafone supports 5G networks alternative as Huawei phased out
The Financial Times
Vodafone is to embrace technology from smaller suppliers as the UK group rips out and replaces Huawei-made 5G kit to comply with a government mandate on phasing out the Chinese company. The group has pledged to use equipment made by smaller ‘open RAN’ vendors to provide 5G signals for a fifth of its UK network sites by 2027, in a move also aimed at breaking the stranglehold of large players including Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE.
Read ICPC’s report Ensuring a trusted 5G ecosystem of vendors and technology here.
Germany refuses to turn a 'blind eye' to China, teams up with Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald
Kramp-Karrenbauer is the first German minister to confirm publicly that restrictions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei would effectively exclude the company from Germany's 5G network. “Germany is, in principle, open to investment from all sides. But if the technology offered to us is not beyond reproach, it cannot be used," she said. “The political ramifications would simply be too grave. China is a country that understands very well the political dimension of IT networks and data flows. I am sure our counterparts in Beijing understand that we Europeans can only operate technology we trust.".. Kramp-Karrenbauer will speak at a virtual Australian Strategic Policy Institute event co-hosted by the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung foundation on Thursday evening alongside Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.
Huawei challenges legality of 5G bans in Poland, Romania
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has told top European lawmakers that Warsaw and Bucharest risk violating EU law with new 5G security rules, offering a glimpse into possible court battles over new telecom security policies. In a letter sent to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager on September 11, the Chinese firm said proposed 5G security rules in Poland and Romania — two countries that have taken a hawkish approach to Chinese technology over the past year — "are predicated on several violations of EU law." The company also took aim at bilateral "joint declarations" that Warsaw and Bucharest signed with the U.S. administration.
Russian Cybercriminal Sentenced to Prison for Role in $100 Million Botnet Conspiracy
The United States Department of Justice
A Russian national was sentenced Oct. 30 to eight years in prison for his role in operating a sophisticated scheme to steal and traffic sensitive personal and financial information in the online criminal underground that resulted in an estimated loss of over $100 million.
Responsive and Resilient Service – An International Approach to Digital Government
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
This year, Canada is hosting the Digital Nations Summit. The organization is a group of 10 of the most advanced digital governments around the world. While we had been looking forward to welcoming old and new friends to Ottawa this fall, the pandemic has changed our plans and, for the first time, our summit will be fully remote and digital.
Microsoft: These Iranian attackers are targeting high-profile conference attendees
Microsoft says it has thwarted a series of cyberattacks by Iranian hacking group Phosphorus targeting attendees to two high-profile international conferences. It's unclear whether any compromising information was given up to the group, although Microsoft said that event organizers had been made aware of the hacking attempt, who had in turn warned attendees.
The Man Who Helped Turn 4chan Into the Internet's Racist Engine
In two decades, 4chan has evolved from a message board where people talked about anime to a casually racist but influential creation engine of internet culture, and now into a generator of far-right propaganda, a place where dangerous conspiracy theories originate, and an amplifier of online bigotry. This evolution, according to 4chan moderators who spoke to Motherboard and leaked chat logs, is in large part because of an anonymous administrator who used moderation enforcement, or lack thereof, to allow the influential website to become a crucial arm of the far-right.
5 Lessons Learnt from BJJ that Are Applicable to Cybersecurity
ne of the best decisions I have made was starting BJJ, and even if it wasn’t the goal from the start, I think there are many lessons we can take from BJJ and apply to our cybersecurity practices: 1. Close the distance; 2. Keep your friends close, but your elbows closer; 3. Size doesn’t matter; 4. When you know how to defend, you know how to attack; and 5. Everything in life changes, but jiu-jitsu stays the same.
The Indo-Pacific: Geostrategic challenges and opportunities for Australia and Germany
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) are delighted to present our upcoming webinar ‘The Indo-Pacific: Geostrategic challenges and opportunities for Australia and Germany’. Speakers Linda Reynolds, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Peter Jennings and Dr. Beatrice Gorawantschy.
Date & Time: 5 November 2020, 5:45 pm - 6:45pm.
Digital Authoritarianism, China and Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened Beijing to expand its use of digital technologies in the name of public health and safety. From mass surveillance, tracking intelligence, and internet censorship to the use of social credit systems, augmented data-collection capabilities, and big data, China’s new normal exposes and expands encroachments on civil liberties.
Senior Researcher / Project Lead
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for a senior researcher to lead a one-year project looking at leadership networks across Asia. Interviews will start immediately.
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has an outstanding opportunity for a highly experienced, strategic communications professional to contribute to the launch of a new, high profile global project. The Senior Strategic Communications Officer will be an integral member of a bespoke team that will liaise with the Australian government, foreign governments, industry and civil society to build up this exciting new project. The position will work closely with the Executive Director and the Institutes’ s International Cyber Policy Centre.