Russia responsible for cyber attacks on German parliament -German foreign ministry | Taiwan Innovative Space will conduct test launch in Australia | Pro-Kremlin trolls target news website comments
Russia is responsible for a renewed cyber attack on the German parliament, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in Berlin told journalists on Monday. "The German government has reliable information according to which ghost writer activities can be attributed to cyber protagonists of the Russian state or Russia's GRU military intelligence (service)," said the spokesperson. Reuters
Australian regulators have given Taiwan Innovative Space, a five-year-old launch company that goes by Tispace, the green light to conduct a commercial launch at a newly licensed facility in southern Australia later this year. TechCrunch
A major operation to influence public opinion saw comments posted on Western media articles in support of Russian interests, according to new research. BBC News
Australia is on the ‘frontline’ of China’s global strategic competition: Josh Frydenberg
Mr Frydenberg lamented findings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that between 2010 and 2020 China had used coercive tactics 152 times against 27 individual countries, including Australia.
American Spies Are Fighting the Last War, Again
The global threat landscape has become much more crowded and complex, encompassing escalating cyberattacks, a rising China, Russian aggression, nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, the fallout from climate change, and more. And once again, spy agencies are struggling to keep up. Technology is also disrupting the ability of American intelligence agencies to make sense of the world. Intelligence has always been a business of finding needles in haystacks to generate insight. Now the haystacks are everywhere and growing exponentially, because the amount of data on Earth doubles about every two years. Connective technologies are driving this data overload, with no end in sight. The U.S. intelligence community needs a radical reimagining to succeed in this new era. In the past, advantage came from stealing secrets. Secrets still matter, but advantage more and more derives from harnessing open information available to anyone and from human thinking, augmented by machines, that can sift through enormous troves of data to find hidden patterns.
Apple photo scanning paused, e-safety commissioner signals regulation
Australia’s eSafety commissioner says technology giant Apple can expect government regulation if it continues to pause the roll out of controversial technology that would have scanned iCloud photo libraries for child sexual abuse material and shielded children from explicit content on their iPhones.
Taiwan Innovative Space will conduct a test launch of its Hapith I rocket in Australia later this year
Australian regulators have given Taiwan Innovative Space, a five-year-old launch company that goes by Tispace, the green light to conduct a commercial launch at a newly licensed facility in southern Australia later this year.
BGI prenatal gene test under scrutiny for Chinese military links
Health regulators in five countries are examining a prenatal test that collects the DNA of women and fetuses for research, while some doctors that promoted it and clinics that sell it say they were unaware the company that produces it also conducts research with the Chinese military.
Chinese government funds invest in ride-hailing rival to Didi
Chinese state-owned funds are piling into a fast-growing rival to Didi Chuxing, taking advantage of regulatory pressure on the country’s largest ride-hailing app. Cao Cao Mobility announced on Monday that it raised Rmb3.8bn ($588m) from a group of state-owned funds based in the eastern city of Suzhou, to accelerate its expansion and improve driver safety.
Chinese Social Media Site Suspends K-Pop Fan Accounts
The New York Times
Weibo accused one account devoted to a BTS member of illegal fund-raising amid a crackdown on 22 pages.
Crypto’s Rapid Move Into Banking Elicits Alarm in Washington
The New York Times
The boom in companies offering cryptocurrency loans and high-yield deposit accounts is disrupting the banking industry and leaving regulators scrambling to catch up.
The Strange Tale of the Freedom Phone, a Smartphone for Conservatives
The New York Times
It was a pitch tuned for a politically polarized audience. Erik Finman, a 22-year-old who called himself the world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaire, posted a video on Twitter for a new kind of smartphone that he said would liberate Americans from their “Big Tech overlords.” His splashy video, posted in July, had stirring music, American flags and references to former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Donald J. Trump. Conservative pundits hawked Mr. Finman’s Freedom Phone, and his video amassed 1.8 million views. Mr. Finman soon had thousands of orders for the $500 device.
Samsung builds chip supply chain on home turf to cut overseas risk
Samsung Electronics is developing a network of chip equipment and materials suppliers inside South Korea through investments in at least nine companies as part of an effort to protect itself from being buffeted by trade conflict with Japan or between the U.S. and China.
TrickBot gang member arrested after getting stuck in South Korea due to COVID-19 pandemic
A Russian man was arrested last week at the Seoul international airport on accusations of developing code for the TrickBot malware gang. The man, identified in local media reports only as Mr. A, was arrested trying to leave South Korea for his native home in Russia after he’d been stuck in the Asian country for more than a year and a half.
South and Central Asia
Google locks Afghan government accounts as Taliban seek emails
Google has temporarily locked down an unspecified number of Afghan government email accounts, according to a person familiar with the matter, as fears grow over the digital paper trail left by former officials and their international partners.
Indian military under target by Chinese origin surveillance systems
Alarmed over an alert by the apex security and intelligence agencies, flagging serious concerns on 'possible threat' of data loss through surveillance cameras especially Chinese origin installed at various military establishments across the country, the Indian navy headquarters has asked all its bases and units to remove this closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance systems.
“FudCo” Spam Empire Tied to Pakistani Software Firm
Krebs on Security
In May 2015, KrebsOnSecurity briefly profiled “The Manipulaters,” the name chosen by a prolific cybercrime group based in Pakistan that was very publicly selling spam tools and a range of services for crafting, hosting and deploying malicious email. Six years later, a review of the social media postings from this group shows they are prospering, while rather poorly hiding their activities behind a software development firm in Lahore that has secretly enabled an entire generation of spammers and scammers.
Pro-Kremlin trolls target news website comments, researchers say
A major operation to influence public opinion saw comments posted on Western media articles in support of Russian interests, according to new research.
Kim Kardashian crypto ad singled out by financial watchdog
Kim Kardashian has been criticised for promoting an untested cryptocurrency on Instagram, by the head of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Charles Randell said Ms. Kardashian had "asked her 250 million followers to speculate on crypto tokens" by promoting an advert for Ethereum Max.
Russia responsible for cyber attacks on German parliament - German foreign ministry
Russia is responsible for a renewed cyber attack on the German parliament, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in Berlin told journalists on Monday. "The German government has reliable information according to which ghost writer activities can be attributed to cyber protagonists of the Russian state or Russia's GRU military intelligence (service)," said the spokesperson.
Italy probing drone firm sale to China
The Italian government has opened an inquiry into the sale of a company making high-tech military drones to Chinese state-owned investors three years ago, a source close to the matter said on Friday. Rome wants to verify whether the sale of a 75 percent holding in Alpi Aviation, based in northern Italy, had to be notified to the government under the so-called “golden power” regulation, the source said, asking not to be named.
HSE cyber-attack: Irish health service still recovering months after hack
The attack in May was unprecedented in the history of the Irish state, affecting almost every part of its healthcare system, already worn down by more than a year of fighting Covid-19. Scrambling to deal with the situation, staff reverted to a paper system and the number of appointments in some areas dropped by 80% in the days after the attack.
WhatsApp fined €225m for not telling users how it shared data with Facebook
WhatsApp has been fined €225m for breaking the EU’s data privacy law by not telling its users how it was sharing their data with its parent company Facebook. In one of the biggest fines relating to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Irish data regulator applied a penalty more than four times the level it had initially proposed for the messaging service after coming under pressure from other European countries.
ProtonMail Shares Activist's IP Address With Authorities Despite Its "No Log" Claims
The Hacker News
End-to-end encrypted email service provider ProtonMail has drawn criticism after it ceded to a legal request and shared the IP address of anti-gentrification activists with law enforcement authorities, leading to their arrests in France.
Important clarifications regarding arrest of climate activist
We would like to provide important clarifications regarding the case of the climate activist who was recently arrested by French police on criminal charges. We are also deeply concerned about this case and deplore that the legal tools for serious crimes are being used in this way. In the interest of transparency, we would like to provide additional context.
Telecom Italia will present bid for Italy's cloud project
Telecom Italia will submit an expression of interest to create a national cloud hub in Italy with three partners, including defence group Leonardo and state lender CDP, Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi said on Saturday. The head of Italy's biggest phone group spoke after Innovation Minister Vittorio Colao earlier said Italy expects to receive bids by the end of September from companies interested in building the cloud hub, a 900-million-euro ($1.07 billion) project to upgrade the country's data storage facilities
Malware found preinstalled in classic push-button phones sold in Russia
A security researcher has discovered malicious code inside the firmware of four low-budget push-button mobile phones sold through Russian online stores. In a report published this week by a Russian security researcher named ValdikSS, push-button phones such as DEXP SD2810, Itel it2160, Irbis SF63, and F+ Flip 3 were caught subscribing users to premium SMS services and intercepting incoming SMS messages to prevent detection.
Quantum Machines plans to expand quantum orchestration platform with $50M investment
Quantum Machines, an Israeli startup that is building the classical hardware and software infrastructure to help run quantum machines, announced a $50 million Series B investment today. While quantum computing in general is in its early days, Quantum Machines has developed a nice niche by building a hardware and software system, what they call The Quantum Orchestration Platform, that helps run the burgeoning quantum machines, leaving it plenty of room to grow as the industry develops.
Zimbabwe parliament approves cyber security bill
Zimbabwe's Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, which seeks to punish those who abuse social media, internet and communication networks and to make the growing financial digital systems and e-commerce more efficient and better protected, has gone through Parliament and now awaits the assent of the President.
Facebook apology as AI labels black men 'primates'
Facebook users who watched a newspaper video featuring black men were asked if they wanted to "keep seeing videos about primates" by an artificial-intelligence recommendation system. Facebook told BBC News it "was clearly an unacceptable error", disabled the system and launched an investigation. "We apologise to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations." It is the latest in a long-running series of errors that have raised concerns over racial bias in AI.
Investors are placing big bets on a growing space economy. But can they reach orbit?
The Washington Post
The billionaire “space barons” — Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — have given the industry a cachet not seen since the Apollo era of the 1960s and ’70s, with Branson and Bezos flying to the edge of space on their own spacecraft and Musk’s SpaceX becoming the dominant supplier of people and cargo to the International Space Station. Investors are fearful of missing out. That’s turned out to be great news for the space companies hoping to get a piece of the satellite-launch business. But it’s also caused analysts to warn that space is still a nascent and risky business, one rocket explosion away from disaster.
Cryptocurrencies: developing countries provide fertile ground
In advanced economies, cryptocurrencies are viewed by many in the financial world with suspicion — the domain of zealous “crypto bros” and a speculative and highly volatile fad that can only end badly. Regulators in Europe and the US have issued stark warnings about the dangers of trading crypto. But in the developing world, there are signs that crypto is quietly building deeper roots. Especially in countries which have a history of financial instability or where the barriers to accessing traditional financial products such as bank accounts are high, cryptocurrency use is fast becoming a fact of daily life.
Crypto Banking and Decentralized Finance, Explained
The New York Times
The development of Bitcoin and thousands of other cryptocurrencies in a little over a decade has changed the definition of money — and spawned a parallel universe of alternative financial services, allowing crypto businesses to move into traditional banking territory. Here’s what is happening in the fast-growing crypto finance industry, a sector that has officials in Washington sounding alarm bells.
Zero trust and cybersecurity: Here's what it means and why it matters
The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) this week said zero trust has become a "very fashionable term" in the tech world. To address the slipperiness of its definition, NCSC has outlined a few traps and pitfalls that organizations running a zero trust migration should be mindful of.
High-Profile Western Media Outlets Repeatedly Infiltrated by Pro-Kremlin Trolls
Crime and Security Research Institute, Cardiff University
A major influence operation is systematically manipulating Western media to spread propaganda and disinformation that supports Kremlin interests, a report from Cardiff University concludes. Researchers from the Crime and Security Research Institute have found evidence that 32 prominent media outlets across 16 countries have been targeted via their reader comments sections. Websites which have been repeatedly subjected to these activities include: The Daily Mail; Daily Express and The Times in the UK; America’s Fox News and Washington Post; Le Figaro in France; Der Spiegel and Die Welt in Germany; and Italy’s La Stampa.
Changing minds and machines: a case study of human rights advocacy in the Internet Engineering Task Force
University of Oxford
Below the visible aspects of social media and other Internet applications lies a vast infrastructure, where opaque organisations and unaccountable technologists exercise significant power over the Internet. This dissertation is a first-hand anthropological study of how the culture of one such important organisation, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), influences infrastructural politics thereby shaping the development of technology across the Internet.
Events and Podcasts
Bridging the divide: Technology and inclusion in the Asia-Pacific
As Asia-Pacific emerges from COVID-19, experts consider how policymakers can harness technology for inclusive economic growth.
Intentional or unintentional? The impact of insider threats
In episode fourteen of ‘OzCyber Unlocked’, AustCyber’s CEO Michelle Price speaks to Tracie Thompson (CEO and Co-Founder of HackHunter) and Dan Holman (CEO and Co-founder of WorldStack) about how human and technical threats are used to steal IP that is used in a variety of nefarious ways by cyber criminals.
New ICPC Program on Critical Technologies - 3 positions
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for three exceptional and experienced senior analysts and analysts to join its large team from October 2021. These new roles will focus on original research, analysis and stakeholder engagement centred around international critical technology development, including analysis of which countries are leading on what technologies.
ICPC Pacific Islands Analyst - Information operations & disinformation
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for a talented and proactive Pacific Islands analyst who will work with the Centre’s information operations and disinformation program. The successful candidate will work with a small, high-performing team to produce original research and analysis centred around policy responses to information operations and disinformation by actors in the Pacific Islands region. They will also work with senior staff in the centre to engage globally with governments, social media and Internet companies. Candidates must have a demonstrated background in, and strong knowledge of, the Pacific Islands region, including the region’s digital, media and social media landscape.
ICPC Analyst & Project Manager - Coercive diplomacy
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for an Analyst and Project Manager to manage, and help lead, a project on coercive diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region. This new role will focus on analysis, workshops and stakeholder engagement centred around coercive diplomacy, including how countries in the Indo-Pacific can work together to tackle this complicated policy challenge. Candidates must have excellent coordination, project management and stakeholder engagement skills.
ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for exceptional and experienced China-focused senior analysts or analysts to join its centre. This role will focus on original research and analysis centred around the (growing) range of topics which our ICPC China team work on. Our China team produces some of the most impactful and well-read policy-relevant research in the world, with our experts often being called upon by politicians, governments, corporates and civil society actors to provide briefings and advice. Analysts usually have at least 5 years, often 7-10 years’ of work experience. Senior analysts usually have a minimum of 15 years relevant work experience and, in addition to research, they take on a leadership role in the centre and tend to be involved in staff and project management, fundraising and stakeholder engagement.