Therapy patients in Finland blackmailed after data breach | Europe must 'wake up' to China threat, warns German ex-spy chief | New ASPI ICPC research: Covid-19 and the reach of pro-Kremlin messaging
Many patients of a large psychotherapy clinic in Finland have been contacted individually by a blackmailer, after their data was stolen. The data appears to have included personal identification records and notes about what was discussed in therapy sessions. BBC
Gerhard Schindler, who led the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) from 2011 to 2016, said Germany needed to curb its “strategic dependence” on Beijing and ban Huawei from its 5G mobile phone network. The Times
This research investigation examines Russia’s efforts to manipulate the information environment during the coronavirus crisis. It leverages data from the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force, which, through its EUvsDisinfo project, tracks pro-Kremlin messages spreading in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. Using this open-source repository of pro-Kremlin disinformation, in combination with OSINT investigative techniques that track links between online entities, we analyse the narratives being seeded about COVID-19 and map the social media accounts spreading those messages. ASPI ICPC
NEW ICPC REPORT: Covid-19 and the reach of the pro-Kremlin messaging
This research investigation examines Russia’s efforts to manipulate the information environment during the coronavirus crisis. It leverages data from the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force, which, through its EUvsDisinfo project, tracks pro-Kremlin messages spreading in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. Using this open-source repository of pro-Kremlin disinformation, in combination with OSINT investigative techniques that track links between online entities, we analyse the narratives being seeded about COVID-19 and map the social media accounts spreading those messages.
We found that the key subjects of the Kremlin’s messaging focused on the EU, NATO, Bill Gates, George Soros, the World Health Organization (WHO), the US and Ukraine. Narratives included well-trodden conspiracies about the source of the coronavirus, the development and testing of a potential vaccine, the impact on the EU’s institutions, the EU’s slow response to the virus and Ukraine’s new president. We also found that Facebook groups were a powerful hub for the spread of some of those messages.
600 U.S. groups linked to Chinese Communist Party influence effort with ambition beyond election
An analysis this summer of thousands of such Twitter and Facebook posts by the International Cyber Policy Center of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute described them as part of a program of "cross-platform inauthentic activity, conducted by Chinese-speaking actors and broadly in alignment with the political goal of the People's Republic of China to denigrate the standing of the U.S."
Read ICPC’s Covid-19 disinformation and social media manipulation report #5 Automating influence operations on Covid-19: Chinese speaking actors targeting US audiences here.
Uniting the Techno-Democracies
Although officials in most democratic capitals now acknowledge the profound ways in which new technologies are shaping the world, they remain strangely disconnected from one another when it comes to managing them. Coordination, when it occurs, is sporadic, reactive, and ad hoc.
Cybersecurity worries on government sites
The Canberra Times
A large number of websites managed by state and federal government departments remain vulnerable to cyber attack, recent analysis shows. An assessment by Macquarie University experts stretched from 2018 to 2020 and looked at more than 1800 federal, state and territory government websites ending in .gov.au They found more than half are vulnerable to attack and 16 per cent do not have the most basic of security measures.
TikTok Won’t Say How Many Australians Saw A Viral Suicide Video On Its Platform
The Australian arm of social video platform TikTok has declined to specify exactly how many of its users saw a graphic suicide video that went viral on its platform earlier this year.
Big Tech needs to get on board over security concerns
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Herald has, in general, endorsed the right of security agencies to access encrypted data but it should be subject to the same safeguards as other intrusive powers.
One in five Australian scientists planning to leave the profession, survey shows
Nearly one in five scientists in Australia are planning to leave the profession permanently, according to a new survey, which also reveals a 17% gender pay gap among those who responded.
Surveillance Startup Used Own Cameras to Harass Coworkers
Verkada, a fast-growing Silicon Valley surveillance startup, equips its offices in downtown San Mateo, California, with its own state-of-the-art security cameras. Last year, a sales director on the company's sales team abused their access to these cameras to take and post photos of colleagues in a Slack channel called #RawVerkadawgz where they made sexually explicit jokes about women who worked at the company, according to a report in IPVM.
Foreign Interference is a Strategy, Not a Tactic
@LindsayPGorman & @rosenbergerlm
Geopolitics over the next several decades will be defined by competition between democracies and autocracies. This contest is already playing out across the military, economic and diplomatic domains—and in the information arena as well. As former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon observed, “[T]his is [a] world where the threats are to and through information[,] ... both our opportunities and our challenges.”
The Media Has Overcorrected on Foreign Influence
This more insidious assault on democracy is fundamentally about the exercise of nation-state power through information. Information technologies and architecture—from 5G telecommunications systems to data-driven surveillance both on and off social media—increasingly underpin every aspect of our lives. The architects of these information platforms influence how they are used, who can access the data flowing through them and how, and—for algorithmic platforms—what content is served up to which individuals.
Twitter launches 'pre-bunks' to get ahead of voting misinformation
Twitter said Monday it would begin placing messages at the top of users' feeds to pre-emptively debunk false information about voting by mail and election results, an escalation of the tech company's battle against misinformation.
North East Asia
Apple supplier Luxshare unnerves Foxconn as U.S.-China feud speeds supply chain shift
Apple's top iPhone assembler, Taiwan-based Foxconn, has set up a task force to fend off the growing clout of Chinese electronics manufacturer Luxshare, which it believes poses a serious threat to its dominance, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
South East Asia
The promise of public–private cybersecurity partnerships in the Philippines
East Asia Forum
In 2019, the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) formally launched the Cybersecurity Management System Project (CSMP). This is the country’s national cyber intelligence platform designed to conduct information-sharing, monitor threats and protect critical national infrastructure. It was a significant achievement born from the country’s first-ever National Cybersecurity Plan 2022. But after over a year of anticipation, the cyber monitoring system is yet to fully come online.
Europe must 'wake up' to China threat, warns ex-spy chief Gerhard Schindler
Gerhard Schindler, who led the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) from 2011 to 2016, said Germany needed to curb its “strategic dependence” on Beijing and ban Huawei from its 5G mobile phone network.
Therapy patients blackmailed for cash after clinic data breach
Many patients of a large psychotherapy clinic in Finland have been contacted individually by a blackmailer, after their data was stolen. The data appears to have included personal identification records and notes about what was discussed in therapy sessions.
Cooperation between Norway’s security agencies planned following cyber attack on parliament
Government seeks to develop enhanced national IT infrastructure with an embedded early warning system and defence shield to protect the IT systems of public and private organisations.
Over 100 irrigation systems left exposed online without a password
More than 100 smart irrigation systems were left exposed online without a password last month, allowing anyone to access and tamper with water irrigation programs for crops, tree plantations, cities, and building complexes. The exposed irrigation systems were discovered by Security Joes, a small boutique security firm based in Israel.
The Unsinkable Maddie Stone, Google’s Bug-Hunting Badass
The Project Zero reverse engineer shuts down some of the world's most dangerous exploits—along with antiquated hacker stereotypes.
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.