Ukraine calls on hacker underground | Russia's cyberattacks could go global | NEW REPORT: Producing policy-relevant China research and analysis
The government of Ukraine is asking for volunteers from the country's hacker underground to help protect critical infrastructure and conduct cyber spying missions against Russian troops, according two people involved in the project. Reuters
As President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, national security experts expressed concerns about retaliatory cyberattacks on the United States and its allies, as well as targeted cyberattacks on Ukraine so forceful they spill beyond the nation’s borders. The Washington Post
This brief report explores the challenge of producing policy-relevant China research and analysis. Policy-relevant research is defined as work that drives action, affects decision-making, or both. It’s the kind of research think tanks seek to do, bridging the gap between academia and civil servants who work on policy. ASPI ICPC
ICPC NEW REPORT Producing policy-relevant China research and analysis in an era of strategic competition
This brief report explores the challenge of producing policy-relevant China research and analysis. Policy-relevant research is defined as work that drives action, affects decision-making, or both. It’s the kind of research think tanks seek to do, bridging the gap between academia and civil servants who work on policy.
Read our report on China’s cyberspace vision here
Increasing resilience in a post-pandemic world
The Sydney Dialogue
Covid-19 has created unprecedented disruption to our economic, health, and travel systems. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of governments, scientists, and industry leaders working together to ensure healthy and thriving communities. How will this relationship re-write itself in the wake of the pandemic? The speakers looked at how governments, scientists and industry leaders can better work together to protect global health and promote economic recovery using technology.
How is the cyber war unfolding in Ukraine – and could it spread?
The Sydney Morning Herald
Nick Bonyhady and Sherryn Groch
There are three scenarios where Australia could be hit with a cyber attack stemming from the Ukraine conflict, according to the director of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Fergus Hanson. The first, and least likely, is if Russia turned its highest-level hacking tools directly on Australia. “That’s the most unlikely because it’d be very obvious that Russia was doing it and it’d invite more countries to band together in more offensive ways against Russia’s activities,” Hanson says. The second scenario is if a major self-spreading hacking tool is deployed by Russia in Ukraine and gets out of hand, as NotPetya did. “We could see that type of attack ... spreads globally,” Hanson says. “I think that’s pretty likely.”
In the wake of the Ukraine invasion, Russia’s cyberattacks could go global
The Washington Post
Cat Zakrzewski and Joseph Menn
As President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, national security experts expressed concerns about retaliatory cyberattacks on the United States and its allies, as well as targeted cyberattacks on Ukraine so forceful they spill beyond the nation’s borders.
Hacker collective Anonymous declares 'cyber war' against Russia, disables state news website
Hacker collective Anonymous has disabled several Russian government websites including the state-controlled Russia Today news service. Hackers identifying with the Anonymous collective announced they had launched cyber operations that briefly took down RT.com, as well as the websites of the Kremlin, the Russian government and the Russian defence ministry websites.
How Western democracies can combat Russia's Ukraine disinformation
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
After months of amassing troops around Ukraine’s borders, Russia’s invasion of its neighbor was met with frantic condemnation from world leaders and an outpouring of support on social media.
Social media platforms on the defensive as Russian-based disinformation about Ukraine spreads
Rebecca Kern, Mark Scott and Clothilde Goujard
The world’s biggest social media companies are scrambling to combat a global barrage of Kremlin-backed falsehoods and digital tricks around the invasion of Ukraine — putting the tech giants back in the political crosshairs over the spread of online disinformation.
Ukraine conflict: Further false images shared online
The second day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by further false or misleading imagery on social media claiming to be from the conflict. Some show military action taken from older conflicts, while other viral videos have proved difficult to verify.
Russian cyber attacks could inadvertently hit Australia, warns government cyber agency
Security experts say it is unlikely new financial sanctions placed on Russia will prompt a direct retaliation, but they warn there is a significant risk Australian firms could be caught up as collateral damage.
As Russia wages cyber war against Ukraine, here’s how Australia (and the rest of the world) could suffer collateral damage
The Australian Cyber Security Centre is asking organisations and businesses to be on high alert amid Russia’s cyber attack bombardment of Ukraine.
Sky News employees caught in cyber breach
The Sydney Morning Herald
Foxtel’s cable news channel Sky News Australia has become the latest media company to suffer a cybersecurity incident, with personal identification details of staff stolen following a major hack of a third-party provider.
China censors appear to ban anti-Russia media content on Ukraine invasion
While China continues to walk a fine line during the Ukraine crisis by attempting to appear neutral, its media sphere has been less reserved and seemed to issue guidelines forbidding anti-Russian content this week.
Ukraine invasion: China’s WeChat, Douyin crack down on vulgar jokes and misinformation
South China Morning Post
Major Chinese social media platforms said they are clamping down on misinformation and other inappropriate content, as internet users in the country took to WeChat, Douyin, and other popular apps to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Will TikTok become the next major cross-border e-commerce platform for Chinese merchants to tap overseas consumers?
South China Morning Post
ByteDance-owned TikTok, which was projected by research firm eMarketer to have 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide by the end of this year, launched its live-streaming service in 2019 and introduced new features last year. With the ongoing issues in the “made in China, sold on Amazon” business model, analysts expect TikTok to be well-positioned to transform into a major cross-border e-commerce platform for mainland Chinese merchants.
Deploying reality against Putin
The Internet, microchips and semiconductors are all products of American defence spending during the cold war. Another, less well-known, is a school of social psychology that President Joe Biden has drawn on heavily in recent weeks. It has been evident in his administration’s remarkable openness with intelligence in both its diplomacy and public messaging on Ukraine. A senior administration official explains this “unprecedented” transparency as a lesson learned from previous fights with Russian disinformation (especially the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014). It appears to have succeeded.
U.S. announces sweeping restrictions on technological exports to Russia
The New York Times
The measures, which analysts called significant, will halt direct technological exports from the United States to Russia, in an effort to curtail Russian industries including defense, aerospace and shipping. They also go beyond previous sanctions issued by the U.S. government by placing new limitations on products that are manufactured outside the United States but use American equipment or technology.
Biden has been presented with options for massive cyberattacks against Russia
Ken Dilanian and Courtney Kube
U.S. intelligence and military cyber warriors are proposing the use of American cyberweapons on a scale never before contemplated. Among the options: disrupting internet connectivity across Russia, shutting off electric power, and tampering with railroad switches to hamper Russia’s ability to resupply its forces
Accurate U.S. intelligence did not stop Putin, but it gave Biden big advantage
The New York Times
Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger
The result has been a remarkable four months of diplomacy, deterrence and American-led information warfare, including the last-ditch effort to disrupt Mr. Putin’s strategy by exposing it publicly. Now, with the invasion underway, administration officials are considering how to continue the information war with Russia, highlight potential war crimes and push back on Moscow’s propaganda about its intentions in Ukraine, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Nvidia Breach Seen as Ransomware Attack Unconnected to Ukraine
Ian King and Willliam Turton
A cyber breach suffered by Nvidia Corp. in recent days appears to have been a ransomware attack that’s not connected to the crisis in Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the incident. Nvidia, the most valuable publicly traded chipmaker in the U.S., disclosed the breach earlier on Friday, saying it was investigating an attack on its computer systems.
Durham Probe Reveals Government Access to Unregulated Data Streams
The Wall Street Journal
Byron Tau , Dustin Volz and Robert McMillan
U.S. government entities and private cybersecurity companies are able to monitor the flow of web traffic by tapping into vast quantities of data with little oversight or public awareness.
The Urgency To Cyber-Secure Space Assets
Our reliance on space, and especially satellites, for communications, security, intelligence, and commerce has exponentially grown with digital transformation. Unfortunately, so have the risks, as a result, the need to prioritize cybersecurity around space assets is urgent.
Japan to impose sanctions on Russia and restrict chip exports
Japan will impose additional sanctions on Russia, including restrictions on chip exports, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Friday. "The Ukraine invasion by Russia is a serious issue affecting international order that includes not only Europe but also Asia," Kishida told reporters in a news conference.
Taiwan's TSMC says to comply with export control rules on Russia
Chipmaker TSMC is fully committed to complying with new export control rules, the company said on Friday, after Taiwan’s government said it would join international sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine.
Ukraine calls on hacker underground to defend against Russia
Joel Schectman and Christopher Bing
The government of Ukraine is asking for volunteers from the country's hacker underground to help protect critical infrastructure and conduct cyber spying missions against Russian troops, according two people involved in the project.
Ukraine launches 'IT army,' takes aim at Russian cyberspace
Ukraine will create an "IT army" to fight against Russia's digital intrusions, Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Saturday.
Disk-wiping attacks precede Russian Invasion
A new form of disk-wiping malware (Trojan.Killdisk) was used to attack organizations in Ukraine shortly before the launch of a Russian invasion this morning (February 24). Symantec, a division of Broadcom Software, has also found evidence of wiper attacks against machines in Lithuania. Sectors targeted included organizations in the financial, defense, aviation, and IT services sectors.
Ukraine says its military is being targeted by Belarusian hackers
Ukrainian cybersecurity officials say hackers from neighbouring Belarus are targeting the private email addresses of Ukrainian military personnel "and related individuals". In an announcement posted to Facebook, Ukraine's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said the hackers were using password-stealing emails to break into Ukrainian soldiers' email accounts and using the compromised address books to send further malicious messages.
Patreon suspends donation page for nonprofit giving body armor to Ukrainian army
Come Back Alive started in 2014 as a nonprofit to provide equipment for the Ukrainian army, and its Patreon page received hundreds of thousands of dollars as Russia invaded Ukraine. Patreon said it will return money collected in the nonprofit’s account to everyone who donated.
Destructive Malware Targeting Organizations in Ukraine
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency
The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) disclosed that malware, known as WhisperGate, was being used to target organizations in Ukraine. According to Microsoft, WhisperGate is intended to be destructive and is designed to render targeted devices inoperable. Several cybersecurity researchers disclosed that malware known as HermeticWiper was being used against organizations in Ukraine. According to SentinelLabs, the malware targets Windows devices, manipulating the master boot record, which results in subsequent boot failure.
Ukraine Digital Minister Asks U.S. Tech Firms to Take Action on Ukraine’s Behalf
Tech Policy Press
A letter from Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine to Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, asks her to “block Russian propaganda channels on YouTube, including Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti” in order to “help stop the disgraceful military aggression” by Russia, which has launched in illegal war to occupy Ukraine and topple its government.
Social media companies push Ukrainian users to add safeguards
The Washington Post
Most of the accounts don’t belong to professional journalists or activists, but to regular people coping with a traumatic situation or to make their opposition heard. That means most people may not have the security experience or knowledge to protect their identities or location. Without the right settings, a simple social media update could expose people to Russian military intelligence and they could even be targeted for retaliation, either online or in real life.
Musk says Starlink active in Ukraine as Russian invasion disrupts internet
SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk said on Saturday that the company's Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine and SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country, whose internet has been disrupted due to the Russian invasion.
These Nerds Saw Ukraine Invasion Start On Google Maps Before Putin Said a Word
The Daily Beast
The first public tipoff that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had begun—even before Putin’s early-morning declaration of war—came from a handful of academics watching a traffic jam develop on Google Maps’ traffic monitor right next to an encampment of Russian military vehicles south of Belgorod, a town in Russia near the Ukrainian border.
Russia Intensifies Censorship Campaign, Pressuring Tech Giants
The New York Times
As Russia attacks Ukraine, the authorities in Moscow are intensifying a censorship campaign at home by squeezing some of the world’s biggest tech companies. Last week, Russian authorities warned Google, Meta, Apple, Twitter, TikTok and others that they had until the end of this month to comply with a new law that requires them to set up legal entities in the country. The so-called landing law makes the companies and their employees more vulnerable to Russia’s legal system and the demands of government censors, legal experts and civil society groups said.
Russia to restrict Facebook access for 'censoring' its media
Alexander Marrow and Elizabeth Culliford
Moscow said on Friday it was partially limiting access to Meta Platforms Inc's (FB.O) Facebook, accusing it of "censoring" Russian media, announcing the measure a day after Russia invaded Ukraine and the latest in a series of steps against U.S. social media giants.
Google blocks RT, other Russian channels from earning ad dollars
Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google barred on Saturday Russia's state-owned media outlet RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook after the invasion of Ukraine.
Google blocks Russia's RT app downloads on Ukrainian territory
Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google has banned downloads of Russian state-owned media outlet RT's mobile app on Ukrainian territory at the request of the government in Kyiv.
‘I’ll Stand on the Side of Russia’: Pro-Putin Sentiment Spreads Online
The New York Times
Davey Alba and Stuart A. Thompson
The online conversations reflect how pro-Russia sentiment has increasingly penetrated Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, right-wing podcasts, messaging apps like Telegram and some conservative media. As Russia attacked Ukraine this week, those views spread, infusing the online discourse over the war with sympathy — and even approval — for the aggressor.
Russian vigilante hacker: 'I want to help beat Ukraine from my computer'
The BBC has learned that at least some of the cyber-attacks that afternoon and since have come not from the Kremlin but from groups of so called "patriotic" Russian hackers. They work in small groups without direct orders from the Russian state and are intent on adding to the chaos in cyber-space.
Thousands of Russian tech workers sign a petition opposing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
The Washington Post
Gerrit De Vynck
Thousands of Russian technology workers signed a petition calling for their government to stop its military operations in Ukraine, adding their voices to the growing calls from Russian citizens opposed to the war.
The Great Resignation Has Hit Israeli Hi-tech
The growing demand for workers, alongside a critical shortage in technological workers, has pushed the competition for talent to the edge. Companies have had to face complex challenges in recruiting and retaining workers, and were forced to react quickly and flexibly.
Everyone’s Talking About Pegasus, but Less Sophisticated Spyware as Big a Threat
Reports of the Israel Police using the infamous Pegasus spyware developed by the NSO Group have exposed the threat of malicious software infecting our phones and siphoning user's personal information. NSO’s Pegasus is only one of a number of such spywares and this scandal has exposed the need to secure our mobile devices from attacks by other less sophisticated hackers.
Iranian Government-Sponsored Actors Conduct Cyber Operations Against Global Government and Commercial Networks
US Department of Homeland Security CISA
FBI, CISA, CNMF and NCSC-UK have observed a group of Iranian government-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) actors, known as MuddyWater, conducting cyber espionage and other malicious cyber operations targeting a range of government and private-sector organizations across sectors—including telecommunications, defense, local government, and oil and natural gas—in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.
TrickBot malware suddenly got quiet, researchers say, but it's hardly the end for its operators
The operators of TrickBot have essentially shut down the notorious malware, multiple reports say, but evidence suggests the gang has begun using other platforms or folded operations into another cybercrime group altogether.
Spyware dealer who sold WhatsApp-hacking tech pleads guilty
A Mexican businessman admitted in federal court this week to selling spyware and hacking tools from Italy and Israel to customers in the United States and Mexico.
Zuckerberg reveals AI projects to power Metaverse
Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled several ambitious artificial-intelligence projects, describing AI as "the key to unlocking the Metaverse".
Events and Podcasts
The Sydney Dialogue: Who Works? The Crisis of Automation in the Indo-Pacific
The Sydney Dialogue
In this panel discussion, speakers will discuss where the effects of automation pose the greatest challenges for the region and how we can ensure career pathways for those displaced to mitigate the risk of civil unrest and ensure that critical skills gaps do not open up and restrict growth in the long term.