US sends top security official to help NATO brace for Russian cyberattacks | EU to outline tech standards plan to counter China influence | North Korea hacked him. So he took down their internet
Follow us on Twitter. The Daily Cyber Digest focuses on the topics we work on, including cyber, critical technologies & strategic issues like foreign interference.
Intelligence assessments suggest that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would most likely be preceded by cyberattacks on Ukraine’s electric grid, its communications systems and its government. The New York Times
The EU will on Wednesday outline a more aggressive approach to setting global standards for cutting-edge and green technologies in a concerted effort to counter the influence of China. Financial Times
Disappointed with the lack of US response to the Hermit Kingdom's attacks against US security researchers, one hacker took matters into his own hands. WIRED
Big data and national security: A guide for Australian policymakers
The Lowy Institute
Data abundance, digital connectivity, and ubiquitous technology are redefining national security and the way governments protect individual rights and freedoms. This Analysis examines Australia’s policy options in a world defined by big data.
Digital evolution: News Corp, Google unite to train journalists
News Corp Australia and Google have joined forces to establish a groundbreaking digital news training initiative, which will develop and enhance the online skills of journalists across the country. In a world-first partnership between Google and a media company, the Digital News Academy will provide on-the-ground reporters, editors and publishers with the latest tools, techniques and insights on online news gathering and multimedia storytelling.
Australia backs rare earths mine to reduce China’s supply dominance
The Australian government has backed a rare earths mine as the country ramps up production to challenge Chinese dominance of the critical minerals used in magnets for electric vehicles, wind turbines and smartphones.
Australian businesses need to understand their tech supply chains
There has been a sudden and transformational shift in the digitisation of Australian businesses, large and small over the past two years. This shift was not driven by board mandates or CEOs wanting to future proof their businesses and remain globally competitive, rather COVID was the externality that forced Australian businesses – and governments – to act and invest.
Drone company DJI obscured ties to Chinese state funding, documents show
The Washington Post
Chinese drone maker DJI, a leading supplier of drones to U.S. law enforcement, obscured its Chinese government funding while claiming that Beijing had not invested in the firm, according to a Washington Post review of company reports and articles posted on the sites of state-owned and -controlled investors, as well as analysis by IPVM, a video surveillance research group.
China to launch chipmaking platform as it targets Intel and AMD
China plans to set up a special organization that facilitates collaboration between domestic companies and overseas semiconductor powerhouses such as Intel to foster development hubs for software, material and manufacturing equipment.
U.S. Sends Top Security Official to Help NATO Brace for Russian Cyberattacks
The New York Times
David E. Sanger
Intelligence assessments suggest that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would most likely be preceded by cyberattacks on Ukraine’s electric grid, its communications systems and its government.
US officials prepare for potential Russian cyberattacks as Ukraine standoff continues
The FBI is asking US businesses to report any uptick in Russian hacking threats -- the latest effort to prepare for potential Russian cyberattacks on US organizations amid Russia's troop buildup on Ukraine's border.
FBI confirms it obtained NSO’s Pegasus spyware
The FBI has confirmed that it obtained NSO Group’s powerful Pegasus spyware, suggesting that it bought access to the Israeli surveillance tool to “stay abreast of emerging technologies and tradecraft”. In a statement released to the Guardian, the bureau said it had procured a “limited licence” to access Pegasus for “product testing and evaluation only”, and suggested that its evaluation of the tool partly related to security concerns if the spyware fell into the “wrong hands”.
U.S. Moving—Some Say Too Slowly—to Address TikTok Security Risk
The Wall Street Journal
John D. McKinnon and Alex Leary
The Commerce Department has proposed a rule that could effectively bar foreign apps deemed unacceptable security threats. Some lawmakers including Sen. Marco Rubio say the White House is taking timid steps on addressing the issue.
Democrats want to win the tech war with China. The best way is to bolster U.S. allies.
The Washington Post
Congress considers engaging in an international arms race over chips manufacturing.
FBI Director Wray says scale of Chinese spying in the U.S. 'blew me away'
Chinese spying in the U.S. has become so widespread that the FBI is launching an average of two counterintelligence investigations a day to counter the onslaught, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in an interview. Wray has become the U.S. government’s most outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s spying. In an exclusive NBC News interview, he said the sheer scale of Chinese efforts to steal U.S. technology shocked him when he became FBI director in 2017.
Big Tech increases funding to US foreign policy think-tanks
Kiran Stacey and Caitlin Gilbert
The world’s largest technology companies are pouring money into the biggest foreign policy think-tanks in the US, as they seek to advance the argument that stricter competition rules will benefit China. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are behind an increase in funding to four of Washington’s most prestigious research groups: the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Center for a New American Security, Brookings and the Hudson Institute.
How CNN, the New York Times, and Other Major Media Outlets Monetize Your Data and Lobby Against Regulation
The “surveillance advertising” industry makes online news possible.
FDA Official Says New Rule Could Boost Blockchain-Based Food Tracking
The Wall Street Journal
A Food and Drug Administration official said the regulator is writing new rules that could facilitate the adoption of blockchain technology in the food industry. The rule, which the FDA expects to complete in November, would require the food industry to maintain records associated with critical tracking events on the supply chain for certain products, according to Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the FDA. Those events include growing, receiving, transforming, creating and shipping food products, according to the proposed rule.
Meet the NSA spies shaping the future
MIT Technology Review
Patrick Howell O'Neill
In his first interview as leader of the NSA's Research Directorate, Gil Herrera lays out challenges in quantum computing, cybersecurity, and the technology American intelligence needs to master to secure and spy into the future.
Billionaire Facebook Investor Peter Thiel Secretly Funded A ‘Cyber Warfare’ Startup That Hacked WhatsApp
As Israeli spyware dealer NSO Group is facing renewed scrutiny over the abuse of its WhatsApp hacking tools, an American startup could also reportedly bypass the messaging app's security. That startup was secretly backed by the millions of billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.
External energy source may explain ‘Havana syndrome,' panel finds, renewing questions about possible foreign attack
The Washington Post
The finding by a panel of experts, which was convened by U.S. intelligence agencies, suggests that a foreign power could have mounted attacks on U.S. diplomats, intelligence officers and military personnel serving overseas. The panel was not charged with determining which foreign actor, if any, might be behind the range of symptoms, which include ringing and pressure in the ears, headaches and dizziness.
North Korea Hacked Him. So He Took Down Its Internet
Disappointed with the lack of US response to the Hermit Kingdom's attacks against US security researchers, one hacker took matters into his own hands.
EU to outline tech standards plan to counter China influence
Javier Espinoza and Valentina Pop
The EU will on Wednesday outline a more aggressive approach to setting global standards for cutting-edge and green technologies in a concerted effort to counter the influence of China. Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s competition chief, told the Financial Times the new strategy was designed to ensure Europe continued to set international benchmarks that guided the development of everything from facial recognition systems, advances in battery power and the next generation of environmental innovations.
European Ad Group Hit With Sanctions Over Privacy Lapses
IAB Europe, an association for online advertising companies, was fined 250,000 euros ($282,690) and handed an ultimatum by Belgium’s data watchdog for developing an ad-targeting tool that violated the region’s privacy law.
GDPR enforcer rules that IAB Europe’s consent popups are unlawful
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
In a decision of 2 February 2022, 28 EU data protection authorities, led by the Belgian Data Protection Authority as the leading supervisory authority in the GDPR’s one-stop-mechanism, found that the online advertising industry’s trade body “IAB Europe” commits multiple violations of the GDPR in its processing of personal data in the context of its “Transparency and Consent Framework” (TCF) and the realtime bidding system OpenRTB.
Inside Trickbot, Russia’s Notorious Ransomware Gang
Internal messages WIRED has viewed shed new light on the operators of one of the world's biggest botnets.
'No war pls' — Gen Z is spamming Putin's Instagram asking him not to start World War III
Task & Purpose
As tensions rise in Europe and the United States prepares to send troops to support Ukraine against Russia, Generation Z has taken on another approach — simply asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to “please consider to just not start the war.”
As the U.S. Pulls Back From the Mideast, China Leans In
The New York Times
Ben Hubbard and Amy Qin
China is expanding its ties to Middle Eastern states with vast infrastructure investments and cooperation on technology and security.
These hackers are hitting victims with ransomware in an attempt to cover their tracks
Cyber-espionage campaigns linked to the Iranian government are using new malware to secretly snoop around networks, and then drop malware to hide any trace of activity.
VR to the ER: Metaverse Early Adopters Prove Accident-Prone
The Wall Street Journal
Sarah E. Needleman and Salvador Rodriguez
Tally includes broken vases, dislocated shoulders, injured girlfriends; ‘Why don’t you go to the gym like a normal person?’
Competitive programming with AlphaCode
As part of DeepMind’s mission to solve intelligence, we created a system called AlphaCode that writes computer programs at a competitive level.
Events and Podcasts
Hide and seek—how is technology transforming warfare?
Our podcast on the science and technology making the news. This week we explore the sophisticated sensors that are turning combat into an intense competition between hiding and finding
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.
ICPC Data Analyst
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for talented Data Analysts to join its growing centre. ASPI’s ICPC undertakes complex research on some of the most challenging issues at the intersection of technology and public policy. How do we develop international norms to deter information operations and coercive diplomacy, how should we build international cooperation on the development of emerging critical technologies, what is the right balance between regulation and innovation? We deliver empirical research that is policy-relevant and we’re looking for people who can help us analyse data at scale.