Russian election meddling blocked

Facebook has suspended Instagram and Facebook accounts linked to Russian efforts to manipulate America’s 2020 election. That came several hours after Czech Republic officials said they had dismantled a Russian espionage cell, disguised as a cybersecurity company, in anticipation of a wave of cyber attacks. [node:read-more:link]

Hackers use Iranian cyber tools

British and U.S. national security officials say that hackers believed to be Russian have used Iranian cyber tools and digital infrastructure to launch attacks on government and industry groups in at least 35 countries. The Turla group, widely believed to be Russian in origin, used the Nautilus and Neuron tools to target military, government, academic and scientific organizations, mostly in the Middle East. [node:read-more:link]

Some security investments problematic

Simplifying and consolidating cybersecurity infrastructure is one of the most significant challenges facing the sector, according to Craig Harber, chief technology officer of the Bethesda-based Fidelis Cybersecurity consultancy. The former Cyber Command and National Security Agency technical officer says the need is more urgent than ever because some cybersecurity investments translate directly to poor security. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged spy granted bail

Cameron Ortis, a senior RCMP official charged with violating the Security of Information Act and breach of trust for allegedly disclosing secrets to an unknown recipient and planning to reveal additional classified information to an unspecified foreign entity, has been granted bail. The terms of his release include having to live with his parents, reporting to RCMP weekly, and being prohibited from using any Internet-connected devices. [node:read-more:link]

Confidence in AI lacking?

The U.S. administration’s Office of Science & Technology Policy says it is trying to foster public trust and build government agencies’ confidence in regulating artificial intelligence technologies. The OSTP’s assistant director for artificial intelligence says in a memorandum that the goal is to establish some common principles and some predictability across agencies in terms of how they think about regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to the use of AI. [node:read-more:link]

Russia protests alleged espionage

Having found three U.S. diplomats in what it says is a restricted area near a military testing site, Russia plans a formal note of protest. The diplomats were removed from a train Oct. 12 and briefly detained. Although protected by diplomatic immunity, they are accused of not have the special permits foreigners needed to visit the area. [node:read-more:link]

Cybermonth concept questioned

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, promoted as a way to highlight the need for vigilance, but Kiersten Todt, managing director of The Cyber Readiness Institute is challenges the concept. “Cybersecurity shouldn’t be treated as a flavor of the month,” she writes. “We need to focus on it every day, for a simple reason: humans pose the biggest cybersecurity threat of all.... While security technology is much better than it was even just a few years ago, it nonetheless contains one major liability: it’s often only as good as the humans who use it.” [node:read-more:link]

Countering disinformation

The U.S. needs to refresh and expand its counterintelligence efforts in the face of a growing wave of cyberattacks, says Christopher Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. [node:read-more:link]

Military bug-hunting fruitful

Ethical hackers apparently have found critical vulnerabilities in Department of Defense systems through a “hack the proxy” program which probed the DoD’s virtual private networks. Of the 312 vulnerabilities identified, nine were considered “high severity.” An Army secure file-sharing site was taken offline last year after a similar exercise disclosed a critical weakness. [node:read-more:link]

Cameron Ortis bail hearing

Oct. 17-18 has been set aside by an Ottawa court to hearing a bail application by Cameron Ortis, the former RCMP intelligence director charged with breaching the Security of Information Act and other statutes by allegedly collecting information for possible disclosure. He faces seven counts from early 2015 until his arrest in mid-September. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. intelligence official arrested

Henry Kyle Frese, a Defense Intelligence Agency official in Virginia, has been charged ith leaking classified information to two journalists. Arrested by the FBI Oct. 9 when he arrived for work, the 30-year-old is alleged to have accessed at least five classified reports and provided information about another country’s weaponry to one of the journalists with whom he had a relationship. [node:read-more:link]

Iranian hackers active

Microsoft Corp. has confirmed that hackers linked to the Iranian government have targeted a U.S. presidential campaign, government officials, news media prominent expatriate Iranians. Declining to be more specific, Microsoft says the hackers tried to penetrate 241 accounts, but only four successfully but none associated with presidential candidates or government officials. Their activity occurred during 30 days bridging August and September. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged spy’s computers encrypted

Cameron Ortis, the RCMP intelligence director accused of preparing to leak secrets to a foreign entity or terrorist group had dozens of computers at his home. The fact that most were encrypted creates legal issues for investigators and the prosecution. [node:read-more:link]

Cyberskill shortage predicted.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington think-tank, is predicting a 1.8-million shortfall in cybersecurity positions by 2022. While acknowledging efforts by key agencies, universities and technical schools to fill the growing gap, the center says more effort is needed.  [node:read-more:link]

The promise and threat of 5G

While the U.S. government and the private sector are excited about the potential of 5G telecommunications, they also worry about its potential use as a weapon against networks. Among those expressing concern are former Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler, current FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, and former National Security Council Senior Director for Strategic Planning Robert Spalding. [node:read-more:link]


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