Insider Threat / Espionage

Insider espionage

5G Bill signed by Trump

The U.S. government executive branch is now legally obliged to develop a strategy for securing 5G and subsequent generations of communications technologies. President Donald Trump signed off on the Secure 5G and Beyond Act even as his administration continues to press its allies to eschew foreign companies such as China’s Huawei. [node:read-more:link]

Canada a target of foreign meddling

Freedom House, a Washing-based lobby group, has released a report on how expatriates in dozens of democracies, including Canada, are harassed and threatened by their homelands. Believed to be unprecedented in scope, the report on “transnational repression” specifically names China, Iran, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. [node:read-more:link]

Cybersecurity wake-up call

An unsuccessful attempt to hack into a Florida city’s water supply is seen as a wake-up call for the U.S. government to assess its protection of critical infrastructure. Officials in the city of Oldsmar and surrounding county say a “bad actor” managed to increase sodium hydroxide levels to potentially dangerous levels but that the hack was intercepted within a few minutes. Local authorities said that “everyone should be on notice.” [node:read-more:link]

British academics under investigation

Nearly 200 British academics at more than 12 universities evidently are being investigated on suspicion of unwittingly helping China to build weapons of mass destruction. They are reported to have unknowingly breached export controls designed to protect intellectual property. [node:read-more:link]

Right-wing worries in Germany

The main opposition political party in Germany has become a key target in the government’s bid to curb the spread of fight-wing activism. The Alternative for Germany party not only sits in the federal parliament but also is entrenched at all levels of politics in nearly every region. [node:read-more:link]

Renewed warning about electoral interference

The chairman of the parliamentary National Security and Intelligence Committee says anyone involved in Canada’s electoral processes must be alert to possible foreign interference. “It means individuals joining political parties and attending nomination meetings in order to attempt to exert influence,” David McGuinty said after the committee’s latest report was tabled in the House of Commons April 11. “Usually, the motivation is directed in some way by a foreign government.” [node:read-more:link]

Ex-USAF employee jailed for espionage

A West Virginia woman who once served in the U.S.Air Force, working with the National Security Agency, has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Monday for planning to offer NSA information to Russia. She pleaded guilty last year as part of a plea agreement. [node:read-more:link]

Regulator reaffirms concerns about China

Five Chinese companies—Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hangzhou and Zhejiang Dahua—have been confirmed by the Federal Communications Commission as threats to U.S. national security. “That will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat,” Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said March 12. [node:read-more:link]

Domestic threats worrisome

The U.S. intelligence community says the country faces a substantial internal threat from a range of domestic extremists who could move forward with plans to carry out attacks against fellow citizens or the government. An unclassified assessment released March 17 says the threat is broad-based, involving individuals and small groups who subscribe to violent ideologies and are “galvanized by recent political and societal events.” [node:read-more:link]

Italian frigate commander arrested

An Italian navy officer identified as a frigate captain has been arrested while allegedly handing over classified documents to a Russian officer posted at his country’s embassy in Rome. A national police special operations unit carried out the arrests March 30 “during a clandestine meeting between the two” at which money changed hands. [node:read-more:link]

Former USAF analyst guilty of leaks

A former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst pleaded guilty March 31 to leaking classified documents to a journalist about military drone strikes against Middle East terrorist targets in 2014 and 2015. Daniel Hale, who was working as a contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at the time, faces up to 10 years in prison. [node:read-more:link]

Italy expels Russian officials

Two Russian officials have been expelled from Italy in connection with an espionage case, which Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio describes as “an extremely serious hostile act.” His March 31 statement follows the arrest of an Italian navy captain and the detention of a Russian military attaché the Italian authorities say were “caught in flagrante” in an exchange of cash for classified documents. [node:read-more:link]

Pentagon tackles Chinese influence

A surge in Chinese companies’ investment in U.S. defence suppliers has prompted the Pentagon to approve more than $311 million in potential partnerships with the private sector in a bid to contain Beijing;s influence. The Trusted Capital program targets, among others, companies involved in artificial intelligence and biotechnology. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign interference at new levels

The Canadian Security Intelligence Services says last year saw the highest level of foreign espionage and interference directed at Canadian targets since the end of the Cold War. “The fluid and rapidly evolving environment caused by COVID-19 has created a situation ripe for exploitation,” CSIS Director David Vigneault says in his latest annual report. “Violent extremism, foreign interference, espionage and malicious cyber activity, accelerated, evolved and in many ways became much more serious.” [node:read-more:link]


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