Insider Threat / Espionage

Insider espionage

CSE head-hunting aggressively

The Communications Security Establishment is looking for approximately 150 new full-time staff and 300 students next year, partly due to personnel shifting to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security which protects federal cyber assets and provides advice to industries, businesses and citizens on how to deal with online threats. An average day can bring more than 100 million malicious infiltration attempts. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese research links deemed risky

A Canberra-based think-tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says 43 Chinese universities should be considered “very high” or “high” risk to deal with because of their work on defence projects. The assessment by the ASPI, which is partly funded by the U.S. State Department, comes just weeks after the Australian government published guidelines for universities on how to reduce the threat of foreign entities leveraging academic research. [node:read-more:link]

Addressing the 5G conundrum

A report by NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence highlights the security risks of importing Huawei 5G telecom systems but acknowledges that national governments are unlikely to issue the “blanket bans” sought by the U.S. The report says an appropriate response is for more government supervision of what companies such as Huawei are offering. [node:read-more:link]

Cyber vulnerabilities directive

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agencyhas issued a draft operational directive that would require all civilian agencies to receive and resolve vulnerabilities identified by public security researchers who often find themselves in a legal grey area when reporting cyber vulnerabilities to government. The concept essentially is a penalty-free “if you see something, say something” approach. [node:read-more:link]

China tries to penetrate Australian parliament

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is disturbed by allegations in a Nov. 24 published report that China had offered a million dollars for a Chinese-Australian to run for a seat in the country’s parliament. The prospective 32-year-old candidate, who allegedly declined Beijing’s offer, was found dead of undetermined causes last March. [node:read-more:link]

Ex-CIA officer conspired to help China

A former Central Intelligence Agency case officer who pleaded guilty to conspiring to spy on behalf of China has been sentenced to 19 years in prison. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, had worked for the CIA in several locations and had intimate knowledge of its classified information and names of covert CIA officers in China. [node:read-more:link]

Call for tighter security

Warnings several years ago about gaps in Canada’s protection of ostensibly secure information are said to be gaining new traction as the case against a senior RCMP official moves through the legal process. It is leading to a call for a broad review of how intelligence agencies ensure their own staff do not lose or leak sensitive material. [node:read-more:link]

Fraud and security risks in U.S.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office says some companies doing business with the Department of Defense have opaque ownership structures which could hide fraud and national security risks. Recommending the DOD include contractor ownership details in risk assessments, the GAO says the current policy could mean that foreign interests could gain access to sensitive information through U.S.-based companies. [node:read-more:link]

Canada pressed over 5G concerns

The latest Halifax International Security Forum has been used by the U.S. as a platform to warn Canada that permitting 5G technology developed by China’s Huawei telecom giant could undermine this country’s relations with its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence community. Robert O’Brien, recently appointed as White House national security adviser, told reporters that Huawei 5G would be a “Trojan horse”, a warning reiterated by U.S. lawmakers during the forum itself. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. researchers duped by China

The Chinese government’s apparent success in recruiting U.S.-based scientists and researchers to work indirectly for Beijing has prompted the Senate to press the FBI to work with universities and federal research bodies which dole out billions in grant money. A bipartisan subcommittee has found that research results have been co-opted for China’s benefit since the early 2000s. [node:read-more:link]

Too many cooks in cyberbroth?

The U.S. government’s ability to defend against continuously evolving digital threats evidently is being compromised by excessive bureaucracy, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official. He understands the bureaucrats’ role but suggests that conflicting guidance and opinions contribute to organizational stagnation, a weakness exploited by adversaries. [node:read-more:link]

Three-way spy swap

Russia, Norway and Lithuania have swapped convicted spies in a deal which also required a change in Lithuanian law. The handover, which followed weeks of negotiations, involved two Russians, a Norwegian and two Lithuanians. [node:read-more:link]

Second-tier cyber threats

Russia and China are generally considered the most significant threats in the cyber domain, but one expert worries that “minor or middle powers” might be a more immediate concern. Brandon Valeriano, chair of Armed Politics at the Marine Corps University and a member of the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, was part of a panel at CyberCon 2019. [node:read-more:link]

Russian court rejects appeal

A former U.S. Marine who holds Canadian, British and Irish passports in addition to his U.S. documentation, remains in custody in Russia on espionage charges. A court has rejected Paul Whelan’s appeal of the extension of his detention until late December. Detained 11 months, he says he was set up for political reasons. [node:read-more:link]

Cameron Ortis returning to custody

Bail has been revoked for Cameron Ortis, the senior RCMP official accused of preparing to leak sensitive information. He was granted bail Oct. 22 but an Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered him back into custody until his trial. The reasons for Justice Marc Labrosse’s Nov. 8 decision are under a publication ban, as are details of the Crown’s review application. [node:read-more:link]


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