Insider Threat / Espionage

Insider espionage

Huawei facing renewed pressure in Europe

The espionage trial of a former Polish intelligence agent and a former Huawei employee began today in Warsaw as some European countries consider whether to block the Chinese company’s involvement in upgrading their telecommunications networks. The two accused were arrested in January 2019. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese research links worrisome

Alberta has ordered four universities to stop seeking research projects linked to the Chinese government. “I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships […] may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides says. “More needs to be done to curb foreign state infiltration into our research and innovation centres.” [node:read-more:link]

Cybersecurity a Biden priority

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team evidently has cybersecurity a priority if impending cabinet nominees are any indication. The named individuals would begin “working immediately to rebuild our institutions, renew and reimagine American leadership to keep Americans safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time.” [node:read-more:link]

Top-secret cloud service unveiled

A new cloud-based service designed to secure some of the U.S. government’s most sensitive workloads has been completed by Microsoft. A company executive calls Azure Government Top Secret a “natural extension” to the cloud-based services for the intelligence community. [node:read-more:link]

Cameron Ortis case an intriguing web

The RCMP’s decision to charge its head of intelligence, Cameron Ortis, with leaking secrets evidently was due to the involvement of a U.S. gambler who also is an FBI informant. R.J. Cipriani says that concern about being drawn into criminal activity through the Internet led to another individual being convicted of drug trafficking and that the FBI, in pursuing that case, led to a B.C. company to which Ortis, whose trial is ongoing, is alleged to have offered secret information. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign comms technology ban?

A U.S. Department of Commerce directive plan to prohibit the purchase of information and communications technologies from “foreign adversaries” is getting some push-back from smaller telecom carriers. One says the executive order might even be illegal. [node:read-more:link]

Cybersecurity mishandled in U.S

Despite the “expenditure of substantial resources,” the U.S. State Department stands accused by  internal auditors of continued failure to secure itself against cyberattacks. Its Office of the Inspector General says in a new report that “significant” shortcomings put sensitive information at risk at home and abroad. [node:read-more:link]

5G targeted in U.S. Senate bill

Draft legislation introduced by a group of senior U.S. Senators could require common operational standards for mobile networking equipment as a way to avoid Chinese providers which the U.S. considers a national security threat. The bipartisan bill has been welcomed by the domestic telecom sector. [node:read-more:link]

EU permitting limited 5G use

A day after Britain announced a similar approach, the European Union said 29 January that it prefers not to impose a blanket ban on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s 5G technologies. Instead, in the latest setback for the U.S. campaign against Huawei, the EU’s governing commission has unveiled security measures which including blocking access to “critical and sensitive” elements of European mobile networks. [node:read-more:link]

Two arrested over China ties

Charles Lieber, head of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, has been charged with lying about his ties to a Chinese-run recruitment program and concealing payments he received for research. Authorities also announced that Yanqing Ye, described as a People’s Liberation Army officer doing research at Boston University, was charged for allegedly sending research-related documents and other information to Beijing. [node:read-more:link]

“Ghost guns” decision at issue

The District of Columbia and 20 states are challenging what they see as the easing of federal controls on “ghost guns”, untraceable firearms manufactured with 3D printing. President Donald Trump’s administration says that effective in March, the requisite software controlled by the Department of State’s through the U.S. Munitions List will become a Department of Commerce jurisdiction. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. lawmakers tackle security bodies

A bipartisan group in the U.S. Congress want to reform legislation used by the National Security Agency and other bodies to gain access to telephone records and other domestic communications. The access through the Patriot Act was facilitated mostly in the aftermath of the September 2011 terrorist attacks in the U.S. However, the proposed Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act would constrain that access. [node:read-more:link]

Congress upset at Brits’ 5G decision

The British government’s decision to allow limited use of Huawei 5G technology has prompted a group of Republicans in the U.S. Congress to introduce a bill designed to curtail intelligence sharing with the U.K. One says Britain’s decision gives China a “foothold” to conduct espionage as well as more economic and political leverage. [node:read-more:link]

Canada 5G plans practicable?

As Canada considers its 5G options and possible Huawei involvement despite U.S. security concerns, a prominent researcher says the government is putting together a policy which she described as logical. However, Catherine Rosenberg at the University of Waterloo, suggests that it remains “unclear” whether the policy would work the way the government would like. [node:read-more:link]

Extremists a law enforcement challenge

Federal departments and agencies involved in national security have been wrestling with how to address growing right-wing extremism, according to redacted briefing notes prepared for deputy ministers last year but made public through the Access to Information Act. Among other things, the notes point out that hate crimes investigations are largely the remit of local law enforcement which, in many communities, is the RCMP. [node:read-more:link]


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