Insider Threat / Espionage

Insider espionage

Huawei remains an issue for U.S.

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has revived concerns that permitting the Huawei 5G technology into the U.S. would give China access to “sensitive and personal information” through backdoors built into its software. The U.S. administration insists the global telecom giant is bound to spy on behalf of Beijing, a claim Huawei and China consistently deny. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged spy still in custody

A Russian court says former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan must remain in custody pending trial on espionage charges. Whelan, who holds British, Canadian, Irish and U.S. and who was detained in December 2018, is liable for up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. [node:read-more:link]

Huawei 5G in Canada

As Canada’s partners within the Five Eyes security coalition take different approaches to the use of Huawei 5G technology, Ottawa has yet to decide whether to permit its use and a new Angus Reid poll indicates that Canadians are divided. Some 56 per cent favour following the U.S., Australia and New Zealand in banning Huawei, 34 per cent like Britain’s limited use policy and 10 per cent evidently would have no issue with Huawei building the entire 5G infrastructure. [node:read-more:link]

Political division in the Five Eyes?

A planned British visit by an Australian parliamentary committee reportedly has been canceled due to differences over Huawei’s role in Britain's 5G network but Britain says the change in plans is because Westminster has yet to establish a counterpart committee. Australia has banned the Chinese company outright and is said to be disappointed by its intelligence partner's decision to allow Huawei limited access. [node:read-more:link]

CIA staffer on trial

Software engineer Joshua Schulte, a former CIA coder accused of sending much of the agency’s computer hacking arsenal to Wikileaks, is being portrayed by trial prosecutors as “prepared to do anything” to betray his employer. Meanwhile, his defence counsel contends that Schulte is being scapegoated for a breach that exposed cyberweapons and spying techniques.  [node:read-more:link]

Chinese and Russian meddling

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says China and Russia are using expatriates, undercover agents and university-based groups to interfere in Canadian affairs. The warning is part of a heavily-redacted report released by the committee. NSICOP Chairman David McGuinty declined to say how successful any countermeasures have been. [node:read-more:link]

Quest for the “Holy Grail”

The head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Scott Jones, says it's working on a level of data encryption to enhance government information in the fact of reported increases in privacy breaches and software attacks. “We want encryption when it's being processed so you don't have to decrypt it to do it, and that's something called homomorphic encryption,” he says. “That’s the Holy Grail.” [node:read-more:link]

A perfect cyber storm

The huge numbers of employees working from home due to COVID-19 concerns, away from their employers’ IT resources, evidently are being targeted anew by fraudsters. False messages about employment insurance claims or from bogus health-related companies and government agencies are being used to steal personal data or to spread malware. [node:read-more:link]

Montreal “boogaloo” site shut down

A website promoting armed protests in the U.S. ahead of next week’s presidential inauguration in Washington has been shut down by the Montreal company hosting its cloud servers. The site billed itself as the “press platform” for the so-called Boogaloo movement of often violent gun advocates who embrace the idea of a second Civil War. [node:read-more:link]

New orders for U.S. intel community

Last year’s SolarWinds cyberattack and its impact on U.S. agencies and IT companies is being assessed within a “full assessment” of alleged Russian involvement. The new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a former State Department spokesperson, says the review ordered by President Joe Biden also will look into “Russian interference in the 2020 election, its use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Nevalny and the alleged bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.” [node:read-more:link]

Growing foreign influence problematic

There is a growing body of complaints about Chinese Communist Party efforts to “influence” Canadian business, academic and political circles. “The threat from espionage and foreign interference is significant and continues to grow,” says the latest annual report by the Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), chaired by Ottawa Liberal MP David McGuinty. “Intelligence shows that China and Russia remain the primary culprits.” [node:read-more:link]

Proud Boys Canada dissolved

Having been officially designed a terrorist entity, right-wing Proud Boys Canada has dissolved while continuing to reject the government’s characterization. The decision was announced by its U.S. parent organization. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS warned about security risks

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service had recommended revocation of two researchers’ security clearances long before they were fired from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The agency’s concerned related to communications that Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, had with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, including the transfer of intellectual property. [node:read-more:link]

Israeli indicted on espionage

An unidentified Israeli has been indicted on charges of spying for Iran and conspiring with that country’s intelligence apparatus to recruit Israeli Arabs for terrorist attacks. Shin Bet says that when he was arrested in March, the man was in possession of an encryption device and that he had been in contact with a Lebanese member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. [node:read-more:link]

High-level security reminder

U.S. federal agencies that heeded President Donald Trump’s push to move operations to the cloud are being reminded that security is paramount. “We want to ensure that in these quick migrations that we’ve done, that we fully understand both the positives as well as some of the assumptions we’ve made,” says Matthew Scholl, chief of the Computer Security Division in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He and other officials warn that security could be compromised if vendors aren’t appropriately managed. [node:read-more:link]


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