Cyber Security/Protection

U.S. a technology hegemony?

Reacting to reports that Huawei’s access to U.S. chips and other computer essentials could be further constrained, China accused it today of pursuing “technology hegemony.” A Commerce Department “entity” list has limited the global telecom giant’s access since 2019 and the Chinese foreign ministry said the latest development would be “over-stretching the concept of national security and abusing state power.” [node:read-more:link]

Time out for TikTok?

The head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security says Canadians should be wary of apps that could leave their data in the “wrong hands.” Sami Khoury’s warning comes as the globally popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok faces claims that it is data harvesting. “You have to ask yourself the question: do they need to access that information?” he says. “In some cases, it lands in places that don’t live by the same principles of rule of law (and) respect for human rights.” [node:read-more:link]

Mendicino open to cyber improvements

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says he is prepared to work with parliamentarians to find ways to “improve” the federal government’s cybersecurity bill, C-26, after civil society groups and opposition MPs expressed concern about transparency and accountability. Mendicino says the draft legislation introduced seven months ago is designed to improve protection against online threats to national security. [node:read-more:link]

The “zero trust” paradigm

Canada joined its Five Eyes partners for a recent meeting at the headquarters of the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency and Cyber Command to discuss the “zero trust” paradigm which assumes communications networks are already compromised and, as a result, require continuous validation of users and devices. [node:read-more:link]

AI a growing challenge for NATO

The growing role of artificial intelligence in cyber attacks is a “double-edged sword” and a “huge challenge” for NATO, according to David van Weel, Assistant Secretary-General for Emerging Security Challenges. ““Artificial intelligence allows defenders to scan networks more automatically, and fend off attacks rather than doing it manually,” the Dutch national says. “But the other way around, of course, it's the same game.” [node:read-more:link]

Hackers hit Amnesty International Canada

Amnesty International Canada disclosed December 4 that its English-language unit was targetted in October by hackers linked to China. “We are very aware that we may be the target of state-sponsored attempts to disrupt or surveil our work,” AIC Director General Ketty Nivyabandi said. “These will not intimidate us and the security and privacy of our activists, staff, donors, and stakeholders remain our utmost priority.” Secureworks, a U.S. cybersecurity company, said that forensics had established that “a threat group sponsored or tasked by the Chinese state” was the likely culprit. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. bans Chinese 5G companies

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced unprecedented rules today designed to ban several Chinese telecom companies it considers an “unacceptable risk to national security” because of how their products could be used to interfere 5G wireless networks and collect sensitive information. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the move against Huawei and four other companies had “broad, bipartisan backing” among congressional leaders. [node:read-more:link]

Sweden planning defence budget hike

Sweden’s draft 2023 budget includes a proposed increase in defence spending to the equivalent of US$8.3 billion from this year’s $7.1 billion, prioritizing cyberdefence, signals intelligence, preparedness and expanded recruitment. Defence Minister Pål Jonson said today that the plan is for defence capability to be “gradually expanded year-on-year going forward” as the country, awaiting approval of NATO membership, moves toward the alliance’s spending targets. [node:read-more:link]

Ransomware a British preoccupation

The British government’s interdepartmental COBRA crisis management team has spent post of its recent meetings addressing ransomware attacks on utilities and other critical services rather than other emergencies. The focus seems to be a response to warnings by the National Cyber Security Centre that ministerial responses to the growing number of attacks was inadequate. [node:read-more:link]

Time out for Tik Tok?

FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned the U.S. Congress that the globally popular Chinese-owned Tik Tok social media site is a potential threat to national security, He cites “the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.” [node:read-more:link]

Australian health insurer extorted

The Australian Federal Police suspects “loosely-affiliated” Russian hackers of trying to extort a major medical insurance company. “We believe that those responsible for the breach are in Russia,” Commissioner Reece Kershaw said today. Meanwhile, the AFP was ““undertaking covert measures and working around the clock with our domestic agencies and our international networks.” [node:read-more:link]

“Digital Red Cross” protection proposed

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is proposing “digital” markers in the hope of protecting websites and systems used for medical and humanitarian purposes against cyberattacks. The “markers” could incorporate information that targetted institutions are protected by the Geneva Conventions. [node:read-more:link]

Canada recommits to cybersecurity initiative

Cybersecurity officials from Canada and three dozen countries agreed November 1 that they would continue to cooperate on responding to ransomware attacks. Their meeting in Washington also set the stage for an Australia-led International Counter Ransomware Task Force to facilitate information sharing. [node:read-more:link]

German cyberboss dismissed

Arne Schönbohm, head of the Federal Office for Information Security in Germany since 2016, was dismissed October 17 by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser after it was reported that he had links to Russian intelligence services. The specific claim is that a Russian cybersecurity firm set up by a former KGB agent is a member of the Cyber Security Council of Germany co-founded by Schönbohm in 2012. “All known allegations will be thoroughly and vigorously investigated and subjected to a detailed evaluation,” a ministry official explained. “Until this investigation has been completed, Mr. [node:read-more:link]

Cybersecurity bill described as flawed

A University of Toronto researcher says draft federal cybersecurity legislation needs to be extensively rewritten if it is not to become a tool for potential government oppression. Bill C-26 ostensibly would improve national security and give authorities new tools to respond to threats but the researcher warns that broad-reaching secrecy clauses could limit the private sector’s ability to contest government overreach. [node:read-more:link]


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