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Internet Gov Weekly Brief (W6Y20): UN WHO to Address Coronavirus Misinformation; Russia Proposes Internet Ecosystem to fight ‘Foreign Influence’; U.S Welcomes EU’s Acknowledgement on 5G suppliers; U.S. NSA’s recommendations to secure cloud assets….

Internet Gov Weekly Brief (W6Y20): UN WHO to Address Coronavirus Misinformation; Russia Proposes Internet Ecosystem to fight ‘Foreign Influence’; U.S Welcomes EU’s Acknowledgement on 5G suppliers; U.S. NSA’s recommendations to secure cloud assets….

INDEX / MAIN NEWS

WEEKLY BRIEF

CYBER GEOPOLITICS

Russia Proposes Internet Ecosystem to Protect Users From ‘Foreign Influence’ – Report

« Russia’s state-controlled telecommunications provider is proposing a 260-billion-ruble ($4.1 billion) online ecosystem to “protect users from foreign influence,” the Kommersant business daily reported Wednesday…”

Pro-Russian CyberSpy Gamaredon Intensifies Ukrainian Security Targeting

“Pro-Russian Gamaredon APT group has evolved over the last few months, introducing new components to boost its offensive power against the Ukrainian government…”

Russia rejects appeal from former U.S. Marine held on spying charges

“A Russian court on Tuesday upheld a decision to keep former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in custody until March 29 pending trial on charges of espionage…”

United States Welcomes the EU’s Acknowledgement of the Unacceptable Risks Posed by Untrusted 5G Suppliers

« On January 29, the European Union (EU) Network Information Security Cooperation Group released a toolbox of recommended measures to mitigate security risks in 5G networks.  The United States welcomes this initiative from Member States, the Commission, and the EU Cybersecurity Agency…”

5G espionage ! US upping pressure on Switzerland to drop Huawei technology

“US authorities have contacted the Swiss foreign ministry several times in recent weeks to raise concerns about the security risks of using Huawei technology.

According to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, the US embassy in Bern has confirmed that several conversations have recently taken place about 5G, Huawei, and the risk of espionage…”

FBI director warns of ongoing Russian ‘information warfare’

“FBI Director Chris Wray said Wednesday that Russia is engaged in “information warfare” heading into the 2020 presidential election, though he said law enforcement has not seen ongoing efforts by Russia to target America’s election infrastructure…”

Director of U.S. Counterintelligence: ‘We had a horrible year’

« The head of U.S. counterintelligence said Tuesday that the intelligence community had a terrible 2019 hampered by turncoats from within and outside of government.

William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, told a gathering of cybersecurity professionals that insider threats posed the greatest risk for Americans. He also previewed a new counterintelligence strategy to be introduced by the federal government Monday…”

ODNI Plans to Share More About Cyber Threats Under New Counterintelligence Strategy

“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will take a “whole of society” approach that hopes to encourage greater private-sector participation in protecting the country from cyber threats, according to a leading official who said a related strategy document will be published Monday…”

Huawei promises ‘Made in Europe’ 5G for EU

“Huawei is more committed to Europe than ever before,” said the company’s top executive for Europe Abraham Liu during a Chinese New Year reception in Brussels. The event also marked the 20th anniversary of Huawei’s presence in Europe….”

Why Pakistan is not joining global forum on cybercrime

« The Ministry of Interior on Friday informed the Lahore High Court that Pakistan had not signed so far the Budapest Convention on cybercrime due to reservations shown by intelligence agencies…”

Canadian governments give Huawei millions in funding while debate rages over its 5G role

“As it fights for the right to be part of Canada’s future 5G wireless network, Huawei Technologies often cites the fact it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in this country…”

Lithuania: Biggest threats come from Russia, China

“The government and the Lithuanian national security agency said in a joint security assessment that Russia’s foreign and security policies are “driven by the Kremlin’s desire to ensure the regime’s stability and demonstrate its indispensability to a domestic audience.”

It also listed China, citing “the malicious use of Chinese cyber capabilities in Lithuanian cyberspace…”

CYBER POLITICS – CYBER COOPERATION

International cooperation needed for secure, free digital world, says UN Special Advisor

“International cooperation is required to realise the benefits of digital technology and new technologies, said Fabrizio Hochschild, special advisor on preparations for the United Nations (UN) 75th anniversary commemoration in a Feb. 1 interview with The Astana Times…”

Europe fit for the digital age:  Towards a truly European digital society / European Commission

“We live in times where dreams can be fulfilled and nightmares can come true very quickly. Because of digital technologies, dreams of equal access to top level education and health care, ease of transport and a sustainable planet can become reality..”

Ghana, Israel Sign Deal To Strengthen Cybersecurity

“The MoU was signed in Tel Aviv, Israel, where Ghana’s Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has led Ghana’s delegation to take part in the three-day CyberTech Global 2020 conference which took place last week in Tel Aviv, Israel from 28-30 January 2020…”

CYBER ATTACKS

UK High Court Approves Freezing Injunction on $1M Ransomware Payment

“The UK High Court of Justice approved a freezing injunction on over $1 million paid by an English insurance company to ransomware actors.

The Honorable Mr. Justice Bryan announced his approved judgement in a decision released for publication by the High Court of Justice on January 17, 2020…”

Japanese company NEC confirms 2016 security breach

“Japanese electronics and IT company NEC Corp disclosed a security breach today that took place more than three years ago, in December 2016….”

Coronavirus Fears Exploited in Phishing Attacks

“Over the past few weeks, we have been patiently awaiting a surge in malicious email activity surrounding the Novel Coronavirus outbreak that has garnered headlines across the globe…”

California man who hacked into Nintendo servers to steal video games and other proprietary information pleads guilty

“A 21-year-old Palmdale, California, man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to federal crimes related to his computer hacking scheme and his possession of child pornography found on his digital devices, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran…”

California : Attorney general warns of data breaches

“Attorney General Josh Stein announced Jan. 28 that a record number of data breaches had been reported to the N.C. Department of Justice last year as he released the department’s 2019 data breach annual report…”

Email Attackers Abusing Coronavirus Outbreak to Spread Emotet

“Security researchers observed email attackers abusing the coronavirus outbreak to infect concerned users with the Emotet trojan…”

Malware campaign targeting U.S. government likely linked to North Korea: report

“A group of hackers suspected to be linked to North Korea has attacked a U.S. government agency and researchers working on DPRK issues with a new type of malware, cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks said in a report issued late last month…”

Brazil judge rejects hacking accusation against journalist Glenn Greenwald

« A judge in Brazil’s capital on Thursday dismissed accusations that journalist Glenn Greenwald was involved in hacking phones of officials, following weeks of criticism that his prosecution would infringe on constitutional protections for the press.”

ENCRYPTION

Home Affairs report reveals deeper problems with Australia’s encryption laws

“Australian law enforcement agencies used their controversial new powers under the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 just seven times in seven months, and all were voluntary Technical Assistance Requests (TARs)…”

Court orders safeguards for Kenyan digital IDs, bans DNA collecting

“Kenya’s high court said the government could go ahead with a new digital ID scheme, as long as it brought in stronger regulations and did not use it to collect citizens’ DNA and geo-location data…”

SECURITY

Brazil just publishes National Cybersecurity strategy

U.S. National Security Agency made major recommendations to organizations to secure their cloud assets

« In their recent publication, Mitigating Cloud Vulnerabilities, the U.S. National Security Agency made major recommendations to organizations to secure their cloud assets….”

Security supervision changes in the new EU telecoms legislation

“ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity analyses the main changes for telecom security supervision under the new European Electronic Communication Code (EECC)…”

Philippines steps up security to shield power grid from foreign control

“The Philippines is beefing up security protocols to protect its energy sector from foreign interference, its national security adviser said, following concerns raised by some of the country’s politicians about China’s access to the country’s power grid…”

DHS Directives Have Strengthened Federal Cybersecurity, but Improvements Are Needed

“The Department of Homeland Security issues mandatory cybersecurity directives for most federal agencies. For example, one directive requires agencies to better secure their websites and email systems. If the actions specified in these directives are not addressed, agency systems can remain at risk…”

DOD to Require Cybersecurity Certification in Some Contract Bids

“By the end of September, the Defense Department will require at least some companies bidding on defense contracts to certify that they meet at least a basic level of cybersecurity standards when responding to a request for proposals…”

Pentagon weapons tester hones in on cyber tools

The Pentagon’s weapons tester has bolstered its focus on cyber capabilities pursued by the department through U.S. Cyber Command and its service acquisition executives, according to its annual report.

NIST Releases Cyber Supply Chain Draft Guidance

“The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking public comment on the Feb. 4 draft of its cyber supply chain risk management guidance.

The new guidance, Key Practices in Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management, walks stakeholders through strategies to address possible cybersecurity issues associated with the modern IT supply chain. The draft discusses the complexities of vulnerabilities in a changing cyber supply chain that can make it difficult to secure the system from threats…”

Interpol uncovers cyber crime operation in Indonesia

“An Interpol-coordinated cyber operation leads to the arrest of three people in Indonesia who allegedly used a JavaScript-sniffer malware to steal payment card details of online shoppers…”

India: Government taking steps to prevent online frauds: Minister

“The government is taking steps to prevent people from becoming victims of online frauds, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Krishan Reddy informed Parliament on Tuesday.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Reddy said that the government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Phone Frauds with stakeholder organisations like the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Department of Financial Services, Department of Telecommunication, Reserve Bank of India and law enforcement agencies as its members…”

DATA PROTECTION

UK to diverge from EU data protection rules, Johnson confirms

« The United Kingdom will seek to diverge from EU data protection rules and establish their own ‘sovereign’ controls in the field, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (3 February). His comments came despite the EU affirming that the UK should “fully respect EU data protection rules….”

Google Faces Privacy Probe in EU Over Location Tracking

“Google faces one more probe in the European Union over concerns the company’s processing of user location data could violate the bloc’s tough privacy rules….”

Phishing attack exposes data for over 5,000 people at St. Louis Community College

“The college said the attacks targeted former and current students and employees and gave the criminals access to the data stored in their email accounts. The sensitive information accessed included names, student identification numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. In total, 5,127 individuals had their information exposed, of those, 71 people had their Social Security Numbers compromised…”

Data leaks and hacking reports rise, Maastricht Uni comes clean on ransomware

« The Dutch data protection authority AP received more than 27,000 reports of data leaks last year, most of which came from the financial sector, the agency said on Thursday…”

Review of online targeting: Final report and  recommendations

“Online targeting is a remarkable technological development. The ability to monitor our behaviour, see how we respond to different information and use that insight to influence what we see has transformed the internet, and impacted our society and the economy…”

Online targeting needs tighter controls, UK data ethics body suggests

« A UK government advisory body on AI and data ethics has recommended tighter controls on how platform giants can use ad targeting and content personalization…”

Salesforce Data Breach Suit Cites California Privacy Law

“Salesforce.com Inc. and a children’s clothing company face data-breach allegations in a federal court lawsuit that is among the first to cite California’s landmark privacy law since it took effect Jan. 1…”

Twitter Privacy Center: An Incident Impacting your Account Identity

« On December 24, 2019 we became aware that someone was using a large network of fake accounts to exploit our API and match usernames to phone numbers. We immediately suspended these accounts and are disclosing the details of our investigation to you today because we believe it’s important that you are aware of what happened, and how we fixed it….” 

NIST tests methods of recovering data from smashed smartphones

“Smash it, submerge it in water, and perhaps shoot it for good measure – just three of the methods criminals use to permanently erase digital evidence from smartphones.

And yet, as many criminals have found out to their cost, reducing a device to a pile of smashed plastic and glass means nothing if the internal memory chips remain in working order…”

CONTENT

Coronavirus: UN health agency moves fast to tackle ‘infodemic’; Guterres warns against stigmatization

« The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken steps to ensure that the coronavirus epidemic that has claimed hundreds of lives in central China does not spark a dangerous social media “infodemic” fuelled by false information…”

Twitter bans ‘deepfakes’ and ‘cheap fakes’

“Twitter has banned “deepfakes”, or manipulated videos, as it battens down the hatches for a misinformation offensive expected ahead of this year’s US presidential election.

The social network will alert users if a video in their timeline has been altered and label it as “manipulated media” from March 5….”

Extremist Content Online: ISIS & White Supremacists Call For Violence Against Religious And Racial Minorities

“The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. This week, ISIS’s spokesman called for attacks on Jews in an audio release. Additionally, a neo-Nazi music album was released on Dropbox that called for the murder and genocide of Jews, Muslims, and people of color…”

DOMAIN NAME

Sale of .org domain registry delayed by California attorney general

« California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) demanding more information about the private equity takeover of the .org domain registry. The attorney general is seeking answers to 35 questions concerning the sale as well as documents sent between ICANN, private equity firm Ethos Capital, and Public Interest Registry (PIR), which manages the .org domain…”

Internet Society Encourages “Swift and Thorough” ICANN Response to Pending Inquiry Regarding Change of Control of Public Interest Registry

« The Internet Society works to promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world. We formed Public Interest Registry in 2002 to operate the .ORG registry as an exemplary top-level domain in a fashion intended to set the quality, efficiency and privacy standards for the Internet domain industry…”

ACCESS

Myanmar re-imposes internet shutdown in conflict-ravaged Rakhine

“Myanmar has deployed an Internet shutdown in two conflict-ravaged western states after partially removing the outage five months ago, a leading telecommunications operator said late Monday…”

INTERNET RESOURCES

RIPE NCC and Jordan regulator partner up to increase awareness about IPv6 deployment in Jordan

« Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), in partnership with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in Jordan (TRC), successfully hosted a series of workshops and training sessions aimed at increasing the awareness about IPv6 deployment in Amman, Jordan..”

NET NEUTRALITY

U.S. appeals court will not reconsider net neutrality repeal case

« A U.S. appeals court said late on Thursday it will not reconsider an October ruling that largely upheld the repeal of landmark net neutrality rules, rejecting requests by more than a dozen U.S. states and tech groups…”

DIGITAL ECONOMY

INDIA : Government weaves tax net for internet’s global biggies

« India has introduced an enabling provision that will make an overseas platform that advertises, streams or sells goods to an Indian IP address taxable in the country…”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Clearview AI hit with cease-and-desist from Google, Facebook over facial recognition collection

« Google, YouTube and Facebook have sent a cease-and-desist letters to Clearview AI, the facial recognition company that has been scraping billions of photos off the internet and using it to help more than 600 police departments identify people within seconds…” 

TELECOM / INFRASTRUCTURE

EU Eyes Carbon-Neutral Data Centers by 2030 in Green-Tech Switch

« European Commission says information and communications technologies must undergo their own “green transformation” to deliver their benefits in a draft plan…”

EU wants to force Apple and other tech firms to use the same phone charger

“The European Parliament has called for tech companies to be forced into adopting a universal charger – setting itself up for a clash with Apple. A resolution was passed with 582 voting in favour and 40 against, calling on the European Commission to publish an impact assessment on introducing a common charger ‘with a view to proposing mandatory provisions’…”

CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION

Facebook plan to encrypt platforms risks child abuse

« More than 100 child protection organisations on Thursday urged Facebook to halt plans for strong encryption of all its platforms, saying that would allow predators to operate freely…”

ICANN

An Update on the Coronavirus and Its Impact on ICANN

« As you are likely aware, there has been an outbreak of a new coronavirus, 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCOV), which was first identified in Wuhan, China. The virus has spread, with confirmed cases currently in 18 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that this is a Global Health Emergency…”

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