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Internet Gov Weekly Brief (W2Y20): Travelex cyberattack; US government FDLP website hacked; FBI seeks Apple’s help unlocking phones; Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority report; Remembering Peter Kirstein (1933 – 2020)

Internet Gov Weekly Brief (W2Y20): Travelex cyberattack; US government FDLP website hacked; FBI seeks Apple’s help unlocking phones; Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority report; Remembering Peter Kirstein (1933 – 2020)




‘Shot across the bow’: US steps up pressure on UK ahead of Huawei decision

« The United States is making a final pitch to Britain ahead of a UK decision on whether to upgrade its telecoms network with Huawei equipment, amid threats to cut intelligence-sharing ties, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters…”

Australia: APRA allies with spy agencies to combat cyber threats

« The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has allied with the world’s top intelligence agencies to wage a war against the growing cyber threat on the country’s financial infrastructure, with banks identified as one of its four priorities for 2020…”

Kuwait Denies US Troop Pullout, Says News Agency Hacked

« Kuwait on Wednesday denied reports that the United States had decided to withdraw its troops from the Gulf state, saying the Twitter account of its official news agency had been hacked…”

Google lets alleged spying app ToTok back into Play Store

« Google has made the popular chat app ToTok available again for download after the service was banned from the Play Store for reportedly functioning as an espionage tool of the United Arab Emirates…”

New Bill Would Prohibit Intelligence Sharing With Countries That Use Huawei

“A bill introduced this week by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) would ban the sharing of intelligence with countries that use Huawei technologies in their fifth generation (5G) networks…”


Europeans should control their B-to-B data, says EU commissioner

The United States and China are the world’s leaders in harvesting and exploiting personal data and the European Union must make sure the same thing does not happen when it comes to business-to-business data, the new EU commissioner for the internal market said.

Google+ Reaches $7.5 Million Data Breach Settlement

« Google LLC has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a consumer class action over data leaks caused by two software bugs in its now-defunct Google+ social network platform…”

Tech Giants Defend Privacy Efforts, Promise Improvements

« Privacy experts from Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. defended the security and use of consumer data on their platforms, though they said greater protections and public education are needed, especially as technology evolves and new laws around it take shape…”

Medical Info of Roughly 50K Exposed in Minnesota Hospital Breach

« The personal and medical information of 49,351 patients was exposed following a security incident involving two employees’ email accounts as disclosed by Minnesota-based Alomere Health….”

Ring Fired Employees for Watching Customer Videos

« Amazon-owned home security camera company Ring has fired employees for improperly accessing Ring users’ video data, according to a letter the company wrote to Senators and obtained by Motherboard…”

St. Louis Resident Sentenced to Prison for Role in a Stolen Identity Fraud Scheme That Claimed $12 Million in Tax Refunds

« A St. Louis resident was sentenced to 48 months in prison today for his role in a tax fraud scheme, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Jensen for the Eastern District of Missouri…”

Dixons Fined by UK Regulator Over Data Breach

« The UK Data Protection Regulator (the Information Commissioner’s Office – ICO) has issued a monetary penalty of £500,000 ($654,000) against Dixon Carphone for what it describes as “multiple, systemic and serious inadequacies” in the firm’s security posture…”

Facebook’s first CES reveal in years is a privacy tool that falls short

« This is Privacy Checkup’s first significant update since Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, bit it doesn’t address the core issues lawmakers have had with the social network…”

EU: The Privacy Officers’ New Year’s Resolutions

“The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will determine the validity of the EU Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) (Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland Limited, Maximillan Schrems) whilst the General Court of the EU will consider the future of Privacy Shield (La Quadrature du Net v Commission)…”


Learning from the Travelex cyber attack: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

The key lesson to take from the Travelex breach is that an effective response to a breach is a critical business function and no longer the sole province of the IT department.

Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and HSBC all hit by Travelex cyber attack

« An attack on Travelex has spilled over onto some of the UK’s biggest banks, which relied on the firm to give customers a way to buy forign money online…”

Router Cryptojacking Campaigns Disrupted

« Nearly 16,000 malware-infected MicroTik routers have been scrubbed of Coinhive cryptojacking code thanks to an international police operation…”

‘Iranian hackers’ breach US government website operated by the Federal Depository Library Program in retaliation for airstrike

“A website operated by the U.S. government has been hacked by a group claiming to represent the government of Iran.

The website operated by the little-known Federal Depository Library Program,, was hacked and defaced on Saturday, and has been taken offline…”

Christmas Ransomware Attack Hit New York Airport Servers

“An upstate New York airport and its computer management provider were attacked by ransomware over Christmas, officials said…”

Pegasus was used to hack mobiles of Pak officials

“Mobile phones of around 30 Pakistani government servants, who include serving army generals, officials attached with the ISI and senior bureaucrats, were hacked into by using Pegasus spying software during April and May 2019…”

Cyber attack hits Enloe; patient records safe, officials say

“Enloe Medical Center in Chico was attacked in a ransomware incident Thursday evening, according to a press release from the hospital…”

FBI seeks Apple’s help unlocking phones of suspected Pensacola naval station gunman

“The FBI is asking Apple Inc. to help unlock two iPhones that investigators think were owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the man believed to have carried out the shooting attack that killed three people last month at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida…”

Serious Cyber attack in Austrian Ministry reported

“Austria’s Foreign Ministry has reported that its information technology systems were facing a serious cyberattack, possibly from a foreign country. Due to the severity and nature of the attack, it could not be excluded that it is a targeted attack by a state actor, Efe news quoted a Ministry statement as saying on Saturday…”


EU group offers guidance on meeting MDR’s cybersecurity standards

« The European Commission’s Medical Device Coordination Group published guidance Monday aimed at preparing manufacturers to meet both premarket and postmarket cybersecurity requirements under the EU’s new medical device regulations…”

Interpol Announces Successful Operation Against Cryptojacking in Southeast Asia

«Interpol announced on Wednesday that it has coordinated an international operation aimed at removing illegally installed cryptocurrency miners from routers located in Southeast Asia…”

Cybersecurity in aviation: a regulator’s perspective

« To counter threats of cyber-attack on military systems, the MAA is equipping the Regulated Community with cybersecurity regulation to protect critical systems…”

Google details its three-year fight against the Bread (Joker) malware operation

« Google said yesterday it successfully removed more than 1,700 apps submitted to the Play Store over the past three years that had been infected with various versions of the Bread malware, also known as Joker…”

Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority report

U.S. Government Confirms Critical Security Warning For Firefox Users

« The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a notification that “encourages” users and administrators to update the Mozilla Firefox web browser…”

US: New ways Homeland Security wants to attack cyber breach reporting

“The cybersecurity agency within the Department of Homeland Security is extending a public comment deadline on its intent to update reporting documents, according to a Jan. 6 notice in the Federal Register…”

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Reporting forms: call for comments

DHS CISA CSD will submit the following Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

FBI Warns of Maze Ransomware Focusing on U.S. Companies

« Organizations in the private sector received an alert from the F.B.I. about operators of the Maze ransomware focusing on companies in the U.S. to encrypt information on their systems after stealing it first…”

Department of Financial Services issues alert to regulated entities concerning heightened risk of cyber attacks 

On January 04, “the US Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued the following industry letter to all regulated entities following recent events and the need for heightened cybersecurity precautions.””

State Department must report foreign use of hacking tools, services in new law

« A newly passed law will compel the U.S. State Department to report its criteria for sales of U.S. cybersecurity tools and services to foreign countries.. »

US: Pallone & Doyle on House Passage of Bipartisan 5G Security Bills

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed three bipartisan 5G security bills that had advanced through the Committee last year:

TikTok banned from US Navy government devices

« Popular social media app TikTok has been banned from United States Navy devices due to security fears.

A Navy bulletin sent to personnel declared that the video sharing app, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, would be banned from government-issued mobile devices as it posed a “cybersecurity threat.”

Nigeria’s NITDA confirms it is investigating SureBet247

“Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency has confirmed in a communication to iAfrikan that is investigating SureBet247 for a possible security and data breach. The betting company could be in potential breach of the country’s data regulation laws…”


EU unveils new consumer protection rules for digital economy

« The European Union has targeted “rogue traders and online tricksters” in new rules to protect consumers online. Companies operating in the EU could be hit with hefty penalties if they violate the rules…”


India: Top court declares internet a fundamental right

« In a hearing on the months-long internet blockade in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s Supreme Court on Friday declared access to the internet a fundamental right and the restrictions unconstitutional…” 


White House proposes regulatory principles to govern AI use

“The White House on Tuesday proposed regulatory principles to govern the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) aimed at limiting authorities’ “overreach”, and said it wants European officials to likewise avoid aggressive approaches…”

Germany’s plans for automatic facial recognition meet fierce criticism

« Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer plans to use automatic facial recognition at 134 railway stations and 14 airports, according to a news report published on 3 January. Although official confirmation of the plan is still missing, an alliance between civil society and politicians has called for the banning of this surveillance technology…” EURACTIV Germany reports.


Oracle ruling harms innovation, Google tells SCOTUS

“In a submission to the Supreme Court filed yesterday, January 6, Google argued that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s March 2018 judgment in favour of Java owner Oracle threatened software innovation…”


House lawmakers introduce bill to update children’s online privacy law

« A pair of House lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill Thursday to update a decades-old law designed to protect children’s online privacy. The bill comes amid growing concern that children are encountering increasingly sophisticated threats online…. »

How a Swiss programme is teaching online privacy to children

« Swiss data protection officials say children as young as four years old should be taught about data security and privacy – even before they start to use the internet…”

YouTube starts limiting ad targeting and data collection on kids content

« YouTube now officially limits the amount of data it and creators can collect on content intended for children, following promises made in November and a costly $170 million FTC fine in September. Considering how lucrative kids’ content is for the company, this could have serious financial ramifications for both it and its biggest creators…”


Facebook plans for undersea cable worry small coastal Oregon town near Pacific City

“A battle playing out in Oregon is pitting residents of a tiny coastal town with no stoplights or cellphone service against one of the world’s biggest tech companies…”

New York : De Blasio Administration Releases Internet Master Plan For City’s Broadband Future

« Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer today announced the New York City Internet Master Plan, a bold vision for affordable, high-speed, reliable broadband service across all five boroughs that offers seamless connectivity at home and on the go…”

South Korea now offers universal high-speed Internet service for all in the country

“South Koreans can now access high-speed Internet across the country. The government has started offering super high-speed Internet services for the entire country that will allow universal, convenient access to online data, the government said on Sunday….”


China Targets Internet Giants in Antitrust Law Overhaul

« China has included the internet industry for the first time in an envisioned overhaul of its anti-monopoly laws, potentially giving regulators the power to rein in the country’s increasingly dominant technology giants…”


Microsoft rolls out tool to scan chat apps for sexual predators seeking to exploit children

« Microsoft released a new tool Thursday that scans online chats for people seeking to sexually exploit children. It’s part of a broader push by the technology industry to crack down on the dangers facing children online…”


Apple privacy officer says that ‘building back doors’ to access iPhone data won’t help solve crimes

« At last year’s CES tech trade show in Las Vegas, Apple attracted a lot of attention because of a large well-placed billboard ad that read, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone…”


Ajit Pai Still Thinks Killing Net Neutrality Was a Brilliant Idea

« Ajit Pai continues to double down on the claim that net neutrality was a huge boon for American consumers, even if supporting evidence for that claim remains largely nonexistent….”


Facebook won’t limit political ad targeting or stop false claims under new ad rules

« Facebook on Thursday defied public calls to adopt significant new limits on political advertising ahead of the 2020 presidential election, opting instead to introduce minor changes that it said would give users a measure of control over the ads they see…”

Austria minister Alma Zadic targeted by web hate speech

« Austria’s chancellor has condemned hate messages on social media targeting the Bosnian-born woman appointed justice minister in his new cabinet…”


Remembering Peter Kirstein (1933 – 2020)

2012 Internet Hall of Fame inductee Peter Kirstein, who started the first European ARPANET node with transatlantic IP connectivity, died on Wednesday at his home in London, according to the New York Times. He was 86.


Open Call for Community Members to Join the New Africa Strategy Working Group

« We would like to invite interested members of the ICANN community to join the new Africa Strategy Working Group. ICANN’s Africa Strategy is the cornerstone of all engagement efforts in the region. Prepared by the regional ICANN community, it serves as a road map for ICANN’s Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) Africa team…”

Proposed Dates for ICANN Public Meetings 2024-2028 and Revised Dates in 2022

« Purpose: The purpose of this Public Comment proceeding is to solicit and collect feedback from the community on the proposed dates for ICANN Public Meetings to be held in 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028. ICANN is also seeking feedback on revised dates for ICANN75 in 2022 to allow more time between events…”

New ICANN Learn Course on DNS Fundamentals Available Now

« ICANN Learn is offering a new course on DNS Fundamentals. The course introduces the different components of the Domain Name System (DNS). Explore DNS processes such as DNS delegations, DNS resolution, and caching. To learn more, sign up by clicking on the link above…”

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