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Internet Gov Weekly Brief (W52Y19): Russia’s test to disconnect from Internet successful; US CyberCom on Russia election interference

Internet Gov Weekly Brief (W52Y19): Russia’s test to disconnect from Internet successful; US CyberCom on Russia election interference

INDEX

WEEKLY BRIEF

CYBER GEOPOLITICS

Russia successfully disconnected from the internet

“The Russian government announced on Monday that it concluded a series of tests during which it successfully disconnected the country from the worldwide internet…”

US CyberCom mulls aggressive tactics if Russia interferes in next election: report

« The U.S. is working on information warfare tactics that could be used to counter possible Russian interference in the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing current and former officials…” 

U.S. National Security Adviser warns UK about allowing Huawei in 5G: FT

“U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has warned UK about allowing China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] into its 5G telecommunications networks, saying such a move would pose a risk to UK’s secret intelligence services, the Financial Times reported…”

Malware broker behind U.S. hacks is now teaching computer skills in China

“A Chinese malware broker who was sentenced in the United States this year for dealing in malicious software linked to major hacks is back at his old workplace: teaching high-school computer courses, including one on internet security…”

U.S. Concerned Russia-Backed UN Resolution Will Hurt Online Freedom

“The United States said a cybercrime resolution sponsored by Russia is an attempt to push state cyber controls and fears it will pass the United Nations General Assembly later this month…”

U.S. State Department worker in Seoul accused of using embassy computer to sell counterfeit Vera Bradley bags with Oregon accomplice

“A U.S. Department of State employee is accused of using his embassy computer in Seoul, Korea, to sell counterfeit Vera Bradley handbags to customers across the United States…”

Japan defense budget hits new high with focus on space, cyberspace

“The Japanese government approved on Friday a record draft defense budget for fiscal 2020 totaling 5.31 trillion yen ($48.5 billion) as it seeks to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities in outer space and cyberspace…”

Huawei says its replacement for Google services will soon launch in India

“China’s top smartphone maker, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., is hoping to throw off the shackles of the Android operating system with the launch of its own version of Google Mobile Services…”

DATA PROTECTION

Georgian authorities appear linked to hundreds of fake Facebook pages

“Facebook has shut down hundreds of fake Facebook pages and groups with links to the government in Georgia as a result of a check conducted by the Facebook administration on December 20…”

Twitter bug allowed to match 17 million phone numbers with accounts

« Looks like this year isn’t ending without yet another data leak story. And this time (again!), its Twitter under the lens. In the latest instance that has come to light, a security researcher named Ibrahim Balic has revealed that the Twitter for Android app’s bug has helped him match 17 million phone numbers to Twitter accounts…”

European Court of Justice Opinion Clouds Future of Transatlantic Commercial Data Transfers

“On Thursday, Dec. 19, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a long-awaited preliminary opinion on whether U.S. surveillance laws violate the fundamental rights of individuals whose personal data are transferred across the Atlantic for commercial purposes, such as for cloud services, finance and consumer transactions…”

Twitter suspends accounts linked to Saudi spying case

“Weeks after U.S. authorities brought a spying case against three Saudi nationals for digging up dissidents’ personal data at Twitter, the company suspended tens of thousands of accounts that appear to be linked to one suspect’s company…”

SECURITY

Trump nominates DHS senior cyber director

« President Trump on Wednesday formally submitted the nomination for a new assistant director of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), one of the top-ranking cyber officials at the agency….”

US Senators introduce K-12 Cybersecurity Act

“As ransomware becomes a bigger problem for school districts across the nation, two US senators want the Department of Homeland Security to do something about it…”

FBI Issues Alert For LockerGoga and MegaCortex Ransomware

“The FBI has issued a warning to private industry recipients to provide information and guidance on the LockerGoga and MegaCortex Ransomware….”

Apple and Google Remove ‘ToTok’ App from their Stores due to Spying Allegations

“After the New York Times conducted an in-depth investigation on the way the ToTok video calls and chat app works, they concluded that the software is practically spyware. More worryingly, it is used by the government of the United Arab Emirates to carry out mass surveillance operations over its citizens and foreign visitors or professionals…”

FIRST released ethics guidelines to deepen trust among incident response teams

“December 19th, 2019 – As technology accelerates, it has become more important and more challenging to determine the right thing to do. The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) has released a set of ethics guidelines for Incident Response Teams with the aim to develop more practical advice and support the incident response community….”

CYBER ATTACK

Cyber Attack Forces Airline to Cancel Flights in Alaska

« RavnAir canceled at least a half-dozen flights in Alaska on Saturday — at the peak of holiday travel — following what the company described as “a malicious cyber attack” on its computer network…”

Israeli spyware allegedly used to target Pakistani officials’ phones

« The mobile phones of at least two dozen Pakistani government officials were allegedly targeted earlier this year with technology owned by the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, the Guardian has learned….”

Frankfurt shuts down IT network following Emotet infection

“Frankfurt, one of the largest financial hubs in the world and the home of the European Central Bank, has shut down its IT network this week following an infection with the Emotet malware…”

CONTENT

Twitter, Facebook Target State-Linked Accounts Made to Manipulate

« Facebook and Twitter on Friday said they had blocked multiple government-backed manipulation operations around the world, several of which favored US President Donald Trump, as part of a crackdown on state-sponsored propaganda efforts…”

Twitter bans animated PNG files from tweets because of epilepsy safety concerns

« Twitter has said that it will now block animated PNG (APNG) files because the format doesn’t respect autoplay settings and posed a threat to “the safety of people with sensitivity to motion and flashing imagery, including those with epilepsy”….” 

US: USSOCOM Wants Tech That Sniffs Out Misinformation

« The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is researching protypes to detect misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information campaigns in real time, according to a request for information (RFI) released by the agency on Dec. 12….”

Turkish Constitutional Court rules that the two and a half year block of Wikipedia is unconstitutional

« Turkey’s top court has ruled that the more than 30 month block of Wikipedia in Turkey is unconstitutional….”

INFRASTRUCTURE

Boeing Launches Satellite To Give Internet Access To ‘Underserved Regions’

“Boeing said that a satellite built by the company and launched earlier this week will provide affordable Internet access and other communications services to under-served regions of Asia as well as the Pacific islands…”

Apple eyes satellite internet for data project

“Bloomberg reports that Apple has an early stage project with about 12 engineers from the aerospace, satellite and antenna design industries who hope to launch the project within five years…”

CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION

UK : Data regulator hones in on TikTok as it makes child safety top priority for 2020

“Protecting children’s privacy will be top priority for the UK’s data regulator in 2020 amid increased concern about platforms such as TikTok, the Information Commissioner has said…”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Brazil to create national artificial intelligence strategy

“The Brazilian government has taken another step towards the creation of public policies around artificial intelligence (AI)…”

DIGITAL ECONOMY

After France, Italy approves digital tax on tech giants

« The digital tax approved by Italy’s Parliament will impose a 3% levy on some digital revenue for technology companies that make over $831 million in global revenue, including least $6 million in Italy…”

DOMAIN NAME

Internet Grows to 359.8 Million Domain Name Registrations in the Third Quarter of 2019

« VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, today announced that the third quarter of 2019 closed with 359.8 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 5.1 million domain name registrations, or 1.4 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2019.1,2 Domain name registrations have grown by 17.4 million, or 5.1 percent, year over year.1,2..”

ACCESS

Iran starts internet shutdown before possible new protests: reports

“Iran’s authorities have restricted mobile internet access in several provinces, an Iranian news agency reported on Wednesday, a day before new protests were expected to kick off following calls for the demonstrations on social media…”

ICANN

Draft FY21-25 Operating & Financial Plan and Draft FY21 Operating Plan & Budget

« The purpose of this public comment is to seek community input on the draft FY21-FY25 Operating & Financial Plan, and the draft FY21 Operating Plan & Budget…”

NextGen@ICANN68 Application Round Is Now Open

16 December 2019 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the application round for those interested in participating in the ICANN68 Public Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, through the NextGen@ICANN program. ICANN68 will take place from 22 June to 25 June 2020. The application round will remain open until 24 January 2020. Successful candidates will be announced on the ICANN website on 24 February 2020. For more information, click here.

IGF 2020

Open Call: Feedback on IGF 2019 and Suggestions for IGF 2020

« All IGF stakeholders are invited to submit inputs to the IGF Secretariat to assist with the planning for the 2020 annual IGF meeting to be held in Poland. All inputs will be posted on the IGF website… »

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