• Senior U.S. Democrats Demand Russia Sanctions Over 2020 Election Interference

    U.S. Senate Democratic leaders have urged the administration to impose sanctions on Russia after U.S. intelligence officials briefed members of Congress that Russia was again trying to interfere in a national election. “We urge you to immediately draw upon the reported conclusions of the Intelligence Community to identify and target for sanctions all those determined to be responsible for ongoing elections interference, including President Putin, the government of the Russian Federation, any Russian actors determined to be directly responsible, and those acting on their behalf or providing material or financial support for their efforts,” the senators write in their letter.

  • Reports: Trump Ousted Acting Intel Chief After He Warned of Russian 2020 Election Meddling

    President Donald Trump fired Director of National Security Joseph Maguire, the U.S. top intelligence official, after Maguire, in a classified briefing, told lawmakers that the U.S. intelligence community is seeing an intensification of Russia’s covert efforts to help Trump’s reelection campaign. The Kremlin’s campaign, already under way, would combine elements from the Kremlin’s successful 2016 effort to help Trump – hacking of Trump’s rivals and saturating social media with fake postings – with a new emphasis on corrupting voter rolls, hacking voting machines, and disrupting vote tallies. Trump has always rejected the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion, based on incontrovertible facts, that Russia heavily interfered on his behalf in the 2016 election, preferring instead to accept Vladimir Putin’s denials that such interference took place.

  • 5G Choices: A Pivotal Moment in World Affairs

    It is disappointing that the Brits are doing the wrong thing on 5G, having not exhausted other possibilities. Instead they have doubled down on a flawed and outdated cybersecurity model to convince themselves that they can manage the risk that Chinese intelligence services could use Huawei’s access to U.K. telco networks to insert bad code. But if your telcos have a 5G operation and maintenance contract with a company beholden to the intelligence agencies of a foreign state, and that state does not share your interests, you need to consider the risk that you are paying a fox to babysit your chickens.

  • U.S. Designates Chinese Media Outlets as “Foreign Missions”

    The State Department on Tuesday announced it was designating five state-run Chinese news organizations as “foreign missions.” The move aims to tackle what State Department officials describes as China’s “propaganda news apparatus.”

  • Why the 2020 Election Will Be a Mess: It’s Just Too Easy for Putin

    FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the House Judiciary Committee last week that Russia’s disinformation campaign to interfere in the 2020 election is underway. Alex Finley, John Sipher, and Asha Rangappa write that this isn’t surprising, given that Russian active measures are about the long game: “Ex-KGB officer and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal was never simply to place a Manchurian candidate in the Oval Office, but rather to permanently destabilize the West, damage U.S. credibility, and undermine those very things that make democratic countries special.” They add: “We can be confident that “the 2020 election cycle will provide the Kremlin opportunities to pursue further subversion, disinformation, and deception.”

  • Out-of-Context Photos Are a Powerful Low-Tech form of Misinformation

    When you think of visual misinformation, maybe you think of deepfakes – videos that appear real but have actually been created using powerful video editing algorithms. The creators edit celebrities into pornographic movies, and they can put words into the mouths of people who never said them. But the majority of visual misinformation that people are exposed to involves much simpler forms of deception. One common technique involves recycling legitimate old photographs and videos and presenting them as evidence of recent events.

  • Researchers Identify Security Vulnerabilities in Voting App

    In recent years, there has been a growing interest in using internet and mobile technology to increase access to the voting process. At the same time, computer security experts caution that paper ballots are the only secure means of voting. Mobile voting application could allow hackers to alter individual votes and may pose privacy issues for users.

  • U.S. Charges Huawei with Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets, Racketeering

    Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei and a number of its subsidiaries were charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets and racketeering in a federal indictment made public Thursday. The charges also accuse the company of flouting U.S. sanctions by operating subsidiaries in North Korea and Iran. The indictment represents the latest U.S. effort to clamp down on a Chinese telecom company that American officials say has plundered the intellectual property of its rivals in a bid for market dominance.

  • Senior Huawei Official Acknowledges Ability to Clandestinely Access Mobile Networks

    A senior Huawei official has conceded that the company can clandestinely access users’ mobile networks. “Huawei itself has provided evidence that it builds backdoors into its products,” Herb Lin writes. “In particular, the [Wall Street] Journal [on 12 February 2012] quoted a senior Huawei official as saying that network access without operator permission ‘is extremely implausible and would be discovered immediately.’ This statement is extremely significant in understanding what Huawei equipment can and cannot do.” Lin adds: “Huawei has not said that network access without operator permission is technically impossible—only that it is implausible and would be discovered immediately. These are very different claims.”

  • Election Security after Iowa

    The Iowa caucus debacle offers an illustration of election security failure in action, and the failure was followed by public anger and the spreading of conspiracy theories. Simon Handler writes that “If the Iowa caucus delay is any indication of how the public may react to an electoral snafu, a great deal more mayhem could arise from a far more serious threat.” In 2015 Russian cyberattacks shutdown power stations in Ukraine, causing blackouts in parts of the country. “Disrupting power distribution at the right moment in the right portions of the U.S. grid, targeting a few select states or counties, could cause just enough disruption to bring on a level of chaos that would dwarf what happened in Iowa,” Handler writes.

  • Digital Authoritarianism: Finding Our Way Out of the Darkness

    From Chinese government surveillance in Hong Kong and Xinjiang to Russia’s sovereign internet law and concerns about foreign operatives hacking the 2020 elections, digital technologies are changing global politics — and the United States is not ready to compete, Naazeen Barma, Brent Durbin, and Andrea Kendall-Taylor write. The United States and like-minded countries must thus develop a new strategic framework to combat the rise of high-tech illiberalism, but “as a first step, U.S. government officials need to understand how authoritarian regimes are using these tools to control their populations and disrupt democratic societies around the world.”

  • U.S.: Chinese Government Hackers Behind Equifax Breach

    Chinse government hackers stole the personal information of nearly 150 million Americans in 2017, when they successfully hacked Equifax. China has been using its vast network of intelligence agencies to conduct a sustained campaign aiming to collect data on the citizens of the United States and other countries, and systematically steal scientific research and innovation, in order to weaken Western economies and accelerate China’s march toward global scientific and economic hegemony.

  • Senate Intel: Obama Admin “Frozen by ‘Paralysis of Analysis’” in Its Response to Russian Election Interference

    Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday released the third volume in the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference. The report examines the Obama administration’s reaction to initial reports of election interference and the steps officials took or did not take to deter Russia’s activities. The 2016 Russian interference in the elections on behalf of Donald Trump was unprecedented in the history of the United States, but “Frozen by ‘paralysis of analysis,’ hamstrung by constraints both real and perceived, Obama officials debated courses of action without truly taking one,” said Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina).

  • Bioweapons, Secret Labs, and the CIA: Pro-Kremlin Actors Blame the U.S. for Coronavirus Outbreak

    The Russia (earlier: Soviet) practice of spreading disinformation about public health threats is nothing new. During the Cold War, for example, a Soviet disinformation campaign blamed the United States for the AIDS virus. While epidemiologists work to identify the exact source of the Wuhan2019-nCov outbreak, pro-Kremlin actors are already blaming the United States for supposedly using bioweapons to disseminate the virus.

  • Russia Unleashes New Weapons in Its “Cyber Attack Testing Ground”: Report

    “Ukraine is, by and large, a Russian cyberattack testing ground,” Vitali Kremez told Forbes’s Zak Doffman. “One of the inherent cyber dangers with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, but particularly with Russia, is the potential for state actors to sharpen their tools and techniques on neighboring countries,” Doffman writes. And Russia “doesn’t have Ukraine in its sights with this costly approach, it is looking much further west.”