• PrivacyUnlawful Metadata Access Is Easy When We’re Flogging a Dead Law

    By Genna Churches and Monika Zalnieriute

    After watching this year’s media raids and the prosecution of lawyers and whistleblowers, it’s not hard to see why Australians wonder about excessive police power and dwindling journalistic freedom. But these problems are compounded by another, less known issue: police, and other bodies not even involved in law enforcement, have broad powers to access metadata. Each year, police alone access metadata in excess of 300,000 times.

  • The Russia connectionU.K. Intelligence Probing Russian Election Meddling

    Britain’s cybersecurity agency is investigating whether state-sponsored Russian hackers were behind the leaks of British government documents used by opposition politicians to embarrass Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party ahead of Thursday’s general election.

  • ArgumentThe New Kind of Warfare Reshaping Global Politics

    The list is long: Russian internet trolls interfering in the 2016 U.S. election; Russian operatives murdering Putin’s opponents abroad; Chinese spies manipulating Australian politics while the country’s coast guard ships harass Japanese fishing fleets, and much more. Simon Clark writes that these are not random acts of autocratic aggression. Rather, they are examples of a new form of warfare which is becoming a bigger challenge for the United States and its western allies: gray-zone conflict.

  • Perspective: RansomwareGoing After the Good Guys: The Government’s Ransomware Identity Crisis

    Government agencies find it difficult to keep pace with the rapidly evolving cybercrime – especially when it comes to ransomware and malware. Ryan Blanch, a criminal defense attorney who has been involved in myriad cybercrime cases, writes that “sometimes, the government seems to be going after the good guys instead of the bad guys.”

  • Perspective: Quantum computingA Quantum Computing Future Is Unlikely, Due to Random Hardware Errors

    Earlier this fall Google announced that it had demonstrated “quantum supremacy” – that is, that it performed a specific quantum computation far faster than the best classical computers could achieve. IBM promptly criticized the claim, saying that its own classical supercomputer could perform the computation at nearly the same speed with far greater fidelity. “So how can you make sense of what is going on?” Subhash Kak, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, asks. “As someone who has worked on quantum computing for many years, I believe that due to the inevitability of random errors in the hardware, useful quantum computers are unlikely to ever be built.”

  • Perspective: InfrastructureThe Drums of Cyberwar

    A recent study found that if hackers were to take down the electric grid in just fifteen states and Washington, D.C., 93 million people would be without power, quickly leading to a “rise in mortality rates as health and safety systems fail; a decline in trade as ports shut down; disruption to water supplies as electric pumps fail and chaos to transport networks as infrastructure collapses.” The cost to the economy, the study reported, would be astronomical: anywhere from $243 billion to $1 trillion. “Sabotaging critical infrastructure may not be as great an existential threat as climate change or nuclear war, but it has imperiled entire populations already and remains a persistent probability,” Sue Halperin writes.

  • CybersecurityMobile Devices Blur Work and Personal Privacy Increasing Cyber Risks

    Organizations aren’t moving quickly enough to identify cyber security threats linked to the drive toward using personal mobile devices in the workplace, cybersecurity researchers warn. “The breakneck speed of digital transformation brought with it opportunities as well as threats,” one researcher said. “Organizations don’t appear to be keeping up with the pace of change, deliberately putting the brakes on digital transformation because it comes with security challenges.”

  • PerspectiveFormer Envoy Huntsman: Putin Likely ‘Joyful’ About Ukraine Theory

    President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to Russia said Vladimir Putin is likely “joyful” about the renewed prominence of a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, which experts consider Russian disinformation.

  • The Russia connectionRussian Hackers Source of Labour Party’s “NHS for Sale” Document

    In a press conference last week, Jeremy Corbin, the leader of the Labour Party, showed the attendees a hefty document – 451 pages! — which, he claimed, was a classified government document detailing secret U.K-U.S. negotiations between the Conservative Party-led government and the United States to sell parts of the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) to American investors. Experts say Russian government hackers stole the document and handed it to Labour in order to discredit the government and deepen polarization ahead of the 12 December parliamentary election.

  • The Russia connectionTwo Russians Charged with Series of Hacking, Bank Fraud Offenses, Malware Deployment

    The U.S. Justice Department announced computer hacking and bank fraud charges against Russian national Maksim Yakubets, the alleged leader of a cybercriminal organization that has illicitly earned more than $100 million since 2016. Simultaneously, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against Yakubets and his Evil Corp, which is behind the widespread use of a multifunctional malware package that has harvested online banking credentials from infected computers in more than 40 countries. The Justice Department alleges that Yakubets “also provides direct assistance to the Russian government’s malicious cyberefforts, highlighting the Russian government’s enlistment of cybercriminals for its own malicious purposes.”

  • PerspectiveGraham Says He's “1,000 Percent Confident” Russia, not Ukraine, Hacked DNC

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) on Tuesday said he’s “1,000 percent confident” Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as part of an effort to interfere in the 2016 election. He dismissed the conspiracy theory, advanced by President Trump and some of his supporters, that Ukraine played a role in the breach.Graham said he thinks it’s “always wrong to say things that can’t be proven.”

  • Perspective: The Russia connectionThe National Security Threat of Peddling Russian Disinformation

    The impeachment inquiry by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee has served as a forum for efforts by President Trump, Rudi Giuliani, and some GOP lawmakers to spread the lie fabricated by the Russian intelligence services that the interference in the 2016 U.S. election was not done by Russia to help Trump – but was carried out by Ukraine to Help Hillary Clinton! This Kremlin-fabricated canard has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community, and totally debunked. “Distrust is now being sown by American officials against the same government these officials purport to represent,” Cipher Brief writes.

  • CybersecuritySafeguarding Drones, Robotic Cars against Cyberattacks

    Robotic vehicles like Amazon delivery drones or Mars rovers can be hacked more easily than people may think, new research finds. Researchers designed three types of stealth attack on robotic vehicles that caused the machines to crash, miss their targets or complete their missions much later than scheduled.

  • The Russia connectionSenators Seek to Pass Russia Sanctions Bill to Deter Election Interference Before End of Year

    U.S. Senators are seeking to pass a bipartisan bill before the end of the year that would enable the imposition of new sanctions on Russia if it interferes in U.S. elections. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) said on 21 November that he is among members of the upper house of Congress who are pushing to get the sanction bill into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

  • ArgumentWhat Trump Really Wanted from Ukraine Was Not about Enemies

    What President Donald Trump wanted most from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had les to do with Joe Biden and everything to do with exonerating Russia from 2016 election meddling and pinning the blame on the Democrats and Ukraine, the historian Allan Lichtman writes in The Hill. “This conspiracy theory would serve the dual purpose of clearing Russian President Vladimir Putin from responsibility for intervening in the 2016 election and proving that Trump won the White House without Russia.”