• APT37 (Reaper): Overlooked North Korean cyber espionage unit

    An increasingly sophisticated North Korean cyber-espionage unit is using its skills to widen spying operations to aerospace and defense industries, a new study has revealed. Cybersecurity firm FireEye has identified a North Korean group, which it names APT37 (Reaper) and which it says is using malware to infiltrate computer networks. FireEye’s report suggests the group has been active since 2012, but has now graduated to the level of an advanced persistent threat.

  • Social media is helping Putin kill our democracy

    There are few more important issues confronting the West today than what to do about social media companies, which thanks to their ubiquity possess vast riches and daunting influence over our democracies. The Russians have been spreading lies for decades. Active Measures, including fake reports, forged documents, and dastardly conspiracies invented out of thin air, were created by the KGB to smear Western governments. Social media made Moscow’s clandestine work much easier and more profitable. Although the lies currently emanating from the Kremlin resemble Cold War Active Measures in overall form and content, they are now disseminated so quickly, and through so many fronts, trolls, and bots, that Western governments are severely challenged to even keep up with these weaponized lies, much less push back. For this, we have the Internet to thank. While none can deny the countless benefits of the online age, this is one of its most pernicious side effects. It’s time the West seriously addressed the problem, and quickly, since this Kremlin spy game isn’t going away.

  • A Russian-American fraud; Russia goal: Unraveling U.S. democracy; disinformation & military readiness, and more

    · Reading the Mueller indictment: A Russian-American fraud

    · Mueller’s indictment ends Trump’s myth of the Russia “hoax”

    · Russian influence campaign: What’s in the latest Mueller indictment

    · Did Russia affect the 2016 election? It’s now undeniable

    · “Something was weird”: Inside the Russian effort to bamboozle Florida

    · What Mueller’s new Russia indictments mean — and what they don’t

    · Mueller’s indictment of Russian hackers highlights the stakes of the Microsoft case

    · For Russia, unraveling U.S. democracy was just another day job

    · The campaign finance loophole that could make the next Russian attack perfectly legal

    · Lessons about Russian social media meddling from Mueller’s indictment

    · White House objects to Russian hacking that doesn’t benefit Trump

    · How Russia turned the internet against America

    · Mueller’s message to America

    · Foreign disinformation is a threat to military readiness, too

  • Thirteen Russians criminally charged for interfering in 2016 election

    The sheer audacity, scope, and sophistication of the Kremlin’s hacking and disinformation campaign to ensure the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election have been exposed a short time ago in a 37-page indictment handed down by the office or Special Counsel Robert Mueller against thirteen Russians and three Kremlin-related organization. The detailed 37-page indictment says that the Russians’ operations “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump” “and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” his Democratic opponent. The Russians posed as Americans to operate bogus social media accounts, buy advertisements, and stage political rallies. These Russian government operatives stole the identities of real people in the United States to post online and built computer systems in the United States to conceal the Russian origin of their activity, the indictment says. The indictment contradicts Trump’s false assertions that the idea that there was a Russian campaign to undermine the U.S. democratic process was nothing more than a “hoax,” “witch hunt,” and “fake news” concocted by the “dishonest media” and Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton’s loss.

  • U.K.: Russia launched last June’s costly NotPetya cyberattacks

    Russian military hackers were behind the NoPetya cyberattack on Ukraine that spread globally last year, the British government said. The United States said June’s NotPetya ransomware attack caused billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. U.K. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russia was “ripping up the rule book” and the U.K. would respond.

  • Securing U.S. election: Congressional panel release report, recommendations

    The Congressional Task Force on Election Security released its Final Report, including ten specific recommendations on what the federal government and states can and should be doing to secure U.S. elections. “Russia’s unprecedented assault on the country’s elections in 2016 – including targeting twenty-one states’ voting systems – exposed serious national security vulnerabilities to our election infrastructure – which includes voting machines and voter registration databases,” the Task Force said. The members of the Task Force also introduced legislation, the Election Security Act, to implement the recommendations of the report.

  • U.S. intel chiefs warn Russia intending to meddle in midterm elections

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, in a Tuesday testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee, said that one of the major security challenges the United States faces is the continuing cyber activity by Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran, emphasizing “the potential for surprise in the cyber realm”: “Frankly, the United States is under attack,” Coats said. “Under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States.” Coats said that Russia views its interference in the 2016 election as a success. “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” he said.

  • What’s important is not that Russia changed the 2016 election outcome, “but that it attempted to do so”: Report

    In an important new report on the challenges that Russia’s aggressive posture poses for U.S. interests in the world, and to U.S. democratic institutions and social cohesion at home, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon warn that the United States has so far failed to elevate Russia’s intervention in U.S. elections to the national priority that it is. They add that the United States has neglected to respond to Russia’s intervention in a way sufficient to deter future attacks. They argue, “A wide range of additional measures is therefore needed in order to better protect U.S. society and political and electoral systems from further intervention.”

  • Most states’ election systems remain vulnerable to hacking or systemic failure

    Less than nine months before midterm elections, a new study shows that most state election systems remain vulnerable to hacking and other interference by foreign governments bent on disrupting the election process. Researchers have conducted research and interviewed election officials to determine their election security preparedness after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election by targeting state voting systems.

  • To prevent cyberattacks, create agency similar to National Transportation Safety Board: Experts

    After arguably the worst year ever for cyberattacks and data breaches, Indiana University research suggests it may be time to create an independent cybersecurity agency board comparable in approach to the National Transportation Safety Board that investigates airplane crashes and train derailments.

  • Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things

    Most sensitive web transactions are protected by public-key cryptography, a type of encryption that lets computers share information securely without first agreeing on a secret encryption key. Public-key encryption protocols are complicated, and in computer networks, they’re executed by software. But that won’t work in the internet of things, an envisioned network that would connect many different sensors — embedded in vehicles, appliances, civil structures, manufacturing equipment, and even livestock tags — to online servers. Embedded sensors that need to maximize battery life can’t afford the energy and memory space that software execution of encryption protocols would require. Special-purpose chip reduces power consumption of public-key encryption by 99.75 percent, increases speed 500-fold.

  • Russian Tumblr trolls posed as black activists to stoke racial resentment ahead of 2016 U.S. election

    Internet trolls working for the Russian government posed as black activists on Tumblr to share political messages before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, BuzzFeed reports. As was the case with the fake accounts created by Russian government operatives on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the fake Tumblr accounts aimed to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election by spreading messages which stoked racial and ethnic resentment and intensified political polarization. A digital forensic analysis tied the fake Tumblr accounts to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), a hacking and disinformation organization employed by the Kremlin to disseminate fake news and commentary on social media as part of the broad Kremlin campaign to weaken Western democracies and undermine organizations such as NATO and the EU.

  • Faraday rooms, air gaps can be compromised, and leak highly sensitive data

    Faraday rooms or “cages” designed to prevent electromagnetic signals from escaping can nevertheless be compromised and leak highly sensitive data, according to new studies. Air-gapped computers used for an organization’s most highly sensitive data might also be secluded in a hermetically-sealed Faraday room or enclosure, which prevents electromagnetic signals from leaking out and being picked up remotely by eavesdropping adversaries. Researchers from Ben-Gurion University showed for the first time that a Faraday room and an air-gapped computer that is disconnected from the internet will not deter sophisticated cyber attackers.

  • Digital dark age fears stoked by Davos elite doing little to address cybersecurity

    Business leaders who recently convened in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum fretted over the various catastrophes that could hit the globe hard and – given the recent spate of cyberattacks – cybersecurity was high up on the agenda. The end result was the launch of a Global Center for Cybersecurity (GCC) with a clear mission to “prevent a digital dark age.” The GCC undoubtedly offers a reasonable proposition to nation states, by urging them to collaborate on overcoming cyber threats in a coordinated way. But for such a noble goal to work, it requires deeper resolve to deliver and a level of national commitment unprecedented over previous efforts. Given the increased global uncertainty, we are yet to have faith.

  • Some real “bombshell news” in the Mueller investigation

    Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo, in the summer of 2016, had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks may be considering obstructing justice after a comment she made in a conference call about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians with ties to the Kremlin. “Mark Corallo is a pro’s pro who went to work for the Trump legal team completely on board and who wanted to help the president … well, make America great again. When he left after two months with some reports that he was troubled by what he was seeing … that was a deeply ominous sign,” Jim Geraghty writes in National Review. “If Corallo ends up offering sort of critical testimony, this is not because he’s a Judas or because he’s part of the establishment or some sort of ‘Deep State’ sellout. It’s because he saw stuff that genuinely struck him as either illegal or unethical or both and he’s not the kind of person who’s willing to lie under oath about it.”