A First: Robo-Killers Used in Battle | Cashing in on Vigilantism | History of Lab Leaks, and more

FIND THIS FUCK:’ Inside Citizen’s Dangerous Effort to Cash in on Vigilantism  (Joseph Cox, Vice)
Internal documents, messages, and roadmaps show how crime app Citizen is pushing the boundary of what a private, app-enabled vigilante force may be capable of.

Identity, Credentials and Behavior Are Critical to Network Protection  (Ralph Pisani, GCN)
Recently, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency information security specialist Jay Gazlay said the SolarWinds breach made it clear that “identity is everything now.”  Tighter identity controls, including behavior analysis techniques, can flag impossible logins, Gazlay told the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board. “If we don’t get set up to do that, we’re not going to notice these user impersonation attacks that become de rigueur for our adversaries.” 


What Will Britain’s New Cyber Force Actually Do?  (Joe Devanny and Tim Stevens, War on the Rocks)
Without careful coordination and hard choices, the expanding role for offensive cyber and the National Cyber Force risks undermining the balance of British cyber strategy, diluting the priority of cyber security and resilience.

Influencers Say Russia-Linked PR Agency Asked Them to Disparage Pfizer Vaccine  (Jon Henley, Guardian)
French and German YouTubers, bloggers and influencers have been offered money by a supposedly UK-based PR agency with apparent Russian connections to falsely tell their followers the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is responsible for hundreds of deaths.

EU Sets the Bar for Anti-Disinformation Measures  (Luca Bertuzzi, Euractiv)
The freshly published Guidance on Strengthening the Code of Practice on Disinformation illustrates the European Commission’s expectations on the anti-disinformation measures for online platforms. While the Code is non-binding, the measures are likely to become mandatory following the adoption of the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Online Hate Becomes Real-World Violence in Israel–Palestine  (Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed News)
“Business is booming for online inspired lynchings, unfortunately, all over the world,” said one researcher in Israel.

Drones May Have Attacked Humans Fully Autonomously for the First Time  (David Hambling, New Scientist)
Military drones may have autonomously attacked humans for the first time ever last year, according to a United Nations report. While the full details of the incident, which took place in Libya, haven’t been released and it is unclear if there were any casualties, the event suggests that international efforts to ban lethal autonomous weapons before they are used may already be too late.

China watch

Chinese Surveillance-Gear Maker Hikvision Has Ties to Country’s Military, Report Says  (Dan Strumpf, Wall Street Journal)
Company is blacklisted by the Pentagon but disputes U.S. claims of links to China’s military and research company’s findings.

Alberta Orders Major Universities to Suspend Pursuit of New Partnerships with China  (Steven Chase and Robert Fife, Globe and Mail)
Alberta has ordered its four major universities to suspend the pursuit of partnerships with individuals or organizations linked to the Chinese government or ruling CCP, citing concerns over national security and the risk that the research could be used to facilitate human-rights abuses. Earlier this month, The Globe and Mail reported on the University of Alberta’s extensive scientific collaboration with China that involves sharing and transferring research in strategically important areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and AI. .Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a former senior official at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council had praise for the Alberta government’s move to require universities to re-evaluate their research ties to Chinese institutions. “That is a tremendous improvement in transparency and a model that other provinces should be looking at.” McCuaig-Johnston said Alberta and other Canadian universities should also be given a list of 160 Chinese labs and institutes associated with the Chinese military. The list was compiled by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

China’s Inconvenient Truth  (Elizabeth Economy, Foreign Affairs)
Official Triumphalism Conceals Societal Fragmentation

Chinese Hackers Posing as the UN Human Rights Council Are Attacking Uyghurs  (Patrick Howell O’Neill, MIT Technology Review)
Chinese-speaking hackers are targeting Uyghur Muslims with fake United Nations reports and phony support organizations, according to a new report.

China Forges Ahead with Undersea Data Centers  (Zeyi Yang, Protocol)
Hainan, China’s southernmost island province, is building an undersea data center for commercial use, local newspapers have reported.
The entire project will build 100 underwater cabins for data storage by 2025, with five pilot cabins being finished within this year.

Belgium Uproots Cyber-Espionage Campaign with Suspected Ties to China  (Tim Starks, Cyberscoop)
A Belgian government ministry said this week that it was the victim of a cyber-espionage campaign that began two years ago, one that has apparent links to Beijing.
The Federal Public Service Interior said it began an investigation in March after Microsoft revealed that Chineses state-sponsored hackers had used zero-days to attack its Exchange Server technology. The ministry called in the Centre for Cyber Security Belgium for aid.