DisinfoSec: The Briefing on Disinformation and Developments
The world moves fast. Here's what you need to know right now...
1. The EU must invest more in cybersecurity to prevent attacks aimed at critical infrastructure and destabilising societies. Given the cross-border nature of cybercrime, stepping up information exchange among police and judicial authorities and cybercrime experts is vital to effective investigation and electronic evidence gathering, says Parliament in a resolution. MEPs regret that preventive measures taken by individual users, public institutions and businesses remain wholly inadequate, primarily due to a lack of knowledge and resources. They point out that the EU, its institutions, national governments and parliaments, companies and networks are acutely vulnerable to sophisticated attacks engineered by large criminal organisations or terrorist groups, or groups sponsored by states.
2. Russian telecommunications firm TransTeleCom is now providing an internet connection to North Korea, supplementing the previous sole access provided by China. It is anticipated a new barrage of Russian infrastructure attacks will commence in the coming days and weeks, using the North Korean network mask. With this comes a genuine risk a Russian attack on the US could be blamed on North Korea and cyncially be used in justifying Trump's calls for military action or nuclear strike - with particular consideration given to NATOs restated approach to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty in response to Russia.
3. Hewlett Packard Enterprise allowed a Russian defense agency to review the inner workings of cyber defense software used by the Pentagon to guard its computer networks, according to Russian regulatory records and interviews with people with direct knowledge of the issue. The HPE system, called ArcSight, serves as a cybersecurity nerve center for much of the U.S. military, alerting analysts when it detects that computer systems may have come under attack. ArcSight is also widely used in the private sector.
4. Some 10 million people in the United States saw politically divisive ads on Facebook that the company said were purchased in Russia in the months before and after last year’s U.S. presidential election, Facebook said. Facebook, which had not previously given such an estimate, said in a statement that it used modeling to estimate how many people saw at least one of the 3,000 ads.
6. In a bid to sow division within the European Union, Russia’s online disruption machinery is working at full speed to equate the Catalan crisis to the Crimean or Kurdish conflicts in the eyes of public opinion. A detailed analysis of pro-Russian media shows that these have multiplied their coverage of Catalonia in Spanish, English, German and Russian, and that all of this output systematically portrays the Spanish government and justice system as guilty of violent repression in the northeastern region. These news organizations claim that Madrid has sent paramilitary troops to Barcelona, and warns that a civil war is imminent as the EU passively stands by.
7. Russia has opened a new battlefront with NATO, according to Western military officials, by exploiting a point of vulnerability for almost all allied soldiers: their personal smartphones. Troops, officers and government officials of North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries said Russia has carried out a campaign to compromise soldiers’ smartphones. The aim, they say, is to gain operational information, gauge troop strength and intimidate soldiers.
8. Facebook Inc. cut references to Russia from a public report in April about manipulation of its platform around the presidential election because of concerns among the company’s lawyers and members of its policy team, according to people familiar with the matter. The drafting of the report sparked internal debate over how much information to disclose about Russian mischief on Facebook and its efforts to affect U.S. public opinion during the 2016 presidential contest, according to these people. Some at Facebook pushed to not include a mention of Russia in the report because the company’s understanding of Russian activity was too speculative, according to one of the people. Ultimately, the 13-page report, published on April 27 and titled “Information Operations and Facebook,” was shortened by several pages by Facebook’s legal and policy teams from an earlier draft, and didn’t mention Russia at all.
9. (SEE POINT 2). North Korean state-sponsored cyber gangs are launching almost daily attacks on Irish companies, banks and utilities as it emerged a syndicate associated with the Pyongyang regime is the chief suspect in the €4.3m cyber raid on Meath County Council last year. Ireland finds itself on the front line of an escalating global cyber war as a leading IT security expert warned that North Korea, because of UN and US sanctions, has now turned to international cyber robbery as the primary means of funding its state and massive military. Ireland will be targeted due to the number of US multinationals based there.
Part 1 of a special investigation into weaponised data, disinformation, and social media: