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Australia Appoints Interim National Data Commissioner

Australia Appoints Interim National Data Commissioner

The Australian government has appointed this week Deborah Anton as its interim National Data Commissioner who will be in charge of overseeing the country’s public data system, and implement its new data sharing and release framework. Anton, who has already had a 20 year career in the Australian Public Service, will be working closely with the privacy commissioner to help strengthen safeguards around the integrity, management, and use of government-held data. The National Data Commissioner will be provided with technical assistance by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), while a new National Data Advisory Council will advise the commissioner on […]

China Renames National Technology and Education Leadership Group

China Renames National Technology and Education Leadership Group

A circular published on China’s government website this week revealed that the country’s National Technology and Education leadership Group will be revamped to shift focus on technology. Premier Li Keqiang will be leading the renamed body with vice premier Liu He as deputy. It is said that the revamp of the national leadership group signals potential policy shifts as the country’s technological ambitions triggered backlash abroad. Other top officials from various ministries and key central government bodies such as central bank head Yi Gang and State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission director Xiao Yaqing, is set to join the group. […]

Complaints Filed Against German Police for Use of State-Sponsored Malware

Complaints Filed Against German Police for Use of State-Sponsored Malware

German authorities are likely to receive a number of complaints from civil rights activists and lawmakers for its use of state-sponsored malware in its investigations. It was pointed out that the complaints are being filed only now because of the one year deadline for making objections to the Constitutional Court, and the law that allows authorities to use hacking came into effect in August 24 of last year. The complainants are arguing that the authorities use of malware has an indirect detrimental effect on IT security as a whole, and creates a strong incentive for state actors in Germany not […]

US Military Banned from Using GPS-Equipped Devices, Fitness Trackers

US Military Banned from Using GPS-Equipped Devices, Fitness Trackers

The US Department of Defense instructed the military this week to stop using devices and applications equipped with global positioning system (GPS) as the technology can be used by the enemy to gain information on the military’s activities.    It is said that the incident involving fitness app Strava likely triggered the move as firm’s “Global Heat Map,” previously exposed the location and movement of active soldiers in countries including Iraq and Syria. However, it was pointed out that implementing the new policy could be a challenge as so many apps now use GPS, with some in subtle ways which […]

New WiFi Attack Capable of Cracking WPA2 Protocol

New WiFi Attack Capable of Cracking WPA2 Protocol

Security researcher Jens “Atom” Steube shared this week a new method of compromising passwords on WPA/WPA2-secured routers that have Pairwise Master Key Identifiers (PMKID) features enabled. The developer of the Hashcat password cracking tool said that he discovered the attack while exploring ways to compromise the new WPA3 security protocol which was announced just last January. Unlike WP3, WP2 does not feature individualized data encryption to scramble connections, or new protections against brute-force attempts to crack passwords. Steube says the new attack method is clientless and requires no involvement from users. Information, which is translated in regular hex encoded strings, […]

Accenture: Iran a Growing Cybersecurity Threat

Accenture: Iran a Growing Cybersecurity Threat

Accenture revealed in its Cyber Threatscape Report 2018 that Iran has become an emerging player in the cyberattack space, using mobile malware as its “weapon of choice”. Accenture says that while Iranian threat actors prefer to target unofficial app stores that do not employ verification processes, some do still try to get into Google Play to implant malicious code into legitimate apps. The consulting firm also warned against an Iranian group called Pipefish that is now able to use a cache of exploits to execute commands remotely on their victim’s systems. Pipefish is said to be active across the Middle […]

Infowars App Rises in Popularity After Alex Jones Ban

Infowars App Rises in Popularity After Alex Jones Ban

Alex Jones “Infowars” app reportedly went up to fourth place in Apple’s App Store after a number of tech companies banned the conspiracy theorist’s content from their platforms and app stores. The controversial app skyrocketed from under the Top 10 after Apple decided to remove Jones’ podcasts from iTunes for violating the company’s policy on hate speech. Jones has not issued an official comment on his ban, but instead took to Twitter and criticized the various tech platforms for “censoring” his free speech. Source: CNBC

US Think Tank, Facebook Work to Fight Fake News

US Think Tank, Facebook Work to Fight Fake News

Facebook is reportedly working with a small US think tank which helped it identify and disable a recent propaganda campaign aimed at sowing dissent among US voters. It was noted that the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which is based in Washington, D.C., has also provided its geopolitical expertise to Facebook, whose ex-chief security officer pointed out that a company like theirs does not have the necessary information to evaluate the relationship between political motivations of a nation-state. He added that Facebook can only amass digital evidence to turn over to the authorities and experts. It was also leaked […]

Google to Face Strict Laws, Tough Competition in Return to China

Google to Face Strict Laws, Tough Competition in Return to China

State newspaper, the People’s Daily, wrote this week that Google is welcome to return in China, as long as it complies with the country’s censorship laws. It was reorted last week that Google will be launching a censored version of its search service in China which will blacklist content deemed prohibited by the government. Meanwhile, Baidu CEO Robin Li said that if international companies like Google want to enter the Chinese market, it would have to contend with the strength of local companies that have already undergone earth-shaking changes. Source: CNBC

New Test Reveals How Fast Hackers Can Hack Critical Infrastructures

New Test Reveals How Fast Hackers Can Hack Critical Infrastructures

Researchers at Cybereason recently revealed how fast hackers can hack critical infrastructure by setting up a test involving a fake electricity substation network. The researchers set up a honeypot made to look like an information and operational technology (OT) environments of an industrial control system with an interface protected by a firewall. They found that it took hackers only two days to find and install malicious tools on the fake network. It was noted that while attacks critical infrastructure are often the work of nation-state attackers, the honeypot was discovered by a standard cyber-crime group that did not necessarily have […]