The International Monetary Fund, disturbed by the difficulty of pursuing cybercriminals, especially organized gangs, that operate across borders, has called for closer international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime. Some of that cooperation, the IMF thinks, should include better international coordination of laws and regulations governing cyberspace. They organize their recommendations under four heads:
- Better understand the threats.
- Improve collaboration on threat intelligence, both domestically and internationally.
- Reach consensus and consistency on regulatory regimes and approaches.
- Cooperate to develop more effective preparation for, and responses to, cybercrime.
Yesterday US Attorney General Barr released the results of the Justice Department’s inquiry into the December 6th shootings at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The investigators concluded, as expected, that the shooter was Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force, that he acted alone, and that the killings were an act of terrorism motivated by “jihadist ideology.” The evidence for his radicalization and commitment to jihad were found online. There were signs that pointed toward his plans, but as has been the case with other lone wolves, those indicators and warnings are always clearer in retrospect.
While Lieutenant Alshamrani acted alone, a look at the digital trails of other Saudi military personnel training in the US found that twenty-one of them were in possession of similar radical material. None of this, the Attorney General said, warranted prosecution under US law, but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia determined that the trainees’ engagement with such material constituted conduct unbecoming of an officer. The Kingdom disenrolled the twenty-one officers from training in the US and recalled them to Saudi Arabia late yesterday.
The investigation also constitutes another round in the dispute over access to encrypted communication. The Attorney General says the shooter’s two iPhones have been recovered and restored to usability (he’d damaged each one of them), but that investigators are unable to read their encrypted contents. He closed his discussion of the case with a call for access to encrypted communications when such access might be properly requested by warrant.
O’Dwyer’s reports that Q Cyber, the parent company of NSO Group, whose Pegasus intercept tool has aroused widespread controversy, has engaged the services of Mercury Public Affairs to assist with crisis communications in connection with a lawsuit Facebook and its WhatsApp subsidiary filed at the end of October in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.