At a glance.
- Hacktivism on the Nile.
- India bans TikTok; plans to exclude Chinese firms from Indian 5G infrastructure advance.
- China defends its detention of two Canadian citizens.
- More on the case of Chinese influence operations in Australia.
- A primer on the US classification system.
Attacks against Ethiopian government targets still look like hacktivism.
In an update on last week's cyberattacks against Ethiopian targets prompted by an ongoing dispute between Cairo and Addis Ababa over Ethiopia's construction of a dam on the Blue Nile, Quartz reports that there's still no sign of any connection between the hacktivists and the Egyptian government. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been under construction since 2011.
Most of the attackers claim to be adherents of the Cyber Horus Group. Their activities have for the most part involved website defacements. One of those affected the homepage of a regional police training center. The hacker left messages on the homepage of an Ethiopian regional police force training center, threatening war over the Nile and casting a “Pharaonic curse,” upon Ethiopians. Most of the hacked websites included the Pharaonic imprecation, “If the river’s level drops, let all the Pharaoh’s soldiers hurry and return only after the liberation of the Nile, restricting its flow.”
In any case, the UN is seeking to broker negotiations among the three involved countries, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. The hacktivism seems, in Quartz’s view, to be having little if any effect.
India bans TikTok; plans to exclude Chinese firms from Indian 5G infrastructure advance.
Following skirmishes along its border with China that left twenty Indian soldiers dead, India has banned several Chinese-connected companies from doing business in India. The Wall Street Journal has a list of the mobile applications New Delhi has decided to exclude. The most prominent is TikTok, but the others include UC Browser, Shareit, Helo, UC News, Kwai and Baidu Map. The Indian Wire reports that India's government is also moving toward excluding both Huawei and ZTE from the country's upcoming 5G trials. These measures represent a general hardening of Indian opinion toward its northern neighbor. An op-ed in the Patna Daily is representative: it's title is "India Will Have to Take the Lead in Taming a Bully China."
TikTok has long been suspected of exploitation for collection by Chinese intelligence services. Forbes published a renewed warning over the weekend of the social medium's potential for abuse.
China hangs tough on its detention of two Canadian citizens.
The Print says China has denounced what it calls Ottawa's "megaphone diplomacy" protesting China's detention of two Canadian citizens. Their arrest is widely regarded, in Canada and elsewhere, as retaliation for Canada's detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou pending completion of hearings that will decide her extradition to the US.
Prominent New South Wales Labor Party member calls for a full investigation of the case of an alleged Chinese agent of influence.
The New York Times last week reported that authorities raided the home and office of Shaoquett Moselmane, a suburban Sydney Labor politician and state legislator, in connection with his support for China's line on COVID-19. Australia's government is led by the rival Liberals, but the Labor Party promptly suspended Mr. Moselmane's party membership when news of the raid broke. Since then the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Sam Dastyari, a former Labor Senator who left Parliament in 2017, has called for a full investigation of foreign influence in Australian politics. Mr. Dastyari is in some respects a surprising figure to call for such an investigation. He resigned from Parliament over revelations concerning his own connections with the Chinese Communist Party. The former Senator put it this way: "Look, what happened to me in my career a few years ago really should have been a canary in the coalmine when it comes to foreign influence and these kinds of pressures. The question you have to ask yourself is - are you using them or are they using you? And it's become very, very clear, and my case demonstrated this, is that they are using you."
An overview of the US classification system, adapted to the meanest understanding.
Lawfare at the end of last week published a clear and useful guide to the American system of classifying information, prompted by the legal wrangling over former National Security Advisor John Bolton's book but interesting for much more than that. It explains the legal authorities for classification, draws useful and often muddled distinctions, explains how information comes to be classified in the first place, and what's involved in declassification.