At a glance.
- US Cyber Command's role in protecting elections.
- Internet blocked in Belarus.
- Papua New Guinea's National Data Centre found rife with vulnerabilities.
US Cyber Command defines its role in protecting elections.
Speaking at DEFCON last week, US Army Brigadier General William Hartman, who commands the Cyber National Mission Force at US Cyber Command, outlined how his organization was working to defense US elections. C4ISRNet reports that General Hartman says the Cyber National Mission Force now has components that "live outside of SCIFs" (that is, outside sensitive compartmented information facilities) in online places where they can take advantage of unclassified networks to gather information and, most importantly, cooperate with other Government agencies and the private sector to share intelligence.
Belarus blocks its Internet after a Presidential election.
In the aftermath of a contested election that saw long-time incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko returned to office with a nominal eighty percent of the vote, Belarus has apparently shut down most Internet access in the country, Vice reports. Twitter said yesterday that its service had been blocked in the country, and others reported that many other services had also been disrupted, including a number of virtual private networks that, left undisturbed, could have enabled users to bypass service interdiction.
The New York Times said yesterday that the US had condemned the elections as fraudulent, ”neither free nor fair,” and deplored the Internet shutdowns. President Lukashenko’s principal opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has rejected the election and urged resistance to President Lukashenko. US Secretary of State Pompeo said, in a statement, "We strongly condemn ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters, as well as the use of internet shutdowns to hinder the ability of the Belarusian people to share information about the election and the demonstrations.”
Huawei gives Papua a buggy, porous National Data Centre.
A report prepared at the request of Papua New Guinea’s National Cyber Security Centre by an investigator contracted by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade concludes that Papua’s National Data Centre is insecure, Computing reports. Huawei built and staffed the National Data Centre in 2018. Computing’s account suggests careless implementation. The report read in part, "Core switches are not behind firewalls. This means remote access would not be detected by security settings within the appliances." The firewalls themselves were also a problem: they were beyond their 2016 end-of-life by the time the Centre came online. The Australian Financial Review is harshly direct in its assessment: the Centre was “built to spy,” the paper says, with the weaknesses constituting (from the contractor’s point of view) features and not bugs.
Other countries, especially Australia, which shares some long-haul telecommunications infrastructure with Papua, had at the time warned against bringing Huawei on to build the National Data Centre. But such concerns were dismissed: Papua New Guinea’s Minister of State Investment, William Duma, said that since his country didn’t have enemies, the government wasn’t worried about security concerns that surround the use of Huawei equipment in telecommunications infrastructure. The view that Papua has no enemies may not be perfectly true, but it’s about as true as such a claim can be in this vale of tears, but it seems that sentiment may have shifted in Port Moresby, as the Papuan government has asked for Australian assistance in bucking up the country’s security. Australia’s government is considering the request.