At a glance.
- UK begins to take a skeptical look at TikTok.
- US Government emphasizes international cooperation in its persistent engagement strategy.
- Naming and shaming North Korea's BeagleBoyz.
- US announces grants for AI, quantum computing research.
- Department of Homeland Security plans for an election defense war room.
HM Government takes a skeptical look at TikTok.
Bloomberg reports that the British government is considering restrictions on TikTok as the company seeks to move its anglophone center of gravity from the US to the UK. The government is thought unlikely to ban the service outright, but it seems likely as a minimum to seek to prevent TikTok from moving data out of the country.
Persistent engagement and allied cooperation in cyberspace.
Cooperation with allies forms an important part of the US cyber doctrine of persistent engagement, explained this week by NSA Director and US Cyber Command head General Paul Nakasone. The US Embassy in Georgia published an account of how such cooperation is envisioned. Exposure of influence operations, cooperative development of patches for malware used in attacks, and joint cyber exercises are, as the Embassy explains it, the principal forms such cooperative security takes.
North Korea's campaign of bank theft (and the US strategy of exposure).
CISA, NSA, and the FBI have issued a joint warning against a North Korean hacking group they're calling the BeagleBoyz, which we’re morally certain is an homage to the old Disney Villains. The BeagleBoyz, the agencies assess, amount to a subgroup of Pyongyang's Hidden Cobra threat group, which itself overlaps to a large extent the bad actors industry tends to call the Lazarus Group. The BeagleBoyz are responsible for the FASTCash ATM looting campaign and other assaults on bank payment systems. Their principal motive is financial gain for a regime that's been unable to deliver economically, and that labors under the international sanctions and odium appropriate to a rogue state.
US Government invests in artificial intelligence and quantum computing research.
The Department of Energy announced yesterday that it, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Science Foundation have awarded more than $1 billion to establish "twelve new artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information science (QIS) research institutes nationwide." The goal, according to US CTO Michael Kratsios, is "to strengthen American leadership in AI and quantum, and to ensure the Nation benefits from these emerging technologies."
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards will go to seven AI research centers, with participating institutions including the University of Oklahoma at Norman, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California at Davis, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Department of Energy's five Quantum Information Science Research Centers will be at Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. They are expected to focus on quantum networking, sensing, computing, and materials manufacturing. Two of those awards will be managed by the University of Chicago, which will operate the research centers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.
The Wall Street Journal has an account of the research initiatives.
Homeland Security's election season war room.
The US Department of Homeland Security operated a "war room" to help secure the 2018 midterm elections and it intends to do the same, with application of lessons learned for this November's voting. The Washington Post reports that this year's operation will open earlier than Election Day and remain up until election officials tell DHS it's no longer necessary. The longer period of operation is designed to accommodate an expected surge in voting by mail. So far, at least, CISA thinks that local election authorities are showing more cyber resilience than many had feared.