At a glance.
- Naming and shaming the GRU to strengthen international norms in cyberspace.
- Russian influence operators move from creation to curation.
- Cryptowars dispatches from the Australian front.
- UK implementation of its Huawei compromise may prove more restrictive than expected.
Calling out bad state actors in cyberspace.
Other countries have joined the US, the UK, and Georgia in condemning what they call a large-scale GRU defacement attack against Georgian websites last October, Fifth Domain and others report. Naming and shaming are thought part of a broader effort to reinforce international norms of conduct in cyberspace.
Trolling as curation.
The Atlantic looks at Russian influence operations directed against the 2020 US elections and concludes that the Americans themselves are doing a good job of creating divisive content all on their own, and that the Russians seem to have moved from creation to curation. "We have met the enemy and he is us," as Pogo famously said more than half a century ago. There's enough ill-will and paranoia in domestic production to leave the troll farms of St. Petersburg with little to do beyond retweeting it. As the Atlantic observes, "The U.S. doesn’t need Russians to erode faith in its elections—one buggy app at the Iowa caucus did that just fine." Moscow remains interested in weakening American civil society, and can be expected to continue its efforts along those lines, but we may not see a revival of 2016-style hacking and creative disinformation.
Australian law with respect to accessing communications remains unsettled.
Both the Labor Party and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor have agreed that Australia's existing encryption laws are too permissive with respect to giving security and law enforcement authorities access to encrypted communications, and have proposed revisions to the law that would require judicial oversight and permission before such access could be granted. ZDNet reports that the Department of Home Affairs, however, is decidedly not on board with such revisions. The Department rejects contentions that changing access and retention laws along the proposed lines would ease relations with allies (particularly with the United States) and claims that the current regulations are harming the international competitiveness of Australian tech companies.
Sherwood Forest is apparently core infrastructure, and somewhere either Prince John or Friar Tuck is smiling.
As the US urges the UK to recognize and resist Huawei "propaganda" to the effect that the Shenzhen hardware giant is 5G deployment's indispensable company (see the BBC coverage of US Assistant Secretary of State Strayer's remarks), a decision by what the Register calls "the Ministry of Fun" suggests that the actual implementation of Britain's compromise position on Chinese manufacturers may be more restrictive than many had believed. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (to give the Ministry of Fun it's proper name) has opened bidding on nine rural 5G pilots with a total value of £35 million. In requesting proposals, the Department said, however, that "None of the winning projects, or future projects from 5G Create, will use equipment from high risk vendors."
The specific nature of some of those products is suggestive of how expansive the notion of "core infrastructure" is becoming. They include water-pollution control projects, woodland and livestock remote monitoring, and even an interactive system designed for tourists visiting Sherwood Forest, specifically "a virtual reality Robin Hood (and his Merrie Men). That a VR Robin Hood would be too sensitive to allow Huawei in hints that the reality of the UK's implementation of compromise restrictions on Huawei and other Chinese vendors won't be as far from the notoriously harder American line as Washington fears.