At a glance.
- German authorities recommend against paying ransomware extortion demands.
- Director NSA attributes Super Tuesday secure voting to preparation, coordination.
- New voting machines lay an egg in their Los Angeles debut.
- Ericsson and Nokia support US laws that would limit Chinese companies' participation in 5G networks.
- ASEAN feels no pressure to exclude Huawei from its member nations' infrastructure.
- Extension of US surveillance authorities remains in doubt.
- US domestic surveillance authority extension linked to FISA, privacy reforms?
Germany comes down against paying the ransom.
You'll just encourage the criminals and fuel a bandit economy. Germany's BSI (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, the Federal information technology security organization) strongly urged local authorities not to give in to the demands of ransomware gangs. BleepingComputer quotes their peroration: "We must not give in to such ransom demands. It must be clear that municipal administrations cannot be blackmailed. Otherwise, criminals will be offered incentives to continue their actions. The attitude of our administrations must be crystal-clear and non-negotiable."
2018's defenders were a pickup squad. 2020's look more like the varsity.
The Super Tuesday primaries in the US went off without hacking or evidence of effective disinformation, and Bloomberg reports that NSA Director Nakasone told Congress yesterday that superior preparation on the defenders’ part made the difference. He compared this week’s smooth defensive performance to what he saw in 2018. The 2018 midterm elections didn’t go off badly, but in comparison to this week’s operation, the 2018 security measures were, General Nakasone said, “like a pickup game.”
$300 million apparently doesn't buy a smooth voting experience.
Los Angeles County did stumble badly with its new voting machines. Long delays induced by malfunctioning machines produced what the Los Angeles Times called an “ugly debut for the county’s new $300-million voting system.” Voters are reported to have been standing around the polling places for two hours or more while poll workers tried to get the machines up and running, or else get a backup ballot into the voters’ hands. Other election authorities who’ve adopted similar devices are reviewing their plans. The problems in and around Los Angeles were, it should be noted, the result of technical and organizational mishaps and mistakes, not the work of hackers or other meddlers.
European champions like what they see in US 5G bills.
Executives from Nokia and Ericsson, the European hardware manufacturers the US Government has suggested would be attractive and more secure alternatives to China’s Huawei, expressed their support this week for US laws that would push the Chinese manufacturer out of 5G infrastructure, the Washington Post reports. They especially approved of the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act, a $1 billion program that would help US rural telecom companies rip and replace Huawei gear in their networks, and the Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act, which would allocate more than $1 billion to support the emergence of Western alternatives to Chinese equipment manufacturers.
Huawei executives also attended the hearings on their own, but weren’t invited to testify. Huawei’s preferred solution, they say, is transparency on everyone’s part, and the company’s executives believe that a fair reading of everything they’ve done for security would set everyone’s mind at ease. Huawei's Congressional affairs lead Donald Morrissey complained that “the U.S. government has embarked on a brand demolition campaign against Huawei globally, so we need to be here to respond.”
ASEAN feels no pressure to keep Huawei out of 5G infrastructure.
The ten ASEAN nations say they feel no particular pressure from the US to exclude Huawei from their national 5G infrastructure, according to the South China Morning Post. The ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Extension of surveillance authorities in US linked to FISA reform.
With key US domestic surveillance authorities set to lapse at the end of next week, it seems increasingly likely that they will not be extended without enhanced privacy protections and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reforms, the Wall Street Journal reports.