At a glance.
- Civilian systems on cyber target lists of Iran and Israel.
- Israel restricts sale of intercept and surveillance tools.
- Japan and Vietnam agree to cooperation on cybersecurity.
- The US expands the Commerce Department's Entity List.
Iran and Israel target civilian systems in cyber operations.
The ongoing shadow cyberwar between Israel and Iran has escalated to the point that civilian activities are now in the crosshairs. The Times of Israel reports that Israel successfully attacked the systems supporting Iran’s nationwide fuel system last month, forcing gas distribution to standstill for almost two weeks and leaving citizens to face traffic jams and massive lines at fuel stations. Not long after that, the New York Times reports, Israel suffered cyberattacks against a major healthcare provider and a leading LGBTQ dating site, exposing intimate details and explicit photos of the site’s users. While the two nations have traded attacks in cyberspace for years, the conflict had previously only targeted military or government systems. And though the recent attacks haven’t led to bloodshed, they’ve succeeded in throwing citizens into at least some degree of chaos and turmoil. ” Beni Kvodi, an editor at an Israeli radio station, stated, “Perhaps there’s a war going on between Israel and Iran, but from the little civilian’s perspective we are being held as prisoners here in the middle and are helpless.”
Israel limits sale of surveillance tech.
The Israel Defense Ministry has announced that it’s further restricting the list of countries to which security firms will be allowed to sell surveillance and hacking tools, reducing it from approximately one hundred countries to just thirty-seven. The Record by Recorded Future reports that the nations removed from the list are known autocratic regimes like the UAE, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. The remaining countries are democracies, including the Five Eyes and European nations like France, Germany, and Italy. As the Times of Israel notes, the move comes on the heels of allegations that Israeli software company NSO Group’s Pegasus software was being used by various governments to spy on activists and journalists, leading tech giant Apple to sue NSO and the US Department of Commerce to blacklist the controversial company.
Japan and Vietnam enter cybersecurity agreement.
In an effort to deepen their defense cooperation, Japan and Vietnam have signed a cybersecurity agreement pledging to cooperate in fighting against shared threats. As Security Week reports, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi stated recent talks with his Vietnamese counterpart had taken “defense cooperation between the two countries to a new level,” and that the goal of the arrangement is to contend with challenging forces in the Indo-Pacific region. Kishi is referring to China’s escalated presence in the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, and joint military activities by China and Russia over Japanese waters. The agreement comes just two months after Taiwan agreed to have Japan supply defense equipment and tech.
US sanctions quantum computing firms (among other organizations).
The US Department of Commerce has announced sanctions against twenty-eight companies based in China, Russia, Pakistan, Japan, and Singapore for their involvement in supplying quantum computing technologies to military programs, the Record reports. As nations across the globe compete to get their hands on the most advanced quantum systems for defense operations, the goal of the sanctions is to impede the operations of these entities by preventing US suppliers and customers from doing business with them. US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo stated, “Global trade and commerce should support peace, prosperity, and good-paying jobs, not national security risks...Today’s actions will help prevent the diversion of US technologies to the PRC’s and Russia’s military advancement and activities of non-proliferation concern like Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities or ballistic missile program.”