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Cyber Czars, cyber counterespionage, and multidomain ops: notes from three continents. CISA wants to keep Einstein. Securing elections.
At a glance.
- More on the proposed US cyber czar.
- Tokyo police go on the alert for cyberespionage.
- Multidomain operations for the Royal Army.
- CISA wants to keep, and improve, its Einstein tool.
- Spies, propagandists, and cyber ward heelers: a look at the US ICA on foreign election influence.
Cyber leadership in the US.
The Hill reports that US President Biden is facing mounting pressure to fill the open national cyber director role created by the National Defense Authorization Act as the Administration mulls the proper responses to Holiday Bear and Hafnium. A representative of the President said the appointment is “complicated” but “a priority.”
Federal News Network reiterates that delays in senior cyber nominations and the emerging problem of many hands are raising “alarm” in Congress. Additional unfilled positions include the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency directorship; Energy Department Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response assistant secretariat; State Department Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues; and a handful of cabinet Chief Information Officer roles.
Senator Portman (Republican of Ohio) commented, “I’m concerned that…there is the opportunity for duplication, confusion and…lack of accountability.” An Administrative official explained one reason for the holdup in finalizing the cyber czar office as concern about “overlap” with existing responsibilities. Portman wondered whether a cyber czar was necessary given this overlap, while others seconded his worry about “who is in charge” if the czar role is just another among many leadership positions.
Tokyo police take on developing foreign cyber threats.
Faced with growing offensive, espionage, and intellectual property theft campaigns from Pyongyang and Beijing, the Public Security Bureau of Japan’s Metropolitan Police Department is restructuring its foreign affairs teams for the first time in two decades, according to The Mainichi. A unit dedicated to Southeast Asia, China, and North Korea will split off its North Korea experts into a new division, allowing more “specialized” attention to the evolving threat landscape.
Britain’s military gets a modern makeover.
The Independent says Britain’s Army is creating a special operations training and combat brigade to address emergent foreign threats in the “most contested environments.” Post-Brexit, the UK is planning to deploy troops “more frequently and for longer periods,” while decreasing the total number of personnel.
The forces will also enhance offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, using an app called Atak, for example, and innovative drone technology. Strike Command principal General Saunders commented that the UK must confront the “grey zone” of space and cyber conflict that threatens the country’s “strategic advantage.”
(By the way, for those Americans who think the 75th Infantry is the only Ranger Regiment out there, the Royal Army has one, too, and its lineage also goes back to French and Indian Wars, just like yours.)
CISA thinks Einstein is worth improving (and keeping).
MeriTalk details Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Acting Director Wales’ view on Federal network monitoring tool EINSTEIN’s worth in the wake of Holiday Bear. Wales said the $6 billion system could use upgrades that would “look inside the network for threats,” claiming the program executes its intended function—namely, defending network perimeters from known threats—well.
Spies, propagandists, and cyber ward heelers: a look at the US ICA on foreign election influence.
The US Intelligence Community last week released the unclassified version of its report on foreign interference in the 2020 Federal elections. The investigation found no evidence of foreign attempts to manipulate vote counts or other “technical aspects” of the election. We were able to exchange questions and answers with Blake Moore, VP of Strategy and Operations at Wickr, who also shared some thoughts on how the US Government might better secure future elections.
British Army to establish new special operations brigade to tackle emerging threats (The Independent) Ranger regiment will form core of new force which will engage in combat
U.S. defense secretary urges India to avoid buying Russian equipment (Reuters) U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed India's planned purchase of Russia's S400 air defence system at a meeting with his Indian counterpart on Saturday, reiterating U.S. allies should steer clear of Russian equipment to avoid sanctions.
Biden must punish Putin’s cyber-attacks. But building more nukes only makes things worse (the Guardian) A fear of cyber-attack helps explain, though not excuse, Britain’s ill-considered plan to unilaterally increase its nuclear warhead stockpile
White House reviewing National Cyber Director role as Congress presses for governmentwide leadership (Federal News Network) Senators pressed OMB, CISA and FBI officials the SolarWinds attack and who is ultimately accountable for responding, mitigating the problems.
Biden under growing pressure to nominate cyber czar (TheHill) President Biden is coming under increasing pressure from lawmakers and other officials to nominate a White House cyber czar as the government starts formulating its response to two major foreign cyberattacks.
Biden White House’s Ties to Big Tech Are Detailed in New Disclosures (Wall Street Journal) National security adviser Jake Sullivan served on an advisory council for Microsoft last year, new federal disclosures show.
Democrats plan to bombard Big Tech with a swarm of antitrust bills (Axios) "[I]t's harder for (the tech companies) to manage and oppose...10 bills as opposed to one," Rep. David Cicilline said.
A Dozen Experts with Questions Congress Should Ask the Tech CEOS — On Disinformation and Extremism (Just Security) Experts draft specific questions — on disinformation and extremism — for Congress to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai in hearing on Thursday.
Oklahoma Votes to Outlaw Ransomware as Threats Grow (Governing) State lawmakers unanimously passed an anti-ransomware bill, outlawing a type of cyber attack that cost computer users at least $1 billion in 2019. But investigating and prosecuting the hackers may prove difficult.
Connecticut Legislature Considers Incentivizing Adoption of Cybersecurity Best Practices (PR Newswire) The Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS®) testified before the Commerce Committee of the State of Connecticut General Assembly last...
New Calif. Privacy Board Poised To Balance Various Interests (Law360) The Squire Patton Boggs LLP attorney and four others selected to helm the inaugural California Privacy Protection Agency are expected to leverage their broad experience across industry, advocacy and academia to strike a measured approach to crafting rules and enforcing cutting-edge digital privacy issues.
Tokyo police toughening espionage crackdowns amid intel threat from China, N. Korea - The Mainichi (The Mainichi) The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)'s Public Security Bureau will realign its foreign affairs department as part of efforts to beef up c
India Wants Court to Block WhatsApp’s Controversial Privacy Rule (Bloomberg) Modi government urges a high court to restrain WhatsApp. India says WhatsApp’s policy violates technology laws.
Highways Ministry asks NHAI, automakers to tighten IT security after cyber attack threats (Tribuneindia News Service) Received alert from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team about possible cyber attacks, says ministry The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Sunday alerted NHAI, NHIDCL and its other wings besides automobile makers to augment their IT security systems after reports regarding threats of possible cyber attacks targeted at the Indian transport sector.
Automakers told to ramp up IT infrastructure amid cyber-attack threats (Business Standard) The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Sunday alerted NHAI, NHIDCL and its other wings besides automobile makers to augment their IT security systems after reports regarding threats of possible cyber attacks targeted at the Indian transport sector.
In-the-Wild Series: October 2020 0-day discovery (Google Project Zero) Posted by Maddie Stone, Project Zero In October 2020, Google Project Zero discovered seven 0-day exploits being actively used in-the-w...
MoRTH alerted on cybersecurity intrusion on transport sector (mint) 'The Ministry has advised departments and organisations under (the) transport sector to strengthen the security posture of their infrastructure,' highways ministry said
After power, Chinese hackers target transport sector (Hindu Businessline) Depts, organisations asked to beef up IT infrastructure