At a glance.
- Republic of Korea joins NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.
- Conti ransomware gang added to US State Department's Rewards for Justice.
- Questions about US DHS Disinformation Governance Board.
South Korean NIS joins NATO cyber defense group.
The Nation Thailand reports that South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has become the first Asian member of the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), a NATO cyberdefense center located in Tallinn, Estonia. NIS stated, “Cyberthreats are causing great damage to not only individuals but also separate nations and also transnationally, so close international cooperation is crucial. We plan to send more employees to the CCDCOE and expand the scope of joint exercises to reinforce our cyber defense capabilities.” Established in 2008, CCDCOE will now have thirty-two member countries, twenty-seven of which are NATO members, and five “contributing participants” like South Korea. Security Week notes that China is less than thrilled about the new arrangement. Former editor-in-chief of China's Global Times Hu Xijin tweeted, “If South Korea takes a path of turning hostile against its neighbors, the end of this path could be a Ukraine.” Over the past few years, China-backed threat groups have allegedly launched cyberattacks targeting South Korea, but South Korea has also reportedly retaliated with attacks of its own.
Hefty reward offered for info on Conti ransomware group.
The US State Department on Friday announced it will offer a reward of up to $15 million for intel about the leaders and co-conspirators of the Conti ransomware gang. As the announcement notes, Conti is the costliest ransomware variant ever documented, as the US Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates it has impacted at least one thousand victims with payouts exceeding $150,000,000. Notable recent victims include Ireland's Health Service Executive and Department of Health, as well as the Government of Costa Rica. “In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting potential ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cyber criminals,” the announcement reads. Part of the Department of State's Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program. this is not the first reward offer of its kind, Bleeping Computer notes, as in November the State Department also offered rewards for information on the REvil and DarkSide ransomware groups
DHS’s Disinformation Governance Board met with skepticism.
In April, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will be launching the Disinformation Governance Board, aimed at standardizing how the agencies overseen by DHS combat misinformation. In a fact sheet released last week, the DHS defined misinformation as “false information that is deliberately spread with the intent to deceive or mislead,” and said the board will be focused on “disinformation spread by foreign states such as Russia, China, and Iran, or other adversaries such as transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling organizations.” However, WSGW notes, some government officials have expressed concerns that the board’s purview has not yet been clearly defined. “We don’t have definitions of what [the Disinformation Governance Board] is. We don’t have boundaries on what it does. Why should we not have suspicions on this?” Republican Senator James Lankford asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal adds that although the White House has stated that the board will be “apolitical,” some officials are concerned that the Biden administration could use the board to silence Republican views. OODA Loop reports that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has released the first in a series of graphic novels aimed at educating the public about misinformation.