from Net Politics

Cyber Week in Review: June 28, 2019

A worker refurbishes a Huawei cell phone at a workshop. June 20, 2019. REUTERS/ Regis Duvignau/File Photo

The United States launched cyber strikes against Iran; APT-10 suspected of cyberattack on global telecoms; Singapore invests in 5G; continued U.S. crackdown on Chinese technology companies; Chinese government and companies push back

June 28, 2019

A worker refurbishes a Huawei cell phone at a workshop. June 20, 2019. REUTERS/ Regis Duvignau/File Photo
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United States Launched Cyber Strikes Against Iran: President Trump authorized an offensive cyber strike against an Iranian intelligence group and missile launch control system in direct retaliation to the shootdown of an American surveillance drone and recent attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. While anonymous U.S. officials claimed success, Iran said on Monday that the cyberattacks failed. Researchers at U.S. security firms said tensions between the United States and Iran have lead to increased cyberattacks on the U.S. government, national labs, and energy-sector entities. Previous Iranian cyberattacks on the private sector include the massive DDOS attacks on US banks and financial institutions in 2012 and 2013, or the more destructive operations against Saudi Aramco and Rasgas in August 2012. 

APT-10 Suspected of Cyberattack on Global Telecoms: Researchers from the Israeli security firm Cybereason identified a campaign targeting a dozen global telecommunications providers. The hackers allegedly gained access to the call logs, location, identity, and financial data of hundreds of millions of customers. The firm suspects APT-10, a hacking group with ties to the Chinese Ministry of State Security, is responsible due to the methods and tools used. Some news reports say that the group targeted the data of 20 military officials, dissidents, spies, and law enforcement with ties to China across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

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Singapore Invests in 5G: Singapore announced an initiative to invest nearly $30 million to facilitate the deployment of standalone 5G networks. Standalone networks are a new infrastructure design that is relatively cheaper and more efficient than the initial wave of 5G. Singapore's digital economy minister announced the initiative calling 5G technology "the backbone" of Singapore's digital economy while underscoring the importance of its resilience and security. Singapore is keeping its options open on the involvement of Huawei in its 5G network.

Continued U.S. Crackdown on Chinese Technology: The debate over Huawei and its relations with the Chinese government got a new data point when Bloomberg reported Huawei employees had worked on research with the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Huawei responded that the projects were not authorized. The Trump administration added five Chinese supercomputer companies, some with known connections to the PLA, to the Entity List, though the New York Times reported that some U.S. firms are avoiding the list by taking advantage of the de minimis rule which doesn't subject some commodities primarily made overseas to the entity list prohibitions. These additions to the Entity List come as the Trump administration considers requiring that all 5G cellular equipment be designed and manufactured outside of China.

Chinese Government and Technology Companies Push Back: The Chinese government and companies affected by the U.S. crackdown have increasingly pushed back against U.S. regulations and legislation. Chinese drone company DJI, which controls approximately 75 percent of the global market, sent a letter to a U.S. Senate subcommittee refuting claims that flight logs, photos, or videos that could expose sensitive geospatial information are transmitted to Chinese data centers. DJI also announced it will shift a production line so that it includes greater assembly in California, and the company will launch a government-specific drone that can only store data locally to address concerns about Beijing's access to data. Similarly, Futurwei, the U.S. R&D arm of Huawei, moved to separate from Huawei amid ongoing U.S. scrutiny and rules blocking many universities from doing research with the telecom company. In the past week, Huawei also sought to assuage concerns in third markets, promising their products would meet security standards in Germany and initiating a "no back-door" agreement with India. The technology dispute between the United States and China is expected to play a major role in upcoming discussions between U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Osaka G20 this weekend, with reports that China will insist the United States lift the ban on Huawei as part of the trade truce.

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