from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Cyber Week in Review: November 27, 2015

CRF Net Politics Cyber

November 27, 2015

CRF Net Politics Cyber
Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Here is a quick (and abbreviated given Net Politics’ turkey-induced food coma) round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

  • The New York Times reports that U.S. officials and private security firms have noticed a surge of Iran-based cyber espionage against U.S. targets over the past year. Most notably, it provides evidence that Iran is pretty strategic in it use of its cyber capabilities. According to the report, Iranian cyber espionage activity ramped up significantly in the lead up to the nuclear deal and then dropped dramatically once it was signed. After a brief lull, espionage activity resumed, presumably to monitor discussions amongst U.S. officials of how it would be implemented. It’s similar to what Iran is alleged to have done in the past, where it is believed to have engaged in denial of service attacks against U.S. banks in 2013 as a result of U.S. financial sanctions. The attacks are believed to have subsided as the United States and Iran began negotiating the deal.
  • Jennifer Daskal and Andrew Woods at Just Security propose a framework for cross-border data requests that would allow foreign law enforcement organizations to obtain access to user data on U.S.-based servers. In short, they propose amendments to U.S. law that would allow foreign requests for data to be expedited if the crime being investigated occurred solely outside of the United States. The whole thing is worth a read.
  • Telegram, one of the apps allegedly being used by the so-called Islamic State to encrypt their communication, is full of holes according to computer security experts. According to the Grugq quoted in The Register, "Telegram is error prone, has wonky encryption [and] leaks voluminous metadata." The app uses an encryption protocol developed by the app’s creators, Pavel and Nikolai Durov, not one of the open source encryption protocols that are widely seen as more secure given that they have the possibility of being peer-reviewed.