Online image sharing restricted by Congolese government; US army bans Chinese-made drones; India reports spike in cyber attacks from China.

By Harriet Ellis, Research Analyst and Administrative Assistant, Future Conflict and Cyber Security, and Samantha Hoffman, Research Consultant, Future Conflict and Cyber Security and Defence and Military Analysis.

GOVERNMENT

National law and policy

  • Chinese authorities tested the emergency response capabilities of internet data centres and cloud companies, requiring them to take part in a three-hour drill aimed at monitoring and taking down content on smaller websites.
  • The United States’ acting chief of federal information security, Grant Schneider, is reportedly taking on a second role as senior director for cyber security at the National Security Council.
  • The United Kingdom announced it would strengthen its data protection laws and bring them in line with European Union regulations.
  • The UK is considering new cyber security measures to protect critical infrastructure, including fines of up to 4% of turnover for operators who fail to develop risk-management strategies.
  • Proposed legislation in Hungary seeks to create a centralised data storage facility that could enable large-scale surveillance.
  • South Korea's National Intelligence Service admitted that its cyber unit attempted to manipulate voters ahead of the country’s 2012 election. 
  • Palestine’s new cybercrime legislation, which came into effect in July, has been criticised for not taking into account public debate.
  • Kazakhstan’s State Technical Service was transferred to the country’s intelligence agency, making the agency responsible for managing telecommunications networks and the country’s sole internet gateway.
  • Myanmar’s parliament passed minor changes to the country’s Telecommunication Law despite pressure for greater reforms.
  • South Africa extended the deadline for public comment on the country’s cybercrime and cyber security bill.

International policy

  • Foreign ministers from ASEAN countries discussed cyber security at the 7th East Asia Summit Ministers' Meeting in Manila.
  • Foreign ministers from over 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific agreed to use social media to counter terrorism in the region, after discussions at the ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • The Organization of American States and Spain’s cyber and infrastructure protection bodies hosted International CyberEx 2017, an exercise aimed at improving cyber cooperation.
  • The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security requested an expanded mandate which would enable it to coordinate cyber security issues for member states.
  • The US and China will meet in the coming weeks to discuss cyber issues, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • US State Department officials met with Japanese and Australian counterparts to discuss the need for a ‘strategic framework for international cyber stability based on the application of existing international law’.

Military

  • The US Marine Corps will hold Large Scale Exercise-17 in mid-August, which will involve drills for information operations and cyber and electronic warfare.
  • The US army issued a memo halting the use of drones made by a Chinese manufacturer.

Private sector

  • Facebook announced improvements to the way the platform deals with fake news, including  smarter algorithmic filtering and transparent third-party fact checking.
  • Facebook will open an office in Indonesia and geo-block all pornographic content as per requirements for operating in the country, according to an official from the information ministry.
  • Ahead of Kenya’s election, Facebook launched a campaign to educate users about how to spot fake news.
  • Interpol signed an agreement with Palo Alto Networks, formalising an information sharing partnership designed to tackle global cybercrime and cyber threats.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Government breaches

  • WikiLeaks released documents allegedly from CIA’s ‘Dumbo’ project, which gives individuals the power to override control of video and audio recording programmes.
  • India’s cyber security sector reported an increase in attacks on companies and government agencies appearing to originate from China.

Critical infrastructure

  • A Chinese telecoms firm reportedly sustained a denial-of-service attack lasting 11 days.
  • Reuters reported that a series of cyber attacks on the satellite navigation systems used by ships is driving investments in radio-based systems that are less vulnerable to spoofing or jamming.
  • Pakistan suffered widespread disruption to internet services after an undersea cable was damaged.

DIGITAL RIGHTS

  • Voting in Rwanda proceeded without interruptions to internet or social media services, despite fears that the country’s electoral body would limit internet access.
  • Kenyan authorities kept internet connection intact during the country’s election, after fierce speculations on social media about an internet shutdown.
  • The Congolese government ordered telecoms and internet providers to restrict image sharing on social media, amid calls for President Joseph Kabila to step down in December.
  • Mobile internet services were suspended in parts of India-occupied Kashmir, after security forces killed three militants.
  • Internet service providers in India are blocking Internet Archive, a free digital library.
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