Updates

Cyberconflict

2019

The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI) begins to create a Cyber Security Collaboration Hub that is an encrypted workspace for information gathering, collaboration and training for all 29 states of the Alliance. Previously NCI provided information to allied national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), but there was no NATO CERT community. By this initiative NCI wants to fill this gap and strengthen the security of NATO’s networks. The first participants of the Hub are CERTs from US, UK, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

France will use cyberweapons, in addition to traditional weapons, to respond and attack, Defence Secretary Florence Parly stated at the International Cybersecurity Forum FIC2019, held in Lille. She declared that ‘Cyberwar has begun’. Parly called on European allies to co-operate in combating cyber-threats, and particularly, in protecting the defence industry’s supply chain. In this regard, she asked for greater engagement from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to further develop the French (and EU) cyber-defence, and announced a bug bounty partnership between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and startups, in which ethical hackers will conduct research for the MoD to look for internal vulnerabilities.

2018

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) considered the budget implications for the new group of governmental experts reflected in the document A/73/678. By a recorded vote the assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/73/266 named ‘Advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security’. Thus, this group will be the second that will continue to study possible co-operative measures to address information security threats.

Japan’s newly adopted National Defense Program Guidelines envisage improving cyber-defence capabilities, Japan Times reports. According to the guidelines, capabilities include possessing the ability to obstruct the enemy’s use of cyberspace when the nation is under attack; however, such capabilities – which may be used for conducting offensive counter-attacks – may be challenging in light of the Japanese Constitution, which restricts use of force for self-defence to certain conditions. The guidelines also envisage government investments in artificial intelligence applications for defence purposes. The guidelines are set in response to China’s expanding military activities, including its supremacy in the cyber domain, which may endanger Japan’s command and control systems.

Symantec published a report revealing the details on the cyber espionage group named Seedworm acting in 2017-2018 to gather intelligence on targets in telecom and IT services that opened access to the oil and gas sector mainly in Pakistan and Turkey. Seedworm also affected Russia (11 victims belongs to one Russian firm), Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Jordan, and organisations in Europe and North America that have ties to the Middle East.

The group used GitHub to store the malware and exploit several publicly available open-source tools like LaZagne and Crackmapexec which they customised to carry out their attacks.

 

119 countries voted in favor of the new resolution A/RES/73/27 at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that establishes an open-ended working group, acting on the basis of consensus, for the further development of norms and principles of responsible state behavior in cyberspace and ways of their implementation. The group will examine existing and potential threats and possible measures to address them and come up with the final report on the 75th session of the UNGA. The first organisational meeting is scheduled for June 2019.
Notably, the American proposal A/C.1/73/L.37 was suspended in the fifth UN committee on budget issues, because there is a significant burden on the budget to conduct the meetings of the proposed group of governmental experts. In case of approval, the voting on the draft resolution will be held later.

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