Updates

Cyberconflict

2019

The US Cyber Command conducted a cyber-attack on Russian’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) to prevent it from conducting a defamatory campaign during 2018 midterm elections in the USA, according to the The Washington Post (WP). US officials told the newspaper, on condition of anonymity, that they were able to cut IRA off the Internet for several days. The Russian President’s Press Secretary, however, questioned the reliability of WP sources. The Russian Federal News Agency (FAN) claimed that FAN was the actual victim of the attack, since it had sent employees of its subsidiary, USAReally, to the USA to observe the midterm elections. FAN said it is not connected to the IRA, does not interfere with elections or conduct other illegal activities. Its internal investigation concluded that the USA failed to cut FAN off the Internet; parts of the server that were disabled were promptly replaced, and new mirrors created for USAReally continued working as usual.

The US Navy published the ‘Navy Cryptologic & Cyber Warfare Community Vision’. The document states that the network is a warfighting platform and that the Navy must commit to strengthening the Information Warfare Enterprise. The Navy must win ‘the counter-C5ISRT challenge’ and be prepared to simultaneously defend and attack, as well as hold the enemy’s space at risk.

Microsoft has expressed confidence that the attacks targeting democratic European institutions between September and December 2018 were conducted by Strontium cyber-espionage group, also known as Fancy Bear and APT28, which is often associated by research community to Russian military intelligence agency (GRU). The attacks targeted democratic institutions, campaigns, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe whose work relates to democracy, electoral integrity, and public policy and that are often in contact with government officials. The spear-phishing attacks targeted 104 accounts belonging to organisations’ employees located in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia.

Several Pakistan government websites have reportedly been hacked by a group calling itself 'Team I Crew'. The hackers defaced the websites by leaving messages on the screen: ‘We will never forget #14/02/2019’ and ‘Our heartfelt condolences to the families of CRPF jawans who sacrificed their lives in #PulwamaTerrorAttack’. Sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was one of the websites attacked, told DawnNewsTV that the attacks are believed to be of Indian origin.

Australia's cyber intelligence agency detected an attack on the national parliament’s computer network and believes that a sophisticated state actor is responsible, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated. Networks of main political parties have also been affected. Morrison did not name any suspects or reveal what information was accessed, but did state that there was no evidence of election interference. Cybersecurity researchers consider China, Russia, and Iran the most likely culprits. China has denied the allegations since.

The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI) began creating a Cyber Security Collaboration Hub which is an encrypted workspace for information gathering, collaboration, and training for all 29 member states of the NATO. The NCI had previously provided information to allied national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), but there was no NATO CERT community. By this initiative the NCI wants to fill the gap and strengthen the security of NATO networks with the encrypted workspace. The first participants of the hub are  the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium CERTs.

 

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