PODCAST: Hack to the Future — China’s Online War

What could be worse than not finding a vaccine? Having it stolen. And right now, in the race to find a coronavirus treatment, that might be the biggest threat of all. That’s why China isn’t just putting its best scientists on the job — it’s unleashing an army of cyberthieves to break into U.S. files and steal whatever progress America’s making. Turns out, the regime wasn’t just content infecting the world — they want to control who recovers first too.

The alerts went out across health care industries, academia, research teams, drug manufacturers: lock down your data. By late February, the U.S. cyber-intelligence and defense communities were getting more and more concerned. There’d been a huge spike in attacks on “sensitive data on COVID-19-related research” by foreign hackers at agencies like HHS. Both the American and U.K. governments sent out a bulletin warning groups that this was a full-scale assault on government agencies, hospitals, labs, and universities. “There is nothing more valuable today than biomedical research relating to vaccines or treatments for the coronavirus,” Jonathan Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, pointed out. And it would be “beyond absurd,” he argued, to think that the Chinese Communist Party’s espionage would stop during the pandemic.

“It is safe to say,” one official agreed, “that there are only two places in the world” — China and Russia — “that could hit (the Department of Health and Human Services) the way it’s been hit.” And it’s no wonder, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) pointed out. “In the middle of a pandemic, what’s the most valuable intellectual property in the world? It’s the research that our great laboratories and life science companies are doing on prophylactic drugs, therapeutic drugs, and ultimately a vaccine. “[China] wants to be the country that claims credit for finding those drugs or finding a vaccine and then use it as leverage against the rest of the world.”

The vaccine will help millions of people, yes. But in China, what matters isn’t saving lives — it’s having power to lord over the rest of the world. Whoever can inoculate first — and reproduce it — won’t just have an economic advantage. They’ll have a geopolitical one. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, wrote a sobering column in the Wall Street Journal about the consequences of coming in second — not just for Americans but for the struggling countries who don’t have the resources to develop treatments of their own. “A more prepared U.S. could inoculate Americans quickly and share the product with others.”

Of course, Senator Cotton reminded listeners, China’s been trying to hack into our systems for years — trying to get a leg up on everything from military technology to agriculture. When it comes to the virus, “there’s no doubt that our scientists and medical researchers are world-leading in the field — better than China’s. Obviously, China is a communist, authoritarian government. Free inquiry and scientific research never flourishes in such a society. They are hacking in part because they need to. But if they can hack into a company or a leading laboratory university that is researching drugs or vaccines, and even if they haven’t developed [them], they can get a head start on [the data]… and corner the market.” That should scare everyone, he explained, because if America has it, we’ll share it. “I can’t say the same thing about China.”

On the bright side, Americans from both parties are starting to recognize what a pariah the Chinese government is. Senator Cotton believes it’s time ride that wave of momentum and start playing hardball. Roll back China’s economic power. Change our security infrastructure. Beef up defense. Bring back American companies. Manufacture our own drugs and products. “We ought not let them be a part of any industry that is vital for the security, prosperity, and help of the American people.”

Including our food supply. While people worry about the meat shortage here at home, our pork exports to China have more than quadrupled since mid-March. That’s because big-name brands like Smithfield Foods have been sold to the Chinese W.H. group. Our slaughterhouses are operating at half-capacity because of the virus, and we’re shipping whatever we do have to China. It’s absurd. But maybe now, on the brink of a meat crisis, Americans will finally start paying attention to these vulnerabilities. “Our food supply chain is one of our most vital national interests,” Senator Cotton shook his head, “and that we haven’t done enough to protect it…”

Like everything else, it all points to one thing: our need to distance — a heck of a lot more than six feet — from China.


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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Hackers linked to Iran target staff at US coronavirus drug-maker Gilead Sciences Inc.

Yet despite this, the Iranian mullahs, with help from the international media, will continue to claim the moral high ground. That is nothing new, and neither is Iran’s aggression. As The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran shows, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been on a war footing against the U.S. since 1979.

“Iran-linked hackers recently targeted US coronavirus drugmaker, say sources,” by Jack Stubbs and Christopher Bing, Reuters, May 9, 2020:

LONDON/WASHINGTON: Hackers linked to Iran have targeted staff at US drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc in recent weeks, according to publicly-available web archives reviewed by Reuters and three cybersecurity researchers, as the company races to deploy a treatment for the Covid-19 virus.

In one case, a fake email login page designed to steal passwords was sent in April to a top Gilead executive involved in legal and corporate affairs, according to an archived version on a website used to scan for malicious web addresses. Reuters was not able to determine whether the attack was successful.

Ohad Zaidenberg, lead intelligence researcher at Israeli cybersecurity firm ClearSky, who closely tracks Iranian hacking activity and has investigated the attacks, said the attempt was part of an effort by an Iranian group to compromise email accounts of staff at the company using messages that impersonated journalists.

Two other cybersecurity researchers, who were not authorised to speak publicly about their analysis, confirmed that the web domains and hosting servers used in the hacking attempts were linked to Iran.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations denied any involvement in the attacks. “The Iranian government does not engage in cyber warfare,” said spokesman Alireza Miryousefi. “Cyber activities Iran engages in are purely defensive and to protect against further attacks on Iranian infrastructure.”…

Reuters has reported in recent weeks that hackers with links to Iran and other groups have also attempted to break into the World Health Organisation, and that attackers linked to Vietnam targeted the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Britain and the United States warned this week that state-backed hackers are attacking pharmaceutical companies and research institutions working on treatments for the new disease.

The joint statement did not name any of the attacked organisations, but two people familiar with the matter said one of the targets was Gilead, whose antiviral drug remdesivir is the only treatment so far proven to help patients infected with Covid-19.

The hacking infrastructure used in the attempt to compromise the Gilead executive’s email account has previously been used in cyberattacks by a group of suspected Iranian hackers known as “Charming Kitten”, said Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at US cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, who reviewed the web archives identified by Reuters….

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Cybersecurity Statistics for 2020 – Trends, Insights and More!

Cybersecurity is a BIG issue, and the interesting thing is…a lot of people don’t realize they care about it.

A lot of people think about cybersecurity as something pretty basic: choose a good password, and beyond that it’s really a term for governments and big companies to worry about.

Of course, when you think about it, cybersecurity matters to just about everyone.

It’s super important for small businesses, who may be targeted without having the resources to hire a security professional.

And have you ever been concerned about what Facebook is doing with your data? Then you’ve worried about cybersecurity.

See what I mean? This goes for EVERYONE who does anything on the internet.

So I’ve picked quite a few of the most relevant and reputable statistics about cybersecurity in this list, and I think they’ll matter a lot to you, no matter your context.

Ready? Let’s start off with something of interest to the business owners out there:

Item #1: NEARLY HALF of American small businesses suffered a cyber-attack last year.

First, sorry to start off with such a negative and scary stat.

But also, it’s pretty important to know. So let’s just look at the numbers, presented to us by Hiscox’s 2018 Small Business Cyber Risk Report:

cybersecurity stats percent

So as you can see, last year nearly half of small businesses in the United States suffered a cyber-attack. And of those, 44% suffered 2+ attacks.

A lot of us have this idea that cyber-attacks are mostly an issue for big firms to worry about. Unfortunately, small businesses have got a LOT to worry about themselves.

So even if this stat doesn’t cheer you up, at least it will help us put to bed the idea that SMBs are largely ignored by cyber-attacks.

Let’s hammer this dose of reality home extra-hard, while we’re at it:

Item #2: MOST of those small businesses fail to act after an attack.

This stat actually comes from the same report as the last one. And it might give you the same sinking feeling as the last one.

Let’s have a look:

cybersecurity stats percent

Yep…not a third, not even half, but NEARLY 2/3rds of small businesses fail to act following a cybersecurity incident.

Now, let’s note that this does NOT mean that 65% of small businesses got hacked and did nothing about it.

First, plenty of small businesses in this stats probably didn’t even know they had a cybersecurity incident.

And part of that is because cybersecurity incidents aren’t the same thing as being “hacked” in a super malicious way.

Nonetheless, it’s still pretty clear that small businesses, for various reasons, are not taking enough action to prevent cyber-attacks OR to fix cybersecurity issues.

Item #3: Over 85% of the email was spam in July 2019.

This really isn’t shaping up to be a “feel-good” list, is it? Well, such is life I suppose.

Check out the latest data, straight from Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group:

cybersecurity stats-percent of email is spam

Those are some enormous numbers, barely comprehensible. But the key figure is that 85% of email that is spam.

Want to know the worst part?

The proportion of spam to real mail is SUPER consistent over time:

cybersecurity stats-percent of email is spam2

Meaning there’s no real reason to think that in the near future, most email will be non-spam.

Okay, but here’s a silver lining:

Remember that spam is not the same thing as malware.

Spam obviously has a much higher rate of malware, phishing attempts, and so on, but this number doesn’t mean that 85% of your email is deadly to your cybersecurity.

… Just that a lot of email is on the riskier side.

On the note of email, though:

Item #4: The most common malicious attachments in email are Microsoft Office files.

Clearly, a lot of malware gets distributed through email. People have generally gotten wise to the usual, more overt malware email tactics.

Unfortunately, this means bad actors have also evolved their game. Cisco’s June 2019 email security report details some pretty shocking numbers.

Nowadays malware is often sent through mostly “normal” attachment types:

cybersecurity stats-most malicious file types

So the result is that over 40% of malicious attachments—TWO IN FIVE—are Microsoft Office attachments, mostly .doc files. PDFs are about 10% and .zip files are nearly a third.

This doesn’t mean you should stop sending Word documents through email…just that you shouldn’t assume an attachment is safe because it’s a Microsoft Office file.

Item #5: Cybercriminals have been a more pervasive threat than hackers recently.

I know what you’re thinking: what’s the difference between a hacker and a cybercriminal? Is this going to be a distinction without a difference?

Well, there’s definitely some overlap…but there’s still a meaningful difference. In short:

A hacker breaks into your system. A cybercriminal does this…and does something criminal (like stealing important information, robbing you, etc).

This report by Isaca on 2019’s cyberthreat landscape includes a poll given to business owners on the post frequent threat actors.

cybersecurity stats-threat actor ranking

So while hacking in general is obviously the big overall concern, cybercriminals are the chief perpetrators…meaning robbers, basically.

Item #6: Phishing has been the most common attack type.

Phishing is a bad-faith effort at getting sensitive information (usually account information and card numbers), usually with the perp pretending to be a trustworthy person or group.

You might think phishing is the easiest security issue to avoid, because you’re a smart person who can tell the difference between good and bad actors.

And you know what?

You’re probably right. Most people who have been on the internet for a bit, and especially business-owners, can see through most phishing attempts.

But you shouldn’t dismiss them. Because here’s how common they are:

cyberstats-attack types ranking

They are the MOST common cyber-attack type, and they have been for the last three years (according to the aforementioned Isaca report).

Heck, what’s interesting is that the other most common forms of attack—malware and social engineering—have actually decreased while phishing has stayed strong.

Item #7: One in ten URLs are malicious.

This data comes straight from Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, and there’s no way to sugarcoat it.

cybersecurity stats-one in ten urls

It’s easy to have a false sense of security—you maintain basic security practices on the internet, you only click links that look safe, etc.

But when you consider that 10% of URLs are malicious, it sure becomes apparent that you can’t be too careful.

Because if so many URLs are malicious, odds are even cautious people are going to run into them. Stay safe!

Item #8: Most Internet-of-Things (IOT) attacks hit routers.

The Internet-of-Things refers to increasingly common internet-enabled “smart” household devices.

IOT devices are the things that you see ads for all the time. Smart speakers and home assistants put out by Amazon, Apple, Google, etc, are very popular IOT devices.

But lots of new IOT products are coming out every day: door locks, cameras, microwaves, ovens, etc.

But IOT devices are notoriously vulnerable to hacking at this point in time. Symantec decided to test out IOT security and put the results in the report I mentioned in the last stat.

Here’s what they found:

cybersecurity stats-routers are most iot attacks

Routers are the most frequently attacked points for IOT attacks.

Routers got about 75% of the attacks, and internet-connected cameras got another 15%.

A bunch of other things make up the remaining 10%, meaning these are the two you really need to be careful about if you’re trying to modernize your home or business.

Item #9: Over a QUARTER of internet users worldwide use a VPN or proxy.

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are basically private networks built on public networks and are almost always encrypted nowadays—meaning users can experience better privacy and security.

Proxies overlap somewhat in that they switch up your traffic and make your IP look different (though they’re still pretty different from VPNs).

Anyway, VPNs and proxies are pretty common, according to recent data.

These numbers are from 2018 and presented by the reputable GlobalWebIndex research firm, and are probably the best recent numbers we’ve got:

cybersecurity stats-vpn use

What’s more, GlobalWebIndex points out that these numbers have been largely consistent since 2013.

This is honestly more than I expected, and it has a few implications—for one, it could change how we look at traffic statistics. For example:

Perhaps a lot of American traffic statistics are actually from people around the world trying to bypass local restrictions.

It also means that a solid amount of people, whether they intend to or not, are adding an extra layer of security and anonymity to their internet use.

Pssst: if you’re interested in checking out VPNs but not interested enough to set down money, you can actually try some free ones out.

Don’t worry—I’ve got a list of the best free ones to help you get started!

Item #10: Network vulnerabilities are far more common than application vulnerabilities.

This last stat is a little more technical, but don’t worry—I’ll take you through it.

First let me show you the numbers, brought to us by EdgeScan’s 2019 Vulnerability Statistics Report:

cybersecurity stats-web apps vs network vulnerability

Network vulnerabilities accounted for the vast majority of cyber vulnerabilities at 81%, whereas web application vulnerabilities accounted for the rest.

Okay, but what does that mean?

You know what a network is, but a web application might be a little fuzzy for you. A web application is basically a program or software that works within a browser environment.

What does that mean in daily life?

Email, online shopping carts, plugins for your WordPress site, and so on. A lot of stuff that’s extremely common nowadays.

Now this might seem a little surprising, and some say that web application vulnerabilities are the most common, more common than network vulnerabilities.

Hashing this out could be an entire article unto itself, so I won’t get too into it here.

The reason I’ve left this statistic for you is to show you that network vulnerabilities are still extremely common, even if web applications are what we think of the most when it comes to cybersecurity.

But, let me point out one more thing out: even if network issues are over 80% of cybersecurity weaknesses, web apps have a higher proportion of high-risk problems.

So if you’ve been super concerned about the security of web applications…keep it up! Just don’t neglect network security too much either.

Conclusion

Like I said in the beginning, cybersecurity is a very multi-faceted thing. It’s relevant to just about everyone, and sometimes in more than one way per person (as a private individual and as a site manager, for example).

Cybersecurity is also a battle waged on many fronts: at the level of the network and the level of the website, on individual scales and massive organizational ones.

There are lots of stats out there on cybersecurity, but the game is constantly changing, and that’s why I found the most reliable recent stats and put them here.

Everyone has different contexts, concerns, and vulnerabilities online. But to the extent that I can generalize advice…I’d say, the best thing is to be careful!

Stay safe, y’all!

The Greatest Cybersecurity Threat May Be from Big Data Companies

We’re constantly getting warnings about giving out our personal data. Many of the warnings emanate from big data companies like Microsoft, Google, and, ironically, Facebook. We’re warned to guard against phishing emails, downloading files, and sharing details that might be useful for hackers.

These companies even provide us with a range of software to use to protect ourselves. They advise us to make use of email-scanning programs and other anti-phishing measures.

Which, when you think about it, is pretty ironic considering the amount of information that the giants like Google, Facebook, and so on already keep on us. You might think that your partner knows you best. You’re probably wrong.

Google knows what sites you like to visit, what topics you’ve been researching, and a lot more besides because they track your every move. Do they listen in to your conversations online? We’re told not, but how do we know for sure?

Big Data Companies Have a Bad History

In fact, if history is anything to go by, we can’t always take these big companies at their word. Facebook has been embroiled in a lot of data scandals over the last few years. Most concerningly was a story broken by TechCrunch where it came out that Facebook had been paying users to download their research app onto their phones.

This app would check all the data on the phone – the websites you visited, the purchases you made, and so on. For around $20, you were giving Facebook free license to root around on your phone. The company defended their actions by saying that they were upfront about what the app would do, but you have to wonder if users really understood the extent of what they were getting into.

They’ve since withdrawn the app, but apparently, they even listened in to Whatsapp conversations.

Scandals and big data companies seem to go hand in hand. Concerningly for clients, it would seem that there’s an attitude to ask forgiveness instead of permission. This also points to the fact that the companies often act in an immoral way, and then deal with the fallout when they get caught.

You Have No Idea How Your Data is Tracked and Used

As bad as the Facebook scandal revealed by TechCrunch was, Facebook did have a point. They were upfront about their intentions. The world’s favorite search engine, on the other hand, is not quite as upfront.

They track your movements online by default. They say it’s so that they can improve your search results and ensure that you get targeted advertising that you’re interested in. Here’s the thing, though, there’s no option to opt-out. Just by using Google, you’re tacitly agreeing that they can track your every movement.

And, while they say that they’re using the information to improve your user experience, that’s not entirely true. Why would they need to know what you do on Facebook if that was the case? And yet, run a search for a particular product on Amazon, and you’ll see ads for similar products from Amazon showing up in social media feeds banner ads, and so on.

Final Notes

The fact is that big data is big business. This information is packaged and sold on to market research companies. It’s used to provide you with advertising that you’re most likely to be interested in. So, while we’re out there guarding against phishers looking for a few files of information, the real threat is a lot more insidious.

What the big companies do is not considered technically illegal, but amounts to the same thing – the theft and misuse of your data. And, if that’s not frightening enough, what happens if one of these companies gets hacked?

© All rights reserved.

VIDEO: China Shuts Down American Teen on Tik Tok

Sandwiched between a makeup tutorial, 17-year-old Feroza Aziz used her Tik Tok account to turn her beauty vlog into an awareness campaign about China’s severe abuse of the Uighur (Muslim) population. She quickly felt the brunt of the long arm of China’s ever-increasing censorship.

To learn more about the horrific abuse of the Uighers by China, see below

Aziz made a series of viral videos on her Tik Tok account @getmefamouspartthree exposing the abuse, Aziz found that her account had been suspended. The videos begin as makeup tutorials but quickly switch to exposing how the Chinese are putting the Uighurs into “concentration” camps, separating family members from each other, raping and murdering them.

Business Insider explains:

“[Aziz’s videos] are designed in such a way in an attempt to fool TikTok’s moderators from cracking down and removing her content. TikTok — an app not available in China but owned by the Chinese company ByteDance — has faced increasing scrutiny over fears it censors content considered “culturally problematic” and offensive to the Chinese government.”

Here is one of Aziz’s videos that Tik Tok shut down:

For its part, TikTok said her account was suspended because it was connected to another accounts of hers (@getmefamousplzsir), which the platform said it banned for “violating rules.”

But after the teen took to Twitter to publicize her suspension, Tik Tok reinstated her account and issued a public “apology.”

While it was not much of an apology (the company stood behind its initial decision to suspend Aziz’s account), they did admit that their review process “will not be perfect.”

Americans felt the brunt of Chinese censorship last month when the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, tweeted an image with the caption, “Fight for Freedom. Stand for Hong Kong.”

Chinese companies immediately suspended their ties with the Rockets, and the Chinese Basketball Association ended their cooperation with the team.

In response, Morey and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver groveled, issuing apologetic statements distancing themselves from the protesters in Hong Kong who are demanding democracy and freedom from China.

Again, Business Insider explains:

“With a population of roughly 1.4 billion people, China is the NBA’s most important international market.”

Although TikTok insists it is independent from China, many have noted that there have been no videos documenting the unrest in Hong Kong, but many have appeared telling a whitewashed story of the region.

Who Are the Uighurs and Why is China Putting Them in “Reeducation” Camps?

Ethnically, the Uighurs are Turkish Muslims. Eleven million Uighurs live in Xinjiang, a territory in northwest China. As Clarion Project has documented since 2013, the Uighurs are under systematic persecution from China in what can authentically be labelled Islamophobia.

Where as a privileged Muslim population in the West will cry Islamophobia if they didn’t get their Diet Pepsi on a airline flight, one million Uighurs are experience actual psychological and physical torture.

The world has been watching stunned as horror story after horror story comes out about exactly what goes on in the Chinese government-run detention centers about one million Uighurs are forced into.

The abuse of the Uighurs is also happening to their children:

Leaked videos have shown children as young as four- or five-years old that are separated from their parents and placed 20-30 at a time in a single room with a fraction of that number of beds and nothing else — languishing, their childhoods wasted, their potential crushed.

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DHS, Microsoft working to “assess and mitigate impacts” of Iranian hacking in 2020 presidential campaign

There are the Left’s fantasies and fabrications about Russian interference in our elections on behalf of Trump, and then there is reality, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran working for the same goal as that of the Left: to defeat and destroy Trump.

“Microsoft claims Iranian hackers targeted US 2020 presidential campaign,” Silicon Republic, October 7, 2019:

The US Department of Homeland Security said it was working with Microsoft to ‘assess and mitigate impacts’ of an Iranian hacking operation targeting a US presidential campaign.

Microsoft has said that hacker group Phosphorous, which has been linked to the Iranian government, has targeted a US presidential campaign, as well as government officials, media targets and prominent expatriate Iranians.

Overall, the hackers attempted to access 241 accounts – four successfully – though none of those penetrated were associated with presidential campaigns or current or past US officials, Microsoft said.

The announcement is the latest sign that foreign governments are looking for ways to potentially disrupt the 2020 presidential election. US intelligence officials have sounded the alarm about the risks for months.

Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as well as the subsequent leaks of emails during the 2016 election, hurt Clinton’s electoral hopes and was a focal point in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

The disruption caused by Russia’s attack has heightened awareness and prompted fears that other nations will try to follow Russia’s example.

US president Donald Trump recently withdrew the US from a nuclear agreement with Iran and stepped up sanctions against the country.

The US Department of Homeland Security said it was working with Microsoft to “assess and mitigate impacts”. Chris Krebs, director of the department’s cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, said much of the activity is likely “run-of-the-mill” foreign intelligence service work.

However, he continued: “Microsoft’s claims that a presidential campaign was targeted is yet more evidence that our adversaries are looking to undermine our democratic institutions.”…

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VIDEO: New expose on the great evil that is Google

Posted by Eeyore

According to the Blacklist doc at 10:30, The Rebel.media is delisted from some google search results, as well as The Gateway Pundit, Infowars and many more.

Google Document Dump

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Our Adversaries Are Using Cyberwarfare. We Must Be Prepared.

The recent incidents between U.S. and Iranian forces demonstrate the importance of cyberwarfare for national security and reinforce the importance of funding and developing the cyber capabilities of the United States.

Following the June attacks by Iran on oil tankers and then the downing of a U.S. unmanned drone, President Donald Trump chose not to retaliate with physical attacks. Instead, he reportedly approved an offensive cyberstrike that disabled the computer systems used to control Iran’s rocket and missile launches.

That was considered a more proportionate retaliation for the downing of the drone.

America’s adversaries are operating with cyber in the so-called gray zone between diplomacy and war, choosing actions that fall short of sparking a conventional military retaliation.

In 2007, Russia used cyber to disrupt communications channels in the Baltic states as part of its unconventional strategy to destabilize the region.

In 2015, China hacked the Office of Personnel Management and stole the records of employees holding security clearances. That’s in addition to ongoing theft of intellectual property.

North Korea used cyber against Sony in 2014, and Iran has targeted the U.S. government and companies with cyberattacks as well.

Given these threats, and the challenges of defending networks, offensive cyberattacks are an important tool for the U.S. against its adversaries.

In 2018, U.S. Cyber Command confirmed it had launched an offensive cyberattack in order to silence a Russian troll farm, an organization used to spread disinformation and sway public opinion during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

Sometimes, offense is the best defense.

The release of National Security Presidential Memorandum 13 in 2018 allows for offensive and defensive cyber operations to be conducted without presidential approval.

Last year, the Department of Defense also released a plan that confirmed its commitment to using cyberattacks “to advance U.S. interests” and “defend forward.” The U.S. retaliatory offensive cyberattacks on Iran and Russia are examples of this type of approach.

Unlike nuclear weapons, which are held in reserve and used to deter other nations through the threat of use, cyber capabilities are readily available, and cyber forces are in near-constant contact with one another.

While many cyberattacks seem immediate, as though a button was pushed to trigger it at will, most are actually the result of months of work and planning. Constant effort goes into identifying cyber targets and ensuring that there is still an ability to access them.

If the target updates its software, for example, that means an entirely new plan of attack must be laid out.

The organization primarily responsible for these missions is U.S. Cyber Command. It has come a long way from its humble origins, recently filling out its Cyber Mission Forces, the operational units within the command, to full operational capacity.

In 2018, it was promoted to a full unified combatant command. That designation made it equal in rank to the other nine combat commands, such as Special Operations and Central Command.

That’s not to suggest that Cyber Command does not have more work to do. It still needs to train those forces up to a high level of readiness and continue to develop its infrastructure. Fully staffed does not necessarily mean fully mission-ready and capable.

Cyber Command is constantly deterring, disrupting, and defeating cyberthreats. Its capabilities must be able to handle the persistent nature of cyberwarfare.

Just as we maintain our ships and improve our conventional military forces, we must do the same with our cyber capability. The U.S. should continue to develop Cyber Command’s capacity and readiness so it can meet those challenges into the future.

The United States cannot afford to rest on its current cyber capabilities. Our adversaries continue to sharpen their cyber forces, and the U.S. cannot afford to lose that competition.

We must stay ahead of our adversaries and continue to invest in the U.S. Cyber Command so it can reach its full potential.

COMMENTARY BY

Alexandra Marotta is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

James Di Pane is a research assistant in the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation


Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Comments by Computing Forever on President Trump’s Social Media Summit

Computing Forever published the following video with commentary on President Trump’s Social Media Summit:

For those wishing to support Computing Forever’s work his please clicking here or on Subscribe Star or donate via PayPal. Like Computing Forever on Facebook.

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PODCAST: Techs and Balances

The rest of the country knows it as the 2020 election. To the leaders at Google, it’s the “Trump situation.” And based on new undercover video, they’ll do anything to prevent this president’s history from repeating.

Americans knew there was a censorship problem at places like Google and Pinterest. Now, thanks to James O’Keefe and Project Veritas, they see just how bad it is. Turns out, platforms like this search engine aren’t in the browsing business — they’re in the political business. And not as an unbiased observer. In the footage released Monday, Jen Gennai, head of Google’s Responsible Innovation team, has been innovative all right — especially when it comes to trying to alter the president’s reelection chances.

“Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google,” Gennai was caught saying on tape. “And I love her, but she’s very misguided. That will not make it better, it will make it worse, because now all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation.” And according to the footage, those resources have been hard at work since 2016 “to make sure that we are ready for 2020.”

To conservatives like Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), the surprise is not that companies like Google are trying to interfere with the election. The surprise is that they’re being so candid about it. There’s plenty of evidence from three years ago, he told me on “Washington Watch” that the search engine had rigged their algorithms to favor Hillary Clinton results over Donald Trump’s. But here’s the scary thing, he said. “More and more voters, especially undecided voters, get their news from Google search right? So this platform with its monopoly power has the ability to swing undecided voter could potentially swing an election… [T]his is something that we should all be concerned about.”

It’s time to take seriously what liberals in Big Tech are doing, he insisted — “let alone what they’re doing that we don’t know about.” After all, “we’re talking about democracy. I mean, “You’ve got Google executives and Google employees saying, ‘We want to manipulate the information that goes to voters, so that they will vote the way that we Google want them to vote. That’s not democracy. That’s not the rule of the people. That’s rule by this multinational corporation.”

If people were unconvinced about these leaders’ motivations before, Project Veritas is making believers out of more every day. This morning, most of us woke up to the headlines that one leaked Google document compared conservatives like Ben Shapiro, PragerU, and others to “Nazis using dog whistles.” And just as O’Keefe’s post was approaching a million views, guess what? YouTube, which happens to be owned by Google, pulled it.

Here’s the thing, Senator Hawley told me. Google is a private company, and it can do what it wants. But it certainly shouldn’t be getting special deals and immunity from the federal government if they’re going to try to influence the outcome of an election or silence conservatives. Under his new bill, the Internet Censorship Act, major tech platforms would have to start being politically neutral toward what content they allow or disallow. If they want to keep operating under this unique status, they should have to submit to an audit that proves they aren’t discriminating against conservatives or the conservative viewpoint.

“And if Google doesn’t want to do that because they’re private company and they want to be out there as a progressive Left-wing company, that’s fine. But then they shouldn’t [get this special status from the] government…” And it’s not just Google, Senator Hawley explains. It’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and others too. Right now, he points out, “If Twitter takes away your account or Facebook takes down your post because they don’t like that it’s pro-life, there’s currently nothing you could do to Facebook or to Twitter. They have immunity from liability.” The traditional media, on the other hand, doesn’t. “Whether it’s television or newspapers or even online journalists… if they print stuff that’s not true, if they slander you, if they discriminate against you, you can sue them [to hold them] accountable.”

Every platform should be playing by the same rules. Either Google and the rest of Big Tech need to embrace the First Amendment and treat people fairly or they can wave goodbye to their cozy government deals.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Cyber Security: Your Business May Be Under Attack

With the cost of cybercrimes reaching as much as $2.2 trillion a year, it’s clear that we are in a pitched battle when it comes to protecting our data against cybercriminals. And before you write yourself off as a target unworthy of a hacker’s attention, the statistics paint a very different picture.

We tend to think of cybercrime in terms of big breaches that are splashed across the media. However, it’s not these big breaches that actually make the most money for criminals.

Research suggests that the average cost of ransomware attacks is around $679. This, admittedly, seems quite low. But if you think about it, keeping the ransoms low makes good financial sense for the criminals.

If their demands were too high, people would be more likely to write off the infected computer as a lost cause and replace it with a new machine. By keeping the ransom affordable, it’s easier for the person just to pay it to regain access.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not profitable for the hacker, though. In the first quarter of 2016 only, criminals earned $209 million from these kinds of attacks. It’s estimated that the average ransomware attacker will earn around $90,000 per annum, which is nothing to sniff at, especially since there is very little work involved here.

We’ve gotten to a point where companies can now take out insurance to cover them in the event of a cyber attack.
What is a Business’s Highest Area of Risk?

When it comes to cybersecurity, your staff pose the highest risk for any organization, whether through plain carelessness, design, or malice.

Careless Employees

If your employees are careless with security aspects, you are heading for trouble. This is where regular security training will pay dividends.

Few people realize how simple it is for an experienced hacker to glean enough information about a person online and make an educated guess about the passwords she may be using.

Also, 70% of people use the same passwords on social media as they do for their corporate logins. And while your company’s servers might be secure, social media is certainly not.

Employees need to be educated about choosing a good password, keeping it safe, and how to recognize a potential threat or suspicious request.

Employees With a Design to Make Extra Money

Criminal syndicates will often look for a way to get someone on the inside. This might mean planting someone in the organization if it is large enough, but it can also mean turning someone who is already working there.

As a result, employees’ actions on the computer system should be monitored to ensure that they’re not accessing systems they shouldn’t.

Malicious Employees

These are more difficult, because you may not know that they have a grudge against the company straight away. It’s good practice to revoke access to the systems as soon as an employee leaves.

Overall, the key to guarding your data against criminals is always to be mindful of security and ensuring that it is well-maintained.

Infographic URL: https://techjury.net/blog/cyber-security-statistics/

RELATED ARTICLE: Cybersecurity Statistics for 2020 – Trends, Insights, & More!

Microchips and Their Potential Influence on Gambling

The cyberpunk era is approaching, and microchips are its heralds! These integrated circuits have been around for decades now, as farmers use them to track and identify animals. However, when it comes to human microchip implants, the burning questions arise: Is it safe? Is it ethical? Is it legal at all?

You may be surprised, but nowadays thousands of people are walking around with small chips embedded into their palms. The future is here, so let’s figure out how it can serve our needs.

Understanding the Case

According to Wikipedia, a human microchip implant is a tiny shelled device embedded into the body. These transmitter/responder devices store unique ID details or other sensitive data, and can interact with external computers such as transport or banking terminals, IoT devices, etc.

It might seem alarming, but think again. Body-inserted devices are way more widespread as they are often used in healthcare. Pacemakers, nerve stimulators, IUDs, artificial limbs, integrated hearing aids, even brain-computer interfaces – a lot of people are able to interact with the world thanks to this innovation.

Human Microchipping Reality

Today, microchips are no longer associated with sci-fi novels. The millimeter-sized gear is installed in your palm to turn it into a next-gen controller. Chips may cost you from $30 to $340, and are readily available thanks to biohacking firms. But, are they really so widespread?

  • The UK. As of 2018, BioTeq produced 150 human microchip implants. They are used to access offices and cars or to store medical data. Big firms also consider microchipping their employees to manage their work efficiently.
  • The USA. Patrick McMullan and his Three Square Market work on advanced RFID chips, which provide for higher security (for managing sensitive data) and accuracy (for pacemakers).
  • Sweden. The stats show that more than 4000 people in Sweden have already implanted microchips in their bodies. They use Biohax chips as unique passcodes or signatures to pay in shops and even travel with Swedish railways SJ.
  • Germany. Thousands of citizens use chips created by I am ROBOT as alternatives to their credit cards, keys, and data storages. Ultimately, these devices can be used to facilitate any task related to regular activity. 

The society grows suspicious about such implants as they can potentially track everything you do and leak this data. Physicians have doubts about the safety of human microchipping, while large enterprises are getting increasingly interested in the devices and consider using them for employees.

Pros and Cons of Human Microchipping

Still, it’s clear that microchips are here to stay, so it’s high time to understand how they can help us and what aspects to be aware of.

Advantages

  • Simple routine tasks. You can use a chip as a wallet, keys, controllers for various home devices, and so on. Nobody can steal it.
  • Smooth identification. Packed with all necessary ID info, a microchip is your passport, driver’s license, transport ticket, and even a signature for your gun.
  • Accessible medical records. Chips with unique codes grant access to medical databases, which accurately store all your health records.

Drawbacks

  • Potential health threats. Integrated circuits can harm your health in tons of ways – migrations of chips inside bodies, electrical hazards, MRI scans, and even cancer.
  • Constant oversight. You never actually know who can access your chip data and track it. GPS modules, for example, make it easy to find you even in the most crowded city.
  • Hacks. Finally, chips are hardware devices based on protocols, which can be hacked.

The Impact on Gamblers

Surprisingly, human microchips can facilitate gambling activities greatly. Read on to reveal how these high-tech devices help casino visitors and even online gamblers.

1. Interact with Casinos Easily

Although microchips are widely used for casino tokens, they are still new for casino visitors. Human chips will make the casino-player interaction more innovative. For instance, you will be able to use gestures to play games or communicate with real/virtual dealers. As well, it will be much easier to access casino accounts as microchips store all key login data.

2. Make Instant Purchases

Both offline and online casinos should benefit from microchipped gamblers because they will get another simple option to spend money. As microchips replace cash and credit cards, people could spend more money on gambling, because they would have no control over money flow. Although it might look as the best-case scenario for casino operators, gamblers can also benefit from innovation if they play responsibly. Microchips would allow for smooth transactions in no time.

3. Keep Your Data Safe

Last but not least, chips could become a valid alternative for other types of identification. With them, you can stop worrying about losing your ID card or leaking passwords to fraudsters. Most likely, the hackers of tomorrow will find new ways to break into chips’ protection systems, but it would be more difficult.

The Future Is Now

Microchips are here to stay. Probably, only a portion of people from Generation Z will have chips in their bodies in the near future, but their kids will certainly be implanted with such devices. With the increasing awareness and demand, more individuals will be reaping the benefits of small integrated circuits, just like the previous generations are getting used to computers, smartphones, and wearables. We can expect that microchips will penetrate into our daily life unless they are replaced with even more innovative stuff.

While the reviewed tech is wonderful and useful for various sectors, it’s vital to remember about safety. We mean both physical health and cybersecurity. Body-integrated chips are quite unusual now and the industry lacks general standards. The future is here, but it’s up to you to decide whether this future is appropriate.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Pixabay.

Iran waging ‘cyber warfare’ to ‘disrupt communication of dissidents’ and ‘promote terrorism’ worldwide

A NEW wave of “cyber warfare” is using “mass surveillance” to “actively disrupt the communication of protesters and dissidents” in Iran and “promote terrorism” across the globe, an explosive document has claimed.

This is precisely why Islamic supremacists must never be appeased nor tolerated. They are fascist and expansionist, and while the abuse to which they subject their own people is atrocious enough,  these abuses do not stop at their borders.

“Revealed: How Iran wages ‘CYBER TERRORISM’ to secretly spy on MILLIONS and incite ‘CHAOS,’” by Sam Stevenson, Express, December 28, 2018:

A NEW wave of “cyber warfare” is using “mass surveillance” to “actively disrupt the communication of protesters and dissidents” in Iran and “promote terrorism” across the globe, an explosive document has claimed.

The paper was compiled by the official Iranian resistance movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). It makes damning assertions which implicate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in waging “cyber warfare to preserve the theocracy”. NCRI representative Hossein Abedini has spoken to Express.co.uk about his group’s findings.

Furious Iranians, making use of cyber technology to disseminate their message, have been part of a popular uprising that erupted in Tehran in December 2017.

But now the theocratic regime – led by Iran’s IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) – is using “cyber attacks” to suppress its people, the Iranian Resistance document seen by Express.co.uk claims.

It explains: “Millions of Iranians have access to the internet and more than 48 million own smartphones.

“Iran’s young and restless population has become increasingly ‘tech-savvy’ over the years to evade the regime’s controls and censorship.

“The continuous cyber resistance by the public has driven the regime to route internet traffic through one of the state-controlled systems, making it very difficult for any subscriber to evade state-sponsored cyber repression.”

The ominous paper argues the Iranian regime is among very few governments in the world where “its testbed of cyber attacks and strategies is its own citizens”.

It contends this approach is “in line with Tehran’s longstanding worldview of instilling fear and repression at home, while promoting terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and chaos abroad”.

The document claims the regime uses malicious malware and spyware embedded within smartphone applications (apps) to “secretly spy” on its people….

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared on Jihad Watch. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Alireza Heydarifard on Unsplash.

Is Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) Planning to Blame the Russians When He Loses in November 2018? Looks like it!

Florida Senator Bill Nelson unequivocally stated to the Tampa Bay Times,

“They [the Russians] have already penetrated certain counties in the state [of Florida] and they now have free rein to move about.”

Senator Nelson is up for reelection. Making such a statement demands proof in order to protect Florida’s voting systems. Attempts by various news outlets to get the proof have been fruitless.

Miami’s WPLG Local 10 released the following report on YouTube:

Senator Nelson, by his own admission, is vulnerable in Florida. Why would Nelson make such a statement then not at least provide information to Governor Scott and local election officials? Doesn’t Senator Nelson want Florida’s election systems to be safe from hacks by any foreign or domestic entity?

Is Senator Nelson planning to blame the Russians for the loss of his U.S. Senate seat, like the Democrats did in November 2016?

It sure looks like it.

RELATED ARTICLE: TRAPPED: Democrat Senator Bill Nelson Lied Or Released Classified Intel, Reports Suggest

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Senate Aging Committee Chairman Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. listening on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, during the committee’s hearing to examine older Americans and student loan debt. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

VIDEO: The Awan Brothers/Democrat I.T. Scandal

New reports have emerged that dozens of House Democrats waived the background checks on the Awan Brothers — the House I.T. aides handling their cybersecurity and with access to their email systems. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton went to Capitol Hill last year to help shine a spotlight on the ongoing Awan Brothers I.T. scandal in the House of Representatives that the mainstream media — and, sadly, even our Justice Department and much of Congress — are all ignoring.

This is a story that involves political corruption, alleged cybersecurity breaches, the potential sharing of private constituent info, possible large-scale fraud, cover-ups, and threats to our national security.