Cyber wrap
14 Sep 2016|


Following the high profile infiltration of the DNC’s email servers earlier in this year, the FBI’s now working to allay concerns that vote counting machines could be next on the hit-list of would-be saboteurs. FBI Director James Comey was quick to point out that a breach of these systems is pretty tough, pointing out the disjointed and ‘clunky as heck’ nature of the voting systems as the main barrier to malicious actors. ‘A lot of people have found that challenging over the years, but the beauty of that is it’s not exactly a swift part of the internet of things, and so it is hard for an actor to reach our voting process.’

Last week the White House announced that retired Air Force Brigadier General Gregory J. Touhill will become the US’s first federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The creation of the post was foreshadowed by President Obama more than eight months ago via the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). Touhill will make the shift from the Department of Homeland Security, where he currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications. According to the White House, the federal CISO will be responsible for ‘driving cybersecurity policy, planning, and implementation across the Federal Government’. In essence his role will largely be concerned with protecting government networks and the US’s critical infrastructure.

On the home front, Australia’s new Minister Assisting the PM for Cyber Security Dan Tehan has weighed in on the ‘information as a weapon’ discussion kicked off by the DNC hack. Tehan called the incident a ‘wake-up call’ and stressed that Australia must have ‘the proper protections in place’ to prevent similar incidents of what he terms ‘cyber influencing’ occurring here.

Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) head David Koh has given a one-on-one interview with GovInsider, outlining the city-state’s approach to managing cyber threats, innovation, public outreach and promoting security by design. Koh, who’s led the CSA since it was formally established in April 2015, is currently overseeing the creation of a ‘competency skills framework’ developed with the private sector. Once complete, the framework should lay out specific career pathways available to IT experts in both technical and management streams. Koh also highlighted the importance of trust and assurance of data privacy to Singapore’s ‘Smart Nation’ vision, arguing that without a foundation of confidence there will be a reluctance amongst the population to share the data that gives the ambitious program its life.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency is set to host the country’s first cyber security exercise exclusively for financial institutions. The drill—scheduled to take place in October—will see 80 financial institutions come together to test their wares against fictitious malicious cyber actors. The exercise came about following the increase online attacks targeting financial institutions in the country. Participants will include local and major regional banks, with the drill seeking to expand and build upon on numerous existing info-sharing and collaborative agreements between several Japanese financial institutions.

Japan’s NEC Corporation has won a contract to roll-out a new 5,300 kilometre submarine cable in South East Asia. The Indonesia Global Gateway Cable System will connect the islands of Sumatra, Batam, Jawa, Bali, Kalimantan and Sulawesi with Singapore. It’ll also link Indonesia with two other major international cables, boosting connectivity, resilience and internet speeds across the country.