Cyber wrap
12 Aug 2015|

The Pentagon

Indonesia’s Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto has foreshadowed the introduction of new cyber security legislation, stating that new cyber laws will be released by President Joko Widodo in October. He also confirmed earlier reports that Indonesia will be launching a national cyber agency. The new body will oversee the country’s cyber security matters and ‘coordinate with the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Ministry.’ New funds have been allocated for the agency in Indonesia’s draft 2016 budget.

The Pentagon has narrowed down those responsible for rummaging around the unclassified email network of the US Military’s Joint Staff last month. Officials have reportedly linked the breach—which utilised an old, unpatched vulnerability—to Russia but aren’t willing to point the finger at a specific organisation or individual. They said that the attack ‘bore the hallmarks’ of a state actor. According to CrowdStrike, the compromise is reflective of a much larger uptick in Russian attacks against US networks following the Obama administration’s Ukraine related sanctions.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act has again failed to pass through the US Senate, this time after key backer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell withdrew the bill from consideration. McConnell acted when it became clear a consensus wouldn’t be reached before the Senates’ August recess period. The bill, which passed the House last year, is now tied up in the Senate over privacy concerns. The House also passed another modified bill in April, The Protecting Cyber Networks Act, which included extra provisions aimed at alleviating privacy concerns. But progress has stalled with both bills meeting resistance from Senators and civil society organisations.

Reports this week surfaced that China will now place ‘cyber police units’ into major internet companies to help prevent fraud and ‘the spreading of rumours’. The move was labelled by the Wall Street Journal as unusually hands on from the Ministry of State Security, who usually rely on companies and ISPs to enforce the restrictions they set. The move elicited ‘concerns’ from the White House’s National Security Council. Reports on the new units have been devoid of detail, failing to explain when the new cops would commence their roles, which companies would be impacted, and what work they’d be carrying out. A researcher at the University of Hong Kong believes this is because the cops are already in-situ, with the media having misinterpreted a Xinhua news article quoting an official who was in fact calling for an expansion in their already existing role.

Professor Atsuhiro Goto has been selected by the Japanese Cabinet Office to become the Special Advisor on cyber security to protect critical infrastructure. The position is attached to the Strategic Innovation Project (SIP) Program which is already busily working on several special projects, including enhancing online resilience and online security for cutting edge technology such as driverless cars. Other projects include planning how to develop and maintain a skilled IT literate workforce into the future, which will draw on Professor Goto’s existing experience nurturing promising IT talent in Japan’s university system.