Franco-American cyber cooperation. US election threats executive. India's data protection bill. Pakistan's national security policy. WEF's Global Cybersecurity Outlook. – The CyberWire

The US Department of State notes that the fourth US-France Cyber Dialogue was held virtually last week to foster cooperation between the two nations in promoting cybersecurity and stability. With France currently acting as president of the Council of the European Union in the first of 2022, the nation plans to call attention to cyber issues like ransomware and human rights online. The talks also focused on improving cyber resilience and promoting responsible state behavior in cyberspace. Representatives discussed how to support Ukraine in defending against potential malicious cyber activity. Michele Markoff, the Department of State’s Acting Coordinator for Cyber Issues, led the U.S. delegation, while France’s Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier led the French interagency delegation.
Avril D. Haines, the US’s director of national intelligence, announced last week that her office has named Jeffrey Wichman as the new election threats executive. The New York Times reports that Wichman has over thirty years experience with the Central Intelligence Agency and is currently the director of analysis for the agency’s counterintelligence mission center. His appointment signals that US intelligence will not neglect the fight against foreign election interference, as some on Capitol Hill had feared, after plans to create a foreign malign influence center to monitor efforts from abroad to influence US politics were stalled due to disagreements over funding and scope. “While we work with Congress to get funding for the center, the intelligence community remains focused on addressing foreign malign influence,” office spokesperson Nicole de Haay stated. One of the new executive’s first tasks will be to create a common view across agencies of what is considered malign election influence. This move is especially timely as recent concerns about Chinese efforts to influence lawmakers in Britain and Canada have brought election threats to the forefront. talked with several IT experts to get their advice on how businesses should prepare for India’s new data protection bill. Anirban Sengupta of Cyber Security & Data Privacy, PwC says organizations should focus on consent. “Now, of course, it is easier said than done because, typically, if you look at consent, we have to take explicit consent, the consent has to be clear and concise, so we really have to look at how do we set out a system which is easy, easy for end-users to understand and to give consent, and then what are the business rules that I should set up,” he explains. He also recommends that businesses update their data governance practices and evaluate how data is being shared with third parties or data processors. Ayan De, CTO of Exide Life Insurance, says telecoms and companies in banking and finance will likely be better prepared for the bill, as data processing are already top priorities, but that the adoption of cloud architecture could pose new challenges. Prashant Deshpande, Vice President of IT at Shriram Value Services, noted that the pandemic and the resultant increased reliance on digital financial transactions could further complicate matters. 
Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) was approved by the federal cabinet in December and released by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week, Overt Defense reports. In place until 2026, the NSP outlines the steps Pakistan will take over the next years to “ensure economic security, human welfare, and strong defence capability.” In response, Express Tribune asks if Pakistan should invest in a cyber army to protect the nation against risks to and through cyberspace. Ayaz Hussain notes that terrorist organizations have been using the internet in general and social media in particular to support and publicize terrorist attacks, raise funds, recruit partners, and disseminate propaganda, and that Pakistan should establish policy to defend against these threats. 
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has issued its Global Cybersecurity Outlook: 2022 Insight Report, January 2022. The report offers some grounds for optimism, notably the positive effect it’s seen digital transformation exert on cyber resilience. It sees, unsurprisingly, that ransomware and supply chain attacks will continue to represent a growing risk. And it calls attention to “three main and critical perception gaps between security-focused executives (chief information security officers), and business executives (chief executive officers).” They have different perspectives, with the executive side generally having a rosier view of the cyber risks their organizations face than does the security side. The perception gap was most evident in three areas:
Illumio’s Field CTO Raghu Nandakumara emailed some comments about the report. He’s gratified by evidence of increasing understanding of resilience, but he’s disappointed by the enduring perception gap between business and security:
“The WEF Global Cybersecurity Outlook reinforces two very specific items – both of which are essential to the continued improvement in risk posture overall.
“The first of these is that cyber resilience, despite being a relatively new concept, has seen focused investment and is seen as essential to reducing the amount of residual cyber risk. Furthermore, the importance of cyber resilience has grown as security executives identify their biggest fear to be the collapse of their infrastructure due to a cyber attack. This is a shift we have been encouraging for a while since security capabilities truly deliver value when they are harnessed together to not only provide protection but also ensure that the environment can react and recover from an incident – as it’s this benefit that truly reduces risk and makes possible the change from risk acceptance to risk mitigation.
“The second key takeaway, and this is more disappointing, is that cyber risks are still treated as technology risks by the majority of business leaders as opposed to enterprise risks that directly impact the business. This is a significant awareness hurdle we need to overcome if cybersecurity is to get the appropriate amount of C-level attention.
“Importantly, the attention should not come on the back of an incident – i.e., after the bottom line has been affected – but rather business leaders should understand the correlation between cyber risk and enterprise risk, and invest in reducing the former as a way of improving the latter. From this perspective, security should always be framed in the context of the business it is supporting – and being able to understand and articulate this context is the responsibility of both security and business leaders.”
Cyberspace in multi-domain operations: the case of Ukraine. (The CyberWire) Ukraine has now attributed last week's cyberattacks to Russian operators, and Kyiv has found some support for its conclusion among other governments. Microsoft on Saturday released a report on the malware used in the attacks: it was a wiper that represented itself as ransomware. NATO considers its options for defense, deterrence, and response.
Destructive malware targeting Ukrainian organizations (Microsoft Security Blog) Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has identified evidence of a destructive malware operation targeting multiple organizations in Ukraine.
Russia Thins Out Its Embassy in Ukraine, a Possible Clue to Putin’s Next Move (New York Times) The slow evacuation may be part propaganda, part preparation for a conflict or part feint, Ukrainian and U.S. officials say. It could be all three.
Poroshenko, Ex-President, Returns to Ukraine, Roiling Politics (New York Times) Petro O. Poroshenko, a former president, returned to Kyiv on Monday facing possible arrest, adding internal political turmoil to a threat of Russian invasion.
Ukraine says evidence points to Russia being behind cyber-attack (the Guardian) Claim comes as Microsoft warns hack that hit government websites could be worse than first feared
Ukraine links cyberattack to Belarus (Computing) The attack defaced multiple websites belonging to Ukrainian government agencies and comes amid rising tensions in the region, stoked by Russia
Destructive Hacks Against Ukraine Echo Its Last Cyberwar (Wired) A data wiper posing as ransomware bears a discomfiting resemblance to the earlier wave of Russian cyberattacks that ended with NotPetya.
Cyber war in perspective: Russian aggression against Ukraine (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence) In mid-January 2014, the Ukrainian Rada passed tough anti-protest regulations that seemed to be designed to nip the emerging anti-government mood in the bud.
Opinion: Even if Putin doesn’t seize all of Ukraine, he has a larger strategy. The U.S. needs one, too. (Washington Post) Russia’s focus on Ukraine is certainly intense. The Kremlin has massed troops and equipment along their common border; launched major cyberattacks against Kyiv’s government computer systems; planted operatives in the eastern Donbas region who could stage false-flag operations as pretexts for Russian invasion; and escalated a long-standing insistence that Ukraine is not a legitimate sovereign state.
Ukraine's future looks bleak as Russia runs out of patience (Newsweek) A week of high-level talks between Moscow and the West have not produced a breakthrough to ease tensions over the Russian troop build-up next to Ukraine.
Why would Putin invade Ukraine? (Washington Post) Troubles at home may be his strongest motive
Russia Planning Provocation in Ukraine as Pretext for War (Foreign Policy) Warnings from U.S. officials come amid a cyberattack on Ukrainian government websites.
Russia denies US claim it seeks ‘false flag’ pretext to invade Ukraine (Military Times) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the U.S. claim about a "false flag" pretext for invasion as “total disinformation.”
U.S., France discuss measures to support Ukraine after cyberattack on govt websites (Interfax-Ukraine) The United States and France during the January 13-14 Cyber Dialogue stressed the importance of transatlantic cooperation to promote security in cyberspace and discussed assistance to Ukraine, which suffered a cyberattack, the U.S. Department of State said.
In the Thick of ItHot Take: If US/NATO-Russia Talks Are in ‘Dead End,’ What Does Putin Want in Writing Next Week? (Russia Matters) Near the end of this week’s marathon talks between Russia and the U.S., NATO and the OSCE on Russia’s three main security demands (and the West’s counter-demands), Russian negotiators said the talks had reached a “dead end” but simultaneously suggested that the American side has until Jan. 20 or so (one week from Jan. 13) to tell Moscow in writing what Western officials have already told their Russian counterparts face to face—namely, that the U.S. and its allies are rejecting the first two of the three main demands made by President Vladimir Putin…
NATO, Kiev to sign agreement on enhanced cyber cooperation within days — NATO chief (TASS) The agreement will also include Ukrainian access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform
What will Putin do? An expert guide to this week’s high-wire diplomacy with Russia (Atlantic Council) As the tensions ratchet up, our experts parse through the details, signals, and developments to distill what this moment means for Europe and beyond.
The near future of international law in cyberspace: Contentions and realities (ORF) International stability can be endangered if the fine points of how international law applies to cyber operations are not determined
This year, Russia’s internet crackdown will be even worse (Atlantic Council) As the world watches Putin's moves in and around Ukraine, the Kremlin's internet crackdown is no less worthy of attention.
China Seen Backing ‘Digital Authoritarianism’ in Latin America (VOA) Insiders and experts say Chinese technology has been key to controlling digital communications in Venezuela and Cuba
Conveyancers might be forced to buy cyber-insurance in PII rejig (Legal Futures) The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has mooted requiring law firms to purchase standalone cyber-insurance as “evolving forms of cyber-risk” become more complex.
Pakistan Releases Public Version Of First Ever National Security Policy (Overt Defense) NSP is meant for a five-year period from 2022-26. It will be reviewed annually and aims for a secure, prosperous Pakistan while blaming India for increased
Should Pakistan have a cyber army? (Express Tribune) Could our country’s security apparatus do with a force of professionals well versed in state-of-the-art IT knowledge?
Iranians on #SocialMedia (Atlantic Council) This report by the Future of Iran Initiative and Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) explores the social media habits of Iranian netizens and how the Islamic Republic is repressing the online space.
Are you ready for the Data Protection Bill? ( India’s data protection bill could have a far-reaching impact on enterprise operations and how they look at data management
Fourth U.S.-France Cyber Dialogue (United States Department of State) The United States and France held the fourth U.S.-France Cyber Dialogue virtually on January 13-14, 2022.  Representatives of the two countries emphasized the importance of transatlantic cooperation to promote security and stability in cyberspace and discussed France’s plans to elevate cyber issues during its presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first […]
Amidst the escalating great power contest for cyberspace, President Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy gears up for cyber security challenges (Times of India Blog) In 2022, among many strategic flashpoints and security issues, cyberspace is going to be one of the contested spaces where the world powers’ strategic rivalry will be intense. Despite being the world leader in artificial…
U.S. Names Official to Counter Foreign Election Interference (New York Times) The director of national intelligence appointed a C.I.A. veteran to the post amid delays in congressional approval of money for a new office to oversee threats to American politics from abroad.
Senate Clears Supply Chain Security Bill (MeriTalk) The Senate this week approved bipartisan legislation that would create a cyber training program for Federal employees, aimed to help protect the Federal government against cyberattacks and supply chain security vulnerabilities.
Launch of 5G tomorrow will bring US air commerce to a halt, say airlines (The Loadstar) US commerce by air will “grind to a halt” tomorrow, with airlines forced to ground aircraft, unless there is a two-mile radius around major airports free from the planned 5G roll-out. A group of airlines, including Atlas, FedEx and UPS, has warned the US government, that otherwise they will have to cancel more than 1,000 flights, with some aircraft grounded “indefinitely”. The 5G problem, which airlines and telecoms companies have been debating for …
The Pentagon’s new cybersecurity model is better, but still an incremental solution to a big challenge (Federal News Network) The Pentagon announced in November a new “strategic direction” for its Cyber Maturity Model Certification, calling it CMMC 2.0 and essentially admitting the first iteration was overly complex and…
Revealed: UK Gov't Plans Publicity Blitz to Undermine Privacy of Your Chats (Rolling Stone) The Home Office has hired a high-end ad agency to mobilize public opinion against encrypted communications — with plans that include some shockingly manipulative tactics
Security Flaws Seen in China’s Mandatory Olympics App for Athletes (New York Times) Researchers said the app, which will store sensitive health data on participants at the Winter Games, has serious encryption vulnerabilities.
Report: Going to the Beijing Olympics? Leave anything with an electron home (The Record by Recorded Future) According to a new report, visitors to China during the Olympics who use local VPN software could unwittingly hand their user data over to the authorities.
Global Cybersecurity Outlook: 2022 Insight Report, January 2022 (World Economic Forum) At the time of writing, digital trends and their exponential proliferation due to the COVID-19 pandemic have thrust the global population onto a new trajectory of digitalization and interconnectedness.


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