Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Week in Emerging Economy Cyber Alerts ~ June 9, 2016

Iranian flag

In November 2015, Iran arrested several Telegram group administrators for spreading “immoral content” via the messaging app. Now, the country already known for its censorship, monitoring and blocking practices wants more. Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace has given foreign messaging apps one year to transfer all data and activity regarding Iranian users to servers within the country. For privacy-conscious users, the missive only strengthens the argument for companies to retain as little information as possible about their users and also to turn to location-masking VPNs for additional protection. [Image source: Mikhail Mishchenko/]

Thai flagThailand, already a land of mass internet surveillance, is about to become even less secure. The government’s latest plans include an amendment to the Computer Crimes Act that would give the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) the ability to access, block and delete encrypted website content. Specifically, the amendment allows for workarounds for the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, a commonly used encryption method. Furthermore, the government has made an additional proposal that would hold internet service providers (ISPs) responsible for third party content ranging from the ill-defined data “that is likely to cause damage to that third party or the public” to data “that is likely to damage the country’s security or cause a public panic.” [Image source: JBOY/]

Philippine flagThe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) has accepted a Philippine proposal for the creation of a regional cybersecurity group. Reported Philippine Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office Herminio Coloma Jr., “We welcome the expression of support from our neighboring countries to deepen cooperation in strengthening cyber security due to the rising violations and abuse by lawless elements of digital technology.” The cybersecurity working group will be co-chaired by the Philippines and New Zealand and will extend to the United States, China, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Russia, in addition to the ten Southeast Asian nations of ASEAN. It is intended to protect national security as well as personal privacy. [Image source: esfera/]

Nigerian flagNigeria Communications Commission (NCC) Executive Vice Chairman Umar Danbatta shared the NCC’s plan to establish 30% broadband penetration by 2018 in a presentation at the 2016 Nigeria DigitalSense Forum Series. Danbatta noted the measures already taken in achieving this goal—Nigeria’s mobile broadband subscription tripled between 2012 and 2015—as well as next steps. Already, Nigeria has licensed infrastructure companies, auctioned 2.6GHz spectrum, established fiber connectivity of internet exchange points and determined lease capacity pricing. Issues yet to resolve are lengthy: “poor quality of service caused primarily by network capacity constraints; the lack of physical and transmission infrastructure; scarce spectrum resources; unreliable power supply, disparity in telecommunications facilities between urban and rural areas; shortage of long term investment capital; skill shortages; security challenges; theft; transmission cable cuts, among others.” [Image source: esfera/]

Saudi Arabian flagSaudi Arabian hackers have been linked to everything from breaches of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media accounts to a cyber war with Iran. Hacking group OurMine accessed the Facebook founder’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts, which it then publicized in a tweet claiming to be “testing the security” of Zuckerberg. A recent leak of over 100 million LinkedIn passwords is thought to have shared the password Zuckerberg used for his other accounts. Also from Saudi Arabia, hacker Da3s defaced Iran’s Statistical Centre and Registration Office website. In turn, hacking group Iran Security Team fought back with attacks on websites for the Saudi General Authority for Statistics and King Abdulaziz University and the Digital Boys Underground Team went after the Saudi Commerce Ministry’s website…and a back and forth war ensued. [Image source: Mikhail Mishchenko/]

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