Thursday 4 August 2016

Digital Divide: Emerging Economy Cyber Alerts - August 4, 2016

their legislation today could be yours tomorrow 

Russian flag and mapRussia has followed up a surveillance bill requesting encryption keys from companies such as Facebook and Google with an even more drastic measure: developing the capability to collect backdoor keys regardless of company compliance. Although the exact procedure used remains unknown, the website of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) promises that it is “a method necessary for decoding all received, sent, delivered, and chat conversations between users on messaging networks.” The response from affected companies has thus far been one of continued silence.

Privacy, Surveillance and Censorship 
government isn't always on your side

Emirati flag and map 

Turkish flag and mapThe United Arab Emirates has banned any and all use of VPNs and web proxies in the country. Previously, VPN and proxy use was only punishable when employed for illegal purposes. Offenders under the new regulations face imprisonment and fines of up to $545,000 USD.

Turkey's practice of intercepting encrypted ByLock messages enabled the government to identify 40,000 followers of Fethullah Gulen, leader of July 15th's failed coup attempt, and is thought to have contributed to the rapid arrest of 18,000 individuals shortly thereafter.

American flag and map
iOS researcher Jonathan Zdziarski of the United States recently discovered a flaw in messaging service WhatsApp’s security: “Sorry, folks, while experts are saying the encryption checks out in WhatsApp, it looks like the latest version of the app tested leaves forensic trace of all of your chats, even after you’ve deleted, cleared, or archived them.” Zdziarski’s revelation confirms that even deleted WhatsApp chat logs could be accessed by law enforcement or those with access to a user’s device.

American flag and map
Researchers at the United States’ Michigan State University created a prosthetic replica of a fingertip in an effort to support a government attempt to unlock a murder victim’s fingerprint-protected smartphone. Amidst growing privacy concerns, Professor Anil Jain defended his contribution: “We are not in the attack business. The 3D printing technique we developed is meant for calibrating fingerprint sensors, not nefariously unlocking someone’s phone without their knowledge…We are doing our social duty to assist in a criminal investigation.” 

Research and Initiatives 
making your world a more cybersecure place

Nigerian flag and map
United States government officials are training 100 Nigerian investigators, prosecutors, judges, legislators and policy makers on the implementation of Nigeria’s cybercrime law. Said U.S. Charge d’Affaires Maria Brewer, “I commend Nigeria for accomplishing the first and most important of these steps by passing the Cybercrime Act of 2015, which incorporated recommendations from the U.S. and the UK.” The Act has previously been criticized for its infringement upon freedom of expression and privacy

the threats we all face

Saudi flag and map 

Saudi Arabia has the highest number of fixed broadband Internet subscribers in the Arab world, but is also the Middle East’s number one recipient of cyberattacks, with over 160,000 per day in 2015. The government has been criticized for taking an ad hoc approach to cybersecurity and not yet implementing 2013’s National Information Security Strategy. 

South Korean flag and map 

South Korea believes North Korea’s spy agency has hacked an online shopping site in a breach that compromised the personal records of approximately 10 million shoppers. The attack was followed with a demand for money via bitcoin, but the request was refused. Days later, South Korea also accused North Korea of hacking into the emails of foreign, defense and unification ministry officials

Iranian flag and map 

Iranian hackers known as Rocket Kitten have compromised a dozen Iranian Telegram messaging accounts and 15 million user phone numbers. The end-to-end encrypted service uses SMS messages to activate new devices, which are interceptable by phone companies and hackers. Researchers warn that similar attacks could occur wherever governments and cellphone companies are intertwined.

All images credit of BOLDG/
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