Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

IW/IO/Cyber / Cambridge Analytica Update (2)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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  1. Navwar off Syria, massive Iranian cyber campaign busted, and multiple reports on Russian cyber;
  2. Multiple reports on fake news and influence, especially Russian;
  3. Media lionise Ovadya and others for their short term predictions of big data abuse;
  4. A great many interesting articles on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica;

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

UAWire – Media: GPS navigation stopped working off the Syrian coast

Aircraft navigational systems and global positioning systems have stopped showing the correct location of aircraft on approach to Syria in the Eastern Mediterranean, reports, referring to the Cyprus media. Civil aviation authorities of Cyprus and Turkey issued an emergency NOTAM or Notice to Airmen that noted the interruption of GPS signals in Mediterranean area. The exact reason for the malfunctions is yet unknown. It is possible that electronic systems from military operations in Syria are causing interference or the incorrect operation of GPS satellites covering the Mediterranean area. Another possible reason could be the presence of Russian and American special aircraft in the vicinity. Over the past two months, GPS errors have occurred regularly at different intervals and in different regions. Errors included loss of signal or incorrect determination of aircraft location. Out of the 80 registered cases by NASA, the reasons for air safety violations were determined for only 30 of them.

Nine Iranians Charged With Conducting Massive Cyber Theft Campaign on Behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps | OPA | Department of Justice

An Indictment charging Gholamreza Rafatnejad, 38; Ehsan Mohammadi, 37; Abdollah Karima, aka Vahid Karima, 39; Mostafa Sadeghi, 28; Seyed Ali Mirkarimi, 34; Mohammed Reza Sabahi, 26; Roozbeh Sabahi, 24; Abuzar Gohari Moqadam, 37; and Sajjad Tahmasebi, 30, all citizens and residents of Iran, was unsealed today. The defendants were each leaders, contractors, associates, hackers-for-hire or affiliates of the Mabna Institute, an Iran-based company that, since at least 2013, conducted a coordinated campaign of cyber intrusions into computer systems belonging to 144 U.S. universities, 176 universities across 21 foreign countries, 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the State of Hawaii, the State of Indiana, the United Nations, and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Through the defendants’ activities, the Mabna Institute stole more than 31 terabytes of academic data and intellectual property from universities, and email accounts of employees at private sector companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The defendants conducted many of these intrusions on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (Iran) Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), one of several entities within the government of Iran responsible for gathering intelligence, as well as other Iranian government and university clients. In addition to these criminal charges, today the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Mabna Institute and the nine defendants for sanctions for the malicious cyber-enabled activity outlined in the Indictment. The charges were announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers; U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York; FBI Director Christopher A. Wray; Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Division; and Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker. “These nine Iranian nationals allegedly stole more than 31 terabytes of documents and data from more than 140 American universities, 30 American companies, five American government agencies, and also more than 176 universities in 21 foreign countries,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “For many of these intrusions, the defendants acted at the behest of the Iranian government and, specifically, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and prosecute hostile actors who attempt to profit from America’s ideas by infiltrating our computer systems and stealing intellectual property. This case is important because it will disrupt the defendants’ hacking operations and deter similar crimes.”

Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare: Assessing US Strategy – To Inform is to Influence

Insights from Samantha Ravich. · by Mercy A. Kuo, The Diplomat · March 21, 2018 Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Samantha Ravich –Principal Investigator on two projects at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the…

Government knows DNC hacker was Russian intel officer: report | TheHill

U.S. investigators have reportedly discovered that “Guccifer 2.0,” the hacker who claimed credit for a breach of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential race, revealed himself as a Russian intelligence operative.

Vladimir Putin’s threat is false information so the U.S. must take control of cyberspace – Washington Times

People seem aghast that Russia is attacking the United States with disinformation to encourage civil strife and undermine public confidence in its institutions. It’s not new.

Czechs Extradite Alleged Russian Hacker Nikulin To U.S.

The Czech Justice Ministry has announced that an alleged Russian hacker wanted by both Washington and Moscow has been extradited to the United States.

Ryan Expects Czechs To Extradite Alleged Russian Hacker To U.S.

The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives says he expects Czech authorities to extradite an alleged Russian hacker to the United States rather than Russia.

Ryan Weighs In On Fight For Alleged Russian Hacker

The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is lobbying Czech officials to extradite an alleged Russian hacker — amid claims the Czech president is pushing to return the man to Moscow.

Spain Breaks Up Ukrainian-Russian Cybercrime Gang

Spanish authorities have broken up a cybercrime syndicate of Ukrainian and Russian nationals that allegedly stole more than 1 billion euros ($1.24 billion) from bank accounts over more than four ye…

Russian-Ukrainian cybercrime gang arrested in Spain, allegedly used BTC to launder $1.24 bln – media | UNIAN

The Spanish police have arrested a cybercrime gang made up of Russian and Ukrainian nationals who were allegedly involved in stealing more than $1.24 billion from financial institutions worldwide, subsequently converting their illicit gains into bitcoin (BTC), Associated Press reports March 26. The gang gained access to internal banking networks by sending phishing emails with malicious attachments to bank officials.

Spain Captures Alleged Mastermind of $1.2 Billion Bank Hacks

Europe’s law enforcement agency says Spanish police have arrested the alleged mastermind of a cybercrime syndicate that stole more than 1 billion euros ($1.24 billion) from banks over more than fou…

U.K. Anti-Doping Agency Says Was Hacked But No Athlete Data Stolen

Britain’s anti-doping authority has reassured athletes that no personal data was stolen as a result of a hacking attack on the authority over the weekend.

Why Russia Once Asked the U.S. for Peace in Cyber Space | Time

But as Russia’s own cyber arsenal has grown in strength, it has cooled on the idea of letting international law constrain it

How To Identify A Russian Troll On Facebook – To Inform is to Influence

If someone’s picture is too good to be true, it probably is, and, if that person is sending you a friend request, they definitely are. The fastest and easiest way to identify a Russian troll on Facebook is by a combination of a picture and behavior. Take the case of Jamie Watson Chambers. A friend complained…

Inter-Nyet: The Difficulty of Technological Sovereignty in Russia – Lawfare

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly may reveal his thinking on technological sovereignty.

Finland’s top national security risk? Cyber

Supo has ranked terrorism-linked cyber-threats as the primary risk to Finland’s national security and critical industrial infrastructure going forward.

Cybercom’s ‘Command Vision’ Aims to Maintain Superiority in Cyber Domain – To Inform is to Influence

Jane Edwards  March 26, 2018 Latest News, Tech & Cyber 44 Views The U.S. Cyber Command has issued a new strategy that seeks to help the command achieve and maintain superiority in the cyber space domain, the Lawfare blog reported Friday. Cybercom’s “Command Vision” supports the National Defense Strategy unveiled by the Defense Department in January and aims to counter cyber threats posed by adversaries. The document details five imperatives that Cybercom needs…

Boeing says no impact to military aircraft business after WannaCry cyberattack

Boeing says the WannaCry virus hit a small number of computers on its commercial side.

Boeing Hit by Cyberattack, Says Jetliner Production Not Affected – Bloomberg

Boeing Co. said it was hit by a cyberattack, following a Seattle Times report that some manufacturing equipment used to build its 787 Dreamliner and newest 777 wide-body jets could be crippled.

Russia’s hacking of the US power grid, explained – Vox

Russia hacked the US electrical grid. Here’s how it happened.

Did Russia Use Kitten Videos To Hack Our Energy Systems?

Russia used nifty tricks to hack our energy sector – get to big targets by infiltrating smaller partners in the supply chain, cute kitten videos hiding malware, spear phishing using office party invitations, watering hole attacks at common industry sites, hash stealing and imitatation login pages.

There’s a good chance that pro-Kremlin ‘bots’ are trying to vote down footage of the Kemerovo fire and shift blame away from state officials — Meduza

Internet users have noticed unusually large numbers of “dislikes” on videos related to Sunday’s deadly fire at the “Winter Cherry” shopping center in Kemerovo, recalling the orchestrated campaigns on YouTube against videos like those by Alexey Navalny that criticize or embarrass the government. Activists on social media have also discovered that many of the unkind comments left on videos from Kemerovo were written by so-called “Kremlin bots.”

In the Era of Fake News, VOA Is Fact-Checking Russia’s Messages – Defense One

The agency’s is desk expanding its “disinformation news” coverage. is a fact-checking website produced by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA). The website serves as a resource for verifying the increasing volume of disinformation and misinformation being distributed and shared globally.

Busting Russia’s fake news the European Union way

The Europeans have something to teach the US about protecting citizens subject to Russian internet propaganda. Their effort isn’t just a different form of propaganda. It’s more like fact-checking.

To Learn How to Protect America From Digital Threats, Look to Europe – Defense One

European nations are charting the way, adopting whole-of-society methods for dealing with this new challenge.

European Union threatens Google with break-up |

The European Union harbours “grave suspicions” about the dominance of Google and has not ruled out breaking it up, the bloc’s competition commissioner has warned.

EU competition chief holds threat of breaking up Google

The European Union harbours &ldquo;grave suspicions&rdquo; about the dominance of Google and has not ruled out breaking it up, the bloc&rsquo;s competition commissioner has warned.

Tumblr says Russia used it for fake news during 2016 election | Technology | The Guardian

Site unmasks 84 accounts used by 13 people linked to Russia’s ‘troll farm’, the Internet Research Agency, and says law enforcement has been notified

Tumblr Removed 84 Accounts Linked to Russian Trolls and IRA | Fortune

Tumblr removed 84 accounts linked to Russian government and Internet Research Agency that spread misinformation leading to U.S. elections.

How photographers use lies to expose the truth – CNN Style

In an age when images are frequently edited or misrepresented online, new photographers are challenging the maxim that the camera never lies.

Russia Loves Instagram, Russia Hates Instagram – To Inform is to Influence

Russia has a love-hate relationship with technology, culture, and history. On the one hand, Russia desperately wants to be seen as cultured, well read, and saturated with good literature. Russia’s Love of Literature Seen Through Instagram On the other hand, Russia is a kleptocracy, where the nouveau rich, the oligarchs, ignore the rules meant for…

Canada Tries Domestic Bulk Collection: It Just Might Work – To Inform is to Influence

By Leah West  Monday, March 26, 2018, 7:00 AM Canada is embarking on the most substantial overhaul of its national security institutions and governance in over three decades. Should C-59, a national security bill, become law, part four of the bill will amend the legislation governing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), in several significant ways.…

Malaysia to punish fake news with 10-year jail sentence –

The government proposed anti-fake news legislation that would punish offenders with a 10-year jail sentence. But critics say the proposal is a way to further muzzle the media and crack down on dissent ahead of a general election.

He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He’s Worried About An Information Apocalypse.

“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?”

The Cambridge Analytica Data Apocalypse Was Predicted in 2007 | WIRED

The scientists warned us about big data and corporate surveillance. They tried to warn themselves.

Here Are the Myriad Ways Facebook Is Getting Dunked on Right Now

The Zuckerberg empire is burning from all directions at once. Yes, the man who once called his users “dumb fucks” for entrusting him to be the steward of their personal data is in the midst of a disastrous and very public reckoning. Take a moment to process this unexpected turn of events if you must. The epitome of Silicon Valley hubris, Zuckerberg so richly deserves to be forever clowned on for the utter gracelessness with which he tripped and continues to trip over his own dick. Since the scandal of Cambridge Analytica became international news, teams of expensive lawyers and public relationship professionals haven’t stopped the World’s Least Charismatic CEO from digging himself a hole big enough to fit, say, a 700-acre waterfront estate in.

‘A grand illusion’: seven days that shattered Facebook’s facade | Technology | The Guardian

Revelations about the depths of Facebook’s failure to protect our data have finally pulled back the curtain, observers say

Your personal info is valuable, even if it’s wrong |

Reuters correspondent Tom Bergin retrieved his personal data from an Arkansas firm that sells consumer profiles to companies like Facebook and Ford Motors. What he found was grossly inaccurate, but still valuable.}

Zuckerberg disavows memo saying all user growth is good

A Facebook Inc executive said in an internal memo in 2016 that the social media company needed to pursue adding users above all else, BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday, prompting disavowals from the executive and Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg buys ads to apologize as Facebook data crisis intensifies

Polls show consumer trust in the social network is dropping as lawmakers call on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress.

U.S. lawmakers formally ask Facebook CEO to testify on user data

U.S. lawmakers on Friday formally asked Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Mark Zuckerberg to explain at a congressional hearing how 50 million users’ data got into the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook’s silver lining: Data furors fade – POLITICO

The track record of other headline-grabbing data scandals offers reason for skepticism that Washington is about to do much to punish Facebook.

Facebook amassed details of users’ texts and telephone calls | News | The Times

Facebook has collected detailed phone records of millions of users including who they spoke with or sent messages to and when. The company said it gained the permission of Android phone owners to gather this data when they signed up to Facebook apps and agreed to share their contacts. However, many

Cambridge Analytica has blurred the line between persuasion and manipulation – To Inform is to Influence

The company identified the psychographics of individuals to create deliberately provocative messaging Alicia Wanless – for CBC News March 23, 2018 Cambridge Analytica is the latest strategic communication firm to follow the likes of Bell Pottinger in scandal-induced destruction. While Bell Pottinger’s downfall was over its secret campaign stoking racial tensions in South Africa, Cambridge Analytica is…

The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Wanted His New Company To Work With Trump Campaign’s Manager

“We have developed a series of algorithms that can predict the personality traits of individual voters by analyzing their voterfile, social, online and consumer data.”

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower says his predecessor was allegedly poisoned and police bribed | Business Insider

Christopher Wylie says Cambridge Analytica “don’t care whether or not it’s legal as long as it gets the job done.” He paints a picture of a lawless organisation seeking to disrupt elections around the world. He says an offshoot of the company distributed videos of dismembered people in an attempt to intimidate Nigerian voters. He repeats a claim that his predecessor was poisoned and that police were bribed not to investigate.

Israeli intelligence firm denies ties to Cambridge Analytica – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

Christopher Wylie accused Black Cube of interference in Nigerian election.

Facebook Controversy: What to Know About Cambridge Analytica and Your Data – WSJ

This week’s uproar over Facebook Inc. started years ago, with the mishandling of user data. Now that incident, and what followed, is at the center of a debate over how well the world’s largest social network protects its trove of user data.

Cambridge Analytica Sent Foreigners To Work On U.S. Elections, Former Employees Say

“Its dirty little secret was that there was no one American involved in it,” a former employee told The Washington Post.

Cambridge Analytica offices searched over data storage – BBC News

The UK information commissioner wants access to records and data at the London-based company.

India queries Cambridge Analytica over alleged Facebook data breach

India has set a March 31 deadline for London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to respond to a query on whether it was engaged to improperly harvest Facebook data on Indian citizens, the information technology ministry said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls for Stronger Privacy Regulations Following ‘Dire’ Facebook Data Scandal – Mac Rumors

Apple CEO Tim Cook attended the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, during which he called for stronger data privacy regulations…