In the News

Nov 20, 2019

The University of Maryland and the University of Central Florida have emerged as the top teams during a Department of Energy competition designed to improve its ability to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. A total of 105 college teams participated in the fifth CyberForce Competition held at 10 of the department’s national laboratories Nov. 16.

Nov 20, 2019

The U.S. government’s ability to defend against continuously evolving digital threats evidently is being compromised by excessive bureaucracy, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official. He understands the bureaucrats’ role but suggests that conflicting guidance and opinions contribute to organizational stagnation, a weakness exploited by adversaries.

Nov 19, 2019

A former U.S. Marine who holds Canadian, British and Irish passports in addition to his U.S. documentation, remains in custody in Russia on espionage charges. A court has rejected Paul Whelan’s appeal of the extension of his detention until late December. Detained 11 months, he says he was set up for political reasons.

Nov 18, 2019

Draft bipartisan legislation which would require law enforcement to have a warrant to use facial recognition technology to track U.S. citizens has been introduced in Congress by Delaware Democrat Chris Coons and Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee. The growing use of facial recognition has raised concerns about individual privacy and civil liberties.

Cellphone snooping curtailed
Nov 18, 2019

The U.S. intelligence community no longer collects mobile phone location or related data under the law used to justify spy agencies’ bulk surveillance programs, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says. The disclosure comes as Congress considers whether to reauthorize the permissive element of the USA Patriot Act that’s due to expire Dec. 15. The practice actually stopped last year after a Supreme Court ruling limited its application.

Nov 18, 2019

The U.S. Air Force Commercial Satellite Communications Office says commercial satellite companies hoping to sell their services to the Department of Defense will require independent third-party cybersecurity certification. The office plans to have an Information Asset Pre-assessment program in place in early 2020 in an effort to “raise the cultural bar on cybersecurity” in the commercial sector

Nov 18, 2019

Russia and China are generally considered the most significant threats in the cyber domain, but one expert worries that “minor or middle powers” might be a more immediate concern. Brandon Valeriano, chair of Armed Politics at the Marine Corps University and a member of the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, was part of a panel at CyberCon 2019.

Nov 18, 2019

Canadian legislation designed to protect whistleblowers actually leaves them vulnerable to retribution on the job, according to Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a Washington non-profit founded in 1977. Among other things, he considers the current law a globally-ridiculed “fraud” which is which is nothing more than “a tissue paper shield.”

Nov 15, 2019

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, created by Congress in 2000 with a mandate to monitor security implications, says China wants to become the dominant power in space. Accordingly, it has told Congress that the U.S. should consider using its nascent Space Force to ensure continued freedom of navigation and communications.

Nov 15, 2019

Amazon Web Services is formally protesting the U.S. Department of Defense’s award of its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract to Microsoft. AWS Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy says political pressure from President Donald Trump had interfered in the contract proceedings.

Nov 15, 2019

Russia, Norway and Lithuania have swapped convicted spies in a deal which also required a change in Lithuanian law. The handover, which followed weeks of negotiations, involved two Russians, a Norwegian and two Lithuanians.

Nov 13, 2019

Having made significant investments in cybersecurity over the years, corporate management wants to know how effective that has been in addressing risk. It coincides with regulatory bodies’ are challenging the levels of resilience the private sector claims to have attained.

Nov 13, 2019

Dr. Deborah Frincke, the U.S. National Security Agency’s director of research, says the race to develop a true quantum computer could create more security threats by its potential for cracking the odes which secure digital information. Accordingly, she says, it’s time for the U.S. government to begin adapting its security protocols to deal with a threat which could be less than two decades away.

Nov 12, 2019

The non-profit International Information System Security Certification Consortium says the demand for cyber expertise has surged as more organizations prioritizing digital security. It says that while there already are some 2.8 million professionals in the field worldwide, the global demand is such that their ranks need to more than double.

Nov 12, 2019

Richard Fadden — a former former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, former Deputy Minister of National Defence and former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service — has received the 29th Vimy Award from the Conference of Defence Associations. He used his acceptance speech to say, among other things, that perhaps one of the greatest threats faced by a “dysfunctional” West is a lack of a common threat assessment. Fadden also said China and Russia are strategic adversaries, not just aggressive competitors.

Nov 11, 2019

U.S. legislators are proposing legislation they say will enhance science education and cybersecurity programs within federal agencies and eventually cyber defence in general. The bipartisan measure also would include new incentives to drive the recruitment of cybersecurity educators.

Nov 11, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department has unveiled an interagency Procurement Collusion Strike Force it says will “deter, detect, investigate, and prosecute antitrust crimes and related criminal schemes.” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says that when prospective suppliers rig bids for government contracts, it results in inflated prices and added costs for all taxpayers.

Nov 11, 2019

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio wants the Department of Defense to look into reports that Chinese surveillance technologies are in use at U.S. military facilities. In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Rubio says “every day that passes only provides our adversaries additional time to infiltrate and exploit our national security.”

Nov 11, 2019

U.S. federal prosecutors say two former Twitter employees used their system access on behalf of Saudi Arabia to collect personal information on dissidents. The Department of Justice says it will not permit U.S. companies or technologies to become “tools of foreign repression."

Nov 11, 2019

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is reportedly considering the use of self-screening terminals as an answer to frequently long lines at airports. The technology could be made available through the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program which has more than nine million registered users.

Nov 11, 2019

A flaw in the Mac and Windows versions of Mozilla’s Firefox browser evidently has been used to dupe users into thinking their systems will be disabled if they don’t take action by calling a toll-free number. Mozilla says it is working on a fix for inclusion in an upcoming Firefox release.

Nov 11, 2019

Facebook has disclosed that as many as 100 app developers retained data from user groups on the platform. While the social media giant had changed settings to ensure developers could only see basic information, it recently became aware that some developers maintained access to names and images after the change went into effect.

Nov 11, 2019

Nearly 100 contracts will be up for grabs, including a dozen valued at more than $100 million, when the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s 2020 budget is finalized.

Nov 08, 2019

Bail has been revoked for Cameron Ortis, the senior RCMP official accused of preparing to leak sensitive information. He was granted bail Oct. 22 but an Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered him back into custody until his trial. The reasons for Justice Marc Labrosse’s Nov. 8 decision are under a publication ban, as are details of the Crown’s review application.

Nov 08, 2019

Aventura Technologies Inc. of Long Island, N.Y., is alleged to have sold some $20 million in Chinese surveillance and other sensitive security equipment to U.S. customers after claiming they were manufactured in the U.S. Its customers included the Defense and Energy departments. U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said the situation, which has led to a criminal complaint, raises “a grave concern” about cybersecurity.

Nov 01, 2019

A data breach last December at The Desjardins Group, a Quebec-based financial services company, is turning out to be worse than previously reported. The number of members of the cooperative affected originally was reported at 2.9 million in June but Desjardins President and CEO Guy Cormier disclosed Nov. 1 that the breach affected 4.2 million members.

Nov 01, 2019

A Beijing company’s takeover two years ago of a U.S. social media application which has evolved into the increasingly popular TikTok short-form music video app is facing national security review by the inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Two Senators are leading the charge, alleging that such apps could be used for espionage or become subject to foreign influence.

Nov 01, 2019

A cybersecurity report by Forrester Research of Cambridge, Mass., warns that the next decade can expect to see criminals and other “bad actors” to step up their use artificial intelligence and machine learning. It says the potential losses to business could top $250 million in 2020 alone.

Nov 01, 2019

Facebook has agreed to pay a £500,000 fine imposed by the British Information Commissioner’s Office over its role in the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal. However, the social media giant, without pleading guilty to violating the U.K. Data Protection Act, says it has made major changes since the scandal made headlines internationally.

Nov 01, 2019

The advent of the so-called Dark Web evidently is affording criminals more opportunities to conduct their activities in ways which are difficult for law enforcement to track, according to the Rand Corp. The U.S. think tank recently collaborated on a workshop which identified a number of ways to address the challenge.

Nov 01, 2019

Senior government officials say the U.S. is seriously lagging on how it can deal with threats to next-generation 5G and supply chain networks. Among other things, they told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that there is neither a comprehensive national plan nor a fully coordinated interagency response.

Oct 31, 2019

Details are sparse but Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, is scheduled to visit Ottawa Nov. 6 for talks with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland about the new North American trade agreement. Neal also is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Oct 30, 2019

Machine learning technologies could become the U.S. military’s first line of defence against cyberattacks and other suspicious activities. The Defense Information Systems Agency has begun seeking out commercial cybersecurity tools that could detect and respond to incidents across the agency’s numerous networks without direct input from humans. Automation and machine learning are seen as a way to free Department of Defense personnel to concentrate on other threats.

Oct 30, 2019

U.S. federal agencies. are outsourcing more of their information technology work, a trend hown in details of the government’s 2019 fiscal documents. Their spending on cloud and IT management in 2019 nearly doubled from the previous year, to some $12 billion or 18 per cent of federal IT spending.

Oct 29, 2019

After weeks of political seesawing, British voters head to the polls in a Dec. 12 general election, the results of which will effectively be a referendum on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s determination to take the U.K. out of the European Union. With Parliament deadlocked, he put forward a motion which passed 438-20 in the hope that a majority win will be a mandate for Brexit.

Oct 29, 2019

A suspected state-sponsored cyberattack shut down more than 2,000 websites in Georgia, including court sites containing case materials and personal data, as well as the former Soviet satellite’s national TV station. Sources say Georgian government websites are poorly protected and vulnerable.

Oct 29, 2019

The White House is being asked to explain reports that senior cybersecurity officials are being forced out because their tenure dates to the previous administration. Pressing for answers, California Democrat Representative Ted Lieu says the potential loss of institutional knowledge leaves the government vulnerable.

Oct 29, 2019

Dominic Barton, Canada's new ambassador to China, has met with Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadians held by Beijing since last December in apparent retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. Barton, appointed in early September, evidently met with Kovrig Oct. 25 and Spavor three days later.

Oct 28, 2019

The Privy Council Office has confirmed that there were some online attempts to disseminate disinformation and misinformation during Canada's latest general election campaign, but nothing of a nature to justify public alert notices. Meanwhile, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says there still is a sense that more need to be done to contain this use of social media.

Oct 28, 2019

Faced with a possible delay in the delivery of a key communications satellite by Airbus Defence and Space, Britain is working on procurement of long-lead items required for the Skynet 6 program. Britain wants the satellite in service to ensure communications are not compromised as the current ADS-supplied Skynet 5 constellation ages.

Oct 28, 2019

Opposition parties in the British House of Commons are gearing up for a Oct. 29 vote on whether to call a snap election – a day after defeating a motion by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to have an snap election to reinforce his Brexit campaign. Meanwhile, European Union leaders have agreed in principle to what the European Council’s Polish president, Donald Tusk is calling a “flextension”of the European Union’s deadline, until Jan. 31.

Oct 25, 2019

Microsoft Corp. has secured a $10-billion Department of Defense contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud data storage program. Amazon Web Services, sole host for the U.S. intelligence community’s cloud storage for six years, had been considered the front-runner in the often litigious bidding process.

Oct 25, 2019

Wanting to find out whether it can function without the global Internet, Russia plans to begin testing its internal RuNet, starting Nov. 1 and recurring at least annually. It’s seen as the latest move in a series of technical and policy steps to cut citizens off from the rest of the world. The announcement follows approval last April of a Sovereign Internet Law which require all traffic to pass through official channels.

Oct 25, 2019

Three weeks into the 2020 U.S. fiscal year, with Congress trying to finalize the budget, the White House is locking down cybersecurity priorities within broad reform of information technologies. Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent says there is strong interest in identity management strategies, enhanced security measures for public services, and automated network monitoring for government agencies’ cyber operations.

Oct 25, 2019

Paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico as well as the use of military personnel to provide additional security has again become a major roadblock to reaching congressional agreement on spending bills. The ongoing impasse could result in another government shutdown in less than four weeks.

Oct 24, 2019

Facebook has suspended Instagram and Facebook accounts linked to Russian efforts to manipulate America’s 2020 election. That came several hours after Czech Republic officials said they had dismantled a Russian espionage cell, disguised as a cybersecurity company, in anticipation of a wave of cyber attacks.

Oct 24, 2019

British and U.S. national security officials say that hackers believed to be Russian have used Iranian cyber tools and digital infrastructure to launch attacks on government and industry groups in at least 35 countries. The Turla group, widely believed to be Russian in origin, used the Nautilus and Neuron tools to target military, government, academic and scientific organizations, mostly in the Middle East.

Oct 24, 2019

In a bid to break a parliamentary deadlock over his promise to take Britain out of the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pinning his hopes and possibly his own political future on the outcome of a general election. He plans to ask the House of Commons to vote Oct. 28 on having an election Dec. 12.

Oct 24, 2019

A draft Advancing Cybersecurity Diagnostics & Mitigation Act, which would give state and local governments access to a federal cybersecurity suite, has been endorsed by the U.S. House Homeland security committee. The core Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program launched by the Department of Homeland Security six years ago offers a suite of tools and services which feeds data back to a central dashboard offering a bird’s-eye view of the cyber landscape.

Oct 23, 2019

A draft bill which would have facilitated the extradition to China of Hong Kong residents charged with crimes has been withdrawn after months of often violent public protests. Secretary for Security John Lee made the announcement but refused to answer questions in the former British colony’s legislature.

Oct 23, 2019

The U.S. Senate has approved the accession of North Macedonia to NATO in a 91-2 vote, putting it a step closer to becoming the alliance’s 30th member. The vote is being seen as a message to the European Union, which had opted not to begin membership talks with the tiny Balkan state earlier this week. 

Oct 23, 2019

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has allayed speculation for now about his parliamentary minority forming a formal or informal coalition government. He also has promised a gender-balanced cabinet which will be be sworn in Nov. 20.

Oct 22, 2019

Cameron Ortis, a senior RCMP official charged with violating the Security of Information Act and breach of trust for allegedly disclosing secrets to an unknown recipient and planning to reveal additional classified information to an unspecified foreign entity, has been granted bail. The terms of his release include having to live with his parents, reporting to RCMP weekly, and being prohibited from using any Internet-connected devices.

Oct 22, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to fast-track his Brexit deal through Parliament to meet an Oct. 31 deadline has been rejected by MPs despite his threats to press for a general election. The government lost the vote on its “programme motion” which have given them only three days to review a 110-page withdrawal agreement bill.

Oct 22, 2019

In a day-after analysis of the Oct. 21 general election, the Angus Reid Institute says that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority win was due mainly to the Liberal Party’s campaign in Ontario.

Oct 22, 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's long-standing Prime Minister, says he cannot form a government in the aftermath of September’s general election. The vote ended in a deadlock with the Blue & White Party whose leader, Benny Gantz, will try to put together a government. Netanyahu says Gantz repeatedly rebuffed his proposals for a coalition between their parties.

Oct 22, 2019

With 338 seats in the House of Commons at stake in the Oct. 21 general election, the incumbent Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saw their majority of 177 seats in the last Parliament reduced to a minority 157. The still-unofficial results show the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer increasing their representation to 121 seats from 95. The Bloc Quebecois’ representation increased to 32 seats from 10 with new leader Yves-Francois Blanchet; the New Democratic Party under Jagmeet Singh was reduced to 24 from 39 due to a Bloc resurgence; and the Greens under Elizabeth May increased to three seats from two. The fledgling People’s Party of Canada won no seats, including that of leader Maxime Bernier. One independent candidate was elected: former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. There were nine independent MPs in the last Parliament and five seats were vacant at dissolution.

Oct 21, 2019

Simplifying and consolidating cybersecurity infrastructure is one of the most significant challenges facing the sector, according to Craig Harber, chief technology officer of the Bethesda-based Fidelis Cybersecurity consultancy. The former Cyber Command and National Security Agency technical officer says the need is more urgent than ever because some cybersecurity investments translate directly to poor security.

Oct 21, 2019

The Japanese government is preparing to send its own assets to ensure safe transport of oil through Middle East chokepoints, but not as part of a U.S.-led coalition. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says that while his country, which has maintained relations with Iran, will cooperate with the U.S., has “decided to pursue our own measures separately.”

Oct 19, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is “undaunted” in his push for Britain’s from the European Union despite his newest setback. MPs voted Oct. 19 for further delay but Johnson says he will introduce a bill next week to implement his “excellent” Brexit plan. Ministers have indicated that another vote is possible October 21.

Oct 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Defense Department is close to finalizing a new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework for assessing suppliers’ protection of sensitive data. After extensive feedback since the first draft was released six weeks ago, Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, says the next iteration should be published in the first week of November, setting the stage for a final version in January after further comment.

Oct 18, 2019

As it contemplates how to manage the digital identities of all users of the U.S. military's IT infrastructure, the Defense Information Systems Agency is reaching out to the private sector. Its proposed Enterprise Identity Service would store usernames and passwords for employees, vendors and other authorized users in a single record, facilitating broad oversight of digital credentials and online.

Oct 18, 2019

The House of Representatives’ homeland security committee has been told that the private sector cannot protect its information technology supply chains without clear information about vendors to avoid. A senior USTelecom executive says the problem is that current laws discourage firms from sharing information about problematic suppliers.

Oct 18, 2019

As the Transportation Security Agency ramps up the use of facial recognition technology at U.S. airports, one Democrat in Congress says he’d like a more measured approach. Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey has suggested to a Senate subcommittee that current TSA data protections are inadequate and a threat to civil liberties.

Oct 18, 2019

Improvements in artificial intelligence technologies means that government procurement agencies need to renew how they approach industry, according to the World Economic Forum. It says in a discussion paper that traditional processes might not be suitable due to new and unique risks to manage and the possibility of unintended consequences.

Oct 18, 2019

The World Economic Forum says that while the benefits of digitization are welcome, there is growing debate on how best to tax and regulate digital businesses to optimize economic and societal outcomes. The frequently borderless nature of the business can mean that one country’s actions can have external effects, influencing trade and investment decisions.

Oct 17, 2019

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration says that although law enforcement is an important source of information during investigations of incidents involving small unmanned aerial systems, there is confusion about how police should respond to those incidents or what information they can shared with inspectors. This is according to a Government Accounting Office report which also faults the FAA for not consistently communicating its needs to law enforcement agencies.

Oct 17, 2019

Bucking the US tradition of non-intervention in Canadian elections, former US President Obama stepped into the spotlight to sway voters by saying  "I hope our neighbors to the north support [Justin Trudeau] for another term." This is not Obama's first public endorsement of a foreign leader during elections.

Oct 17, 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confirms that Britain and the European Union have agreed a new Brexit deal. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control.”

Oct 17, 2019

The U.S. administration’s Office of Science & Technology Policy says it is trying to foster public trust and build government agencies’ confidence in regulating artificial intelligence technologies. The OSTP’s assistant director for artificial intelligence says in a memorandum that the goal is to establish some common principles and some predictability across agencies in terms of how they think about regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to the use of AI.

Pages