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The CyberDiplomat Daily

Date: 15th May 2024

The 24-Hrs Cyber Incident report from around the globe. The report focuses on Cyberdiplomacy news.

Web of Cyber Frauds: Complaints in Lakhs, FIRs in Thousands, But Arrests in Only 1% Cases

The National Cyber Crime Portal (NCRP) has received 31 lakh complaints about cyber frauds until February 2024. According to government data, there is a concern about the low number of arrests in cyber fraud cases. The total arrests in cyber fraud cases amount to less than 1 percent of the total cases registered by law enforcement agencies. There have been discussions about this issue in meetings of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).

Christie's £670m art auctions hit by cyber attack

Christie's is facing challenges due to a cyber attack as it attempts to auction art and other high-value items worth an estimated $840 million. The website is offline, but bids can still be placed over the phone and in-person. An alternative website has been set up to provide basic information about the items being sold. Despite the outage, charity auctions and upcoming New York auctions will proceed as planned, with bidders able to participate using Christie's Live service.

MHA issues alert on blackmail, digital arrests by cyber criminals posing as cops

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an alert against cyber criminals posing as police officers or representatives of central agencies. They engage in organized online economic crime, often operated by cross-border syndicates. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft, has blocked over 1,000 Skype IDs involved in such activities. The criminals use various tactics such as claiming that the victim has received a parcel containing illegal goods or that a loved one is in custody, demanding money in exchange for compromising the case. In some cases, victims are coerced into a "digital arrest" and are visually available over video conferencing platforms until their demands are met. The fraudsters use studios modeled on police stations and government offices to appear genuine.

ASEAN Should Watch the China-US Cyber Competition More Closely

During the 5th RSIS Trilateral Exchange forum in April 2024, scholars from China and the United States met in Singapore to discuss their differing perspectives on geopolitical, trade, and technological issues. The U.S. prioritizes maintaining pre-eminence, while China seeks accommodation of its interests. The forum did not discuss competition in cyberspace, but the U.S. released a new International Cyberspace & Digital Policy Strategy on May 6, depicting China as the most significant cyber threat and reaffirming the application of mutual defense treaties in cyberspace. ASEAN countries are concerned about the impact of major power competition on regional stability and should address growing tensions in cyberspace. ASEAN must address internal issues, such as varying digital maturity and perceptions of cyberspace, to effectively promote cyber norms to major powers. Leveraging new initiatives like the ASEAN Cyber Defense Network (ACDN) and the ADMM Cybersecurity and Information Center of Excellence (ACICE) is crucial for engaging major powers in cyber dialogue and confidence-building. ASEAN should continue promoting cyber norms diplomatically to prevent the region from becoming a theater for cyber conflict between major powers.

Chinese nationalist groups are launching cyber-attacks – often against the wishes of the government

The UK's MI5 warned that British universities involved in military research are at risk of cyber-attacks by foreign states. A recent cyber-attack on the UK's Ministry of Defence exposed the personal details of 270,000 armed forces personnel, with China being the main suspect. Despite the perception of China as a monolithic entity controlled by the CCP, the reality is more complex, with various Chinese nationalist groups also conducting cyber-attacks and digital interference. Some of these groups are funded by and act under the direction of the CCP. For example, the 50 Cent Army (五毛党) posts pro-CCP messages on social media and is reportedly paid by the CCP for each post. However, many of these groups operate independently, and there are cases of Chinese nationalist groups engaging in online warfare against the wishes of the CCP. The increasing number of independent cyber-attacks in China suggests that the nationalist movement is evading government controls. They use "online wars" and hacktivism to counter perceived insults to the Chinese nation. In 2008, the Red Hacker Alliance attacked CNN over their coverage of Tibet protests, and in 2014, the Honker Union targeted the Philippines in a South China Sea incident.

The CCP relies on nationalism for legitimacy, but this has given China's nationalist movement significant influence. Cyber-nationalists have defied CCP controls and even contradicted its foreign policy. In 2020, they launched anti-foreign smear campaigns and hijacked the Chinese embassy's Twitter account in Paris. Additionally, there have been hacktivist cyber-attacks against the Chinese state, reflecting a major domestic problem for the CCP and showcasing the limits of its societal controls.

Here are 16 transaction types exempted from CBN’s cybersecurity levy

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has instructed banks to deduct a cybersecurity levy for the National Security Adviser's office. The levy, mandated by the 2024 Cybercrime Amendment Act, will be 0.5% of electronic transaction value. However, certain transactions such as loan disbursements, salary payments, and others are exempt from the levy.

Why cybersecurity preparedness must be a national priority in Kenya

The digital economy's impact is widely recognized, but there's a gap between awareness and action. In Kenya, cyber threats, including financial fraud, are on the rise. The National Assembly has passed new regulations to strengthen cybersecurity governance. It's crucial for organizations and individuals to prioritize cybersecurity readiness and for policymakers to promote cybersecurity awareness.

CyberUK 24: UK insurance industry gets tough on ransomware

The ABI, BIBA, and IUA have joined forces with the NCSC to strengthen ransomware payment practices in the UK. The partnership aims to help organizations make informed decisions during ransomware attacks, minimizing disruption and costs. The insurance sector plays a crucial role in supporting victims and coordinating cyber incident responses.

Japan, AUKUS and cyberwarfare

Cooperating to strengthen Japan’s cyber defenses and develop new offensive cyber weapons is crucial for any AUKUS collaboration involving Japan. This is necessary before Australia, Britain, and the US can fully trust Japan's deeper involvement in the military pact. AUKUS aims to develop strategic weapons and technologies to deter China and other states from threatening the peace of Australia’s region. Japan's inclusion could strengthen technology development and efforts to deter China. The AUKUS defense ministers are considering Japan's inclusion in the pact, with a focus on developing advanced capabilities such as underwater drones, quantum technology, artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, electronic warfare systems, and advanced cyber capabilities. Collaboration with Japan is especially urgent in offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

Cyber Expert Says Budget Investment a Matter of National Importance

Armis, a cybersecurity company, emphasizes the importance of the 2024/25 Federal Budget investments in cybersecurity. According to Armis Australia and New Zealand Channel Director Evan Thomas, these investments not only underscore the need for local organizations to protect their data but also have implications for national security and economic performance. Thomas also highlights the threat of cyber warfare, which poses a risk to Australia's innovation performance. He suggests that organizations should proactively defend against significant cyber threats by shifting their cybersecurity strategies from reactive to proactive.

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