Tuesday March 31, 2020
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India calls for global convention on Cyber security

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New Delhi: India called for a truly global convention to fight cyber crime and to ensure cyber security.

India’s Electronics and Information Technology Secretary JS Deepak told a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that various stakeholders have to be involved to face the challenges of cyber security.

Emphasising the role of “governments, which bear ultimate responsibility for essential services and for public safety”, he said there was a need to “create a global convention to address issues of cybersecurity and cybercrime”.

He said that many of the cyber security challenges were “not well understood, much less addressed” and that a “multi-stakeholder approach” across geographies and societies was required to remedy this.

The General Assembly was holding a high-level review of developments in the decade since the Tunis 2005 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS+10).

Because the next billion Internet users will come from the developing countries, policies to enable access to the internet should be formulated with full involvement of those nations, Deepak said. Of them, 500 million would be from India, he added.

While a European-initiated convention against cybercrime came into being in 2001 and has been signed by 50 countries, India has stayed away because it and most other non-Western countries were excluded.

India has not been spared cyber attacks. For example, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity company, FireEye reported in April that for over a decade a cyber operation with likely ties to China spied on Indian defence, business and media operations.

Deepak spoke of “the huge digital opportunity that lies before us, from health and education to agriculture and disaster management, from human resource development to financial inclusion and reiterated India’s commitment to sharing its expertise in information technology to help other countries. As examples of New Delhi’s efforts, he cited the Pan-African e-Network Project was undertaken by India to connect 53 nations and India using fiber-optic and satellite networks for e-education and telemedicine and the Central Asian telemedicine project.”

Extolling India’s digital prowess, Deepak said its start-up sector is the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world. “Four new technology start-ups are coming up every day and because of their speed, agility and low costs these are fast becoming preferred models of global research and development in ICT (information and communication technology)” he said.(IANS)

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U.S. Cybersecurity Firm Detects Surge in Cyberspying by Chinese Group

US Cybersecurity Experts See Recent Spike in Chinese Digital Espionage

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A U.S. cybersecurity firm said Wednesday it has detected a surge in new cyberspying by a suspected Chinese group dating back to late January. Pixabay

A U.S. cybersecurity firm said Wednesday it has detected a surge in new cyberspying by a suspected Chinese group dating back to late January, when coronavirus was starting to spread outside China.

FireEye Inc. said in a report it had spotted a spike in activity from a hacking group it dubs “APT41” that began on Jan. 20 and targeted more than 75 of its customers, from manufacturers and media companies to healthcare organizations and nonprofits.

There were “multiple possible explanations” for the spike in activity, said FireEye Security Architect Christopher Glyer, pointing to long-simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and more recent clashes over the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 17,000 people since late last year. The report said it was “one of the broadest campaigns by a Chinese cyber espionage actor we have observed in recent years.”

FireEye declined to identify the affected customers. The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not directly address FireEye’s allegations but said in a statement that China was “a victim of cybercrime and cyberattack.” The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined comment.

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Picture of wires plugged on laptop computers taken as people work on January 22, 2019 in Lille during the 11th International Cybersecurity Forum. VOA

FireEye said in its report that APT41 abused recently disclosed flaws in software developed by Cisco, Citrix and others to try to break into scores of companies’ networks in the United States, Canada, Britain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and more than a dozen other countries.

Cisco said in an email it had fixed the vulnerability and it was aware of attempts to exploit it, a sentiment echoed by Citrix, which said it had worked with FireEye to help identify “potential compromises.”

Others have also spotted a recent uptick in cyber-espionage activity linked to Beijing.
Matt Webster, a researcher with Secureworks – Dell Technologies’ cybersecurity arm – said in an email that his team had also seen evidence of increased activity from Chinese hacking groups “over the last few weeks.” In particular, he said his team had recently spotted new digital infrastructure associated with APT41 – which Secureworks dubs “Bronze Atlas.”

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Tying hacking campaigns to any specific country or entity is often fraught with uncertainty, but FireEye said it had assessed “with moderate confidence” that APT41 was composed of Chinese government contractors.

FireEye’s head of analysis, John Hultquist, said the surge was surprising because hacking activity attributed to China has generally become more focused. “This broad action is a departure from that norm,” he said. (VOA)