ICD Report 188, July 3, 2020

Sent out today to wish you and yours a future of good health, safety and freedom on this US Independence Day! It’s been a dazzling week of interventions leading with a suspicious series of Iranian explosions and a historic multinational police hack of organized crime across Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

Here’s a sampling.


How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime
Vice, joseph.cox@vice.com
“Police monitored a hundred million encrypted messages sent through Encrochat, a network used by career criminals to discuss drug deals, murders, and extortion plots.

French authorities had penetrated the Encrochat network, leveraged that access to install a technical tool in what appears to be a mass hacking operation, and had been quietly reading the users’ communications for months. Investigators then shared those messages with agencies around Europe.

Only now is the astonishing scale of the operation coming into focus: It represents one of the largest law enforcement infiltrations of a communications network predominantly used by criminals ever, with Encrochat users spreading beyond Europe to the Middle East and elsewhere. French, Dutch, and other European agencies monitored and investigated “more than a hundred million encrypted messages” sent between Encrochat users in real time, leading to arrests in the UK, Norway, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands, a team of international law enforcement agencies announced Thursday.”

ICD Co-Founder Richard Stiennon’s Interview on Encrochat
Richard Stiennon, Chief Research Analyst IT-Harvest, author.
“The Encrochat hack is one of the most astoundingly successful international law enforcement actions ever.“



SASC Pushes Cyber Overhaul In New NDAA
Breaking Defense, KELSEY ATHERTON
“ALBUQUERQUE: Sen. Angus King, co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, thinks a cyber threat could be as dangerous — or worse — than the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate Armed Services Committee is listening and has incorporated 11 of the commission’s recommendations in the 2021 NDAA, with another 18 ready to be introduced as amendments.”

US Cyber Command says foreign hackers will attempt to exploit new PAN-OS security bug
ZDNet, Catalin Cimpanu for Zero Day
“Palo Alto Networks disclosed today a major bug that lets hackers bypass authentication on its firewall and corporate VPN products.

Verizon Media, PayPal, Twitter Top Bug-Bounty Rankings
Threat Post, Tara Seals

California’s Big Privacy Law Gets Teeth
Consumer Reports, Kaveh Waddell
“Consumer Reports research shows that people trying to use the mandated controls often run into confusing red tape, and some ultimately give up on the process.”


Cybersecurity spending gets $1.35 billion boost in wake of online attacks against Australia
ABC AU Jade Macmillan
“The Federal Government wants to create more than 500 new jobs in its highly secretive cyber intelligence agency as part of what it says is Australia’s largest-ever investment in cybersecurity.”


Discussion: online voting is a long process that can start with voters abroad
“French officials and Baltic experts debated France’s electoral case study, as the Lithuanian parliament considered diaspora’s internet voting bill this week, and France just completed the second round of municipal elections.”


ENISA Launches Public Consultation for First Candidate Cybersecurity Certification Scheme
“Today, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, ENISA, is launching a month-long public consultation for the first candidate cybersecurity certification scheme, the Common Criteria based European cybersecurity certification scheme (EUCC). The scheme aims to replace the existing schemes operating under the SOG-IS MRA for ICT products, to add new elements and to extend the scope to cover all EU Member States.”


Joint Press Statement of the French Minister of State for European Affairs and the Estonian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Tallinn, 1 Jul. 2020)
France Diplomacy Ministry of State for European Affairs
“At a moment when Europe is facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic of Covid-19, France and Estonia have decided to strengthen their cooperation in order to help Europe come out of this crisis united and stronger.”


India TikTok Ban Threatens China’s Rise as Global Tech Power
“China over the past decade built an alternate online reality where Google and Facebook barely exist. Now its own tech corporations, from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd., are getting a taste of what a shutout feels like.”

China’s Twitter-like service Weibo removes Modi’s account at the request of India
CNBC Arjun Kharpal


Analysts: Fire at Iran nuclear site hit centrifuge facility
Federal News Network, By The Associated Press
“DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A fire and an explosion struck a centrifuge production plant above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early Thursday, analysts said, one of the most-tightly guarded sites in all of the Islamic Republic after earlier acts of sabotage there.

Satellite photos show an explosion last Friday that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites. Iran has blamed the blast on a gas leak in what it describes a “public area.”

Another explosion from a gas leak at a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people Tuesday.”


Siemens and NATO CCDCOE announce cooperation on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure
“With the new agreement, the parties advance their existing cooperation on cyber security training for power grids.

Colonel Jaak Tarien, Director of the NATO CCDCOE said: ‘Our long-term cooperation with Siemens in training the cyber experts to protect critical infrastructure in general and power grids in particular has been a major asset for the NATO CCDCOE technical cyber defence exercises.’”


South Africa’s Postbank Replaces 12 Million Bank Cards After Internal Security Breach Exposes Master Key
“Postbank, the South African Post Office Bank, has suffered a major internal security breach, serving to underscore the ever-present threat of insider data theft.”


Met police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the raids hit organised crime ‘where it hurts most’.

Hundreds arrested as crime chat network cracked
BBC, Danny Shaw
“A top-secret communications system used by criminals to trade drugs and guns has been “successfully penetrated”, says the National Crime Agency.

The NCA worked with forces across Europe on the UK’s “biggest and most significant” law enforcement operation.
Major crime figures were among over 800 Europe-wide arrests after messages on EncroChat were intercepted and decoded.

More than two tonnes of drugs, several dozen guns and £54m in suspect cash have been seized, says the NCA.
While the NCA was part of the investigation, it was initiated and led by French and Dutch police, and also involved Europol – the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation.”

mind the gap

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