Russia in Bed with North Korea – With diplomatic tensions rising between North Korea and nearly every other country out there, there is one who is making closer ties with the hermit country. Russia is positioning itself to be a stronger North Korean ally, reaching out to provide North Korea with an internet connection. This could possibly be bad news for the rest of the world as Russia may embolden North Korea to launch more destructive cyberattacks. Stronger cooperation between the two raises the possibility also that they will even collaborate on cyberattacks themselves, which would be devastating for the international community. Russia now provides a second outlet for the DPRK in regards to reaching the internet and also has increased their bandwidth by 60%. The souring of relationships with North Korea follows a DDoS campaign by U.S. Cyber Command on North Korea’s intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau. A DDoS attack was an attempt to make online service for the intelligence agency unavailable by flooding it with traffic from multiple sources. According to a U.S. official, North Korean hackers complained that the resulting spotty internet access was interfering with their work, which as of late involves stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from international banks and companies. As increasingly strict sanctions limit legal economic opportunities for North Korea, cyber heists provide for nearly a third of the value of the isolated nation’s exports.
Russia have also opened a new ferry route between the two countries and a new railroad project, which may indicate that Russia will seek sanction loopholes to strengthen their partnership despite the sanctions’ calls to curtail economic cooperation between UN Security Council member states and North Korea. These warning signs should be headed by the international community because as the economic restrictions on North Korea tighten, we may see a collaboration between Russia and North Korea against the community who they feel threatened by most.
NSA Employee at Centre of Scandal Revealed – Nghia Hoang Pho has been revealed as the NSA worker at the centre of the NSA leaked data scandal that has embroiled the intelligence service throughout 2017. The employee has pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the District of Maryland to wilful retention of national defence information between 2010 and May 2015. It has come to light that he took classified information home with him, both in hard-copy and on his laptop. According to documents unsealed Friday, Pho was a developer with the National Security Agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit. Unfortunately for his misdemeanour, he is facing up to ten years in prison. In addition, the laptop Pho used to take classified information home with him is the one that’s long been discussed in connection with the US Government’s ban on Kaspersky products. He had Kaspersky security software installed, which detected some of the sensitive files he’d placed on his machine. Kaspersky acknowledges that it did detect the files, but denies having read them, or done anything with them. Pho doesn’t appear to be the source of the Shadow Brokers’ leaks, so that mole-hunt remains ongoing.
Is Your Drone Spying on You? – This story came to light a few months ago but has ignited in a ball of flames today as the Chinese drone company, DJI has been accused by the US Department of Homeland Security office of spying on US critical infrastructure via their hovering machines. A memo from the Los Angeles office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) has begun circulating online, alleging “with moderate confidence” that DJI drones may be sending US critical infrastructure and law enforcement data back to China. The targets include rail systems, water systems, hazardous material storage facilities, and construction of highways, bridges, and rails with the drone-maker denying the allegations, saying that the memo from the US government office was based on “clearly false and misleading claims.” According to a DJI spokesman, users have complete control over how much data they can share with the Chinese drone maker, and the automatic function offered by the DJI apps to store user flight logs can also be turned off.