Cybersecurity
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Herbert Lin
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There are a number of ways to run a legitimate election. But the U.S. has learned in recent years, and Brazil learned in recent weeks, that it’s not always simple.

There are technical mechanics and processes of how votes are cast, collected and counted. But those are ultimately less important than the agreement – among opposing parties, and across a society – to abide by the results of those processes.

In 2020, President Donald Trump alleged, without evidence, that election fraud in several states had caused him to lose. A number of audits in various states found no evidence that irregularities in voting or vote counting processes had any effect on the outcome of balloting in those states.

Some of these results were later challenged in lawsuits seeking to alter the results of the election, and in every case, the election’s outcome was determined to be accurate.

Continue reading at theconversation.com

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On Jan. 8, 2023, after Lula had been in office for a week, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters, including right-wing militants, attacked key government buildings, including the building that houses the national Congress.

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Rhiannon Neilsen
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Mass atrocities—genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity—constitute a particularly unacceptable assault on ‘the moral conscience of mankind’. Such acts are certainly not unique to the twenty-first century, but what is unique now is the pervasiveness and sophistication of cyberspace. Cyberspace has had an unprecedented effect on how society functions, especially as a tool for fomenting division and organizing violence. The increasing focus on the politics and ethics of cyber operations has occurred alongside recognition of the need to protect vulnerable populations from mass atrocity crimes. In an effort to move away from the ‘right’ to intervene militarily, at the United Nations' 2005 World Summit states unanimously agreed to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm. According to R2P, states have duties to safeguard their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (Pillar I). The international community has a duty to aid states in fulfilling these duties (Pillar II) and has a responsibility to act in a ‘timely and decisive manner’ in cases where a state is ‘manifestly failing’ to protect its population—including, if necessary, via armed humanitarian interventions, subject to UN Security Council (UNSC) authorization (Pillar III).

Continue reading at academic.oup.com with free access available until April 9th. 

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Cyberspace has had an unprecedented effect on how society functions, especially as a tool for fomenting division and organizing violence.

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Amy Zegart
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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a watershed moment for the world of intelligence. For weeks before the shelling began, Washington publicly released a relentless stream of remarkably detailed findings about everything from Russian troop movements to false-flag attacks the Kremlin would use to justify the invasion. 

This disclosure strategy was new: spy agencies are accustomed to concealing intelligence, not revealing it. But it was very effective. By getting the truth out before Russian lies took hold, the United States was able to rally allies and quickly coordinate hard-hitting sanctions. Intelligence disclosures set Russian President Vladimir Putin on his back foot, wondering who and what in his government had been penetrated so deeply by U.S. agencies, and made it more difficult for other countries to hide behind Putin’s lies and side with Russia.

Continue reading at foreignaffairs.com

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a watershed moment for the world of intelligence.

Authors
Ben Werschkul
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The standoff between China and Taiwan (and the U.S.) has heightened tensions to their highest level in decades but — so far at least — economic observers haven’t seen a worst-case scenario.

The island’s crucial semiconductor industry has dodged a direct hit and, while China currently has Taiwan effectively blockaded, that is expected to end this weekend.

But White House officials and other observers say that doesn’t mean Taiwan’s economy and world markets are getting off scot free. There are three key economic ripples — from global shipping to cyber attacks to trade wars — that may be felt across world markets in the weeks and months to come, even if tensions don’t get any worse.

“We will not seek, nor do we want, a crisis,” NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters Thursday, but he was clear that China’s actions “erode the Cross-Strait status quo” on both economic and military issues.

Here are some of the immediate economic effects likely to be felt even if China stops short of full scale economic (or actual) warfare following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island.

Continue reading at finance.yahoo.com.

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The standoff between China and Taiwan (and the U.S.) has heightened tensions to their highest level in decades but — so far at least — economic observers haven’t seen a worst-case scenario.

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Suzanne Smalley
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When the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council announces it plan next week for overhauling how the agency combats the spread of disinformation online, its focus will be on “how to achieve greater transparency across our disinformation related work” and how to “increase trust with the public,” according to council meeting minutes released Monday.

Read more at Cyberscoop.com

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Herb Lin, a disinformation scholar at Stanford, said DHS will need to tread carefully moving forward. He worries “about any government involvement in this business” and whether “any mechanism that you set up can be made tamper proof.”

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Gil Baram
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In late June, Iran’s state-owned Khuzestan Steel Co. and two other steel companies were forced to halt production after suffering a cyberattack. A hacking group claimed responsibility on social media, saying it targeted Iran’s three biggest steel companies in response to the “aggression of the Islamic Republic.”

Read more at The Washington Post.

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Three things to know about the not-so-covert cyber-operations between these two adversaries

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Joseph Marks
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‘[We’re] less vulnerable against the threats of five years ago. But I see no evidence that the threat has stood still, and in fact, it is likely that it has grown at a faster rate than our defenses,” said Herb Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University.

Read the rest at The Washington Post

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Network experts, including Herb Lin, say the U.S. is just as vulnerable – or even more vulnerable – to cyber attacks.

Authors
Gil Baram
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On February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large parts of American satellite company Viasat’s KA-SAT network of high speed satellite services experienced disruptions resulting in partial network outages throughout Ukraine and several European countries. Tens of thousands of terminals suffered permanent damage and many were still offline more than two weeks later. Viktor Zhora, deputy chief of Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection, described the satellite outage as “a really huge loss in communications in the very beginning of war.” Among others relying on KA-SAT are Ukraine’s military, intelligence, and police units.

Read the rest at The National Interest

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Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine demonstrates that hypothetical scenarios of cyberattacks paralyzing satellite communications are already taking place.

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Herbert Lin
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Herb Lin, author of “Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons,” fellow at the Hoover Institution and senior research scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said there are a few possible reasons: the United States has been helping Ukraine strengthen its cyber infrastructure, U.S. cyber offensive forces may have been disrupting Russian attacks against Ukraine, and the Russians may not be capable of conducting such a large-scale attack.

Read more at Security Matters

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A few possible reasons: the United States has been helping Ukraine strengthen its cyber infrastructure, U.S. cyber offensive forces may have been disrupting Russian attacks against Ukraine, and the Russians may not be capable of conducting such a large-scale attack.

Authors
Gil Baram
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In 2010, the world was introduced to Stuxnet, a sophisticated malware developed by Israel and the United States that successfully targeted and damaged the Iranian uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Named “the world's first digital weapon,” Stuxnet changed the way the global security and cybersecurity communities—in government, academia, and industry—perceived the range of cyber threats and types of damage that offensive cyber capabilities can deliver.   

While the offensive cyber capabilities of both Iran and Israel have evolved significantly over the past decade, one thing about the Iran-Israel cyber conflict remained consistent: its covert characteristics. 

Read the rest at The National Interest

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In 2010, the world was introduced to Stuxnet, a sophisticated malware developed by Israel and the United States that successfully targeted and damaged the Iranian uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Named “the world's first digital weapon,” Stuxnet changed the way the global security communities perceived the range of cyber threats.

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