12th January 2022

Global Issues - Headlines, Hacks & First Life Security Risks 



1.2 Surveillance: Documents link Huawei to China’s surveillance programs. Huawei has allegedly  helped Chinese authorities create surveillance technology that targets the country’s Uyghur minority  population including analysis of voice recordings, monitoring detention centres, tracking and  surveillance, showcasing functions specific to government agency requirements.  

1.3 Hack. Cyber criminals, most prominently China-backed hacking group Aquatic Panda, have a  vulnerability within a widely used piece of open-source software named LOG4J logging library to  conduct intelligence collection and industrial espionage. Hackers have launched more than 1.2 million  attacks on multiple companies.  

1.4 Media manipulation: A Trojan horse in international news dissemination: Chinese State  Broadcaster CCTV now has unfiltered access to global news production. China uses this global  platform to spread disinformation and propaganda on a large scale. The content Is heavily  editorialised, contains dubious sourcing and reinforces China’s foreign policy priorities. 

1.5 No Time to Die laughing. Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, have publicly released a 4-minute  James Bond parody video mocking western intelligence. In reply, SIS/MI6 Chief Richard Moore  tweeted: “Thank you for your interest (and the unexpected free publicity),” and he posted a copy of  the speech he gave in November that had provoked Xinhua’s unexpected response. 



1.3 Russia-Ukraine escalating tensions: With 100,000 troops amassed on the Ukrainian border,  Putin defends troop presence as another training exercise. Biden threatens unprecedented sanctions  if Putin does invade Ukraine, which Putin calls “a big mistake for generations to come  

1.4 Kazakhstan President calls for peacekeeping CTSO troops, receives a company of Russian  Special Forces 76th Airborne division instead – now including 45th Spetsnaz Brigade and 98th Airborne Division - amidst a declared two week state of emergency as riots fuelled by fuel prices  escalate into widespread violence and firefights across Almaty. Chaos has unfolded in Almaty:  internet blackouts, airport breached, widespread arson attacks, increasing death tolls,‘bands of  terrorists/ protestors’ clash with security forces. Paranoid theories that NATO are responsible  continue to circulate contrasted with the theory that this is a pre-arranged crisis, purposefully setting  the conditions for Russian SF deployment into Kazakhstan both of which supposedly encourage a  Russian invasion of Ukraine at a time where no U.S. ambassador is present in country. Many media  outlets including the BBC update 10 Jan report that over 164 people have been killed. On 11 Jan  the Times reports Russian forces will withdraw within 2 weeks.  

1.5 Russian Botnet discovered: Google sues 2 named Russian nationals and 15 others for creating a sophisticated blockchain-enabled botnet (named Glupteba) in order to steal google users data to  be used in further ransomware attacks and DDoS attacks.  

1.6 In possible retaliation, Moscow have issued Google with a record-breaking $100 million fine  for failing to remove “banned content” as defined by the Kremlin stating such  laws are in place to counter extremism but critics argue the main purpose is to oppress free speech. 

1.7 Russia-China partnership raises prospect of new challenge to American Power. 


Middle East & North Africa

1.8 Saudi Arabia have started building its own ballistic missiles with China’s help at a top secret base.  The development threatens Iran and has the potential to affect the nuclear negotiations between US  and Iranian officials.  

1.9 Continuous revenge drone operations: Since 31 December, Open source intelligence and on-the ground reporting suggests that US forces have been the target of 8 drone and rocket attacks launched  in Syria and Iraq. Three of the attacks, launched by Iranian-backed groups, featured drones inscribed with the words ‘revenge operations of our leader’. The attacks coincided with the anniversary of  Iranian General Qasem Suleimani’s death, killed in a US air strike in Baghdad.  

1.10 ISIS plan more attacks in Syria: Militants linked to the Islamic State terror group appear to be  planning more deadly attacks in Syria this year. The assessment comes after an increase in IS activity  in recent weeks, including two strikes claimed by the group against enemies in the war-torn country's  eastern and central regions. 

1.11 Are Iran living-off-the-land? Attackers most likely linked to Iran have attacked a string of  telecoms operators in the Middle East and Asia over the past six months. appears to have made no  use of custom malware and instead relied on a mixture of legitimate tools, publicly available  malware, and living-off-the-land tactics. The targeting and tactics are consistent with Iranian sponsored MuddyWater group. 



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