In the Spotlight this Week:
- SAF’s New Digital and Intelligence Service to Recruit More Digital Experts
- China, Thailand Reaches Consensus on Future Ties, Railway, Cyber Security
- China Censors News of Alleged Hacking of Shanghai Police Database
- US Says China Spearheads Expansive Cyber Espionage Campaign in the West
- APT Hacker Group Bitter Continues to Attack Military Targets in Bangladesh
The Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) has launched a new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) to deal with growing security threats such as the proliferation of cyber weapons.
These include both military and non-uniformed experts across competencies such as software engineering, data science and artificial intelligence as part of the Command, Control, Communications and Computers Expert (C4X) and the Defense Cyber Expert (DCX) schemes. Personnel under these schemes will be deployed in areas such as cyber incident response, network monitoring, vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing.
At a joint press conference, China and Thailand have announced that they will be working together to build a community with a shared future with cooperation in railway and cyber security infrastructure. This move hopes to establish a firm relationship between the two countries, with more stable, prosperous, and sustainable bilateral relations.
This agreement includes an expedited opening of the China-Laos-Thailand railway to foster the development of logistics, economy, trade, and industries. In addition, a memorandum of understanding on cyber security cooperation has also been signed by the two countries to jointly safe guard cyber security, and crack down on telecom fraud.
The Chinese government has been rapidly making moves to censor any news of an alleged hacking of a Shanghai police database. The hacking incident threatens to expose the personal data of more than one billion people, one of the largest-ever leaks of private information in China.
The hacker advertised the full data file for sale on an online cyber crime forum. This data contained multiple terabytes of personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, IDs, phone numbers, and criminal records of more than one billion Chinese individuals. The alleged hack was trending on Chinese social media for a brief period, but has since been censored by Weibo, and Tencent’s WeChat.
The USA's FBI Director has warned Western companies of cyber espionage campaigns from China on intellectual property so that China will eventually be able to dominate key industries. Citing that the nation ‘sees cyber as the pathway to cheat and steal on a massive scale’, the cyber espionage campaign is the most resources hacking program that is more massive than that of every other major country combined.
China has denied the accusations, claiming that they have been a victim of cyber snooping as well. The US has claimed that this cyber espionage campaign could possibly provide China with a way to insulate their economy against potential sanctions, seeing how Russia was punished over their attack on Ukraine.
A South Asian advanced persistent threat (APT) hacker group ‘Bitter’ continues to conduct cyber attacks against military entities in Bangladesh. The threat actors have been conducting cyber espionage by deploying Remote Access Trojans through malicious document files and intermediate malware stages. The attack originated via a weaponized Excel document which was then distributed through a spear phishing email. The Bitter threat group uses an exploitation approach in Asia with themed lures and internal changes to avoid existing detections.
Cyber security researchers have advised organizations to implement regular network and endpoint detection and response measures in order to avoid being exploited.