The US Considers Banning Popular Chinese App TikTok | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Cosmico

TikTok might be banned by the US over concerns of the popular Chinese video-sharing platform’s ability to handle user data as well as its relationship with parent company, ByteDance.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in response to the ban rumours told Fox News that “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it. With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right too.”
The Verge reports that motivation for the ban stems from the fact that “lawmakers allege that TikTok could be pressured into handing over data or other intelligence to the Chinese Communist Party”.
However, TikTok has taken a stand against these accusations, writing “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

There’s no word just yet on whether or not the ban will come in effect.
India Bans TikTok Amid Border Tensions
Just last week, India banned the popular Chinese app – as well as 58 others – as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
India’s Ministry of Information Technology says that the 59 banned apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
It is alleged in the same government release that some of the banned apps have been found to be “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” No particular apps or examples of this behaviour were mentioned in the release, however.
Edited by Jenna CookFollow Jenna Cook on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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US looks at banning Chinese social media apps – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, suggesting the app shared information with the Chinese government, a charge TikTok denied.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.
US lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Pompeo said Americans should be cautious in using the short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance.
“Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo remarked when asked if he would recommend people to download TikTok.
In response to his comments, TikTok told Reuters it has never provided user data to China.
“We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked”, TikTok said in an emailed statement.
The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience.
Pompeo’s remarks also come amid increasing US-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in the former British colony of Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war.
TikTok was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China.
Reuters reported late on Monday that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the city.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of freedoms and far-reaching autonomy under a “one country, two systems” formula agreed with Britain.

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Chinese ambassador: UK ban on Huawei would damage trust | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

China’s ambassador to the UK has said a ban on the Chinese tech company Huawei from playing a role in developing the UK’s 5G network would damage Chinese trust in the UK and its belief that the UK can run a foreign policy independent of the US.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing in London, Liu Xiaoming warned Boris Johnson “you cannot have a golden era if you treat China as an enemy”.
Liu also defended his country’s new national security law and derided the UK’s offer to provide up to 3 million Hong Kong people with a path to citizenship, describing the move as a gross interference in China’s affairs.
A ban on Huawei would have many consequences, Liu said, including damage to the UK’s reputation as “a business-friendly, open, transparent environment”.

Huawei is a Chinese telecoms company founded in 1987. US officials believe it poses a security risk because the Chinese government will make the firm engineer backdoors in its technology, through which information could be accessed by Beijing. Donald Trump has banned US companies from sharing technology with Huawei and has been putting pressure on other nations to follow suit.
The UK has accepted there is some risk in working with Huawei, but security services do not believe it to be unmanageable. It has designated Huawei a “high-risk vendor”, but the company will be given the opportunity to build non-core elements of Britain’s 5G network. The head of MI5 recently said he was confident the US-UK intelligence-sharing relationship would not be affected if London gave Huawei the nod.
Much of the doubt surrounding Huawei stems from founder Ren Zhengfei’s time as an engineer in the China’s People’s Liberation Army from 1974-83. His daughter Meng Wanzhou, a senior Huawei executive, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 over allegations of Iran-sanctions violations.
Huawei insists the Chinese government has never asked it to build a backdoor into its technology, and has offered to sign a “no spy agreement” with countries adopting it. The trade rivalry between the US and China has intensified in recent years and the firm believes the White House is simply using it as a weapon in that larger fight.
Kevin Rawlinson

Photograph: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

In a reference to US pressure on the UK to rethink on Huawei, he said: “When you get rid of Huawei, it sends out a very wrong message. You punish your image as a country that can conduct independent policy. It means you succumb to foreign pressure and you cannot make your own independent foreign policy. I always say Britain can only be great when it can have its independent foreign policy.”
Liu added that the whole Chinese business community was closely watching the Huawei decision.
Ministers are due to provide an update on Huawei to MPs before the summer recess. It is widely expected that US sanctions pressure has forced the UK into revising its previous decision to give Huawei limited access to the 5G network. Additional US measures announced in May make it nearly impossible for foreign chip manufacturers to sell semiconductors to Huawei using US-made equipment.
Liu said: “If the UK chooses to pay a high price for poorer quality, or less quality, it is up to you. We have to work for the best and prepare for the best. Huawei will survive and prosper. The more pressure from so called superpower and from its allies Huawei will grow stronger.”
Huawei was operating in 170 countries, and if it was excluded from the UK, it would still be active in 169, he said.
A security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing last week makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist activities illegal, as well as foreign intervention in the city’s internal affairs. Activities such as shouting slogans or holding up banners and flags calling for the city’s independence is violating the law regardless of whether violence is used.
Although the Chinese government had threatened “corresponding actions” if the UK went ahead with plans to respond to the law by giving a pathway to British citizenship to up to 3 million Hong Kong citizens, Liu refused to spell out the consequences in detail, saying the government would wait to see the precise steps taken by the UK.

The British offer to Hongkongers, he warned, represented “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and openly trampled on the basic norms governing international relations”.
“No one should underestimate the firm determination of China to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development,” Liu said. “Attempts to disrupt or obstruct the national security law will be met with the strong opposition of 1.4 billion Chinese people. All these attempts are doomed to failure.”
Later on Monday a spokesman for Johnson urged China not to interfere if Hongkongers sought to come to the UK. “We are currently assessing the national security law and its legal ramifications in terms of extradition with Hong Kong,” the spokesman said. “There are already extensive extradition safeguards in the UK. The courts are required to bar a person’s extradition to any country if it would be incompatible with their human rights or if the request appears to be motivated by their political opinion.”
Asked whether Johnson believed the UK was still in a “golden age” of relations with China, the spokesman said there was a “strong and constructive relationship” in many areas. But he added: “This relationship does not come at any price. It’s always been the case that where we have concerns we raise them and where we need to intervene we will, as we have done on Hong Kong.”

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Mandatory Chinese tax app updates to remove backdoor – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The saga of the Chinese bank-mandated Aisino Intelligent Tax software that installed a remote access and control backdoor has taken an unexpected turn, as security researchers found it received an update that deletes the malicious code.
Trustwave Spiderlabs said the software, which foreign companies have to use to pay local taxes, downloaded a new file.
This turned out to be an uninstaller for the backdoor, which Spiderlabs named GoldenSpy.
The uninstaller executable is fetched from a host on a network allocated to China Mobile, Spiderlabs said, with a second version containing obfuscated variables to avoid antivirus appearing shortly after the first one.
Once the Aisino Intelligent Tax program runs the downloaded executable, the uninstaller deletes all GoldenSpy files and folders, as well as the entries it inserted into the Windows Registry system configuration database.
After the GoldenSpy backdoor has been removed, the uninstaller executes a Windows shell command to delete itself quietly and without notifications or user input.
While the direct threat of the GoldenSpy command and control remote access malware appears to be gone after the uninstaller has finished, Spiderlabs said it has to leave users concerned about what else could be downloaded and executed in a similar manner.

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India Bans TikTok and Other Chinese Apps Amid Border Tensions | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Gadgets 360.

Popular Chinese video and music app TikTok has been banned in India, along with 58 other apps – most of which are Chinese. This comes as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
Developed by Chinese company Bytedance, TikTok allows users to share short videos usually set to music. The app and its developers have long denied allegations of being involved in any way with the Chinese government, going as far as to say that its data centres are kept outside of China and therefore is not under the sovereignty of Chinese law.
India’s Reaction
The Indian government has seen fit to block the app from Indian phones, as well as 58 others. Amongst them Alibaba’s UC Browser and Tencent’s WeChat which is also alleged to be working with the government of China. Even games like the highly popular Clash of Kings has been banned.
India says that the 59 banned apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” according to the country’s Ministry of Information Technology.

It is alleged in the same government release that some of the banned apps have been found to be “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” No particular apps or examples of this behaviour were mentioned in the release, however.
The government describes this behaviour of data usage as “a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures” and that the ban itself is made possible by India’s Information Technology Act. The ministry claims that certain members of the public have also expressed concerns about how many of the apps use the data they collect, writes the Independent.
Border tensions between China and India
This mass ban comes after a skirmish on the Indian-Chinese border saw 20 Indians soldiers dead. The Indian government has made no reference to the conflict, the mounting tensions or the fact that most of the apps had been developed in China.
With India looking to become “a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space,” a looming conflict between the countries, highly-important global tech leaders in their own rights, will only sink global markets further. Presenting a difficult choice for South Africa, staunch partner of both countries.
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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India bans 59 mostly Chinese apps amid border crisis – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

India has banned 59 mostly Chinese mobile apps including TikTok and WeChat in its strongest move yet targeting China in the online space since a border crisis erupted between the two countries this month.
India’s technology ministry issued an order stating the apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
Following the order, Google and Apple will have to remove these apps from the Android and iOS stores.
The move comes after a deadly border clash between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in a disputed Himalayan region earlier this month that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
The ban is expected to be a big stumbling block for Chinese firms such as Bytedance in India, which have placed big bets in what is one of the world’s biggest web services markets.
Beijing-headquartered Bytedance had plans to invest US$1 billion in India, open a local data centre, and had recently ramped up hiring in the country.
India is the biggest driver of TikTok app installations, accounting for 611 million lifetime downloads, or 30.3% of the total, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in April.
Among other apps that have been banned are Tencent’s WeChat, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times on Google’s Android, Alibaba’s UC Browser and two of Xiaomi’s apps.
Google said it was still waiting for government orders, while Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Bytedance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“This is the quickest and most powerful step the government could have taken to put economic pressure on Chinese companies,” said Santosh Pai, a partner at Indian law firm Link Legal, which advises several Chinese companies.
Anti-China sentiment has long simmered in India over accusations of cheap imports flooding the country, but the border clash has brought tensions to the fore with calls being made to boycott Chinese products.
Indian customs at ports have since last week held back containers coming from China, including Apple, Cisco and Dell products, Reuters reported previously.

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US says no to direct Chinese cable connection to Hong Kong – Security – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A United States government committee has recommended that the country’s telco watchdog, the Federal Communications Commission, denies permit for a direct cable connection to Hong Kong.
The Pacific Light Cable Network is jointly developed by Facebook, Google and a Hong Kong holding company, Pacific Light Data Co Ltd and was expected to become operational in the third quarter of last year.
It offers the shortest latency path between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, with six fibre pairs providing 144 terabit/s capacity for the entire PLCN system.
However, the Team Telecom committee said Pacific Light Data is a subsidiary of Dr Peng Telecom and Media Group, the fourth largest telco provider in the People’s Republic of China, which raises national security concerns.
Due to this, the committee wants the FCC to deny PLCN’s application for a direct connection between Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
Google and Facebook own one fibre pair each in PLCN, connecting Hong Kong and the US with branch lines to Taiwain and the Philippines, and Team Telecom said these segments can go ahead.
Already, Google has been granted a special temporary authority to operate its PLCN connection between Taiwan and the US for six months, provided it takes security measures set out by American government agencies.
The American government cited China’s “sustained effort to acquire the sensitive personal data of millions of US persons” as a reason for its recommendation to the FCC.
Recent Chinese cyber and intelligence laws and the obligations these place on Dr Peng Group raise the risk of the subsea cable being vulnerable to exploitation and data connection, the committee said.
China’s recent actions to remove Hong Kong’s autonomy which would allow its intelligence and security services to operate openly in the former British colony were also cited as reasons for concern by the committee.
Team Telecom which is formally known as the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector was set up by the Trump Administration in executive order by the US president in April this year.
 

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Chinese, Iranian hackers targeted US presidential campaigns, says Google – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

State-backed hackers from China have targeted staffers working on the US presidential campaign of Democrat Joe Biden, a senior Google security official said on Thursday.
The same official said Iranian hackers had recently targeted email accounts belonging to Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign staff.
The announcement, made on Twitter by the head of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, Shane Huntley, is the latest indication of the digital spying routinely aimed at top politicians.
Huntley said there was “no sign of compromise” of either campaign.
Iranian attempts to break into Trump campaign officials’ emails have been documented before.
Last year, Microsoft announced that a group often nicknamed Charming Kitten had tried to break into email accounts belonging to an unnamed US presidential campaign, which sources identified as Trump’s.
Earlier this year, the threat intelligence company Area 1 Security said Russian hackers had targeted companies tied to a Ukrainian gas firm where Biden’s son once served on the board.
Google declined to offer details beyond Huntley’s tweets, but the unusually public attribution is a sign of how sensitive Americans have become to digital espionage efforts aimed at political campaigns.
“We sent the targeted users our standard government-backed attack warning and we referred this information to federal law enforcement,” a Google representative said.
Hacking to interfere in elections has become a concern for governments, especially since US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia ran a hacking and propaganda operation to disrupt the American democratic process in 2016 to help then-candidate Trump become president. Among the targets was digital infrastructure used by 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Moscow has denied any meddling.
Attempts by foreign adversaries to break into presidential campaigns are commonplace but the unusually public attribution offered by Google is a sign of how sensitive Americans have become to digital espionage efforts aimed at candidates.
“We are aware of reports from Google that a foreign actor has made unsuccessful attempts to access the personal email accounts of campaign staff,” a Biden campaign spokesman said.
“We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them.”
The Trump campaign, the Chinese Embassy in Washington and the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Charming Kitten, the group identified by Google as being responsible for the targeting of the Trump campaign, has also recently hit the headlines over other exploits, including the targeting of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc .
Earlier this year, Reuters tied the group to attempts to impersonate high-profile media figures and journalists.
John Hultquist, senior director of intelligence analysis with US cyber security firm FireEye, described the two hacking groups as “espionage actors” and said they were likely attempting to collect intelligence rather than steal material to leak online.
The FBI and Office of the Director of Tempemail Intelligence both declined to comment.

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Canada’s Huawei extradition ruling could unleash more Chinese backlash – Networking- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A Canadian court ruling that could permit the extradition of a senior Huawei Technologies executive to the United States leaves Canada vulnerable to further retaliation from Beijing, analysts said.
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Wednesday lost a challenge to a US bid to extradite her to face bank fraud charges, a decision the Chinese embassy in Ottawa strongly denounced.
For Canada, the stakes are high. After Meng’s arrest in Vancouver in December 2018, China detained two Canadian citizens on state security charges and blocked imports of some canola seed.
This month, China’s CanSino Biologics began working with the country’s Tempemail Research Council to “pave the way” for future COVID-19 vaccine trials in Canada.
China has been supplying the country with personal protection equipment during the outbreak.
“If China decides to cut us off from those kinds of things, people will die,” said Stephanie Carvin, an assistant professor and security expert at Ottawa’s Carleton University.
“My very strong concern is that cooperation goes away very quickly, and it leaves us in a very bad position,” she added.
Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, forecast Beijing would announce a trial date for the two Canadian citizens it is holding, as well as taking more punitive trade measures.
Chinese President “Xi Jinping will want to appear strong and will want to be seen as acting against Canada,” Saint-Jacques told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Asked on Thursday if he feared Chinese backlash, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not answer.
Instead, he noted that Canada’s judiciary system is independent, and renewed his call for immediate release of citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
“We will continue to defend our interests and our values,” Trudeau added.
“There are a lot of issues in play,” said Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Trudeau and professor of international affairs at University of Ottawa.
Managing relations with China is like “walking the razor’s edge,” he said.
“Our approach to China is one that is not naive and… we’re not afraid to take a strong line and a firm line when we need to,” said a government source in Ottawa, requesting anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.
University of British Columbia professor Paul Evans predicted the two detainees would remain behind bars for some time.
The ruling “isn’t going to make life easier for the two Michaels,” he said.

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Chinese Researchers Disrupt Malware Attack That Infected Thousands of PCs – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab said it partnered with tech giant Baidu to disrupt a malware botnet infecting over hundreds of thousands of systems.
The botnet was traced back to a group it calls ShuangQiang (also called Double Gun), which has been behind several attacks since 2017 aimed at compromising Windows computers with MBR and VBR bootkits, and installing malicious drivers for financial gain and hijack web traffic to e-commerce sites.

In addition to using images uploaded to Baidu Tieba to distribute configuration files and malware — a technique called steganography — the group has begun using Alibaba Cloud storage to host configuration files and Baidu’s analytics platform Tongji to manage the activity of its infected hosts, the researchers said.
The initial compromise relies on luring unsuspecting users to install game launching software from sketchy game portals that contain malicious code under the guise of a patch.

Once the user downloads and installs the patch, it accesses the aforementioned configuration information to download a separate program named “cs.dll” from Baidu Tieba that’s stored as an image file.
In the subsequent stages, “cs.dll” not only creates a bot ID and reports it back to the attacker-controlled server, but it also injects a second driver that hijacks system processes (e.g., lassas.exe and svchost.exe) in order to download next-stage payloads to advance the group’s motives.

Qihoo researchers also detailed a second infection chain wherein game client software is altered with malicious libraries (a modified version of photobase.dll), using a method called DLL hijacking to release and load the malicious driver before loading the legitimate module.
The company said it reached out to Baidu’s security team on May 14 and that they jointly took action to prevent the further spread of the botnet by blocking all downloads from the URLs involved.
“During this joint operation, through the analysis, sharing, and response of threat information, we have formed a better understanding of the technical means, logic, and rules of the Double Gun gang,” Baidu said.

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