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Josh Lefkowitz
Chief Executive Officer
Josh Lefkowitz executes the company’s strategic vision to empower organizations with the fastest, most comprehensive coverage of threatening activity on the internet. He has worked extensively with authorities to track and analyze terrorist groups. Mr. Lefkowitz also served as a consultant to the FBI’s senior management team and worked for a top tier, global investment bank. Mr. Lefkowitz holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Williams College.
Evan Kohlmann
Chief Innovation Officer
Evan Kohlmann focuses on product innovation at Flashpoint where he leverages fifteen years’ experience tracking Al-Qaida, ISIS, and other terrorist groups. He has consulted for the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Justice, the Australian Federal Police, and Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, among others. Mr. Kohlmann holds a JD from the Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School and a BSFS in International Politics from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown Univ.
Josh Devon
Chief Operating Officer / Chief Product Officer
Josh Devon focuses on product vision and strategy at Flashpoint while ensuring the company’s departments function synergistically during its rapid growth. He also works to ensure that customers receive best in class products, services, and support. Previously, Mr. Devon co-founded the SITE Intelligence Group where he served as Assistant Director. He holds an MA from SAIS at Johns Hopkins Univ. At the Univ. of Pennsylvania, he received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BA in English from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Chris Camacho
Chief Revenue Officer
As Chief Revenue Officer, Chris Camacho leads the company’s global sales team, which includes solution architecture, business development, strategic integrations, partnerships, and revenue operations; he is also the architect of Flashpoint’s FPCollab sharing community. With over 15 years of cybersecurity leadership experience, he has spearheaded initiatives across Operational Strategy, Incident Response, Threat Management, and Security Operations to ensure cyber risk postures align with business goals. Most recently as a Senior Vice President of Information Security at Bank of America, Mr. Camacho was responsible for overseeing the Threat Management Program. An entrepreneur, Mr. Camacho also serves as CEO for NinjaJobs: a career-matching community for elite cybersecurity talent. He has a BS in Decision Sciences & Management of Information Systems from George Mason University.
Lisa Iadanza
Chief People Officer
Lisa M. Iadanza leads all functional areas of People Operations at Flashpoint, including human resources, talent acquisition & management, employee engagement, and developing high performance teams. In addition to collaborating with the executive team to drive strategic growth, she plays an integral role in fostering Flashpoint’s culture and mission. Driven by her passions for mentorship, employee advocacy, and talent development, Ms. Iadanza has more than twenty years of experience in building, scaling, and leading human resources functions. Prior to Flashpoint, she held leadership roles at Conde Nast, Terra Technology, and FreeWheel. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and holds a bachelor’s degree in management with concentrations in human resources and marketing from State University of New York at Binghamton.
Donald Saelinger
President
Donald Saelinger is responsible for driving strategic and operational initiatives to accelerate Flashpoint’s growth and scale. In this role, Donald leads a broad portfolio including Marketing, Customer Success, Revenue Operations, Legal and related functions, and is focused on helping the company execute on a go-to-market approach that maximizes value to our customers. Prior to Flashpoint, Donald served as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Endgame, Inc., an endpoint detection and response company acquired by Elastic N.V. in 2019, and where he led a range of teams focused on growth, scale, and legal and compliance matters. Donald also previously served as the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Opower, Inc. (NYSE: OPWR), a global provider of SaaS solutions to electric and gas utilities that was acquired by Oracle, Inc. in 2016. Donald graduated from Columbia University in 2000 and received his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2006.
Rob Reznick
SVP Finance and Corporate Development
Rob Reznick leads the finance, accounting, and corporate development teams at Flashpoint. Rob previously served as Director of Finance & Accounting for 1010data (acquired by Advance/Newhouse), and Director of Finance for Financial Guard (acquired by Legg Mason) after prior work in forensic accounting and dispute consulting. Mr. Reznick is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA and MAcc from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University, and a BBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Tom Hofmann
SVP Intelligence
Tom Hofmann leads the intelligence directorate that is responsible for the collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of Deep and Dark Web data. He works closely with clients to prioritize their intelligence requirements and ensures internal Flashpoint operations are aligned to those needs. Mr. Hofmann has been at the forefront of cyber intelligence operations in the commercial, government, and military sectors, and is renowned for his ability to drive effective intelligence operations to support offensive and defensive network operations.
Jake Wells
SVP Solutions Architecture
Jake Wells leads strategic integrations and information sharing as part of the client engagement & development team, which serves as an internal advocate for our government and commercial clients to ensure Flashpoint’s intelligence solutions meet their evolving needs. He leverages a decade of experience running cyber and counterterrorism investigations, most recently with the NYPD Intelligence Bureau, to maximize the value customers generate from our products and services. Mr. Wells holds an MA from Columbia University and a BA from Emory University.
Brian Brown
SVP Strategy and Business Development
Brian Brown is responsible for the overall direction of strategic sales and development supporting Flashpoint’s largest clients. In his role, Mr. Brown focuses on designing and executing growth-oriented sales penetration strategies across multiple vertical markets, including both Government and Commercial, supporting Flashpoint’s Sales and Business Development Teams. An experienced entrepreneur, Mr. Brown also serves as CSO for NinjaJobs, a private community created to match elite cybersecurity talent with top tier global jobs and also advise growth-stage cybersecurity companies.
Justin Rogers
VP Revenue Operations
Justin Rogers leads the Revenue Operations team at Flashpoint, aligning sales, marketing, partnerships, customer success, and finance across vision, planning, process, and goals. He leverages over 15 years of experience in security, strategy, product design, and implementation to drive growth, provide an end-to-end view of the customer journey, and a seamless customer experience. Recently, Justin led Marketing for Centripetal, bringing the first Threat Intelligence Gateway to market. Previously, he managed operations of a Counter IED lab electronics forensics division while forward deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Justin holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.
Peter Partyka
VP Engineering
Peter Partyka leads Flashpoint’s engineering teams. Peter previously worked in the quantitative hedge fund space in New York City, implementing security and administrative solutions around proprietary trading platforms, high-availability cloud deployments, and hardening of applications and infrastructure. Peter leverages more than 16 years of experience in technology specializing in application security, red-teaming, penetration testing, exploit development, as well as blue-teaming. Peter has a long track record of managing tech teams and implementing engineering security best practices. Recently Peter led Flashpoint toward GDPR and CCPA compliance and has been a key architect of Flashpoint’s robust compliance programs. Peter has taught advanced cybersecurity courses at New York University and consulted at various tech startups during his career.
Paul Farley
VP APAC Sales
Paul Farley is responsible for the Asia-Pacific region of Flashpoint's international business, including Australia, Japan, and Singapore. In his role at Flashpoint, Paul is executing growth-oriented sales strategies across multiple countries and vertical markets, including both Government and Commercial. Paul has extensive experience leading regional sales for both pre-IPO growth businesses and large organizations such as RSA, EMC and DELL.
Steven Cooperman
VP Public Sector Sales
Steven Cooperman is responsible for Flashpoint’s strategy and sales growth of its public sector business. He also supports the development of a robust partner ecosystem for public sector business to deliver value added offerings and innovation focused to the mission of government. Steven has an established and diverse career in the Public Sector, holding leadership positions at a number of successful enterprise software companies and Federal System Integrators, including ServiceNow, HP, Oracle and Northrop Grumman. He holds an MA in Analytic Geography from the State University of New York - Binghamton, and received his BS in Geology from the State University - Oneonta.
Matthew Howell
VP Product
Matthew Howell leads the Product Management and Product Marketing teams for Flashpoint. He is responsible for developing a strong team that drives product adoption and user engagement through outcome based prioritization, continuous process improvement, and metrics driven development. Matthew brings a passion for diverse ideas, experience launching B2B SaaS products, building integration ecosystems, supporting five 9s SLAs, and leading distributed teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Virginia
Glenn Lemons
Executive Director Strategic Accounts Engagement
Glenn Lemons is Executive Director, Strategic Accounts Engagement at Flashpoint. He previously served as the acting Director of Citigroup's Cyber Intelligence Center where he was responsible for analyzing and reacting to intelligence from a variety of threats. These threats ranged from fraudulent activity and attempting to defraud Citi's clients to supporting security operations for the firm's worldwide network presence. He has extensive experience working with multiple clients across the financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and public sectors. Glenn also has more than 26 years of intelligence experience within the operational and support communities in the U.S. military and federal civilian service; seven of which focused on both defensive and offensive cyber operations. While working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he testified numerous times before U.S. Congressional committees and member requested open and closed sessions.
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Steve Leightell
Steve started his career in Internet sales in the early 1990s and was always a top sales rep before transitioning to business development. By the early 2000s, he was the Director of Business Development at DWL, where he managed a team that built partnerships with Accenture, Oracle, Tata Consulting, Wipro, Cognizant and IBM. Steve designed the channel and strategy that ultimately culminated in the acquisition of DWL by IBM in 2005. He went on to lead a global team within IBM that was responsible for major system integrator partnerships. In 2008, he left IBM to found a niche consulting firm focused on business development for SaaS organizations. Steve holds a BA in anthropology and sociology from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Ellie Wheeler
Ellie Wheeler is a Partner at Greycroft and is based in the firm’s New York office. Prior to joining Greycroft, Ellie worked in a similar role evaluating investment opportunities at Lowercase Capital. Ellie also worked at Cisco in Corporate Development doing acquisitions, investments, and strategy within the unified communications, enterprise software, mobile, and video sectors. While at Cisco, she was involved in multiple acquisitions and investments, including PostPath, Jabber, Xobni, and Tandberg. She began her career in growth capital private equity at Summit Partners in Boston. Ellie graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a BA in Psychology and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Glenn McGonnigle
Glenn McGonnigle is a General Partner at TechOperators. Prior to launching TechOperators in 2008, Glenn was CEO of VistaScape Security Systems, a venture-backed provider of enterprise intelligent video surveillance software. He lead the company through its successful sale to Siemens Building Technologies. Previously, Glenn was a co-founder and senior executive of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems (ISS) where he helped raise initial venture capital and launch the business. For 7 years, he led the business development team in developing sales channels and entering the managed security services market. During his tenure, the company grew from startup to revenues of over $225 million and was later acquired by IBM for $1.3 billion.
Brendan Hannigan
Brendan joined Polaris Partners in 2016 as an entrepreneur partner. In this role, he focuses on funding and founding companies in the technology sector with a concentration in cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity. Brendan is a co-founder of Sonrai Security and chairman of Twistlock, both Polaris investments. He also currently serves on the board of Bitsight Technologies and Flashpoint. A 25 year technology industry veteran, Brendan was most recently the general manager of IBM Security. Under Brendan’s leadership, IBM Security grew significantly faster than the overall security market to become the number one enterprise security provider in the world with almost $2B of annual revenue.
Matt Devost
Currently, Devost serves as CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC as well as a review board member for Black Hat. In 2010, he co-founded the cybersecurity consultancy FusionX LLC which was acquired by Accenture in August 2015, where he went on to lead Accenture's Global Cyber Defense practice. Devost also founded the Terrorism Research Center in 1996 where he served as President and CEO until November 2008 and held founding or leadership roles at iDefense, iSIGHT Partners, Total Intel, SDI, Tulco Holdings, and Technical Defense.
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Flashpoint Acquires Vulnerability Intelligence Leader Risk Based Security

‘Great Cyber Power’ China and Its Influence Across APAC: 2021 Analysis and Timeline

2021 Intelligence Wrap
December 21, 2021

The following is part of Flashpoint’s 2021 Intel Wrap-Up series.

APAC’s dynamic threat actor landscape

To understand the APAC cyber threat landscape it’s essential to know how real-world events impact threat actor behaviors in cyberspace, and vice versa. This year, the APAC region was no stranger to border clashes, territorial disputes, economic competition, diplomatic positioning, and numerous other tensions. Here, we focus on China, which has an outsized impact across—and beyond—the region.

The APAC cyber threat landscape was equally dynamic, driven by a range of factors that require security teams and cyber defenders to take a careful, informed approach to their intelligence gathering programs. The clearest apertures into APAC’s illicit communities are earned within a cyber ecosystem landscape where new laws and other nuanced forces are causing threat actors—who operate in a multitude of languages—to constantly shift TTPs in order to realize their aims. 

China consolidates power

In 2021, the Chinese government laid out rules of the road going forward and cemented President Xi’s position as China’s paramount leader for the foreseeable future. A top priority for President Xi was cleaning up China’s online activity and reigning in domestic technology companies. Beijing wants to control the public opinion online, which is critical for governance and for China’s aim to become a “cyber great power.” 

The impact of the law

The Chinese internet is experiencing the effects of the ongoing implementation of laws, meant to clean up or “rectify” content. These efforts have extended deep into the online social sphere where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to drive public opinion.

Access is becoming a higher stakes cat-and-mouse game, and threat actors are migrating to external platforms and chat services to conduct illicit activities. 

Threat actors continue to operate both within mainland China’s online spaces and outside the “Great Firewall,” giving them the ability to carry out disinformation campaigns and transnational fraud schemes involving a range of illicit activities—sales of databases, tools and malware; discount fraud; game cheats; carding schemes; hacker-for-hire services, and more. 

The flow of information 

Strides in real-name registration enforcement have significantly reduced the outward flowing pipeline of data and information meant for domestic eyes only. The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), for instance, is intended to further reign in a relatively free-wheeling data storage and transfer space in China. It also mandates security reviews for data sharing within China and from China outward. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also became the subject and source of massive misinformation, including Beijing’s ongoing efforts to control the narrative about the origins and pervasiveness of the coronavirus. 

Integration of civilians into state-sponsored activity

Unsealed indictments describing Chinese nation-state actor activity reveals new details about how these groups have for years been linked to China’s civilian technology sector, using front companies to operate in the open under the guise of legitimate technology services. 

Flashpoint has also observed state actors operating in forums frequented by aspiring and seasoned cybersecurity practitioners. There, state actors obtain knowledge and skills around exploits available in the wild. 

Related reading: RAMP Ransomware’s Apparent Overture to Chinese Threat Actors

Meanwhile, many Chinese forums have undergone significant changes in recent years, such as beefing up membership requirements to restrict non-Chinese entrants or require applicants to provide proof of their experience and/or technological acumen.

Hong Kong and Taiwan

China continued to assert its authority over Hong Kong and make recovering Taiwan a pillar of its legitimacy.

During the COVID lockdown, the central government introduced the Hong Kong National Security Law, which criminalizes activities of dissidents, vocal business leaders, and everyday Hong Kongers. The effects of this law were seen through 2021 as arrests were made in Hong Kong. 

Taiwan, observing the central government’s handling of Hong Kong, has become increasingly hardened against the prospect of Chinese rule as well. 

As multilateral organizations and individual nations draw a line around China’s tactics to coerce acceptance that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, the possibility for physical confrontation and cyber-enabled activity increases, highlighted by Chinese military flights into Taiwanese airspace in October.

2021 timeline: Significant events involving China 

January

  • January 10: China reports the largest daily jump of COVID-19 cases in five months. The outbreak occurred in China’s northeast Heilongjiang Province, which borders North Korea.
  • January 20: Shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Chinese foreign ministry moves to sanction former Trump administration officials, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, economic adviser for Asia David Stilwell, national security adviser John Bolton, and strategist Steve Bannon. The move, largely seen as symbolic, was likely in response to an earlier announcement by the US State Department that the “atrocities” of Muslim minorities in China’s western Xinjiang Province is a genocide. The Trump administration had also increased sanctions against Chinese officials on the basis of various abuses related to Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.
  • January 22: A new Chinese law allows the coast guard to fire on foreign vessels. The law also authorizes Chinese coast guard personnel to dismantle foreign-built structures on islands claimed by China and to create temporary exclusion zones in Chinese-claimed maritime territory.

February

  • February 8: The US audio-chat app Clubhouse is reportedly blocked in China.
  • February 10: The first independently launched Chinese spacecraft successfully enters Martian orbit after a journey of nearly seven months.
  • February 12: The Chinese government bans BBC World News for allegedly violating Chinese media regulations.
  • February 26: The Dutch parliament passed a nonbinding motion stating that China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims constitutes genocide. The Netherlands is the first European country to carry out such a vote.

March

  • March 4: China announces plans for a “Polar Silk Road” in its newly released Five-Year Plan
  • March 5: The US Senate votes unanimously in favor of a bill that would increase restrictions on Confucius Institutes—Chinese government-funded culture and education centers affiliated with universities.
  • March 11: India’s Department of Telecommunications proposes a digital firewall against Chinese telecom products.
  • March 12: Simon Hu, the CEO of fintech giant Ant Group, suddenly resigns after increased pressure from government authorities to enforce regulations and capital requirements similar to those for financial institutions.
  • March 19: Citing security concerns, Chinese authorities ban Tesla vehicles from entering property belonging to the military, intelligence agencies, and certain state-owned companies affiliated with national security.
  • March 26: Taipei announced that twenty Chinese fighter jets enter Taiwanese airspace after the island nation signed a coast guard deal with the US. The announcement noted this is the largest incursion into Taiwanese airspace the military has ever observed.

April

  • April 9: The US Department of Commerce adds three Chinese computer companies and four Chinese National Supercomputing Centers to its banned list.
  • April 14: The US intelligence community declares China the greatest threat to US innovation, economic security, and democratic ideals.
  • April 21: Japanese police charge two Chinese nationals for conducting cyberattacks on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in addition to two hundred other aerospace and technology organizations in Japan.
  • April 29: New research reveals that the advanced persistent threat (APT) group “Naikon,” a nation-state actor attributed to the Chinese government, has been conducting a large-scale cyberespionage campaign targeting military entities in multiple Southeast Asian countries.

Related reading: China’s Hackers to Showcase Zero-Day Exploits at Tianfu Cup This Weekend

May

  • May 6: The Chinese government is accused of using an iPhone exploit discovered by the winner of the 2018 Tianfu Cup, an annual hacking competition hosted in Chengdu, for espionage and surveillance campaigns against Uyghur minorities and political dissidents.
  • May 7: The World Health Organization (WHO) grants approval of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
  • May 13: The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) launches a campaign to crack down on domestic cybercrimes including fraud, cyberbullying, algorithm abuse, sock puppetry, and website traffic manipulation, as well as vulgar and pornographic content.

June

  • June 3: Suspected Chinese hackers breach New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) using the Pulse Secure zero-day exploit. However, the MTA’s multilayered security system prevented hackers from accessing confidential data or systems that control the subways.
  • June 11: The Chinese government passes a law aimed at countering foreign sanctions. The law was in response to US and European efforts to pressure Beijing through sanctions based on human rights, trade, and technology issues.
  • June 17: China launches its Shenzhou-12—its first crewed mission to space since 2016—to Tianhe, China’s unfinished space station.

July

  • July 9: The US Department of Commerce adds 14 Chinese companies to a banned list over human-rights abuses in China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang.
  • July 14: The US Senate passes “The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” which would presume all imports from Xinjiang used forced labor, meaning they are banned under the 1930 Tariff Act—unless proven otherwise by US authorities. 
  • July 26: The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) release a report claiming satellite imagery shows China is building a second, 120 strong nuclear missile silo field near Yu’men, Gansu.
  • July 27: Huobi and OKCoin, two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world by transaction volume, permanently close their Beijing branches.

August

  • August 6: Beijing expresses outrage at the US government’s announcement of a US$750 million arms sale to Taiwan (the Republic of China; ROC). China accuses the US of “vicious provocation.” However, the planned arms sale received widespread support from Congress and the Pentagon.
  • August 12: In a five-year blueprint published by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chinese authorities announce they will draft new laws on national security, technology innovation, monopoly, and education.
  • August 20: The NPC passes a law—effective November 1—that will limit what information Chinese companies can gather about their customers, and regulates how the information is stored. The law is similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but does not limit government access to the data. The legislation is seen as another example of China’s crackdown on its tech industry.
  • August 20: The National People’s Congress (NPC) officially revises Chinese law allowing couples to have three children.
  • August 23: The White House announces multiple new agreements with Singapore to address cybersecurity, climate change, the pandemic, and other issues in Asia.

September

  • September 8: Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin says in a briefing that China is ready to maintain communication with the Taliban government in Afghanistan, calling the establishment of their new government “a necessary step” toward reconstruction. 
  • September 15: A deal inked at the end of 2021, between US, the UK, and Australia, is seen as a counterbalance China’s growing military aims in the region. 
  • September 20: China announces a 40-minute per diem limit on “Douyin”—China’s version of TikTok—for children under the age of fourteen, between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM. The announcement is similar to the time constraint on video games for children under the age of eighteen China announced in August, and is seen as a continuation of China’s crackdown on its domestic tech industry.
  • September 27: After China bans all cryptocurrency transactions, prominent online exchanges such as Binance and Huobi rush to remove Chinese customers.
  • September 30: A newly discovered rootkit, “Demodex,” that installs a backdoor on Windows 10 systems, is believed to be attributed to a Chinese-speaking hacker group known as “GhostEmperor.”

October

  • October 1: China appoints Erkin Tuniyaz, an ethnic Uyghur, as the new governor of Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province, where international observers claiming China is carrying out mass detentions of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minority groups. 
  • October 6: President Biden says that he and President Xi agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement”—where the US recognizes the Chinese government in Beijing and not Taipei, as long as the future of Taiwan is decided through peaceful means. The announcement adds clarity and calm to observers after China flew 148 aircraft in Taiwan’s air defense zone in the week after China’s “national holiday.”
  • October 7: CIA Director William Burns announces the creation of two new mission centers, titled “The China Mission Center” and “The Transnational and Technology Mission Center.” Director Burns says The China Mission Center will strengthen focus on “the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government.”
  • October 14: LinkedIn announces it will sunset its local version of the app in China. 
  • October 15: China bans Quran Majeed, one of the most popular Quran apps in the world. 

November

  • November 1: China officially applied to be a member of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, a new international trade agreement that seeks to develop a framework for the digital economy. The agreement currently consists of three members: Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore.
  • November 1: China’s new Personal Information Protection Law, approved in August, took effect. The law places restrictions on the amount and type of data that can be legally collected by companies, both foreign and domestic. It also contains guidelines on data storage, transfer, and sales, as well as penalties for noncompliance.
  • November 2: Chinese professional tennis player Peng Shuai accused former vice premier and member of the Chinese Politburo Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a post on Weibo, a major Chinese social media site. Censors deleted the original post in minutes, but it still prompted a resurgence of the #MeToo movement in China.
  • November 12: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has passed a “historical resolution,” a document that summarizes and addresses key achievements of the CCP over the last 100 years and its future directions. This is only the third instance of such a document published since 1945.
  • November 12: The Joe Biden administration signed a law banning foreign companies deemed a risk to national security from receiving network equipment licenses from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Many Chinese technology companies are impacted by the ban, including China Telecom, Dahua Technology Company, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, Huawei, Hytera Communications Corporation, and ZTE.
  • November 17: President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discuss Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Taiwan, human rights, and climate change during a high-level virtual talk. According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House said Biden “underscored that the United States remains committed to the ‘one China’ policy” and that the US “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” 

December

  • December 1: China announces a new education plan to make 85 percent of the Chinese population speak Mandarin by 2025, and virtually the entire population speak Mandarin by 2035—even the country’s ethnic minorities. 
  • December 2: Meta removes over 600 fake Facebook accounts engaged in a COVID-19 disinformation campaign that was orchestrated from China.
  • December 3: Six months after its initial public offering (IPO), the Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing announces it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
  • December 6: The Biden administration announces that the US would exercise a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Shortly after the US announced its boycott, Australia, Canada, Lithuania, and the UK all say they will not send delegates either.
  • December 7: The US invites Taiwan to the White House’s virtual democracy summit. Wang Ting-yu, a member of Taiwan’s legislature, says this sends a “clear signal to Beijing” that Taiwan should be treated as a country. China voiced intense criticism of the summit, since it was not invited.
  • December 10: It was reported that for the last nine months, China has apparently been targeting Southeast Asian nations for cyberespionage, targeting Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, among others.
  • December 13: China’s Ministry of Transportation announced plans to construct the nation’s third heavy-duty icebreaker by 2025 as part of the Polar Silk Road. 
  • December 14: The Cyberspace Administration of China announces it fined social media platform Weibo 3 million yuan (US$470,558) for disseminating “illegal information” such as pornography and misleading marketing information.
  • December 15: A video summit at the end of this year between China and Russia showed how increasingly aligned Russia and China are in acting as a counterbalance against the influence of US and European nations.
  • December 16: Chinese hackers have been linked to exploiting a vulnerability in Log4j, a Java-based software found in a myriad of products including security software.

Prepare for 2022 with Flashpoint

Chinese-speaking cyber threat actors, both domestic and diasporic, comprise arguably the largest in APAC. But there is also much to be gleaned from illicit communities across the region, including threat actors whose primary languages are Vietnamese, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, English (Australia, New Zealand), plus many others. Intelligence gleaned across these illicit communities and language ecosystems is vital for security teams who seek a stereoscopic understanding of the APAC threat landscape.

When thinking about China’s legal and regulatory developments, often the intention of the law can overshadow clauses that give Chinese authorities carte blanche to access information flows, network information and physical hardware on the vaguely defined ground of “national security.” Security practitioners should consider how their organization’s assets are exposed to systems under China’s jurisdiction and what the risk is for data transfers or sharing, especially for their intellectual property and customer base. In addition, security teams should continue monitoring shifting TTPs and behavioral norms of online threat actors, who do not want to become the focus of Chinese authorities’ scrutiny.

To ​see firsthand how Flashpoint cybersecurity technology can help your organization access critical information and insight into threat actors in APAC, and protect critical assets and stakeholders, sign up for a free trial today.

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