Security news

Taliban offensive sends significant warning to the Afghan and US governments

By Antonio Giustozzi 12 January 2021
Throughout the seven months that followed the US/Taliban peace deal of 29 February, there have been repeated accusations by Afghan authorities that the Taliban was not sticking to the group’s commitment to a reduction in violence, even if what was...

Five Eyes allies employ electronic intelligence notations for unique emissions

By Jon Lake 14 September 2020
Five Eyes nations’ electronic intelligence (ELINT) operators use a previously little-known system, called ELINT notations (ELNOTs), to identify the unique emissions from radar and other non-communications systems, according to a series of recent pu...

Damning report alleges war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan

By Julian Kerr 19 November 2020
Australian special forces deployed in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016 were involved in the unlawful killing of 39 prisoners and civilians and the cruel treatment of two other individuals, according to a report by the Inspector-General of the Aust...

North Korea's leader says nuclear deterrence will ‘guarantee' national security

By Gabriel Dominguez 28 July 2020
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme will “guarantee” the country’s security and future, despite what he referred to as continuing outside pressure and military threats.    In a 27 July speech car...

French Council of State rejects appeal against security data collection

By Christopher Hawkins 07 January 2021
France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State (Le Conseil d’Etat), rejected an appeal by six trade unions on 4 January against three Ministry of the Interior decrees that would enable police and the gendarmerie to hold information on...

US government sanctions Turkey over S-400 buy

By Charles Forrester 15 December 2020
The US government announced the imposition of sanctions on Turkey’s defence acquisition organisation on 14 December under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) over the Turkish acquisition of Russian S-400 (SA-21 ‘Growler’) air-defence system.  Under the sanctions, Washington is targeting Turkey’s defence procurement organisation: the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB). Blocking sanctions and visa restrictions through the Department of the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) Li...

Israel prepares for changes to security landscape in 2021

By Mohammed Najib 04 January 2021
Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah gave an interview to Al Mayadeen TV on 27 December in which he claimed that the group was not seeking war with Israel but reiterated that the group would retaliate against the killing of a Hizbullah commander in Syria in July 2020. Nasrallah’s statement underlined that, although the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told   Janes   in late November that Israel faces no ‘existential threat’, the country continues to face multiple security challenges.     Although Israel normalised...

Uncertainty prevails over US cyber strategy shift towards ‘persistent engagement'

By Neil Ashdown 23 December 2020
United States Cyber Command deployed a team to Estonia in November 2020 as part of a new strategy that emphasises operating outside US networks. The mission, lasting from 23 September to 6 November and coinciding with the US presidential election, was reported by   The New York Times  on 3 December. The newspaper reported Brigadier General William J Hartman, commander of the Cyber National Mission Force, as saying that the ‘hunt forward’ mission allowed Cyber Command “to broadly observe Russian techniques in Estonia and comp...

Saudi Arabia cuts defence spending

By Charles Forrester 18 December 2020
Saudi Arabia will cut its defence budget for 2021 by 3.8% to SAR175 billion (USD46.62 billion), marking a continued decline in the country’s defence spending, according to budget documentation released on 16 December.  Overall government spending was reduced to SAR990 billion, down 2.94% year-on-year. Government revenues are anticipated to be SAR849 billion, creating a budget deficit of SAR141 billion, or 4.9% of GDP. Defence expenditure as a percentage of public expenditure is expected to remain relatively stable in nominal terms at 17.68%....

Biden team aims to rebuild intelligence and security relations

By JJ Green 17 December 2020
The US Intelligence Community (USIC) and President Donald Trump had a conflictive relationship from the moment he took office. Trump frequently criticised the USIC because of its official determination in 2017 that the Kremlin’s disinformation and hacking campaign had helped him win the office, and those hard feelings are very likely to last beyond 20 January 2021, the date of his departure from office.    Mark Warner, Democratic Party Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that oversees the USIC, told   Janes  on 11...

Regional implications of Abraham Accords begin to emerge

By Jonathan Spyer 16 December 2020
Between August and October 2020, Israel concluded ‘normalisation’ agreements – brokered by the United States – with Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. These were the first formal agreements of recognition to be concluded between Israel and an Arab state since the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, signed in 1994. The most immediate and visible consequence of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain, signed on 13 August, has been the rapid commencement of overt economic activity, particularly between the UAE and Israel.  D...

Hack reveals wider campaign by foreign intelligence service

By Neil Ashdown 15 December 2020
An investigation into the hacking of a cyber-security company appears to have revealed a global intrusion campaign affecting US government networks, among other targets. FireEye – one of the world’s largest cyber-security companies – announced on 8 December that it had been the victim of an intrusion by a “nation with top-tier offensive capabilities”. On the company’s blog, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mandia stated that the attackers had “used a novel combination of techniques not witnessed by us or our partners in the past”.  The FireEye c...

Europol powers to increase under new agenda

By Brooks Tigner 16 December 2020
European law enforcement agency Europol’s mandate is set to substantially widen, while the organisation’s budget and human resources will grow considerably in the coming years if new proposals by the European Commission proceed as planned. New powers for the agency to analyse big data, develop new encryption tools, unilaterally request the launch of European Union-relevant investigations at national level, exchange investigative information with the private sector, and exploit stronger links to other EU entities are all part of the plan.  The...

US government sanctions Turkey over S-400 buy

By Charles Forrester 15 December 2020
The US government announced the imposition of sanctions on Turkey’s defence acquisition organisation on 14 December under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) over the Turkish acquisition of Russian S-400 (SA-21 ‘Growler’) air-defence system.  Under the sanctions, Washington is targeting Turkey’s defence procurement organisation: the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB). Blocking sanctions and visa restrictions through the Department of the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) Li...

Palestinian Authority resumes security partnership with Israel

By Mohammed Najib 14 December 2020
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has resumed security co-operation with Israel after six months and following the election victory of US President-elect Joe Biden, senior PA security officials confirmed to   Janes  in November 2020. A Palestinian security analyst consulted by   Janes  considered the resumption a good gesture and a message to Biden, whom Palestinians expect to sponsor a return to peace talks with Israel to alter course from the policies of outgoing US President Donald Trump on the Israeli-Palestinian...

Military use of social media accounts widens

By Tony Roper 04 December 2020
The proliferation of open-source intelligence (OSINT) in the 2010s has enabled professionals and amateurs to exploit a wealth of freely available information that can provide a picture of global events. Powerful tools have become more readily available that can track military assets, including the Automatic Identification System (AIS) on many maritime vessels, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) and other systems for tracking aircraft via their transponders, commercial electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar satellite imag...

Security paradox poses conundrum for French governance

By Alix Valenti 02 December 2020
France is facing renewed protests over a controversial draft security law which, among other provisions, stipulates that no-one may post, on any platform, videos in which a national security officer may be identified. Following outbreaks of often violent protests during the weekends of 21–22 and 28-29 November over Article 24 of the draft, President Emmanuel Macron announced on 30 November that the article would be redrafted. The rest of the bill – which passed a first parliamentary reading on 24 November, at the same time as further protests...

Austrian intelligence service under pressure to reform

By Rory McKittrick 01 December 2020
Austrian Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer on 4 November announced plans to reform the national domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung: BVT), in response to the terrorist attack in Vienna on 2 November that killed four people.  Following the attack, Nehammer highlighted intelligence failures, indicating that the perpetrator – Kujtim Fejzulai – had been identified by the BVT before the attack. BVT director Erich Zwettl...

Russia's Security Council gains power

By Mark Galeotti 30 November 2020
Russia’s Security Council (Sovet Bezopasnosti: SB) was established in 1992, the direct successor of its Soviet counterpart to the Soviet Security Council, although during the 1990s it was often of questionable value, acting more as a half-way house for officials on their way to retirement. It is technically an arm of the powerful Presidential Administration (Administratsiya Prezidenta: AP), the institution that has emerged as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary agency of management.  In practice, the SB is an autonomous body, especiall...

NATO cyber exercise breaks new ground

By Brooks Tigner 26 November 2020
NATO’s ‘Cyber Coalition 2020’ (CC20) exercise to defend the allies against cyber attacks, which took place on 16–20 November, embraced a number of firsts for the annual event. These included a wholly new scenario tailored to modern cyber operations, optional storylines based on protecting either military or civil critical infrastructure, and extensive testing and use of deceptive methods to deflect cyber opponents and gather metrics on their tactics. For the first time, CC20 was also conducted wholly in a virtual format due to the Covid-19 pa...
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