(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity
(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity

WeChat banned on DFAT devices, cybersecurity controls in place | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

DFAT has put restrictions on the use of Chinese app WeChat on government devices it issues.

The app is banned on the department’s government-issued devices unless there is a clear operational requirement.

DFAT has procedural and cybersecurity controls for those who do use the app.

According to DFAT’s most recent annual report for 2021-22, the Australian government has an embassy in Beijing and consulates-general in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Hong Kong.

Last week, the select committee on foreign interference through social media recommended WeChat be banned from government devices, similar to the TikTok ban.

The TikTok ban on federal government devices started in April this year due to security and privacy concerns. It has since spread to other Australian jurisdictions like NSW and ACT.

It is difficult to overstate the ubiquitous of WeChat in China, with 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide. China’s population is 1.4 billion people.

It’s a “super-app” used not just for social media but for payments, looking up information, ordering deliveries, and booking appointments. As an aside, it’s also what Elon Musk is rumoured to be trying to turn Twitter/X into.

The committee cited data security and foreign interference concerns as justifying the ban.

“WeChat poses a similar data security risk to TikTok and should be added to the [Protective Security Policy Framework] ban, with appropriate exemptions available on a case-by-case basis provided sufficient security mitigations are deployed, as is the case with TikTok,” the report stated.

“Additional research on other platforms should be undertaken, with a view to developing more detailed guidance on the installation of any similar social media platforms onto devices that can access sensitive government data and information.”

The committee, chaired by shadow cyber security minister James Paterson, also recommended the TikTok ban be extended to government contractors who have access to government data as well as the establishment of a national security technology office within Home Affairs.

Additional comments from government senators Jess Walsh and Raff Ciccone were that “specific platforms as a policy approach were not supported by evidence to the committee”.

“One submitter described single platform bans as a ‘whack-a-mole approach’, given the relative ease with which platforms could take data and reestablish, and the frequency with which new platforms emerge in the global market,” the government senators wrote.

“Others raised concerns about whether bans can be practically implemented, and the implications for users on these platforms.”

In relation to the government device ban, the government senators noted any further bans were to be informed on advice from APS agencies.

Similarly, comments from the Greens senators Sarah Hanson-Young and David Shoebridge criticised banning a singular platform.

“Bad actors will use their vast resources through whatever means necessary to meet their objectives and until we address the underlying causes Australians will continue to be subject to foreign interference threats,” the Greens senators said.


Click Here For The Original Source.

National Cyber Security