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EnlargeWikimedia Commons/Maria Joner reader comments 35 Share this story The UK's Tory government cabinet ministers have reportedly been officially banned from wearing Apple Watches to crucial meetings in case they're compromised by Russian hackers. "The Russians are trying to hack everything," one unnamed source told the Telegraph. Apple Watches were said to be popular with several ministers, including former justice secretary and failed leadership candidate Michael Gove, who wore them to cabinet meetings during David Cameron's tenure as prime minister. However, under PM Theresa May—the former home secretary who repeatedly pushed for Britain's spies to have greater surveillance powers—the devices have been summarily banned amid fears that Russian security services could use them to listen in on government business. Cabinet ministers have been banned from bringing smartphones and tablets to meetings since late 2013. It was reported at the time that an iPad used during a presentation by then-cabinet minister Francis "Digital by Default" Maude was removed from the room "even before discussions could begin," and smartphones were placed into "soundproof lead-lined boxes." There were also fears that USB sticks handed to delegates at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg that year could have been loaded with malware. Russian hackers are apparently everywhere at the moment, with the US department of homeland security officially accusing Putin's regime of attempting to disrupt the US elections amid a series of political hacks.

But Russia is by no means the only nation chancing its arm with government hacks. Last year, the NSA was accused of spying on Angela Merkel and other high-ranking German officials using Reign malware. This isn't the first time Apple Watches have disrupted cabinet meetings.

The Telegraph also reports that when Gove was chief whip he accidentally played a few bars of a Beyonce song while "surreptitiously checking his e-mails." This post originated on Ars Technica UK
ASEAN ministers flag 'Asiapol' in closed-door talks RSA APAC A closed-door meeting of cabinet ministers from more than a dozen countries met yesterday to mull the creation of a Europol-style organisation to crack down on cyber crime in the region and abroad, The Register has learned. The Asian organisation is conceptual only, but has support from countries including China, Malaysia, Myanamar, Indonesia, and host nation Singapore. It is the fourth year that ministers have met in the city-state on the shoulder of RSA's Asia Pacific conference. "It starts as a discussion, but for it to come to a concrete idea is some time away," Singapore Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam told The Register. "We need to think about it and talk about it ..
I am hoping it will come through but I don't think it will come through in the short term." Attendees at the meeting included justice department heads from Asian nations including Japan's national public safety commission H.E Taro Kono, Interpol secretary General Jürgen Stock, and Qi Yuguo Chef of China's cybercrime security department. Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, SC. The prevalence of financially-motivated cybercrime across China was a matter of "specific discussion", RSA's global public sector general manager Mike Brown says, adding that Beijing is an active and positive participant in the meetings. Europol and Interpol have enjoyed great success in cracking down on cybercrime after fostering better support with governments and private sector organisations in recent years. The European agency is credited with a part in Operation Shrouded Horizon, the 18-month take-down of notorious English-speaking crime forum Darkode culminating in dozens of arrests in July last year. RSA president Amit Yoran. The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) is understood to be some way into an operation that it is hoped will lead to significant arrests of hackers in Eastern Europe, although the agency did not confirm the operation when contacted by The Register. Interpol bagged 58 arrests across Asia in its 2014 Operation Strikeback sextortion operation.
It is also understood to have ransomware actors in its cross-hairs in an operation that includes multiple European nations. Yet an Asian Europol would be useful, but not necessarily "effective", according to RSA president Amit Yoran. "There are a tremendous number of challenges that need to be tackled with consistency of law as well as action from government and law enforcement," Yoran told The Register without commenting specifically on the closed-door meetings. "I would not necessarily say they (Europol-type structures) are effective, these things take time, but I think it is a step in the right direction." In his keynote at the RSA conference yesterday themed with the need to "change perspectives"' Yoran said the security industry would be helped by "super smart humans" and not technology controls. "Gone are the days of point products addressing a thin sliver of security …. [it] is as flawed by conceptual design and as barren in value as anti-virus products," Yoran told delegates. "Tools alone won't win the battle for us; we need super-smart creative humans, we need you." ® Sponsored: 2016 Cyberthreat defense report