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By Bruce Sussman
Tue | Jan 29, 2019 | 4:37 AM PST

I had just come up from the pool after a lazy morning in the Mexican sun.

tropical-locationWe were on vacation with the grandparents, and as I walked into their condo for lunch, I was surprised to see them watching the RT News Network, in English.

Like most in the western world, they had no idea this was a Russian government news operation. And that's the way RT wants it.

The network changed its name a few years ago from Russia Today to RT so it would seem more credible to western viewers.

The network's name might have changed but not its messaging. 

Within a minute or two of noticing it was on the TV, I caught RT's report on Chinese telecom giant Huawei, whose products are banned in several western nations because of spying charges.


Seeing this report, I immediately got close to the TV.

What would this news operation, an extension of the Russian government, say about a telecom company which is accused of being an extension of the Chinese government?

Hmm. Interesting dynamic. Well, I saw this one coming.

RT downplayed the Huawei threat, made fun of Apple and westerners who love the iPhone, and then made Five Eyes nations—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States—seem like a joke for being concerned.

Watch for yourself (the video creates a definite sense of emotion), or see my transcription below:


On Huawei cellphones: "They're not so different than their western made counterparts. Because they're cheap... and they may be spying on you. As opposed to iPhones, which are expensive, and definitely spying on you!"

"Most worried are the Five Eyes Nations, the International Body of spy services which have five eyes but one tongue... American."

The snake on the screen then made a hissing sound, right on cue.

This was followed by reporting on 5G in Great Britain and questions about Huawei's involvement there. 

At that point, I turned back to vacation and rejoined the family for lunch. Later, I read the New York Times article, Russia's RT Network: Is It More BBC or K.G.B.?

And I thought about how this effort fits in with what our team learned at one of the regional  SecureWorld cybersecurity conferences.

Both China and Russia see cyber as a logical extension of their national goals. It is simply another way to achieve their objectives, and they are unashamed about using cyber weapons or disinformation where helpful.

One thing is different, however: What China wants from the West versus what Russia wants from the West.

Watch our brief interview for more on the top three cyber threats to the U.S., where these differences are explained: