Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump's intel pick faces Senate | House panel to mark up cyber standards bill

Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump's intel pick faces Senate | House panel to mark up cyber standards bill
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Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you're a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we're here to give you ...

THE BIG STORIES

TRUMP INTEL PICK FACES SENATE: Former Indiana Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsNational counterterrorism chief to retire at the end of year Former intel chief Hayden: Think twice on a Trump job offer Counterintelligence needs reboot for 21st century MORE on Tuesday sought to reassure lawmakers that he will be empowered to lead the intelligence community despite conflicting signals from the Trump administration about the office he is nominated to lead. In a genial confirmation hearing for one of the Senate's more genial former members, the only major concern Senate Intelligence Committee members repeatedly raised was that Coats might be too nice for the job as director of national intelligence (DNI). Several said they fear he would be hamstrung by a limited role in President Trump's national security apparatus. Coats, a former member of the panel, is well-liked by his colleagues and expected to sail to confirmation. But the hearing comes at a moment of intense scrutiny on the Trump administration's handling of national security and the intelligence community. In an executive memorandum last month, Trump reshuffled the so-called Principal's Committee of the National Security Council, elevating his controversial political adviser Steve Bannon and apparently de-emphasizing the role of DNI, who under that order will only attend meetings when issues pertinent to his responsibilities are discussed. The move stoked fears that Bannon, as a political operative, will eclipse Coats and other national security professionals in the administration.

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PREVIEW OF SURVEILLANCE DEBATE: Would-be Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats faced questions about a key surveillance law up for reauthorization this year during his Tuesday confirmation hearing -- a taste of a debate that awaits his watch. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives U.S. intelligence agencies the ability to intercept the communications of non-U.S.-citizens when outside the United States. Supporters, including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (R-Texas), claim it is an irreplaceable intelligence gathering tool. Detractors, including Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Lobbying world MORE (D-Ore.) note that the interconnected nature of international telecommunications makes it difficult to completely filter out U.S. citizens from the data collection. The former Indiana senator described the program as providing a "significant amount of intelligence," but recognized that his role was to ensure the intelligence community did "everything we can to make sure that all of those private rights are secure." It is unclear exactly how big a problem capturing Americans in 702 surveillance is; the NSA has never provided even the Intelligence Committee with those statistics despite the panel requesting them for a number of years. Wyden pushed Coats, himself a former Intelligence Committee member, to commit to providing that data. "I am going to do everything I can to work with [NSA Director] Admiral [Mike] Rogers to get that number," said Coats. "I've been told it's an extremely complex problem for a number of reasons. As I've said, without a classification I don't know what all those reasons are."

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A POLICY UPDATE:  

HOUSE PANEL LOOKS AT CYBER FRAMEWORK BILL: The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will mark up legislation on Wednesday that aims to promote federal agencies' use of the National Institute for Standards and Technology's (NIST) cybersecurity and technology protocols, in the wake of data breaches affecting federal computer systems, like the Office of Personnel Management breach revealed in 2015.

The bill, called the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017, was introduced on Monday by Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.). It directs NIST to provide guidance to federal agencies to implement the framework and develop metrics for evaluating federal agencies' cybersecurity. It also requires the agency to submit regular audits of federal agencies vulnerable to cyberattacks to Congress.

"Current practices to protect our federal cybersecurity systems are insufficient. This bill will help the federal government implement a consistent, user-friendly framework that each agency can tailor to meet its own unique cybersecurity needs, and it provides the NIST the authority it needs to help ensure our federal agencies' cybersecurity systems are up to standard," Abraham said in a statement.

The full-committee markup will take place Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, President Trump's draft executive order on cybersecurity--the signing of which was abruptly delayed in January--is rumored to require federal agencies to follow the NIST cybersecurity framework.

A LIGHTER CLICK: 

THE DRESS 2.0: A picture of strawberries can still look red even without red pixels. How? Motherboard explains.

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

EXECS DOUBT DIGITAL INTELLIGENCE: Companies globally are losing confidence in their digital intelligence, or ability to utilize technology, according to an annual survey of business and technology executives released Tuesday.

A little more than half of companies, 52 percent, rate their "digital IQ" as strong, down from 67 percent last year and 66 percent in 2015, according to the 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey released by PwC.

PwC surveyed more than 2,000 business and technology executives at the end of 2016, collecting information on their efforts to invest in emerging technologies, digitize their businesses and innovate.

Executives reported skills gaps in cybersecurity and privacy, among other areas.

"Respondents say skills in their organization lag across a range of highly important areas, including cybersecurity and privacy, business development of new technologies, and, yes, user experience and human-centered design," the study found.

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WHAT'S IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

AMAZON OUTAGE DISRUPTS WEBSITES: Amazon experienced issues with its cloud computing services Tuesday afternoon that affected websites across the United States.

Amazon Web Services first reported problems with its S3 storage system on the East Coast around 1:30 p.m., notifying customers that they would experience "high error rates."

About an hour later, the company reported that the dashboard had "recovered." Multiple websites using Amazon Web Services experienced disruptions or outages as a result of problems with the service.

"We're continuing to work to remediate the availability issues for Amazon S3 in US-EAST-1," an alert posted on Amazon's website Tuesday afternoon read. "AWS services and customer applications depending on S3 will continue to experience high error rates as we are actively working to remediate the errors in Amazon S3."

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) said he's seen no evidence of Americans 'colluding' with Russians ahead of the election (The Hill)

The FBI had plans to pay the ex-British spy who compiled the salacious Trump dossier (Washington Post)

Montenegro asks for help from Britain to defend against cyberattacks (The Telegraph)

WikiLeaks's spokesman quietly stepped down without anyone noticing until now (Associated Press)

Microsoft recently announced that it will launch a 'cybersecurity engagement center' in Mexico to help Latin American countries and companies with IT security (Microsoft)

Cyber amateurs in Britain participated in a competition involving car hacking (Cyber Security Challenge UK)

Here are some steps you can take to make your smartphone more secure (Slate)

Cyber soldiers with the Israel Defense Forces are founding cybersecurity start-ups (CNBC)

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