Overnight Cybersecurity: US heard Russian intel talk about targeting Clinton | Senators briefed on Russia probe | Trump leaning toward Lieberman for FBI

Overnight Cybersecurity: US heard Russian intel talk about targeting Clinton | Senators briefed on Russia probe | Trump leaning toward Lieberman for FBI
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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 ...



--SPIES HEARD RUSSIAN INTEL BRAG ABOUT TARGETING HILLARY: U.S. spies reportedly heard a Russian military intelligence officer bragging about his organization planning to target Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKoch brothers group won't back Stewart in Virginia Giuliani says his demand for Mueller probe to be suspended was for show Poll: GOP challenger narrowly leads Heitkamp in North Dakota MORE in May 2016. The officer told a colleague that the GRU would cause havoc in America's presidential election, Time reported Thursday. The officer reportedly described the intelligence agency's effort as retribution for what Russian President Vladimir Putin considered Clinton's influence campaign against him while serving as secretary of State.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--...AND RUSSIA ALSO TARGETED DEFENSE TWITTER: Russia also tried to gain access to the Twitter accounts of Defense Department officials using messages carrying malware, according to Time magazine. Russia is said to have sent messages to over 10,000 Pentagon Twitter users, tailored to their interests, baiting them to click on links to stories. Clicking on the links would enable Russian hackers to gain control of the target's mobile device or computer and, as a result, his or her Twitter account. According to Time, Russia's attempts were disclosed in a March report to U.S. counterintelligence officials investigating Russian interference efforts in the 2016 presidential election.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.



--MEMO WRITTEN AFTER DECISION MADE TO FIRE COMEY: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew FBI Director James Comey was going to be fired before he wrote a memo recommending Comey's dismissal, a pair of Democratic senators said Thursday. "He did acknowledge that he learned that Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo," Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillManchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families Dem poll: McCaskill leads by 6 in Missouri Senate race The Hill's Morning Report — Can the economy help Republicans buck political history in 2018? MORE (D-Mo.) told reporters after leaving a closed-door briefing with Rosenstein.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Senate passes 6B defense bill Justice IG says report doesn’t assess ‘credibility’ of Russian probe MORE also said that probe appeared to now be a “criminal investigation.”

The Hill's Katie Bo Williams and Jordain Carney have the wrap up from the closed-door briefing with senators. To read that piece, click here.

--...REPLACEMENT SOON, LIEBERMAN IN LEAD: President Trump said Thursday he is "very close" to picking a new FBI director, indicating that former Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) is his top pick. "I'm very close to choosing an FBI director," Trump told television news anchors during a private lunch at the White House, according to CNN's Jake Tapper. The president later confirmed that Lieberman has emerged as his pick to replace Comey, telling reporters in the Oval Office, "he is."

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--MCCAIN ALL IN ON LIEBERMAN: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril McCain calls on Trump to rescind family separation policy: It's 'an affront to the decency of the American people' Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Lieberman "outstanding." McCain added, "I hope he gets chosen. He has great respect and affection from both sides of the aisle," McCain also reportedly said "screw them" when discussing Democratic lawmakers who oppose or plan to oppose Lieberman.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

A LIGHTER CLICK: SMILING GECKO: It's like geckos have no idea what's going on this week. 



--TRUMP: COUNSEL A "WITCH HUNT" THAT "HURTS THE COUNTRY": President Trump on Thursday slammed the appointment of a special counsel to probe his campaign's alleged ties to Russia as something that "hurts the country."

"I believe it hurts the country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country," the president said during a luncheon with television news anchors at the White House, according to a transcript of the meeting.

It's the second time that Trump has ripped the decision since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced he was making former FBI Director Robert Mueller a special counsel for the investigation.

On Thursday morning, Trump proclaimed it was a "witch hunt."

To read the rest of our piece, click here.


A Massachusetts congressman cast historical doubt Thursday on President Trump's claim that he is the victim of the "single greatest witch hunt" in U.S. History.

Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, tweeted "As the Representative of Salem, MA, can confirm that this is false.

Twenty people were executed during the Salem witch trials in the 1690s, and another five died in prison.

Click here to read more.

GRAHAM SAYS SPECIAL COUNSEL COULD HURT CONGRESSIONAL PROBES: Graham said that the creation of the special counsel will likely hamper congressional probes.

"I think a lot of members want the special counsel to be appointed but don't understand that you're pretty well knocked out of the game. And that's probably the way it should be," he said.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.



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

Chinese state media blames the U.S. for Wanna Cry. (The Hill)

The FCC took a big step to ending net neutrality.  (The Hill)

Criminals reset PINs to steal W-2s from Equifax's payroll division. (Krebs on Security)

A researcher designed a program to decrypt Wanna Cry files on Windows XP for free. Wanna Cry is not, however, actively targeting Windows XP. (Ars Technica)

There may be better ways to share intelligence with Russia than spur of the moment at the Oval Office. (Just Security).

Germany looks to boost its state hacking powers. (ZDNet)

A judge threw out a case against Facebook that alleged it was responsibile for terrorists organizing on the platform (Reuters)

The FCC and AT&T determined how 911 service stopped for the cell phone provider for five hours - a mix of a bad update to filtering lists and corporate bureaucracy. (FCC)

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