Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny

Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny
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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:

--HOUSE INTEL RELEASES CARTER PAGE TESTIMONY: The House Intelligence Committee on Monday night released more than 200 pages of transcripts from its marathon interview of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, sprawling testimony that contained new details about the closely scrutinized foreign policy aide's relationship to Moscow. The at-times tense interview -- which took place behind closed doors last week -- also highlighted an increasingly partisan rift on the committee. Page, who throughout sought to characterize himself as a scholar whose name has been unjustly defamed, told lawmakers that he suggested to his fellow foreign policy advisers that Trump could make a trip to Russia during the campaign. "The idea there was -- bearing in mind Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump has the right foreign policy strategy — he just needs to stop talking The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump faces bipartisan criticism over Putin presser, blames media for coverage Wall Street Journal editorial board rips Trump on Helsinki: It was a 'national embarrassment' MORE's speech as a candidate in Germany 2008. That was what I was envisioning," Page said. In an email to J.D. Gordon, who was then running the campaign's foreign policy advisory team, and Walid Phares, another foreign policy adviser on the campaign, Page suggested that then-candidate Trump could take a trip that he had scheduled to Moscow in his place.

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--THE TRANSCRIPT ALSO SHED MORE LIGHT on what Page revealed about his interaction with then-Alabama Senator Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHomeland Security advisory council members resign over family separations: report Once a Trump critic, Ala. rep faces runoff with his support Ryan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' MORE about his July 2016 trip to Moscow before he departed, which was first reported by CNN late last week. Page told House lawmakers that he mentioned the trip to Sessions "in passing" days before he left at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, according to the transcript of the interview. Page said in "no way, shape or form" did he try to convey to Sessions that he hoped to be helpful in Trump's efforts to improve relations with Russia, when questioned by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDem lawmaker: Putin will take Trump's attack on Mueller probe as 'green light' to interfere in 2018 The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Russians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking intelligence member. Page also said that J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon official and national security adviser to the Trump campaign, was the first campaign official to know about the Moscow trip prior to his departure. In a statement to The Hill on Monday night, Gordon said he discouraged Page from taking the trip. "I discouraged Carter from taking the trip to Moscow in the first place because it was a bad idea," Gordon said. "Since I refused to forward his speech request form for approval, he eventually went around me directly to campaign leadership."

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--SESSIONS TO FACE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK: Attorney General Sessions is now scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next Tuesday as part of its probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, The Hill confirmed on Tuesday. Sessions's appearance will allow Democrats on the panel to pepper the Justice Department chief about his past statements concerning exchanges with Russian officials during the time he served the Trump campaign last year. Democrats are particularly interested in his ties to former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about contacts with Russians. Court documents revealed that Papadopoulos had offered to set up a meeting between Moscow and then-candidate Donald Trump. Page's statements to House lawmakers last Thursday are also likely to fuel the conversation.

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--TRUMP SENT CIA CHIEF TO MEET WITH EX-INTEL OFFICIAL WHO CAST DOUBT ON RUSSIAN HACKING: At President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE's direction, CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Pence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE reportedly met with a former National Security Agency official who helped author an analysis casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia was behind email hacks targeting the Democratic National Committee last year. According to The Intercept, Pompeo met with William Binney, the former NSA official turned whistleblower, at the end of October, according to Binney's account to the publication. Binney said that Pompeo told him that Trump had pressed him to arrange the meeting to discuss the assessment that the DNC operation was the result of an inside leak. The CIA declined to comment on the reported meeting. "With respect to whether the Director met with this particular individual, we decline comment. As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director's schedule," a CIA spokesman told The Hill on Tuesday. Binney and other former intelligence officials have published an analysis concluding that the July 2016 intrusion into the DNC network was not a hack but rather that the data was leaked out by a person with physical access to DNC computers. The analysis has helped fuel conspiracy theories on the right casting doubt on Russia's role in the hacking operation.

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A LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: 

Wednesday is shaping up to be a cyber-focused day on The Hill, with the House Judiciary Committee marking up legislation that would reform the law that allows the National Security Agency to collect communications of foreign targets for intelligence purposes. The USA Liberty Act, which reforms and extends what is known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, has been the source of intense debate in recent weeks. Privacy advocates say the reforms do not go far enough; meanwhile the Trump administration has been pushing for a clean reauthorization of the law, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

Meanwhile, President Trump's choice to serve atop the Department of Homeland Security is set to face the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for her confirmation hearing Wednesday morning. Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump's pick, will be introduced by Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Senate adds members to pro-NATO group McConnell reassures Europe on Russia MORE (R-Fla.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTrump seeks to quell Russia furor GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh Sens introduce bipartisan bill matching Zinke proposed maintenance backlog fix MORE (R-Ohio), according to the committee.

One thing that won't be happening: A House Oversight joint subcommittee hearing on the cybersecurity of voting machines, which has been postponed to a later, undisclosed date.

 

AN INVESTIGATIVE CLICK: 

The FBI says it can't unlock the Texas shooter's phone.

 

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

GOVTS IN SOUTH AMERICA, ASIA TARGETED BY HACKERS: A new hacker group is stealing documents from South American and Southeast Asian government institutions and diplomats, researchers at Symantec claim.

According to a report released Tuesday, the group has been active since at least early 2015 and has hit targets in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Brunei and Malaysia.

"The attacks are modular and designed to be difficult to analyze," said Alan Neville, a threat intelligence analyst for Symantec.

Neville added that Symantec had seen open source tools and credential harvesting tools grafted on to the malware used in the attack.

The researchers believe the group is well-resourced, capable of operating multiple operations at the same time.

Symantec is calling the group Sowbug. The Symantec report fills in a few details from an earlier report from Forcepoint, which discovered the Trojan horse malware being used in the attack but did not expound upon the attackers and targets in the attack.

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WHO'S IN THE SPOTLIGHT: 

EX-YAHOO CHIEF: The Senate Commerce Committee has issued a subpoena requiring former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to testify before the committee in a hearing regarding cybersecurity breaches, a source with knowledge of the matter told The Hill.

This report was separately confirmed by a committee spokesperson on Tuesday.

The committee issued the subpoena on Oct. 25 after Mayer declined multiple requests to testify voluntarily, even after being threatened with legal action. Following the subpoena order, Mayer's representative told the committee that she would comply and testify before the committee, according to the spokesperson.

The Senate Commerce Committee's top Democrat, Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Hillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback Senate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference MORE (D-Fla.) supported Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE The real reason Scott Pruitt is gone: Putting a key voting bloc at risk MORE's (R-S.D.) move to subpoena Mayer, allowing the committee to avoid voting on the summon.

Mayer's representative asked if the committee would lift the subpoena order, as part of a move to make the once-Yahoo CEO's testimony appear voluntary, according to another source.

The committee spokesperson said that as of Tuesday, the subpoena is still in effect, but declined to comment on if it would be withdrawn as a result of Mayer's reversal.

A representative for Mayer disputed this version of the events and stressed that she is appearing voluntarily.

According to her spokesperson, there was a back and forth with Mayer's representatives and the committee in which she stressed that she was not the best witness for the most recent 2017 disclosure of the 2013 breach in which 3 billion Yahoo accounts were compromised. After it was confirmed that a representative from Verizon would also testify, Mayer agreed to appear; however, the subpoena had already been issued at this point.

Individuals who do not appear before Congress when summoned can be held in contempt of Congress, which is a federal misdemeanor.

The former Yahoo CEO is being compelled to testify before the committee to comment on data breaches. In 2013 and 2014, Yahoo endured massive data breaches in which the data in billions of users' accounts was compromised.

Mayer is slated to testify on Wednesday alongside current and former CEOs of Equifax, who will address a data breach the credit-reporting firm disclosed earlier this year that impacted more than 145 American consumers.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

Twitter doubling character limit to 280 for users. (The Hill)

Waymo testing self-driving cars without human safety monitor. (The Hill)

Opinion: Twitter is dragging its feet in getting to the bottom of Russian influence on US elections. (The Hill)

The Pentagon wants the private sector's help getting to the cloud. (DefenseOne)

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff says Trump, Russia threaten democracy. (Associated Press)

lobbyist is leading Trump DHS pick Nielsen's confirmation prep. (CyberScoop)

Texas National Guard installed cellphone spying tech in surveillance planes. (Texas Observer)

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