Overnight Cybersecurity: DNC hacker Guccifer 2.0 speaks out

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:

–GUCCIFER 2.0: Purported Romanian DNC hacker, Guccifer 2.0 expressed his political opinions today in a post on his WordPress blog that distanced him from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “Hillary seems so much false to me, she got all her money from political activities and lobbying, she is a slave of moguls, she is bought and sold… I’m totally against [Trump’s] ideas about closing borders and deportation policy. It’s… nonsense.”

–GUCCIFER 2.1: His political opinions were an issue because most experts believe Guccifer 2.0 is the cover identity of the two separate groups of Russian (not Romanian) intelligence operators who actually hacked the DNC. Some have speculated the purpose of retrieving the DNC’s Trump opposition research file was for Putin to aid the Trump campaign. Guccifer denies all of this in the blog, too. “How can I prove this is true? I really don’t know. It seems the guys from [the firm who investigated the breach] and the DNC would say I’m a Russian bear even if I were a catholic nun in fact. At first I was annoyed and disappointed. But now I realize they have nothing else to say. There’s no other way to justify their incompetence and failure. It’s much easier for them to accuse powerful foreign special services.”

{mosads}–GUCCIFER 2.2: Also, the maybe-a-Russian, maybe-a-group-of-people, or single Romanian hacker also claims he is not a woman. “I’m a man. I’ve never met a female hacker of the highest level. Girls, don’t get offended, I love you.”

To read our full piece on Guccifer 2.0, click here.

 

–PRIVACY SHIELD AHOY The European Union is expected to approve the new draft of a key data transfer pact with the U.S. as soon as next Monday, The New York Times reports. The draft document requires approval from EU member states, which are expected to meet next week to approve the so-called Privacy Shield. But the agreement may not be finalized until July 11, when Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker — who led the negotiations on the U.S. side — visits Brussels, the Times reports. The deal is intended to allow U.S. companies to continue to legally handle EU citizens’ personal data. It replaces a 2000 agreement known as Safe Harbor that was struck down over concerns that U.S. surveillance practices infringed on a right to privacy that is sacrosanct under the EU Charter. For our recap, click here.

 

A POLICY UPDATE:

–HACKING POWERS: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Thursday campaigned against a pending change to federal hacking powers that critics say would vastly expand government surveillance. Wyden’s Stopping Mass Hacking Bill would prevent the changes to what’s known as Rule 41 from going into place on Dec. 1.

Rule 41 allows the government to hack an unknown computer or, with a single warrant, a group of computers

During an event at the Open Technology Institute, Wyden warned that permitting the FBI to hack more easily might have dire consequences.

“Our PCs aren’t the only devices connected to the internet. Factories, power plants, transportation grids and all kinds of critical infrastructure can be accessed online. If untested, sloppy hacking techniques are unleashed by the FBI on a broad scale, there’s no telling what kind of damage could result,” Wyden wrote in his prepared remarks for the event.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK:

–YOU’VE GOT MAIL: Meet Elwood Edwards, the gleeful voice of “You’ve got mail!”

 

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

–WIRETAPS: Law enforcement officials increased their use of wiretaps by 17 percent last year but were rarely thwarted by encryption, a new report says.

Of more than 4,000 total warrants in 2015 from local and federal agencies, law enforcement agencies encountered encryption a mere 13 times. Local agencies alone were thwarted 22 times in 2014.

A representative for the FBI said law enforcement officials do not seek wiretaps in cases where it knows communications are encrypted. To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

A LOOK AHEAD:

–SOMETIME?

Senate Armed Services postponed a closed hearing on cyber and encryption challenges in national security with NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers scheduled for today. It will be rescheduled at a later time.

 

WHO’S IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

–RUSSIAN AND CHINESE DISSIDENTS: The two nations are fighting a UN resolution that would extend human rights onto a free and open Internet. Read on at The Register.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

Ukraine, too, has also been hit in a spree of online bank heists. (The Hill)

The NRA’s actions to remove a parody video inadvertently knocked 38,000 websites offline. (Motherboard)

Scooby snack is now in the Oxford English Dictionary. (iO9)

Hackers show sound fiscal judgment. (SC)

Lauri Love, wanted for trial for allegedly hacking US government systems, claims to be a suicide risk in extradition hearings. Is he exaggerating? (SC)

Mozilla wants you to understand encryption by playing with emoji. (Engadget)

 

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