OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: White House backs cyber bills

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 wrap their arms around cyberthreats. 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 ...


--THUMBS UP: The White House on Tuesday publicly supported two major cybersecurity bills set to be voted on by the House Wednesday and Thursday. The measures would increase the exchange of hacking data between the government and private sector. Companies would receive liability protections when sharing data with civilian federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Treasury Department. In two Statements of Administration Policy, the White House offered support for the bills even as it expressed some reservations. Its chief concern is liability protections for companies that it warned might go too far. To read our full piece, click here.

--TROUBLE AHEAD?: A top Republican senator isn't ready to endorse a House plan that would reauthorize expiring portions of the Patriot Act while curbing the government's surveillance powers. Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes GOP to Trump: Focus on policy MORE -- the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the intelligence law -- could emerge as a possible obstacle to reforms of the National Security Agency (NSA). The Iowa Republican won't support the new USA Freedom Act "until I have discussions with people on the Intelligence Committee," Grassley told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. To read our full piece, click here.

--CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': DHS is preparing to open a satellite office in Silicon Valley in a bid to improve strained relationships with technology companies. The move by the DHS also signals the federal government's desire to recruit top tech talent at a time of rising hacking threats, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson told the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. The opening of the California satellite office will be an unprecedented move for the department, which has struggled to repair ties with technology firms after disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed a variety of government surveillance programs. To read our full piece, click here.



Congress is being inundated this week with advocates making a last-ditch attempt to sway minds.

Here's a rundown of just a few:

A coalition of privacy groups, civil liberties organizations and security experts wrote every lawmaker urging a "no" vote on companion bills from the House and Senate Intelligence committees. To read our full piece, click here.

The Information Technology Industry Council, a D.C.-based tech sector industry group, wrote congressional leaders in favor of the House cyber bills. Read more here.

A group of telecommunications, broadband and wireless companies wrote House leaders in support of the cyber bills. Read more here.

The Financial Services Roundtable, which has already blanketed the D.C. Metro system with banners in support of the House bills, also wrote Congress with a similar message. Read more here.


--A Silicon Valley cyber firm is moving to Baltimore and preparing to take up residence in the Natty Boh Tower. That's right -- the iconic original headquarters for the brewery will now house about 30 employees from Contrast Security, which provides anti-threat software. Speaking of which, did you know Natty Boh was sold to a Russian firm last year? To read more, click here.



--The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on protecting small businesses from cyberattacks at 11 a.m.

--The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity for third-party contractors and vendors at 2 p.m.


--The Computer and Communications Industry Association will hold a panel on cyber information sharing at 10 a.m.

--Defense Secretary Ash Carter is likely to release a new cybersecurity strategy in a speech Thursday at Stanford University.


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

Lawmakers will get to vote on whether the House's two major cybersecurity bills should sunset after seven years. (The Hill)

Aaron's Law is back in Congress. (The Hill)

The detention of a professional hacker over a Twitter joke is stoking concerns in the cybersecurity community. (The Hill)

A PayPal executive is proposing vein recognition and ingestible chips as a way to replace conventional passwords. (The Hill)

Cyberattackers used the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as a pretext for a phishing campaign. (The Hill)

The DEA is also spending millions to purchase exploits and spyware. (TechDirt)

Enthusiasm in the federal government is waning for "bring your own device" policies. (Nextgov)

Researchers found a critical vulnerability in Magento's e-commerce platform. (The Hacker News)

Tor is building a new Dark Net with help from the U.S. military. (Daily Dot)

A woman is suing Google for purchases made when her Google Play account was purportedly hacked. (Ars Technica)


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