Overnight Cybersecurity

OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: Congress unmoved on encryption

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 …


–TELL IT TO THE NSA: Lawmakers seemed unmoved Wednesday by a law enforcement plea for help accessing encrypted devices. Apple and Google have led a movement to encrypt products in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of government’s widespread digital snooping. The FBI and other agencies say it’s impeding legitimate investigations. But Congress remained mostly unswayed during a hearing Wednesday. “Creating a pathway for decryption only for good guys is technologically stupid,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). Take your complaints to the National Security Agency, which caused this problem, Lieu added. “This is a private sector response to government overreach.” To read our full piece, click here.

{mosads}–THINK OF THE CHILDREN: A House bill introduced Wednesday would place limits on how technology companies use data from students that employ their devices and programs in the classroom. The measure from Reps. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would bar school technology providers from targeting advertising to students, selling students’ information to third parties and creating profiles of students for non-educational purposes. At the same time, the proposal allows providers to use data to personalize students’ learning and, when the information is de-identified, to improve their products. To read more, click here.

–AWESOME ABE: He quoted Carole King, he made a Gary Cooper joke: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a hit in his address to Congress Wednesday, where he implicitly criticized China’s hacking of trade secrets. “We cannot overlook sweat shops or violence or the environment,” Abe said, pausing. “Nor can we simply allow free riders on intellectual property.” The line — a clear reference to hacking by China — brought the joint session of Congress to its feet for an extended applause break. To read more about his speech, click here.


During a Wednesday roundtable with business leaders to discuss cybersecurity, the Justice Department’s Cybersecurity Unit released a new set of guidelines to help businesses thwart hackers and respond to data breaches. Check them out here.

“This guidance is built on our experience prosecuting and investigating cybercrime, and incorporates knowledge and input from private sector entities that have managed cyber incidents,” said Leslie Caldwell, the assistant attorney general for DOJ’s criminal division, at the roundtable. “It is a living document, which we will continue to update as the challenges and solutions change over time.”


–Financial firm UBS is searching for its own Will Hunting. From The Wall Street Journal:

“The head of UBS’s new financial technology lab is employing the same approach used by the NSA to recruit bright, tech-literate minds. Earlier Wednesday, Alex Batlin tweeted the following message: ‘decrypt(‘frnepu sbe n punyyratr ng HOF ba gur oybpxpunva’)'”



–The HITRUST Alliance and Booz Allen Hamilton will hold an event on cyber preparedness in the healthcare industry featuring participants from HHS, DHS and the FBI. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) will also speak.

–Hack4Congress, which pits coders against one another to find solutions that make Congress more transparent, kicks off. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will make remarks.


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

Congress must fully fund the Department of Homeland Security to secure the country from cyberattacks, a key Senate Democrat said. (The Hill)

Rand Paul tangled with the head of DHS over encryption. (The Hill)

Was the bot that found Twitter’s earnings report early an illegal hack? (ArsTechnica)

Anonymous messaging app Whisper has hit 10 million monthly active users. (TechCrunch)

Meanwhile, anonymous social network Secret is shutting down. (BuzzFeed)

“I Spent a Day Learning How to Hack Alongside Wall Street’s Financial Consultants.” (Motherboard)

Ninety percent of credit card readers currently use the same password. (CNN Money)

A former commander of the U.S. nuclear force is calling for taking missiles off high alert, citing cyberthreats. (Associated Press)

LabMD claimed lack of due process in its latest motion with the office of FTC administrative law judge. (SC Magazine)

A guide to DOD’s evolution on cyber. (Defense Systems)

Hackers can take over remotely operated surgery robots. (Naked Security)

The FBI is helping Rutgers investigate a disruptive cyberattack. (NJ.com)


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Tags Encryption John Thune NSA Rand Paul Richard Blumenthal Ron Wyden

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