OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: US official nearly blames China for OPM hack

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 ...

THE BIG STORIES:

--IT'S OVER ... FOR NOW: Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta is finally done with her congressional triple-header. She wrapped up her run Thursday at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where she was grilled once again about the crippling data breaches at her agency that have exposed millions of American's sensitive data. Archuleta was the subject of some harsh words from Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats House Democrats subpoena Rick Perry in impeachment inquiry Trump faces growing GOP revolt on Syria MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVideo of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Remembering leaders who put country above party Graham-Trump rollercoaster hits dizzying speed MORE (R-Ariz.). "I must say Ms. Archuleta, I've seen a lot of performances," said McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Yours ranks as one of the most interesting." The treatment was nothing new for Archuleta, who has been fending off calls for her resignation all week. To read our full piece, click here.

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--I GOT YOUR BACK: The government's top information technology official did stick up for Archuleta during Thursday's hearing. "I can see a delineation point from when director Archuleta took office" on how the agency approaches cybersecurity, said Tony Scott, the federal chief information officer. Johnson pushed back: "Do you really have confidence ... when they have shown such a lack of priority and attention to this issue?" Scott unequivocally replied that he did. To read our full piece, click here.

--ALMOST, BUT NOT QUITE: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday called China the "leading suspect" in the cyberattack on OPM. Clapper's remarks are the clearest public indication that the Obama administration believes China is responsible for the digital assault. Previously, officials have only privately accused the Asian power. "You know on the one hand, please don't take this the wrong way, but you have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did," Clapper said. "If we had the opportunity to do that, I don't think we'd hesitate for a minute." When pressed to clarify whether he was naming China in the theft of potentially tens of millions of people's data, the intelligence head added, "Well, I mean that's the leading suspect." To read our full piece, click here.

 

AN UPDATE ON CYBER POLICY:

--DON'T YOU KNOW THAT YOU'RE TOXIC? The U.S. and China this week steered clear of discussing the massive federal data breach that U.S. officials have privately pinned on the Asian power.

Hundreds of officials from both sides met for three days as part of the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Cybersecurity was unsurprisingly absent from a document detailing 127 bilateral agreements following the talks and U.S. and China officials tread carefully in remarks following the meetings.

The two sides appear to be in a period of cyber detente ahead of a September Washington visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping, experts said. But the refusal to openly confront the Chinese will likely frustrate those calling for President Obama to aggressively retaliate for the OPM breaches.

To read our full piece, click here.

 

LIGHTER CLICK:

--SERIOUSLY? There's apparently a show about hacking and cybersecurity that isn't terrible -- "Mr. Robot." We can't confirm. But you can read this New York Times review and find out for yourself. Or just read these old humorous recaps mocking "CSI: Cyber" instead. Your call.

 

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

--DOLLA DOLLA BILLS Y'ALL. From Reuters: "Hackers steal $160 billion worth of intellectual property from Western companies every year, according to cybersecurity experts. The damage, they say, is incalculable and Western governments have made it a priority to protect their nations' commercial assets." Read on here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerStatue of Chief Standing Bear to be unveiled in Capitol The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal Landmark US-Russia arms control treaty poised for final blow MORE (R-Neb.) expressed optimism Thursday about the chances of moving a stalled cybersecurity bill through the Senate. (The Hill)

It would be a shame if ongoing fighting between privacy advocates and security hawks delayed the Senate's fight over cybersecurity legislation for two or three more months, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said on Thursday. (The Hill)

Suspected Chinese hackers breached FBI agents' personnel files as part of the broader attack on the federal government that has laid bare millions of people's data. (The Hill)

Facebook has lured away Yahoo's top cybersecurity executive. (The Wall Street Journal)

Privacy advocates have attacked a plan to end anonymity for website owners saying it will put users at risk of harassment and identity theft. (The Guardian)

The privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo now serves over 10 million searches per day. (ArsTechnica)

A blogger known as "A Tech Dad"-- his pen name is "Julian"-- will tell you whether your password has been hacked. (Motherboard)

 

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