Overnight Cybersecurity: Senators want DHS to have all the cyber power

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 ...


--YOU'VE GOT THE POWER!: A bipartisan group of senators wants to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more power to repel cyberattacks in the wake of hacks that have rattled the federal government. The group on Wednesday introduced the FISMA Reform Act, which would update the 12-year-old Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and formalize the DHS role in protecting government networks and websites. Over the years, the department has taken on this task, but its authority in the area has never been fully codified. "While the Department of Homeland Security has the mandate to protect the .gov domain, it has only limited authority to do so," Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-Maine), the lead Republican on the bill, told reporters at a press conference. To read our full piece, click here.

--NO NAME AND SHAME?: Republican lawmakers were displeased with reports that the Obama administration has decided against naming China in the massive hack that has rattled the government and exposed sensitive data on millions of people. Government officials have called China the "leading suspect" in the damaging hacks that compromised more than 22 million people's sensitive information, but not made any public accusations. "If there is no penalty, not even public identification, of the perpetrator of a cyberattack, it seems to me that it only encourages future cyberattacks from the same actors," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), during a Wednesday press conference with reporters. Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE (R-N.H.) agreed. "It would be important," Ayotte said, "for the president to be very direct with the Chinese publicly about this." To read about lawmakers' reactions, click here. To read about the administration's reasoning, click here.

--SHOW ME THE MONEY!: A Senate subcommittee on Wednesday approved a funding bill that would boost information technology spending for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency at the center of these massive hacks. The bill would allot $264.5 million for the OPM, a $24 million, or 10 percent, increase over the agency's enacted 2015 budget. While the raise was $8 million short of what OPM had requested for 2016, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government said it approved all requests for IT security improvements at the agency. When the budget bill hits the full committee on Thursday, Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiForeign policy congressional committees need to call more women experts Lobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Md.) will offer an amendment to provide $37 million more to speed up security improvements to federal networks one year ahead of schedule. To read about the bill to fund OPM, click here. To read about Mikulski's upcoming amendment, click here.



--AND FIGHT. A bipartisan House duo on Wednesday introduced yet another competing student data privacy bill.

Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases Ethics Committee reviewing Rep. Sanford Bishop's campaign spending The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's public standing sags after Floyd protests MORE (D-Ohio) are backing the measure, known as the Student Privacy Protection Act.

The offering -- like several others in both chambers -- would bar schools or private technology companies from selling or using student data for targeted ads. Like its rivals, the bill would also set minimum data security standards for companies handling sensitive student information.

The Rokita-Fudge bill helps crystallize the battle lines separating two options for advancing student data privacy legislation.

To read about those two approaches, click here.



--U.S.A! U.S.A! An all-star team of four-and-a-half-foot American robots took down Iranian robots, 5-4, in Wednesday's championship match of the RoboCup soccer tournament.

More, from The Guardian: "The American robot, named THORwin and designed by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, won the "adult-size humanoid" category of the annual event, held this year in the eastern Chinese city of Hefei. In the "adult" category, rival robots face off one on one and take turns as striker and keeper. The automatons must stand at least four feet tall, and have to dribble past objects on the field before they cock a metal leg and take a shot at goal."

Read on here.



--AN ANONYMOUS RESIDENT OF BROCKTON, MASS. A Brockton resident became the first person exposed by the hackers that are holding data hostage from Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates adulterous affairs.

The hackers are threatening to publish all of the company's 37 million members profiles -- which includes details like a "list of fantasies" -- unless the company takes down its site.

The Brockton person's leaked profile reads: "I have only two personal interests on this site. Making sure that you are comfortable with me should I be so fortunate to hold your attention and making sure I take the role of discretion to an artform. I mean isn't this why we are here, to be as discreet as possible?"

Read on here at The Patriot Ledger.




--The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on health IT.

--The Senate Appropriations Committee at 10:30 a.m. will mark up a bill that funds the OPM for the 2016 fiscal year.

--The Software & Information Industry Association will hold an event at noon on digital privacy and data collection practices.


--New America will host an event at 9:30 a.m. on the "New Half-Life of Secrets" about intelligence and national security secrets within the government.

--The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will hold an event at noon titled, "Data Across Borders: Treaties, Law Enforcement, and Digital Privacy in the Aftermath of Snowden."



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

A Louisiana resident accused of running a counterfeit coupon operation on the dark Web has pleaded guilty to the scheme. (The Hill)

Facebook cannot challenge search warrants New York prosecutors used to get information from its site on hundreds of users, a state appeals court ruled, in a decision likely making it harder for New Yorkers to keep their digital lives private. (Reuters)

The Obama administration will award by mid-August at the earliest a contract to notify and provide identity fraud protection services to the 21.5 million victims of the security clearance database breach. (National Journal)

Hacking Team created the most sophisticated Android malware ever exposed. (Help Net Security)

What Ashley Madison users are saying about their hacked data. (Motherboard)

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) spoke Wednesday at an event titled "Terror Gone Viral." Check out his remarks here.

A major British cybersecurity firm with several former NSA employees was valued at more than $100 million. (The Guardian)

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