Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump dodges on Putin hacking denial | Senate panel wants Trump Jr. to testify | House approves cyber amendments to defense bill

Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump dodges on Putin hacking denial | Senate panel wants Trump Jr. to testify | House approves cyber amendments to defense bill
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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 ...



--TRUMP DODGES ON PUTIN'S HACKING DENIAL: President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE on Wednesday evening dodged a question on whether he accepted Vladimir Putin's denial of Russia's involvement in the interference campaign directed at the 2016 presidential election. Trump met with the Russian president on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg last Friday, after which he said that he pressed Putin twice on Russia's attempts to influence the presidential election. Following the meeting, Putin said that Trump appeared to accept his denial of involvement -- which White House officials later disputed. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to France, Trump again said that he pressed the Russian president twice on whether Moscow was involved in the cyber and disinformation campaign aimed at the election. "I said to him, were you involved with the meddling in the election? He said, absolutely not. I was not involved. He was very strong on it. I then said to him again, in a totally different way, were you involved with the meddling. He said, I was not -- absolutely not." Trump received widespread criticism earlier this week for saying that he and Putin had discussed setting up a U.S.-Russia cyber unit.

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--SENATOR WANTS TRUMP JR.'S TESTIMONY: Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyNumber of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing The Hill's Morning Report - GOP pounces on Biden's infrastructure plan MORE (R-Iowa) is inviting Donald Trump Jr. to publicly testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his meeting with a Russian lawyer offering compromising information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 Close the avenues of foreign meddling Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report MORE, according to multiple reports. Grassley is sending Trump Jr. a letter on Thursday asking him to appear before the committee, according to CNN. It would mark the first formal, public invitation for President Trump's eldest son to meet with lawmakers, who have been clamoring to hear from him about his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Revelations about the meeting have dominated the news cycle this week and fueled speculation of the possibility that Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow. Trump Jr. was told ahead of the meeting that it was about "very high level and sensitive information" and "is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

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--FRUSTRATION OVER RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL: Lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with a series of procedural fights that are stalling new Russia sanctions in the House amid mounting concerns about Moscow's election meddling. Senators thought they removed any roadblock to tougher financial penalties when they passed a technical fix late last month. Instead, the bill remains stuck in limbo. "This is all doing nothing but helping Russia," Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 It's time for Biden's Cuba MORE (R-Tenn.) told reporters on Wednesday. "Every day that goes by ... mischief can happen, and I think we really could have passed it the week before the [July Fourth] recess." On Thursday, Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinWhen it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? Battle lines drawn on Biden's infrastructure plan GOP senator hammers Biden proposal to raise corporate tax rate MORE (D-Md.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said at a hearing that he and Corker had been "very focused" on getting the bill passed. "We've expressed as much flexibility as we possibly can to our colleagues in the House to deal with their particular procedural issue," he said. "We don't think that's a problem and we want to make sure this bill is passed as quickly as possible in the House in the form that passed the United States Senate."

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--MEANWHILE, TRUMP DODGES ON WHETHER HE WILL SIGN: President Trump on Wednesday refused to say whether he would sign a Russia sanctions bill, adding uncertainty to the measure that is currently stalled in Congress. "We have very heavy sanctions on Russia right now," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One while traveling to France. "I would not and have never even thought about taking them off. Somebody said, Donald Trump wants to -- I don't want to take them off." The Senate passed the sanctions bill 98-2 last month, but it has been stuck in the House due to partisan and procedural disputes.

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HOUSE APPROVES AMENDMENT REQUIRING PENTAGON TO REPORT RUSSIAN CYBERATTACKS: House lawmakers late Wednesday advanced a provision that would require the Pentagon to report attempts by Russian actors to hack its systems.

The amendment was introduced by Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) to annual defense policy legislation and approved by the full House Wednesday night.

Lawmakers' decision to sign off on the provision comes amid heightened concerns over the Russian government's use of cyberattacks in what the U.S. intelligence community has concluded was a campaign to influence the outcome of the United States' 2016 presidential election.

Specifically, the amendment would require Defense Secretary James Mattis, in coordination with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates, to report to Congress any attempts by the Russian government or actors it supports to attack the Defense Department's systems within the last two years.

"World War III is raging right now. Every day attacks are being carried out and we need to be prepared," Correa said in a statement late Wednesday.

In May, Time magazine reported that an intelligence report indicated that Russian hackers had targeted Pentagon Twitter accounts with malware-laden messages.

The House began debating the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday and will continue on Thursday.

Correa also successfully introduced an amendment to the House legislation that would require the Pentagon to update its cyber strategy and mandate that President Trump develop a strategy for the use of offensive cyber capabilities. It would also allow the Defense Department to provide technical assistance to NATO partners.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

AND HOUSE EXTENDS LAW STREAMLINING FED IT SYSTEMS: An amendment to the NDAA passed by the House Wednesday would extend components of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), legislation to streamline and cheapen federal IT networks.

The amendment, helmed by Reps. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyLawmakers, whistleblower advocates push Biden to fill federal employment board The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump teases on 2024 run Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (D-Va.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), would push back or eliminate end dates for rules encouraging agencies to consolidate data centers, requiring risk assessments for IT investments and reviewing IT investments for efficiency and waste.

"We need to let agencies know that they are not going to be able to run out the clock on FITARA's transparency and reporting requirements," said Connolly.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.



'Stranger Things' and 'Westworld' clean up with Emmy nominations. (Gizmodo)


A REPORT IN FOCUS:  A new paper from McAfee argues that organizations should work to "team up" humans and machines in order to achieve better outcomes for cybersecurity. The paper, which was commissioned by McAfee and produced by 451 Research, notes that machine learning is "changing the game" for cybersecurity and is a critical component for businesses to achieve endpoint security of their networks.

"In relation to cybersecurity, machine learning has been changing the game as a means of managing the massive amounts of data within corporate environments," the report says. "However, machine learning lacks the innately human ability to creatively solve problems and intellectually analyze events. It has been said time and again that people are a company's greatest asset. Machine learning makes security teams better, and vice versa."

Combining machine learning and artificial intelligence with human intellect, the report lays out, will deliver the "best of both worlds."

In an accompanying blog post, Steve Grobman, senior vice president and chief technology officer of McAfee, highlighted that machines could help "amplify" human capabilities amid a shortage of human cybersecurity talent.

To read the full paper, click here.



HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY SUFFERS INTERNAL BREACH: Global health insurance company Bupa has suffered an insider breach that comprised the personal information of more than 100,000 individuals with international health insurance policies.

The company acknowledged the breach on Thursday, saying in a statement that an employee had intentionally and "inappropriately copied and removed some customer information from the company." About 108,000 international health insurance policies were affected.

The stolen personal data includes names, birth dates, nationalities, and some contact and administrative information, but it does not include financial or medical data. The company said that it is in the process of notifying customers affected.

International health policies are typically used by individuals who work or travel overseas often.

"Protecting the information we hold about our customers is an absolute priority and I would like to assure customers that we are treating this seriously and taking steps to address the situation," wrote Sheldon Kenton, managing director of Bupa Global, in a blog post. "This was not a cyberattack or external data breach, but a deliberate act by an employee."

The employee, who was part of the company's international health insurance division, has since been removed.

The company, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, said that it has put additional security checks in place and is conducting an investigation into the matter.



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

Exclusive: DOJ let Russian lawyer into US before she met with Trump team. (The Hill)

House panel rejects push to revoke Kushner's security clearance. (The Hill)

FCC launches new effort to crack down on robocalls. (The Hill)

Trump blames Obama administration for allowing Russian lawyer in US. (The Hill)

U.K. hospitals to receive funding for cybersecurity following 'Wanna Cry.' (Guardian)

Russian hacker group resurfaces to make allegations against Hillary Clinton. (Cyberscoop)

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