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Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump Tower meet about sanctions, emails suggest | TransUnion amps lobbying on cyber | Russian social media campaign targeted US vets

Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump Tower meet about sanctions, emails suggest | TransUnion amps lobbying on cyber | Russian social media campaign targeted US vets

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 …

 

THE BIG STORY:

-- LAWMAKER’S EMAILS IMPLY RUSSIANS PLANNED TRUMP TOWER MEET ABOUT SANCTIONS, NOT CLINTON: A newly disclosed email sent by the Russian lawyer who attended a now-infamous meeting with senior Trump campaign officials appears to suggest that she believed it had little to do with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Republicans cancel airtime in swing Vegas district The Democratic Donald Trump is coming MORE. The email could bolster the lawyer’s claim that she attended the meeting at Trump Tower to discuss a 2012 sanctions law passed in response to human rights violations and loathed by the Kremlin. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, has claimed repeatedly in interviews that the Magnitsky Act was the focus of the meeting. The note, written the morning of the 2016 meeting, was sent to the music promoter who arranged the session attended by Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE Jr., Jared Kushner and others. Scott Balber, an attorney for a Russian billionaire who helped arrange the meeting for Veselnitskaya, provided the email to The Hill and others. The newly disclosed document contradicts the version of events shown in email exchanges between music promoter Rob Goldstone, who represents Agalarov's son, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, and Trump Jr. In those emails, released by Trump Jr. this summer, Goldstone says that he is bringing a Russian government lawyer to the meeting who could provide political dirt on Clinton. Veselnitskaya had information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” Goldstone wrote.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

AN INTERNATIONAL UPDATE:

UK TOP SPY: CYBERSECURITY THREAT ON PAR WITH COUNTERTERRORISM

The head of the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), similar to the National Security Agency, said that his agency now treats cybersecurity as a threat on par with terrorism.

"If GCHQ is to continue to help keep the country safe, then protecting the digital homeland — keeping our citizens safe and free online — must become and remain as much part of our mission as our global intelligence reach and our round-the-clock efforts against terrorism," wrote GCHQ Director Jeremy Flemming in Sunday's Daily Telegraph.

The GCHQ has been tasked with increasing duties similar to the work done by the Department of Homeland Security. It houses the National Cyber Security Centre, opened in 2016, and both government and private entities in cybersecurity. 

The National Cyber Security Centre coordinated the response to 600 threats last year, including to "WannaCry," malware that forced a number of U.K. hospitals to turn away patients.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: NORTH COW-REA. North Korean embassies raise budgets in part by selling illegal livestock and cigarettes and renting party venues.

 

NOTES FROM THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION:

--RUSSIA TARGETED U.S. VETS IN SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN: Russia targeted U.S. military personnel and veterans in an information campaign last year by spreading messages on social media networks that promoted Kremlin propaganda as well as conspiracy theories, according to a new study. The Oxford University study found that three websites with Kremlin ties — Veteranstoday.com, Veteransnewsnow.com and Southfront.org — engaged in “significant and persistent interactions” with the U.S. military community, McClatchy reported Monday.“We’ve found an entire ecosystem of junk news about national security issues that is deliberately crafted for U.S. veterans and active military personnel,” Professor Philip Howard, who led the research in the study, told the newswire. “It’s a complex blend of content with a Russian view of the world — wild rumors and conspiracies.”

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--GOOGLE, TOO, SOLD ADS TO RUSSIA: Google has discovered it sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of online ads to Russian-linked actors trying to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to The Washington Post. The Post reported that the ads cost less than $100,000 and were deployed on a variety of Google’s platforms, including YouTube, Gmail and in search results. People familiar with the ads told the outlet that the ads do not appear to originate from the Internet Research Agency, the Russian “troll farm” that Facebook said had purchased $100,000 of political ads on its platform through fake accounts. "We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. "We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies, and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries."

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

WHAT’S IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

TRANSUNION’S NEW LOBBYISTS: The credit-reporting bureau TransUnion is fortifying its lobbying presence with a spate of new hires as lawmakers are scrutinizing the industry in the wake of the massive Equifax data breach.

A disclosure form that appeared online Friday shows that the agency has hired nine lobbyists from the CGCN Group, a Republican lobbying firm.

Duties for the new lobbyists will include cybersecurity issues. 

TransUnion did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

FROM OUR OP-ED CONTRIBUTORS:

OPINION: Cybersecurity is key for the smart cities of tomorrow  

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

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

The trade association CompTIA is stumping for Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellHillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political 'spam' | Leaked research shows Google's struggles with online free speech | Trump's praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug Congress moves to ensure the greater availability of explosives detecting dogs in the US Overnight Energy — Presented by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance — Trump ends law enforcement program at wildlife refuges | Pruitt canceled trips he already had tickets for | Senate panel approves new parks fund MORE (D-Wash.)’s Smart Cities and Communities Act. (The Hill)

The National Security Council adds a new intelligence head. (The Hill)

Cyber service is so popular in the Israeli military, it’s leading to troop shortages. (Cyberscoop)

Meet the 30-something who sells organized crime rings their encrypted phones. (The Daily Beast)

A Russian startup will 3D print you a house in 24 hours. (Readwrite)

Sri Lankan police arrested two henchmen in a $60 million digital heist of a Taiwanese bank. (AFP)

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