Overnight Cybersecurity

Hillicon Valley — Musk pushing to avert Twitter trial

FILE – In this March 14, 2019, file photo Tesla CEO Elon Musk pauses while speaking before unveiling the Model Y at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk will face the electric car maker’s shareholders during the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday, June 11. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Elon Musk is seeking a stay in his trial with Twitter as he looks to close his deal to buy the company for $54.20 per share.  

We’ll also dive into the conviction of a former Uber executive over charges that he obstructed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation involving two hacks of the company.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Musk looks to avoid trial on Twitter deal 

Elon Musk’s attorneys asked a court for a stay Thursday in the trial between the billionaire and Twitter, the social media company he is seeking to buy.  

The attorneys said proceeding with the trial, set to begin later this month, would be “an enormous waste of party and judicial resources” given the agreement Musk and Twitter reached earlier this week to close the transaction, according to a copy of the motion. 

“As a result there is no need for an expedited trial to order Defendants to do what they are already doing and this action is now moot,” Musk’s attorneys wrote.  

Musk’s request for a stay in the trial comes just days after he agreed to follow through on his offer to buy Twitter at his original offer price of $54.20 a share, after trying to back out of the deal initially reached this spring. Twitter sued Musk in an attempt to force him to follow through with the purchase. 

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

In response to Musk’s letter agreeing to pay for the company under the initial agreement, a Twitter spokesperson said “the intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.” 

Read more here.  

Former Uber exec convicted 

A former Uber executive has been convicted on charges that he obstructed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation involving two hacks of the company that happened in 2014 and 2016.  

A jury found Joe Sullivan guilty of obstruction of proceedings of the FTC and “misprision of felony,” which is taking steps to conceal a felony from authorities, on Wednesday after a four-week trial.  

  • Sullivan was hired as Uber’s chief security officer in 2015 while the FTC was investigating the 2014 data breach in which hackers obtained about
    50,000 customers’ personal information, including names and driver’s license numbers.  
  • Sullivan supervised Uber’s responses to the FTC’s questions, participated in a presentation to the agency in March 2016 and testified under oath to the FTC that November on the company’s data security practices, according to a Justice Department (DOJ) release. He mentioned steps he had taken to keep customer data secure during his testimony. 

Read more here.  

RUSSIAN-SPEAKING HACKERS KNOCK STATE SITES OFFLINE 

A Russian-speaking hacking group on Wednesday claimed responsibility for knocking a number of U.S. state government websites offline, according to news reports.  

Government websites in Colorado, Mississippi and Kentucky were impacted Wednesday, CNN reported, including a Kentucky Board of Elections site with information on voter registration, though the group had not listed the latter as a target. 

A Telegram post from the group Killnet included the state websites in a list of targets it planned to hit with service disruptions, according to translations. The list also included government pages from Florida, Alabama, Delaware and Hawaii, among other states, as well as a U.S. tax payment site.   

Connecticut’s sites were also among those disrupted Wednesday, according to Newsweek

Read more here.  

AMAZON’S HOLIDAY HIRING   

Amazon announced Thursday it will hire 150,000 workers in the U.S. for the upcoming holiday season. 

The e-commerce giant said the new hires will come in full-time, part-time and seasonal gigs to help with the busy holiday season. 

John Felton, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said the company is “proud to offer a wide variety of roles for people of all backgrounds.” 

“Whether someone is looking for some extra money for a few months or a long-term career, the holidays are a great time for people to join Amazon, and many of our seasonal employees return year-after-year or transition into full-time roles,” Felton said in a statement

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: How the Supreme Court could change social media as we know it 

Notable links from around the web: 

Facebook Is the Only Game in Town for Digital Political Ads (Bloomberg / Anna Edgerton) 

Prominent influencer sues TikTok over ads she says misused her image (The Washington Post / Taylor Lorenz) 

A Twitter trial would expose Elon Musk to scrutiny. Buying Twitter might help him avoid it. (Vox / Whizy Kim) 

🎧 Lighter click: What a wonderful kind of day

One more thing: Toyota restarts EV production 

Toyota has restarted its electric vehicle (EV) production after fixing issues with car wheels and airbag units following a mass recall earlier this year.  

The Japanese automaker announced on Thursday that it plans to restart production on its EV series model, the bZ4X, after a three-month delay.  

The bZ4X was recalled in June after the company discovered problems with the model’s wheel parts, citing that sharp turns and sudden braking can cause the wheel’s bolts to become loose, resulting in an accident, Reuters reported.  

Globally, 2,700 bZ4X models were recalled, most of them sold in Europe, North America and Asia. 

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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