Hillicon Valley: 50M affected by Facebook hack | Google CEO to testify on Capitol Hill | Tesla shares slump after SEC sues | House Intel votes to release Russia probe transcripts | Dem holds up passage of key intel bill

Hillicon Valley: 50M affected by Facebook hack | Google CEO to testify on Capitol Hill | Tesla shares slump after SEC sues | House Intel votes to release Russia probe transcripts | Dem holds up passage of key intel bill
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Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.

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50 MILLION FACEBOOK USERS AFFECTED IN HACK: Facebook revealed on Friday that it discovered a hack affecting the accounts of 50 million users.

The company said that hackers had exploited a vulnerability affecting those users, but it hasn't determined what information might have been accessed.

"This is a real serious security issue and we're taking it really seriously," Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach Social media never intended to be in the news business — but just wait till AI takes over Facebook exploring deals with media outlets for news section: report MORE said on a call with reporters. "It definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place."

Facebook said that hackers had attacked a vulnerability in their software related to the "View As" feature, which lets users look at their own profiles from a third-party's perspective. The company said it's fixed the vulnerability and turned the feature off as a precaution.

The vulnerability was introduced into Facebook's system in July of 2017 when the company overhauled the "View As" feature. On September 16, Facebook says that it found unusual activity on its platform and launched an investigation, ultimately identifying the vulnerability and the intrusion on Tuesday.

The big picture: The announcement comes at an awkward time for Facebook, which is still struggling to rebuild its reputation after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal earlier this year, which Zuckerberg had to answer for on Capitol Hill.

And it comes as Congress is preparing a national privacy bill that the tech industry is hoping will prevent states from passing their own data collection laws like California did this summer.

Read more here.

 

GOOGLE CEO TO TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE JUDICIARY: The House Judiciary Committee said it will hold a hearing with Google CEO Sundar Pichai about "social media filtering practices" following a meeting between Republican congressmen and Pichai on Friday.

"Today we held a very productive meeting with Google CEO Sundar Pichai to discuss concerns regarding Google's business practices," Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteImmigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute MORE (R-Va.) said in a statement. "Following this meeting, I will officially be inviting Mr. Pichai to testify before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing this fall."

Pichai, accompanied by Google's Washington, D.C. staff swiftly left the Capitol Hill meeting without taking questions from reporters.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.) who organized the meeting, however, called the meeting "productive" and said that they spoke about topics including alleged bias against conservatives on tech platforms and Google's reported plans to enter China's search market.

McCarthy characterized some of the discussions on bias as "very frank," and said that Pichai outlined challenges Google faces in addressing his and other Republicans concerns.

Read more here.

 

SET THE TRANSCRIPTS FREE: The House Intelligence Committee on Friday voted to release dozens of transcripts from its now-shuttered investigation into Russia's election interference, likely teeing up a massive document dump ahead of the November midterm elections.

The transcripts include testimony from several of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE's associates and campaign officials, including Stephen Bannon, Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksHope Hicks defends accuracy of her congressional testimony Nadler subpoenas Lewandowski, former White House official for testimony House panel to go to court to enforce McGahn subpoena, Nadler says MOREJared KushnerJared Corey KushnerPresident tweets 'few work harder' than Ivanka, Jared PETA billboard in Baltimore calls Kushner a 'rich pest' Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign MOREDonald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpPETA billboard in Baltimore calls Kushner a 'rich pest' Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report House chairman warns foreign governments to 'cease and desist' spending money at Trump properties MORE, and Roger StoneRoger Jason Stone3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Judge rejects Stone's request to dismiss charges Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia over election interference MORE.

They also include transcripts of interviews with officials from the Obama administration, such as former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Former DHS, intelligence leaders launch group to protect presidential campaigns from foreign interference Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief MORE and former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesSally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' Trump: 'Impossible for me to know' extent of Flynn investigation Mueller didn't want Comey memos released out of fear Trump, others would change stories MORE, as well as Trump administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats11 Essential reads you missed this week Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Hillicon Valley: Deepfakes pose 2020 test for media | States beg Congress for more election security funds | Experts worry campaigns falling short on cybersecurity | Trump officials urge reauthorization of NSA surveillance program MORE.

While lawmakers from both parties voted in favor of releasing the documents, Democrats are accusing the Republican leaders of selectively withholding some documents from the public and slow-rolling others' release.

The transcripts -- 53 in total, covering thousands of pages -- will not immediately be released but will now go to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for a classification review, which could take days or weeks to complete. 

Read more here.

 

SAY BYE TO THE SPY?: Security experts and privacy advocates are hopeful the rollout of the new 5G wireless network could eliminate a glaring surveillance vulnerability that allows spying on nearby phone calls.

Lawmakers have been pressing the Trump administration to crack down on technology known as "Stingrays," after it was revealed they were found near federal buildings in Washington D.C. earlier this year.

The devices, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers, allow for unauthorized cellphone surveillance. They are often used by law enforcement to track suspects in cases. But the devices have vexed federal officials who until recently had no way of tracking them, sparking worries about their use by foreign powers.

Stingrays exploit cell towers that are the backbone of the current 4G network. Experts say the structure of 5G, short for fifth-generation networks, could block the way the devices operate, resolving the thorny surveillance problem.

5G networks would be less reliant on those towers and also would require new security standards for communications. The new network would be built using smaller cells, which are about the size of refrigerators and located every few blocks.

"The use of next-generation 5G technologies, with stronger security options, promises to lower the threat from unauthorized rogue base stations, so called "stingray" devices," Charles Romine, head of the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, told The Hill in an email.

"There is still a lot of work to be done, but we expect innovations like 5G to make a real difference in many aspects of telecommunications security." 

Read more here.

 

TESLA SHARES SLIDE AFTER SEC CHARGES: Tesla shares dropped 12 percent Friday morning after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged CEO Elon Musk with fraud and pushed to have him removed from the company.

The lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in federal court in Manhattan, alleged that Musk misled shareholders in a series of unusual tweets in August, in which he said he had secured funding to take the electric car company private.

Musk responded by saying the charges were "unjustified."

Tesla shares were trading at about $270 when the market opened Friday morning -- more than 12 percent lower than the $307 price on Thursday afternoon.

Read more here.

 

YOU'RE HOLDING UP THE INTEL: Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees failed to pass an annual intelligence authorization bill before the new fiscal year after the objections of a key House Democrat held up passage of the compromise bill.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Schiff offers bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime New intel chief inherits host of challenges MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, would not agree to support the two-year Intelligence Authorization Act over concerns about a provision in the classified portion of the report, sources tell The Hill.

The other leaders -- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Trump withdraws Ratcliffe as Intelligence pick MORE (R-N.C.), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach New intel chief inherits host of challenges Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE (D-Va.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJuan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report House Republicans claim victory after Mueller hearings MORE (R-Calif.) -- were all on board with the legislation.

Schiff's objection means the intelligence panels won't be able to articulate their priorities to the intelligence community during the fiscal 2018 year, losing important oversight on national security matters like cyberattacks and Russian aggression.

Out of thousands of pages of legislative text, Schiff took issue with a paragraph in the classified annex of the report. According to one congressional source, this section is related to an oversight matter. Further details about the provision are not known.

More on what it all means here.

 

WHAT'S REALLY THE DEAL WITH CHINA: Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have requested an intelligence briefing on President Trump's accusations that China has tried to interfere in the midterm elections.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee's ranking member, told The Hill Thursday that the minority has requested a briefing before the House's next recess on Trump's claims.

"We have requested to be briefed on what he was referring to," Schiff said. "We expect that we will, before we recess, have the opportunity to ask just what he is talking about."

On Wednesday, Trump accused China of trying to meddle in the elections during a speech at a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York.

"Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election," Trump said. "They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade."

At a later press conference, Trump pointed to an insert in the Des Moines Register purchased by a Chinese government-backed media company that criticized Trump's trade policies. He described the alleged Chinese interference as "different" than Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 vote. 

Read more here.

 

OBAMA HITS FACEBOOK: Former President Obama said Thursday that private businesses should work with the government to develop products so they avoid being disconnected from social consequences.

"Too often, at least in the United States, there's a tendency for business leaders to say, 'Let's just avoid the government as much as we can,'" Obama told Swedish billionaire entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom during an interview, according to the Associated Press.

"That strategy can work for a time, but eventually -- as I think Facebook has now discovered -- you're going to have to engage," he said.

Facebook has faced increasing government and public pressure in the U.S. and abroad to alter its platform to better fit various people's wishes.

Read more here.

 

HOW TO TELL THE FBI YOU GOT HACKED: The Department of Justice (DOJ) released new guidance Thursday on how best companies can share information with federal officials during data breaches.

The document, released the same day as a DOJ roundtable with private sector officials who work on data breaches, builds on previous guidelines on how to respond to cyber attacks.

The newly released guidance says the FBI has created more direct lines to communicate with companies in the case of breaches, and that organizations should also dedicate staff to better share information with federal officials on cyber threats.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' MORE was among the officials who spoke at the roundtable, along with officials from the White House, the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security.

Rosenstein said in a statement that partnerships between public and private entities "play a critical role in our efforts to hold criminals accountable for data breaches."

"We depend on the private sector to help us maintain the rule of law in cyberspace at every stage of our work," he said. "That includes working together to obtain critical evidence for investigations and trials, and collaborating on developing the legal authorities needed to protect our 21st century economy."

 

A LIGHTER TWITTER CLICK: I think there's a pretty simple fix for that one.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

The hot property that's next on tech's agenda: Real estate. (The New York Times)

Trump's antitrust chief questions whether there's 'credible evidence' Big Tech is harming innovation. (The Washington Post)

Hackers are holding high-profile Instagram accounts hostage (Motherboard)

Hackers bring stark warning about election security to Capitol Hill ahead of midterms (CNN)

Indie hacker gets cold feet on an attack on Zuckerberg (Bloomberg)