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 ZuckerbergMerkel named Harvard commencement speaker The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Congress to act soon to avoid shutdown Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg denies selling 'anyone's data' | UK Parliament releases more Facebook docs | Canada reportedly arrests Huawei CFO | Fallout from Marriott hack | Cuba rolls out internet service for mobile users 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 GoodlatteGOP, Comey have tense day — with promise of a second date The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Trump taps William Barr as new AG | Nauert picked to replace Haley at UN | Washington waits for bombshell Mueller filing Meadows says Comey's interview with House Republicans will be 'far reaching' 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 McCarthyGOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules Veteran Capitol Hill aide Parker Poling to serve as next NRCC executive director ‘Wake up, dudes’ — gender gap confounds GOP women 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 TrumpCorsi sues Mueller for alleged leaks and illegal surveillance Comey: Trump 'certainly close' to being unindicted co-conspirator Trump pushes back on reports that Ayers was first pick for chief of staff MORE's associates and campaign officials, including Stephen Bannon, Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksHouse Dems planning to send Trump associates’ testimony to Mueller: report Trump played key role in coordinating hush money payments to Daniels, McDougal: report Trump: 'I don't call it tweeting. I call it social media' MOREJared KushnerJared Corey KushnerFull transcript reveals slain journalist Khashoggi's last words: CNN Kushner advised Saudi crown prince after Khashoggi killing: report Trump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference MOREDonald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDe Niro returns to ‘Saturday Night Live’ as Mueller with warning for Eric Trump Ocasio-Cortez rips into conservative journalist for calling her a bitch Dem lawmaker: Trump Jr. lied to Congress on two occasions MORE, and Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCorsi sues Mueller for alleged leaks and illegal surveillance Hillicon Valley: Huawei executive facing possible US fraud charges | Dem blames White House for failure of election security bill | FCC investigating wireless carriers over coverage data | Assange rejects deal to leave embassy Mueller looking into Trump campaign adviser appearances on Russian state TV: report MORE.

They also include transcripts of interviews with officials from the Obama administration, such as former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperFBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet Trump on sharing photo of Rosenstein behind bars: 'He should have never picked a special counsel' Clapper: Trump’s criticism of bin Laden raid represents ‘complete ignorance’ MORE and former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesIs Mueller team bludgeoning to get narrative it wants? The Hill's Morning Report — Where the Kavanaugh nomination stands 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 MORE, as well as Trump administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBarr turned down defense attorney job with Trump: report Paul calls Trump's pick for attorney general's views on surveillance 'very troubling' John Kelly to leave White House at year's end MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDems slam Trump for siding with Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi killing Dem senator demands public intelligence assessment on Khashoggi killing Hillicon Valley: Official warns midterm influence could trigger sanctions | UK, Canada call on Zuckerberg to testify | Google exec resigns after harassment allegations | Gab CEO defends platform | T-Mobile, Sprint tailor merger pitch for Trump 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 SchiffDems have new moniker for Trump: ‘Unindicted co-conspirator' Schiff: Trump may face ‘real prospect of jail time’ Sunday shows preview: Trade talks, Cohen sentencing memo take center stage 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 BurrNRCC breach exposes gaps 2 years after Russia hacks Hillicon Valley: Ecuador says 'road is clear' for Assange to leave embassy | Panel questioned Bannon on Cambridge Analytica | Trump aide says US knew about arrest of Huawei exec | Judges grill DOJ lawyers on AT&T merger appeal Bannon interviewed with Senate Intelligence panel on Cambridge Analytica: report MORE (R-N.C.), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerNRCC breach exposes gaps 2 years after Russia hacks Hillicon Valley: Huawei executive facing possible US fraud charges | Dem blames White House for failure of election security bill | FCC investigating wireless carriers over coverage data | Assange rejects deal to leave embassy Warner blames White House for election security bill not passing Congress MORE (D-Va.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesComey’s confession: dossier not verified before, or after, FISA warrant GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet 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 Jay RosensteinGraham vows to push Trump’s AG pick through Judiciary Committee House GOP set to grill Comey McCabe, Rosenstein opened obstruction probe after Trump fired Comey, before Mueller was hired: report 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)