Hillicon Valley: Facebook briefing lawmakers on massive breach | Industry sues California over net neutrality law | New insight into North Korea's bank hacks | US tests presidential alert system

Hillicon Valley: Facebook briefing lawmakers on massive breach | Industry sues California over net neutrality law | New insight into North Korea's bank hacks | US tests presidential alert system
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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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FACEBOOK HAS BROOM AND DUSTPAN IN HAND: Facebook is briefing lawmakers over the latest massive cybersecurity breach, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Facebook, which briefed the Department of Homeland Security and FBI last week, is slated to meet with more lawmakers this week, including members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the meetings.


The extent of the details they shared with lawmakers and federal agencies is unclear. While Facebook has released some information about the hack, the suspected perpetrators have not been disclosed.

The company has said that it is still in the early stages of its investigation into the breach.

The move appears to be part of the Silicon Valley giant's efforts to try to get ahead of a breach that could hurt the company and result in undesirable regulations. Lawmakers including Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit MORE (D-Va.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have used the hack to bolster their calls for regulations intended to reign in technology companies. Read more here.


What we're waiting for: Facebook has released some public details so far, but there's a few things we're still curious to see. A geographic breakdown of the 50 million affected could shed light on potential targets or motivations of the hackers. The Irish Data Protection Commission revealed that only about 5 million of the accounts were in Europe, but the remaining 45 million is still unclear.  


SUE ME!... OKAY: Internet, cable and wireless providers are suing California over its tough new net neutrality law following a separate lawsuit from the Justice Department seeking to block the state from implementing such rules.

Four industry groups representing internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court in California that accuses lawmakers there of "unconstitutional state regulation."

USTelecom, the American Cable Association, the wireless group CTIA and NCTA - The Internet & Television Association all argue that the state's attempt to replace recently repealed federal rules could hurt consumers.

"We oppose California's action to regulate internet access because it threatens to negatively affect services for millions of consumers and harm new investment and economic growth," the four groups said in a joint statement.

Read more here.

Also, read our story on the coming court battle over the state laws.


NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY NORTH KOREA: North Korea has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars globally since 2014 by hacking banks' computer systems, according to a new report from a U.S. security firm.

Fire Eye's report released Wednesday found that a group backed by Pyongyang was responsible for operations across more than 16 organizations and at least 11 countries.

According to the firm, the group remains "an active global threat."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned Tuesday that North Korean hackers were using malware to withdraw cash from Asian and African banks.

DHS reported that Hidden Cobra, the federal government's term for the North Korean hacking group, had taken tens of millions of dollars from ATMs over the last two years. Read more here.


THE WATER IS WARM BUT IT'S SENDING ME SHIVERS: A coalition of child and consumer advocacy groups on Wednesday accused Facebook of illegally collecting data on children with its new Messenger Kids app.

In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and other organizations argued that the service's disclosures about its privacy practices are overly vague, allowing Facebook to share children's data with third parties.

The groups allege that Messenger Kids is in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act because it doesn't ensure that the adult giving a child permission to use the app is actually the user's guardian.

Read more here.


BLOWING UP MY ECOMMERCE SPOT: Ebay on Wednesday publicly accused Amazon of trying to poach its sellers using the online auction company's own messaging system.

"We have uncovered an unlawful and troubling scheme on the part of Amazon to solicit eBay sellers to move to Amazon's platform," Ebay said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

It sent a cease and desist letter to Amazon on Monday.

"We have demanded that Amazon end its unlawful activity and we will take the appropriate steps, as needed, to protect eBay," the company said in a statement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on Ebay's claim, the company discovered the alleged poaching after being alerted by a seller. The seller claimed that about 10 days ago a person using Ebay's messaging tool tried to persuade the seller to move to Amazon.

Read more here.


THIS IS A TEST: U.S. officials on Wednesday afternoon tested the presidential alert system that allows them to send an alert directly to U.S. cellphones.

The message, delivered to millions of cellphones around 2:18 p.m. EDT, read "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System."

"No action is needed," the message added.

An initial test of the system, planned for Sept. 20, was delayed due to the landfall of Hurricane Florence last month. Wednesday's message was expected to reach about 75 percent of all cellphones in the U.S., according to The New York Times.

Officials have said that use of the system for official alerts -- which cellphone users cannot turn off -- is allowed under a 2016 law signed by then-President Obama ordering the testing of the emergency alert system.

Read more here.


THIRD PARTIES ARE STILL SAFE RIGHT NOW: Facebook said Tuesday that it has not yet found evidence that hackers in the company's most recent security attack accessed third-party sites of the company's platform that let users use their Facebook accounts to log in.

The update comes after concerns were raised when Facebook revealed on Friday that users' accounts on apps they had connected to Facebook might have been compromised as a result of its newly revealed breach in which access tokens for 50 million accounts were stolen by hackers.

Companies whose users have the option to create accounts and log in with their Facebook accounts, such as Tinder, Airbnb and Uber, have said that they're investigating potential breaches as a result, but have yet to find evidence of users being compromised.

Read more here.


UKRAINE, DID YOU HEAR? The United States plans to announce in the coming days that it will offer its cyber capabilities to NATO amid concerns about Russia's use of its own cyber capabilities.

"We will formally announce that the United States is prepared to offer NATO its cyber capabilities if asked," said Katie Wheelbarger, the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs, according to Reuters.

Wheelbarger also said the U.S. offering its cyber capabilities "sends a message primarily aimed at Russia," according to Reuters. U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Russia conducted cyber campaigns against digital U.S. voting systems ahead of the 2016 election and that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee that year.

Wheelbarger added that Britain has led the push for NATO to increase its cyber capabilities, according to Reuters. The news outlet noted that NATO recognizes cyber as a warfare domain but hasn't previously provided further details on what that entails.

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that the U.S. recently released a new cybersecurity strategy mapping out a more hawkish use of its cyber capabilities. 

Read more here.


A LIGHTER TWITTER CLICK: The hunt for bread is worldwide.



Schiff: There is legal precedent for impeaching sitting officials over prior criminal conduct. (The Hill)

Amazon offsetting pay rise by removing bonuses, union says. (The Guardian)

The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy. (Motherboard)

Ben Thompson looks for nuance in the data as a product narrative. (Stratechery)

Chained to the business model. (The Baffler)