FEATURED STORY            

MONDAY, MAY 21, 2018


The Trump administration has eliminated the role of White House cybersecurity coordinator in the name of bureaucratic efficiency, drawing criticism from some lawmakers, former government officials, and subject matter experts. The position was established under the Obama presidency to unify the government’s approach to a range of cyber challenges. The job’s responsibilities will now fall to two members of the National Security Council.


Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new national cybersecurity strategy, aiming to harmonize and prioritize the department’s programming, budgeting, and operations. The document outlines a five-part approach to managing cyber risk and ensuring critical national functions. (NYT, Politico, CBS, DHS)


Mexico: The country’s central bank said that hackers stole more than $15 million from five unidentified companies using an electronic payment system. However, it’s unclear how much the thieves have been able to withdraw in cash. (Reuters)


Spectre Flaw: Yuriy Bulygin, the former head of Intel's threat team, published research showing that previously disclosed computer processor flaws can be used to attack a host system's firmware, which experts say would allow hackers extraordinary access to sensitive information. (Bloomberg)


Surveillance Tools: A new study shows that more than 200 apps and services offer would-be stalkers a variety of capabilities, from basic location tracking to harvesting texts and secretly recording video. (NYT)


CIA Leaker: Federal authorities have identified a suspect behind last year’s Vault 7 leak of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools. However, Joshua A. Schulte, a 29-year-old former CIA software engineer, has not been charged or cleared in connection with the leak despite being arrested more than a year ago. (NYT)


Scan4you: A federal jury convicted Ruslans Bondars, the Latvian man behind a service that helped hackers determine the allusiveness of their malware, on multiple hacking-related counts. The Scan4you service reportedly helped develop some of the most prolific malware known to the FBI such as “Citadel” which infected over 11 million computers worldwide. (SCM)

  ON THE HILL                                    

Elections: Jigsaw, a tech incubator owned by Google-parent Alphabet, said that Project Shield, its free DDoS protection tool, is now available to political campaigns, candidates, and political action committees. (CNET)


Mobile Tracking: The FCC is investigating a website flaw that could have allowed the location of mobile phone customers to be tracked within a few hundred yards of their location and without their consent. (Reuters)


Drones: The Department of Homeland Security is seeking new legal authority to track threatening drones and disable them if necessary. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has reportedly introduced legislation to give DHS and the Justice Department authority “to protect buildings and assets when there is an unacceptable security risk to public safety posed by an unmanned aircraft.” (Reuters)

  PRIVATE SECTOR                             

Banks: Former U.S. military and intelligence workers are coming to dominate the top ranks of banks’ cyber security teams, an analysis shows. (NYT)


China in Silicon Valley: Nearly a dozen China-focused accelerators have popped up in California’s tech hub in recent years, affirming the fears of some that Beijing is exfiltrating sensitive U.S. innovations. (Reuters)


GDPR Consulting: Analysts say that a cottage industry around data privacy has sprung up in recent years, with firms offering products and services designed to help companies meet the demands of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. (WSJ)

  THE WORLD                                     

EU: Submitting to pressure from senior European leaders, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to have his testimony in the European Parliament on Tuesday live streamed. (CNN)


How Europe Became the World’s Data Police: “According to many companies and data protection authorities, GDPR could become the global norm, setting standards for behaviour not just in the EU but in countries where hitherto individuals have had few weapons to defend their rights online,” write Sarah Gordon and Aliya Ram in the Financial Times.


Germany Acts to Tame Facebook: “Germany, home to a tough new online hate speech law, has become a laboratory for one of the most pressing issues for governments today: how and whether to regulate the world’s biggest social network,” writes Katrin Bennhold in the New York Times.


The World’s Dominant Crypto-Mining Company Wants to Own AI: “Even by the standards of Bitcoin, things are crazy in China. As the boom in cryptocurrencies has become the biggest speculative bubble in recorded history, a single company in Beijing’s Haidian District has been selling the chips that generate as much as 80 percent of the world’s cryptocoins. ‘We feel lucky,’ says Jihan Wu, the co-chief executive of Bitmain Technologies Ltd., which was more or less unknown two years ago,” write Max Chafkin and David Ramli in BusinessWeek.


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