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The Cyber Brief
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MONDAY, MAY 9, 2016
Some top law enforcement officials, including Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and tech executives are making the rounds in Congress, pressing key lawmakers to take their side in the battle over encryption. The intensifying lobbying effort comes after Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill last month that would require tech firms to give the government access to encrypted data when investigators have a court order. Analysts say the flurry of lobbying is unusual at this early stage of a bill’s life, which indicates the high stakes involved. (NYT)
LAPD: Police found a way to open the locked iPhone 5S belonging to the slain wife of "The Shield" actor Michael Jace, who stands accused of killing her at their home in 2014. Officials said the department found a “forensic cellphone expert” who helped. (LA Times)

Philly Officer: A former Philadelphia police officer suspected of possessing child pornography has been jailed for months after he failed to comply with a court order compelling him to provide access to his computers. He has not been charged with a crime. (NYT)
Bank Heist: Law enforcement officials in Bangladesh say the country’s central bank became more vulnerable to hackers when technicians from SWIFT, the global financial network, connected a new transaction system three months before cyber thieves made off with $81 million. (Reuters)

Android: For the past five years, a flaw in many Android phones has left users' text messages, call histories, and possibly other sensitive data vulnerable to hackers, according to FireEye. The problem was fixed in the Android security patch Google released on May 1. (ArsTechnica)

Emails: Hundreds of millions of stolen usernames and passwords are reportedly being traded in Russia's criminal underworld. The trove includes tens of millions of credentials from the world's three big email providers: Gmail, Microsoft, and Yahoo. (Reuters)
Surveillance: Lawmakers and privacy advocates continued to press Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for the number of Americans' emails and phone calls collected under programs authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Clapper says agencies are looking into several options for providing an estimate. (AP)
Cyberhub: The Verge provides an interesting look inside the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which opened in 2009 to serve as a place where DHS could monitor cyber threats across government agencies and critical infrastructure. (Verge)
Twitter: The company reportedly has cut off U.S. intelligence workers from access to a service that sifts through its social-media postings looking for potential security threats. Twitter appeared to be worried about the “optics” of seeming too close to intelligence services. (WSJ)

Uber: The ride-hailing app appointed a former vice president of the European Commission to its new public policy board. Nellie Kroes spent more than ten years with the EU’s executive body as commissioner for competition and as head of its Digital Agenda initiative. (BBC)

Robots: Some tech analysts say it seems unlikely that sufficient opportunities will be created to absorb the workers that the coming robot revolution will push out of traditional jobs. (FT)
Switzerland: The country’s defense minister said his department was targeted by hackers in January and indicated the motive was industrial espionage. (NYT)

Cyprus: Anonymous reportedly disrupted the island country’s central bank website days after the hacking collective said it conducted a similar attack on the Greek central bank's site. (Reuters)
Must Reads
Defining a Cyber Act of War: “Washington has no clear policy for responding to a cyberattack. If an attack against the U.S. occurs through conventional military means, the policies are clear. These guidelines must be broadened to include the cyber domain. Current U.S. policies permit the Defense Department to respond to a cyberattack against military forces and infrastructure. But the U.S. doesn’t have a clear policy governing the Pentagon’s response to a similar attack against critical civilian infrastructure,” writes Mike Rounds in the Wall Street Journal.

Obama’s Cyber Doctrine: “As the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama begins to wind down, much of Washington’s national security community is working to deliver the next president with fresh ideas on cybersecurity. No matter what these groups recommend, the next president would do well to recognize that the Obama administration has found what is likely the only workable strategy: making it a private sector responsibility,” writes Rob Knake in Foreign Affairs.

Bitcoin: Identity Crisis: “To be recognised as Satoshi is to be handed the proverbial keys to the alternate currency network, whose emergence has prompted an industry-wide rethink about how payments should be accounted, cleared and settled. But with it also comes the power to influence bitcoin’s famously headless architecture, a fact many of the currency’s advocates fear could compromise its independence,” writes Izabella Kaminska in the Financial Times.
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