The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief

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The Cyber Brief
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MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016
The global financial network SWIFT said late last week that hackers successfully breached the systems of another bank, but did not disclose which financial institution it was or whether money was stolen. The news comes as investigators continue to probe the cyber theft of more than $80 million from Bangladesh’s central bank. SWIFT said that this second case demonstrates that the Bangladesh heist was not an isolated incident, but part of a wider campaign against banks.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts at BAE Systems say that the malware used in the Bangladesh heist is connected to other cyberattacks, including the high-profile 2014 attack on Sony. The White House has blamed North Korea for that, a charge Pyongyang has rejected. BAE has reportedly not determined who was behind the recent attacks. (Reuters, NYT)
Gag Orders: U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein denied 15 separate government applications for orders blocking technology companies from notifying their customers of government searches, ruling that they lacked enough information for him to judge whether the secrecy was warranted. (WSJ)

Money Laundering: Vladamir Kats, a co-founder of Liberty Reserve, which operated a widely-used digital currency, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after agreeing to help authorities prosecute his ex-partner for helping cyber criminals launder hundreds of millions of dollars. (Reuters)

Syrian Hacker: A member of the Syrian Electronic Army, Peter Romar, has been extradited to the U.S. from Germany to face charges for his alleged part in a cyber campaign against the U.S. military and businesses. (Federal Times)

Sextortion: The Brookings Institution released two studies seen as the first in-depth reviews of sextortion. While U.S. authorities acknowledge the proliferation of the crimes, sextortion does not exist as a separate offense in federal or state law, nor does any government agency maintain data on it. (NYT)
Search Warrants: Sen. Rand Paul plans to become the first Republican co-sponsor of legislation to block a pending judicial rule change that would let federal judges issue search warrants for remote access to computers located in any jurisdiction. (Reuters)

U.S.-China: A group of senior officials from the United States and China held its first meeting on cybersecurity issues in accordance with an anti-hacking pledge struck by the two nations in September. The group is expected to meet twice a year. (The Hill)

Email Security: Messages containing sensitive national security information are routinely exchanged over unclassified government servers, raising serious concerns about how federal employees communicate in the digital age. (NYT)
Tech Outreach: Secretary Ash Carter plans to overhaul the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley office--the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental--just nine months after it opened. Meanwhile, he will establish a sister unit in Boston, which will also be charged with working with tech companies on concepts with military applications. (WaPo)
Apple: CEO Tim Cook visited Beijing just days after the company announced a $1 billion deal with ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing. Didi is reportedly working towards an IPO in the United States that would likely take place in 2018. (Reuters)

SAP: Europe’s largest software company is the subject of a U.S. security alert over a vulnerability the firm disabled six years ago but that can still give hackers remote control over its older systems. (Reuters)
Israel: A city is rising in the middle of the Negev desert that will concentrate some of the country’s top cybersecurity talent from the military, academia, and business. (WaPo)

Germany: The country’s domestic intelligence agency said that Russian intelligence agencies were likely responsible for a massive cyberattack on Germany's lower house of parliament last year. (Reuters)

France: Three French anti-racism associations said they planned to file legal complaints against social networks Facebook, Twitter, and Google's Youtube for failing to remove "hateful" content posted on their platforms. (Reuters)

Must Reads
The Ukrainian Hacker Who Became the FBI’s Best Weapon: “Weaned on cyberpunk fiction and the 1995 movie Hackers, Popov knew two things from the start: He was going to be a computer outlaw, and he was going to make money at it. He found plenty of fellow mercenaries in the Russian-speaking regions of the Internet. In the late 1990s, former Soviet states were as flush with smart young programmers as they were impoverished of high tech career opportunities. Cadres of hackers were bootstrapping their own dotcom gold rush, stealing credit card numbers from US ecommerce sites,” writes Kevin Poulsen in Wired.

How ISIS Uses the Internet: “While the vast majority of the group’s fighters in Iraq and Syria are probably not using the internet for much more than sending photos to their family WhatsApp groups, U.S. intelligence believe a small unit within ISIS is leading the group’s cyber ambitions, which range from working with hackers to launch cyberattacks against their enemies, to publishing manuals that help their supporters mask their online communications and defend themselves from those hunting them,” writes Sheera Frenkel for BuzzFeed.

Delivery Drones: Coming to the Sky Near You?: “The prospect of highly automated fleets of drones being used routinely to deliver packages raises a number of interesting legal questions. Can a property owner bar overflight by a drone making a delivery nearby? Could a homeowners’ association prohibit the delivery of packages by drones within their jurisdiction? The answers to these questions hinge on who owns the airspace. A couple of centuries ago, the answer would have been obvious—under ancient common law principles, ownership of land would have extended from the ground all the way up to the heavens. In modern times, starting with the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Causby, federal courts have rejected this conception of absolute property ownership,” says the Congressional Research Service.
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