The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief

  FEATURED STORY            



The House Intelligence Committee released a classified report condemning Edward Snowden for leaking military and intelligence secrets to U.S. adversaries. “Snowden caused tremendous damage to national security, and the vast majority of the documents he stole have nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests,” an unclassified summary of the report said. Barton Gellman, one of the four journalists who received classified NSA documents from Snowden, denounced the report as “one-sided,” “contemptuous of fact,” and “trifling.”

Meanwhile, the bipartisan panel of legislators also penned a letter to President Obama asking him not to pardon the former NSA contractor. The Obama administration has previously said Snowden, who is living in Russia under a grant of political asylum, should return to the United States to face trial. He was charged in 2013 with espionage and felony theft of government property. (NYT, Reuters, NPR, WaPo, Century Foundation)


Doping Data: A group of Russian hackers leaked a confidential database of files taken from the World Anti-Doping Agency that show that several top U.S. athletes, including Serena and Venus Williams, took restricted drugs. WADA said in all cases that the athletes were granted therapeutic use exemptions. (Guardian)


Powell Emails: The hack of the former U.S. secretary of state’s email account may well prompt a rash of email deletions in Washington, DC, and beyond, as millions may now fear the leak of humiliating or career-destroying communications. (NYT)


Dark Net Drugs: Photos that some drug dealers use to market their wares online may contain data that reveal their locations. Researchers plotted the locations and posted an interactive map along with their findings on Medium. (WaPo)

Image Recognition: Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Cornell Tech have trained a piece of software to identify images that someone has intentionally blurred or pixelated for privacy purposes. The researchers were able to defeat three privacy protection technologies, including YouTube’s proprietary blur tool. (Wired)


FBI Counterterrorism: The Justice Department’s Inspector General said the FBI did not violate any rules when one of its agents posed as an editor for The Associated Press in 2007 while investigating bomb threats near Seattle. The AP said it was “deeply disappointed” by the findings. (Atlantic)

Assange: The arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape accusation will not be dropped, a Swedish appeals court ruled. The statute of limitations for rape is ten years in Sweden, meaning it would expire in 2020 if prosecutors haven't filed an indictment by then. Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (NBC)


Brit Hacker: A UK court ruled that computer activist and hacker Lauri Love would be extradited to the United States on charges of gaining illicit access to government and military computer systems. He faces a 99-year prison sentence if convicted. (Guardian)

Russian Hackers: The FBI is upping its efforts to indict some of the Russian hackers they suspect were behind the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee, think tanks, and other political entities. The Obama administration has faced criticism from both parties for its response thus far. (Reuters)


  PRIVATE SECTOR                             

Google Bug Bounty: The search company announced that it will pay computer security researchers up to $200,000 for uncovering vulnerabilities in its products. (Computer World)


Self-Driving Cars: The city of Boston is planning to start testing a small fleet of autonomous vehicles within a year. The program will focus on designing policies to support the "transformative" technology, said Mayor Marty Walsh. The announcement came as Uber tested the service last Wednesday in Pittsburgh. (WaPo)

NY Banks: Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed new regulations that would require financial institutions to hire chief information security officers and produce detailed cybersecurity plans. There will be a 45-day public comment before the state finalizes the regulation. (The Hill)


  THE WORLD                                     

UK: GCHQ is moving to create a “Great British Firewall” to block malicious websites across the country. The plan is a lead project for the new National Cyber Security Centre, a public-facing arm of the signals intelligence agency, which will open next month. (FT)


The Feds Will Soon Be Able to Legally Hack Almost Anyone: “The new plan to drastically expand the government’s hacking and surveillance authorities is known formally as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the proposal would allow the government to hack a million computers or more with a single warrant. If Congress doesn’t pass legislation blocking this proposal, the new rules go into effect on December 1. With just six work weeks remaining on the Senate schedule and a long Congressional to-do list, time is running out,” write Wyden, Blaze, and Landau in Wired.


The Horrible House Intelligence Report: “The report is not only one-sided, not only incurious, not only contemptuous of fact. It is trifling. After twenty-five months of labor, the committee’s “comprehensive review” of an immensely complex subject weighs in at thirty-six pages. (None of which we may read, because it “must remain classified.”) I have graded college term papers that long. It is one more dispiriting commentary on the state of legislative oversight that the committee’s twenty-two members, Republican and Democratic, were unanimous in signing their names,” writes Barton Gellman on the Century Foundation website.

On the Cusp of an AI Revolution: “Every generation or so, emerging technologies converge, and something revolutionary occurs. For example, a maturing Internet, affordable bandwidth and file-compression, and Apple’s iconic iPhone enabled companies such as Uber, Airbnb, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to redefine the mobile-customer experience. Now we are on the cusp of another major convergence: big data, machine learning, and increased computing power will soon make artificial intelligence, or AI, ubiquitous,” writes Marc Benioff on Project Syndicate.


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