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Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:
1. Hail to the chief! With Donald J. Trump assuming the U.S. presidency, it is probably worthwhile to recap his cyber-related plans for his administration. During the campaign, President Trump announced that he would create a cyber review team to "comprehensively review all of our cybersecurity systems and technology." After he was elected, President Trump announced that the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff would play a big role in that review. Then, after the release of the unclassified assessment of Russia’s role in recent U.S. elections, President Trump said he would appoint close-friend Rudolph Giuliani to conduct a 90-day review of U.S. cyber policy. It’s unclear whether the review team and the 90-day review are one of the same. And today, the Trump administration stated the U.S. will "engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting" for terrorists. Hold onto your hats.
2. Internet governance pops up at confirmation hearing. Wilbur Ross, the leveraged buyout expert tapped to be President Trump’s secretary of commerce, indicated that he did not think the United States had enough influence in the management of the internet. He said: “As the inventors of the internet, I’m a little surprised that we seem to be essentially voiceless in the governance of that activity. That strikes me as an intellectually incorrect solution, but I’m not aware of what it is we actually can do right now.” That would come as a surprise to many internet government watchers. For years, the United States has been criticized for being too influential on internet governance matters by virtue of the fact that until recently it had to approve changes in the internet’s address book.
3. A recap of the Obama administration’s cybersecurity efforts. There were a lot of retrospectives examining former President Obama’s legacy and his approach to cyber issues was no exception. Experts surveyed by Nextgov seemed to uniformly agree that the Obama administration’s record on cyber issues is largely positive but likely to be overshadowed by the Russian compromise of the Democratic National Committee. To recap, President Obama and his team set forth an international strategy on norms, two cyber strategies for the military, created sanctions authority to punish state-sponsored hackers, negotiated a deal with China and confidence building measures with Russia, obtained broad agreement that international law applies to cyberspace, signed cyber threat information sharing legislation, launched the cybersecurity framework, and a half dozen cyber-related executive orders and policy directives.
4. Cyberattacks against NATO spike. Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg told a German newspaper on Thursday that there were 500 cyber incidents on NATO facilities each month in 2016. That’s a 60 percent increase from 2015, and most attacks, according to Stoltenberg, are from hostile state parties. While Stoltenberg did not explicitly call out Russia as the culprit, there’s a growing sense that Europe’s political and military infrastructure is vulnerable to Russian cyber activity. After Russian interference in the United States presidential election, French authorities are warning political parties that the threat of Russian cyber activityin the upcoming presidential election are real and credible. France’s Defense Minister said on January 8 that the government is trying “to learn lessons for the future,” which includes beefing up the country’s cybersecurity.