from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Cyber Week in Review: September 16, 2016

CFR Cyber Net Politics Russia Bear

September 16, 2016

CFR Cyber Net Politics Russia Bear
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Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

1. There’s a reason we’re told not to poke bears. Hackers posted medical records of several U.S. athletes online this week, claiming the stolen documents proved the athletes, including Simone Biles and the Williams sisters, were using banned drugs. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), an international organization that combats the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes, confirmed that the files had been stolen from its servers by a hacker group known as Fancy Bear or APT 28, which several cybersecurity firms believe to be affiliated with Russian intelligence. The hackers adopted the Fancy Bear moniker, posting the stolen files on a gif-laden website of the same name, following an approach similar to that used in leaking the files stolen from the Democratic National Committee earlier this summer (more of which were put online this week). Russian President Vladimir Putin disavowed any knowledge of the hack, but said that by exposing disparities in WADA’s treatment of Russian and American athletes, what the hackers had done was “of interest to the international community.”

2. Looks like you’re not regulated enough. Let me help you with that. Two jurisdictions rolled out digital regulations this week. First, the state of New York is proposing regulations that would require entities overseen by its department of financial services to take certain a number of steps to improve their cybersecurity. Specifically, regulated financial services will need to establish a cybersecurity policy, employ a chief information security officer, undergo regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, deploy multi factor authentication, and encrypt all non-public information in transit and at rest. Second, as anticipated, the European Commission announced a draft telecommunications reform directive that would extend some regulations that apply to telcos to new entrants like Skype and Viber, also known as over-the-top providers. The Commission’s proposal also included proposed copyright reforms that would allow viewers in one EU country to access the same online content than one in another EU member.

3. It’s Snowden week! The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released an unclassified summary of a 36-page report on Edward Snowden, the information he leaked, and its implications for the U.S. intelligence community, just a few days ahead of the release of an Oliver Stone biopic on the former NSA contractor. The House report mostly sums up information that’s already been reported elsewhere and opinions on Snowden we’ve heard many times before from government officials (Snowden is a “serial exaggerator” who is “not a whistleblower”). Snowden’s defenders fired back that the report is “aggressively dishonest” and also launched a campaign calling on President Obama to pardon Snowden. On Lawfare, Timothy Edgar, former director of privacy and civil liberties for the National Security Council, and Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general, held a thoughtful debate about whether Snowden should be pardoned that’s worth checking out.

4. Are mom and dad getting a divorce? According to multiple reports, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have recommended to President Obama that he approve separating CYBERCOM from the National Security Agency (NSA), which are currently led by the same person, Admiral Micahel Rogers. Over the last few years, some observers, including a presidential review commission, have advocated splitting up the leadership of CYBERCOM and the NSA on the grounds that both organizations serve different functions and that they are too big to be led by a single person. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week, Senator John McCain vowed to block a leadership split, believing the Obama administration was rushing to make a decision before the president leaves office. For background on the proposed split, you can find out more here.

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