Home / Cybersecurity / Overnight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds … – The Hill

Overnight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds … – The Hill

Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We’re here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you’re a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we’re here to give you …



–NUNES WAS ON WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS BEFORE DROPPING SURVEILLANCE BOMBSHELL: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was on the White House grounds the day before he announced he had seen intelligence that showed members of President Trump’s transition team had been caught up in surveillance operations. Nunes said he was on White House grounds, but not in the White House itself, for meetings “to confirm what I already knew,” and he noted no one in the White House knew he was there. A spokesperson for Nunes told The Hill in a statement that the congressman “met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source.” Nunes shocked much of Washington last week when he told reporters that he had seen information that showed members of the Trump team had been surveilled during regular intelligence agency operations. He also said this information had been widely disseminated in intelligence circles.

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–SCHUMER SAYS REPLACE HIM: Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerPelosi, more Dems call for Nunes to step aside Nunes will not step down from Russia probe Top House Intel Dem: Nunes should recuse himself MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday stepped up his criticism of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, calling on House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump: Dems ‘will make a deal’ on healthcare Pelosi, more Dems call for Nunes to step aside Nunes will not step down from Russia probe MORE to replace him. “Without further ado, Speaker Ryan should replace Chairman Nunes,” the Senate minority leader said from the floor. “If Speaker Ryan wants the House to have a credible investigation, he needs to replace Chairman Nunes.” Schumer argued on Monday that Nunes is acting like someone who wants to protect Trump even though his committee is investigating Russia’s meddling in the White House race, including any potential ties between the campaign and Moscow. “Chairman Nunes is falling down on the job and seems to be more interested in protecting the president than in seeking the truth. You cannot have the person in charge of an impartial investigation be partial to one side. It’s an inherent contradiction,” Schumer added.

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–DEM TELLS NUNES TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM RUSSIA PROBE: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Monday demanded that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) recuse himself from the panel’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign. Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, accused Nunes of “bizarre and partisan actions” over the past week and described him as “unfit” to spearhead the investigation. “The chairman’s admission this morning that he met with an unnamed ‘source’ on White House grounds ‘in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view [classified] information’ is the last straw. This implies that the chairman and the White House colluded in a desperate attempt to salvage the president’s credibility, after the president’s bogus wiretapping claims were debunked by his own FBI director,” Speier said.

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A POLICY UPDATE: A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds security flaws in ‘panic buttons’ The Hill’s 12:30 Report Dems introduce MAR-A-LAGO Act to publish visitor logs MORE (D-R.I.) introduced legislation late last week that would strengthen cybersecurity cooperation between the United States and Israel.

The bill would set up a grant program at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to encourage private companies, non-profits, academic bodies, and government organizations in the two nations to cooperate on cybersecurity research and development. Companion legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) has already passed the House.

The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds security flaws in ‘panic buttons’ Trump’s budget jeopardizes America’s public lands heritage Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R-Colo.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

“The United States and Israel are not only close allies, but also prime targets for serious cyber threats,” Whitehouse said in a statement.

“Encouraging the best cyber minds in both countries to work together will expand our shared knowledge and help to harden our defenses against our mutual adversaries in cyberspace. I am proud to take on the mantle of this legislation in the Senate on behalf of my friend and colleague from Rhode Island, Congressman Jim Langevin, a national leader on cybersecurity, who has led the bill in the House.”

A LIGHTER CLICK: Cybersecurity expert Troy Hunt has spotted this prolific ‘hooded cyber-bandit.’

A REPORT IN FOCUS: ‘PANIC BUTTON’ SECURITY FLAWS: A “panic button” distributed by the Colombian government to high-risk activists and journalists has a number of security flaws, at least one of which is by design, a security firm reported.

Rapid7 investigated the Eview EV-07S GPS tracker at the behest of The Associated Press.

Though the manufacturer’s website identifies four main uses for the device — none of them personal security for high-profile targets — the Colombian government issued around 400 of these devices to people at risk, including human rights and labor activists. The site lists main applications of the EV-07S as elderly care, disabled and patient care, child protection, employee management, and pet and animal tracking.

“I wouldn’t be worried about giving this to my grandma. But I would be more concerned giving it to anyone who might be at risk,” said Deral Heiland, internet of things research lead at Rapid7.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

WHAT’S IN THE SPOTLIGHT: WARFARE? Democratic lawmakers are publicly calling out Russia for engaging in war by meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

The Democrats have been particularly bullish in the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure that the bureau is investigating whether there was coordination between President Trump’s associates and Russia in the influence campaign, which involved leaking hacked personal emails from Democratic operatives to damage candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump tweets: ‘Trump Russia story is a hoax’ Path to 60 narrows for Trump pick Overnight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds security flaws in ‘panic buttons’ MORE.   

The warfare accusations fit into a larger narrative pushed by Democrats that casts President Trump as weak on Russia and plays up the damage done by Moscow through the electoral interference.

The rhetoric also puts Republicans — who often characterize themselves as more hawkish on Russia and defense — in a bind as they try to defend to the new administration’s strategy on Russia.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) most recently accused Russia of engaging in warfare.

“I think this attack that we’ve experienced is a form of war, a form of war on our fundamental democratic principles,” Coleman said during a hearing this week at the House Homeland Security Committee.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

MEANWHILE, Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election could be considered an “act of war” against the U.S.

“There’s no question there was a very serious effort made by Mr. [Vladimir] Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes,” Cheney said Monday during a speech at the Economic Times’ Global Business Summit 2017 in New Delhi.

“In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war. I think it’s a kind of conduct and activity we will see going forward. We know he’s attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics,” Cheney said, according to video of the remarks.

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Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web

WikiLeaks denies the existence of a back channel between its founder Julian Assange and Trump associate Roger Stone. (The Hill)

NATO intends to spend over $3 billion on satellite and cyber defenses. (Reuters)

North Korea is increasingly targeting global banks as sanctions squeeze Pyongyang’s economy (New York Times).

Russia may turn to these tactics to target the United States in cyberspace next. (Defense One)

The top civilian leader at the NSA says the U.S. needs to figure out how to deter Russian election interference. (Washington Post)

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) may have leaked classified information during the House Intelligence Committee hearing last Monday. (New Yorker)

“America’s plan for stopping cyberattacks is dangerously weak.” (Vox)

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