Cyber Round Up: Suspected Hacking at State Department; Cyber Bill Linked to NSA Reform; Chinese Government Hackers Suspected of US Postal Cyber Breach; President Obama’s Plan for Net Neutrality; Chinese Hackers Breach Australian Media Organisations;

  • The State Department has taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its entire unclassified email system as technicians repair possible damage from a suspected hacker attack, reports The News Tribune.  According to the report, a senior department official said Sunday that “activity of concern” was detected in the system around the same time as a previously reported incident that targeted  the White House computer network.  The report also noted that since then, a number of agencies, including the National Weather Service (for full articles on these Weather Service breaches click here for Washington Posthere for Reuters), have reported attacks.  For New York Times coverage of the State Department breach, click here.
  • Privacy groups are warning that they will oppose the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Act (CISA) unless lawmakers first reform the NSA’s surveillance programs, according to The Hill.  The Hill reports that  the new cyber bill would enable critical infrastructure companies to exchange cyber threat information with the NSA, but passage of that bill appears dependent on the upcoming Senate vote on an NSA reform bill, the USA Freedom Act, which would rein in surveillance programs and strengthen the secret intelligence court overseeing the agency.
  • Chinese government hackers are thought to be responsible for the breach of the computer networks of the United States Postal Service, compromising the data of more than 800,000 employees exposing everyone from the letter carrier to the postmaster general, according to National PostNational Post reports that while there is no evidence of malicious use of the compromised data, the United States has elevated cybersecurity as a top issue in the bilateral relationship with China.  For the full article, click here.  For coverage by CNN, click here.
  • President Obama believes that ensuring a free and open Internet is the only way we can preserve the Internet’s power to connect our world.  As a result, he has laid out a plan for “Net Neutrality” and has asked the FCC to implement the plan.  For President Obama’s full statement laying out this plan, click here.
  • Chinese hackers breached Australian media organizations prior to the G20 meeting, “. . . looking for questions they [could] expect from Australian reporters, what type of coverage, positive or negative, they can expect to see,” according to an ABC News report.  According to ABC News, these Chinese hackers are from two different groups: Deep Panda and Vixen Panda.  The report also states that Deep Panda was the same group that was outed as sneaking into the networks of US foreign policy think tanks at the height of the Iraq crisis in the middle of the year.
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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

is 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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