Cyber Round Up: PLA Cyberespionage Operations Decrease, Bulk Collection Under Section 215 Now Prohibited, Hackers take Advantage during the Season of Giving

  • Chinese PLA Cyberespionage Operations Decrease (Washington Post):  According to a report by the Washington Post, the Chinese military has decreased its cyberespionage activities against U.S. commercial assets since the Department of Justice indicted five People’s Liberation Army (“PLA”) officers.  The PLA has not “substantially reengaged in commercial cyberespionage” since the charges were announced in May 2015, the article stated.  Despite the PLA’s reported restraint, however, the report revealed that the Ministry of State Security, China’s civilian spy agency, “continues to conduct significant commercial espionage operations.”. The full article can be found here.
  • Bulk Collection Under Section 215 Now Prohibited (ZDNet):  The NSA’s collection program under Section 215 has been shut down, reported ZDNet.  The program allowed the agency to collect telephone metadata, but not content, the article continued.  The article quoted James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, stating that the government is now “prohibited from collecting telephone metadata records in bulk under Section 215, including of both US and non-US persons.”  The full article can be found here.
  • Hackers take Advantage during the Season of Giving (CNet):  According to an article in CNet, the Holiday season creates the “perfect combination of ingredients for fraud.”  The article further specified that 40 percent of annual online fraud actually occurs during this season, in the last three months of the year.  Hackers take advantage of the increased number of shoppers during the ‘season of giving’ using common techniques that result in malware being downloaded onto the victim’s computer, the article continued.  These techniques include phishing (sending emails with malicious links), as well as setting up fake apps and websites that plant malware once downloaded or visited, according to the article.  It is not all bad, however, there are several ways to protect yourself from such fraudulent activity, the article revealed.  For starters, according to the article, consumers should monitor their credit card activity, visit only websites that are trusted, and refrain from clicking links contained in emails that are unsolicited, the article listed.  The full article can be found here.
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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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