Cyber Roundup (9/15): No Cyber EO please, Gen. Dempsey and Zuckerberg talk cyber, experts ID two huge Chinese cyber gangs, and more . . .

A quick survey of some recent cyber news . . .

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Mark Clayton wrote a very interesting piece for The Christian Science Monitor on how experts have ID’d two gangs as those behind most of that pervasive Chinese cyberexploitation.  Experts have named one gang “Elderwood” and named the other gang the “Comment Crew.”  According to the CSM article, Elderwood was behind Operation Aurora (that infamous hack of Google) and employs “hundreds of people” which are working “from 9 to 5 Beijing time each day” to steal American IP.  The article went into greater depth regarding the gangs’ methods and targets.

The article had an interesting quote on attribution from Dmitri Alperovitch, CTO for CrowdStrike:

We’re tracking over a dozen nation-state groups right now that are affiliated with China . . . We have a deep understanding of them and attribution down to the individual level. They’re operating in China, and we’re watching them. Even though they’re unlikely be brought to justice in the US, we understand a lot today.

 

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Sens. McCain, Hutchinson, and Chambliss wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on why a cyber EO would be a bad idea.

Unfortunately, the article is behind a pay wall, so you can get a better snippet in this Lawfare blog post written by Paul Rosenzweig.

Along the same lines, Mr. Rosenzweig wrote for The Heritage Foundation on why “Congress Should Not Enable Executive Orders on Cybersecurity.”  What should Congress do?

Congress should:

  • Remove unneeded cybersecurity funding in the continuing resolution or specify its uses,
  • Reject a regulatory approach to cybersecurity, and
  • Consider information sharing.

 

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John Reed reported for Foreign Policy on how Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited with Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley execs.  Gen. Dempsey apparently discussed “the role of venture capital in creating innovation, the pressing need for better cyber security, the cyber security legislation . . . and new approaches to securing computers and networks from malware.”

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Reuters had an article on how foreign journalists in China are being targeted by malware attacks.  According to the article, reporters are getting what appears to be phising e-mails containing malware which would “sen[d] encrypted information from the user’s computer to an external server.”  The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded with this:

China is also a victim of Internet attacks. The source of these Internet attacks is very difficult to determine. Reaching conclusions without sufficient evidence or fair and thorough investigations, it’s just not serious.

These blanket denials, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, are just not serious.

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While we’re talking China, Angela Moscaritolo wrote for PCMag on how researchers are finding brand new computers preloaded with malware in China.  According to the article, cybercriminals managed to infiltrate the supply chain and “introduce[] counterfeit versions of Microsoft Windows embedded with malware on the new PCs . . ..”  The malware allowed for remote access to the computer’s microphones and webcams.

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Interesting Reuters article written by Noel Randewich.  Randewich writes that Intel is looking to replace passwords with “a biometric sensor that recognizes the unique patterns of veins on a person’s palm.”  While that may not sound much different than a laptop’s fingerprint reader, this new technology smacks of NSTIC.  Specifically, the technology would be able to “securely communicate that person’s identity to banks, social networks and other services where the person has accounts,” obviating the need for passwords.

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Brendan Sasso for The Hill on how Twitter has handed over a user’s tweets to the police . . .

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Authors

Untitled Document
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. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. 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. 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

Anna Maria Castillois 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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