Cyber roundup (9/17): Flame, more on cyber EO, and sequestration’s impact on cyber

Quick look at recent cyber news . . .


Big news today about Flame, the espionage tool found trolling around the Middle East earlier this summer.  According to Wired’s Kim Zetter, the people behind Flame left “tantalizing clues,” including a 2006 development date, an attempted cleanup operation “to wipe the Flame malware from infected machines,” and additional evidence that this was the work of a nation-state.  Much of this information was discovered by researchers from Symantec and Kaspersky Lab.

Jim Finkle also reported on Flame for Reuters.  According to Finkle, “current and former Western national security officials have told Reuters that the United States played a role in creating Flame.”  That’s really not that surprising considering the news about Stuxnet.  More interesting, however, is new evidence that the people behind Flame may also be behind “three previously unknown computer viruses for use in espionage operations or cyber warfare.”  One of those viruses is “currently deployed in the Middle East,” but their functions are unknown.


According to The Hill’s Brendan Sasso, “National Security Advisor John Brennan confirmed that the White House is drafting an executive order to encourage companies to better protect vital computer systems.”

Jaikumar Vijayan wrote for Computerworld and noted that there are still a number of questions looming about President Obama’s cybersecurity plans.

Interestingly, techdirt claims to have a leaked draft version of the cybersecurity EO.


Aliya Sternstein reported for Nextgov on the impact that sequestration could have on cyber programs.  The general consensus has been that cyber would be mostly spared from sequestration’s harsh cuts.  That is still the case with regard to “front-line security of government networks.”  However, Sternstein explained that $900 million dollars worth of cuts to DHS “could knock out support for private sector cyberdefense programs . . ..”  Grid protection initiatives, corporate network security assistance, R/D grants, and other private sector initiatives would likely suffer.  Sternstein also notes that NSTIC could be a casualty if sequestration comes to pass.

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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. 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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