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Tag: cybersecurity

President Trump’s Cyber Security Plan Diminishes FBI’s Role

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s cybersecurity plan diminishes the role the FBI played in protecting the nation’s digital infrastructure.

A draft copy of the executive order also fails to mention protecting elections. 

“We are not sure how to explain this, as the FBI and law enforcement secured an important role in cybersecurity early in the Obama administration,” Charley Snyder and Michael Sulmeyer wrote Monday on the Lawfare blog, which focuses on national security law. “FBI zealously guards its role in investigating malicious cyber activities, and had been given a leading role in Obama-era policies.”

The executive order also failed to mention that the federal government will protect digital election systems.

To Combat Hackers, Homeland Security Hires New Experts in Cybersecurity

hacker-artBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security is facing an increasing threat from hackers.

To combat the challenge, Homeland Security held its first-ever Cyber and Tech Job Fail July 27-28 in Washington D.C.

The Federal Times reports positive results: 14,000 applicants, 2,500 walk-in candidates, 842 on-site interviews, 400 prospective job offers and 120 new employees.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made the announcement as part of October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month celebrations.

“We thank Congress for new legal authorities in support of our cyber recruitment and retention efforts,” Johnson said. “The department is maximizing its use of these authorities to build our cyber workforce. We also thank the Office of Personnel Management for granting DHS the authority to hire 1,000 cyber professionals this calendar year.”

FBI Investigating Potential Hack of Cell Phones Used by Democratic Party Staffers

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a possible hack of cell phones used by Democratic Party staffers.

The bureau asked the staffers for access to the phones to examine the potential hack, CNN reports. 

Investigators are trying to determine whether the potential hack was connected to the original breach of the Democratic National Committee emails, which many authorities believe to be the work of the Russian government.

“Our struggle with the Russian hackers that we announced in June is ongoing — as we knew it would be — and we are choosing not to provide general updates unless personal data or other sensitive information has been accessed or stolen,” interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile told CNN.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and California Rep. Adam Schiff, who are the ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, blamed the Russian government for the cyberattacks in a joint statement.

“Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the US election,” they wrote.

Alleged Hackers Who Dumped Data about CIA, FBI Were Arrested

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacking group that called itself “Crackas With Attitude” bragged earlier this year about hacking the CIA, FBI and Justice Department, gaining access to thousands of names, phone numbers and email addresses.

Now two alleged members of the group are behind bars, accused of executing the data breaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, both from North Carolina, were charged with  conspiring to commit offenses against the U.S. in late 2015 and early 2016.

Among the victims were CIA Director John Brenna and then-Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano.

Investigators also are looking into three teenagers in the U.K. who may have been involved.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Authorities said the suspects often gained access to the accounts by calling the help lines at Internet-service companies and impersonating employees at those companies or the victims they were targeting. They were then able to reset the account passwords to their targets’ private email accounts, giving them access to those accounts. Computer-security experts refer to such techniques as social engineering, rather than hacking, because they typically depend on one person tricking another into providing key information that allows the suspect to access private accounts.

The “Crackas With Attitude’’ then used their access to taunt the officials, particularly Messrs. Brennan and Giuliano, with harassing phone calls and public ridicule posted online.

Why FBI Should Change How It Prioritizes Cybercrime Investigations

computer spies2By Chris Bing
FedScoop.com

The FBI should restructure how it prioritizes and catalogues cybersecurity investigations, according to a new report from the Justice Department inspector general.

Rather than relying on instinct and experience to determine the severity of a cyber threat and then allocating resources based on that assessment to solve cases, Inspector General Michael Horowitz recommends the Bureau move towards more data-driven decision making — supported by custom data analytics software.

The FBI’s current, primary cybersecurity case assessment procedure is known as Threat Review and Prioritization, or TRP. The TRP provides guidance, annually, for the FBI’s operational divisions and field offices to reference when defining the level of threat and deciding on resources available to address a case.

The OIG audit, however, concludes that TRP is “subjective and open to interpretation” because, among other things, it does not define specific targets. For example, under TRP, what constitutes a “small business” is up for an agent to decide.

Because TRP is only updated annually the OIG believes this approach is not agile enough to respond to the rapidly changing threat landscape of the cyber arena. The current approach does not use “an algorithmic, objective, data-driven, reproducible and auditable” process, the report reads.

To read more click here. 

Wanted By the FBI: A New Chief Information Officer

computer-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is hunting for a new chief information officer, according to a listing on the bureau’s jobs website.

Billy Mitchell of fedscoop reports that the FBI is looking for an American citizen who can obtain a Top Secret-Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance to report to the deputy director and associate deputy director on enterprise IT functions.

Mitchell writes:

According to the listing, the new CIO will be “responsible for overseeing the acquisition and integration of the FBI’s information resources and will provide IT portfolio management, recommend IT program improvements, and coordinate and review the agency’s IT budget to both ensure technology initiatives are aligned to FBI objectives, and sufficiently agile to adapt to the evolving needs of FBI operations.”

That includes: “all data centers, networks, help desks, computer program development, computer systems operations, information sharing, cybersecurity (including policy, standards, and operations), data management, and end-user computing. “

DOJ Report: FBI Struggles to Hire Enough Cyber Security Experts Because of Low Pay

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has struggled to hire enough computer scientists to crackdown on cyber security threats because of low pay, according to a Justice Department report.

Reuters reports that the FBI has hired just 52 of 134 computer scientists authorized under the Justice Department’s Next Generation Cyber Initiative that began in 2012.

The rise of cyberattacks has prompted the Justice Department to prioritize the hiring of computer experts.

The FBI’s has a $134 million budget for the program, which includes 1,333 full-time employees.

Compared to the private sector, the FBI doesn’t pay enough to attack cyber experts. Other contributing factors were drug tests and extensive background checks.

FBI Pulls Cybersecurity Expert from Plane After Blowing Whistle on Vulnerabilities

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A cybersecurity expert who recently exposed vulnerabilities in airplane technology systems is now a target of the FBI, Fox News reports.

Chris Roberts, of the Colorado-based security firm One World Labs, said two FBI agents and two uniformed cops removed him from a commercial flight after landing in Syracuse on Wednesday night.

The investigation came just hours after Fox News aired an interview with Roberts in which he said the cyberhacking of planes is possible.

“We can still take planes out of the sky thanks to the flaws in the in-flight entertainment systems. Quite simply put, we can theorize on how to turn the engines off at 35,000 feet and not have any of those damn flashing lights go off in the cockpit.”

Roberts said he thought he was doing the government a favor.

“You have one element in the FBI reaching out to people like me for help, but another element doing a hell of a job burning those bridges,” Roberts said. “Those of us who do threat research are doing it for the right reasons, and we work to build relationships with the intelligence community because we want to help them identify weaknesses before they become a problem.”

The FBI confiscated computer files and electronic devices, Fox News reported.

The FBI declined to comment.