Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump team slams Manning commutation | FBI investigating if Russia aided Trump – The Hill

Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We’re here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you’re a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we’re here to give you …



–FBI AMONG SIX AGENCIES INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE RUSSIAN AID FOR TRUMP. The FBI and five other intelligence and law enforcement agencies are working together on an investigation into whether Russia’s government secretly helped President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate seeks deal on Trump nominees Garland returns to bench as judge: report Hillary Clinton tweets well-wishes to Bushes MORE win the election, according to a new report. The collaborative probe is partly focused on whether any covert money from the Kremlin financed hacking operations to benefit Trump’s campaign, McClatchy reported Wednesday. Two people familiar with the matter told McClatchy the intelligence agencies involved include the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA) and representatives for the director of national intelligence. Two law enforcement agencies — the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — are also participating.

To read more, click here.



–TRUMP TEAM SLAMS MANNING COMMUTATION: The incoming administration is not pleased with President Obama’s decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s 35 year prison sentence. Sean Spicer, the incoming press secretary, said president-elect Trump thought the move was “troubling.” “After the outrage we’ve seen about the other leaks that have come up, to see someone who has given away the country’s secrets and then convicted of it … it’s disappointing and it sends a very troubling message when it comes to the handling of classified information,” he added. Vice President-elect Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceManning commutation sparks Democratic criticism Vehicle in Pence motorcade hits DC officer: report Pence: I’m ‘confident’ in Trump’s health pick MORE said in a pre-taped interview airing tonight on Fox News: “To commute Private Manning’s sentence was a mistake.”

To read more on Spicer, click here.

To read more on Pence, click here.

–OBAMA SPOX: REPUBLICANS ARE BEING “INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST” ON MANNING: President Obama’s top spokesman on Wednesday blasted Republicans who criticized his decision to commute the sentence of former Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said GOP lawmakers have put on “an astonishing display of intellectual dishonesty,” citing their support for President-elect Donald Trump. “Those are the same Republicans on Capitol Hill who endorsed a man for president who praised WikiLeaks, defended the integrity of Julian Assange even as he was trashing the patriotic men and women who work in the United States intelligence community,” Earnest told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “The argument they make against Chelsea Manning,” he added, “requires the American people to willfully ignore those comments from the president-elect, the man they endorsed.”

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

–JULIAN ASSANGE DID NOT TAKE A WALK TODAY: The attorney for Julian Assange said President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence does not meet the conditions of the WikiLeaks head’s offer to be extradited to the United States. Assange in September had offered to allow extradition if Manning were pardoned. But his lawyer says Obama’s move is not enough.

“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning’s sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S.-based attorney, via email. “Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.” Assange has not been publicly charged with a crime in the United States, but his legal team believes he may be charged “under seal,” where charges are kept secret to prevent a suspect from preparing an escape. Julian Assange has remained holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, he has said, because he fears that leaving the embassy will result in his capture. He remains there today.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.



–WE ARE THIS CLOSE to actually getting Pokemon Go to the polls.



–SCIENCE SPY IS FIRST MAC MALWARE OF 2017: Researchers at Malwarebytes discovered the first new Mac malware of the year. To clarify, it’s new to people who study malware and to the general public.

The malware itself, however, is fascinatingly old. It appears to have had an abnormally long lifespan among its kind. The code is full of archaic Mac commands, and at least one programmer’s comment explaining that certain changes were made to make the program work on OS 10.10 – which came out in 2010.

The malware, which Malwarebytes is calling Quimitchin (named for Aztec spies), appears to have stayed under the radar by very selective targeting of computers being used for biotech research.

It’s unclear exactly how old Quimitchin is.

The age of some of the commands, writes Malwarebytes in its write-up “could potentially suggest that this malware goes back decades. However, we shouldn’t take the age of the code as too strong an indication of the age of the malware. This could also signify that the hackers behind it really don’t know the Mac very well and were relying on old documentation. It could also be that they’re using old system calls to avoid triggering any kind of behavioral detections that might be expecting more recent code.”

Apple is working on a patch.



–SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-S.D.). Rounds was named chair of the newly formed Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on Wednesday.

“As recent events have shown, the U.S. is not immune to a cyber-attack from hostile foreign actors,” he said in a statement. “Even more alarming, our adversaries have determined that the reward outweighs the risk of launching a cyber-attack against our nation. It is the newest, most sophisticated form of attack threatening our national security today.”



Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

Russia granted Edward Snowden permission to stay in the country another 3 years.  (The Hill)

Trump’s pick for U.N. delegate, Nikki Haley, said the president-elect’s rhetoric on Russia might be a holdover from campaign mode: “Once you govern it becomes different.” (The Hill)

Pets.com – the quintessential boom/bust site of the internet bubble – deserves your respect. (Motherboard)

Reporter Brian Krebs believes he found the author of the denial of service program used to knock the New York Times, Twitter and Netflix offline. (KrebsOnSecurity)

Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall thinks Congress’s attempts to reform spending do more harm than good. (FCW)

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