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Democrats

DNC Creates 'Cybersecurity Board' Without Any Cybersecurity Experts (techdirt.com) 156

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Techdirt: The Democratic National Committee has created a "cybersecurity advisory board" to improve its cybersecurity and to "prevent future attacks." Politico reports: "'To prevent future attacks and ensure that the DNC's cybersecurity capabilities are best-in-class, I am creating a Cybersecurity Advisory Board composed of distinguished experts in the field,' interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile wrote in a memo. 'The Advisory Board will work closely with me and the entire DNC to ensure that the party is prepared for the grave threats it faces -- today and in the future.' Members include Rand Beers, former Department of Homeland Security acting secretary; Nicole Wong, former deputy chief technology officer of the U.S. and a former technology lawyer for Google and Twitter; Aneesh Chopra, co-founder of Hunch Analytics and former chief technology officer of the U.S.; and Michael Sussmann, a partner in privacy and data security at the law firm Perkins Coie and a former Justice Department cybercrime prosecutor." What's surprising is that none of these members are cybersecurity experts. Techdirt reports: "If the goal of the board was to advise on cybersecurity policy, then the makeup of it is at least slightly more understandable, but that's not goal. It's to actually improve the cybersecurity of the DNC. Even if the goal were just policy, having someone with actual technology experience with cybersecurity would be sensible."
Government

Can We Avoid Government Surveillance By Leaving The Grid? (counterpunch.org) 264

Slashdot reader Nicola Hahn writes: While reporters clamor about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, NSA whistleblower James Bamford offers an important reminder: American intelligence has been actively breaching email servers in foreign countries like Mexico and Germany for years. According to Bamford documents leaked by former NSA specialist Ed Snowden show that the agency is intent on "tracking virtually everyone connected to the Internet." This includes American citizens. So it might not be surprising that another NSA whistleblower, William Binney, has suggested that certain elements within the American intelligence community may actually be responsible for the DNC hack.

This raises an interesting question: facing down an intelligence service that is in a class by itself, what can the average person do? One researcher responds to this question using an approach that borrows a [strategy] from the movie THX 1138: "The T-H-X account is six percent over budget. The case is to be terminated."

To avoid surveillance, the article suggests "get off the grid entirely... Find alternate channels of communication, places where the coveted home-field advantage doesn't exist... this is about making surveillance expensive." The article also suggests "old school" technologies, for example a quick wireless ad-hoc network in a crowded food court. Any thoughts?
Security

Voting Machines Can Be Easily Compromised, Symantec Demonstrates (cbsnews.com) 217

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from CBS News: For the hackers at Symantec Security Response, Election Day results could be manipulated by an affordable device you can find online. "I can insert it, and then it resets the card, and now I'm able to vote again," said Brian Varner, a principle researcher at Symantec, demonstrating the device...

Symantec Security Response director Kevin Haley said elections can also be hacked by breaking into the machines after the votes are collected. "The results go from that machine into a piece of electronics that takes it to the central counting place," Haley said. "That data is not encrypted and that's vulnerable for manipulation."

40 states are using a voting technology that's at least 10 years old, according to the article. And while one of America's national election official argues that "there are paper trails everywhere," CBS reports that only 60% of states conduct routine audits of their paper trails, while "not all states even have paper records, like in some parts of swing states Virginia and Pennsylvania, which experts say could be devastating."
Democrats

Hacker Publishes Cell Phone Numbers of House Democrats (thehill.com) 82

Another day, another leak. A suspected Russian hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0" has published the phone numbers of House Democrats on his website Friday. The Hill reports: "The document was obtained from the cyberattack on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The hacker also published DCCC shared passwords to several online databases and news networks. The dump also included the memos on the House race for Florida's 18th district, including opposition research on the Republican contenders, which is being vacated by Democrat Patrick Murphy as he vies for the Senate. The hacker also claimed to have breached House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's computer and published a memo sent to her about a 2015 fundraiser for Morgan Carroll, who is running for a Colorado House seat against Republican Mike Coffman."
Republicans

Cracking The Code On Trump Tweets (time.com) 330

jIyajbe writes: From Electoral-Vote.com: "A theory has been circulating that the Donald Trump tweets that come from an Android device are from the candidate himself, while the ones that come from an iPhone are the work of his staff. David Robinson, a data scientist who works for Stack Overflow, decided to test the theory. His conclusion: It's absolutely correct. Robinson used some very sophisticated algorithms to analyze roughly 1,400 tweets from Trump's timeline, and demonstrated conclusively that the iPhone tweets are substantively different than the Android tweets. The former tend to come later at night, and are vastly more likely to incorporate hashtags, images, and links. The latter tend to come in the morning, and are much more likely to be copied and pasted from other people's tweets. In terms of word choice, the iPhone tweets tend to be more neutral, with their three most-used phrases being 'join,' '#trump2016,' and '#makeamericagreatagain.' The Android tweets tend to be more emotionally charged, with their three most-used phrases being 'badly,' 'crazy,' and 'weak.'" reifman adds: In an excellent forensic text analysis of Trump's tweets with the Twitter API, data geek David Robinson demonstrates Trump authors his angriest, picture-less, hashtag-less Android tweets often in the morning, while staff tweet from an iPhone with pictures, hashtags and greater joy mostly in the middle of the day. Robinson's report was inspired by a tweet by artist Todd Vaziri. As for why Robinson decided to look into Trump's tweets, he told TIME, "For me it's more about finding a really interesting story, a case where people suspect something, but don't have the data to back it up. For me it was much more about putting some quantitive details to this story that has been going around than it was about proving something about Trump's campaign."
Encryption

Tor Promises Not To Build Backdoors Into Its Services (engadget.com) 69

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Tor has published what it calls a "Social Contract" comprised of promises to users and the principles the team believes in. Whatever the reason is, its social contract contains one interesting pledge: "We will never implement front doors or back doors into our projects," the team wrote. Tor's ability to keep users anonymous made it the go-to browser of people looking for drugs, illegal firearms, hitmen, child porn and other things you won't find on eBay or YouTube. If there's a browser law enforcement agencies would want a backdoor to, it's Tor, especially since its main source of funding is the U.S. government. That's right -- the famous anonymizing network gets most of its money from a government known for conducting mass surveillance on a global scale. Loudly proclaiming that it will never build a backdoor into its services might not even matter, though. The government already proved once that it's capable of infiltrating the dark web. If you'll recall, the FBI identified 1,500 users of a child porn website called "Playpen" by deploying a Tor hacking tool. It led to numerous court battles that opened up the discussion on the validity of evidence obtained without warrant through malware. "We believe that privacy, the free exchange of ideas, and access to information are essential to free societies. Through our community standards and the code we write, we provide tools that help all people protect and advance these rights," Tor writes in the contract.
Censorship

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Secretly Censored Abusive Responses To President Obama, Says Report (buzzfeed.com) 308

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed: In 2015, then-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo secretly ordered employees to filter out abusive and hateful replies to President Barack Obama during a question and answer session, sources tell BuzzFeed News. According to a former senior Twitter employee, Costolo ordered employees to deploy an algorithm (which was built in-house by feeding it thousands of examples of abuse and harassing tweets) that would filter out abusive language directed at Obama. Another source said the media partnerships team also manually censored tweets, noting that Twitter's public quality-filtering algorithms were inconsistent. Two sources told BuzzFeed News that this decision was kept from senior company employees for fear they would object to the decision. According to sources, the decision upset some senior employees inside the company who strictly followed Twitter's long-standing commitment to unfettered free speech. A different source alleges that Twitter did the same thing during a question and answer with Caitlyn Jenner.
Security

Hack of Democrats' Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say (nymag.com) 285

A Russian cyberattack that targeted Democratic politicians was bigger than it first appeared and breached private email accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups (could be paywalled; alternate source), reports The New York Times, citing officials with knowledge of the case. From the report: The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts. The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton's campaign officials and party operatives, along with a number of party organizations. Officials have acknowledged that the Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, and to the Democratic National Committee, including a D.N.C. voter analytics program used by Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.
Communications

Assange Implies Murdered DNC Staffer Was WikiLeaks' Source (washingtonpost.com) 706

Okian Warrior quotes a report from Fox News: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange implied in an interview that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of a trove of damaging emails the rogue website posted just days before the party's convention. Speaking to Dutch television program Nieuswsuur Tuesday after earlier announcing a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Seth Rich's killer, Assange said the July 10 murder of Rich in Northwest Washington was an example of the risk leakers undertake. The Washington Post provides some details of the murder in its report: "Rich was shot twice in the back as he walked to his townhouse about 4:20 a.m. Nothing was taken, but police have said attempted robbery is their leading theory for a motive, noting a spike in robberies in the neighborhood in the preceding weeks. WikiLeaks released the trove of emails later that month, on July 22. Rich, 27, had worked for the DNC for two years and helped develop a computer program to make it easier for people to find polling places on Election Day. After his death, the DNC's then-chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), attended a vigil for Rich in front of his home, and Hillary Clinton, before she was nominated in her run for president, evoked his name during a speech in which she advocated for limiting the availability of guns."
China

China To UK: 'Golden' Ties At Crucial Juncture Over Nuclear Delay (reuters.com) 170

mdsolar quotes a report from Reuters: China has cautioned Britain against closing the door to Chinese money and said relations were at a crucial juncture after Prime Minister Theresa May delayed signing off on a $24 billion nuclear power project. In China's sternest warning to date over May's surprise decision to review the building of Britain's first nuclear plant in decades, Beijing's ambassador to London said that Britain could face power shortages unless May approved the Franco-Chinese deal. "The China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more," Liu Xiaoming wrote in the Financial Times. "I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the British government will continue to support Hinkley Point -- and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly." The comments signal deep frustration in Beijing at May's move to delay, her most striking corporate intervention since winning power in the political turmoil which followed Britain's June 23 referendum to leave the European Union.
Education

Immigration Attorneys: Industry Pushes Foreign Labor, Claiming 'US Students Can't Hack It In Tech' (breitbart.com) 472

geek writes: According to Caroline May from Breitbart News, "The tech industry is seeking to bolster its argument for more white-collar foreign tech workers with the insulting claim that the education system is insufficiently preparing Americans for tech fields, according to pro-American worker attorneys with the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). [In an op-ed published at The Daily Caller, IRLI attorneys John Miano and Ian Smith take the tech industry to task for its strategy to promote the H-1B visa program -- alleging a labor shortage of apt American tech workers while importing thousands of foreign workers on H1-B visas from countries with lower educational results than the U.S.]" John Miano and Ian Smith write via The Daily Caller: "But if the H-1B program really is meant to correct the failings of our education system, as BigTech's new messaging-push implies, why is it importing so many people from India? According to results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global standardized math and science assessment sponsored by the OECD, India scored almost dead last among the 74 countries tested. The results were apparently so embarrassing, the country pulled out of the program all together. Not surprisingly then, there isn't a single Indian university that appears within the top 250 spots of the World University Rankings Survey. And unlike American bachelor's degrees, obtaining a bachelor's in India takes only three years of study."
Crime

32 States Offer Online Voting, But Experts Warn It Isn't Secure (bostonglobe.com) 182

Long-time Slashdot reader Geoffrey.landis writes: According to the Washington Post, 32 states have implemented some form of online voting for the 2016 U.S. presidential election -- even though multiple experts warn that internet voting is not secure. In many cases, the online voting options are for absentee ballots, overseas citizens or military members deployed overseas. According to Verified Voting, "voted ballots sent via Internet simply cannot be made secure and make easy and inviting targets for attackers ranging from lone hackers to foreign governments seeking to undermine US elections."
And yet 39% of this year's likely voters said they'd choose to vote online if given the option, according a new article in the Boston Globe, noting that "All 50 states and D.C. send ballots to overseas voters electronically," with Alabama even allowing them to actually cast their ballots through a special web site. "Security is exponentially increased over any other kind of voting because each ballot, as well as the electronic ballot box, has military-grade encryption," argues the founder of the software company that assures the site's security. "She also claims that Web voting is more accurate," reports the Boston Globe. "No more hanging chads or marks on a paper ballot that may be difficult to interpret. Web systems can also save money and can be upgraded or reconfigured as laws change..."
Crime

Edward Snowden Is Not Dead Despite Mysterious Tweets, Says Glenn Greenwald (inquisitr.com) 93

Saturday Slashdot reader MouseTheLuckyDog wrote:Some mysterious going ons on the web is causing people to ask if everything is alright with Edward Snowden. His last two tweets, since deleted, were a cryptic message...followed a few days later by a 64 character hex string. This combined with the recent move against torrents sites has the more conspiratorially oriented people speculating that perhaps he is dead and various agencies are slamming torrent sites to slow the spread of more Snowden leaks.
Saturday night The Inquisitr reported: The cryptic code tweets led many to believe that Snowden may have been captured or killed and the codes were the result of a "dead man's switch" designed to release if he did not check in to the computer at a certain time. However, a journalist with The Intercept that has worked with the whistleblower in the past says that Snowden is "fine," but would not elaborate further.
On Saturday Glenn Greenwald tweeted simply, "He's fine". While Snowden's first tweet was reported as "It's time," its complete text seems to suggest Snowden was gathering information for a book. "Did you work with me? Have we talked since 2013? Please recontact me securely, or talk to @bartongellman. It's time." That tweet ended with a URL that led to a tweet by Gellman. "If you have information on the work @Snowden did in the IC, help me tell it truthfully." And Saturday night Gellman also added a message on Twitter for "everyone requesting proof" that Snowden was alive. "Take a deep breath..."
Crime

Assange Says Wikileaks is 'Working On' Hacking Donald Trump's Tax Return (slate.com) 231

Julian Assange made headlines Friday when talk-show host Bill Maher asked him why Wikileaks wasn't hacking into Donald's Trump's tax returns. "Well, we're working on it," Assange replied. But it was apparently the culmination of a larger back-and-forth. An anonymous reader quotes Slate: Earlier in the interview, Maher said it sure looked like Assange was "working with a bad actor, Russia" to hurt "the one person who stands in the way of us being ruled by Donald Trump." Assange then tried to move the conversation toward what he thought was a smoking gun against Maher, saying he had found there was a "William Maher" who "gave a Clinton-affiliated entity $1 million." Maher explained he had famously given President Obama $1 million in 2012 and he never tried to hide it. When Assange pressed on whether he had also given money to Clinton, Maher shot back: "Fuck no."
Slate has a video of the entire interview, and while Friday WikiLeaks was publicizing Assange's appearance on the show on Twitter, Saturday they were tweeting a clarification. "WikiLeaks isn't 'working on' hacking Trump's tax-returns. Claim is a joke from a comedy show. We are 'working on' encouraging whistleblowers."
Government

Conservative Site Argues Profiting from Snowden 'Treason' May Violate Law (judicialwatch.org) 236

"A federal appellate court has ruled that government employees, such as Snowden, who signed privacy agreements can't profit from disclosing information without first obtaining agency approval," writes the conservative advocacy site Judicial Watch. Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes their article: This would make it illegal to profit from his crimes and the Department of Justice should confiscate all money made by the violators. Snowden is no whistleblower. In fact he violated his secrecy agreement, which means he and his conspirators can't materially profit from his fugitive status, violation of law, aiding and abetting of a crime and providing material support to terrorism.
In addition, they argue that both an upcoming movie about Snowden by Oliver Stone and the 2014 documentary Citizenfour "may be in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which forbids providing material support or resources for acts of international terrorism... It's bad enough that people are profiting from Snowden's treason, but adding salt to the wound, the Obama administration is doing nothing about it. "

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