Thomas Fanning, chief executive officer of Atlanta-based electric utility holding company Southern Co. and a key player in developing private-sector cybersecurity policy, said today at a Senate subcommittee hearing that he has begun to have interactions with senior Federal government military leaders about capabilities to “hack back” at cyber attackers, but emphasized he believes that those types of retaliatory capabilities need to remain in the hands of the military rather than become a corporate function. […]

Election security, voting, midterms 2018

The Secure Elections Act, S. 2593, which is expected to be marked up by the Senate Rules Committee later this month, has been freshly amended to require states to have a cyber response and communication plan in place as a precondition to receiving Federal grants to support election security and election technology modernization.






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Ajit Pai, FCC Commisioner

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today defended his year-long public insistence that the FCC was the victim of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack which impacted its electronic comment filing system during the agency’s net neutrality rulemaking proceeding last year, but admitted to having his own doubts about the cause of the system problem.






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Lisa Murkowski

While members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today appeared to be generally positive toward the nomination of Lane Genatowski to be the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the Department of Energy, they also had some sharp questions for the nominee over his stated support for President Trumps’ plan to get rid of the organization.  






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Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., has requested that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division investigate “whether the uses of facial recognition technology – as currently utilized – by law enforcement agencies are in violation of civil rights protections.”  In a letter to assistant attorney general John Gore yesterday, Cleaver noted the potential benefits of facial […] […]

Ajit Pai

In advance of his appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee scheduled for tomorrow, four House Democrats hammered Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai over statements he made in 2017 that the FCC was a victim of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) attack which impacted its electronic comment filing system during the agency’s net neutrality rulemaking proceeding last year.






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China-based communications equipment maker Huawei Technologies said in a statement late Monday that the ban on Federal government use of the company’s products contained in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by President Trump this week won’t do anything to improve supply chain security.






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Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is pressing major electric utility companies for details about whether and when their systems have been penetrated by Russian-affiliated hackers, and at the same time is querying several Federal agencies about what they are doing to help utilities recognize and prevent attempts to break into their networks and control systems.






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The U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom) and the National Security Agency have joined the effort to protect the integrity of this year’s midterm elections, which are occurring under the shadow of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies that 2018 is seeing more of the same.






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Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wants to understand what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has learned from Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Confirmation (DMARC) reports about cyber criminals using email to impersonate Federal agencies.






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MeriTalk today announced the winners of its inaugural FITARA Awards program, recognizing six Federal agencies who have made tremendous strides in modernizing their IT environments and one congressional leader who has worked tirelessly to promote the reform of IT acquisitions and adoption of cyber best practices.






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Senate FY2019 funding for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) remains stuck on zero following the Senate’s approval earlier today on a 92-6 vote of a “minibus” appropriations bill that wraps together four separate spending bills including one to fund financial services and general government (FSGG) budgets.






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By a vote of 87-10, the Senate today approved the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the corresponding conference report that ironed out differences between House and Senate versions of the bill. The legislation to fund the Defense Department (DoD) and U.S. armed forces now moves to President Trump’s desk for his signature.






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Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced two pieces of legislation on Tuesday designed to improve cybercrime prevention and strengthen U.S. election infrastructure.






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Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity Summit today, called upon Congress to pass long-delayed legislation that would officially create the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) under DHS.






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