Header graphic for print

Steptoe Cyberblog

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Interview with Kevin Mandia

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, Data Breach, International

Episode 166 is the interview that goes with episode 165’s news roundup, released separately to ensure the timeliness of the news.

In episode 166, we interview Kevin Mandia, the CEO and Board Director of FireEye, an intelligence-led security company.  FireEye recently outed a new cyberespionage actor associated with the Vietnamese government.  Kevin tells us how FireEye does attribution and just how good the Vietnamese are (short answer:  surprisingly good but apparently small in scale).  Along the way, we also cover questions such as whether China has its own set of forensic cybersecurity firms, how confident we should be about the attribution of WannaCry to North Korea, and whether PLA Unit 61398 should treat its designation as APT1 as a prestige designation, sort of like having “bob@microsoft” as your email address.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 166th episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

 

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – News Roundup

Posted in China, Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International

Episode 165 is a WannaCry Festivus celebration, as The Airing of Grievances overtakes The Patching of Old Machines. Michael Vatis joins me in identifying all the entities who’ve been blamed for WannaCry, starting with Microsoft for not patching Windows XP until after the damage was done.  (We exonerate Microsoft on that count.)

Another candidate for WannaCry Goat of the Year is (of course) NSA for allegedly letting a powerful hacking tool fall into the hands of the Shadow Brokers, who released it in time for WannaCry’s authors to drop it into their worm. Private industry’s fingerpointing at NSA has led to introduction of the PATCH Act, which tries to institutionalize (and tilt) the vulnerability equities process.  I raise a caution flag about trying to prevent harmful vulnerability leaks by spreading information about the vulnerabilities to a new batch of civilian agencies.  I also ask whether a rational equities process should require that companies  get the benefit of the process only if they agree to patch their products promptly and if they cooperate to the extent possible with law enforcement rather than forcing agencies to hack their products just to carry out lawful searches.  Somehow I’m guessing that will cool Silicon Valley’s enthusiasm for the whole idea.

Meanwhile, Shadow Brokers, widely thought to be Russian intelligence, may be having an equally awkward Festivus celebration with their masters, since the exploit they released seems to be causing more widespread discomfort in Russia than in the West, probably because of Russia’s high usage of unpatched pirate software.

The North Koreans should be on the carpet as well, since there is increasing reason to believe that WannaCry was a mostly failed effort by Kim Jong Un to raise money through cybercrime. The worm seems to have collected only $100 thousand in bitcoin for its authors, and the worst of its impact was likely felt in China, the world capital of pirated unpatched software.  Since North Korea seems to rely on China’s internet infrastructure to launch and control its cyberattacks, launching one that mainly hurts its host is typically shortsighted.

Finally, the victims don’t escape blame. The SEC unveiled its latest criticism of private sector security practices in the financial industry as the WannaCry publicity reached a peak.

Meanwhile, our own Jon Sallet joins the Oliver-Pai debate on net neutrality, and through the magic of radio, he is able to coffee-cup-shame both of them.  (Sound effects credit to http://www.zapsplat.com/.)  As an encore, Jon explains why the European Commission fined Facebook $122 million over its acquisition of WhatsApp – without undoing the deal.

As always the Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Send your questions, suggestions for interview candidates or topics to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 165th episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunes, Pocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Interview with Tim Maurer

Posted in Data Breach, International, Security Programs & Policies

Episode 164: Stewart on the Road to Tarsus

Episode 164 features Stewart Baker’s startling change of heart on the question of cyberspace norms. Credit goes to our interview guest, Tim Maurer, Fellow and co-director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. And perhaps as well to Brian Egan, former Legal Adviser to the State Department and now a partner at Steptoe. Tim and Brian talk about Tim’s view and that of his colleagues, George Perkovich and Ariel Levite, at Carnegie that the world is ripe for an enforceable norm against hacking to corrupt financial data in the banking system.  Remarkably, I agree with them, though not before casting aspersions on the United Nations and the State Department.

In the news roundup, we’re joined by Paul Rosenzweig of Red Branch Consulting and the DHS Policy office.  He critiques the cyber EO, which has finally been released – just in time for wCry ransomware.  I note with satisfaction that the Russian government itself was burned by the worm, which it almost certainly made possible under the Shadowbrokers nom de guerre. Naturally, others prefer to blame the National Security Agency.  Brad Smith of Microsoft is happy to blame NSA, and to claim that the crisis shows that we need a digital Geneva accord – which conveniently serves Silicon Valley’s corporate interests while conveniently distracting attention from Microsoft’s decisions about who would get a security patch and who would not.

Paul and I dive deep into NSA’s latest problems with compliance and the FISA court. I fear we have created perfect conditions for a risk-averse intelligence community. It’s beginning to look as though Groundhog Day falls on September 10.

Abbott Labs proposes to gag MedSec, I note, by making a settlement offer that would hide security flaws in Abbott’s implants. According to press reports MedSec would be prohibited by the settlement from talking about Abbott’s security flaws without giving notice to Abbott.

Finally, if President Trump taped Jim Comey at dinner, does it matter where they ate? Absolutely, says Paul.  Dinner at the White House or Trump Tower is fine, but taping a dinner at Mar-a-Lago could be a felony.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 164th episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Tim Maurer

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Tim Maurer

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast — Interview with Susan Munro

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International, Security Programs & Policies, Uncategorized

Episode 163

With our sound system back on line, episode 163 is already a big step up from Lost Episode 162.  (Transcripts of 162 are available for those who wish by sending email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com.)

Our interview is with Susan Munro, of Steptoe’s Beijing office.  Susan unwinds the complex spool of cyberlaw measures promulgated by the Chinese government. Click here to view the China Data Protection Regime Overview.

In the news, Maury Shenk and I note that Putin reran his US playbook in the French election, but the French were ready for him.  Indeed, what we originally thought to be crude Russian forgeries may actually be Macron “honey docs” meant to look like crude Russian forgeries.  If so, my hat is off to Macron’s IT team.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov spots a new trend in cybersecurity litigation.  It’s nuts, but that’s not the new part.

The intelligence community’s latest transparency report reveals a shocking stat about “backdoor” FBI searches of 702 for criminal cases.  The bureau did that all of … one time.  Those who want to clog our security services with ever more burdensome processes are going to have to find a bigger scandal.

The Republicans complaining about Susan Rice and “unmasking” can find more to work with in the report.  Turns out that Americans were identified in masked or unmasked form in about 4000 reports last year, but by the time the report writers and the intelligence consumers were done, about 3000 reports had seen their Americans unmasked.  With numbers like that, if the issue hadn’t been raised first by Republicans, every newspaper in America would be calling for an investigation of unmasking standards.

Okay, this is getting embarrassing.  The White House has now spent more time drafting a cyber EO calling for urgent reports from the departments than it’s giving the departments to write the urgent reports.  And so far, as Alan Cohn points out, all we have to show for it is … another leaked draft.

Jennifer explains why the latest Home Depot settlement is both good and bad for the plaintiffs’ bar.

Alan dives deep for substance in the White House’s EO creating an American Tech Council.  He comes up empty.  The EO is purely procedural.

Maury explains the UK’s draft surveillance obligations, concluding there’s not much new in them.  And Germany’s intelligence service is complaining both about Russian hacking and about its lack of authority to, uh, hack back to destroy third party servers.  Chris Painter, call your office!

Alan tells us that DHS cybersecurity did pretty well in budget deal, but only if your point of comparison is EPA’s budget.

At least DHS is making the right enemies.  Jennifer explains DHS backpedaling on the privacy rights of non-Americans.  And Alan and I flag the ABA’s interest in border searches of lawyers’ electronics.

Finally, in cybersecurity news, the Guardian plays the world’s smallest violin for billionaire superyacht owners and the recent defeat of a common form of two factor authentication will put new cybersecurity pressure on SS7.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 163rd Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast — Interview with Michael Schmitt

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International, Security Programs & Policies

Episode 162: The Law of Armed Vibrators

In this episode, I debate Michael Schmitt, a prime mover in two Talinn Manuals on international law and cyber operations. We are joined by an expert on the topic and a new Steptoe partner, Brian Egan, who was formerly the State Department legal adviser, among other accomplishments.  And among the hypotheticals is indeed a DDOS attack on the United States by internet enabled vibrators with unchangeable default passwords.  Because, as the news roundup covers, the FTC may soon be wrestling with the question of how to regulate such security violations.

Meanwhile, Michael Vatis and I clash over the meaning of the NSA’s decision to abandon productive intelligence collection.  I think it’s risk aversion and a return to September 10.  Michael thinks it’s too early to make that judgment.

Stephanie Roy gives an overview of Ajit Pai’s plan to undo the last two Federal Communications Commissions’ net neutrality strategies.

Michael reports on two Silicon Valley giants who fell prey to $100 million (each) cyberscams. I wonder if this means that technologists will stop gloating that Snowden and Shadowbrokers show that only private companies can be trusted to do security right.

This week in news that isn’t news at all: The Russians who hacked Clinton are going after Emmanuel Macron in France, says Trend Micro.

Finally, vigilante justice seems to be sweeping the internet, as the spousal spyware firm, Flexispy, is doxed, and Brickerbot starts securing insecure IOT devices the hard way – by bricking them.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 162nd Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast — News Roundup

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International, Security Programs & Policies

Episode 161: News Roundup

In this episode, Alan Cohn and Maury Shenk look at questions in Europe and elsewhere in Stewart’s absence.  Maury delves into why Google was ordered to turn over foreign data accessible from US, a decision that seems at odds with the Microsoft Ireland case.  Alan considers claims made by David Sanger and William Broad in The New York Times that US blew up North Korea’s most recent missile test, and Jeffrey Lewis’s rebuttal in Foreign Policy.  Alan and Maury both remain skeptical.

Leaving the Korean peninsula, Maury discusses the current effort by EU data protection regulators to enact e-privacy regulations that would, among other things, put in place detailed standards for location tracking and content associated with metadata.  No surprises, but potentially more headaches for US industry.   And back on US soil, Alan comments on the US Justice Department’s apparent decision to reconsider criminal charges against Wikileaks for the CIA cyber-tools leak.  Maury provides some color on the Trump Administration’s (lack of) views on Privacy Shield.

Finally, Alan reviews the bidding on dual-use export controls and cyber technologies, explaining both the most recent negotiations under the Wassenaar Arrangement and the EU’s efforts to amend its dual-use export controls to include cyber-surveillance technologies.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 161st Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast — News Roundup with Julian Sanchez and Gus Hurwitz

Posted in Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, International, Privacy Regulation

Episode 160: News Roundup with Julian Sanchez and Gus Hurwitz

This week the podcast features an extended news roundup with two guest commentators – Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute and Gus Hurwitz of Nebraska Law School.

We talk about the latest, mostly overhyped, Shadowbrokers dump, and whether Google Translate can be taught to render plain text into Shadowbrokerese as well as Klingon.

Stephanie Roy kicks off speculation about the future of net neutrality in the Pai FCC. The future looks bright for litigators.

Abbott Labs takes a short but brutal session in the woodshed from the FDA. Looks like Abbott’s now-subsidiary, St. Jude Medical, knew for years that its backdoor could be found by outsiders, but it stuck to the view that hardcoded access was a feature not a bug.  Too bad Uber has already trademarked the name, because if ever there were a feature that deserved to be called “God mode,” this is it.

Burger King triggers a technical battle with Google and an editing war with Wikipedia with a commercial that begins, “Okay, Google, what’s a Whopper burger?”  But, law nerds that we are, all we can talk about is whether Burger King is liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback.  Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 160th Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here.  We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Julian Sanchez

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Julian Sanchez

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Interview with Nicholas Weaver

Posted in Data Breach, International, Privacy Regulation

Episode 159: Interview with Nicholas Weaver

Our guest interview is with Nick Weaver, of Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute.  It covers the latest dumps of hacker tools, the vulnerability equities process, the so-bad-you-want-to-cover-your-eyes story of Juniper and the Dual_EC hacks, and ends with a tour of recent computer security disasters, from the capture of a bank’s entire online presence, to the pwning of Dallas’s emergency sirens, and a successful campaign to compromise the outsourcing firms that supply IT to small and medium sized businesses.

In the news roundup, Maury Shenk, and Jamil Jaffer, of George Mason’s National Security Law & Policy Program, talk with me about the likely outcome of the European movement to regulate encryption.  The bad news for Silicon Valley is that the US isn’t likely to play much of a moderating role when the Europeans tighten the screws.

In other news, Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov explains the two-front battle that Wendy’s is facing (and mostly losing) over data breach liability.

I acknowledge the latest Silicon Valley fad:  filing lawsuits on behalf of their customers’ privacy.  So far, Twitter has chalked up a win, and Facebook a loss.

LabMD has also chalked up another win, this time in a Bivens action to hold FTC officials personally liable for aggressively enforcing the law against the company as punishment for its outspoken critique of the Commission.  The case has mostly survived a motion to dismiss.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, outmoded privacy laws continue to burden would-be undercover journalists, and Jennifer reports that the prospects for invalidating a law banning recordings of oral conversations on first amendment grounds took a hit last week, at least as it relates to public officials.

Finally, in other computer security news around the globe, Germany’s security services are claiming a lack of authority to take needed action in response to cyber threats.  In India, in contrast, enthusiasts for better attribution of India’s populace are forcing everyone to register in a detailed identity database – despite the efforts of India’s top court to ensure that the system remains voluntary.  The death of anonymity will be a prolonged affair, but the outcome seems inevitable

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback.  Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 159th Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here.  We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Nick Weaver

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Nick Weaver

Steptoe partner Stewart Baker with Jamil Jaffer

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Triple Entente Beer Summit III

Posted in International, Privacy Regulation, Security Programs & Policies

Episode 158 is a bonus episode – the Triple Entente Beer Summit, where members of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, the Lawfare Podcast, and the Rational Security Podcast assemble over beer to comment on the events of the week – or in this case, the day, since it was among the most news-filled days of President Trump’s young presidency.  We cover the (then pending) attack on Assad’s forces in Syria, the future of the Russia election/surveillance investigation, and the meaning of changes to the National Security Council.  It’s also the time each year when our audience gets to ask us questions, and that turns out to be among the most entertaining parts of the program.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback. Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 158th Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here.  We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Steptoe partners Michael Vatis (left) and Stewart Baker (right) at Triple Entente Beer Summit

Steptoe partners Michael Vatis (left) and Stewart Baker (right) at Triple Entente Beer Summit

Stewart Baker Announces Winner Podcast Mug

Stewart Baker Announces Winner Podcast Mug

 

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast Mug Winner

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast Mug Winner

Live audience

Live audience

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast – Interview with Joshua Corman and Justine Bone

Posted in Privacy Regulation, Security Programs & Policies

Episode 157 digs into the security of the medical internet of things.  Which, we discover, could be described more often than we’d like as an internet of things that want to kill us.  Joshua Corman of the Atlantic Council and Justine Bone, CEO of MedSec, talk about the culture clash that has made medical cybersecurity such a treacherous landscape for security researchers, manufacturers, regulators, and, unfortunately, a lot of patients who remain in the dark about the security of devices they carry around inside them.

In the news roundup, Phil Khinda takes us through the likely trend in SEC cybersecurity enforcement in the new administration.  Stephen Heifetz does the same for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS.

I claim that Eli Lake’s Bloomberg story finally explains why Republicans think that Obama administration surveillance and unmasking of Trump team members needs to be investigated. Stephen calls it a distraction.

In other news, Buzzfeed gets taken down by a lawyer with a sense of humor, big claims are made for the impact of the third Wikileaks Vault7 document dump, and Donald Trump may have forgiven Apple.  Finally, Jim Comey’s twitter account may have been outed; that’s the story, because the tweets themselves are anodyne in the extreme.

For those wanting to dig deeper into medical device cybersecurity, Joshua Corman recommends the following links, all referenced in the interview:

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback.  Send an email to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 157th Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here.  We are also on iTunesPocket Casts, and Google Play (available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.