cyber-security

Majority of election sites in battleground states lack validation, McAfee finds
Local government election-related websites lack the .gov domain

A Board of Elections official places signs around the One Judiciary Square building as District of Columbia residents head to the polls for the first day of early voting in the 2014 general election at the Board of Elections headquarters in Washington on Oct. 20, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A vast majority of election-related websites operated by local governments in battleground states lack a key feature that would help distinguish them from those run by commercial entities or criminal hackers — a site that ends in .gov as opposed to .com or other extensions, according to cybersecurity research firm McAfee.

Of 1,117 counties in 13 key states, which account for 201 of the 270 Electoral College votes that determine the winner of presidential contests, 83.3 percent didn’t have the .gov validation, McAfee found. 

Barr's call for law enforcement access to commercial encryption

Then-attorney general nominee William P. Barr testifies during his confirmation hearing in January 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General William Barr cited widespread access to “military grade encryption” as a key challenge in fighting human trafficking. “We have to do something about this” he said Friday morning.

The cabinet official told attendees at the White House human trafficking summit that he recently met with his counterparts in the “Five Eyes” — a group of five countries the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, that share intelligence.

Cyberattackers lurking longer inside computers, report finds
In 2019, criminals remained undetected for average of 95 days before discovery, 10 more days than in 2018

To avoid detection, sophisticated nation-state attackers tend to operate quickly after breaking into a victim’s computer. But criminals may move slowly, hoping to cause bigger disruptions and collect larger ransoms, CrowdStrike said in a 2019 report. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Online attackers are becoming so good at hiding themselves that they can remain undetected in victims’ computers for months before being found, potentially giving these criminals more time to inflict greater damage than if they were detected earlier, according to cybersecurity research firm CrowdStrike.

Cyberattackers remained undetected for an average of 95 days before discovery last year, compared with an average of 85 days in 2018, CrowdStrike said in a report made public Monday.

Can - and should - an algorithm be ethical when it comes to financial technology?
Fintech Beat, Ep. 35

Can an algorithm be ethical? (iStock, Getty Images)

Algorithms have evolved into to powerful engines of financial technology. But they don’t always live up to the hype, as algorithmic models fail to take account of basic societal concerns like fairness, privacy and bias. Fintech Beat sits down with Michael Kearns to find out what can be done to make algorithms “ethical.”

Trump Iran address comes as congressional plans on War Powers in flux
Trump threatens more sanctions against Iran as he makes move to deescalate tensions

President Donald Trump is seen on a television in the House Subway tunnel below the U.S. Capitol as he speaks to the nation about tensions with Iran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signaled a cooling of tensions with Tehran after it struck U.S. military targets inside Iraq, saying in a national address that “Iran appears to be standing down.”

He called that “a good thing for all parties concerned and for the world.”

Fintech Beat sits down with the former chief of the Federal Reserve’s open banking unit
Fintech Beat, Ep. 34

The Federal Reserve building. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Open banking’s benefits involve using customer consent to develop new financial products to revolutionize financial services. But critics claim open banking can at times bypass customer consent by using digital avatars and other online tools to infiltrate and collect customer data. Fintech Beat sits down with the former chief of the Federal Reserve’s open banking unit to get answers.

Big data poses big problems for banks, experts say
Risks to security and privacy cited as products and services develop rapidly

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer says big data systems generate “astounding” amounts of data. “This is the future, and there’s no going back from here,” he said at a Nov. 21 hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The financial services industry’s use of big data and data aggregation tools has the potential to benefit millions of consumers but also could disproportionately affect the privacy and security of vulnerable populations.

That’s the take of experts who testified to the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Financial Technology last month, hoping to convince lawmakers that more attention is needed on the issue.

DCCC again asks NRCC to pledge not to use hacked materials
Bustos resending a letter first sent to Emmer six months ago

DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos is resending a pledge to her NRCC counterpart about not using hacked material. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is renewing a request to its Republican counterpart that both parties pledge not to use hacked materials in the 2020 campaign.

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois first sent such a letter to National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer in April. Six months later, she’s resending the letter, following House passage — largely along party lines — of an election security bill this week.

Huawei lobbying cash lands on Trump donor with Ukraine clients
Chinese tech giant increased lobbying expenditures 2,000 percent in the third quarter

K Street Northwest is seen as the center of the lobbying world in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Huawei Technologies USA Inc. upped its lobbying expenditures by more than 2,000 percent between this year’s second and third quarters, with most of the increase going to pay a Trump donor with recent Ukrainian clients.

The U.S. operation of the giant Chinese technology company disclosed nearly $1.8 million in federal lobbying expenses between July 1 and Sept. 30, recent lobbying disclosures show.

Zuckerberg declines Rep. Katie Porter’s challenge to work as a content monitor
Porter pushes Zuckerberg on working conditions, benefits for Facebook content monitors

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., attends the House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday, October 22nd. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call),

Rep. Katie Porter used her time during Wednesday’s House Financial Services hearing to press Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the working standards and benefits for the company’s small army contractors monitoring the platform’s content.   

The California Democrat compared the parts of Facebook’s conduct policies for content moderators to a dystopian depiction in an episode of Netflix show “Black Mirror.” She asked the tech CEO if he would be “willing to spend an hour a day, for the next year,” working as a content monitor for the platform.