US Cyber Command and NSA focus on recruitment. Dark Hydra case update. Surveillance authorities and practices. | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

At a glance.

  • US Cyber Command and NSA focus on recruitment.
  • Dark Hydra case update.
  • Surveillance authorities and practices.

US Cyber Command and NSA focus on recruitment.

General Paul M. Nakasone, commander of US Cyber Command and the director of the National Security Agency, spoke to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday about the future of Cybercom’s Cyber Mission Force (CMF), the US Department of Defense reports. “We originally built the force in the department — 133 teams — that were dedicated to our Cyber Mission Force. The previous secretary of defense has approved a 14-team growth in the future years defense plan. We’re going to grow five more teams this year.” He added that analysis is ongoing to determine whether even more teams will be needed. As Cybercom’s action arm, CMF’s purpose is to direct, synchronize, and coordinate cyberspace operations to defend national interests. Decipher notes that the National Security Agency, CIA, and other intelligence agencies are also on a quest to attract qualified cybersecurity professionals, and they not only have to compete with others to recruit the best and brightest, but also with the private sector. Officials will have to reevaluate the recruitment process and find ways to optimize retention. This could include offering higher salaries, hiring military officers at a higher grade, and offering personnel opportunities to work with industry or earn advanced degrees. “The ability to attract and focus on the mission, on what really gets done here. It’s the mission that attracts people to work in this field,” Nakasone said.

Seizure and indictment in Dark Hydra Case.

On Tuesday the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, executed a successful raid on the Russian underground market Hydra, the world’s largest and longest-running marketplace on the dark web. Hydra enabled criminals in mainly Russian-speaking countries to anonymously trade illicit goods and services like drugs, stolen financial data, fraudulent identification documents, and money laundering and mixing services, and over the past seven years the marketplace received $5.2 billion in cryptocurrency. The raid resulted in the shutdown of many of Hydra’s servers and the seizure of over $25 million in Bitcoin. US Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco commented, “The Department of Justice will not allow darknet markets and cryptocurrency to be a safe haven for money laundering and the sale of hacking tools and services…Together with our partners in Germany and around the world, we will continue our work to disrupt the ecosystem that allows these criminal actors to operate.”

The Record by Recorded Future reports that the DOJ followed the raid by filing charges against Dmitry Olegovich Pavlov, a Russian national indicted for his connection to Hydra. Pavlov ran a company called Promservice Ltd. that allegedly supported the “operation and administration of the servers used to run” the underground marketplace. “In doing so, Pavlov is alleged to have facilitated Hydra’s activities and allowed Hydra to reap commissions worth millions of dollars generated from the illicit sales conducted through the site,” the DOJ explained. 

Social media surveillance authorities in fifty countries.

Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with Comparitech, gives Uncle Sam bad grades for social media surveillance, and he’s looking at you in particular, FBI:

“Following the recent news that the FBI is spending millions on social media surveillance technology from Babel Street, Comparitech’s latest study finds that the US is one of the worst countries for government social media surveillance. Scoring 7 out of a possible 21 points (a score of 0 being widespread and invasive social media surveillance), the US was found to conduct large-scale and extensive surveillance projects across social networks and often with little or no judicial oversight. 

 “From the FBI to the DHS and LAPD to the USPIS, many government authorities within the US have access to tools that enable real-time, mass surveillance across social platforms. And although the technology from Babel Street that the FBI has purchased only gives access to “public” information, it cannot differentiate between innocent members of the public and criminals. Furthermore, even though posts on social platforms may be public, users still expect some level of privacy when using these networks. Without clear, transparent processes and oversight, these surveillance tactics leave social media users’ data open to abuse.“

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