Good day. Senate proposals attached to the annual National Defense Authorization Act would create state-level cybersecurity coordinators and empower the National Guard to respond to incidents outside the Pentagon’s orbit, including helping governmental and nongovernmental entities. The proposals are part of an effort to elevate cybersecurity issues in congressional discussions of national defense, WSJ Pro Cybersecurity’s David Uberti reports.
Other news: School districts are vulnerable to hackers; Android spyware targets Uighurs.
Readers, we won’t publish a newsletter tomorrow, in observance of the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S. We’ll be back Monday.
Senators push for local cybersecurity support in defense bill. Senate lawmakers are trying to fortify state and local cybersecurity
through amendments to the annual defense budget as it is debated on the chamber floor this week.
A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for the annual National Defense Authorization Act to establish state-level cybersecurity coordinators within the Department of Homeland Security and to formally extend the National Guard’s role to aiding local governments in combating cyber threats.
The proposals are part of a broader effort by some lawmakers to yank cybersecurity to the foreground in discussions on national defense, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.), said.
“Historically, the NDAA has not really been a place where Congress has worked to advance key cybersecurity priorities,” said Ms. Hassan, who co-sponsored both proposals. “I think that needs to change.”
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“The next Pearl Harbor will be cyber.”
— Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine, in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.
More Cyber News
Pandemic amplifies cyber shortcomings in school districts. Vulnerable software and networks in schools across the U.S. put student and faculty data at risk, Wired reports. Schools shifted to online learning as the coronavirus pandemic restricted large gatherings. In the past month,
detected more than 4.7 million malware incidents in school districts—far more than the one million found in the next-highest category of business and professional services.
Uh oh: One teen probed computer systems in his district in Polk County, Fla., to find some serious vulnerabilities. They included the ability to expose Social Security numbers in an enrollment system and for students to access each other’s files on Microsoft Sharepoint. The district didn’t respond to Wired’s request for comment.
Android spyware targets Uighurs in 14 countries, researcher says. Malware inserted into mobile apps designed to appeal to the Uighur community can harvest user data and record activity on a smartphone screen, Threat Post reports, citing an analysis from Lookout Inc. The cybersecurity firm has tracked these strains of malware for several years, saying they have targeted Turkic-speaking Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities, in China, as well as Kuwait, Syria and Turkey, among other countries.
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