Ellen Nakashima

US Cyber Command operation disrupted Internet access of Russian troll factory on day of 2018 midterms

The US military blocked Internet access to an infamous Russian entity seeking to sow discord among Americans during the 2018 midterms, several US officials said, a warning that the group’s operations against the United States are not cost-free. The strike on the Internet Research Agency in St.

Justice Department charges Huawei with fraud, ratcheting up US-China tensions

The Justice Department announced criminal charges against Huawei, the world’s largest communications equipment manufacturer, and one of its top executives — a move likely to intensify trade tensions between the US and China. A 13-count indictment filed in New York City against Huawei, two of its affiliated firms, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, accuses Huawei and an affiliate of bank fraud and wire fraud. The company is also charged with violating US sanctions on Iran and conspiring to obstruct justice related to the investigation.

DOJ charges Iranian hackers with attacks on US cities, companies

The Justice Department unsealed charges against two Iranian criminal hackers who allegedly used ransomware to hit American hospitals, universities, government agencies and the city of Atlanta (GA), causing tens of millions of dollars in damages. More than 200 victims were affected, more than $6 million in ransom was collected and damages exceeded $30 million, officials said. Ransomware encrypts data on affected systems, with an offer to decrypt if a ransom is paid.

Russia wants DNC’s election-hacking lawsuit thrown out

The Russian government is arguing that a federal court should dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee alleging that Moscow’s military spies, the Trump campaign, and the WikiLeaks organization conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump. In a letter and statement to the State Department and a judge in the Southern District of New York, Russia’s Ministry of Justice argued that the United States’ Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects the Russian government from such lawsuits.

Facebook wins court battle over law enforcement access to encrypted phone calls

Although the decision remains under seal, a federal judge in California apparently ruled that the government cannot force Facebook to break the encryption on its popular Messenger voice app in a criminal case in which agents wanted to intercept a suspect’s conversations. The decision could be a setback for the Justice Department which sought to compel Facebook to figure out how to give it access to the encrypted communications.

President Trump authorizes ‘offensive cyber operations’ to deter foreign adversaries, National Security Adviser Bolton says

The White House has “authorized offensive cyber operations” against US adversaries, in line with a new policy that eases the rules on the use of digital weapons to protect the nation, said National Security Adviser John Bolton. “Our hands are not tied as they were in the Obama administration,” Bolton said when unveiling a new national cyber strategy. He did not elaborate on the nature of the offensive operations or what specific malign behavior they were intended to counter.

Tech firms step up to confront online threats. But some ask, what about the White House?

Technology giants increasingly are casting themselves as defenders of online integrity as American democracy, yet again, comes under attack. A recent string of revelations from companies including Facebook, Microsoft and Google about foreign hacking and disinformation amount to a public answer to charges that the technology industry should have done more to thwart Russia’s online attacks in 2016.

President Trump gives the military more latitude to use offensive cyber tools against adversaries

The Trump administration has moved to give the military more latitude to conduct offensive cyber operations against American adversaries, continuing an effort begun in 2017 to grant commanders more leeway to make battlefield decisions. President Donald Trump on Aug 15 signed an order delegating authority to the defense secretary to use cyber tools and techniques to disrupt or degrade an adversary’s network or choke off attacks underway, loosening rules established under the Obama administration.

First Amendment advocates urge change in Facebook platform rules

A group of First Amendment advocates has urged Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to change the social media giant’s platform rules to enable public service journalism and research on its platform. The issue is especially pressing as reporters and researchers investigate Russian interference in the midterm elections through platforms such as Facebook’s.

As midterm elections approach, a growing concern that the nation is not protected from Russian interference

Two years after Russia interfered in the American presidential campaign, the nation has done little to protect itself against a renewed effort to influence voters in the coming congressional midterm elections, according to lawmakers and independent analysts. They say that voting systems are more secure against hackers, thanks to action at the federal and state levels — and that the Russians have not targeted those systems to the degree they did in 2016. But Russian efforts to manipulate U.S.