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11/21/2019
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A popular cybersecurity expert is leaving the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before the next election. An incoming policy guru at the Pentagon predicts cyber alliances will take the next step. And Mozilla ups its bug bounty rewards. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, November 21.

We've got the scoop

Jeanette Manfra has for years been an important ambassador for DHS’s cybersecurity work, representing the department at hacking conferences, testifying before Congress on election security, and raising awareness about supply-chain threats in industry. She is now preparing to leave her post, with an internal DHS announcement to come as soon as this week. Manfra’s replacement as assistant director at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will have big shoes to fill. Sean Lyngaas had the story first.


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Incoming DOD policy guru has a prediction

State-sponsored cyberattacks against any single nation could soon provoke a global response, if a growing number of officials around the world have their way. As the Pentagon has experimented with new authorities allowing U.S. Cyber Command to be more offensive in cyberspace, key officials have suggested there is a groundswell of support for multi-nation countermeasures in the digital age. Thomas Wingfield, the incoming deputy assistant secretary of Defense for cyber policy, told CyberScoop that alliances could be more successful in deterring hackers and striking back when they infiltrate sensitive networks. “I think that’s a more effective way to solve the problem, and I think that is the general [direction] of international law,” he said. Shannon Vavra breaks it down.


Mozilla adds cash to the jar

Mozilla said it’s marking the 15-year anniversary of its Firefox browser by dedicating a higher budget to its bounty program. Rewards for critical, core and other Mozilla sites are doubled, while remote code-execution vulnerabilities now are worth up to $15,000 on critical sites. Meanwhile, Mozilla also is asking researchers to try hacking its Autograph cryptography service, its Lando code repository tool, the Phabricator, which reviews code changes in Firefox, and Taskcluster, the framework for continuous integration, among others. Jeff Stone has a quick blog.


FBI talks Chinese hacking

A senior cybersecurity official at the FBI said cyberthreats from China are the most concerning of any coming from U.S. adversaries. “As I look at which one of our adversaries has risen up to a level that I’m comfortable saying that they’re a peer in terms of capability, I would say it’s China,” the official said during a meeting with reporters at FBI headquarters. “While Russia, certainly, I would categorize as today’s threat, China I would categorize as today’s, tomorrow’s, and next year’s threat.” The official also highlighted how easy it was for other governments not considered cyber powers to buy off-the-shelf capabilities. “The threshold for entry to have a cyber program has dropped so low because you don’t need to figure out how to do it on your own and have your own program,” the official said. “You can just buy it as a service yourself … That creates problems with attribution for us.”  For more on how the FBI addresses these threats, see Sean’s interview from July with former FBI official Eric Welling. That's here.


What does this mean for Snowden?

Chris Inglis, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency, said Wednesday he thought former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was “reckless” and “not a whistleblower in any way shape or form…But we are in a better place because of it.” He added, “I do think we’ve got a different compact with all our overseers and with the American public." Snowden responded, firing off a tweet acknowledging the evolution in thinking. Inglis now believes the U.S. is better off “because I came forward…it was net-good. In another decade, I'll be home," he said. Read the tweets.


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