Jun 21, 2018

White House picks new head for hacking tool board

Photo: Rosetta Bonatti/Getty Images

The White House has selected Grant Schneider to head the board that determines which hacking methods the government can use for espionage and law enforcement, Cyberscoop was first to report.

Schneider is currently the acting federal chief information security officer and cybersecurity head for the National Security Council.

Why it matters: When the NSA or FBI discovers a security problem in a computer program they could use to hack a suspect's computer, they turn to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process to get permission to keep it secret. The VEP determines which problems are kept secret for espionage use and which are reported to manufacturers to allow them to be patched. Each decision weighs the value for surveillance purposes against the danger that hackers discover the same problem and use it cause havoc.

More than a theoretical debate: The extremely destructive malware Wanna Cry from last year is believed to have used stolen NSA vulnerabilities.

Former White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce announced last year that the administration would work to make the VEP more transparent.

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

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Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World