Earlier this week, Donald Trump tested the bounds of America’s capacity for irony (as he is wont to do).
The Republican party’s presidential candidate just stopped short of urging Russia—one of the United States’ biggest adversaries—to hack his opponents. “Russia, if you’re listening,” he openly yearned, “I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Trump was referring to tens of thousands of messages deleted from Hillary Clinton’s home-brew email server. (The Democratic presidential nominee has maintained that the disappeared records concerned personal, rather than classified information.)
A day later, Trump said he was kidding. “Of course I’m being sarcastic,” he told Fox News. Haha.
The Clinton campaign—recently hacked along with the Democratic National Committee, mind you—took the opportunity to paint Trump as a Kremlin crony. “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, chief foreign policy adviser to Clinton. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.” Scary stuff.
Cybersecurity pros who predicted that hacking would be a major theme of the 2016 presidential election have not been disappointed. Yet the most troubling part of this election cycle is not, in this onlooker’s view, the onslaught of allegedly state-sponsored network intrusions and data theft. These are par for the course in cyberspace, to be sure. What is most concerning is that adversaries and opportunists—ranging from spies abroad to political aspirants at home—have learned to exploit the world’s interconnected communications technologies to sow fear, paranoia, and division among its people. Make no mistake: this is hacking, too.
Enjoy the weekend—and try to relax in spite of the headlines. More news below.
Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach me via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my about.me), PGP encrypted email (see public key on my Keybase.io), Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.
Did Russia hack the Dems? Most cybersecurity experts think so. The forensic evidence and tradecraft are distinctly Russian, they say. Meanwhile, legal experts are calling on the U.S. government to release more information about the attacks and to officially point a finger at Moscow. (Fortune, Guardian, Lawfare)
Cyberespionage works both ways. One of Russia’s top security agencies has claimed that 20 Russian government agencies have been infected with spy malware. No word yet on who the culprit might be, hmm… (RT)
“Privacy Shield” temporarily blessed. Privacy watchdogs in the European Union said they would let the new transfer agreement governing transatlantic data trade stand for at least a year before raising any legal challenges. Tech companies that rely on the information of their customers for their businesses are relieved. (Fortune)
Citibanker goes rogue. An employee in the Citibank IT department who believed he was on the verge of being fired knocked offline 90% of the the company’s networks in North America. He has been sentenced to 21 months in prison and has been fined nearly $80,000. (Tripwire blog)
Behold, the wall of defacement. Hackers have hijacked innumerable chief exec and celebrity Twitter handles in recent months. Although creating a comprehensive list would be a fool’s errand, here’s a rundown of some of the highest profile takeovers. (Fortune)
Google ups encryption. The search giant has rolled out HSTS—or HTTP strict transport security—a policy that strengthens its protection of data in transit. The tech automatically directs people to HTTPS-protected webpages, even when they’re originally directed to those of the less secure HTTP variety. (Google security blog)
By the way, need you a better reason to cover up your webcam?
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Here’s Fortune contributor David Meyer on the ideological differences between the world’s top whistleblowers.
WikiLeaks is on a bit of a roll at the moment, most notoriously with its release of thousands of emails and even voicemail recordings from the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic party’s donors.
And Edward Snowden, the famous National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, thinks Julian Assange’s whistleblowing pipeline is taking things too far. Read the rest on Fortune.com.
5 Takeaways From Cisco’s Big Cybersecurity Report by Jonathan Vanian
Harry Reid Wants the CIA to Give Donald Trump Fake Briefings by Katie Reilly
Dropbox Flaunts Improved Security and Collaboration Features by Heather Clancy
Twitter Bug Bounty: Hacker Earns $10,000 For Filching Vine Source Code by Robert Hackett
Former IBM Cloud Chief Launches Security Startup by Barb Darrow
ONE MORE THING
Is your code safe? Peiter Zatko, a legendary hacker known by the moniker “mudge,” has revealed the first details about his scheme for grading security software. He developed the method with his wife Sarah, a former National Security Agency mathematician. (The Intercept)