Nearly half of Americans fear TikTok would give their data to the Chinese government

trump biden tiktok 4x3
Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok from the US on national security grounds. Joe Biden has dropped the ban but remain wary.

  • TikTok’s ties to China prompted President Donald Trump to try and ban the app in the US.
  • Some 48% of Americans think the app would give their data to the country, a new book reveals.
  • The polling, the first to explore US attitudes on the issue, was shared exclusively with Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nearly half of Americans think TikTok would give their data to the Chinese government if it asked, a poll shared exclusively with Insider has found.

The app’s ties to China, which is home to its parent company ByteDance, prompted President Donald Trump to attempt to ban it in 2020 on national security grounds.

The polling, the first to explore US attitudes on the issue, found that 48% of Americans worried that TikTok would accede to a request from the Chinese Government for user data if asked. Some 35% agreed TikTok was a national security threat and nearly half said they did not trust it to handle their personal data.

Among those aged 18 to 34, a key demographic for the app, 45% believed it would give their data to China.

The polling, by Opinium, was commissioned for “TikTok Boom: China’s Dynamite App and the Superpower Race for Social Media” by journalist Chris Stokel-Walker, who has reported for Insider on the reputational threat posed by TikTok’s ties to China.

“For nearly six months, TikTok was on the front lines of a battle for survival in a war waged by Donald Trump,” Stokel-Walker said. “This first-time analysis of US public perception shows just how damaging a fight it was.

“TikTok hasn’t yet claimed victory in the battle for its survival – and quite rightly. While Donald Trump went away when he lost the election, Joe Biden’s approach to China, and to TikTok, shows he’s equally skeptical. So too are the American public.”

The poll found:

  • When asked whether they worried “TikTok may share my data with the Chinese government”, 24% “strongly” agreed and another 24% “tended to agree.” Only 16% disagreed.
  • When asked if TikTok posed a national security threat, 17% strongly agreed and 18% tended to agree, while 22% disagreed.
  • Only 19% said they trusted TikTok to look after their personal data, while 48% disagreed.
  • 58% agreed TikTok was “Chinese-owned,” while 7% disagreed.

Stokel-Walker said: “TikTok has repeatedly denied any allegations that it has connections to the Chinese state, and
categorically says it would not hand over any data if asked.

“Its major problem is that half the American population seem not to believe a word of it. For a company still fighting off the threat of legislative closure, it’s an uphill battle to fight.

“We’ve become enamored with TikTok, with Americans ditching traditional television and streaming services in favour of the app.

“But users are seemingly going on the app with one eye looking over their shoulder.”

Earlier this week, The Guardian reported on polling for the book that revealed a third of British people also feared TikTok would give their data to China.

A TikTok spokesperson told Insider: “Millions of people around the world love creating, sharing and being entertained on TikTok and we take our responsibility to protect their information seriously.

“As we have made clear previously, TikTok user data is stored on secure servers in the US and Singapore. TikTok has never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we if asked.

“This is reflected in our regular Transparency Reports, which detail the requests we receive from governments around the world.”

Theo Bertram, its head of public policy in Europe, told the BBC last June, “The suggestion that we are in any way under the thumb of the Chinese government is completely and utterly false.”

Opinium surveyed 2,006 American adults between March 26 and April 6, 2021.

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The White House is urging private companies to take the threat of cyberattacks seriously as ransomware hacks ‘have increased significantly’

Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger
Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger speaks about the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack during the daily press briefing at the White House on May 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • The Biden Administration is calling on the private sector to do more in the fight against cybercrime.
  • “The number and size of ransomware incidents have increased significantly,” the administration says.
  • The memo follows an attack on the world’s largest meatpacker, which shut down several US factories.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The private sector needs to do more to defend itself in the face of a rising cybersecurity threat, the White House said in a memo addressed to corporate executives and business leaders on Wednesday.

“The number and size of ransomware incidents have increased significantly,” wrote Anne Neuberger, Biden’s deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology.

“The private sector also has a critical responsibility to protect against these threats,” she added. “All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location.”

The memo follows the latest attack on a key resource supplier in the US by ransomware attackers said to be based in Russia. Over the weekend, the world’s largest meat processor, JBS, was forced to shut down much of its North American operations after an attack the FBI attributed to a group known as Pinchy Spider.

And in April, the Colonial Pipeline was temporarily shut down when the company’s IT infrastructure was held hostage by the hackers known as Darkside for a ransom worth $4.4 million.

This week, the New York subway system and a Massachusetts ferry operator were each victims of cyber attacks.

Business leaders should immediately discuss their risk exposure and response strategies, the memo said, including following guidance outlined in last month’s Executive Order on improving the country’s cybersecurity.

The “highly impactful steps” include using a multi-factor authentication system instead of relying on passwords, conducting regularly scheduled data backups, keeping systems updated, and segmenting networks so an attack doesn’t bring the whole system down.

“Much as our homes have locks and alarm systems and our office buildings have guards and security to meet the threat of theft, we urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defenses match the threat,” the memo said.

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These countries will get 25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the US

Covid Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine

  • The US will send 25 million vaccine doses to countries in Central and South America, Asia and Africa.
  • “This is just the beginning,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said.
  • Shipments will take place over the next several weeks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The United States will send 25 million excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries all over the world, the White House announced Thursday.

Nearly 19 million of the doses will be given through COVAX, the UN-backed global vaccine sharing program that helps vulnerable countries.

In total, 7 million of those doses will be donated to nations in South and Southeast Asia, including India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Vietnam. Another 6 million doses will be shipped across Central and South America, including to Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, and El Salvador. Approximately 5 million doses will be delivered to countries in Africa, coordinated through the African Union.

The remaining 6 million doses will be given directly to allies and countries seeing surges in COVID-19 cases, including Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Egypt, Iraq, and the West Bank and Gaza, the White House said.

“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”

“This is just the beginning,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a Thursday briefing. The doses will consist of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Zients confirmed.

Vaccine shipments will take place over the next several weeks. The US plans to share a total of 80 million excess doses with the rest of the world by the end of June – five times the amount any other country has committed to donating, according to the White House.

“A number of those are even going to go out as soon as today,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a news conference Thursday.

The White House reiterated that the US has secured enough supply to fully vaccinate Americans and the doses that will be shipped come from a surplus in the US stockpile.

The announcement comes ahead of Biden’s meeting in the United Kingdom with the Group of Seven nations next week. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan noted on Thursday that the US plans to work with those countries to help end the pandemic.

“Our goal in sharing our vaccines is in service of ending the pandemic globally,” Sullivan said during a White House coronavirus task force briefing Thursday. “Our overarching aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.”

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Venmo added new privacy options after President Joe Biden’s account was discovered

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In this photo illustration the Venmo – Share Payments logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

  • Venmo added new added in-app privacy controls after President Joe Biden’s account was discovered.
  • The president’s account was discovered earlier this month by reporters in just minutes of searching.
  • The new update lets users set their friends list to be public, visible to friends, or private.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Venmo has added new privacy options after reporters found President Joe Biden’s account in “less than 10 minutes” of searching.

Venmo, an app for digitally transferring money to and from people you know, added in-app privacy controls which let users set their friends list to be public, visible to friends, or private.

This change comes after the President’s Venmo account was discovered after just a few minutes of searching, Buzzfeed News reported on May 14.

Venmo accounts by default display connections, or “friends.” Accounts for Biden’s children and grandchildren were among those connected to the president’s account, according to Buzzfeed.

The search for Biden’s account began after The New York Times on Friday published an inside look at Biden’s time in the White House. The story said: “One advisor said he had sent the grandchildren money using Venmo.”

A Venmo spokesperson told Insider the company is “consistently evolving and strengthening the Venmo platform for all of our customers.”

“ As part of these ongoing efforts, we have added in-app controls providing customers an option to select a public, friends-only, or private setting for their friends list. We look forward to continuing to provide customers with a seamless payments experience,” the spokesperson said.

Software developer Jane Manchun Wong was first to share the news on Friday: “Venmo is working on friends list privacy settings after Joe Biden’s Venmo friend list was uncovered. Users will also be able to choose whether to appear in other users’ friends lists.”

“As of now, Venmo’s Friends List Privacy is on “Public” by default The screenshot shows “Private” was picked because I tapped the option as soon as I saw it,” Wong added.

Wong doesn’t work for Venmo, but she’s built a following among tech workers, journalists, and enthusiasts for digging up and publicizing unreleased features long before they’re officially announced.

To set your friends list to be private, tap the three stacked lines on the upper right of the main feed, then tap “Settings,” “Privacy,” and then “Friends List.” From here, you can make your friends list visible to any logged in Venmo user, your friends, or only you. You can also choose if you want to appear in other users’ friends lists.

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Joe Biden’s Venmo account was discovered by reporters in ‘less than 10 minutes’

Biden
President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden’s Venmo account was discovered after just a few minutes of searching, Buzzfeed News reported on Friday.

The transactions on the account were set to private, but it was reportedly linked to Biden’s family members.

Venmo accounts by default display connections, or “friends.” Accounts for Biden’s children and grandchildren were among those connected to the president’s account, according to Buzzfeed. The account had a handful of connections.

The search for Biden’s account began after The New York Times on Friday published an inside look at Biden’s time in the White House. The story said: “One advisor said he had sent the grandchildren money using Venmo.”

With that info in hand, it took “less than 10 minutes” to find Biden’s account, Buzzfeed said. Accounts linked to Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden were removed following the report, according to the outlet.

In a statement to Buzzfeed, a Venmo spokesperson said: “The safety and privacy of all Venmo users and their information is always a top priority, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Customers always have the ability to make their transactions private and determine their own privacy settings in the app. We’re consistently evolving and strengthening the privacy measures for all Venmo users to continue to provide a safe, secure place to send and spend money.”

Venmo has been in the political spotlight recently after Joel Greenberg, an ally of Rep. Matt Gaetz, reportedly made more than 150 payments via Venmo to dozens of women, as well as a 17-year-old girl. In one instance, Gaetz reportedly sent $900 to Greenberg.

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Cybersecurity experts think the anonymity of a small Florida company managing a huge chunk of the internet could be part of the Pentagon’s plan – and masking a bigger company

The Pentagon logo and an American flag are lit up January 3, 2002 in the briefing room of Pentagon in Arlington, VA
The Pentagon logo and an American flag are lit up January 3, 2002 in the briefing room of Pentagon in Arlington, VA

  • A startup took over management of over 175 million Pentagon IP addresses in January.
  • The company has no real history and was only created 7 months ago.
  • Cybersecurity experts say the company is likely a shell organization, masking the Pentagon’s plans.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

About three minutes before former President Donald Trump left office, a mysterious startup began managing nearly 175 million Pentagon Internet Protocol addresses.

The company that is managing about 6% of usable internet space was identified as Global Resource Systems LLC. The 7-month old Florida company has no internet history or prior contracts with the government, but cybersecurity experts told Insider the startup may not what be it seems.

Four experts said the Pentagon is likely using the company’s lack of history as a shield for its plans and Global Resource Systems could be operating as a shell to hide a much larger organization.

The anonymity is likely key to the Pentagon’s plan

Cybersecurity experts say the mystery shrouding Global Resource Systems is not surprising.

The company has no real history, but the people behind the company undoubtedly have government connections, Morgan Wright, the chief security officer of SentinelOne, told Insider.

The name on the company’s incorporation documents, Raymond Saulino, matches the name of a managing member of the cybersecurity firm Packet Forensics, a company that has worked with the government before, according to the company’s legal filings. The company has had nearly $40 million in federal contracts over the past decade and currently sells lawful intercept equipment – a process that allows law enforcement agencies to selectively wiretap individuals via a court order.

A spokesperson for Packet Forensics did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Read more: The Pentagon’s mysterious move to start using inactive internet space could help it see into the networks of big companies

The company also bears the same name as a firm that shut down over 10 years ago and was sending out email spam, internet-fraud researcher Ron Guilmette told The Washington Post. That company had the same office address and used the same internet routing identifier. The only difference between the two companies is that the newer one operates as a limited liability corporation.

Mike Hamilton, former CISO of Seattle and CISO of cybersecurity firm CI Security, told Insider the company’s anonymity provides an extra layer of protection for the government and makes it even easier to hide what the Pentagon is planning to do with its IP addresses.

“Global Resource Systems can function as an extension of the government without direct connection allowing them to monitor activities without the overwhelming presence of the Pentagon nor the scrutiny of public opinion,” Scott Schober, CEO of cybersecurity firm Berkeley Varitronics Systems, told Insider.

The company provides an extra layer of security for the Pentagon

The company also provides the government with plausible deniability, according to Hamilton. The government would be able to launch cyber attacks, obtain data, and create faulty gateways on the internet without having to take responsibility for the actions. The attacks could easily be attributed to mistakes by a new and unrecognized third-party company, according to Hamilton.

Global Resource Systems LLC provides a layer of disguise for the project, according to Wright. He told Insider if the company was recognizable it would be easy for hackers to avoid detection and the US government would tip its hand.

“If it’s obvious where the information is going it gives them an idea of what we’re looking for,” Wright said. “We don’t want to telegraph to them too early what it is we’re doing and how we’re looking at the problem.”

The mysterious company could be a shell for a bigger organization

Wirght and Hamilton agreed that the company’s anonymity was not only beneficial but that it was likely hiding a major company. They pointed out that the company would need significant telecommuting power in order to process information from nearly 175 million IP addresses – more than AT&T or Comcast.

“It would be like trying to eat an elephant,” Wright said. “Not many companies can do that.”

Hamilton said Google is one of few companies that could process that much information at the moment. A Google spokesperson did not respond to a request to questions about whether the company had any ties to Global Resource Systems.

In contrast, founder of cyber analytics company ExtraHop, Jesse Rothstein, told Insider that Global Resource Systems could still be building up its system and would not necessarily need tremendous telecommuting power for the formerly dormant addresses, though it would still need to have significant financial resources.

Despite the layer of confusion behind the Pentagon’s decision, most cybersecurity experts agree that the move to put the dormant addresses to use makes sense.

“I think any academic institution or research institution would love to be able to conduct that type of research on such a large scale,” Rothstein told Insider, “This block of IP addresses is very valuable, and I’m sure many countries would prefer the DoD relinquish it, but it’s better to do something with it and use it for research than nothing at all.”

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National security advisor says Russia will face ‘consequences’ if Putin critic Alexei Navalny dies

alexei navalny
Alexei Navalny appears in a video published by his team on January 18, 2021.

  • The US has threatened Russia with sanctions and other consequences if Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in state prison.
  • Last month, Navalny said he was going on a hunger strike in jail until he could see a doctor.
  • Navalny is recovering after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Russia.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Russia will face heavy consequences like sanctions if Alexei Navalny, a top critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, dies in jail, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

“We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they will be held accountable by the international community,” Sullivan said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“In terms of the specific measures that we would take, we are looking at a variety of different costs that we would impose and I’m not going to telegraph that publicly at this point,” he added. “But we have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies.”

Navalny is serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for missing parole hearings while recovering in Germany after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Russia.

Last month, Navalny said he was going on a hunger strike in jail until he’d be allowed to see a doctor.

“The right to invite a specialist for examination and consultation exists for every convict. Even for me, despite the fact that I’m not guilty,” he said on Twitter. “That’s why I am urging that a doctor be allowed to see me, and until that happens, I am going on a hunger strike.”

In a more detailed Instagram post, Navalny said he has been experiencing pain in his back, and has lost sensitivity in parts of his right leg and most of his left leg.

Doctors have been sounding the alarm, urgently requesting to see him. They warned prison officials that if Navalny does not receive proper medical care and treatment right away, he could die any minute.

At least four doctors have so far requested to see him. Navalny’s personal physician, Anastasia Vasilyeva, wrote to prison officials that his potassium levels were dangerously high, Insider’s Sinéad Baker reported, which might lead to devastating heart issues.

“Our patient can die any minute,” cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin said, adding that “fatal arrhythmia can develop any minute.”

Russian officials have said prison authorities offered Navalny medical care but he declined it because he wanted to see a doctor of his choice.

President Joe Biden this weekend denounced the conditions Navalny is subjected to in the Russian prison, saying it’s “totally inappropriate.”

“It’s totally, totally unfair,” Biden said.

Navalny allies are planning mass street protests this Wednesday, Reuters reported. The protests, which Russian authorities have cracked down on in the past, will come the same day Putin is slated to give an annual state-of-the-nation speech, Reuters said.

Have a news tip? Reach this reporter at ydzhanova@insider.com

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US officials believe Russia launched a disinformation campaign against the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to boost the status of its own: Report

Pfizer
Oil markets surged in the hours after Pfizer announced positive results from its coronavirus vaccine study.

  • Russian intelligence is sowing disinformation about the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, the WSJ reported.
  • Four foreign-owned outlets are disseminating info that questions the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
  • US intelligence believes this effort to undermine Pfizer is a way to bolster Russia’s vaccine.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Russian intelligence officials are attempting to cast doubt on the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. 

Four publications acting as fronts for Russian intelligence are disseminating information that questions the efficacy and safety of the Pfizer vaccine, State Department officials told the Journal. 

Russia is pedaling misleading information designed to make Americans question whether the US rushed the approval process for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

“We can say these outlets are directly linked to Russian intelligence services,” an official at the State Department’s Global Engagement Center told the newspaper. “They’re all foreign-owned, based outside of the United States. They vary a lot in their reach, their tone, their audience, but they’re all part of the Russian propaganda and disinformation ecosystem.”

Back in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country is hoping to distribute its controversial Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries. 

Russia announced a successful coronavirus vaccine in August, but Sputnik V was approved under questionable circumstances. It was released before it went through phase 3 trials. In the United States, phase 3 is a requirement before a drug or vaccine can be vetted and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The rushed timeline led health officials to speculate whether the Kremlin coerced vaccine makers into putting out Sputnik V quickly to gain a leg up in the global race for a cure to the novel coronavirus.

US intelligence officials now believe this effort to undermine the Pfizer vaccine coming out of the Kremlin is another way to bolster the status of Sputnik V, the Journal reported. 

Johnson & Johnson is the latest company to enter the vaccine game. The healthcare giant is offering a single-dose vaccine that the company expects to distribute to 4 million Americans shortly.

Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine gained FDA approval toward the end of February, said it expects to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of March and 100 million by the end of June. 

Including Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the United States is now distributing and touting three effective vaccines to Americans. 

Pfizer and Moderna – the two companies whose coronavirus vaccines preceded Johnson & Johnson’s – have efficacy rates of 94% and 95%, respectively. 

Vaccines against the coronavirus have been rolling out in the United States since December 2020, after Pfizer became the first company to produce and receive FDA approval to distribute.

With this third vaccine on the market, the US is expected to have enough doses to immunize 300 million people. 

More than 57 million people in the United States have already received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while Johnson & Johnson’s requires one.

Last week, President Joe Biden said the US plans to have enough doses of coronavirus vaccines for “every adult in America” by the end of May. Biden’s announcement sped up the timeline to reach this threshold by about a month, Insider’s Eliza Relman and Sonam Sheth reported.

It’s been almost a year since the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Since then, more than 28 million people in the United States have contracted the virus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 500,000 Americans have died.  

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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Mike Pompeo says Russia was ‘pretty clearly’ behind the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that compromised US national security

Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington DC on November 10, 2020.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed Russia is behind the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that targeted several US government agencies earlier this year.
  • “We can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Pompeo said on the “Mark Levin Show” on Friday night.
  • SolarWinds said that at least 18,000 of its customers had been affected by the hack, including cybersecurity company FireEye and the Pentagon.
  • President Trump has not yet commented on the attack. President-elect Joe Biden said this week that he would make cyber-security a “top priority” of his administration.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Russia was “pretty clearly” behind a massive SolarWinds cyberattack that targeted several US government agencies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Speaking on the “Mark Levin Show”, Pompeo said there was “a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside US government systems,” according to the BBC.

“We can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Pompeo said, NBC reported. “I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified.”

“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” he added.

The massive national security breach, which targeted software made by firm SolarWinds, was discovered last week but had been going on for months.

SolarWinds said that at least 18,000 of its customers downloaded the software update containing the malicious code that enabled the hackers to infiltrate internal systems.

Among those who were targeted were cybersecurity company FireEye, tech giant Microsoft, the Pentagon, and the Department of Homeland Security.

An office within the Department of Energy, which manages nuclear weapons, was also targeted although officials said that the arsenal’s security had not been compromised.

Cybersecurity experts say it could take some of those organizations years to figure out the extent of the cyberattack and what data, if any, was actually stolen.

President Trump has not yet commented on the attack.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on January 20, vowed this week that he would make cyber-security a “top priority” of his administration. 

“We will elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government, further strengthen partnerships with the private sector, and expand our investment in the infrastructure and people we need to defend against malicious cyberattacks,” he said on Thursday.

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Members of Congress ‘left with more questions than answers’ after classified briefing about SolarWinds, saying administration ‘unwilling to share the full scope of the breach’

SolarWinds
SolarWinds Corp banner hangs at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the IPO day of the company in New York, U.S., October 19, 2018

  • Lawmakers heard from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a classified meeting today regarding the SolarWinds hack.
  • A statement issued afterwards said that, “Administration officials were unwilling to share the full scope of the breach and identities of the victims.”
  • President Trump has largely stayed silent in what is being analyzed as one of the most sophisticated hacks targeting the US government in history.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a classified meeting on Friday, lawmakers from the House Homeland Security and Oversight Committees received a briefing on the known extent of the mass hacking campaign against the US government.

Lawmakers heard from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In a statement issued afterward, the committees’ chairs said that after hearing from the Trump Administration, “we are left with more questions than answers.” The statement added that “Even in the midst of an unprecedented cyberattack with far-reaching implications for our national security, Administration officials were unwilling to share the full scope of the breach and identities of the victims.”

The committees stressed the severity of the hack and called for the administration to give Congress a fuller picture. The statement said that the US government’s network defenses “do not match the constantly evolving capabilities of our adversaries,” adding that the committees need “the Administration to tell Congress what resources and authorities they need to ensure this does not happen again.” 

The committees’ chairs called on the agencies to deliver an in-person briefing on Capitol Hill as soon as possible. 

After leaving the briefing, the House Subcommittee on National Security Chairman Stephen Lynch, told reporters, “this hack was so big in scope that even our cybersecurity experts don’t have a real sense yet in terms of the breadth of the inclusion itself.” Lynch added that “there are as many as 18,000 individual entities, both private and government, that have been compromised,” and that vetting would take time.

A Republican member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Bob Gibbs, told reporters, “I’m not too impressed with the confidence of our cybersecurity people.”

House Committee on Oversight and Reform member Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, said, “There’s a lot more that we don’t know than what we do know. I’m hopeful the government will learn exactly how this was perpetrated on us and what is the full scope of the damage.”

Others shared their disappointment and mounting concern.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said, “It was telephonic and it just didn’t give us what we wanted. They offered to come next week. We said next week? Are you serious? We’ll invite them back tomorrow.”

House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney told reporters, “I am shocked. National security is the number one challenge and responsibility to protect our people. Every agency is compromised…It is serious. It is deep.” 

The hack took place over the course of months via IT management software SolarWinds, which monitors servers in order to prevent outages. Hackers reportedly entered the system via patch updates made by SolarWinds in March and June. Over the last few weeks, virtually every US agency, including Defense, Treasury, Commerce, State, Energy, and the National Institutes of Health were targeted in the supply chain attack.

President Donald Trump has largely stayed silent in what is being analyzed as one of the most sophisticated hacks targeting the US government in history.

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