The FBI Set Flynn Up to Preserve the TrumpRussia Probe – National Review

Michael Flynn at the White House, February 1, 2017.(Carlos Barria/Reuters)Perjury trap was not score-settling. To investigate the president, it was a practical necessity to sideline his chosen national-security adviser.

Michael Flynn was not the objective. He was the obstacle.

Once you grasp that fundamental fact, it becomes easier to understand the latest disclosures the Justice Department made in the Flynn case on Thursday. They are the most important revelations to date about the FBIs TrumpRussia investigation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane.

The new disclosures, in conjunction with all we have learned in the last week, answer the all-important why question: Why was Flynn set up?

The answer to the what question has been clear for a long time: The FBI set a perjury trap for Flynn, hoping to lure him into misstatements that the bureau could portray as lies. In the frenzied political climate of the time, that would have been enough to get him removed from his new position as national security adviser (NSA), perhaps even to prosecute him. On that score, the new disclosures, startling as they are to read, just elucidate what was already obvious.

But why did they do it? That has been the baffling question. Oh, there have been plenty of indications that the Obama administration could not abide Flynn. The White House and the intelligence agencies had their reasons, mostly vindictive. But while that may explain their gleefulness over his fall from grace, it has never been a satisfying explanation for the extraordinary measures the FBI took to orchestrate that fall.

Concealing Information as It Relates to RussiaTo understand what happened here, you have to understand what the FBIs objective was, first formed in collaboration with Obama-administration officials. That includes President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Flynns predecessor, national-security adviser Susan Rice, with whom then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and then-FBI director James Comey met at the White House on January 5, 2017 smack in the middle of the chain-of-events that led to Flynns ouster. Recall Rices CYA memo about the meeting: President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there isany reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia (emphasis added). Rice wrote those words on January 20, at the very time the FBI was making its plan to push Flynn out.

The objective of the Obama administration and its FBI hierarchy was to continue the TrumpRussia investigation, even after President Trump took office, and even though President Trump was the quarry. The investigation would hamstring Trumps capacity to govern and reverse Obama policies. Continuing it would allow the FBI to keep digging until it finally came up with a crime or impeachable offense that they were then confident they would find. Remember, even then, the bureau was telling the FISA court that Trumps campaign was suspected of collaborating in Russias election interference. FBI brass had also pushed for the intelligence community to include the Steele dossier the bogus compendium of TrumpRussia collusion allegations in its report assessing Russias meddling in the campaign.

But how could the FBI sustain an investigation targeting the president when the president would have the power to shut the investigation down?

The only way the bureau could pull that off would be to conceal from the president the fullness of the Russia investigation in particular, the fact that Trump was the target.

That is why Flynn had to go.

President Trump was a political phenomenon but a novice when it came to governance. He was not supported by the Republican foreign-policy and national-security clerisy, which he had gone out of his way to antagonize in the campaign. The staff he brought into the government consisted mainly of loyalists. There were some skilled advisers, too, but their experience was not in the national-security realm.

The exception was Flynn. The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency knew how the spy agencies worked. He knew where and how they kept secrets. He had enough scars from tangles with the intelligence bureaucracy that he knew how the game was played how intelligence officials exploited information, or selectively withheld it.

Someone as smooth as Director Comey might be able to dissuade President Trump from inquiring too deeply into the Russia investigation. Trump would be satisfied as long as Comey kept assuring him not to worry because the bureau was not investigating him personally even though it was. The unseasoned Trump staff would also be easy to brush back: Just tell them that the FBI was rigorously independent, and that if the White House poked around too much, Trump staffers would be accused of political meddling. The staff was green enough to be bullied into minding its own business even about the FBIs counterintelligence mission, in which the bureau is supposed to serve the White House, not the other way around.

But Flynn was different. After 33 years in the Army chain of command, the decorated former combat commander grasped that the FBI, like other executive-branch components, worked for the president. As NSA, Flynn would ensure that Trump ran the intelligence agencies, not be run by them. If Flynn wanted to know what was going on in intelligence investigations, hed be able to find out he wouldnt take Jim Comeys no for an answer. He was loyal to Trump, not to the intelligence establishment or the policy community. And he was White House staff, not a cabinet appointee i.e., he did not have to wait interminably on an iffy Senate confirmation; he would be on the job from the very first moments of the new administration, getting his arms around what the executive branch intelligence apparatus was up to.

Collusion Narrative and the Sanctions ControversyThe eleven pages of documents the Justice Department released on Thursday are a treasure trove for analysts whove followed the collusion caper. There will be time to discuss various aspects of them, particularly the matter of how disgraced former agent Peter Strzok managed to keep open the Flynn thread of the Russia investigation (Crossfire Razor) after the FBI had seemingly closed it on January 4 the day before Comeys Oval Office meeting with Obama & Co. For now, though, lets focus on that why question.

Upon the new presidents January 20 inauguration, Flynn was the matter of most immediate urgency to the FBI. That was not because the agents were trying to make a case on him. It was because he was already starting his new job as Trumps NSA.

It was also a frenzied time, with the media and Democrats pushing the collusion narrative, creating an uproar over whether Flynn had discussed anti-Russia sanctions with Ambassador Kislyak. Flynn publicly said the subject did not come up. Vice President Pence publicly backed him. But the FBI had had surveillance coverage on the Russian envoy. The bureau knew the issue of sanctions had been discussed. Though Flynn had said nothing inappropriate on the subject, its mere mention would become a huge political problem.

We do not know for sure what Flynns conversation was with Pence. Maybe he misinformed the vice-president. Maybe there was a garble (the difference between didnt come up and wasnt discussed inappropriately could easily be confused). Or maybe Pence decided it was politically expedient to back Flynns account, regardless of whether it was true. Whatever happened, such political matters would not be the business of the Justice Department and the FBI in most administrations. Can anyone imagine the Obama Justice Department and FBI getting alarmed that the president, National Security Adviser Rice, and Secretary of State Clinton were publicly saying things about the Benghazi attack that the FBI knew to be untrue?

This was the Trump administration, however, so Obama holdover officials, such as Acting AG Yates, would pose as aghast that Pence was publicly echoing Flynns misstatement. Even though they knew the misstatement was trivial . . . which explains why the FBI moved to close the Flynn investigation on January 4, after Flynns conversations with Kislyak they plainly knew Flynn was not a Kremlin mole.

More to the point, the newly revealed documents include emails between Strzok and other FBI officials from the weekend before the FBIs January 24 grilling of Flynn.

Most of the press attention has been about the planning for that grilling about how brazenly the bureau spoke of trying to get Flynn to lie, about the renegade scheme to orchestrate an interrogation of Flynn without informing the Trump White House, as protocol required. Thats significant, but it misses the bigger picture. The January 2122 emails show that the FBI did not start out with that perjury-trap plan. They ended up with the perjury-trap plan because there was no practical alternative if the bureau was to achieve its objective the withholding of information about Russia from the incoming Trump team, in order to keep the TrumpRussia investigation alive.

No AlternativeThe perjury trap was set for Flynn out of necessity. If the Justice Department had informed the White House about recordings of Flynn and Kislyak discussing sanctions, and the FBI then asked for permission to interview Flynn, the bureau knew permission was sure to be denied. Flynn would be untouchable, and free to discover the entirety of the Obama administrations extensive but secret effort to depict Trump and his minions as Russian operatives an effort the FBI was determined to keep pursuing.

If no way could be found to sideline Flynn (the way Attorney General Jeff Sessions would later be sidelined), then Flynn was going to find out about Crossfire Hurricane. He was going to be a hands-on NSA, so that was a given.

Strzok thus started out the weekend by proposing that Flynn be given a defensive briefing. This is when an official is advised that he and his cohorts are the targets of some espionage or criminal operation. Here, it would be the purported Russian infiltration of the Trump campaign and the new administration.

Understand: It is not that the FBI wanted to give Flynn this information; it is that there was no practical alternative. Under the circumstances, the FBI would have to tell Flynn directly. But that raised the question: Could it be done in a way that would scare him off, make him feel vulnerable, marginalize him?

On Saturday, Strzok started out by proposing to Bill Priestap, the bureaus counterintelligence chief, that Flynn be given a defensive briefing . . . about CROSS WIND and [redacted]. Cross Wind like Crossfire Razor and Crossfire Typhoon, another code name in the new documents appears to have been a subset of the overarching Crossfire Hurricane probe (the latter was depicted as an umbrella; underneath it were the Cross subsets such Trump campaign figures as Flynn, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos).

Strzok conceded he was not certain that a defensive briefing was the right approach. Maybe, he suggested, such a briefing could be floated as a pretext; it would get them in the door, then theyd use the opportunity to interview Flynn i.e., to hint that he might be in legal jeopardy over his contacts with Kislyak, then pepper him with questions, hoping hed say something that compromised him. Or maybe they could just give Flynn a defensive briefing in the usual sense i.e., put him on notice, and see what he does with that. The idea would be: share a bit of information, then keep tabs on Flynn to see if he spilled the beans to the suspects. That can be an effective way of proving a conspiracy.

While the emails are heavily redacted, we can glean that the sanctions issue hung heavily. The Justice Department seemed to want to alert Vice President Pence that Flynn had misled him. Playing this out, Strzok speculated about what would happen if DOJ decided that VPOTUS or anyone else needed to be told about the [redacted] whats redacted, I suspect, is a reference to the recorded FlynnKislyak discussions. Strzok surmised that if the Trump White House were told, the bureau would lose any chance to interview Flynn. The agents might believe they needed to take an overt investigative step, such as a pretextual defensive briefing that enabled them to interrogate Flynn; but if the Trump White House had been alerted, it could specifically direct us not to. Trump would probably keep Flynn in place, and the bureau would be powerless to keep the NSA from digging into the Russia probe.

On Sunday morning, having heard Strzok out, an official whose identity is blacked out sent a heavily redacted email to Strzok and Lisa Page (FBI deputy director Andrew McCabes counsel, and Strzoks paramour). Because of Flynns NSA position, the unidentified official acknowledged, standard procedure would call for tell[ing] him about Wind and [redacted]. Yet, the official cautioned, Id be interested in letting that play out a bit before he tells them and the whole thing goes underground. Translation: Once we tell Flynn, then Flynn will tell his administration superiors, and that will derail the FBIs Trump-Russia investigation. Then, in what may be a reference to the recorded communications about sanctions between Flynn and Kislyak, the official conceded, if we usually tell the WH [White House], then I think we should do what we normally do. But the dilemma remained: Agents need[ed] to debrief or interview Razor [Flynn], but they could be told not to if the White House were given prior notice.

As the weekend wound down, FBI officials could not square the circle. Try as they might, they could not figure out a way to brief Flynn about any aspect of Crossfire Hurricane, or to alert the White House about the FlynnKislyak sanctions discussion. When game-planned, each proposal along those lines led to the virtual certainty that the bureau would be told not to question Flynn. He would keep his job, and be poised to inquire into the full extent of the TrumpRussia investigation.

Going RogueBy Monday, January 23, the FBIs top hierarchy had concluded that the only solution was to go rogue: They would approach Flynn without alerting anyone ahead of time, not even the Justice Department and certainly not the White House. It was the same reasoning theyd used in July 2016, when Comey gave his infamous press conference about the Hillary Clinton emails investigation, in violation of Justice Department guidelines: If you ask permission to do something that is against the rules, you might be told no; but if you just act audaciously, your superiors may not like it, but theyll have to accept it otherwise theyll look like theyre obstructing the FBI.

And since this was going to be their only shot at Flynn, they had to try to make it a kill shot. Theyd do a perjury trap. Flynn would be grilled about his conversations with Kislyak that had become such a media-driven controversy. But the bureau would not play the recordings for him. They would not refresh his recollection. They would not ask him to go line-by-line to help them understand the conversation. That is what they would do in a normal investigation, if they were really trying, say, to figure out what Russia was up to. The goal here was not to advance anyones understanding.

The goal was to get Flynn to lie. Not to lie so theyd have leverage to threaten a prosecution and thus pressure Flynn to reveal vital evidence hed been concealing. They wanted him to lie for the sake of lying so they could get rid of him.

To better the odds that he would agree to talk and make inaccurate statements that could be portrayed as willful falsehoods, the FBI would not tell him the purpose of the interview. Agents would not formally advise him of his rights, as they would in a normal case, even if they were dealing with a real criminal. They would just buzz him with questions about what exactly was said, in conversations that had occurred weeks before, at a time when Flynn was having hundreds of similar conversations. They would press him about what exact words had been uttered, even though they knew the exact words because they had recordings. They would try to put him in fear that they could prove the falsity of his public statements about not discussing sanctions. They would put him in fear that he could be prosecuted for violating the Logan Act (an absurd suggestion, but Flynn is not a lawyer and many commentators were discussing this moribund, constitutionally suspect provision as if it were a real crime). In the hotly partisan collusion climate of the time, they would make Flynn understand he could be framed as a sinister collaborator with Russia.

In sum, the FBI could create a scenario in which (a) Flynn might be subject to prosecution, (b) there could be grounds for terminating him, and (c) he would surely be seen as too conflicted about Russia to be made privy to details of the bureaus TrumpRussia investigation.

CheckmateThe text messages and notes disclosed in the last week show that not everyone was comfortable with this plan. Bill Priestap, the counterintelligence chief, expressed deep misgivings. The objective of the plan seemed unclear, even improper: Were they trying to advance an investigation in good faith, or just get [Flynn] to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired? Why were they not going to refresh Flynns recollection with the recording or a transcript, as the FBI would do with similarly situated interviewees? Why did the bureau think it needed to be so aggressive with Flynn?

Strzok and Page fretted in text messages on Monday, January 23, that Priestap was not getting the picture. His protests were irking McCabe. By Tuesday morning, a few hours before the January 24 interview, the deputy director was even more frustrated because Priestap had repeated his concerns to Director Comey. If Comey wavered, the plan could be scotched.

The director did not waver. The FBIs top officials met at headquarters. Comey approved the plan to have Strzok and agent Joe Pientka visit Flynn at his office no heads-up to others at the White House would be provided. McCabe was to call Flynn to arrange the meeting, assisted by Strzok in thinking through what to tell the NSA. The idea was to put Flynn at ease make him feel like it would just be a chat between veteran national-security guys, not a criminal investigation; discourage Flynn from getting a lawyer; disabuse him of any thought of involving the White House counsel or chief-of-staff. Just a quick meeting so they could put to rest all this Russia noise in the media. No big deal.

The rest is history.

Acting Attorney General Yates was not given notice that would have triggered an obligation to alert White House counsel Don McGahn. By the time she went to see White House counsel McGahn two days later, she was in a position to say not only that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak, putting Vice President Pence in an embarrassing position; she was able to add that Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI.

Not immediately perceiving the magnitude of a revelation that the FBI had just interrogated the presidents NSA, in the White House and without getting clearance, McGahn quipped, How did he do? Yates has testified that she explain[ed] to Mr. McGahn that the underlying conduct that General Flynn engaged in was problematic in and of itself i.e., the specious Logan Act angle that Flynn had illegally consulted the Russians without notifying the Obama administration. She also fatuously claimed that Flynn could conceivably be subject to Russian blackmail as if the Russians did not assume the U.S. government had a recording of the FlynnKislyak conversation (something theyd have assumed even if it hadnt already been leaked to the Washington Post). Yates indicated that these problems with Flynns credibility and capacity to function as NSA had not been cleared up, despite the FBIs interview. As McGahn heard Yates out, he was already asking whether she thought Flynn should be fired.

NSA Flynns days were numbered. He was frozen out of anything to do with Russia. The collusion chatter went into overdrive. On February 9, the New York Times reported, based on leaks from the usual current and former American officials, that Flynn and Kislyak had indeed discussed sanctions. Four days later, the president reluctantly cashiered his chosen national-security adviser, one of few allies he had in a virulently Trump-hostile intelligence community.

With the obstacle out of the way, the objective was achieved: Flynn was gone, and the TrumpRussia investigation continued.

The rest is here:

The FBI Set Flynn Up to Preserve the TrumpRussia Probe - National Review

Posted in NSA

Keysight First to Gain Approval from 3GPP for 5G New Radio Protocol Test Cases that Support Carrier Aggregation – EE Journal

Keysights 5G network emulation solution supports the widest range of protocol conformance test cases validated by the Global Certification Forum

SANTA ROSA, Calif., May 4, 2020

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced that the company is the first to gain approval from 3GPP for 5G new radio (NR) protocol test cases that support carrier aggregation (CA) technology, using itsProtocol Conformance Toolset.

Keysights test cases were submitted on March 21, 2020 and verified by the 3GPPs RAN 5 working group, which works to establish conformance testing specifications for the radio interface of a user equipment (UE). Chipset and device makers rely on 3GPP-verified 5G NR protocol CA test cases to verify designs that use CA to increase bandwidth and support higher data rates. These test cases focus on 5G NR deployments using CA in non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) mode in frequency range 1 (FR1) and FR2.

Keysight then submitted these test cases for verification at the most recent Conformance Agreement Group (CAG) #62 meeting, led by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) on April 23, 2020. There it was confirmed that Keysights Protocol Conformance Toolset maintains support for the widest range of GCF-validated protocol conformance test cases. Comprehensive test case support enables device makers to leverage Keysights common solution platform to verify designs that use different modes to address global requirements.

Keysight consistently supports the development of 5G technologies, such as carrier aggregation, enabling a connected mobile ecosystem to market devices that support advanced 5G applications, said Kailash Narayanan, vice president and general manager of Keysights wireless test group. Many mobile device makers use Keysights 5G solutions to access a comprehensive range of validated test cases for GCF certification acrossmultiple technologies, including 5G NR, LTE and C-V2X, on acommon solution platform.

Following the GCF meeting, it was confirmed that Keysights RF/RRM DVT & Conformance Toolset, part of the companys suite of 5G network emulation solutions, offers a leading number of GCF-validated 5G NR radio frequency (RF) test cases and bands. The toolset uniquely delivers GCF-validated RF test cases that enable users to verify compliance to theC-V2X standard as specified by 3GPP. As a result, the automotive industry can accelerate commercialization of connected cars and autonomous vehicles.

About Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) is a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world. Keysights solutions optimize networks and bring electronic products to market faster and at a lower cost with offerings from design simulation, to prototype validation, to manufacturing test, to optimization in networks and cloud environments. Customers span the worldwide communications ecosystem, aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, semiconductor and general electronics end markets. Keysight generated revenues of $4.3B in fiscal year 2019. More information is available


Go here to read the rest:

Keysight First to Gain Approval from 3GPP for 5G New Radio Protocol Test Cases that Support Carrier Aggregation - EE Journal

Posted in NSA

Liberia: Chief Medical Officer Confirms the Investigation of Lab Technicians over ‘Leaked’ COVID-19 Results – Front Page Africa

Dr. Francis Kateh, Chief Medical Officer of Liberia says President George Weah is considered a low risk case despite his close proximity with Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe few days prior to him being declared COVID-19 Positive. He said, testing for the President is a matter of choice

MONROVIA Liberias Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh, has confirmed an ongoing investigation involving lab technicians assigned at the laboratory of the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) by the National Security Agency (NSA).

FrontPageAfrica recently gathered that several lab technicians and researchers are being probed by the NSA for allegedly releasing to the public results of coronavirus cases and information involving top government officials.

The lab technicians and researchers, who normally sleep on duty, are encountering difficulties in reaching their family members, loved ones, and others health authorities supervising them as a result of the seizure of their phones.

The situation has claimed the attention of the Liberia Association of Medical Laboratory Technology and the body has officially written Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, to intervene into the matter.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica via telephone on Sunday, Dr. Kateh termed as unhealthy the alleged disclosure of Covid-19 positive results of key government officials to the public.

Some investigations are going on. To what degree the investigations have gone, I dont know. Maybe after the investigations, it may come over to us. We all have to be very mindful of the kind of information that we put out, especially when it has the tendency to affect the public good.

He maintained that the release of unofficial information to the public during the fight against a pandemic has the propensity of stirring confusion in the country.

When quizzed whether or not the investigations are linked to the unofficial release of Covid-19 positive results of key government officials to the public by lab technicians, Dr. Kateh stated: I have no knowledge of that, but there are some analyses going on and I am sure at the appropriate time, the appropriate authority will inform the public.

From all of our analyses, His Excellency (Weah) is at low risk and so, we cannot ask him to give any sample. If he thinks that he needs to get his specimens done like any other citizen; you can also come and say look, I need my sample collected because I am not feeling too well; definitely we are under obligation to do that. If His Excellency asks us to do that, we will do that. But at this point medically, we see no reason why we should ask him to give his sample. The President is well and he is in full command of fighting Covid-19 in this country

He, however, said that the reported seizure of lab technicians phones is in no way negatively impacting the testing process and the overall combat against the coronavirus pandemic in Liberia.

Dr. Kateh pointed out that more samples are being tested as a result of the collective efforts of health authorities and lab technicians.

He further called for the laws of Liberia to take its course if lab technicians are found guilty of leaking sensitive health information to the public.

On Weahs test

For some time now, there have been public outcry on the need for President George Manneh Weah to submit to a Covid-19 test due to the close proximity he was with Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe days before he was pronounced positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Kateh disclosed that President Weah has been identified as a low risk and as such, there is no need for him to submit his specimens for testing.

We determine who goes for test based on certain things. For example, if I am confirmed positive and you and I are very close friends and we have interacted. Based on our interaction, we can determine whether you are at higher risk. If you are at a higher risk, definitely you have no choice.

If you and I are friends and basically had interacted but based on the interaction and distance; remember you have to be six feet apart and based on that, the probability diminishes. We cannot classify you as a high risk. But we put you into a low risk category. For the low risk, we also give you advice and say look, if you have any kind of symptoms do not hesitate to let us know; we will come over and get a sample.

He maintained that the conduct of testing on President Weahs specimens can only be done at the will and pleasure of the Liberian Chief Executive.

From all of our analyses, His Excellency (Weah) is at low risk and so, we cannot ask him to give any sample. If he thinks that he needs to get his specimens done like any other citizen; you can also come and say look, I need my sample collected because I am not feeling too well; definitely we are under obligation to do that. If His Excellency asks us to do that, we will do that. But at this point medically, we see no reason why we should ask him to give his sample. The President is well and he is in full command of fighting Covid-19 in this country.

Post Views: 4,149


Liberia: Chief Medical Officer Confirms the Investigation of Lab Technicians over 'Leaked' COVID-19 Results - Front Page Africa

Posted in NSA

The reach of cyberattacks related to Covid-19 – Politico

With help from Eric Geller, Martin Matishak and Laurens Cerulus

Editors Note: Morning Cybersecurity is a free version of POLITICO Pro Cybersecuritys morning newsletter, which is delivered to our subscribers each morning at 6 a.m. The POLITICO Pro platform combines the news you need with tools you can use to take action on the days biggest stories. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.

Coronavirus-themed cyberattacks show no sign of slowing, as federal agencies and companies explore whos vulnerable and whos responsible.

MC exclusive: An examination of cyber-related sanctions and indictments showed disparities across U.S. administrations and nations.

The NSA and an Australian spy agency warned about a kind of attack thats on the rise.

A message from Global Strategy Group:

What do Americans expect from corporate leaders as they respond to COVID-19? Who do they trust most? How and whether companies respond will have a lasting impact on their reputationand their bottom line. Download the full report here.

HAPPY THURSDAY and welcome to Morning Cybersecurity! Russian Doll was great but your MC host isnt sure what to make of this. Send your thoughts, feedback and especially tips to [emailprotected]. Be sure to follow @POLITICOPro and @MorningCybersec. Full team info below.

POLITICO Pro is here to help you navigate these unprecedented times. Check out our new Covid-19 Coverage Roundup, which provides a daily summary of top Covid-19 news coverage from across all 16 federal policy verticals as well as premium content, such as DataPoint graphics. Please sign up at our settings page to receive this unique roundup sent directly to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Sign up for POLITICO Nightly: Coronavirus Special Edition, your daily update on how the illness is affecting politics, markets, public health and more.

EVER-EXPANDING Months into the Covid-19 crisis, were still learning more each day about the scope and innovation in coronavirus-themed attacks via the government agencies and tech companies fighting off the hackers.

IBM on pace and vulnerabilities: IBM says it has seen a 6,000 percent increase in Covid-19 spam from mid-March to mid-April. It also released a study today that suggests small-business owners and consumers could be the most vulnerable to scams where cyber criminals masquerade as the government. More than a third of those polled by IBM and Morning Consult said they expect emails from the IRS, despite years of the IRS and others warning that the agency wouldnt email anyone about their tax filings; over half said they would click on links or attachments in emails about stimulus checks. And just 14 percent of small-business owners said they felt very knowledgeable about relief loans. Palo Alto Networks also provided some figures on coronavirus-related scams Wednesday.

DOJ on takedowns, Google on nation-state hacking: DOJ said Wednesday that law enforcement, cybersecurity companies and website operators have taken down hundreds of domains that were using the coronavirus crisis for fraud. Not coincidentally, some of the ones identified by the FBI mimicked the IRS relief payment portal. And, according to Google, federal employees have been targets themselves of coronavirus-themed phishing campaigns orchestrated by hackers backed by other nations; in total, more than a dozen such hacking groups have launched attacks that use Covid-19.

FireEye on Vietnam: Hackers linked to the Vietnamese government have been spear-phishing Chinese government agencies in an apparent effort to understand Beijings handling of the coronavirus pandemic, FireEye researchers said Wednesday. The malicious emails went to China's Ministry of Emergency Management and the municipal government in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, according to FireEye, which attributed the activity to the Vietnam-linked group APT32. While targeting of East Asia is consistent with the activity weve previously reported on APT32, the researchers wrote, this incident, and other publicly reported intrusions, are part of a global increase in cyber espionage related to the crisis, carried out by states desperately seeking solutions and nonpublic information.

The spear-phishing campaign, which seems to have begun in early January, uses virus-related lures to entice victims into opening the infected attachments, which then deploy the Metaljack malware payload. FireEye spotted the same malware and command-and-control server in a phishing campaign in December likely targeting Southeast Asian countries.

The first malicious email that FireEye caught was dated Jan. 6, one week before Thailand reported the first infection outside China. Vietnam was [very] quick to respond to early reports of the disease, Reuters reporter Jack Stubbs pointed out. Maybe now we have an idea why. Vietnam has reported fewer than 300 coronavirus cases and no deaths.

FIRST IN MC: CYBER SANCTIONS AND INDICTMENTS The Trump administration in its first term has been far more aggressive in issuing cyber-related sanctions and indictments against China, Iran, North Korea and Russia than the Obama administration in its second term, according to an analysis and infographic out today from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. President Donald Trump has issued 106 indictments and 110 sanctions, compared to 28 and five, respectively, from President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2016, the think tank found.

Across both administrations, the number of sanctions and indictments are applied inconsistently across nations. While North Korea is behind larger and more destructive attacks than Iran, North Korea has endured six total indictments and sanctions to Irans 30, the analysis and infographic concluded. Authors Trevor Logan and Pavak Patel explained that might be because North Korean hackers are more closely affiliated with their governments, whereas Iranian hackers arent exclusively loyal and therefore easier to name.

China more often faces indictments than sanctions. Logan and Patel wrote that may indicate that the United States is reluctant to issue sanctions against malicious Chinese actors due to the fear of escalation or economic retaliation against American companies. In contrast, the relative weakness of the Iranian, North Korean, and Russian economies means that Washington can act more freely without fear of blowback.

MALWARE IN A HALF SHELL The NSA and its Australian counterpart on Wednesday issued guidelines for detecting and defending against so-called shell malware, a tactic hackers are increasingly using in their operations. Web shells provide attackers with persistent access to a compromised network using communication channels disguised to blend in with legitimate traffic, the notice from NSA and the Australian Signals Directorate explained. The intelligence organizations suggested a defense-in-depth approach using multiple detection capabilities as the best way to both uncover and prevent the malware from wreaking havoc on systems, as well as tips on how to recover from such an attack. A critical focus once a web shell is discovered should be on how far the attacker penetrated within the network.

A message from Global Strategy Group:

New research from Global Strategy Group reveals the opportunities and risks facing corporate leaders as they respond to COVID-19.

A majority of Americans expect the private sector to play a major role, and people trust corporate leadership more than the White House.

But CEOs need to buck the existing perception that they are too focused on their bottom line and not enough on their employees.

Americans trust corporations in this moment and corporations can and must deliver. Companies will be defined later by what they do now, and the reputational costs could be high.

Download the full report today.

WHOS ZOOMING WHO Zoom announced stronger encryption and an array of additional security measures for version 5.0 of the video conferencing platform it rolled out on Wednesday. From our network to our feature set to our user experience, everything is being put through rigorous scrutiny, said Oded Gal, chief product officer of the company.

CZECHS TO WORLD: STOP ATTACKING HOSPITALS From our friends at POLITICO Europes Cyber Insights: The Czech Republic wants all countries around the world to pledge not to launch cyberattacks on hospitals and medical facilities. Thats according to its written feedback on a draft report on international norms for cybersecurity from the U.N.s Open-ended Working Group.

The rising number of cyberattacks on medical facilities worldwide reinforce the need for coordinated global action to protect [the] public health care sector from malicious ICT activities, the Czech proposal reads. Specifically, it wants the OEWG to endorse the idea to add medical services and medical facilities to a list of things that states are barred from attacking, as laid out in the U.N.s landmark 2015 deal on cyber norms.

Czech hospitals have been the targets of cyberattacks in the past month, and last week its government warned of more attacks, prompting the U.S. to threaten hackers with consequences.

Russias feedback for the draft said the application of international humanitarian law should be applied only in the context of a military conflict while currently the ICTs [information and communications technologies] do not fit the definition of a weapon. Moscow also slammed the mention of political attribution of cyberattacks, adding the report artificially exaggerated the importance of having NGOs and civil rights groups engage with the U.N. OEWG.

Member states feedback on the OEWGs draft report can be found here. Heres security researcher Lukasz Olejniks Twitter thread analyzing the papers.

TWEET OF THE DAY Only sharing this because of the good dog.

Alston & Bird announced a Women in Cyber network co-directed by partners Kim Peretti, co-leader of Alston & Birds cybersecurity preparedness and response team, and Amy Mushahwar, member of the firms privacy and data security and cybersecurity preparedness and response teams. Associates Emily Poole and Alysa Austin will support them.

The networks advisory board includes Jeannie McCarver, senior vice president for cybersecurity at U.S. Bank; Tracey Scraba, chief privacy officer at CVS Health; and Jennifer Martin, global cybersecurity counsel at Verizon Media.

Motherboard: Researchers revealed some iPhone zero day exploits.

ZDNet: Security researcher identifies new APT group mentioned in 2017 Shadow Brokers leak.

NBC News: The leaked data on employees of the World Health Organization and others was likely from previous breaches.

Kaspersky released a survey on corporate security and employee privacy.

The Voting Village's Jake Braun and Synack's Mark Kuhr talked election security.

Good news about the number of ransomware attacks on governments, health care providers and educational organizations in the first quarter, via Emsisoft.

Thats all for today.

Stay in touch with the whole team: Eric Geller ([emailprotected], @ericgeller); Bob King ([emailprotected], @bkingdc); Martin Matishak ([emailprotected], @martinmatishak); and Tim Starks ([emailprotected], @timstarks).

Read more:

The reach of cyberattacks related to Covid-19 - Politico

Posted in NSA

Odisha to invoke NSA for attacks against doctors and healthcare personnel – Economic Times

Bhubanesar: Odisha will invoke the National Security Act (NSA) for attacks against and dishonour of any doctor and healthcare personnel.

Prompted by attacks on health care professionals in Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere and the refusal to allow the burial of two doctors in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik promised to honour doctors and healthcare professionals who caught the virus and died doing their duty as martyrs.

In a recorded video released to the media, Patnaik also announced that families of any government doctor, healthcare and other personal who succumbed to Covid-19 would receive his or her salary until the date of retirement.

In the absence of any cure or vaccine those fighting the Covid19 war for us, doctors and healthcare professionals are taking a huge risk by putting themselves in the front. We have a rich tradition of honoring our brave hearts who fight for the country and acknowledge their supreme sacrifice. In the same spirit we propose to recognize and honor the valiant work being done by our Covid warriors, said Patnaik.

They will awarded belatedly on national days. A detailed scheme of awards is to follow. The Government of India had already announced Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for all doctors.

Read the original:

Odisha to invoke NSA for attacks against doctors and healthcare personnel - Economic Times

Posted in NSA

NSA Web Shell Advisory and Mitigation Tools Published on GitHub – Computer Business Review

Add to favorites

Administrators should not assume that a modification is authentic simply because it appears to have occurred during a maintenance period.

As web shell attacks continue to be a persistent threat the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) have released a detailed advisory and a host of detection tools on GitHub.

Web shells are tools that hackers deploy into compromised public-facing or internal server that give them significant access and allow them to remotely execute arbitrary commands. They are a powerful tool in a hackers arsenal, one that can deploy an array of payloads or even move between device within networks.

The NSA warned that: Attackers often create web shells by adding or modifying a file in an existing web application. Web shells provide attackers with persistent access to a compromised network using communication channels disguised to blend in with legitimate traffic. Web shell malware is a long-standing, pervasive threat that continues to evade many security tools

A common misconception they are trying to dispel is that hackers only target internet-facing systems with web shell attacks, but the truth is that attackers are regularly using web shells to compromise internal content management systems or network device management interfaces.

In fact these types of internal systems can be even more susceptible to attack as they may be the last system to be patched.

In order to help IT teams mitigate these types of attacks the NSA and ASD have released a seventeen page advisory with mitigating actions that can help detect and prevent web shell attacks.

Web shell attacks are tricky to detect at first as they designed to appear as normal web files, and hackers obfuscate them further by employing encryption and encoding techniques.

One of the best ways to detect web shell malware is to have a verified version of all web applications in use. These can then be then used to authenticate production applications and can be crucial in routing out any discrepancies.

However the advisory warns that while using this mitigation approach administrators should be wary of trusting times stamps as, some attackers use a technique known as timestomping to alter created and modified times in order to add legitimacy to web shell files.

They added: Administrators should not assume that a modification is authentic simply because it appears to have occurred during a maintenance period.

The joint advisory warns that web shells could be simply part of a larger attack and that organisations need to quickly figure out how the attackers gained access to the network.

Packet capture (PCAP) and network flow data can help to determine if the web shell was being used to pivot within the network, and to where. If such a pivot is cleaned up without discovering the full extent of the intrusion and evicting the attacker, that access may be regained through other channels either immediately or at a later time, they warn.

To further help security teams the NSA has released a dedicated GitHub repository that contains an array of tools that can be used to block and detect web shell attacks.

Follow this link:

NSA Web Shell Advisory and Mitigation Tools Published on GitHub - Computer Business Review

Posted in NSA

Six test corona positive in MP after visiting hair-cutting salon that served COVID-19 patient earlier – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BHOPAL: Panic has struck the Bargaon village in Madhya Pradeshs Khargone district after six villagers, who went to a hair-cutting salon recently for hair-cuts and shaving, have tested positive for coronavirus. Swab samples of as many as 10-12 persons, who recently visited the salon in the village, were sent for COVID-19 testing recently. Out of them, six men have tested positive for the deadly virus.

According to officiating chief medical and health officer (CMHO) of Khargone district, Dr Divyesh Verma, primary probe has revealed that a youth from Bargaon, who works at a hotel in Indore, had recently come to his native village in Khargone. Possibly on April 5, he went for hair-cut and shave to the salon in Bargaon village and was later tested positive.

Subsequently, the samples of around 10-12 more men who went to the same hair-cutting salon the same day were sent for testing. Out of them, six persons from the same Bargaon village have tested positive. The entire village has been sealed and survey is underway. The kin of the six positive cases have been home-quarantined and their samples are being sent for testing, the CMHO informed.

It seems the same towel and instruments used during the haircut and shaving of the youth (who worked in Indore hotel and later tested positive for COVID-19) were used by the barber for the other customers, which infected six of them, he claimed.

The six positive cases are aged between 28 and 73 years.Till date, Khargone district has reported 60 positive cases, 19 of which have been reported in the last two days.

2017 batch trainee IPS officer tests positive for COVID-19 in Jabalpur

Meanwhile, a 2017 batch trainee IPS officer posted as circle SP (CSP) in Jabalpur, tested positive for the virus. The young officer was among those cops who had gone to the adjoining Narsinghpur district on April 20 to bring back to Jabalpur a coronavirus positive National Security Act (NSA) detainee Javed Khan, who had escaped from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College Hospital in the city on April 19 afternoon.

The other cops, including a sub-inspector and an additional SP (ASP) who accompanied the young IPS officer, have been found negative for the virus.

Efforts are now underway to ascertain the other cops and people who had come in contact with the IPS officer since April 20. Another senior IPS officer, who is presently in Jabalpur had self-quarantined self and family members, as he had met the young CSP (who has tested positive) recently. The samples of the senior IPS officer and family members have been sent for testing.

Javed Khan, a resident of Chandan Nagar COVID-19 containment zone in Indore, was among the four men against whom NSA was invoked on April 8 for attacking an on-duty cop. Three of the four NSA detainees, including Khan have so far tested positive for coronavirus.

Till date, Jabalpur district has reported 56 positive cases and one death. Seven patients from the district have also been discharged from the hospital after they recovered. The 56 cases include 13 new patients, all residents of Chandni Chowk area.

Follow this link:

Six test corona positive in MP after visiting hair-cutting salon that served COVID-19 patient earlier - The New Indian Express

Posted in NSA

Washington fights to stay in Syria game from isolated base – The Arab Weekly

The US deployment east of the Euphrates in north-eastern Syria receives the most attention, but there is another front where US forces are deployed that is currently heating up the inhospitable border region where Jordan, Syria and Iraq meet.

The US military base at Syrias al-Tanf is less than 30km from the long-shuttered Iraqi al-Walid border crossing along the M2 highway.

The few hundred US forces based there are in many respects orphans of Washingtons contracting Syria strategy a legacy deployment far less valuable than in the past but not costly enough in blood or treasure to warrant a White House decision to withdraw.

Washingtons presence in the region dates to 2016, when it established a base to train forces of the short-lived New Syrian Army (NSA). Maghawir al-Thawra (MaT) was born out of the NSAs collapse that year.

The 300-strong proxy forces of MaT have shown little interest of late in fighting the regime or ISIS. Instead they rule over ever diminishing numbers of refugees in the desert camp at Rukban nearby.

At its peak, the camp hosted 60,000. Today, as part of the ongoing effort by Damascus to reduce the footprint of opposition forces, thousands have left for parts of Syria under government control. Today barely 12,000 remain.

The couple of hundred US troops at al-Tanf have no interest in Rukban, except to highlight Damascuss humanitarian shortcomings. The camp is within the self-declared US exclusion zone claimed by US forces. So, as a matter of international law, the camps well-being is an American responsibility, a task Washington has, at best, only half-heartedly embraced.

In this desolate part of Syria there is no oil to covet, nor is the MaT anywhere close to the asset represented by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The real estate around al-Tanf is what keeps US forces in place a single highway linking Iraq and points east (Iran) to Syria and points west (Lebanon/Hezbollah).

These days, after the battle to unseat Assad has failed, the sole objective of the zone established by Washington is to obstruct passage along the M2 highway and to keep the al-Walid crossing closed. US control of this road complicates Irans effort to cement a bulletproof transport link between Iran and its allies in Syria and Lebanon and obstructs the revival of regional trade vital to the economic rehabilitation of the entire Mashreq.

Jordan has just announced that, due to concerns about the coronavirus, it will no longer allow the transit of aid to Rukban through its border.

In recent months, however, the big picture around al-Tanf is being transformed.

Although the US is loathe to acknowledge it, al-Tanfs value to Washington is eroding as the US redeploys out of small isolated bases in Iraqs nearby Anbar province and elsewhere, with the commensurate strengthening of the presence of the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF). Such is the case at Bukamal, for example a long shuttered border crossing to the north now open to transit from Iraq to Syria and beyond.

In the US zone itself, the Russian Defence Ministry and an Iranian news outlet recently highlighted what was described as the surrender of some MaT forces and equipment to the Syrian Army.

Earlier this week, SANA reported that a recent attack in Damascus was tied to the Military Operations Centre (MOC) the Amman-based command centre run by Washington to coordinate anti-regime efforts around its base at al-Tanf.

Whether such incidents occurred is not the most important point. For those opposing

Washingtons presence, there is obvious advantage in highlighting problems even if they are manufactured for the US in the faraway desert outpost.

What cannot be denied, however, is the fact of a new phase in Iraqi and Syrian efforts together with their allies and proxies to increase pressure on the border region at American expense.

Washington is far from rolling over in the face of this campaign. It continues to tout its presence in central Syria. On April 10, for example, it distributed pictures of its top of the line F-35A Lightning II fighter jet, strik[ing] at extremist organisations in Syria despite COVID-19, reflecting the worldwide unity to see an enduring defeat delivered against Daesh.

Along the Iraq-Syria frontier however, the trend leads in another direction. Earlier this month a combined operation of the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) Victory Heroes 2 deployed 8 brigades along the frontier region.

This operation was facilitated by the removal of US forces from the Iraqi base at al-Qaim controlling the approach to the border crossing at Bukamal. Qaim-Bukamal is now the only crossing on the Iraqi-Syrian border that is officially operated by the Iraqi and Syrian governments.

Such developments suggest that the day is not far off when Iraq, with the collaboration of the PMF elements, will control its entire western border.

Syrias challenge in this regard is, if anything, more complicated. The al-Walid border crossing is closed because of the US presence at al-Tanf. Assad is also challenged to contain the scattered but deadly ISIS presence in the Badia region south-west of Deir ez-Zor, where an ISIS attack recently killed 27 regime forces.

Both Baghdad and Damascus share the strategic objective of reasserting their sovereign control over their respective borders. Attaining this objective requires a de facto partnership to undertake complementary campaigns on both sides of the border. The incremental success of this effort will increase the isolation of the small and increasingly strategically insignificant US position at al-Tanf, offering US President Donald Trump yet another reason to close the books on Americas costly adventure in As-Sham.

Excerpt from:

Washington fights to stay in Syria game from isolated base - The Arab Weekly

Posted in NSA

The Reverend John J. Morris, Served 27 Years At OLL – My veronanj

The Reverend John J. Morris, 89, of Virginia Beach, Va. passed away on April 19, 2020 of natural causes. He was born in Roseland, N.J. on March 5, 1931 to John and Dorothy Morris.

Father Morris was a graduate of Montclair State University Class of 1952 and Seton Hall University 1956 for seminary studies and ordained as a priest on May 29, 1960. Father Morris served his country in the United States Navy as a Reserve Component chaplain for nearly 14 years. He served Our Lady of the Lake Church in Verona for more than 27 years, first as parochial vicar before being appointed administrator. His last posting was as the chaplain at NSA Northwest Annex Chapel in Chesapeake, Va.

Father Morris was a resident of Marian Manor in Virginia Beach where he continued serving as chaplain for the last three years.

He was uniquely qualified to be great a son, brother and uncle but no one more qualified to represent godliness and promote the Lords Word.

Father Morris is survived by a niece, Darcie Loraine Mager; three nephews, Ronald William Dressel, David Joseph Dressel and Dennis Patrick Dressel; along with nine grandnieces and grandnephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Dorothea Therese Dressel.

Private interment services were held at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover. A memorial Mass will be offered at a later date. Condolences may be left at

Memorial donations may be made to the Marian Manor Resident Council Employee Fund, ATTN: Desiree Mitchell, 5345 Marian Lane, Virginia Beach, VA 2346

Continue reading here:

The Reverend John J. Morris, Served 27 Years At OLL - My veronanj

Posted in NSA

How a girl grasped the Holy Grail of encryption and changed the paradigm for safely sharing data – SiliconANGLE

Women are a minority in tech, with an average of three men for every one woman. When it comes to cybersecurity, the imbalance is even more acute. A 2020 report shows that female cybersecurity experts are outnumbered five to one by their male counterparts. Inside the National Security Agency, cybersecuritys inner sanctum, the ratio is anyones guess.

So, the fact that a woman not only entered, but conquered and emerged victorious from the NSAand with the rights to market the ultimate encryption treasureis a feat worthy of attention.

How did she do it? Simple

Math, said Ellison Anne Williams (pictured), founder and chief executive officer of Enveil Inc. Math and grit.

Williams spoke withJohn Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Medias mobile livestreaming studio, during the RSA Conference in San Francisco. They discussed her time at the NSA and how homomorphic cryptography provides the missing link in the cybersecurity chain.

The treasure Williams carried from the NSA is one that has often been described as the Holy Grail of cryptologists: Homomorphic encryption. Developed within the NSA by researchers wanting to maintain security for data in-use,the technology enables data to be handled securely while remaining encrypted.

This week theCUBE spotlights Williams in our Women in Tech feature.

Data security has three parts: data at rest, data in transit, and data at use, explained Williams. The first part involves securing data at rest on the file system and the database.This would be your more traditional in-database encryption, she said.

The second part is securing data as its moving around through the network, known as data in transit. The third part of the data security process is securing data that is in-use data under analysis or search. This is when the data is both at its most vulnerable and its most valuable.

While there are many security solutions for both data at rest and in transit, protecting data while it is being processed has always been the weak point. Data was secure before and after processing but had to be decrypted in order to be accessed, then re-encrypted. Homomorphic encryption solves that issue.

It means we can do things like take searches or analytics, encrypt them, and then go run them without ever decrypting them at any point during processing, Williams explained.

With her blonde curls and Southern charm, Williams doesnt match the stereotype of a socially awkward cybersecurity specialist. But while her looks may cause some to double-take at business meetings, her intelligence and expertise are indisputable. Williams holds adoctorate in mathematics (algebraic combinatorics) from North Carolina State University and two masters degrees, one in mathematics from the University of South Carolina and another in computer science from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

As an undergrad, Williams was a pre-med student with a plan to study infectious diseases. Instead, she fell in love with math and became an expert in distributed computing and algorithms, cryptographic applications, graph theory, combinatorics, machine learning, and data mining.

After graduating from North Carolina State, Williams joined the research team at the NSA, where she spent 12 years doing a little bit of everything, including large-scale analytics, information security and privacy, computer network exploitation, and network modeling. She also advocated for women to join the NSAs team and mentored her male colleagues.

During her last few years at the NSA, she had the opportunity to work at The John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. It was there that she worked on homomorphic encryption as part of a larger project for the NSA.

Although she had worked in research her whole career, Williams had always harbored entrepreneurial dreams. So when she learned she could declassify some of her research through the NSA Technology Transfer Program, she jumped at the chance to create a homomorphic encryption solution for the marketplace.

The idea of homomorphic encryption is not new. The concept has been around since 1978, but a first-generation fully homomorphic solution wasnt proposed until 2009. Research continued, and second- and third-generation fully homomorphic solutions were proposed. But problems remained with implementing these solutions at scale.

With the launch of Enveil Inc. in 2016, Williams took a bet that by combining the entrepreneurship in her DNA with the results of her years of research at John Hopkins and the NSA she could change that.

Less than a year after founding, the company got the cybersecurity communitys attention at the finals of theRSA Innovation Sandbox. Thats where the conversation really started to change around this technology called homomorphic encryption, the market category space called securing data in use, and what that meant, Williams said.

Williams expected a surprised reaction when the community discovered Enveil had a market-ready homomorphic encryption solution. She didnt expect that big-name early adopters, such as Bloomberg Beta, Thomson Reuters Corp., Capital One Financial Corp., and Mastercard Inc., would be eager to strategically invest in the company.

The enthusiasm is because homomorphic encryption solves the problem of secure data sharing. New technologies such as machine learning rely on ingesting massive amounts of data. Being restricted to just one data source limits the potential for powerful insights, but sharing data resources for analysis is a risky business.

There are also codes and regulations that govern data sharing, such as Europes General Data Protection Regulationand the California Consumer Privacy Act, which limit how data can be managed.Not to mention, people can get upset if they discover a company has a cavalier attitude tosharingpersonal data; as Google discovered withProject Nightingale.

This makes the ability to maintain anonymity and security while sharing data critically important for businesses, especially those in the financial sectors, where the payoff and the risks are high stakes. Say a bank suspects a client of financial misconduct, such as money laundering, and as part of establishing the trail, it needs to verify transactions with other institutions.

[Banks] cant necessarily openly, freely share all the information. But if I can ask you a question and do so in a secure and private capacity, still respecting all the access controls that youve put in place over your own data, then it allows that collaboration to occur, Williams stated.

Homomorphic encryption enables the data to be searched while remaining encoded, so no personally identifiable information is ever revealed and regulation compliance and security is ensured.

Current use casesamong Enveils clients include financial regulation, with banks able to securely share information to combat money laundering and other fraudulent activity. Global transactions are simplified by allowing collaboration regardless of national privacy restrictions. And in healthcare, hospitals and clinics can share patient details to research facilities and remain confident that they are not disclosing sensitive personal data.

After just over three years in operation, Williams is proud of what her company has accomplished. Its really pretty impressive, she said.

It is. Breaking the male-dominated culture of cybersecurity, Williams has created a company that is at the forefront of data in-use security, recently announced $10 million in Series A funding, and is looking to expand globally with new product lines that enable advanced decisioning in a completely secure and private capacity.

Were creating a whole new market, Williams said. [Were] completely changing the paradigm about where and how you can use data for business purposes.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLEs and theCUBEs coverage of theRSA Conference.

Show your support for our mission with our one-click subscription to our YouTube channel (below). The more subscribers we have, the more YouTube will suggest relevant enterprise and emerging technology content to you. Thanks!

Support our mission: >>>>>> SUBSCRIBE NOW >>>>>> to our YouTube channel.

Wed also like to tell you about our mission and how you can help us fulfill it. SiliconANGLE Media Inc.s business model is based on the intrinsic value of the content, not advertising. Unlike many online publications, we dont have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.The journalism, reporting and commentary onSiliconANGLE along with live, unscripted video from our Silicon Valley studio and globe-trotting video teams attheCUBE take a lot of hard work, time and money. Keeping the quality high requires the support of sponsors who are aligned with our vision of ad-free journalism content.

If you like the reporting, video interviews and other ad-free content here,please take a moment to check out a sample of the video content supported by our sponsors,tweet your support, and keep coming back toSiliconANGLE.

Read more:

How a girl grasped the Holy Grail of encryption and changed the paradigm for safely sharing data - SiliconANGLE

Posted in NSA

Weird Hours, Contractor Concerns: How the Intelligence Community Is Grappling with Coronavirus – Defense One

Intelligence agencies are trying to adapt to social distancing guidelines, but thats leaving many employees and contractors in limbo.

Like any other vital institution, the U.S. intelligence community is grappling with the disruptive effects of the coronavirus including unconventional working hours and uncertainty among the employee and contractor workforces.

At NSA and CIA, some departments and functions have adjusted schedules and adopted unconventional working hours in a bid to implement social-distancing measures while fulfilling their missions. Some employees who used to work regular hours are now working in shifts, such as three days on and three days off, or one week on and one week off, etc., sources within the intelligence community told DefenseOne.

Spokespeople for the CIA and the NSA declined to say whether full-time employees or contractors were working diminished hours or in altered shifts. But they did say that any changes they might have made had not hurt their ability to carry out critical intelligenceactivities.

Given CIAs unique mission, were always prepared to preserve our mission capability, no matter the circumstances, while also protecting the well-being of our global workforce. In response to COVID-19, our officers are exercising tremendous creativity and flexibility, and were delivering on our mission, a CIA spokesperson told Defense One in anemail.


Receive daily email updates:

Subscribe to the Defense One daily.

Be the first to receive updates.

NSA maintains and rehearses comprehensive plans to remain effective and achieve our missions across a variety of challenging situations, an NSA spokesperson said. We continue to monitor the potential risks presented by COVID-19, and are taking appropriate steps such as workplace distancing and increased cleaning to ensure NSAs people remain safe, secure, and healthy without impacting our operationalcapabilities.

The pandemic is also affecting the large group of contractors who serve the intelligence community. Many have found themselves in a difficult situation because their contracts require them to work in a specific Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF a generally small facility that is built to keep invasive signals intelligence collection out. In fact, a lot of work that deals with open source or even unclassified material still usually occurs in classified settings, simply because thats common practice now, according to an intelligence community contractor who spoke to Defense One.

The new work schedules are also causing confusion among contractors who wonder whether they will be paid for working shifts, part-time, or not at all. Theres been no detailed IC-wide guidance about this to agencies, and little given by agencies to contracting officers, the contractorsaid.

From where should that guidance come? Probably the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, according to retired CIA officer John Sipher. He called that contractor confusion exactly the kind of thing the DNI should be dealing with. It impacts the entire IC. ODNI has put out a letter on the subject but the relevant portion, on section 3610 of the CARES Act, still leaves big questions unanswered said thecontractor.

The ODNI could, for example, tell agencies that contractors should get their full wages even if they cant work where the contract says they should. Or it could tell them to allow workers to work from company SCIFs, or adopt othersolutions.

One problem is that the ODNI has not had a Senate-confirmed director since Dan Coats left last August. In February, the President nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-TX, for the position, but he hasnt yet been confirmed by theSenate.

According to a March 21 letter from the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, the risks of not compensating contractual intelligence workers could decimate the so-called Trusted Workforce. The community could lose people that it needs both now and in thefuture.

Agencies have begun to send both government and contract staff home and are considering limiting the number of workers who can come to government facilities for as long as eight weeks, notes the letter. The number of cleared contractors alone is about 500,000 and they are supported by thousands more colleagues who do not require a clearance. If these contract employees cannot continue working during the COVID crisis, there is a significant risk that they will not rejoin the Trusted Workforce when the crisis is over, leaving the national security industrial baseless able to support critical governmentmissions

Of course, the other thing that the intelligence community could do to make it easier to retain top talent during a period of unusual work-from-home arrangements is reforming the clearance process. Less classified intelligence material means more material that analysts can work with at home or from other non-SCIF locations. Reforming that process means processing clearance applications for workers much faster, not classifying as much material, and ensuring that analysts work with non-classified material in non-classified settings, even if it eventually goes into a classified report or product. The problem of over-classification of intelligence is one national security leaders have been highlighting with increasingurgency.

Bottom line: it may well take a massive global disaster to bring the intelligence community into the new era. But it could lose important talent along theway.


Weird Hours, Contractor Concerns: How the Intelligence Community Is Grappling with Coronavirus - Defense One

Posted in NSA

How the National Sheriffs’ Association is working to assist agencies in the COVID-19 crisis – Police News

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to deepen its impact on law enforcement agencies across the nation, the National Sheriffs Association (NSA) has formed an industry action group in order to better coordinate with and assist sheriffs offices in getting vital supplies to deputies working the frontline of the outbreak.

The initiative is a collaboration between the NSA and numerous corporate and industry partners, including Home Depot, Motorola Solutions, AWS and dozens more.

They have been very gracious to serve on an advisory group and help us identify what they may have in their tool belt and connections they may have to better provide services and supplies to agencies, Jonathan Thompson, NSAs CEO and executive director, told PoliceOne.

The group recently held its first meeting, discussing how the NSA can help industry leaders expedite partnerships with agencies during the crisis, improve agency access to critical supplies through those partnerships, and tackle potential slowdowns at the state level or federal level.

Thompson says the most immediate concern being voiced by sheriffs is the need for medical supplies, including personal protective equipment and disinfectants. While PPE and other medical supplies are the tier one focus, agency needs during the pandemic extend far beyond that.

Everything from I.T. support for a shortfall of people working in their offices to do the work to equipment that needs to be replaced on an urgent basis and expediting that replacement of equipment, Thompson said. We're also seeing a serious level of long-term planning regarding jail operations. How do we make sure inmates are still getting housed, clothed and fed in an efficient and effective way? While we're seeing a number of depopulation efforts, there are still several hundred thousand people in jails across the country and they have to be fed, clothed and taken care of.

As for what needs to be done now to protect deputies, Thompson says hes most concerned about PPE and testing.

Reliable tests are vital because we need to know if someone has been exposed, where they are in the infection cycle and where they are in the shedding cycle, Thompson said. We want to make sure that once we have people tested and their symptoms are becoming more acute, that they know, number one, you can't work. Number two, you need to get yourself taken care of whether rest and staying at home can suffice or if it's more dangerous or risky than that, getting them to a hospital as soon as possible. Those are the things that are keeping me awake at night getting more PPE and getting test equipment to sheriff's offices immediately.

I think it's going to be incumbent upon the federal government and state governments to make certain we don't expose first responders, Thompson continued. And when they are exposed, we've got to be able to respond to them and support them. So, we're urging governors to evaluate every day those tier one personnel that need to be protected with PPE, as well as tested. Those are the essential factors.

For companies or individuals who would like to provide support to the initiative, they can follow this link. Sheriffs offices in need of support can contact the NSA via the member website or through their state association.

Law enforcement and first responders have been helping people in this country for hundreds of years, Thompson said. We need help now, too. We need our leaders to recognize first responders are vulnerable and we need their help. We need the private sector to step up and we know they can, and we know they want to. We're eager to accept that help.

See the original post here:

How the National Sheriffs' Association is working to assist agencies in the COVID-19 crisis - Police News

Posted in NSA

Walkers asked to heed rules – Craven Herald

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is calling for the public to observe the lockdown rules more closely.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker explains: There is no doubt this lockdown is difficult. We are all feeling the effect, and NSA completely understands the frustration and the want to get outside. However, we mustnt forget that the fields were walking across are where our food is produced, and by being there we put the people producing our food at risk.

NSA has heard some extreme and concerning stories from its members of people still arriving in cars for walks, picnics and more.

Mr Stocker continues: By travelling to farms you are risking passing on this dangerous virus to a food producing farmer, and that is simply not acceptable. We all know the rules and simply put, travelling to walk somewhere a car drive away from your home is not necessary. We implore the British public to obey these rules and respect other peoples homes and lives particularly as we approach the Easter weekend.

With little still known about the virus, NSA is concerned about viral transmissions on gates, fences and other surfaces. Mr Stocker adds: These risks are very real and if people continue to flout the rules, we have no doubt the Government will be prepared to step things up to protect lives.

Read the original post:

Walkers asked to heed rules - Craven Herald

Posted in NSA

Use of Zoom app with security weaknesses cause of concern – indica News

Anindya Banerjee(IANS)-

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a video conference with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the chiefs of army, navy and air force on April 1. The armed forces and the MoD are fully prepared to face any situation, Singh tweeted.

Only issue was that Singh was using an app that has created the worldwide security scare due to its links to China.

Citizen Lab, a Canada-based independent research organization, has found that Chinese servers are being used to distribute encryption and decryption keys for video links on Zoom. In all probability, the Chinese servers were used by Singh for the video conference with the security forces brass, leaving it vulnerable to breach.

Its not just Singh, more Indian leaders are using this easy-to-use medium. In one such video conference with high-ranking officials, Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal can be spotted using the same platform Zoom. It shows Goyal talking to officials while using his MacBook Air.

On April 10, ICCR chief Vinay Sahasrabuddhe organized a virtual press conference with the Agriculture Minister where Narendra Tomar talked about how the government planned to minimize the loss for the sector. This too was organized through Zoom. In fact, a link for the same was also sent to participating journalists.

But why is Zoom problematic? We suspect keys may be distributed through these (Chinese) servers. A company primarily catering to North American clients that sometimes distributes encryption keys through servers in China is potentially concerning, given that Zoom may be legally obligated to disclose these keys to authorities in China, the Citizen Lab researchers warned.

The suspicion proved to be true. The chief executive of the video conferencing app apologized for falling short on security issues and promised to address concerns. Eric S Yuan, the founder, himself is a Chinese American.

Ex-NSA (National Security Agency) hacker Patrick Wardle identified a series of issues, including a flaw that leaves Mac users vulnerable to having webcams and microphones hijacked, the BBC reported.

In other words, Goyals MacBooks webcam and microphone could also be vulnerable, if this assertion of the former NSA hacker is true.

Meanwhile, Google has reportedly banned the Zoom app from all employees computers over security vulnerabilities and Singapore has banned teachers using Zoom after hackers posted obscene images on screens.

Earlier this month, according to a report by Reuters, Elon Musks SpaceX had also banned employees from using Zoom over security concerns.

According to a report by social media platform Blind, 12 percent users have reportedly stopped using Zoom and 35 percent professionals are worried that their information may have been compromised.

Pawan Duggal, Indias foremost cyber security expert, calls Zoom a glitzy timebomb. It looks nice, but its deadly, he reasons.

But Indian leaders seem oblivious to these statistics. Not only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but the Congress also holds video conferences through Zoom, where likes of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has taken part. She used it to address the Congress Working Committee (CWC) as well as a meeting of state party chief.

In fact, all the virtual pass conferences of the Congress that take place at 1 p.m. are through Zoom. Chief Ministers Captain Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel, and senior leaders, like Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, continue to use Zoom.

Ever since the government announced a 21-day nationwide shutdown, forcing not just companies but also political parties to work from home, the company has seen a huge boom in India. The daily downloads for Zoom have increased from around 1,70,000 in the middle of February to nearly 2.5 million in late March.

Duggal told IANS, If you are a policymaker, public figure or corporate honcho, Zoom is not your go-to place. Its proven Zoom is not end-to-end encrypted. Its China link is concerning. It has a dubious privacy record. Indian leaders should learn from Britain where cabinet meetings on Zoom came online.

Though, government sources indicate the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has stepped in to suggest what app scan be used as mode of secure video conference.

However, the use of Zoom by the government, the security and the trade honchos as well as top politicians, that is conceded to be routed through China, should ring alarm bells across the corridor of power.


Visit link:

Use of Zoom app with security weaknesses cause of concern - indica News

Posted in NSA

All you need to know about the all-new OnePlus 8 Series – TechPP

The all-new OnePlus 8 series is here, and it includes two smartphones: OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. While both devices have the same Snapdragon 865 chipset at their core, they do differ in some other aspects. For instance, the screen size 6.55-inch vs 6.78-inch; refresh rate 120Hz vs 90Hz; cameras quad vs triple, to name a few. So heres a quick roundup of all the features that the latest offerings from OnePlus have to offer.

1. Display a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support on the OnePlus 8 and a slightly bigger, 6.78-inch panel on the Pro, which comes with 120Hz refresh rate, QHD+ resolution, and HDR10+ support along with MEMC for a seamless viewing experience. Besides, the two offer a blue-light filter and adjust the brightness accordingly for low-light environments to ensure some level of eye protection.

2. Performance both, the regular OnePlus 8 and the Pro pack in the latest chipset, the Snapdragon 865 (with Adreno 650 GPU) from Qualcomm, which comes with the X55 modem to offer 5G connectivity with support for SA (Standalone) and NSA (Non-Standalone) modes. Moreover, both come coupled with the same 8/12GB of RAM and 128/256GB of UFS 3.0 internal storage. However, the RAM on the regular model is an LPDDR4X, compared to the LPDDR5 on the Pro.

To power the internals, the phones come with a 4300mAh and 4510mAh battery, respectively. But, the way they fuel up the juice is what separates the two. The vanilla OnePlus 8 comes with the OnePlus Warp Charge 30T charging, whereas, the Pro also gets two more charging modes in addition, namely: Warp Charge 30 Wireless and Reverse Wireless charging.

3. Camera a triple-camera array with a 48MP (Sony IMX586) primary sensor, a 16MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP macro lens, on the OnePlus 8, and a quad-camera setup with a 48MP (Sony IMX689) primary sensor, accompanied by a 48MP ultra-wide, an 8MP telephoto, and a 5MP color filter. The addition of color filter on the 8 Pro brings alongenhanced filters and effects to allow you to experiment with photography.

Moving to the front, the two devices share the same 16MP (Sony IMX471) sensor for selfies and face unlock.

4. Connectivity 5G (SA / NSA) and 4G VoLTE on both models, along with WiFi 6 (a/b/g/n/ac/ax), NFC, and Bluetooth 5.1 with support for aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, and AAC audio codecs.

5. Miscellaneous

Thats the all-new OnePlus 8 series for you!The OnePlus 8 starts at $699 for the 8GB + 128GB model and $799 for the 12GB + 256GB, whereas, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes at a premium and is priced at $899 for the 8GB + 128GB and $999 for 12GB + 256GB variant. Both phones will be available starting April 29.

Here is the original post:

All you need to know about the all-new OnePlus 8 Series - TechPP

Posted in NSA

What is the National Security Act, (NSA),1980 and when is it imposed? – Jagran Josh

Recently, the National Security Act,1980 or 'Rasuka' is imposed in various cases in different states of India. Recently, many offenders are arrested under this law for attacking corona warriors i.e. Doctors, Nurses, housekeeping staff and security personals.

Let us know in this article, what is the National Security Act (NSA), or Rasuka, when is it imposed and what kind of punishment provisions are there under it?

What is the National Security Act, 1980

The National Security Act (NSA) came into existence on 23 September 1980 during Indira Gandhi's government.

The National security Act, empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her from acting in any manner against the welfare and security of the country, damaging the Indian relations with foreign countries, obstructing the maintenance and supply of essential services to the community.

The suspect can be kept in jail for 12 months without any charge under the NSA. This is the most vital and critical provision of this whole act.

Provisions of the National Security Act, 1980 (NSA)

1. If a person, does not believe in the rule of law, harms the Indian relations with other countries of the world, disrupt the maintenance or supply of public services, attack police personnel on duty and creates the threat to the national security; can be arrested by the concerned government under this act.

Recently, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have registered FIR under this act against some anti-social elements.

2. Under NSA, the concerned officer has the power to keep the suspect in captivity for 5 days without assigning any reason while in special circumstances this period can be up to 10 to 12 days. After this, the officer needs the permission of the state government for further detention.

3. The arrested person is not entitled to the aid of any legal practitioner in any matter connected with the proceedings before an advisory board. This panel is constituted by the government for dealing with NSA cases.

4. This law empowers the central government to arrest or expel a foreigner to control his activity.

5. Some people have been booked under Rasuka for misbehaving with doctors, for transferring their corona infection to other healthy people and attacking the police personals in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi.

Imprisonment under the NSA

The National Security Act (NSA), empowers the concerned government to keep a suspect in jail for 12 months without any charge. But this period can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence against the suspect.

If an officer arrests a suspect, he has to explain the reasons to the concerned state government. Until the state government approves this arrest, the maximum period of arrest cannot be more than twelve days.

Keep in mind that arrest orders can be issued by the District Magistrate or Commissioner of Police under their respective jurisdiction.

Chandrashekhar Ravana, the founder of 'Bhim Army', was also arrested under 'Rasuka' and kept in jail for a year but released later on.

Criticism of the National Security Act (Rasuka)

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not include cases under the NSA in its data because very few FIRs are registered under this law. Therefore, there is no accurate information about the number of arrested persons under this act.

Under this law, a suspect can be arrested without giving any reason and even he/she is not allowed to hire a lawyer for some time. That is why this law is also compared to the British Rowlatt Act. According to many experts, the state governments have also used NSA as 'Extra-Judicial Power'.

So in conclusion, it would be wise to say that a law should be for the people; while people should not be for the law.

List of National Security Advisor in India

Union Territory of Delhi: A snapshot of the Economy

The rest is here:

What is the National Security Act, (NSA),1980 and when is it imposed? - Jagran Josh

Posted in NSA

February construction unemployment rates down in 37 states year over year – AZ Big Media

Estimated February not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 37 states, rose in 12 states and were unchanged in one state (Texas) on a year-over-year basis, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors.

As of February 2020, the construction industry employed 208,000 more workers nationally compared to February 2019 while the national NSA construction unemployment rate decreased from 6.2% to 5.5% over the same period, according to BLS numbers. This is an indication of the underlying strength of the construction industry prior to widespread concern over the impact of the coronavirus and reaction to it in the United States.

In February, large portions of the country experienced above-average temperatures. The Eastern third of the country, along with the Northern tier of states and the West Coast, had warmer than normal weather. This aided construction activity and employment, said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. These numbers were collected before actions were taken by many localities and businesses to control the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. These efforts to limit the impact of the coronavirus on the health of the nation and consequently on construction activity will begin to show in the data for March and April and beyond.

March national employment and unemployment figures released on Friday, April 3, along with the recent surge in unemployment insurance claims, indicate a large impact on the economy. The March employment and unemployment data were collected before many places issued stay-at-home recommendations. However, growing concern over the spread of the disease was adversely affecting employment. The NSA construction unemployment rate jumped from 5.5% in February to 6.9% in March, only the third time in the history of this number that it rose from February.

Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. The monthly movement of rates still provides some information, although extra care must be used when drawing conclusions from these variations.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate increased 0.1% from January to February. Over the time since the data series began in 2000, the historical pattern generally has been an increase in rates from January with 12 increases, seven decreases and once unchanged. Among the states, 27 had higher estimated construction unemployment rates than in January, while 20 were lower and three were unchanged. At the same time, the nation and 23 states posted their lowest February construction unemployment rate on record.

The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

1. Florida, 2.8%

2. South Dakota, 3.1%

3. Oregon and Utah (tie), 3.2%

5. Maryland, 3.5%

Three of these statesFlorida, Maryland and Oregonwere in the top five in January. For the third consecutive month, Florida had the lowest construction unemployment rate among the states. This was also the states lowest February rate on record.

South Dakota had the second lowest rate in February, up from ninth lowest in January. This was the states lowest February rate on record.

Oregon and Utah tied for the third lowest rate in February. For Oregon, this was up from fourth lowest rate in January based on revised data (originally reported as tied with Utah for fifth lowest). It was also Oregons lowest February rate on record. For Utah, this was up from the seventh lowest rate in January, tied with Arizona, based on revised data (originally reported as tied with Oregon for fifth lowest). This was Utahs lowest February rate since the 2.3% rate in 2015.

Maryland had the fifth lowest rate in February, down from second lowest in January. Nevertheless, this was the states lowest February rate on record.

Colorado, which was third lowest in January, dropped to 13th lowest in February with a 4.3% rate. After reaching 3.8% in February 2019, it was the states lowest February rate since posting a 4.2% rate in 2000, making it the third lowest February rate on record for the state.

South Carolina and Texas, which tied for fifth lowest rate in January based on revised data (originally reported as third lowest for South Carolina, tied with Colorado, and seventh lowest for Texas, tied with Arizona), tied for eighth lowest in February with a 3.8% rate. For both states, it was their lowest February rate on record.

The states with the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

46. Missouri, 10.2%

47. Kentucky, 10.4%

48. Wyoming, 10.7%

49. Alaska, 10.9%

50. West Virginia, 15%

Three of these statesAlaska, Missouri and West Virginiawere also in the bottom five in January. West Virginia had the highest estimated construction unemployment rate in February, compared to third highest in January. After the 14.5% rate in February 2019, this was the states lowest February rate since the 14% rate in 2013. West Virginia also had the largest monthly increase in its rate among the states, up 3.1%.

Alaska had the second highest rate in February compared to highest in January. Nonetheless, this was the states lowest February rate on record.

Wyoming had the third highest rate in February compared to seventh highest in January. Wyoming had the largest year-over-year increase in its rate among the states, up 3.1%.

Kentucky had the fourth highest rate in February compared to sixth highest in January. This was Kentuckys second lowest February rate on record, behind the 10.3% rate in 2006.

For the second month in a row, Missouri had the fifth highest rate in February. This was the states lowest February rate since the 9.5% rate in 2016.

Iowa, which had the second highest rate in January, had the seventh highest in February with a 9.8% rate.

Montana, which had the fourth highest rate in January based on revised data (originally reported as third highest, tied with West Virginia), had the sixth highest in February with a 10% rate. This was the states second lowest February rate on record, behind the 6.7% rate in 2007. Montana had the second largest year-over-year drop in its rate among the states, down 3.1%, behind Washington states 3.3% decrease.

See the original post here:

February construction unemployment rates down in 37 states year over year - AZ Big Media

Posted in NSA

NSA Sheep Event and NSA Scotsheep 2020 postponed –

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced plans to proceed with a revised summer schedule, after two of its flagship events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

After taking time to review current Government recommendations, the NSA said it was pleased to be able to announce new plans to proceed with its popular summer events, albeit a little later in the year than previously scheduled.

Many popular summer agricultural events including the Royal Highland Show, Balmoral Show, the Great Yorkshire Show, and the Royal Welsh Show have already been cancelled or postponed.

NSA Sheep Event, the flagship event of the organisation will now take place on Monday, October 19, 2020, once again at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire.

NSA Sheep Event 2020 organiser, Helen Roberts said: The NSA prides itself on being a member-led organisation and delivering our iconic event is incredibly important to us.

However, with the Government advising against attending mass gatherings and further action relating to social distancing and self-isolation and unnecessary travel, NSA felt there was no other option at this time than to postpone our main event until October and we are very grateful to have this date made available to us.

This will be a difficult year for the nation as a whole. The NSA and many other associations and businesses will all be affected by the financial outcome of this scenario but we do hope both our members as well as all sheep farmers and the wider sheep industry will support as we now recommence plans for what we are confident will again be a fantastic event.

Also taking place this year is NSA Scotsheep, the main event of the industry in Scotland. Differing slightly from the NSA Sheep Event in Worcestershire, NSA Scotsheep is set to take place on-farm, kindly hosted in 2020 by Robert and Hazel McNee at their home at Over Finlarg, Tealing, Angus.

The event had been planned for early June but has now tentatively been moved to Wednesday, July 8 a date that the NSA Scottish Region executive committee is aware is rather hopeful in the current climate but one they still hope can be achievable.

NSA Scotsheep organiser Euan Emslie said: We have very tentatively set a new date which most importantly suits the hosts who need to fit this event around their farming operation.

NSA Scottish Region understands that this date is optimistic and that it may need to be reviewed again in light of the future situation with COVID-19, but in the hope that we can continue, we have lodged our application for the necessary licenses and will keep the situation under close review.

Should NSA Scottish Region not be granted a license for the July date, then NSA Scotsheep 2020 will regrettably have to be rescheduled until next year with a new date at the beginning of June.

NSA Scotsheep 2020 chairman Willy Millar added: We are really disappointed to have to postpone this event although current circumstances give us no choice.

The committee also realises that choosing a date in early July brings risks so we are looking at alternative dates for the first couple of weeks in June next year, should the restrictions on social distancing and gatherings of people not be lifted in the next few months.

Our firm belief is that NSA Scotsheep is a crucial event for the farming community and sheep industry in Scotland and further afield.

There is no doubt that people will be keen to get back to a more normal way of life as soon as possible while following government advice on the situation.

Plans for both NSA events are well underway with organisers promising many new and existing attractions.

Further updates on the future of both events will follow as needed.


Excerpt from:

NSA Sheep Event and NSA Scotsheep 2020 postponed -

Posted in NSA

National Storage Affiliates Announces Internalization of Its Largest PRO and Appointment of David Cramer as Its Chief Operating Officer – Business…

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA or the "Company") (NYSE: NSA) today announced the closing, effective March 31, 2020, of the previously announced internalization of the Company's largest participating regional operator ("PRO"), SecurCare Self Storage, Inc. ("SecurCare").

Also effective April 1, 2020, Dave Cramer, previously president and chief executive officer of SecurCare, was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of NSA. Further details are contained in NSA's current report on Form 8-K, filed with the SEC on February 24, 2020.

Tamara Fischer, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Im pleased to announce that despite the unprecedented economic environment, the internalization of SecurCare was completed as originally scheduled. Our team really looks forward to working with Dave in his new role. Although SecurCare was one of our founding PROs and part of the NSA PRO platform since our inception, were excited to welcome the SecurCare team as official NSA employees.

Dave Cramer, NSAs new Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, added, "Im excited to transition to the NSA management team and further develop the corporate operating platform. Although recent macro events present challenges for the economy as a whole, Im confident in our ability to navigate the current environment and continue to deliver sector-leading returns for the foreseeable future."

About National Storage Affiliates Trust

National Storage Affiliates Trust is a Maryland real estate investment trust focused on the ownership, operation and acquisition of self storage properties located within the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas throughout the United States. As of December 31, 2019, the Company held ownership interests in and operated 742 self storage properties located in 35 states and Puerto Rico with approximately 47.1 million rentable square feet. NSA is one of the largest owners and operators of self storage properties among public and private companies in the United States. For more information, please visit the Companys website at NSA is included in the MSCI US REIT Index (RMS/RMZ), the Russell 2000 Index of Companies and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index.

Go here to read the rest:

National Storage Affiliates Announces Internalization of Its Largest PRO and Appointment of David Cramer as Its Chief Operating Officer - Business...

Posted in NSA

TikTok popularity irrefutably correlated with US unemployment claims – The Tech

By Jen FoxApr. 1, 2020

Economists strive to form meaningful connections across socioeconomic indicators. Quantitative techniques from difference-in-differences estimation to the method of instrumental variables comprise this coveted realm of econometrics, weaving sense into our complex world.

Wielding the statistical powers vested in me by the impressive likes of Professors Joshua Angrist and Abhijit Banerjee, Ive concluded an incontrovertible correlation between initial weekly U.S. unemployment claims and the popularity of TikTok.

Reaching this conclusion required extensive investigation, as TikTok does not report on annual output nor provide malleable data tables for marginal user fluctuation. But finally, by running a linear regression of the logarithm of the relative volume of Google searches for Tiktok per week against that same weeks NSA-reported novel initial unemployment claims, a correlation once backed by instinct is now grounded as a statistical gospel.

Additionally, my two and a half years and singular virtual month of elite collegiate practice has enabled me to confirm the existence of a positive feedback loop. This spectacular natural phenomenon occurs when the product of a reaction leads to an increase in that reaction. As we increase the log of Google search interest in TikToks, we see an irrefutable rise in initial unemployment claims as reported on a weekly basis by the NSA. Similarly, the more initial claims accounted for, the greater relative interest in TikTok Google Trends reports.

We economists, of course, must always demonstrate constant vigilance in the face of distortive omitted variable bias. Omitted variables are those which contribute to our estimated effects, but which go unaccounted for by our statistical model. If not accounted for by control variables, they can bias our model in one direction or another, distorting our results with their overlooked influence.

As only an aspiring economist, I would ordinarily turn to my world-renowned MIT professors: an impressive class ranging from Ivy League graduates to Nobel laureates. Due to the current global pandemic, however, I realize that these elite academics already have enough on their plates, and that the morally responsible path forward is to individually and senselessly follow my own natural instinct. In the case of nationwide TikTok popularity and weekly initial unemployment claims, I have thus concluded that no omitted variables can possibly exist, and that this is a direct, perfect, and indisputable correlation.

These conclusions must leave you with burning questions. What does this mean for you, your health, and the health of your family? What does this mean for U.S. national security, and the future society we leave to our children and grandchildren?

Have no fear. Youre asking the right questions, and bold statistical models are here to comfort you with pragmatic answers.

Business-as-usual, we know, would spell certain disaster. As a result of the natural exponential rise in the video apps recent popularity, as well as our indisputable discovery of the two variables positive feedback loop, watching more and more TikToks would inevitably result in 100% nationwide unemployment. But ignoring TikToks, as weve all tried and failed to do, would easily lead to a decrease in overall nationwide health, especially in light of recent social isolation mandates.

Luckily, theres a path forward. If we want to continue getting our daily dose of TikTok without spiking its measured popularity and thus nationwide unemployment, we have to take our appreciation for these short video masterpieces offline. This entails downloading every TikTok ever made onto local drives and deleting the application from our phones forever.

We understand that this will be an incredibly difficult task for many Americans, and that lack of wireless bandwidth as we struggle to make this transition as a country will result in mass oversaturation of mental health hotlines. But this is the only way forward to preserve both our countrys economy and our enjoyment of the wonders of TikTok.

If you love your country, clear space on your hard drive and download every TikTok ever made as soon as possible. The entire U.S. economy depends on you. Every American is in this together. Statistics never lie. This is your Vietnam. Godspeed.

Read more here:

TikTok popularity irrefutably correlated with US unemployment claims - The Tech

Posted in NSA