Did the NSA spy on Congress? RT The World According to Jesse – RT

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Did the NSA spy on Congress? RT The World According to Jesse - RT

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Nebraska native, 101, defied convention: She served in South Pacific, with MacArthur and at NSA – Omaha World-Herald

The youngest of four daughters, Brodt enlisted Sept. 1, 1943.

At first, the bureaucracy foiled her efforts to see the world. She spent time at bases in Iowa and Missouri, training as a personnel specialist.

Id say, When are my orders for overseas coming? Brodt recalled.

In 1944, she found out the Army was sending her to the South Pacific. After rigorous overseas training, she was sent to an administrative headquarters in New Guinea.

It took 28 days to reach her new post. She was packed into a converted ocean liner with 50 other WACs and 4,000 GIs. They received two meals a day, eaten standing up to save space.

It looked like my fathers cattle at the feed bunk, Brodt said.

In New Guinea, the women lived in huts separated from the men. They slept on cots draped with mosquito nets and washed their clothes in their helmets. They worked every day, from 7 a.m. until at least 10 p.m.

Nebraska native Mildred Freeouf Brodt as a corporal in the Women's Army Corps during World War II.

Brodts job at the base was to allocate supplies to the front-line military units.

We never had enough to fill their requests. It was heartbreaking, Brodt said.

The women didnt have enough to eat. Some got sick with malaria and jungle rot.

We were more concerned about diseases than bombs, Brodt said.

After the military reconquest of the Philippines in early 1945, most of the command transferred there. She was en route to Manila when the war ended and so did her job.

She was enjoying her independent life, however, so with several other former WACs, she decided to stay overseas and take a civilian personnel job with the occupation staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo.

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Nebraska native, 101, defied convention: She served in South Pacific, with MacArthur and at NSA - Omaha World-Herald

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NSA Ajit Doval reviews situation at India-China border – The New Indian Express

By ANI

NEW DELHI: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, along with top officials, reviewed the situation at the India-China border, sources said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to call another high-level meeting later today, they added.

This comes after the Indian Army thwarted an attempt by the Chinese Army to transgress into Indian areas near the southern bank of Pangong Tso near Chushul in Ladakh on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

ALSO READ:India-China border not yet demarcated, there will always be problems, says Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Meanwhile, the meeting of brigade commander of the Indian Army with his Chinese counterpart is underway in Chushul/Moldo to discuss issues related to the situation on the southern bank of Pangong lake, Indian Army sources said.

"On the night of August 29/30, PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo," said Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand in a statement on Monday.

India and China are engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including Finger area, Galwan valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala.

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NSA Ajit Doval reviews situation at India-China border - The New Indian Express

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NSA Webinar Part 3: Skills Development and the future of learning during and post the Covid-19 pandemic – Mail and Guardian

This was the third part of the NSA Webinar Series: Covid-19 Impact on Education, Skills Development and Training hosted by the National Skills Authority and the Mail & Guardian. It featured Dr Charles Nwaila, Chairperson of the NSA; Buti Manamela, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation; Zingiswa Losi, President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions; Professor Nirmala Gopal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Council; and Dr Layla Cassim, Director of Layla Cassim ERS Consultants CC. It was facilitated by NSA Director Dr Thabo Mashongoane.

Dr Charles Nwaila introduced the webinar participants, paid tribute to the role of women in society, and spoke about how Covid-19 has deepened the unemployment and inequality crises in South Africa. Lets invest in women to move South Africa forward, said Nwaile.

Zingiswa Losi opened proceedings with a Cosatu presentation, which outlined how the skills shortage and unemployment already in crisis before the pandemic have been accelerated by Covid-19 and the lockdown. Decisive, urgent steps are required to grow the economy, including a R1-trillion stimulus plan, and the immediate dismissal of any corrupt politician. Skills programmes must match the changing workplace; 4IR is no longer a slogan, but a reality.

Dr Thabo Mashongoane introduced himself, and said that several webinar attendees had congratulated Losi on her presentation in their comments. The long-standing issue of labour brokers is a struggle that continues said Losi. She said that Cosatu has been putting pressure on government to continue with UIF and TERS (Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme) payments into September. The issue of non-implementation of good policies was raised; we indicate left but turn right said Losi; she called on government to stop talking and start taking action.

Buti Manamela said the NSA has been fighting the giant of poverty and that Covid-19 has made the battle tougher; the top priority now is to save lives and the academic year. Distance learning solutions have been implemented since the national state of disaster, but this has brought the economic divide to the fore, as many poor students dont have laptops and data. TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) colleges have taken steps to get lectures online and train lecturers in online and remote presentation skills and blended learning. Groups have also been set up on platforms such as WhatsApp to help students learn together. Online learning will play a bigger role going forward, but universal access is essential: all students must have computers, and data must be available to all. SETAs (Sector Education Training Authorities) must do more. South Africa is resilient and is bouncing back from Covid-19, said Manamela, who added that we are on track to saving the academic year.

Manamela then fielded questions, starting with the student placement programme; he said that the private sector must also come to the party, so that graduates can obtain the required experience to become employed. He said the issue of online connectivity is being addressed by his department and the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Professor Nirmala Gopal said the world is transitioning to a digital economy, and so is South Africa, so skillsets and appropriate infrastructure are essential to boost job creation. We have to embrace 4IR or get left behind, but the challenge is our deficit of skills in South Africa. It is certain that there will be profound and rapid change, and to embrace this, there must be multi-stakeholder alliances between all the role players. Around half of the workforce wont need reskilling, so things are not all doom and gloom. The higher education sector will play a key role in skills development, in fields like genomics and AI, but it cannot do this in isolation.

Strategies must be designed that include effective monitoring and evaluation, that respect freedom and human rights, and match skills with workplace demands. There must be a shift from routine tasks to developing creativity and innovation, the invention of proudly South African products, and workers must continuously update their skills. A paradigm shift is necessary to address the inequality gap: teachers must become facilitators and mentors, staff must learn about things like EQ, students must work together. The basic and higher education systems must speak to each other; the practical component of learning is extremely important. Collaboration is, for Gopal, the key word for educators, students and stakeholders.

Responding to questions, Gopal said that yes, STEM subjects should be taught from ECD level, instead of just in higher education. We have to be creative in how we allocate jobs, she said, and even entrepreneurs must learn to work collaboratively.

Dr Layla Cassim stressed that universities are not different to the rest of society, but rather they are microcosms that manifest broader social problems themselves. She has focused on the effects of Covid-19 on postgraduate students. Her business supports students in research; she has a toolkit on DVD and has been doing online presentations during lockdown; the toolkit is also on the University of Limpopos website. Many postgrads have had to change their research because of the lockdown, using secondary instead of primary data, and a number have struggled because they are depressed or concerned about loved ones, the so-called second wave of the pandemic.

Students have had to resort to innovative methods to collect data, using platforms such as WhatsApp, raising concerns about confidentiality and ethics. There have been delays in funding, and issues of access to computers, laboratories and data. The academic year has been rolled over to next year, creating its own stresses concerning career prospects. Many have been overburdened with workloads, as work has been distributed unequally during the lockdown; many have been unable to focus on their own research because they are busy with, for instance, online marking.

Some staff members have not had their own computers or data, or had to pay from their own pocket for these. Many universities will be adopting a combined approach in future, with much of the work being online. Inequalities socioeconomic and gender have been exaggerated by the lockdown; many women have reported having to take care of the kids, work and study, so they end up working in the early hours of the morning. People with disabilities have reported problems too. Universities have not collaborated as much as they should have in the lockdown, possibly because they compete with each other. Basic resources have been in short supply: some rural universities have not had water, and some students have had to bring toilet paper to varsity in their bags; its difficult to carry out research under such conditions, said Gopal. Many rural universities, students and communities have indeed been left behind.

Nwaila wrapped up the webinar, saying that socioeconomic inequality was a theme that emerged in all the presentations, and can be referred to as a pandemic in itself. He ran through the presentations of each speaker, summarising them and emphasising the most succinct points. He thanked all the speakers and handed over to Mashongoane, who presented the polling results: 60% of participants were worried that AI may lead to a loss of jobs, which is cause for serious concern.

To watch and listen to the webinar, click here: https://event.webinarjam.com/t/click/ryg6vs6raroigkuyv8vsn79an16ug

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NSA Webinar Part 3: Skills Development and the future of learning during and post the Covid-19 pandemic - Mail and Guardian

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ICE Robotics Expands Offering With NSA Partnership – CleanLink

ICE Robotics has introduced the i-Synergy Program, an extended product offering through its partnership with the National Service Alliance (NSA), according to a press release.

ICE Robotics and NSA are helping building service contractors preserve cash flow and provide members financial flexibility during uncertain times with the program, which provides predictability for businesses.

The program is a new way for building service contractors to take advantage of industry leading floor cleaning equipment and lower costs. Some benefits of the program are:

- Special pricing and flexible terms exclusive to members of NSA.

- The elimination of large upfront capital investments through the ICE Robotics Subscription Model, preserving cash flow during times of uncertainty.

- A subscription model that provides access to proactive maintenance, regular software updates, and equipment optimized with lithium ion batteries.

- Intelligent equipment equipped with fleet tracking technology and data to manage usage.

The NSA is excited for the opportunity to provide additional innovations to our members, said the alliance in a press release. "Part of joining our organization is having access to the industrys leading technology and we believe that the i-Synergy program provides a tremendous value to the contract cleaning industry.

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by CleanLink.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of CleanLink.com or its staff. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines.

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ICE Robotics Expands Offering With NSA Partnership - CleanLink

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National Security Agency | History, Role, & Surveillance …

National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. intelligence agency within the Department of Defense that is responsible for cryptographic and communications intelligence and security. Its headquarters are in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Britannica Quiz

World Organizations: Fact or Fiction?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is limited to European countries.

The NSA grew out of the communications intelligence activities of U.S. military units during World War II. It was established in 1952 by a presidential directive from Harry S. Truman in which he specified its mission as

to provide an effective, unified organization and control of the communications intelligence activities of the United States conducted against foreign governments, to provide for integrated operational policies and procedures pertaining thereto.

The NSA was created in part out of the belief that the importance and distinct character of communications intelligence warranted an organization distinct from both the armed forces and the other intelligence agencies. While it operates within the Department of Defense, the NSA also belongs to the Intelligence Community (a coalition of 17 intelligence agencies) and as such acts under the supervision of the director of national intelligence. The director of the NSA is a military officer of flag rank (i.e., a general or an admiral) with a minimum of three stars. Not being a creation of Congress, the NSA often acts outside of congressional review; it is the most secret of all U.S. intelligence agencies.

The agencys mission includes the protection and formulation of codes, ciphers, and other cryptology for the U.S. military and other government agencies as well as the interception, analysis, and solution of coded transmissions by electronic or other means. The agency conducts research into all forms of electronic transmissions. It also operates posts for the interception of signals around the world. In 1972 a joint organization, the Central Security Service (CSS), was created to coordinate the intelligence efforts of the NSA with the U.S. military. The director of the NSA also heads the CSS (under the title of Chief, CSS).

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) restricts the NSA mandate to the interception of foreign communications and forbids the agency from targeting a U.S. citizen unless the latter is considered an agent of a foreign power. In exceptional cases that are considered critical to national security, the agency can obtain a warrant to intercept domestic communications. In 2008, amendments to FISA relaxed those restrictions and allowed the agency to monitor domestic communications without a warrant as long as one party is reasonably believed to be outside the United States.

In 2013 NSA activities were put in the limelight after a former computer security contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked classified information about two surveillance programsone collecting information from U.S. Internet service providers (PRISM) and the second collecting so-called metadata on cellular phone calls (information including phone numbers and length of the calls but not their content). Those programs were designed to target non-Americans, but they also collected a massive amount of information from Americans with whom those individuals had communicated. Other NSA programs included the extensive, worldwide, and allegedly untargeted collection of text messages (Dishfire) and of the locations of cell phones.

While less known to the American public than the Central Intelligence Agency, the NSA is believed to be far larger in size in terms of workforce and budget. According to Michael Hayden, a former director (19992005) of the NSA, it is also the worlds largest collector of foreign signals intelligence.

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The NSA and FBI Expose Fancy Bear’s Sneaky Hacking Tool – WIRED

Last weekend, during and in the aftermath of a contentious presidential election, the country of Belarus effectively shut off access to most of the internet for its 9.5 million citizens. It's a tactic that has become increasingly popular among authoritarian regimes, whether it's a total blackout like Belarus' or more targeted censorship of specific apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. The outage lasted around three days, although some sites remain blocked.

Elsewhere, we took a look at an Alexa bug that could have let a hacker access your entire voice history. It's patched now, but it's a good reminder to be careful what you say around your voice assistant. Covid-19 scams are so abundant that even ISIS allegedly got in on the grift with a site called FaceMaskCenter.com. And flaws in Qualcomm's ubiquitous Snapdragon chips put over a billion Android devices at risk. A fix has been issued, but those can take some time to trickle down to individual users.

Speaking of flaws, mistakes in open-source libraries could have exposed cryptocurrency exchanges to denial-of-service attacks or worse. A British AI tool intended to predict violent crime turned out not to work as advertised. And we looked at the increasingly sophisticated methods ATM hackers have used for "jackpotting," which is when they make the money machine go brrrrr.

We continued our Dark Patterns series with a dive into how Facebook and other social media sites capture your attentionand erode your privacy. And in the magazine we detailed the FBI's heart-pounding hunt for Cesar Sayoc, known as the "MAGA bomber."

And there's more! Every Saturday we round up the security and privacy stories that we didnt break or report on in depth but think you should know about. Click on the headlines to read them, and stay safe out there.

The National Security Agency is not known for being especially chatty. But it has made some useful public overtures of late; last week it offered tips to limit location tracking on your smartphone, and this week it followed up by going public with sneaky new Russian malware it discovered alongside the FBI. The announcement links the so-called Drovorub malware to Fancy Bear, the elite hacking group behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and more. Russia allegedly used Drovorub to plant backdoors; the versatile malware consisted of an implant, kernel module rootkit, file transfer and port forwarding tool, and command and control server. By shining a light on the malware, the US agencies hope to better enable potential targets to defend themselves.

The Wall Street Journal this week reported that TikTok used a banned method to track users for advertising purposes until last November. TikTok collected so-called MAC addresses using a security loophole that let it circumvent measures Android has in place to prevent that behavior. A MAC address is significant because it can be used to track a user even if they uninstall an app and reinstall it later. Perhaps more significant, though, is a line is the Journal report that TikTok sent those MAC addresses and other data back to ByteDance, the app's Chinese parent company. TikTok has repeatedly insisted that it does not, has not, and will not share user data with ByteDance. President Donald Trump has ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok by September 15, or the administration will take steps to shut down the app in the US.

In the era of 4G, many mobile phone conversations happen over Voice over LTE. Not only does VoLTE offer more bandwidth than the 3G calls of yesteryear, it also has a built-in layer of encryption that protects your calls from snoops. A team of researchers, though, has figured out how to undermine that security, using radio equipment that costs about $7,000 to grab that encrypted data as it heads to a cell tower and unscramble it. The attack has some important limitations, but it's a good reminder that modern telephony still has more than its share of security holesand 5G isn't looking that much better.

Motherboard this week took a deep dive down the rabbit hole of Russian SIMs, also known as white SIMs, that let criminals spoof phone numbers at will, or in some cases allow for real-time voice manipulation. While not illegal in and of themselves, the SIMs are a boon to phishing scams and other social engineering attacks.

More Great WIRED Stories

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NSA and FBI Expose Russian Previously Undisclosed Malware Drovorub in Cybersecurity Advisory FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a new cybersecurity advisory about previously undisclosed Russian malware.

The Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) 85th Main Special Service Center (GTsSS) military unit 26165, whose activity is sometimes identified by the private sector as Fancy Bear, Strontium, or APT 28, is deploying malware called Drovorub, designed for Linux systems as part of its cyber espionage operations. Further details on Drovorub, to include detection techniques and mitigations, can be found in the joint NSA and FBI Cybersecurity Advisory.

"This Cybersecurity Advisory represents an important dimension of our cybersecurity mission, the release of extensive, technical analysis on specific threats," NSA Cybersecurity Director Anne Neuberger said. "By deconstructing this capability and providing attribution, analysis, and mitigations, we hope to empower our customers, partners, and allies to take action. Our deep partnership with FBI is reflected in our releasing this comprehensive guidance together."

For the FBI, one of our priorities in cyberspace is not only to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries but also to empower our private sector, governmental, and international partners through the timely, proactive sharing of information, said FBI Assistant Director Matt Gorham. This joint advisory with our partners at NSA is an outstanding example of just that type of sharing. We remain committed to sharing information that helps businesses and the public protect themselves from malicious cyber actors.

Drovorub is a Linux malware toolset consisting of an implant coupled with a kernel module rootkit, a file transfer and port forwarding tool, and a command and control (C2) server. When deployed on a victim machine, Drovorub provides the capability for direct communications with actor-controlled C2 infrastructure; file download and upload capabilities; execution of arbitrary commands; port forwarding of network traffic to other hosts on the network; and implements hiding techniques to evade detection.

Drovorub represents a threat to National Security Systems, Department of Defense, and Defense Industrial Base customers that use Linux systems. Network defenders and system administrators can find detection strategies, mitigation techniques, and configuration recommendations in the advisory to reduce the risk of compromise.

More information is available on NSA's fact sheet.

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NSA and FBI Expose Russian Previously Undisclosed Malware Drovorub in Cybersecurity Advisory FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation

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Shah Faesal reached out to NSA before he quit party; open to IAS return – Hindustan Times

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, who left the party he himself founded, quit only after making contact with top officials in the Union government. Faesal had a talk with National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval before informing his party colleagues in the Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) that he was leaving, HT has learnt.

Faesal, 37, who hits the headlines in 2009, when he became the first person from Kashmir to top the Indian Administrative Services exam, acknowledged that he has been in touch with officials in New Delhi, although he declined to specify details.

There has been a lot of speculation about the conversations Im having with people in the government. I have been a member of IAS, and its nothing strange if Im meeting people in the government, he said.

I have to live and work here and this is perfectly normal, he added.

The NSA was not available for comment.

Faesal suggested that he is not opposed to rejoining the service, and there is talk that he could be reinstated.

Faesal, who once promised to be the voice of Kashmirs young people has come a long way. His views, too, have changed. I think we need to understand that in 1949 national consensus was about incorporating Article 370 and the 2019 national consensus is about scrapping it. We have to understand the mood of the nation and come to terms with the reality.

Early in 2019, Faesal announced his resignation from the IAS and became a vocal critic of the government. Jammu & Kashmir was stripped of its special status in August last year, and at the time, he tweeted: Kashmir will need a long, sustained non-violent political mass movement for the restoration of political rights. Abolition of Art 370 has finished the mainstream. Constitutionalists are gone. So you can either be a stooge or a separatist now. No shades of grey.

He has now deleted all his tweets. Asked to explain the stooge-and-separatist comment , he said: I was talking about the political grey zone in which electoral politics operated. I said that once the grey zone is over now people will call you stooge or separatist. [And] I said Im neither of the two.

He added: Im a proud citizen of this country who wants to make a difference in the lives of people. I dont recognise these labels at all.

In a signed article for this paper in January last year, Faesal enunciated the reasons he quit the IAS. He said then that Kashmir was in a crisis and that as an insider, he had decided to ring the alarm bell.

After being in touch with top officials in the government, Faesal now says he accepts the new reality. We are face to face with a new political reality in Kashmir. Since August 5, the facts on the ground have changed. I want to articulate my understanding of the situation without the need to be politically correct. Kashmir has suffered a lot in the past. I dont want to bank on the old illusions, take Kashmiris down a garden path, and build my career on that. Im quitting with all humility and telling people that I cant promise something that I cant deliver.

He now seems hopeful that the legislative route will provide answers. In a democracy, this consensus is dynamic and we should not lose hope. The same Parliament has provided answers in the past and Im sure the same Parliament will provide answers in the future also, he said.

Faesals resignation from the IAS is still pending and he may be reinstated, though the timeline for that is not clear. The rules can be tweaked to accommodate him, an official said.

Faesal is not averse to returning to the bureaucratic fold. I am not averse to working with the government. Public administration is my domain of expertise. Thats where I belong, he said.

Officials in Delhi and Srinagar who asked not to be named said he could be rejoining soon, and could also be reinstated in an advisory role.

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Shah Faesal reached out to NSA before he quit party; open to IAS return - Hindustan Times

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How has the pandemic impacted work at the NSA? – C4ISRNet

WASHINGTON A cross-agency team at the U.S. National Security Agency is working to identify areas where the spy organization can do more remote work by reducing classification levels of work performed there, the NSAs chief information officer said Wednesday.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site NSA employees are practicing social distancing within the same building, said Greg Smithberger, who also heads the agencys Capabilities Directorate. In this environment, the agency discovered its more efficient when personnel dont have to walk from meeting to meeting.

We had a culture of face-to-face meetings, and weve learned that we can be a lot more effective and efficient, you know, operating virtually even in our classified environment and then the unclassified things and the telework that opens up, Smithberger said on a virtual panel hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. [T]heres a pretty interesting cross-agency team right now is looking really hard at all the mission areas that could be doing more on the low side, and our ability to really open up telework.

Telework before the spread of COVID-19 was rarely done, he added, and telework in the future will be restricted to unclassified work. The NSA uses the Intelligence Community GovCloud environment for its cloud computing needs, a platform that hosts highly sensitive information and data. Access to the IC-GovCloud will not be allowed from home, Smithberger said.

He also said the NSAs new way of doing business virtually presents new opportunities for industry to interact with the spy group.

These more remote-friendly ways of doing business, whether theyre in the classified space or the unclassified space, have really opened up opportunities also for industry partners to bring in talent from other parts of the country that were kind of hard to get into supporting NSAs mission the way we used to do things, Smithberger said.

In the last few years, he said, the NSA developed a secure but unclassified environment hosted in the cloud that allowed for software development. Since the pandemic started, his team realized that the security architecture around the environment was strong enough that there wasnt additional risk in allowing people to use the system from home.

Overall, the NSA wants to broaden its relationship with private industry. Smithberger said the agency is building a similar environment that would allow for collaboration with people who dont have security clearances but can support the NSAs capabilities mission, cybersecurity efforts or research work.

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Its kind of become more of a standard for us ... to see how much we can actually do in a less protected environment, Smithberger said, adding that he also wants the agency to expand to work with some corporate partners who in some cases simply dont have access to a [sensitive compartmented information facility], but are fully clearing people.

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How has the pandemic impacted work at the NSA? - C4ISRNet

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Election interference efforts have shifted, NSA and Cyber Command election threats leads say – CyberScoop

Written by Shannon Vavra Aug 7, 2020 | CYBERSCOOP

With Election Day less than 100 days away, the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command are carefully monitoring threats to the 2020 U.S. presidential election from Russia, China, Iran, and groups of criminal actors, two officials said Friday.

And while Russian government operatives have probed state IT systems and run hack-and-leak operations to influence U.S. elections in the past, the playbook is not necessarily the same this year, the NSA election threats lead, David Imbordino, and Brig. Gen. William Hartman, the Cyber Command election threats lead, said.

While Russia depended on the Internet Research Agency (IRA) to run influence operations in 2016, they have been outsourcing operations to other actors, Imbordino and Hartman said, confirming that the IRA recently set up an offshoot of its troll farm in Ghana and Nigeria.

In terms of 2020 [in the IRA] weve seen a shift towards more use of proxiesintermediarieslaundering information through other individuals in the media space, Imbordino said while speaking on a panel at the virtual DEF CON conference. They had set up something in Africa, in Ghana in terms of having people there trying to put stuff online about divisive issues, using covert influence websites being able to get their narrative out.

Beyond Russias shifting tactics, the officials said the country is dealing with a whole host of foreign government interests outside of Russia in U.S. politics.

As part of a recognition of the growing threats from nations other than Russia to include China, Iran, and North Korea the NSA and Cyber Command formalized its Election Security Group following the 2018 midterm elections to cover threats fromall four nations, as CyberScoop first reported. Previously, the NSA and Cyber Command only had a joint taskforce for Russian threats, the Russia Small Group.

The NSA and Cyber Command have been tight-lipped about election threats from abroad. But Friday appeared to mark a pivot point: the two officials delivered their assessment of foreign governments efforts to interfere in U.S. politics just minutes after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement revealing details of Russias, Chinas, and Irans thoughts on President Donald Trumps and former Vice President Joe Bidens campaigns.

Bill Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, revealedRussia wants to primarily denigrate Biden, while China prefers that President Trump does not win reelection. The intelligence community has assessed that Iran seeks to undermine President Trump, and to divide, Evanina added.

Threats to U.S. elections dont stop with nation-state actors social media operations.

Ransomware threats to U.S. elections are so great, for instance, that the Election Security Group in recent months has expanded their focus to include those types of attacks, a U.S. government official told CyberScoop.

Imbordino noted Friday he is concerned about ransomware, indicating that ransomware actors could wittingly or unwittingly contribute to possible election interference operations.

I think ransomware is one of those wild cards out there that could be wielded by anyone, criminal actors, etc., Imbordino said.

In the case that a ransomware attack does target any election infrastructure or networks, Imbordino expressed concern that malicious actors could seize the moment to make people distrust the election results. Imbordino said he is worried bad actors might spread disinformation suggesting that a ransomware attack could impact the tally of peoples votes, even if thats not the case.

You can have a ransomware in a local network that actually doesnt even impact the elections counting, Imbordino said. But someone could then spin an influence campaign from that and report it to make you think there has been an impact and then not trust the results.

Moving forward, the NSA is continuing to monitor Chinas threats to the election, primarily due to both the scope and depth of their capability, Imbordino said.

[For] China, I think scale is something that is a bit unmatched in terms of them as a threat both from a cyber standpoint and from an influence standpoint. Certainly on influence theyve been very active in that region Taiwan [and] Hong Kong, Imbordino said. Them potentially becoming more aggressive in the U.S. space is something that weve been monitoring.

The Election Security Group is also continuing to monitor Irans social media influence efforts, Imbordino indicated. The U.S. intelligence community assesses Irans efforts will probably will focus on online influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content, according to the ODNI.

Chinese- and Iranian-linked hackers have also beensending spearphishing emails to Biden and Trump campaign staff, respectively, according to Googles Threat Analysis Group.

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Election interference efforts have shifted, NSA and Cyber Command election threats leads say - CyberScoop

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Did Hedge Funds Make The Right Call On National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA)? – Yahoo Finance

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F filings show the funds' and investors' portfolio positions as of March 31st, a week after the market trough. Now, we are almost done with the second quarter. Investors decided to bet on the economic recovery and a stock market rebound. S&P 500 Index returned almost 20% this quarter. In this article you are going to find out whether hedge funds thoughtNational Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA)was a good investment heading into the second quarter and how the stock traded in comparison to the top hedge fund picks.

Is National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) going to take off soon? Investors who are in the know were becoming more confident. The number of bullish hedge fund bets increased by 7 lately. Our calculations also showed that NSA isn't among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks). Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

In the financial world there are a large number of tools investors have at their disposal to grade stocks. A pair of the most under-the-radar tools are hedge fund and insider trading indicators. We have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can outperform the broader indices by a solid amount. Insider Monkey's monthly stock picks returned 101% since March 2017 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 58 percentage points. Our short strategy outperformed the S&P 500 short ETFs by 20 percentage points annually (see the details here). That's why we believe hedge fund sentiment is a useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.

David Harding of Winton Capital Management

At Insider Monkey we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. With Federal Reserve creating trillions of dollars out of thin air, we believe gold prices will keep increasing. So, we are checking out gold stocks like this small gold mining company. We go through lists like the 10 most profitable companies in America to pick the best large-cap stocks to buy. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. If you want to find out the best healthcare stock to buy right now, you can watch our latest hedge fund manager interview here. Now let's take a look at the new hedge fund action encompassing National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA).

At Q1's end, a total of 18 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 64% from the fourth quarter of 2019. On the other hand, there were a total of 16 hedge funds with a bullish position in NSA a year ago. With the smart money's sentiment swirling, there exists an "upper tier" of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were adding to their holdings considerably (or already accumulated large positions).

The largest stake in National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) was held by Renaissance Technologies, which reported holding $54.7 million worth of stock at the end of September. It was followed by Winton Capital Management with a $7.9 million position. Other investors bullish on the company included Millennium Management, Two Sigma Advisors, and D E Shaw. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Quantinno Capital allocated the biggest weight to National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA), around 0.27% of its 13F portfolio. Navellier & Associates is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 0.24 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to NSA.

Story continues

As one would reasonably expect, key hedge funds were breaking ground themselves. Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, established the most valuable position in National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA). Citadel Investment Group had $1.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Paul Marshall and Ian Wace's Marshall Wace LLP also initiated a $0.6 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new NSA positions are Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell's Arrowstreet Capital, Hoon Kim's Quantinno Capital, and Greg Eisner's Engineers Gate Manager.

Let's go over hedge fund activity in other stocks similar to National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA). These stocks are Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT), Rogers Corporation (NYSE:ROG), Vonage Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:VG), and BankUnited Inc (NYSE:BKU). This group of stocks' market caps are similar to NSA's market cap.

[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position FIT,26,273167,2 ROG,19,77338,-2 VG,25,206818,-10 BKU,18,172092,-7 Average,22,182354,-4.25 [/table]

View table hereif you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 22 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $182 million. That figure was $77 million in NSA's case. Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand BankUnited Inc (NYSE:BKU) is the least popular one with only 18 bullish hedge fund positions. Compared to these stocks National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) is even less popular than BKU. Hedge funds dodged a bullet by taking a bearish stance towards NSA. Our calculations showed that the top 10 most popular hedge fund stocks returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 18.6% in 2020 through July 27th but managed to beat the market by 17.1 percentage points. Unfortunately NSA wasn't nearly as popular as these 10 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was very bearish); NSA investors were disappointed as the stock returned 0.2% since Q1 and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market so far in 2020.

Get real-time email alerts: Follow National Storage Affiliates Trust (ETR:NSA)

Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.

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Did Hedge Funds Make The Right Call On National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA)? - Yahoo Finance

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National Speakers Association Inducts Mary Kelly, Ph. D. into the Speaker Hall of Fame – The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

DENVER, Aug. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Speakers Association (NSA) inducted Commander Mary Kelly, Ph.D., into the Speaker Hall of Fame in a virtual ceremony in August 2020. Kelly is among an elite group of only 255 professional speakers throughout the world to ever receive this honor. Past recipients include Ronald Reagan, Norman Vincent Peale, Ken Blanchard, Jeanne Robertson, and General Colin Powell.

"Thank you to everyone who is part of this amazing community. I'm honored to be with you tonight, humbled beyond belief by this amazing award, and thrilled to serve this community of people dedicated to changing the world," Kelly said during the induction ceremony.

In presenting the award, Tim Gard noted that Mary Kelly, "Is someone who handles every situation with grace and humor."

"Mary Kelly is one of the most creative and motivating speakers I have ever worked with.Energetic, creative, witty, genuine, and extremely knowledgeable! She's the BOMB!" declared Michael Paulovich, Project Management Office.

"Mary hit it out of the park with our wine ambassadors. She taught them how to manage their time, be productive leaders, and most importantly, how to create business plans. She understood our business as if she had been working with us for years," said Melissa Lynch, Boisset Collection.

About Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and spent over 20 years on active duty in intelligence and logistics. She retired from the Navy as a commander. She has masters' degrees in history and economics, and a Ph.D. in economics.

With over 20 years combined teaching experience at the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and Hawaii Pacific University, she taught economics, finance, history, and leadership. She has extensive experience in executive business coaching, improving profit growth, banking, and organizational leadership. Her programs are leadership-based, and focus on communication, business growth, teamwork, strategic planning, productivity, and project development.

Mary Kelly, Keynote Speaker

A high-energy, high-content keynote speaker, Mary uses research, humor, and experience to show professionals how to excel. Mary's relatable, no-nonsense approach inspires audiences to embrace their roles, surpass their goals, and plan for the future. She is a certified virtual speaker, and has delivered virtual programs since 1998.

Mary speaks to 80+ organizations a year, and is a favorite with financial planners, real estate professionals, medical practices, insurance agents, financial institutions, military audiences, manufacturing organizations, and CEO groups.

For a full list of Mary Kelly's live and virtual programs, please click here.

Mary Kelly, Executive Consultant and Coach

Mary has a unique ability to reach executives and help them attain their goals through leadership training, professional development, and succession planning.

To learn more, please inquire directly here.

Mary Kelly, Author

Mary has written 13 books on leadership, productivity, business planning, and personal finance help people at all levels or organizations. Her latest book, "Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy," is being used in 5 countries.

Media

Mary Kelly has published more than 500 articles. She is a frequent guest on media programs. To schedule an interview with Mary, click here.

About the National Speakers Association

The National Speakers Association (NSA) is part of a global network of more than 3,000 members whose skills, expertise and experience represent the most recognized and respected community of thought leaders in the industry.

Founded in 1973 by Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE, NSA has comprehensive resources, cutting-edge tools, insightful education and productive events that speakers need to develop their brands and grow their businesses. NSA members include experts in a variety of industries and disciplines, who reach audiences as speakers, trainers, educators, humorists, motivators, consultants, and authors.

In February 1977, the National Speakers Association established the Council of Peers Award for Excellence Speaker Hall of Fame to honor professional speakers who have reached the top echelon of platform distinction. Inductees are evaluated by their peers through a rigorous and demanding process, and must excel in seven categories of speaking excellence and professionalism.

For more information on the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, contact NSA headquarters at (480) 968-2552.

Media Contact for Mary KellyBrynn Brinkmann719-357-7360244999@email4pr.com

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For 2020 Election, Threat is Bigger than Russia > US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE – Department of Defense

As November approaches and a new general election is on the minds of most Americans, preserving the security of that election is on the minds of cyber experts at U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency. Officials there say that unlike in 2016, where Russia was the biggest threat to election security, there are now new threats that pose a risk.

"We're looking at the spectrum of all of our adversaries, Russia, China, Iran, and ransomware actors,"said Dave Imbordino, the election security lead with the National Security Agency, during a panel discussion Friday that was part of the 2020 DEF CON convention.

For the 2020 election, Imbordino said, there are more threats to consider, and it's easier for those threats to get involved.

"There's more people in the game,"Imbordino said. "They're learning from each other. Influence is a cheap game to get into now with social media. It doesn't cost a lot of money. You can try to launder your narratives online through different media outlets. That's something we're laser-focused on as well."

Army Brig. Gen. Joe Hartman, commander of the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command and also the election security lead for Cybercom, said that since 2018, Cybercom hasn't let its guard down in regard to election security. While in 2016, he said, the Defense Department was focused on other things, by the 2018 midterm election, Cybercom and NSA had set up the "Russia Small Group"to deal with potential Russian interface during that election. They haven't lost focus since then.

"For us that never stopped. I got back to the command about a year ago in 2019. And we didn't start up ... this thing called the election security group. It was already working, and it never stopped working [since] 2018,"he said. "We think we're in a much better position now, certainly, than we were in 2016 or 2018."

What are the threats to U.S. elections? Influence operations are a primary threat. That involves the creation of information online by adversarial nations, often through proxy groups, to create discord and influence opinion in the U.S.

Imbordino said the Russian-operated Internet Research Agency, for instance, has set up operations overseas to generate misleading and divisive information to influence voter opinion.

"They have set up something in Africa, Ghana, in terms of ... having people there trying to put stuff online, posting things about, you know, socially divisive issues, using covert influence websites to be able to get their narrative out,"he said. "That's kind of a shift in tactic we've seen from Russia side."

China, he said, has proven effective in doing the same in their own part of the world, in Taiwan and Hong Kong, for instance.

"Them becoming potentially more aggressive in the U.S. space is something that we need to monitor and be prepared for,"Imbordino said. "For the Chinese cyber threat ... they're a little bit different in terms of the scale and breadth of the targets they go after. Every U.S. citizen is a target of China, just because of the big data, the PII [personally identifiable information] that they're interested in collecting ... I think that sets them uniquely apart."

Iran is also getting into the influence game, he said, and is learning from what other adversaries are doing.

Hartman said Cybercom has capabilities now on the home front to defend against threats to national elections, including on-call defensive cyber elements in "war rooms"that are ready to respond if called upon by agencies like DHS or FBI, for instance. But that's not all, he said.

"We have elements that are sitting over in other op centers, and they are prepared. If we see an adversary that's attempting to do something to interfere with that election ... we have the ability to play the away game,"he said. "We have the ability to go out in foreign space and look at what you're doing. And we have the ability to make you stop doing that."

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For 2020 Election, Threat is Bigger than Russia > US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Department of Defense

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The White House reportedly quashed part of an intelligence report that showed Russia is helping the Trump campaign – MSN Money

Reuters Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting with President Donald Trump. Reuters

Last year, President Donald Trump's administration tried to pressure intelligence agencies to delete part of a classified report that found Russia was trying to help him win the 2020 election, according to an investigation by The New York Times Magazine.

The report, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, was compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in July 2019 and made several "key judgments" about matters of national security. "Key Judgement 2" in the report concluded that Russia aimed to interfere in the 2020 election to help Trump, unnamed national security sources told Times reporter Robert Draper.

Trump was reportedly unhappy with that finding. He has repeatedly denied the assertion that Russia tried to help his campaign in 2016 despite reports from the FBI, CIA, NSA, Justice Department, and Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee that supported that conclusion. Russian President Vladimir Putin has similarly denied interfering in the 2016 election, but has also said he wanted Trump to win.

When the ODNI was finalizing last year's report, Trump administration staffers requested that it remove language in "Key Judgement 2" that detailed Russia's attempts to help Trump in 2020, former director of national intelligence Dan Coats told the Times.

"I can affirm that one of my staffers who was aware of the controversy requested that I modify that assessment," Coats said. "But I said, 'No, we need to stick to what the analysts have said.'"

Shortly after that exchange, Coats was surprised to learn that Trump was forcing him into early retirement. He was first made aware of the news when Trump tweeted that Coats' last day as DNI would be August 15 months before Coats planned to retire.

After Coats' departure, the National Intelligence Estimate was published with softer language describing Russia's potential motivation for interfering in the 2020 election. Instead of directly concluding that Russia wanted Trump to win in 2020, the report was updated to state that "Russian leaders probably assess that chances to improve relations with the US will diminish under a different US president."

The changes were made, according to an email reviewed by the Times, following edits by Beth Sanner, an ODNI official who presents President Donald Trump's daily national intelligence briefings.

The episode is part of a broader conflict between Trump and US intelligence communities, Draper reported. After a yearslong FBI probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump's Republican allies in Congress are now pushing an investigation into whether the FBI overstepped its authority.

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GFA Express Appreciation To NSA | General Sports – Peace FM Online

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has expressed appreciation to the National Sports Authority(NSA) for the successful vetting of prospective beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) sports allowance.

According to a statement released by the NSA on August 7, the Director-General of the NSA has forwarded the report he received from the committee tasked to vet the prospective beneficiaries of the sports allowances to the YEA.

The YEA is expected to begin processing of the monthly allowances to be paid to the vetted beneficiaries.

"We will continue our excellent working relationship with the National Sports Authority team to quickly get our Womens clubs to resolve all outstanding issues on the remaining 57 female players to complete the Vetting Process successfully," said General Secretary Mr. Prosper Harrison Addo.

The GFA would continue to engage Womens Premier League clubs to immediately resolve all the outstanding issues on the remaining players to immediately complete the vetting process with the NSA.

Source: GNA

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GFA Express Appreciation To NSA | General Sports - Peace FM Online

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DHS Warns of a Persistent Cyber Threat Targeting Critical Infrastructure in the U.S. – CPO Magazine

Foreign rogue nation-state threat actors are targeting critical infrastructure in the U.S., according to the White House report involving the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Securitys Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The threat actors are targeting internet-connected operational technology (OT) in the United States defense systems. Cyber threats originating from state-sponsored actors were also targeting critical infrastructures such as electricity, water, and gas. Consequently, the NSA and CISA directed the owners and operators to take immediate action to secure the systems.

The agencies warned that the increase in adversary capabilities and activity, the criticality to U.S. national security and the vulnerability of OT systems, civilian infrastructure makes attractive targets for foreign actors.

The NSA and CISA noted that OT assets are present in the Department of Defense systems and also in the defense industrial base sector. Their use is prominent in most critical areas including in the national security systems. The agencies say the use of such systems is necessary because of the increased demand for a decentralized workforce. However, their use opens an attack landscape while increasing monitoring complexities because of the pervasive nature of the systems.

The DHS indicated there was strong evidence of a cyber threat involving the use of email spear phishing tactics to infiltrate critical infrastructure networks through OT assets. Additionally, there are persistent efforts to conduct ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure. A ransomware cyber threat is particularly concerning because of its disruptive nature and ability to leak sensitive information.

In February, CISA released a report describing a ransomware attack on a natural gas compression facility, which led to the shutdown of operations on the facility.

A similar cyber threat was blocked in May targeting critical infrastructure on an Israeli water system, according to CyberScoop. Authorities said the attack was highly organized and synchronized.

Nilesh Dherange, CTO of Gurucul, reiterated that the cyber threat was real.

The most recent NSA and CISA alerts are directed at Government assets, but they are valid warnings for any organization that has internet-facing systems. They offer solid advice that applies to any size of the operation and reiterates recommendations the Information Security community has been giving for years.

The NSA and CISA advised organizations to create a resilience plan for the OT assets. The plan involves the creation of a manual process to restart industrial control systems after an attack takes place. They also recommended having a system monitoring process in place to monitor the cybersecurity state of the critical infrastructure concerning cyber threats. Because of the increased risks facing essential services, the agencies advised organizations to remain ahead of the cyber threat operators by being proactive.

Organizations should also create an incident response plan to anticipate new methods that hackers may deploy. This should include collaboration between organizations and CISA in the creation of organizational cybersecurity plans.

Operators should also harden their networks by restricting access to OT networks, and to carry regular tests to discover vulnerable OT devices within their networks.

Dherange summed up the list of measures that the operators of critical infrastructure should adopt.

In a nutshell: Have resiliency, business continuity, and response plans in place and exercise them. Understand and document your environment, your likely adversaries, and how they will probably attack so you can harden appropriately. Make sure personnel are trained and equipped to resist the expected attack vectors and mitigate them after a breach.

Evan Dornbush, CEO and Founder of Point3 Security, says the cyber threat was critical, and therefore, operators should heed the advice.

If the NSA is coming out of the shadows to speak up in a joint alert with CISA, you want to listen and take action. What is most helpful is that the advisory shares a list of tools attackers are using to identify targets. Seeing what the attacker sees allows your cybersecurity team to prioritize your defensive actions. The Advisory goes further still, offering a robust set of recommendations for executing a response strategy.

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DHS Warns of a Persistent Cyber Threat Targeting Critical Infrastructure in the U.S. - CPO Magazine

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NSA O’Brien Says US Has ‘Sanctioned The Heck Out Of Russia’ – Newsmax

National security adviser Robert O'Brien on Sunday said theres almost nothing left of sanctions to penalize Russia for election interference.

In an interview on CBS News Face The Nation, OBrien praised President Donald Trump and his administration for its firm stance against Moscow.

The president has told the Russians many times not to get involved in our elections, OBrien said, adding: Theres almost nothing we can sanction left of the Russians.

Weve sanctioned the heck out of Russia, he declared.

According to OBrien, the tough sanctions in response to election interference all happened under the Trump administration.

"We're not going to have foreign countries decide who our next president will be, that's outrageous, he said.

Now recovered from his own bout with the coronavirus, OBrien also praised the U.S. response to the pandemic.

What has happened with testing in America is really a miracle, he said. There is no country in the world that comes close to what America is doing on testing."

2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Money Explodes; Gold Glitters; The Recovery Slows – Forbes

03 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: Jewellery is presented in the shop window of a ... [+] goldsmith's studio together with toilet paper for decoration. Photo: Henning Kaiser/dpa (Photo by Henning Kaiser/picture alliance via Getty Images)

I often get asked why the price of gold is rising, and, as a follow on, will it continue.The price of gold has always had a significant correlation (80%) with the Feds balance sheet (i.e., the money supply), especially during periods of significant balance sheet expansion (money printing).The table shows the Y/Y change in the money supply of the western worlds major economies.The U.S., clearly the largest western economy, has increased its money supply at a much faster pace than any of the other majors.Note that the EU, the only western economy that approaches the size of the U.S., is growing its money stock at less than 40% of the pace of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed).

Year over Year Money Supply

Noteworthy is the fact that the value of all of these countries currencies have risen since the virus outbreak as the U.S. money supply has exploded and the U.S. Congress has sent helicopter money to the U.S. populous.In fact, at the time of this writing, the U.S. Congress is in the time honored process of having the two major political parties posture on how the opposition party doesnt care about the American people etc. etc.This, of course, is a prelude to what will be another multi-trillion stimulus package.The CARES Act stimulus amounted to about $2 trillion, and its a pretty sure bet that the upcoming one will be in the same area.Thats $4 trillion total, bigger than the entire GDPs of most of the western worlds economies (only Japan and the combined EU are larger).In fact, the big news out of the EU in the latter part of July was that they finally reached agreement on a stimulus package of their own total was $860 billion!So, $4 trillion vs. $860 billion.Is it any wonder why the dollars exchange rate is in free fall?

The Fed, of course, has been on a mission of its own to protect asset values and has expanded its balance sheet by over $3 trillion since February.And when the Congress appropriates free money, the federal government must issue new debt.Normally, when a huge amount of new debt supply comes to market, the laws of supply and demand would require that the price (i.e. the rate of interest) would have to rise to clear the market.However, the Fed has pledged that interest rates wont rise for several more years (i.e., until inflation rises to their targeted 2% level, which wont happen until the economy is much further along in the recovery process).To keep interest rates at current levels means that the Fed must buy the new debt, in effect, monetizing the federal governments stimulus. That means that the U.S. money supply will continue its rapid escalation, and the value of the dollar will continue to fall vis a vis other currencies.

The Price of Gold

What does all of this have to do with golds price?Gold is priced in dollars, and the dollar is the worlds reserve currency.As the dollar falls in value vis a vis other currencies, the price of gold in terms of dollars is going to rise.

Gold is the ultimate currency, i.e., it cant be manipulated by any government.Its supply is limited, growing at a rate of about 2% per year (new mining).Historically, gold has been a hedge against inflation.But it is also a safe haven, i.e., a hedge against uncertainty (like a pandemic).So, it would be natural for its price to rise in the current worldwide pandemic, even without money supply growth.While the U.S. is clearly the money supply glutton, it isnt as if the money supply of other countries isnt growing at a faster pace than their economies (i.e., they are also creating excess money, just not as fast as the U.S.).Together, uncertainty and money creation are pushing golds price up.Will it continue? You already know the answer.

There is a danger, however, to the policies being pursued by the Administration, Congress and the Fed.The danger is that if the U.S.s money creation continues at a much faster pace than that of the rest of the western countries, there is a good chance that the dollar loses its status as the worlds reserve currency.What would take its place?Probably no singe countrys currency (like China).More likely, a basket of currencies, like an index.This would be a big blow to the U.S economy.As the reserve currency, almost all international transactions are done in dollars, creating a demand for the currency and providing cheap financing for U.S entities.All this would disappear if the dollar loses its reserve currency status.

Whats Trending

Heres whats trending in the U.S. economy:

Employment

The big news of the week was the better than expected payroll numbers for July.The headline number for net new job creation was 1.763 million, much better than the 1.4-1.5 million expectation.Once again, the headline number was the seasonally adjusted (SA) one, and it is very misleading.Given government ever-changing edicts on business closures, re-openings, capacity constraints, masks, etc. etc., and the monumental changes in consumer behavior and attitudes toward shopping, entertainment, leisure, travel since February, the use of seasonal factors makes no sense at all and only distorts the data.The non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) number was a much lower 591k, still positive, but only about 1/3rd of the headline.

The Unemployment Picture

On the state reporting level, we see the same issues.On August 6, markets were happy when the Initial Claims data (IC) from state reporting agencies showed 1.186 million new claimants (week ended August 1), much better that the 1.4 million expectation. Continuing Claims (CC) showed up at 16.107 for the July 25 week (CC lags IC by a week).The NSA data are actually much more encouraging.For IC, the August 1 week was 984k, the first time new claims have been less than one million since early March.NSA CC were also lower (15.849 million).Using the BLS most recent Establishment (Payroll) Survey, and data from those surveys back to February, the table shows the SA and NSA net new jobs.Note that the differences werent significant until the latest (July) count.

New Payrolls

Still a steep hole to climb out of, but more encouraging than the headline SA numbers. As can be seen from the chart, the much-needed downtrend in the unemployment data may have resumed.However, lets not be too hasty.This is only one data point.

In addition, that payroll survey was taken the week ending July 17, just when the re-closings had commenced.Since then, large layoffs have been announced by companies that have given up on the concept of a V-shaped recovery.The August payroll survey, taken this week (week of August 10-14) will provide us a better view of the impact that the upward spiral of cases and the reaction of various state and local governments have had on the employment situation.Unfortunately, that data release is still nearly a month away.

Bankruptcies (BKs)

As discussed weekly in this blog, publicly traded company bankruptcies continue their uptrend unabated.We are now trending for 277 for the year almost double that of 2019 (139).

Annualized Bankruptcies

Conclusions

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Money Explodes; Gold Glitters; The Recovery Slows - Forbes

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NSA Reports on New Cyber Vulnerability in Computers – ExecutiveGov

NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) has issued a report on a new cyber vulnerability that threatens certain systems present within theDepartment of Defense and other organizations.

TheBootHole vulnerability allows cyber actors to get through the Secure Boot security standard that makes devices boot only with software trusted by original manufacturers, NSA said Thursday.

Cyber terrorists may use this vulnerability to tamper with a device's boot process. Devices running on Linux orWindows 8 and above may be affected by this vulnerability.

NSA provided two mitigation options in theMitigate the GRUB2 BootHole Vulnerability" report for users of Linux, an operating system that uses the Grand Unified Bootloader 2 or GRUB2 affected byBootHole.

For the standard mitigation, the report advises Linux users to update the boot components ofendpoints. The agency will soon release another report for users of Windows and other systems based on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

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NSA Reports on New Cyber Vulnerability in Computers - ExecutiveGov

Posted in NSA