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The Department of Homeland Security's new assistant director for cybersecurity provides the agency with new expertise in artificial intelligence. A public relations firm exposed data on half a million people. And what happens when you force a bot to write an article forecasting all the doom-and-gloom that could haunt infosec next year? This is CyberScoop for Monday, December 9.

DHS officials choose Jeanette Manfra's replacement

DHS officials have selected Bryan S. Ware, a former AI entrepreneur and data analytics guru, to be the department’s most senior official focused exclusively on cybersecurity. The selection of Ware, which isn’t final until the White House approves, is a vote of confidence in his experience with the security implications of big data. Ware founded a company in 1998 that quantified the risk of terrorist attacks to government facilities. He has worked on algorithms to support drones, and spent multiple years as an executive at data analytics company Haystax Technologies. Ware, who is currently an assistant secretary at DHS, would replace Jeanette Manfra, a widely respected DHS cybersecurity official who is leaving for the private sector at the end of the year. Sean Lyngaas had the scoop.

A Message From AWS Educate

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The Cyber Speaks!

It seems like the entire cybersecurity sector has something to say about what the future holds for 2020. But what do the computers themselves think? Kelly Shortridge, VP of product strategy at Capsule8, forced a bot to read more than 1,000 cyber security predictions for 2020 and then asked it to write predictions of its own. What lies forward is, wow, so, eye-opening: "Don’t be chilled by what you don’t know. You ain’t cybersecurity." The bots have more here.

Close your buckets, people!

A company that sells content management software and services exposed data on 477,000 media contacts, including 35,000 hashed user passwords, to the public internet. In October, iPRsoftware, a U.S.-based company that specializes in software that manages and disseminates company public relations and marketing, was discovered to be exposing the data along with administrative system credentials and assorted documents. After security researcher Chris Vickery reached out, the company didn't budge. When CyberScoop reached out, the bucket was closed within a week. iPRsoftware deals with companies like Dunkin, Forever 21, and AAA. Greg Otto has the exclusive.

New threats affected unmasking last year

The NSA in 2018 revealed the identities of Americans and U.S. entities caught up in foreign surveillance roughly 75% more frequently than it had in 2017, the NSA said earlier this year. But the agency did not specify exactly why. Ben Huebner, the Chief of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s office of civil liberties, privacy, and transparency, told Shannon Vavra that although the spike relates to changes in the threats the U.S. is confronting. Among other reasons. “It generally has to do with changes in the threat environment and how those changes in the threat environment affect both collection, affect the amount of reporting, and affect the amount of requests,” Huebner said on the sidelines of a CATO conference on surveillance. Huebner’s predecessor, Alex Joel, previously told CyberScoop it remains unclear if the uptick in unmasking is directly related to a jump in foreign espionage. Shannon's coverage is here.

A hacker really called himself "MasterFraud"

Two Romanian hackers, Bogdan Nicolescu and Radu Miclaus, who operated as part of a small cybercrime collective called the "Bayrob" group were sentenced last week to 20 and 18 years, respectively, in U.S. prison. The decision from a federal judge in Ohio marked the end of a years-long saga in which the Bayob group was accused of operating a botnet of 400,000 infected computers, stealing personal data and selling it on the dark web. An FBL agent suggested the group made some $4.5 million, all while Nicolesu, the ringleader, hid under the alias "MasterFraud." Local reporters were in the courtroom.

More disclosure, less vulnerabilities

DHS has set the agenda for agencies when it comes to vulnerability disclosure programs, we will break down what it means. In our interview, we talk to Firedome co-founder Sharon Mirsky about IoT security and the future of her company. Listen to the latest Securiosity.

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