September 16 2022

This Week in Washington 

Nextgov CHIPS Act is a ‘Once in a Generation Investment’ to Build Partnerships, Officials Say
Biden Administration officials and local lawmakers discussed their optimism in the burgeoning chip manufacturing industry the CHIPS and Science Act aims to spur into production, speaking to the positive economic ramifications domestic microprocessor manufacturing will potentially yield. During a discussion at Purdue University in Indiana, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo talked about the public and private sector partnerships stipulated in the CHIPS Act, and how this federal investment will yield a strong industry infrastructure. “This is a once in a generation investment,” Raimondo said. “It’s an investment in research and development workforce, public private partnerships, to rebuild the semiconductor supply chain here in the United States.”

Washington Post The White House is releasing important cybersecurity guidance today
A White House office is publishing guidelines this morning for how federal agencies and government contractors will comply with President Biden’s demand last year that federal systems and vendors meet common cybersecurity standards. The is perhaps the most-awaited cybersecurity guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha joined the Biden administration at the beginning of 2021, he told me. It stands to affect the security of government systems and therefore the ability of feds to provide services, as well as the process for billions of dollars worth of federal contracts. That, in turn, could pressure any company that might want to do business with the federal government to meet the government standards, as a senior administration official told reporters last year before rolling out Biden’s executive order that spawned today’s memo.

CyberScoop U.S. government takes sweeping action against Iranian hackers accused of ransomware spree
The U.S. government on Wednesday announced wide-ranging punitive actions against 10 Iranians and two Iranian companies — including sanctions, indictments and multiple $10 million rewards — related to a spree of breaches and ransomware attacks around the U.S. dating to October 2020. All 10 people and the two companies are affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement. The actions come less than a week after the U.S. government sanctioned Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Minister of Intelligence, Esmail Khatib, in response to Iranian-linked cyberattacks on Albania in July. The sanctions followed the Albanian government’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the attacks, which included ransomware attacks and wiper attacks on multiple Albanian agencies.

Nextgov Federal Action is Needed to Protect Consumer Data, New Report Says
The increasing use of consumers’ personal data by businesses poses a privacy risk that should be addressed by Congress through comprehensive legislative action, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office released on Tuesday. The GAO report—which summarizes the agency’s work on consumer privacy issues over the past decade—notes that even as the collection and use of Americans’ personal data has grown, consumers still remain largely unaware of how their data is used and “generally do not have the ability to stop the collection of their data, verify data accuracy or maintain privacy.” The report cited the growing collection and use of consumer data in four key sectors—marketing, health care administration, higher education and criminal justice—where businesses “collect personal and transactional data to create consumer scores” that are then used “to predict how consumers will behave in the future.”

FedScoop CISA seeks public comment on upcoming major cyber incident reporting regulations
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Monday issued a request for public input on proposed regulations that are expected to shake up how the private sector and public agencies respond to major cyberattacks. The public will have until Nov. 14 to comment on the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (CIRCIA), which directs CISA to oversee implementation of regulations that require relevant entities to provide the agency with detailed reports about cyber incidents and ransom payments they may face.

Nextgov A Cyber Workforce Strategy is Coming From the White House, Along with an Implementation Body to Make Sure it Works
National Cyber Director Chris Inglis’ team is working on a plan to address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals and push broader awareness and education about cybersecurity. It’s no secret that there’s a talent shortage in the cyber industry. The latest estimates put the number of vacancies at over 714,000, according to CyberSeek, a project backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Across the government, different agencies and departments have been using various tools, strategies and programs to try to broaden the talent pool and fill jobs – a situation that prompted two expert panels to recommend in two separate reports this year that Inglis coordinate across efforts and sectors.

Article Summary

Forbes How AI And Machine Learning Will Impact The Future Of Healthcare
Our modern healthcare system is currently facing huge challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, a rise in lifestyle-related diseases, and an exploding world population. The good news is that using AI to create intelligent processes and workflows could make healthcare cheaper, more effective, more personalized, and more equitable. The U.S. currently spends more money on healthcare than any other country in the world, but its individual health outcomes are lower than most other developed nations. One of the primary use cases is using machine learning and AI to make predictions. Organizations are using AI to predict everything from emergency department volumes to predicting which treatments might be most effective for women who develop breast cancer.

GCN Cyber criminals increasingly relying on ransomware-as-a-service, report says
Cyber criminals are increasingly leaning on ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) and malware-free intrusion methods while evading popular detection and mitigation techniques employed across the public and private sectors, according to a new report. CrowdStrike published the 2022 OverWatch Threat Hunting Insights report on Tuesday. The report details a 50% increase in interactive intrusion campaigns mainly targeting the technology, telecommunications, manufacturing and healthcare industries, as well as the federal government. The team identified at least 36 threat actors conducting interactive intrusion activity across Russia, North Korea, Iran, China and Turkey, including eCrime and targeted intrusions, from July 2021 to June 2022.

Associated Press EU wants to toughen cybersecurity rules for smart devices
U.S. investment in foreign chip companies is a potential concern for the Biden administration, a White House official said on Wednesday, but he stressed it has not yet made a final decision on a potential mechanism regulating U.S. investments in China. National Security Council official Peter Harrell heralded the administration’s efforts to kick-start U.S. chipmaking with $52 billion in subsidies through a recent law and its export control policies, which have sought to curb shipments of specialized chips and chipmaking tools to China.

Wall Street Journal New Data Show Broad Shift to Remote Work During Pandemic
The number of Americans working remotely more than tripled in 2021 from 2019, according to new federal data, and the trend shows signs of persisting this year. In 2021, 27.6 million people reported primarily working from home nationwide, up from 9 million in 2019, according to new 2021 American Community Survey estimates released Thursday by the Census Bureau. In percentage terms, that translated to 17.9% of employees who worked mainly remotely in 2021, compared with 5.7% in 2019. The vast majority of these are likely white-collar jobs; in many occupations such as those involving in-person customer interactions or operating machines, remote work isn’t an option.

Telecompetitor OVBI: ACP Households Use More Broadband Than Average
Households participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are using more broadband in comparison with the broader population of homes, according to OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI). The ACP was launched by the FCC in January. It provides eligible households monthly discounts of as much as $30 on broadband subscriptions. The discounts are as much as $75 on Tribal lands. “Early indications suggest these participants have a healthy appetite for broadband, driving significantly higher usage patterns in comparison with the average subscriber,” according to the report. “With close to one-fourth (23.8%) of ACP participants qualifying as power users, the impact of an expanding ACP subscriber base has significant implications for broadband traffic, particularly in the last mile.”

Featured Podcast

Marketplace Tech

  • Podcast on why the First Amendment also protects codeThe First Amendment serves as a check on government intervention into our public expression through, for example, spoken or visually signed speech, writing, protesting and coding languages like JavaScript, HTML, Python and Perl. Computer code as free speech is a relatively new legal concept but has a complicated history. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with technology lawyer Kendra Albert, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, about the history of code as protected expression. (Why the First Amendment also protects code – September 14, 2022)

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