The Syrian Electronic Army becomes more ambitious and aggressive. Analysts see it as a regime-directed mix of state agencies and patriotic hacktivists.
NSA's XKeyscore hits the news as the NSA Director speaks at BlackHat. Reports are breathless, but the reality appears more anodyne—in any case the tool seems to fall far short of the Sauronian omnivigilance the Guardian reports.
Active attacks present a familiar rogues' gallery: Zeus, Carberp, Blackhole, Comfoo, etc. Two lessons may be drawn: first, even known, commodity malware damages poorly protected networks, and second, that commodity malware can evolve into new threats legacy defenses miss.
As BlackHat winds down researchers demonstrate vulnerabilities in Apple chargers, smart-home systems, smartphones, and Internet advertising platforms.
Huawei works to dominate African IT markets. Lenovo remains in bad odor with Western intelligence services. The Financial Times thinks Huawei and ZTE products will inevitably make their way into the US market (note that ZTE already had derivative products on the GSA Schedule). US cloud providers face a comparable reception in international markets, post-PRISM.
NSA's General Alexander addressed BlackHat yesterday. (Our onsite correspondent thought he did better, and had more audience sympathy, than reports would lead one to think.) He invited the cyber community to contribute better, civil-libertarian-friendly approaches to national security. He stressed NSA programs' roots in Constitutional and statutory law, their active oversight by all three branches of government, their technical and policy safeguards against abuse, and their auditability.
Meanwhile, Edward Snowden has received a year's worth of asylum in Russia.