At a glance.
- Big Tech and the Biden Administration.
- Responding to Solorigate.
- FedRAMP autnorization passes the US House.
Big Tech and the next Administration.
Politico says supporters expect the Biden Administration to take a hard line on Facebook, in part given the former US Vice President’s open admission that he’s “never been a fan” of the company, notwithstanding its role in the election of former US President Obama. As we saw, last year the company faced allegations of election interference, censorship, propagation of misinformation and hate speech, privacy violations, and monopolistic behavior. The Biden team has appointed at least six Facebook-connected individuals to plumb positions, however, which could permit the tech giant internal influence. Politico predicts “[a]ny executive action or legislation is likely to address industry issues at large rather than Facebook specifically.”
Foreign Policy contends the “traditionally cozy relationship between the Democratic Party and Big Tech” is coming to a close, despite Silicon Valley financing the Biden campaign. Bipartisan, internal, and public concerns about the industry’s “dark side” have matured, and with the left drifting further left, the days of “untrammeled innovation” may be numbered.
Responding to the SVR's Solorigate cyberespionage campaign.
Public-private information sharing will be crucial to Solorigate recuperation, an industry observer told The Cipher Brief, and the recovery will cost billions. When attribution is officially settled, the following options are on the table: “a proportional cyber response, economic sanctions, tariffs, freezing of assets, suspension of visas, de-listing…criminal action or even a military response.”
A Free Lance-Star opinion called Solorigate the virtual equivalent of Pearl Harbor and urged strong action. A Sun Newspapers column said talk of war is misguided, since destruction and disruption apparently weren’t attempted, recommending public-private collaboration and praising National Defense Authorization Act cyber reforms. The Washington Times described Solorigate as a cyberattack (but not an act of war), arguing for stronger disincentives. Citing a five-year-old NSA admission that current deterrents weren’t “deterring anything,” the article calls for a new policy of swift and devastating counterattacks and public designation of attackers as terrorists.
The Atlantic reported the Biden Administration’s promise of “substantial costs,” but maintained deterrence as a policy is unworkable given the difficulty of attribution and the cost of deploying expensive single-use cyber tools. The article suggested beefing up preventive measures like cyber hygiene, counterintelligence, and tacit norms—starting with placing nuclear systems off limits. Hindustan Times countered that ideological blind spots fuel the reverie of cyber norms, claiming traditional rules of engagement don’t translate to cyberspace, while a CNBC op-ed argued prevention is a losing game, and better threat detection is urgently needed.
A Moscow Times opinion piece defended the hack as run-of-the-mill spying, encouraging a proportionate response. The piece characterizes the situation between Washington and Moscow as a “hybrid war,” however, claiming “no rules” apply, acknowledging the distinction between cyber war and espionage “is rather blurred,” and explaining that breaches “can disable the adversary’s defenses or even manipulate the enemy.” Sputnik raised the specter of nuclear “incidents” as cyber conflicts escalate, with Moscow’s Deputy Defense Minister saying Russia respects international agreements and would never escalate to de-escalate.
FedRAMP passes the US House.
The ‘‘Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program Authorization Act of 2021’’ also known as the ‘‘FedRAMP Authorization Act," passed today by voice vote in the US House of Representatives. It's hoped that the Act will improve the existing FedRAMP program, which is intended to provide "a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services."
Tom Gann, Chief Public Policy Officer at McAfee, welcomed the bill's progress, seeing it especially as a measure likely to be important in the US Government's response to the Solorigate incident. He wrote, “We are pleased to see the FedRAMP Authorization Act pass as a standalone bill in the House. The strict cybersecurity requirements that FedRAMP dictates are more important now than ever, especially in the wake of the SolarWinds hack. As federal employees continue to move toward increasing telework and remote access, it’s essential that agencies transition to secure platforms and follow cybersecurity best practices diligently. A fully authorized FedRAMP will allow the federal government to better protect between and among its increasingly complex and expanding cloud environments."