Steptoe CyberLaw Podcast, Episode #26: An Interview with Dmitri Alperovich

Stewart Baker
Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 8:07 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

This week in NSA: We take a look at the other half of the Lofgren amendment, which prohibits NSA and CIA from asking a company to “alter its product or service to permit electronic surveillance.”  So if Mullah Omar orders a phone from Amazon, the government can’t ask Amazon to put a bug in it – but a bomb is fine.  Another step forward for human rights!  NSA’s bulk collection program is extended again. And Keith Alexander is doing just fine in the private sector, to judge from the consulting fees he’s asking. The big news of the week is the Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in Riley, refusing to allow police to routinely search the cell phones carried by people they arrest.  What does it mean for other techno-libertarian arguments before the Court?  Michael and Jason weigh in. Facebook is breaking new ground, or trying to, by challenging 300+ search warrants on behalf of the targets.  So far, the publicity has been good; the law, not so much. Taking a break from covering LabMD’s FTC travails, we note that Wyndham won a little and lost a little, but the win may give us an appellate decision on the FTC’s jurisdiction over Internet privacy and security. And speaking of privacy, Jason Weinstein discloses a long-secret Steptoe project – a free data breach legal toolkit. Our guest on the podcast is Dmitri Alperovich, CEO of Crowdstrike, a well-known incident response cybersecurity startup whose recent report introduced the world to another unit of the PLA hacking force – one that is quite distinct from unit 61398, which was exposed by Mandiant last year, six of whose members were indicted recently by the Justice Department.  Crowdstrike identifies unit 61486.  (And don’t we all hope the PLA numbering scheme for its hacker units doesn’t start at 00001?)  This unit, which Crowdstrike labeled “Putter Panda” because of its use of golf-related malware documents, specialized in stealing secrets from satellite, aerospace, and communications firms.  Crowdstrike outs one of the unit’s hackers, Chen Ping, including the now-familiar social media pix of the guy, his buddies, and a possible girlfriend.  We talk about the importance of attribution as a response to sophisticated cyberespionage, and the role that incident response firms play in that effort.

Stewart A. Baker is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He returned to the firm following 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy. He earlier served as general counsel of the National Security Agency.

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