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Government/Defense News and Analysis

Maryland governor goes on a cybersecurity rampage

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order designed to bolster the state’s cyber defenses in light of the devastating ransomware attack that recently struck Baltimore by creating several new cybersecurity departments and positions. The executive order creates the Maryland Cyber Defense Initiative which will manage the state’s ability to handle any consequences of a…

Report: Iran claims to have thwarted a U.S. cyberespionage operation

Iran is reportedly claiming that it successfully uprooted a CIA-led cyberespionage operation and arrested several U.S. spies in the process. “One of the most complicated CIA cyberespionage networks that had an important role in the CIA’s operations in different countries was exposed by the Iranian intelligence agencies a while ago and was dismantled,” said Ali…

U.S. defense, intel ramp up efforts to insert malware in Russia’s grid

After Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, U.S. military and intelligence ramped up a secret program that inserted malware into the nation-state’s power grid, but didn’t brief President Trump over concerns that he might shutter the program or leak information about it to foreign governments, according to a new report. The effort “has gotten…

"Aaron's Law," to amend the CFAA, introduced in Congress

U.S. House passes bill that would require DHS to maintain cyber hunt, IR teams

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed its own version of the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2019, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to permanently maintain cyber hunt and incident response teams that help prevent and mitigate attacks on federal agencies and the private sector. Designated H.R.1158, the bill serves…

Travelers’ photos stolen after CBP subcontractor breached

Photos of travelers and vehicles crossing U.S. borders were taken from a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) subcontractor through a cyberattack, the agency said Monday. “CBP learned that a subcontractor, in violation of CBP policies and without CBP’s authorization or knowledge, had transferred copies of license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP to…

Russia’s 2016 election interference was highly organized, but fixes for 2020 are possible: reports

The campaign by Russia’s Internet Research Agency to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election using fake Twitter accounts was even organized than many people realize, according to a new report from Symantec Corporation. But another new report from scholars at Stanford University prescribes more than 45 policy recommendations for how the U.S. can prevent…

Assange won’t face charges for Vault 7 releases, report

The Justice Department reportedly won’t indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his part in the release of the CIA’s Vault 7 hacking tools in part because it would require revealing top secret information that could compromise the intelligence community’s activities. While the government’s recent decision to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act was both surprising…

Facebook removes fraudulent Iranian accounts

Facebook has removed dozens of accounts, pages and groups that had thousands of followers that were created by Iranians in the hope of swaying public opinion during the 2018 election cycle. The social media giant said on May 28 it had removed 51 accounts, 36 pages and seven groups from Facebook, along with three Instagram…

Mueller confirms Russian interference, declines to clear president of obstruction, steps down as special counsel

Special Counsel Robert Mueller reiterated Wednesday the findings of his nearly two-year probe, confirming that Russia, in “multiple, systematic efforts,” interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in an effort to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House by hacking systems associated with the Democratic Party, coordinating the steady release…

EternalBlue believed to be behind crippling Baltimore attack

Baltimore has battled the effects of a ransomware attack that started May 7 and now it seems that a familiar culprit, the National Security Agency (NSA) EternalBlue tool, known to exploit some versions of Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, is behind the city’s misery, which has included a shutdown of many vital systems and services.…

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