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08/10/2020
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How disinformation thrives in our polarized society. Ohio becomes the first state to publish a vulnerability disclosure process. And a U.S. intelligence report details who China, Russia are pulling for in the election. This is CyberScoop for Monday, August 10.

Why this year is misinformation's tipping point

Millions of Americans who already struggle to keep pace with the daily barrage of news are now becoming accustomed to another challenge that’s only becoming more complicated: weaponized misinformation. Anxieties over the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and the upcoming U.S. election have only accelerated the trend, researchers said. The issue is on display in ongoing news coverage and social media conversations about mail-in voting, as U.S. officials consider how to conduct an election during a global pandemic. The underlying issue: Sinking trust in American institutions. Jeff Stone digs in.


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Ohio hopes for help securing election-related sites

Ohio's secretary of state has established guidelines for security experts to find and help fix software flaws in the state’s election-related websites, the first such move by a state as the 2020 election approaches. The vulnerability disclosure policy covers registration websites for Ohio residents and overseas and military voters, among other sites, and provides legal liability protections for researchers. It's a move aimed at bolstering the security in election websites before Nov. 3. Sean Lyngaas has the scoop.


Intel officials get more specific on 2020 threats

After being criticized by for being too vague in his last statement on 2020 election threats, William Evanina, the top U.S. counterintelligence official, was more specific this time. Russia is using a “range of measures” to try to undermine Joe Biden’s candidacy, Evanina said in a statement. China, meanwhile, has stepped up its influence operations and criticism of Donald Trump. For some, though, the statement still drew a false equivalence between China, Iran and Russia, three very different powers with different capabilities. Sean has some context.


Reddit pages defaced

Hackers took over a number of influential Reddit pages to post messages promoting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, with “Make America Great Again” logos. Reddit said the source of the attacks on the subreddit pages appeared to be moderator accounts and that an investigation was underway. The Reddit incident is the latest example of an account takeover attack causing headaches at social media and tech companies in recent weeks. Shannon Vavra has more.


Fort Meade preps for Election Day

With Election Day less than 100 days away, the NSA and Cyber Command are monitoring threats to the 2020 U.S. presidential election from Russia, China, Iran, and groups of criminal actors, two officials said at DEF CON. While Russian government operatives have probed state IT systems and ran hack-and-leak operations to influence U.S. elections in 2016, that doesn't mean they'll take the same approach again. For one, Russia is outsourcing its social media to proxy actors, said David Imbordino and Brig. Gen. William Hartman. Ransomware is on their radar, too. Shannon has the latest.


Old code dies hard

Every Windows system has a file called the Print Spooler Service that manages print jobs. When researchers from SafeBreach Labs took a closer look, they found a bug that worked on Windows 2000. It’s a glaring example of the old code given to popular software programs so many take for granted. After Microsoft patched another vulnerability the researchers found, hackers promptly reverse-engineered the patch and developed a new exploit. Sean breaks it down.


Qualcomm chip flaws

More than 400 vulnerabilities in chips used in approximately 40% of the world’s cellphones and devices could allow hackers to spy on users’ GPS location and microphones in real-time, according to new Check Point research. Some flaws could enable attackers to spy on vulnerable users’ photos, videos, calls, GPS location, while others could force phones to be unresponsive, by making all of the data stored on the phone permanently unavailable, including contacts and photos. The technology is made by Qualcomm Technologies, and impact popular cellphones and devices from Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, and Google are vulnerable. Dive in with Shannon.


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