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09/13/2021
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The Department of Homeland Security's cyber division keeps on hiring. Olympus, the Japanese camera maker, is reportedly investigating a ransomware attack tied to the BlackMatter gang. And WhatsApp moves to protect systems off of your phone. This is CyberScoop for September 13, 2021.

CISA hires long-time cyber pro Kiersten Todt as chief of staff

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is getting Kiersten Todt — a veteran of cyber-focused roles in the executive branch, on Capitol Hill and the private sector — as its chief of staff. Todt has been heading up the Cyber Readiness Institute, a non-profit focused on developing cybersecurity tools for small businesses. She now returns to the public sector at CISA, housed within the Department of Homeland Security. When she last worked for the federal government, it was as executive director of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Among the recommendations in its 2016 final report: creation of an agency just like CISA. Tim Starks has the story.


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Camera corporation Olympus probes reported data breach

A Japanese technology manufacturer confirmed it is investigating a reported ransomware attack affecting business units in Europe, the Middle East and Africa dating back to Sept. 8. In a statement Saturday, Tokyo-based Olympus said it’s looking into “a potential cybersecurity incident” that resulted in the suspicion of data transfers between relevant systems. The apparent breach is in fact a ransomware incident that began on Sept. 8 carried out by a hacker who claims to be affiliated with the BlackMatter extortion group, TechCrunch first reported. Jeff Stone has the latest.


WhatsApp adds end-to-end encryption to chat backups

WhatsApp will add a feature that allows users to turn on end-to-end encryption for messages they back up to cloud providers, the Facebook-owned company announced. Since 2016, WhatsApp has offered end-to-end encryption, meaning messages are only accessible for the sender and the recipient. End-to-end encryption does not mean those messages can’t be revealed by the sender or recipient to other parties once the message is received, as a recent article by ProPublica on WhatsApp’s content moderation process underscored. The same was true for messages backed up to third-party cloud providers. Until now. Tonya Riley looks closer.


Tyler buys police 'transparency' software firm as expansion continues

Tyler Technologies announced Friday that it has agreed to purchase Arx, a publisher of police-data software, as the civic-tech giant continues its streak of acquisitions. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, makes Arx the latest of more than a dozen companies Tyler has absorbed since 2015. Arx, based in Detroit, will join Tyler’s portfolio of public safety and law enforcement software. Tyler’s purchase of Arx comes at time when, nationally, public trust in police has rebounded slightly from 2020, when protests after a Minneapolis police officer’s murder of George Floyd swept across the country. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed is on the case.


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Research shows ransomware and social engineering threats are on the rise

New cybersecurity research shows a 10.7-fold increase in ransomware activity year-to-year says FortiGuard Labs’ security leader Derek Manky in an exclusive CyberScoop interview. He takes a closer look at what is behind the dramatic surge in cyber threats and how leaders can respond. Hear more from Manky.


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