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09/02/2020
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Twitter panic notwithstanding, the feds say there hasn’t been a hack targeting voter databases this year. Facebook acts on a FBI tip to find Russian accounts posing as journalists. And hackers strike Norway's parliament. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, September 2.

Relax: Russian hackers didn't hit Michigan (or other states)

It felt like a drill for the media in how to assess rumors of election hacking. After an otherwise credible Russian media outlet claimed that voter databases in multiple states had been compromised, the story spread like wildfire on Twitter. Michigan’s secretary of state denied any hack had taken place, and the FBI and CISA put out their own denial. The message to voters: Stay vigilant, but don’t panic. Sean Lyngaas explains.


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Facebook nabs IRA posing as freelance journalists

Facebook removed 13 accounts and two pages, which had 14,000 followers, affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization with a long history of using fake social media accounts to exploit political tension. This time, the IRA used a fake media organization, called Peace Data, to spread seemingly independent, left-leaning articles that were critical of the U.S. presence abroad, and tried amplifying conspiracies. This time, Facebook caught the IRA accounts before they were able to gain much traction. (In a wild statement, Peace Data called the idea that it was a Russian operation an "ugly lie.") Jeff Stone has more on that.


Hackers hit Norway’s parliament

National legislatures are a perennial target for cyber-espionage campaigns, so it came as little surprise when Norway’s parliament revealed it was hacked Tuesday. Much about the incident is murky: who did it and why, and what kind of data was stolen. But the parliament’s administrator described the cyberattack as “extensive” and more should be uncovered in the coming days and weeks. Sean is watching.


Microsoft’s deepfake detector

Microsoft just announced a tool for detecting fake videos. The service, called the Video Authenticator, is an anti-disinformation tool that creates scores on videos based on the chances they were generated by artificial intelligence. By training its tech based on data from 1,000 deepfake videos, plus a database of facial images from Facebook, the company aims to keep up with rapid advances in faked videos. Read all about it.


Cisco is trying to fix a hole before hackers get through

It’s been a busy year for security teams trying to patch critical vulnerabilities in popular software. First there was the Citrix flaw, which the firm patched in January, a month after the issue surfaced. Now, Cisco is scrambling to update its own router technology after issuing an advisory over the weekend. The bug affects networks using a certain protocol, namely organizations like cable TV networks that stream video. A hacker who exploits the flaw could remotely deny service to a device running the software and exhaust the memory. Sean looks closer.


America’s got talent

Partnership for Public Service, a partnership between Mastercard, Microsoft, Workday, and CyberVista, just unveiled the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative, meant to build up the cybersecurity workforce and public-private partnerships in the information security sector. The participants in the inaugural class of the program, who can receive up to $75,000 in student loan assistance, are recent college graduates that will serve a two-year placement at either the CIA, DOD, DHS, FBI, EPA, HHS, FEC, NOAA, or the Office of Naval Intelligence. The Cybersecurity Talent Initiative is also looking for its next cohort, as well. Applications are due Nov. 13. Read more on the program here.


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