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09/09/2020
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WorkScoop
If teachers and parent didn't already have enough to deal with, schools throughout North America are dealing with security incidents. A Harvard study examines the digital arms race between world powers. And a former SEC compliance officer pleads guilty to stealing government property. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, September 9.

Not quite back to school

U.S. school administrators have spent months mapping out how the coronavirus would disrupt the start of the school year. But officials in Hartford, Conn., are dealing with another, unexpected challenge now that a ransomware attack has forced the city’s public schools to postpone classes. More than 200 of the city’s 300 servers were affected. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade schools also pushed back online learning after one of its students was accused of orchestrating a distributed denial-of-service attack against the district. Oh, and the University of Utah paid a ransom to prevent the publication of stolen data. Sean Lyngaas has more context.


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China’s neck-and-neck with US in cyber power

Washington experts tend to rank the U.S ahead of China, U.K., Iran, North Korea, and Russia, in terms of national strength in cyberspace. A new study from Harvard University’s Belfer Center shows that China has closed the gap on the U.S. in three key categories: surveillance, cyber defense, and its efforts to build up its commercial cyber sector. The research, shared exclusively with CyberScoop, also found that several countries that are not currently considered conventional cyber powers are rising on the world stage. Shannon Vavra has the story.


Guilty plea in SEC data theft case

Michael Cohn, a former chief compliance officer at the private equity firm GPB Capital Holdings, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for stealing information about GPB while he was working for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. During negotiations for a job at the company, Cohn told executives he possessed inside information about an SEC probe into their behavior, according to the indictment. While Cohn pleaded guilty to theft of government property, the specific nature of the crime remains unclear. Jeff Stone covered the case before.


Center for Internet Security has a new program to secure state governments

The Malicious Domain Blocking and Reporting, or MDBR, service works by preventing government devices from connecting to web domains known to be affiliated with ransomware, other forms of malware, phishing campaigns and other threats. Funded with grant money CIS receives from the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the service is being made available to members of both the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center and the Elections Infrastructure ISAC, through which IT organizations and election administrators, respectively, receive and circulate cybersecurity intelligence. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.


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