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10/20/2020
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WorkScoop
Wave hello to TEMP.isotope and some GRU dudes. CyberTalks continues with more big names. And there's news about the alleged founder of KickassTorrents. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

Suspected Russian hacking group behind state and local intrusions

Ten days ago, the FBI and CISA warned about a hacking campaign that had, in some cases, compromised IT infrastructure that supports elections. Now we know the prime suspect in the activity: an alleged Russia-based advanced persistent threat (APT) group that has long stalked energy companies and other critical infrastructure. Federal and private investigators say they are on top of the issue. “We have no evidence or reason to believe that election-related data like voter registration information, or voting machines or tabulation systems, have been affected,” a CISA spokesperson said. An industry alert obtained by CyberScoop points to a group called TEMP.Isotope. Sean Lyngaas has the scoop.


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An indictment for NotPetya and the Ukraine power grid attack

The U.S. government is targeting Russian hackers elsewhere, too, of course: A federal grand jury returned an indictment Monday against six alleged Russian intelligence offers accused of being behind the costly NotPetya outbreak, attacks on the 2018 Winter Olympics and some of the other most high-profile cyberattacks in recent years. The six named Russian nationals were also responsible for French election interference in 2017 and attacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2016, according to the Justice Department. "Today the Department has charged these Russian officers with conducting the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group," John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, said Monday. Tim Starks reports.


CyberTalks: FBI's Tonya Ugoretz, and more

Day two of CyberWeek also means another installment of CyberTalks. Tuesday's edition includes Tonya Ugoretz, the deputy assistant director for the FBI's Cyber Division, speaking about the bureau's new cyber strategy. Benjamin Hovland, the chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, headlines a panel on securing the 2020 elections. And CISA Director Chris Krebs closes the day with a keynote about election security. Other talks include officials from the State Department, leaders from industry and experts on the fight against the spread of disinformation online. Check out the CyberTalks agenda.


An accused pirate is gone like the wind

Artem Vaulin, the accused operator of KickassTorrents, has eluded custody in Poland, where he was arrested in 2016. The website — which is frequently blocked by internet browsers for linking to malicious software — has illegally distributed more than $1 billion worth of movies, video games, television shows and music downloads, U.S. prosecutors say. Polish authorities released Vaulin on bail in May 2017 for health reasons, pending his extradition to the U.S. Now, though, the 34-year-old Ukrainian defendant “has left Poland in violation of his release conditions, and his current whereabouts are unknown,” according to a new court filing. Jeff Stone has the latest.


A big fine for operator of bitcoin 'mixers'

The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a civil penalty for the first time to an operator of bitcoin "mixer" services — a way for users of dark web markets to remain anonymous when buying or selling illicit goods. Larry Dean Harmon, who ran the services known as Helix from 2014-17 and Coin Ninja from 2017-20, has been fined $60 million by the agency, which faulted him for not filing suspicious activity reports and other paperwork. Harmon also faces a criminal indictment on charges of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments as well as operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The dark web market AlphaBay, in particular, was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Harmon's services, FinCEN says. Joe Warminsky has the FinCEN documents.


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