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11/04/2021
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Top cyber officials in the federal government could soon have clearer responsibilities under a forthcoming directive. Two Israeli spyware vendors, a Russian cyber firm and a Singapore-based tech company are blacklisted. And Sinclair details its ongoing ransomware recovery in an SEC filing. This is CyberScoop for November 4, 2021.

A White House order on who does what

National Cyber Director Chris Inglis says the White House is talking about an executive order that would clarify responsibilities among the myriad officials who share turf on the subject. The directive would sort out the responsibilities of Inglis' office, he told the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. The first cyber-related E.O. from President Joe Biden directed agencies and federal contractors to fortify their digital defenses. The administration has encountered questions from Congress about how the NCD fits into a crowded field of agencies and offices focused on cyber, from the White House itself to DHS to the FBI to the NSA. Tim Starks takes a look.


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The U.S. says NS-uh…no

The Commerce Department Wednesday added two Israeli spyware companies, NSO Group and Candiru, to its entity list, a catalog of companies that pose a national security and foreign policy risk to the U.S. The designation, which limits American companies from selling to the two spyware vendors, will be a big deterrent for investors and clients. “I think we’ve seen the first signals of what could be a bit of a corrective for the out-of-control market place and countries will have to choose if they want to be a part of this direction,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab told CyberScoop. NSO Group said it would fight the decision. Tonya Riley reports.


Sinclair still dealing with ransomware fallout

Conservative broadcast giant Sinclair is still dealing with the effects of an Oct. 17 ransomware attack, the company reported in an SEC filing Wednesday. The situation has "not yet been fully resolved," and "certain disruptions to ... business and operations remain," the company reported, adding that the "full extent" on operations and financial results is not yet known. At the time of the attack the company noted that it was having some effect on its ability to air commercials in an undetermined number of the 85 markets where it operates TV stations, and the latest filing didn't shed any additional light on the full scope of the problem. AJ Vicens explains.


More charges for alleged Twitter hacker who sought bitcoin

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday unsealed an indictment against a 22-year-old British man accused of stealing $784,000 in cryptocurrency from a Manhattan-based holding company. The defendant, Joseph James O'Connor, was charged in August for his role in the plot which involved SIM-swapping and stealing various amounts of cryptocurrencies from company executives. O'Connor's name might be familiar: He played a major role in the July 2020 takeover of more than 100 major Twitter accounts belonging to major figures like President Barack Obama and Elon Musk, police say. AJ Vicens reports.


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