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11/23/2020
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The conversation about election security might be shifting. The U.K. offers a little transparency about its offensive cyber-operations. And beware of mobile "Minecraft" mods. This is CyberScoop for Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.

The election highlighted a different kind of security issue

As the number of prominent Republicans congratulating President-elect Joe Biden continues to slowly climb, and the legal team for President Donald Trump's campaign continues to lose in the courts, the conversation about the 2020 election seems to be much less centered on the security and accuracy of the vote. For now, the story is <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-concede-republicans-national-security/2020/11/23/af5e6a36-2d3c-11eb-860d-f7999599cbc2_story.html">the security of the country as a whole</a>. Without a doubt, there will be sober postmortems coming in the months ahead, as <a href="https://statescoop.com/tag/election-security/">election officials</a> and cybersecurity experts offer more detailed assessments of how this year's voting infrastructure performed. Technology is never perfect, and we'll undoubtedly hear about ways to improve it — especially as the country prepares for what are sure to be contentious 2022 midterm elections. We'll be watching closely.


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The Brits are out for (cyber) blood

The U.K. has drummed up an offensive cyber-operations unit dedicated to disrupting British adversaries in cyberspace, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged last week. The unit, known as the National Cyber Force, is capable of launching targeted campaigns against adversaries, such as interfering with terrorists’ communications devices and cellphones or offering tight support to British military operations. The U.K. government has been developing the force for approximately two years, and it consists of personnel from the country’s signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, as well as the Ministry of Defense, the country’s Secret Intelligence Service and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Shannon Vavra has more.


Pesky adware arrives via 'Minecraft' mods

"Minecraft" is famously customizable through user-generated modifications and other bits of third-party software. It's great for creativity – and also a vector for adware, researchers at Kaspersky say. More than 20 of the “Minecraft” mods recently available in the Google Play Store didn’t do much for the game at all, and instead displayed ads on smartphones and tablets "in an extremely intrusive manner," the cybersecurity company says in a blog post. One way you can teach kids to spot them? They usually have obvious discrepancies in their ratings, with lots of five-star, likely bot-generated reviews — and lots of one-star reviews. Joe Warminsky has more.


A big milestone for MS-ISAC

The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center — a nationwide network allowing state, local, tribal and territorial governments to communicate about the latest cyberthreats and share other security information — now has 10,000 members. That milestone coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Center for Internet Security, the Upstate New York nonprofit group that runs both the MS-ISAC and its newer sibling organization, the Election Infrastructure ISAC. When the center started MS-ISAC in 2004, it was just a small coalition of IT officials from the Northeast. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.


The CIA spreads its cloud business around

U.S. intelligence agencies embrace cloud computing for the same reasons any other large organizations do: computing power, convenience, flexibility, and so on. Those corners of the federal government have special security requirements, though, and the major U.S. cloud providers all have adapted to the spy agencies' needs. In fact, a new CIA contract for cloud services doesn't single out any of them. Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle all can compete for task orders under the Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) contract, which could be worth billions of dollars over 15 years. Billy Mitchell has more at FedScoop.


Tweet Of The Day

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Indeed, it was a pretty good Sunday for staying home.


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