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08/26/2020
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WorkScoop
How mail-in voting actually works, and why the process is trustworthy. An espionage campaign focused on a popular tech tool. And the FBI takes an accused ransomware operator into custody. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, August 26.

Big questions answered about voting by mail

As state and local governments, political candidates and U.S. voters navigate ways to run an election in a pandemic, mail-in ballots increasingly are an issue of concern. They also have to navigate a U.S. Postal Service that's increasingly the target of President Donald Trump, and overcome a confusing process. The thing is: Mail-in ballots are verifiable, and secretaries of state throughout the nation are mulling ways to increase their capacity. It's a lot to think about. Sean Lyngaas breaks it all down.


A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.


A malicious Autodesk plugin

A company involved in billion-dollar real estate deals in New York and London has recently was the target of a cyber-espionage campaign from a set of well-resourced hackers, according to new Bitdefender research. Hackers waged the campaign in a likely effort to collect financial information or negotiation details of competing contracts for a customer, infiltrating the firm by imitating a plugin for a popular 3D computer graphics software, AutoDesk 3ds Max. They seem to be hackers-for-hire who split time between running nation-state cyber-operations and conducting corporate espionage on behalf of private sector entities, according to Bitdefender’s analysis. Shannon Vavra has the details.


FBI stopped a ransomware scheme by tricking a hacker

U.S. police arrested a Russian man accused of offering an American associate $1 million to infect their employer with malicious software. The FBI says Egor Kriuchkov traveled to northern Nevada to offer $1 million to an acquaintance to help hack the computer system at an unnamed U.S. company. The plan was to install malware on the machines, then demand a ransom in exchange for unlocking the systems. It all went sideways when FBI agents contacted Kriuchkov, then urged him to drive to Los Angeles, Calif., where he was taken into custody. Jeff Stone delves in.


Ransomware evolves...again

Avaddon, a ransomware-as-a-service, has recently moved to exfiltrate data from victims, joining a growing trend of malware strains used to steal and expose victim data instead of just demanding ransoms, according to new Cofense research. The latest campaign, which spoofs FedEx branding in spearphishing emails, has targeted the energy, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, mining and retail industries, and leverages an information-stealer, according to Cofense. Avaddon “operators are almost certainly gearing up to leak the sensitive data of victims who do not quickly pay,” Cofense researchers said. Read the research here.


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