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08/28/2020
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The chief executive at Tesla adds some details about that strange little ransomware investigation. Washington goes after stolen bitcoin. And Michigan stops a destructive phone campaign. This is CyberScoop for Friday, August 28.

That ransomware plot was aimed at Tesla

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said in a tweet that the company was targeted by a “serious” ransomware attack that was thwarted by the FBI. Investigators previously said it arrested a Russian man who offered $1 million to an unnamed person to hack their employer. The plan was to infect the company’s factory, based in Sparks, Nevada, with malware, then direct a distributed denial-of-service attack against its services, knocking it offline. When the victim ultimately paid an extortion fee, attackers’ logic went, hackers would split the proceeds with the inside source. Jeff Stone has the update.


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US takes action after North Korean heists

DOJ just filed a forfeiture complaint in connection with suspect North Korean government hacks last year at two cryptocurrency exchanges. The Justice Department, along with Cyber Command, assisted in investigating down the incidents, suggesting Cybercom’s “persistent engagement” strategy extends beyond cyber-operations to include interfering with adversaries. It can also result in legal action against hackers. The filing comes amid a broad effort in the U.S. government to hold Pyongyang accountable for its hacking operations, particularly actors seeking to fund the regime amid international sanctions. Shannon Vavra digs in.


Swing state robocall spreads disinformation

Two right-wing scam artists known for their bumbling political stunts allegedly paid for a robocall targeting Detroit voters with disinformation about voting by mail in the upcoming presidential election, according to an audio file released Thursday by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. In a recording, a voice can be heard suggesting, falsely, that people voting by mail will have their personal data added to police and debt-collection databases, and that the CDC will use mailed ballots to “track people for mandatory vaccines.” Benjamin Freed explains at StateScoop.


A big cyber deal in the middle of the pandemic

The cloud services company Fastly said it intends to acquire Signal Sciences for $775 million. The deal for Signal Sciences, which provides security monitoring and digital defenses for web applications, is for $200 million in cash and roughly $575 million in Class A stock, the companies say. Fastly also will set up a $50 million retention pool for restricted stock meant to current Signal Sciences employees. Jeff has the announcement.


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