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09/04/2020
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WorkScoop
The Department of Homeland Security warns that Russian operatives are broadcasting propaganda about mail-in voting, too. A security researcher finds an ecosystem of shady promotions on TikTok. And a mobile voting company antagonizes technologists...again. This is CyberScoop for Friday, September 4.

Russia is amplifying attacks on mail-in voting, DHS says

Moscow is trying to shake Americans' confidence in mail-in voting during the pandemic. An advisory that DHS sent state officials says Russia is “likely to continue amplifying criticism of vote-by-mail” in the weeks before the U.S. election. Russian attacks on mail-in ballots have been around since at least March, the memo says, not long after the COVID-19 health crisis began escalating in the U.S. The Russian influence efforts mirror similar talking points from President Trump. Sean Lyngaas has the story.


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Silly scammers, TikTok is for kids

TikTok, which claims some 49 million daily active users in the U.S., said it removed an array of advertisements from its central #ForYou page that marketed suspicious diet pills, fake mobile apps and other inauthentic services. The removal came after researchers from the security firm Tenable alerted TikTok about an ecosystem of promotions that aim to defraud users out of money, trick them into downloading shady apps or collect their personally identifiable information. Jeff Stone has more context.


This won't go over well

The mobile voting firm Voatz filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that only security researchers with clear permission should be authorized to probe systems for vulnerabilities. The filing came as part of a Supreme Court case in which justices are poised to reconsider the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 federal law that prohibits access to computers without the owner’s consent. Researchers have said the anti-hacking law is overly vague, and could criminalize activities ranging from innocuous internet habits, like sharing passwords, to important anti-discrimination research. Jeff has the brief.


Dems urge sanctions for ongoing election interference

Democratic senators are urging the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on Russian attackers who are trying to interfere in the 2020 election. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the senators said there's "ample basis" for sanctions, like the case of a Kremlin-linked operative who has been sharing information critical of Joe Biden and his family. Shannon Vavra has more context.


Research shows buggy routers need more scrutiny

Router software may not be the sexiest research topic, but the code demands greater scrutiny with the surge in telework during the coronavirus pandemic. Security firm CriticalStart found 10 zero-day vulnerabilities in a router made by MoFi Networks. At press time, some 6,800 of the devices were exposed to the public internet. Sean has the rundown.


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