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The Biden administration has chosen its top-level CISO. Google reports on a crafty threat to cybersecurity researchers. And the White House says decisions on TikTok and Huawei can wait. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.

Chris DeRusha is the new Federal CISO

The Biden campaign’s former security chief is now the federal government’s security chief. Chris DeRusha, who was also a cyber official in the Obama White House, is the Federal CISO, according to information he posted on LinkedIn. DeRusha will inherit a wealth of cybersecurity challenges, including the SolarWinds breach, and will be charged with cleaning up security practices in a bureaucracy that is notoriously difficult to tame. Sean Lyngaas had the scoop.

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What does it take to dupe a security researcher?

If you recently visited an unfamiliar but seemingly credible cybersecurity research blog or heard from personas like "James Willy" or "Zhang Guo" on Twitter, you might've been the target of a North Korea-linked cyber-espionage campaign, Google says. The company's Threat Analysis Group reported Monday night that researchers had been exposed to malware through collaborating directly online with the fake personas or simply by visiting the bogus research blog. The goal of the suspected North Korean campaign, it seems, was to snoop around on whatever else the victims might've been researching. The findings serve as a reminder that even the most security-minded people can still be vulnerable in the digital realm. Joe Warminsky explains.

White House mum on TikTok, Huawei policy

The White House on Monday said the U.S. needed to “play a better defense” against alleged Chinese data theft, but did not outline what that defense entails. The Biden administration is still reviewing how it will approach any national security challenges posed by Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok and telecommunications provider Huawei, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. Dealing with China promises to be a stiff foreign policy test for the Biden administration. Read on, with Sean.

Dominion to Giuliani: See you in court

Rudy Giuliani’s lies about the election may be coming back to bite him in the wallet. Voting machine vendor Dominion Voting Systems on Monday filed a defamation suit against the personal attorney for former President Donald Trump, seeking $1.3 billion in damages. Giuliani has spread false conspiracy theories about Dominion flipping votes for Joe Biden. The lawsuit also accuses Giuliani of cashing in on his tales of fraud by hawking cybersecurity services. Sean has the details.

Crane company gets pelted by cyberattack

Palfinger, a $2 billion multinational firm that makes cranes and other machinery, is reeling from a cyberattack on its IT systems. The incident has impaired the firm’s ability to process shipments and orders, and the firm doesn’t yet have a grasp of “the extent and consequences of the attack.” It’s the kind of disruption to logistics that manufacturers strive to avoid. Sean has this one, too.

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