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A former Pentagon adviser urges U.S. officials to establish norms in cyberspace, or risk a physical attack. The FBI accused the husband of a former Katie Hill staffer in an attack on her campaign. And bug bounties are still blowing up, it seems. This is CyberScoop for Monday, February 24.

Opinion: Let's decide what counts as normal behavior

In cyberspace, there are no rules that describe and govern what type of behavior is and isn’t acceptable. That means that although part of the challenge of stopping a cyberattack from evolving into a physical conflict is technological, it also comes down to establishing and adhering to behavioral norms, writes Ret. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Davis, vice president of the public sector business at Palo Alto Networks. The U.N. has addressed a number of unacceptable actions for nations to take against others, such as attacking critical infrastructure, interfering with emergency response efforts or using foreign networks to deploy wrongful acts. Now, Davis writes, the U.S. can’t afford to let our progress toward setting international cyber norms be impeded any longer, and nor can we afford to ignore the problem. Read the full argument here.

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FBI charges California man with alleged hack on Katie Hill

Arthur Dam is accused of intentionally damaging a protected computer by carrying out distributed denial-of-service attacks that temporarily disrupted the Democratic primary in California’s 25th district. He was arrested Friday. The complaint says Dam’s wife, identified only as “K.O.,” worked for one of the victim’s opponents in the primary race. The Intercept identified Dam’s wife as Kelsey O’Hara, a fundraiser for candidate Katie Hill. Hill went on to win the congressional race in November 2018, but resigned the following year. The FBI connected Dam to the cyberattacks through “subscriber information, IP addresses, geolocation history, and open sources,” according to an affidavit. Investigators traced the attacks to an Amazon Web Services account that Dam allegedly used at home and at work. Sean Lyngaas has the court documents.

Bug bounty numbers are up 

The number of professional security researchers and other computer nerds who hack companies just for fun through HackerOne climbed to more than 600,000 in the past year, nearly double the number from a year before, the company said Monday. Impressively, some 84% said they learned their trade on their own, using resources like public reports about hacks to get smarter, according to HackerOne. Rewards are up, too. HackerOne personnel took home nearly $40 million in bounties in 2019, almost reaching the total bounty payouts for all preceding years combined. The news coincides with recent bug bounty program expansions at Microsoft and Mozilla as firms try to mitigate as many vulnerabilities as they can. Here’s more on how this whole system works.

Russia's stance on Sanders and Trump

U.S. officials have informed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that Russia is trying to boost his presidential campaign as part of a broader effort to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections. Sanders told reporters in Nevada he had learned about the Russian efforts in his campaign approximately one month ago. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do,” Sanders said in a statement emailed to CyberScoop. That news, first reported by the Washington Post, came just after the U.S. intelligence community briefed lawmakers on how Russia also has preferred Donald Trump's re-election. A person familiar with that briefing told CyberScoop that Russia will use messaging intended to spread discord among supporters of Democratic presidential candidates, but it wasn’t clear if Sanders was part of that plan. Shannon Vavra is following the story.

Recorded Future wins a Cyber Command contract

Cybersecurity company Recorded Future is providing cyberthreat intelligence reporting for U.S. Cyber Command after winning a $50 million production contract late last year. The contract paves the way for Recorded Future to “provide real-time threat analysis to approved federal agencies on an expedited basis,” says a release. Cyber Command will use the company’s intelligence tools to support its operation and defense of the Department of Defense Information Networks (DODIN). The company — known for tracking malicious hackers’ activities on the dark web — is based outside of Boston and has a Northern Virginia office. Billy Mitchell has more at FedScoop.

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