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Justice Department brass tore into Apple as they revealed they cracked the iPhone of a terrorism suspect. North Korea isn't the only country accused of launching ransomware attacks anymore. And the Vault 7 trial will continue (we just don't know when). This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, May 19.

The Crypto Wars rage eternal

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: FBI agents say they can’t access the iPhone of a dead terrorism suspect, appeal to Apple for help without success, then break into the device with their own hacking tool. DOJ officials said they've done just that, in a rehash of the 2016 San Bernardino debate, by accessing the devices of a Saudi aviation student who killed three U.S. sailors at a Naval base in December. Attorney General William Barr accused Apple of putting profits above national security. Apple hit back, saying “the false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption.” Sean Lyngaas has heard it all.

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Money is still hackers' goal, as techniques change

It’s a fact that seems obvious at first, but jarring when put into context: cybercrime is a lucrative business that continues to grow at a remarkable rate, according to the authors of a sweeping overview of major security incidents over the past year. Eighty-six percent of the data breaches in 2019 were motivated by money, according to Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigation Report, which was released Tuesday. While the techniques have shifted, the figure is a significant uptick from the 71% of breaches that were financially motivated in 2018. Jeff Stone dug into 67 pages of findings.

Taiwan implicates China in ransomware attack on state oil company

Government-backed hackers typically aren't behind ransomware attacks. But Taiwanese authorities just added an intriguing name to the short list of state-backed hackers accused of deploying ransomware: the Chinese-government-linked Winnti group. Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice said Winnti’s fingerprints were all over a recent ransomware attack that rocked Taiwan’s state oil company. The brazen assault on a national strategic asset would be an extraordinary move for Winnti. Sean has more.

Start prepping for another CIA hacking trial

U.S. prosecutors will retry ex-CIA employee Joshua Schulte on espionage-related charges after a jury couldn’t come to a decision in his first trial. The update comes more than two months after a jury found Schulte, 31, guilty of lying to the FBI and contempt of court, though they remained deadlocked on eight counts, including the illegal transmission of national defense information. Prosecutors will “clarify” the charges, one prosecutor said, but not add any new criminal counts. While a trial date remains unclear, the judge said jury selection would not begin before September, amid ongoing concerns connected to coronavirus. Jeff is on the case.

Texas government struck with ransomware

The Texas Department of Transportation said it detected “unauthorized access” on its network that was revealed to be ransomware. Officials have not disclosed what type of ransomware was used in the incident, or what demand the attackers made. TxDOT has also not specified if there was any impact to its services. Either way, it's at least the second ransomware attack to hit one of Texas’ statewide operations in recent weeks. Benjamin Freed covered it at StateScoop.

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