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One U.S. senator held up the confirmation of a key government cyber leader over an unrelated issue. Billion-dollar hacking crews have middle managers, too. And Oklahoma police say stolen data is leaked. This is CyberScoop for June 25, 2021.

No CISA director for at least two more weeks

The Senate is headed into a two week recess and CISA still doesn't have a permanent director after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) blocked a floor vote on nominee Jen Easterly. The Florida senator said he would hold the floor vote until vice president Kamala Harris visits the border, which is expected to happen Friday. Scott's move sparked fury from colleagues who say the position is too important to go unfilled at a time when the U.S. is facing numerous cybersecurity issues. “It’s completely irresponsible for Republicans to block Jen Easterly’s confirmation and delay getting her on the job at a time when we need all hands on deck to protect against the relentless cyber-attacks our country is facing,” Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote. Tonya Riley unpacks it all.

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A FIN7 manager is sentenced in Seattle

A U.S. court on Thursday sentenced Andrii Kolpakov, a Ukrainian national, to seven years in prison for his role in the FIN7 gang. Kolpakov, 33, functioned as a supervisor for a small team of hackers who between 2016 and 2018 breached victims including Chipotle, Red Robin, Arby’s and other U.S. corporations. Victims experienced “enormous” losses, according to the Justice Department, that by some estimates have exceeded $1 billion. FIN7 presented itself as a legitimate security vendor that specialized in penetration testing, a way of using offensive measures to improve firms’ digital defenses. In fact, the roughly 70 people involved with the collective worked as hackers, though it remains unclear if all of those involved in fact realized they were breaking U.S. law. Jeff Stone has the latest.

Hacked Tulsa police data spreads online

Citations and internal police department files from the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma are circulating on cybercriminal marketplaces after a ransomware incident in which hackers stole some 18,000 files, city officials say. A notice posted on a municipal website on June 22 warns that residents’ data including names, birth dates and driver’s license numbers is accessible to scammers following a hack carried out by the Conti ransomware gang. The digital extortionists breached the Tulsa police department in May, leaking stolen data about 22 officers and promising to publish more if the city refused to pay a ransom. Jeff breaks it down.

The latest ransomware making life harder for US schools

A ransomware gang is using a nasty hacking tool to target small school districts and higher education institutions throughout the U.S., Blackberry researchers say. The remote access trojan, or RAT, which BlackBerry researchers dubbed “ChaChi,” a portmanteau of two hacking tools it uses, has been used as a backdoor to networks targeted by a ransomware called PYSA, which the FBI warned in March is behind a rising wave of attacks on education, health and corporate networks. Educational institutions have made particularly tempting targets during the COVID-19 pandemic because of their large populations and proliferation of remote users. Ben Freed has more at StateScoop.


Tackling the growing threat of mis-, dis-, and malinformation

While not a new threat, mis-, dis-, and malinformation (MDM) today spreads faster, farther and more frequently than ever before. In the latest in a series of podcasts, called “Cyber Everywhere,” cybersecurity leaders Jesse Goldhammer and Sam Korta discuss the risks posed by MDM and share strategies for leaders to combat false and harmful narratives. Tune in to the conversation.

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