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North Korean hackers increasingly rely on ransomware for fundraising, researchers find. Ransomware is still keeping election security officials up at night. And burglars cause a breach at Walgreens. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, July 28.

New details on how Pyongyang uses ransomware to raise cash

While cybercriminals have been ramping up their ransomware attacks against businesses, schools, and governments, rarely have state-backed hackers relied on the technique to make a buck. That's changing. In recent months it appears that government hackers from North Korea are fundraising via malware more than ever, Kaspersky found. In two incidents earlier this year affecting two businesses — one in France and one in Asia — hackers tied to the Lazarus Group deployed a little-known ransomware strain called VHD to monetize their attacks. Shannon Vavra goes deeper.

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Security officials still need a plan

If the coronavirus pandemic hasn't already caused enough uncertainty among state and local election officials, they still need to contend with ransomware attacks. The idea that digital extortionists will disrupt voting infrastructure, or create other chaos at the polls, has been enough for the Department of Homeland Security to warn that poll workers may be unable to access voter roles, or key websites on Election Day. It's a subject of ongoing discussions, and preparations, among the feds, and cyber-minded state officials throughout the U.S. Benjamin Freed covered it at StateScoop.

A different kind of breach

Walgreens is notifying patients about a data breach that occurred when thieves broke into a number of stores to steal prescription data belonging to pharmacy customers. The robberies, which occurred in late May and early June, involved information about some 70,000 customers, the company says. It's a relatively rare example of data breaches that happen due to physical theft, rather than cybercrime. And as the second largest drugstore chain in the U.S. after CVS, Walgreens holds a wealth of data that criminals could profit from on underground online forums. There hasn’t been any reports of fraud, though, a company spokesman said. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

Colorado will test election systems before the big day

The Colorado secretary of state’s office said its partnering with the security firm Synack to conduct penetration tests on its election systems ahead of Election Day. Trevor Timmons, the chief information officer for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said Synack’s team of white-hat hackers will poke and prod the agency’s election infrastructure, including the statewide voter registration database and Griswold’s office’s main website. Anything that's "internet-connected" is fair game, he said. Ben explains at StateScoop.

How Garmin got up and running

Garmin ended its days of silence with an announcement that its website and mobile apps are beginning to resume service after a ransomware attack. The company's statement was low on details, other than to say that hackers locked up "some" systems on July 23, though Sky News reported that Garmin obtained a decryption key, allowing them to restore normal operations. The malicious software, WastedLocker, is connected to a group of Russian scammers that the U.S. has dubbed Evil Corp. The same group is sanctioned, meaning ransomware victims who pay digital extortion fees risk violating U.S. law. (Garmin did not pay up, Sky News reported.) Jeff Stone has more details.

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