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The Justice Department revealed an indictment against a Russian national for attempting to disrupt U.S. elections and sow political discord. Ransomware reports might be down, but they are still costly attacks. And Space Force adds a cryptologic effort. This is CyberScoop for Aug 1.

DOJ: Russian national 'orchestrated a brazen influence campaign'

The Justice Department announced the federal grand jury indictment of a Russian national who allegedly sought to disrupt U.S. elections beginning as early as 2014. The indictment, unsealed Friday in Tampa, Florida, paints the portrait of a cunning Russian operative who was carrying out a sophisticated and potentially harmful campaign to damage American democracy and fuel extremism in the U.S. James Lewis, director of the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Ionov’s program is a mere sliver in what he called “a massive Russian program using espionage, cyber and economic pressure to destabilize the US.”   Suzanne Smalley has the story.

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Ransomware reports may be down, but looks are deceiving

A report earlier this month from the Ransomware Task Force, a group of roughly 60 tech-industry and public-sector cybersecurity experts who’ve been studying the titular threat, found that while organizations worldwide continue to suffer attacks, the clip of incidents affecting local government and health organizations in the U.S. looks to have slowed. The task force, citing data compiled by Recorded Future intelligence analyst Allan Liska, said there had been 64 documented attacks on local governments, schools and hospitals so far in 2022, compared with about 150 over the same period a year prior. Yet incidents continue to be financially costly and operationally devastating — the City of Quincy, Illinois, in May paid $500,000 for a decryption key and is still sorting through damage to its services. Benjamin Freed writes in StateScoop.

Space Force gets its own cryptologic component

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall made the notification July 2, according to a Space Force spokesperson. The director for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, S2, will serve as the service cryptologic chief with the S2 staff serving as the cryptologic staff. Each military service now has a cryptologic component which is responsible to the National Security Agency and Central Security Service. The NSA, in its combat support role, provides signals intelligence. The lesser-known Central Security Service “provides timely and accurate cryptologic support, knowledge and assistance to the military cryptologic community,” according to the organization’s website. Mark Pomerleau reports for FedScoop.

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