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Sen. Ron Wyden wants Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to address troubling privacy issues in the federal court system. Biden's nominee for the first at-large U.S. cyber ambassador advocates for a more assertive State Department on digital issues. And hackers deploy new malware tools in Albanian attacks. This is CyberScoop for Aug. 4.

Federal courts are leaving SSNs exposed

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is urging the federal courts system to improve its privacy practices after years of exposing sensitive information including Social Security numbers in online court records. “Federal court rules — required by Congress — mandate that court filings be scrubbed of personal information before they are publicly available,” Sen. Wyden wrote Thursday in a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, first shared with CyberScoop. The letter follows a recent report by the court system’s top policymaking body showing that the body has been inconsistent in enforcing existing privacy rules and enacting new ones.   Tonya Riley has it first.

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Hackers deploy new ransomware against Albanian government

Hackers apparently angry over the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq’s upcoming conference in Albania carried out disruptive cyberattacks on Albanian government sites last month, researchers from the cybersecurity firm Mandiant said Thursday. Technical indicators and the content of the attack suggest an Iranian connection, and the situation involved new ransomware as well, the researchers said. AJ Vicens reports.

State Department needs more cyber policy muscle, says cyberspace ambassador nominee

The nominee to be the first U.S. ambassador at large for cyberspace and digital policy said one of his top priorities would be to “assert the State Department’s rightful place in the interagency process on topics of cybersecurity and digital policy.” Nate Fick, a former Marine leader and cybersecurity CEO, spend much of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday making the case for a more assertive State Department on a range of cyber issues. Suzanne covers it.

Chinese information op spins up at least 72 phony news sites

Researchers with Mandiant Thursday published details on a sprawling and ongoing information operation utilizing at least 72 phone news websites and a number of social media accounts to push pro-Chinese government messages. The operation was active this week, pushing at least two stories critical of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. Indications are that the operation has thus far failed to generate much organic engagement, but the researchers say what's more interesting is that it's a prime example of the growing problem of information operations for hire. AJ has this, too.

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