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Where things stand with a congressional committee's big ideas. Survey says: Parents are fine with schools paying ransoms. And Congress wants to know more about cyber officials' day-to-day. This is CyberScoop for August 12, 2021.

US makes progress on improving cyber but key issues remain

A congressional commission dedicated to shoring up America’s cyber defenses has made significant progress in the wake of multiple recent cybersecurity crises, according to a new report. Nearly 75% of the 82 recommendations made in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s March 2020 report, which set out to assess ways the U.S. can improve its digital resilience, have been implemented or are on track to be implemented, according to an evaluation released Thursday by the commission. Remaining issues include authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to designate areas of critical infrastructure, and drumming up support for a national privacy law. Tonya Riley looks closer.

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It's official: Parents are sick of their kids being home

Most parents of K-12 students would support their children’s school districts paying off hackers in the event of an attack, despite the fact that government officials routinely tell victims not to pay, according to Kaspersky findings. According to the survey of 1,014 parents of school-aged youths, 72% said they’d support paying hackers’ demands if it meant keeping their kids’ personal data, academic histories and medical records from being leaked. And 67% of parents said they were either somewhat or very concerned that their children’s schools will be hit by a cyberattack. Benjamin Freed covers the news at EdScoop.

Congress has questions about top federal cyber officials' roles

House Homeland Security Committee leaders on Wednesday wrote National Cyber Director Chris Inglis with concerns about a "lack of clarity" on who holds which responsibilities between himself, CISA Director Jen Easterly and Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger. "While the talent that you and other senior cybersecurity officials bring to bear is undeniably encouraging, we remain concerned that lingering confusion about the roles and responsibilities ... will stunt whole-of-government efforts to address pressing cybersecurity challenges facing the nation," wrote panel Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member John Katko, R-N.Y. and their counterparts on the cyber subcommittee. They asked Inglis to answer a series of questions about how he plans to resolve potentially conflicting roles. Check out the full letter.

Three countries, 23 arrests in $1.2M BEC scheme

Europol and the national police of three nations this week arrested 23 suspects behind a business email compromise scam. The suspects, after the pandemic hit, turned to tricking their primarily Asian and European victim companies into buying COVID-19 protective materials. Estimates place their haul at $1.2 million or more. Tim Starks has it covered.

Is AlphaBay back?

It’s been four years since FBI officials stood in front of news cameras and proclaimed the demise of what was then the largest dark web marketplace for hacking tools, drugs and other illicit goods. This week, though, a person claiming to be one of the original moderators of AlphaBay says the website is back in business and that there’s a banking trojan on the way. Take it with a grain of salt, but don’t take your eye off this one, either. Sean Lyngaas breaks it down.

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