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DEF CON attendees help the Pentagon discover vulnerabilities in its microgrid technology that it plans to begin deploying this fall. The Biden administration's decision to sanction Tornado Cash is causing a tech backlash. And the government sector leads the way in zero trust adoption. This is CyberScoop for Aug. 16.

DOD tests microgrids at 'Hacker Summer Camp'

In a few months, the Pentagon will kick off a major effort to deploy local, self-contained electric grids, or microgrids, to 134 Army bases. Defense Department officials traveled to one of the world's largest hacking conferences, DEF CON, to tap into hackers' ingenuity and beef up the system’s cybersecurity ahead of time. Over the weekend in Las Vegas, more than 1,700 DEF CON attendees participated in the Pentagon’s microgrid hacking challenge and many of them shut down the mock grid easily, giving the Pentagon insights it will use in February when it begins pentesting the first microgrid set to be installed. Suzanne Smalley has the story.

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Tornado Cash sanctions spark storm of criticism

Cryptocurrency think tank Coin Center is pushing for Treasury to reverse its sanctions on Tornado Cash mixing technology, claiming that the agency overstepped its authorities by sanctioning technology rather than an individual. Failing a reversal, the group may pursue legal action. The group isn't the only critics of the move by the Biden administration. A growing number of privacy advocates, technologists and cryptocurrency industry members have voiced concerns that while the sanctions may send a strong message to North Korean cybercriminals using the service, they also put the rights of Americans using the service legally at peril. “Users and developers of this technology are in a real bind,” Coin Center’s Brito told CyberScoop. "Treasury took this action without seemingly evaluating the impact this would have on millions of Americans and not contemplating answers to basic questions." Tonya Riley reports.

Agencies ahead of industry implementing zero trust

Government leads industry in adopting zero-trust security architectures with 72% of agencies reporting at least one related initiative underway, according to an Okta-commissioned report released Tuesday. Pulse Q&A surveyed about 700 security experts across government and industry globally and found 86% of agencies increased their budgets for zero trust programs in the last year. Budgets have swelled following the issuance of the federal zero trust strategy in January that, while unfunded, mandated agencies submit enhanced implementation plans annually. In addition to adjusting their budgets, some agencies have applied for Technology Modernization Fund money to support zero trust initiatives. Dave Nyczepir writes in FedScoop.

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