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Oh great, another mobile ransomware trick. Facebook points a finger at Turning Point. Morgan Stanley discovers the cost of shoddy hardware decommissioning. This is CyberScoop for Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Mobile ransomware scams are nothing new. But they are getting more clever, as Microsoft points out in new research about malware that circumvents Android security. Instead of abusing a permission feature that controls what apps can do on the phone, as other mobile ransomware scams have, this one triggers an incoming call notice to display the ransom note. The Russian-speaking hackers are conventional in other ways, using old-school shakedown tactics as well. Sean Lyngaas has more.

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Facebook axes pages it says were tied to Charlie Kirk

Facebook banned hundreds of accounts and pages and a marketing firm it said was behind them: Rally Forge, which the social media giant linked to prominent conservative activist Charlie Kirk's Turning Point USA. The social media company described it as a campaign of fake accounts bashing Democrats, boosting Republicans and undermining mail-in voting. The Facebook probe into the operation stemmed from a Washington Post investigation of a teen "troll farm" run by Turning Point Action, also led by Kirk. Tim Starks explains what got taken down.

Note to banks: Be careful with those old servers

The U.S. government is fining Morgan Stanley $60 million for the improper disposal of hardware from two data centers that were decommissioned in 2016, as well as a similar incident with network devices in 2019. The Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said the investment bank “failed to adequately assess the risk of subcontracting the decommissioning work, including exercising adequate due diligence in selecting a vendor and monitoring its performance; and failed to maintain appropriate inventory of customer data stored on the decommissioned hardware devices." Joe Warminsky has the documents.

Counties' election websites need help, McAfee says

A vast majority of websites operated by county election administrators around the United States lack key security features that would help users verify that they’re viewing the real thing, according to McAfee. A review of sites in all 50 states found that barely 20% have moved their websites to the federally administered .gov top-level domain, while 45% don’t employ the encrypted HTTPS protocol. In total, just 16.4% of nearly 3,100 county elections websites take both steps, McAfee found, and that figure is much lower for several 2020 battleground states, including Minnesota, Nevada and Pennsylvania. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed has more.

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