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The ODNI is on everyone's mind this morning. A congressman weighs in on the crypto wars. And CyberTalks is back for another day of big names and big topics. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, October 22, 2020.

Feds point finger at Iran on email spoofing

Iran is behind a series of emails “designed to intimidate voters” and “incite social unrest” sent to registered Democratic voters in recent days, the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said at an announcement Wednesday evening. The emails, which appeared to be sent to Florida voters by the Proud Boys, a designated hate group supportive of President Trump, threatened voters to “Vote for Trump or else!” Ratcliffe also said the U.S. government has concluded Iran and Russia have separately obtained U.S. voter registration information that could be used to spread incorrect information in an effort to undermine Americans’ confidence in democracy. Shannon Vavra has more.

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Rep. Khanna: Beware of 'imbalance' on encryption

Rep. Ro Khanna has one message for politicians who continue to suggest technology companies should give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted data: This is a power grab. Legislation that enables law enforcement to crack strong security measures in order to root out some criminals, while also leaving other people’s communications exposed, just is not worth it, the California Democrat said Wednesday during CyberTalks. “What I worry about is at a time where we already have an imbalance between the power of the U.S. government and the power of corporations and the individual, is it would shift more power to the tech companies and the government,” he said. Shannon Vavra has more from the interview.

AmEx's VP of cyberthreat intelligence, and more, at CyberTalks day four

CyberTalks keeps rolling today with appearances by former DHS official Jeanette Manfra, Department of Homeland Security CIO Karen Evans and Ann Barron-DiCamillo, the vice president of cyberthreat intelligence for American Express. Also on the agenda are the CISOs of Boston, Dallas and San Francisco and the New Jersey state court system. Check out the full schedule here for Thursday and Friday.

CISA's election-security ops center will stick around

For weeks, U.S. cybersecurity and intelligence officials have been in an “enhanced operational posture” to share threat data with election administrators, according to CISA Director Chris Krebs. The week before Election Day, those security efforts will kick into overdrive, with officials from the Department of Defense, FBI and other agencies huddled at CISA’s operations center to be on high-alert for any threats to election infrastructure. The operations center likely won’t close up shop until the results are certified, Krebs said in an interview during CyberTalks. Sean Lyngaas explains.

Disinformation works on you, too

Coordinated social media campaigns aimed at influencing public opinion, both in the U.S. and abroad, represent such a threat to democratic discourse because propagandists seize on emotional conversations with little accountability. By using Facebook and Twitter to plant misinformation, attackers implicitly nudge readers into the kind of tunnel vision that accelerates a cycle of mistrust, Graham Brookie the director and managing editor of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and Nina Jankowicz, author of “How to Lose the Information War” said during a CyberTalks panel. As Brookie put it, “The tricky thing about disinformation is that everybody thinks of it as somebody else’s problem, right?” Jeff Stone has more.

Ransomware's corrosive effects on K-12 schools

It's important to remember that ransomware attacks on school districts are more than just a cybersecurity story, the experts say. Whether a district pays a ransom, has to spend thousands of dollars on mitigation, or even shuts down temporarily to bring systems online, the loss of time and money also has an effect on the quality of education. “It’s sort of a morbid joke that instead of a snow day, schools now have cyber days,” says Recorded Future's Alan Liska, who hosted a panel discussion this week on the topic. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

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