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A criminal investigation into an election security matter points to larger concerns about trust. The Department of Homeland Security's cyber unit is identifying crucial sectors to secure. And Toronto's transit agency is hit with ransomware. This is CyberScoop for November 1, 2021.

Rogue election official underscores voting security concerns

The Michigan State Police launched a criminal investigation last week after a piece of election equipment went missing. The inquiry comes after a local official — who had publicly questioned the validity and security of the 2020 election — refused to allow a company vendor to run maintenance on the machine. Adams Township Clerk Stephanie Scott had been stripped of her election administration authority for failing to confirm that she would follow state law in certifying that public accuracy testing had been completed. Scott had allegedly removed a tablet that was part of a voting machine, though authorities said they had recovered the device in question. AJ Vicens explains.

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CISA gets to work

CISA Director Jen Easterly said her agency isn't waiting on legislation before it begins work on identifying U.S. critical infrastructure that, if hacked, could cause devastating consequences for national security and U.S. economic interests. The Cyberspace Solarium Commission dubbed those potential targets "systemically important critical infrastructure," and lawmakers have introduced SICI legislation in both chambers. Easterly said CISA is calling it "primary systemically important entities," and has begun prototyping approaches to mapping it. Tim Starks writes.

Toronto Transit Commission hit by ransomware

Ransomware disrupted some services at the Toronto Transit Commission over the weekend. The agency first discovered the attack Friday. Online services for communicating with vehicle operators, information platform screens, trip-planning apps, the commission’s website, an online booking portal and internal email messaging were among the affected systems. The attack came days after the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority suffered a cyberattack, too, and as the U.S. government is advancing regulations to protect rail transport. Tim has more.

Biden’s $1.75T social spending plan sets aside $500M to support CISA initiatives

The latest, slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s social spending framework would give CISA $500 million to support a number of ongoing cross-government cyber initiatives. Biden introduced a new draft framework of the Build Better Act last week, with a prioritized focus on boosting spending for the nation’s social safety net and combating climate change. Billy Mitchell has more details.


The state of the threat intelligence landscape today

In an exclusive CyberScoop interview, Amy Hogan-Burney, general manager of Digital Crimes at Microsoft, discusses findings from a recent cybercrimes trends report. She shares what the findings reveal about the trends in specific threats — like phishing and ransomware attacks — and particularly what security concerns government leaders should be more aware of in the coming year. Watch the full interview with Hogan-Burney.

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