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Why poll workers are feeling nervous today. A look at CISA's first election security brief. And election conspiracy theorist set eyes on the National Guard. This is CyberScoop for Nov. 8.

Online disinformation fuels violent threats

Election officials wearing body armor to oversee voting in Colorado. A poll worker in New Mexico who quit in July after a voter followed her home, nearly rear ending her vehicle. A note sent to Maricopa County, Arizona, election workers warning about “wire around their limbs” so they can be “tied and dragged by a car." As Americans head to the polls for pivotal midterm elections Tuesday, poll workers around the country are increasingly worried about their physical safety, concerned that a wave of online conspiracy theories accusing election administrators of rigging the vote will inspire violence against them. Suzanne Smalley reports.

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CISA gears up for election day

Federal officials have seen “no specific or credible threat” to elections infrastructure, a senior CISA official said on the first of three background calls the agency scheduled for reporters Tuesday. Even still, “there are 8,800 election jurisdictions and we see issues pop up every election day,” the official added, pointing to things like potential low-level DDoS attacks, website defacements and election-related website outages “for completely innocuous reasons.” The official pointed to the agency’s Rumor Control website as a source of trusted information. Follow our coverage for more.

Researchers warn against "pre-viral" conspiracies

In the span of a weekend after the National Guard described how its cyber units are helping state election officials protect networks from malicious activity, websites and social-media accounts known for fueling conspiracy theories are taking note. The upshot, according to researchers who study disinformation, is that a routine component of election security is the next potential target of activity that seeks to undermine faith in the democratic process. “We’re just putting a pin on it,” said Michael Caulfield, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public. “But then if you look at the way the reporting is being shared, you do find a lot of conspiracies in that.” Benjamin Freed reports for StateScoop.

SolarWinds agrees to pay $26M over 2020 cyberattack

IT software giant SolarWinds has agreed to pay $26 million to settle a securities class action lawsuit filed by shareholders over the cyberattack on the company’s Orion software platform and internal systems that was discovered in late 2020. The technology giant disclosed the settlement in a regulatory filing on Nov. 3 and also warned it has received notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission that the regulator has made a preliminary decision to file an enforcement action against the company over the cyber breach. Nihal Krishan has it for FedScoop.

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