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Wired reporter Andy Greenberg discusses his new book 'Tracers in the Dark' that's out today and digs into the dark web criminal underworld. K-12 sees some improvement in cyber maturity. And the Pentagon has PII problems. This is CyberScoop for Nov. 15.

The golden age of cryptocurrency tracing

In “Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency,” Wired journalist Andy Greenberg traces the evolution of bitcoin from its utopian origins to its role underpinning global cybercrime. It’s a pivotal story of the internet, the dark web and policing in the Digital Age. The book demonstrates in gripping, and sometimes thrilling detail, how law enforcement agencies such as the IRS Criminal Investigations unit have harnessed powerful emerging technology to trace cryptocurrency, which once seemed anonymous, right to the doorsteps of some of the world’s most wanted criminals. But mostly this is a story of how police are using technology in their favor, busting Silk Road successor AlphaBay or arresting more than 300 child abuse perpetrators. Told through interviews with academics, technologists and law enforcement agents, “Tracers in The Dark” raises essential questions about the future of cryptocurrency. Tonya Riley writes for CyberScoop.

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DOD's reported data breaches doubled

Despite a decline in overall cyber incidents on Department of Defense networks since 2015, the number of reported data breaches of personally identifiable information have more than doubled, according to the Government Accountability Office. In a new report, the GAO found that the DOD has experienced more than 12,000 cyber incidents since 2015. However, those incidents have become less frequent in recent years with 1,331 in 2019, 812 in 2020 and 948 in 2021. By comparison, there were 3,880 such incidents in 2015. Pentagon officials attribute the decline to an increase in the deployment of defense mechanisms during that time period. However, despite this reduction, the DOD’s reporting of them remains an issue. Mark Pomerleau reports for DefenseScoop.

Colorado has a new data-privacy law

A lot of work needs to be done over the next few months to make the Colorado Privacy Act workable, businesses, nonprofits and consumer advocacy organizations said in a recent virtual forum. The act, which was signed into law last year, aims to make it easier for Coloradans to control their personal information — giving them the ability to opt out of businesses selling or using their data for targeted advertising purposes. In addition to individual opt-out requests, the state wants to make it possible for residents to universally opt-out of their data being collected, processed or sold. It is this universal opt-out mechanism, or UOOM, that has become a focus of much concern for businesses, nonprofits and other entities that collect data from large numbers of users. Lindsay McKenzie reports for StateScoop.

K-12 cyber maturity improving, but still lags behind

Cybersecurity capabilities across K-12 schools improved slightly during the 2021-22 school year, with many districts focusing more acutely on identity management and cyber hygiene training, according to a report published Monday by the Center for Internet Security. But even with those gains, the education sector’s cyber maturity still lags behind most other parts of government and the economy, with schools continuing to face a glut of ransomware attacks and dearths of funding and personnel. Nearly one-fifth of K-12 districts nationwide commit less than 1% of their overall technology budgets to cybersecurity, and many districts are still not availing themselves of low-cost and free services that could fill the gaps, the report found. Benjamin Freed writes for StateScoop.

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