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To understand cyberwar, you need to understand Ukraine -- and read a new book that dropped earlier this week. A story about a company selling falsely-labeled servers has some bonkers details. And one Senator wants the DOD to poke around on this mobile voting app tied to the blockchain. This is CyberScoop for Friday, November 8.

'Sandworm' book review: To understand cyberwar, you must understand Ukraine

For experts, trying to definitively explain the full scope of a cybersecurity incident is often a difficult and delicate process. They normally don’t find reason to tie attacks back to 13th-century massacres at the hands of Mongolian warlords. Yet, in “Sandworm,” the new book from Wired magazine’s Andy Greenberg, it’s the Mongols’ 13th-century raid on Ukraine (and other brutalities the region has endured) that helps explain why this area in the world has been linked to almost every major cyberattack in the past decade. A while “Sandworm” will serve as a go-to historical study for this volatile period in cyberwarfare, its bigger purpose may be in how it impacts the future. Greg Otto has more.

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This story has everything!

A 70-foot yacht seized, $20 million in profits from federal contract because of subterfuge, and the specter of Chinese surveillance. On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that several executives at the surveillance-equipment firm Aventura Technologies had been arrested on charges of trying to defraud the U.S. government. For years, prosecutors say, Aventura executive Jack Cabasso and his associates had lied to the U.S. military and other government clients in telling them the company’s technology was made in the U.S. when it really came from China. Compounding matters, Aventura was selling gear it knew to be vulnerable to hackers, according to prosecutors. The announcement is just the latest example of Chinese technology, which U.S. officials have often tried to exclude from government supply chains, slipping into the government’s procurement process. Sean Lyngaas has more.

Congrats to the winners!

The past year in federal IT was one filled with transformative policy, a continued laser-focus on modernization and cybersecurity, and taking ambitious steps toward the technologies of tomorrow. To cap off these achievements, Scoop News Group hosted its annual FedScoop 50 awards reception Thursday night at the Hay-Adams Hotel rooftop, honoring the top leaders in the federal technology space who’ve made a lasting impact on the community and the nation in 2019. Check out all the winners here.

Probably a good idea

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has asked the Pentagon to conduct a cybersecurity audit of Voatz, a mobile voting app that has gained traction in multiple states. In a letter Thursday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and National Security Agency director Gen. Paul Nakasone, Wyden emphasized the “significant security risks associated with voting over the internet.” Voatz, which was an option for voters in West Virginia in 2018, says it has hired independent security experts. But Wyden wants the technical capabilities of defense officials to be put to use in an independent audit. The senator urged the Pentagon to publicize the audit’s results “so that state and local officials can make more informed decisions.” Check out StateScoop's coverage of Voatz

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