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Inside Cyber Command's decision to do some trolling of U.S. adversaries. A stark warning about protecting COVID-19 vaccine research. And backlash from Capitol Hill against a potential leadership shakeup at CISA.

Cybercom’s new cartoon play

When U.S. military hackers at Cyber Command saw a way to publicly portray Kremlin-backed hackers as bumbling and unthreatening, they seized the moment. The result was some silly images that garnered a lot of attention online, courtesy of a graphic design company that was already a contractor for the agency. China's state-sponsored cyberspies also got a similar treatment. The effort to irritate notorious hacking groups is just the newest chapter in a broader Cybercom effort to undermine foreign government cyber-operations. Shannon Vavra goes behind the scenes.

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Microsoft: Russian, North Korean hackers hit COVID-19 researchers

Three hacking groups connected to the Russian and North Korean governments targeted COVID-19 vaccine and treatment researchers across five nations, with some success, Microsoft said. The majority of the attacks on seven prominent companies were blocked, the company said. Microsoft blamed Russia's Fancy Bear and North Korea's Lazarus Group, as well as a third group, which Microsoft calls Cerium, also connected to North Korea. Tim Starks reports on the threat.

Lawmakers rally to Krebs’ defense after report he expects to be fired

Following a Reuters report that Chris Krebs has told associates he expects to be fired, the CISA chief continued to blast tweets out debunking election-related conspiracy theories pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies. Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, hailed Krebs’ work and said he was respected on both sides of the aisle. Republican lawmakers have praised Krebs in the past but were largely silent Thursday as the White House continues to refuse to concede the election to Joe Biden. Another CISA official, Bryan Ware, said Thursday he was leaving government for the private sector. Sean Lyngaas reports.

Data breach affects millions of Texans

A data breach earlier this year exposed the personal information of about 27.7 million people with Texas driver’s licenses, according to Vertafore, a software vendor that supplies the auto insurance industry. The company said this week that at some point between March 11 and Aug. 1, there was “unauthorized access” to three data files containing information pertaining to licenses issued prior to February 2019. The exposed files included license numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses and vehicle registration histories. Vertafore said no Social Security numbers or financial information was swept up in the breach. The data files had been stored in an unsecured external storage service, which the company attributed to human error. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop

More lessons from CyberTalks 2020

This year’s virtual CyberTalks featured a full lineup of influential cybersecurity leaders, including VIPs across government, technology and the financial sector. Experts from the private sector discussed hot topics like the need to build cybersecurity talent within an organization, the importance of identity controls and lessons from the Pentagon's shift to remote work:

Watch more CyberTalks 2020 videos here.

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