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Sen. Amy Klobuchar encourages voting equipment vendors to lean on ethical hackers. Hackers are using Cozy Bear's name recognition to try to make a buck. And questions about how Saudi Arabia used Twitter. This is CyberScoop for Monday, November 18.

Democratic presidential candidate tells voting vendors to embrace good hackers

The country’s biggest voting equipment vendors in September asked for ideas on how to organize a coordinated vulnerability disclosure program (CVD), a move that analysts say is long overdue. Companies in the field responded, but so, too, did Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat who is one of the Senate’s most outspoken voices on election security. In a four-page letter to an association that is establishing the CVD program, Klobuchar told the vendors they “must work out reasonable, time-limited, and researcher-friendly terms for disclosure.” She pushed vendors to come further out of their shell by welcoming hackers of all stripes who want to improve security. Sean Lyngaas has the letter.

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How Cozy Bear's reputation is helping scammers

Scammers are impersonating one of Russia’s most notorious hacking groups in order to extort victims out of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin. Multiple companies have reported to the security vendor Akamai that they were hit with a distributed denial-of-service attack, which degrades victims’ web services by overwhelming them with fake traffic. After a brief DDoS hit, victims say they receive an extortion note from a group claiming to be Cozy Bear, a state-sponsored Russian hacking group. But Cozy Bear specializes in sneaky espionage, not noisy extortion. Jeff Stone has the report.

Menendez wants answers on Saudi Arabia's Twitter espionage

Shot: The Justice Department charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Chaser: Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who serves as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has written two letters, one to State Department officials and another to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, asking for details on how Saudi Arabia was able to exploit an American company’s internal systems for its own goals. He also wants to know what Twitter, and the Trump Administration, are doing about it, and is raising questions about whether Twitter has undermined U.S. national security by letting Saudi Arabia access data on its users. Shannon Vavra has the letters.

Prepare your ears

Greg and Jen talk to Mourad Yesayan, Managing Director at Paladin Capital Group. They get into a deep discussion on the money flowing into cybersecurity and where consolidation is headed. Listen to the latest episode of Securiosity.

Coming soon: A tour of the "cyber arms bazaar"

An array of off-the-shelf hacking tools available to anyone with ambition is making it much easier for governments and criminal groups to exert power in cyberspace, according to a new report from government and private sector analysts. The report, prepared under an exchange program run by DHS and ODNI and shared with CyberScoop, examines how Vietnam, North Korea, and other actors, have gone from marginal cyber actors to serious threats over the last decade. Groups that rapidly acquire new cyber capabilities can “inject a high level of geopolitical instability into a conflict that would be more difficult to anticipate than traditional military changes in the balance of power,” the report states. It will be online soon. In the meantime, here's more about the concept.

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