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The victim list grows for the U.S. government. Biden says he'll devote attention to cyber. Microsoft's president says the world has to figure out a way forward. This is CyberScoop for Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.

Energy Department confirms SolarWinds breach

The victim list of a suspected Russian hacking operation continues to grow. The Department of Energy on Thursday confirmed that malware from the campaign had made its way into some business networks, but not critical systems under the department’s charge. Other federal agencies reportedly hacked, like Treasury, have yet to publicly confirm it. Sean Lyngaas reports.

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Incoming president is fired up

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday pledged to “elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government” and promised consequences for serious cyber-activity against U.S. infrastructure. “Our adversaries should know that, as President, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation,” Biden said. The suspected Russian espionage campaign compromising multiple federal agencies will be an early test for his administration’s approach to cybersecurity. Sean has this one, too.

Microsoft president puts attack in perspective

The SolarWinds incident “represents an act of recklessness that created a serious technological vulnerability for the United States and the world,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said Thursday. He urged policymakers not to view it as "espionage as usual" in a blog post that outlined some of the company's actions to protect itself and its customers. Smith, known for promoting the creation of international norms governing the actions of nation-states in cyberspace, also offered a road map for how the U.S. government and other victims can recover and respond. Joe Warminsky has more.

State governments reportedly took a hit, too

Federal cybersecurity officials warned this week that the SolarWinds breach poses threats to all levels of government, and a Bloomberg report said three state governments indeed had been affected. StateScoop reached out to several state IT leaders, and heard back from officials in Texas and North Carolina, who explained their approach to mitigating any potential exposure to the foreign intelligence campaign that has dominated the cybersecurity headlines this week. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

Interpol is trying to take a cybercrime market offline

An ongoing law enforcement operation has disrupted aspects of a leading website where internet scammers frequently buy and sell stolen data, according to the site’s administrators and multiple sources with visibility into the site. Joker’s Stash, a marketplace where members have previously listed millions of payment cards stolen from U.S. restaurant chains, notified members that “these bastards busted” an “external proxy server” connected to a section of the site. Other aspects of Joker’s Stash remained functioning normally at press time Thursday, though one researcher suggested the action represented a kind of warning to the site that has facilitated fraud since at least 2015. Jeff Stone has more.

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