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Details from the U.S. government about how foreign spies tried to affect the 2020 presidential elections. The 18-year-old accused Twitter hacker pleads out. And the latest on SolarWinds. This is CyberScoop for March 17, 2021.

Plenty of election interference attempts, but no votes changed

U.S. officials on Tuesday said Iran, China and Russia were active in cyberspace in advance of the 2020 election, though the intrusions had no demonstrable impact on the vote. The news again points to growing interest by an array of foreign actors to influence U.S. voters. “I was surprised at how brazen some of the [Iranian interference] attempts were,” the FBI’s Cynthia Kaiser told CyberScoop. Sean Lyngaas has an exclusive interview.

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US intelligence spells out foreign influence

The governments of Russia and Iran sought to influence the U.S. presidential elections and exacerbate societal tensions throughout the nation last year, the U.S. intelligence community said in a declassified assessment released Tuesday. The long awaited report from the ODNI also declared that China did not run influence operations aimed at the U.S. elections, but that Chinese authorities had considered doing so. Federal agencies previously pegged influence operations targeting the U.S. elections last year on Iran and Russia, but the assessment goes into detail on several methods and proxies both used to carry out their campaigns. Shannon Vavra dives in.

Twitter hacker gets 3 years for guilty plea

The Florida teenager who embarrassed Twitter last year by hijacking numerous celebrity accounts to promote bitcoin will serve three years in a juvenile facility after pleading guilty. Graham Ivan Clark was 17 years old when, according to his admission, he and accomplices used social engineering to access the high profile Twitter accounts. The incident caused a security shakeup at the social media firm. Sean has more.

More details on SolarWinds’ impact on Mimecast

Attackers behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign successfully stole Mimecast source code as part of their sweeping espionage operation, the email security firm said. Mimecast explained that it has replaced all compromised servers and that it has no reason to believe the hackers accessed email or archive content of customers. Mimecast previously disclosed the hackers compromised a company security certificate, but the latest revelation underscores just how long it may take to get a full picture of the hackers’ espionage operation. More with Shannon here.

Mirai just won’t go away

The infamous malware used in one of the biggest distributed denial-of-service attacks on record continues to hum through the internet. Researchers at Palo Alto Network’s Unit 42 have found a new variant of Mirai that is trying to leverage all kinds of connected routers, switches and other machines. A Unit 42 analyst told CyberScoop that several thousands of devices could be affected. Sean has the goods.

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