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Lawmakers aren't happy with Colonial over non-answers about a ransom payment. French insurer AXA is wrestling with ransomware anew. And cybercriminal forums keep advertising old Microsoft exploits. This is CyberScoop for May 18, 2021.

Still more questions than answers on Colonial ransom

Colonial Pipeline briefed two House committees on Monday on the ransomware attack that shut down the pipeline for days. But the chairs of the committees came away frustrated that the pipeline operator refused to discuss its reported $5 million ransom payment to the DarkSide syndicate. The disruption of fuel delivery to gas stations in multiple states has renewed a debate about whether to pay off digital thieves or not. Sean Lyngaas reports.

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AXA's Asian operation hit by ransomware

French insurer AXA is staying in the cyber headlines. First it announced it would stop covering digital extortion payments in new policies it writes in France. Then it confirmed over the weekend that a ransomware attack hit its Asia Assistance subsidiary. The Avaddon ransomware operators claimed to have stolen three terabytes of data, including customer information, which ransomware experts say gangs could use to enable other attacks; CNA Insurance also recently got hit. The attackers threatened to release more info and launch a DDOS assault on AXA if the company didn't fork over the cash, and AXA didn't answer whether it had paid or might. Tim Starks dives in.

Is there a shelf life on software exploits?

Years after vulnerabilities are disclosed by Microsoft, cybercriminals are selling exploits for the bugs at discounted prices on popular hacking forums, according to new research from Trend Micro. Nearly half of the software exploits requested on forums were for flaws that were at least three years old. The data shows that holes in popular software act as cash cows for criminals in instances when corporate, personal or government users don’t update their software. Sean breaks it down.

Making federal collaboration with states and locals better

Federal, state and local cybersecurity officials talk constantly about the need for better collaboration between different levels of government and the other critical sectors with which they work, but those efforts are only successful if the resources and information being shared are relevant, Nitin Natarajan, the deputy director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said Monday. Natarajan said that while closer relationships between the federal government and its state and local counterparts are vital to improving cyber defenses, different parties often have different needs. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed has it covered.

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