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The Poly Network thief returns some money, then gets some back. Hackers use Morse Code to hide their malware. And there are growing calls for curtailing surveillance tech like the NSO Group's. This is CyberScoop for Aug. 13, 2021.

Crime does pay

Cryptocurrency company Poly Network is offering the hacker who stole $600 million worth of virtual currencies from the company a half-million dollars as a bug bounty. The hacker claims they took the funds to protect them before anyone else discovered the vulnerability. So far the company has recovered over half of the stolen funds and is working with the hacker to get the rest. Tonya Riley has the story.

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Old-school hacking with Morse Code

There’s a lot of talk in the cyber industry about hackers “continuously evolving” to evade defenses. But what if that evolution was a flashback to the 19th century? One group of cyber crooks has been using Morse Code to try to hide their malware and defraud victims, Microsoft said Thursday. It’s a reminder that, for all of their complexities, modern offensive and defensive cyber measures often rest on the simple concept of concealing and cracking code. Sean Lyngaas has the details.

Anti-surveillance chorus grows

United Nations experts on Thursday called for a halt to the sale and transfer of surveillance technology until countries introduce a regulatory framework to address the human rights impact of its abuse. They join a growing chorus of human rights experts who have condemned the technology. The growing backlash follows a sweeping report about the role of technology from Israeli spyware company NSO Group’s role in monitoring and suppressing activists, journalists and dissidents. The U.N. experts called on the NSO Group to make public any review its conducted into use of its technology in human rights abuses. Tonya reports.

Accenture's ransomware toll

Accenture suffered a "security incident" on July 30 where hackers took some client-related info and work products, the consulting giant said in an internal memo this week about the ransomware attack from LockBit 2.0. Both internally and externally, Accenture downplayed the extent of the harm as the gang trickled out some purported documents. Others said it looked worse than Accenture was saying. Tim Starks has more, with help from Sean and Tonya.

Colorado secretary of state tosses county's election equipment after password breach

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Thursday said she’s ordering a county to replace its entire inventory of voting equipment after passwords for some ballot-processing devices were revealed in a video posted on a conspiracy-theory website last week. At a press conference, Griswold announced that Mesa County, in the western part of the state, will be on the hook for new equipment as her office and law enforcement officials investigate the breach and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ possible role in the incident. Griswold said Tuesday that the video showing the passwords appeared to have been recorded on May 25, when Peters’ office was conducting a routine software update on the Dominion Voting Systems devices that election officials refer to as a “trusted build,” the Colorado Sun reported. On Thursday, she also said the video appeared to have been recorded by a “known conspiracy theorist.” StateScoop's Benjamin Freed goes deeper.

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