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Privacy advocates want the White House to fill an oversight board created in the ripple effects of Sept. 11, 2001. The national cyber director weighs in on the shifting ransomware landscape, right on time for another group’s emergence. And revisiting the worst cliche on cybersecurity. This is CyberScoop for September 10, 2021.

Advocates urge Biden to fill privacy board

Nearly two dozen privacy and civil liberties groups are urging President Joe Biden to fill the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent watchdog board responsible for oversight of government surveillance programs. The board currently lacks enough members to launch any investigations, meaning that growing use of facial recognition and other emerging surveillance technologies in recent years have gone unchecked. Also long overdue is the board’s oversight of Section 702, a surveillance program up for congressional renewal in 2023. Tonya Riley unpacks the issue.

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Russian ransomware may have 'gone cold,' but for how long?

"It’s too soon to say we’re out of the woods" on Russian ransomware attacks despite a drop-off, National Cyber Director Chris Inglis said Thursday. Some gangs have gone quiet but Inglis said it's possible they're waiting to see if the heat cools down after high profile attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS and Kaseya. Whether they return or not, it will be up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to make sure there's not a "permissive" atmosphere, Inglis said. For now, the U.S. isn't well-positioned to address the ransomware threat, he said. Tim Starks has the rundown.

Meet Groove, a ransomware group doing things a little differently

A new ransomware gang is making clear it will work with anyone as long as there's money in it, as opposed to the more rigid hierarchy of ransomware-as-a-service model where an organization is marked by leaders and worker bee affiliates. Researchers say Groove is a spinoff from the Babuk gang, and appears to have drawn in other disgruntled former ransomware affiliates. Already there's evidence Groove has worked with another recently-formed ransomware outfit, BlackMatter. Tim has this one, too.

The evolution of 'cyber 9/11' rhetoric

Phrases like “cyber 9/11” and “cyber Pearl Harbor” have for years served as rhetorical catchphrases for national security officials trying to amplify their messaging or secure cyber-related funding from Capitol Hill. In 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned the U.S. was under threat from a “cyber Pearl Harbor” that could involve foreign hackers derailing trains carrying lethal chemicals. Since then, some former intelligence officials wonder if the terms did more harm than good. Shannon Vavra told the story in April.

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