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Hijacked ransomware negotiations could prove harmful for victims. The European Union has stern words for an alleged Russian cyber-espionage campaign. And there's fallout from the partisan Arizona ballot review. This is CyberScoop for September 27, 2021.

Hijacking hijinks

A troll took over the negotiations chat between hacker group BlackMatter and grain cooperative New Cooperative last week. The incident raises questions about the potential drawbacks of highly sensitive ransomware negotiations entering the public spotlight. “It’s a possibility that maybe the threat actor won’t catch on as easily and they’ll just sever communication altogether,” said Drew Schmitt, principal threat intelligence analyst at GuidePoint Security. “And now you’re not able to decrypt files, so I definitely think that there is a relatively high potential for a lot of negative aspects to come out of that.” Tonya Riley has more.

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'Ghostwriter' enflames European Union

The European Union warned Russia on Friday that it could face its wrath for the "Ghostwriter" cyber-espionage campaign. Researchers have aligned the campaign with Russian interests, but not gone as far as the EU in directly blaming Russia for it. The EU says that Ghostwriter targets in its member nations include civil society groups, government officials, parliaments, politicians and the press. The EU warning came just ahead of the weekend's elections in Germany. Tim Starks has it covered.

Communities of color hit harder by cybercrime

Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) are more likely to suffer from identity theft and financial impact from the fallout, according to survey data collected by internet security company Malwarebytes with the nonprofits Digitunity and the Cybercrime Support Network. The survey found that just 47% of BIPOC respondents were able to avoid a financial impact due to identity theft, compared to 59% of overall respondents. The results align with government research. A 2016 Federal Trade Commission study provided to Congress found that African American and Latino consumers were more likely to become fraud victims than non-Hispanic whites. Tonya explains.

Arizona ballot review undermined election security, EI-ISAC leaders say

Former statewide election officials recently hired to lead the Center for Internet Security’s election security efforts said Friday that the partisan ballot review in Maricopa County, Arizona, undermined the work that election officials have done to secure elections over the past few year. Former Pennsylvania Secretary of of the Commonwealth Kathy Bookvar, who started earlier this month as CIS’s new vice president of election operations and support, said the Maricopa County recount is "the very opposite of what election officials around the country have been working to do." A draft of the report by Cyber Ninjas, the third-party company that was hired to conduct the ballot inspection, once again confirmed President Joe Biden’s win, though it continued to push claims about election officials’ conduct that Maricopa County officials have said are false. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed reports.

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