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A deep dive into a DHS plan to beef up hiring and retention. The latest on that ransomware attack affecting Sinclair. And U.S. software developers are forbidden from selling hacking tools to clients in Russia and China. This is CyberScoop for October 21, 2021.

DHS set to roll out dramatic changes to system for hiring

Soon, a cybersecurity professional at the Department of Homeland Security could make as much money as the vice president of the United States, $255,800 — or more, up to $332,100, if they’re in a geographic market where that salary makes the offer competitive. It’s just one feature of a dramatic overhaul of how DHS hires cyber personnel rolling out on Nov. 15 after seven years in the making. The Cyber Talent Management System dispenses with traditional federal job classifications in place since 1949, changes how applicants prove themselves, ties pay increases to something other than longevity of service and much more. At a time when private sector organizations and government agencies struggle to recruit and retain cyber personnel, DHS officials and outside observers alike are hopeful the system will deliver results. Tim Starks digs in.

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Russian ransomware gang struck Sinclair media group

Evil Corp., one of the most notorious and prolific Russian cybercrime groups in recent years with a leader who has been accused of working with Russian intelligence, was reportedly behind last weekend’s cyberattack on Sinclair Broadcast Group. The revelation, first reported by Bloomberg Wednesday, is noteworthy because the U.S. Treasury department sanctioned the group in December, 2o19, making any U.S. company’s transactions with it illegal. The group used a new strain of malware called Macaw in the Sinclair attack, said Allan Liska, a senior threat analyst at Recorded Future. AJ Vicens explains.

Commerce Department rule to limit sale of offensive cyber tools to China, Russia

The Commerce Department released a rule Wednesday aimed at stopping offensive cybersecurity tools made in the U.S. from falling into the hands of countries that use such software undermine human rights or national security. The rule requires U.S. companies to obtain a license from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security before selling hacking tools to the governments and individuals in countries of national security concern, including China and Russia. Sales of defensive cybersecurity software are largely exempt from the rule. Technologies covered by the rule include spyware and tools designed to carry out nefarious tasks, such as malicious trojans. Tonya Riley has more.

Cities have 'a lot to learn' on cyber

City cybersecurity leaders need to work much more closely together if they’re going to counter the growing threats against government and infrastructure, according to San Francisco Chief Information Security Officer Michael Makstman. Speaking during a Scoop News Group Live event this week, Makstman said there need to be “fundamental capabilities in regional thinking,” especially when it comes with making use of upcoming federal funding for state and local cybersecurity. “We really have a lot to learn from each other,” Makstman said. Benjamin Freed looks closer at StateScoop.

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