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The State Department makes a bounty to bring in ransomware attackers. Ukrainian authorities publish calls apparently showing a conspiracy between hackers. And Michigan considers prohibiting encrypted messaging for state workers. This is CyberScoop for November 5, 2021.

Wanted: DarkSide

The State Department on Thursday announced a $10 million bounty for information on the location of leaders of the DarkSide ransomware gang, and $5 million for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of any affiliates of the group. The bounty for the group, which struck major East Coat fuel provider Colonial Pipeline in May, is the first from the State Department to single out a ransomware gang by name. Tonya Riley breaks it down.

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Ukraine exposes expansive Russian hacking operation

Ukraine’s top law enforcement agency published a detailed analysis Thursday outing what it says are Russian hackers and “traitors who sided with the enemy” behind a sweeping campaign that began in 2014. The hackers, according to the Security Service of Ukraine, are responsible for more than 5,000 cyberattacks on Ukrainian state entities and critical infrastructure that attempted to “infect” more than 1,500 government computer systems. The information that the Ukrainians published includes a 35-page written analysis, a slideshow and videos that include recordings of the purported Russian government hackers discussing attacks in real-time. AJ Vicens pulls back the veil.

Michigan poised to ban most state workers' use of encrypted messaging

The Michigan State Senate voted unanimously this week to block state workers from using messaging apps that feature end-to-end encryption on their government-issued phones, following concerns that such apps could be used to evade open-records laws. The bill directs the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget to “issue directives that all state departments and all state agencies must not use any app, software, or other technology that prevents it from maintaining or preserving a public record as required by law on an electronic device that is used to create a public record.” If enacted, the bill would effectively ban the use of apps like Signal, Telegram or the Facebook-owned WhatsApp by nearly all state workers. Benjamin Freed has more details at StateScoop.

More on the National Cyber Director's funding request

The Office of the National Cyber Director built a “robust” talent pipeline but cannot use it to hire critical personnel until it receives congressional appropriations, according to Director Chris Inglis. Speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, Inglis said he expects to onboard 25 staff members by December and a “full complement” in fiscal 2022 — provided Congress passes a spending bill. The $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill faces resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., over its size and Medicare and climate provisions, and the holdup continues to constrain ONCD staffing. Dave Nyczepir digs in at FedScoop.

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