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A ransomware task force makes progress. The EU weighs in on a cybercrime treaty update. And a cyber bill reaches the finish line. This is CyberScoop for May 23.

CISA step up ransomware game

CISA is launching a ransomware task force co-led by the FBI, CISA Director Jen Easterly announced Friday. The announcement caps off a year of government initiatives to combat ransomware since a string of major attacks last spring. But there's still a lot more to do, according to experts from nonprofit Institute for Security and Technology’s Ransomware Task Force. Of the 48 specific recommendations made by the Ransomware Task Force in April 2021, 12 have seen tangible progress in the year since. Some initial steps have been taken on 29 recommendations and no action has been taken on seven recommendations. One of the group's biggest concerns is the struggle for good data on attacks. Tonya Riley reports.

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EU data protection leaders warn UN cybercrime treaty could erode privacy

The European Data Protection Supervisor, which is the European Union’s independent data protection authority, released an opinion last week that warns that a United Nations cybercrime treaty in negotiation poses risks to individual privacy rights. The authority says it will counsel the EU not to agree to the treaty unless specific language is added to the document. CyberScoop reported last month that human rights and privacy advocates were alarmed by the push for the treaty, which has largely emanated from the Russian government. A draft proposal would allow governments to criminalize “unlawful acts motivated by political, ideological, social, racial, ethnic, or religious hatred or enmity, advocacy and justification of such actions or the provision of access to them.” U.N. representatives convene in Vienna from May 30 to June 10 for its next meeting negotiating the treaty. “There is a substantial risk that the final text of the Convention could lead to a weakening of the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons provided for by EU law, in particular their rights to data protection and privacy," the EDPS wrote in its opinion. Check out the EU opinion.

For CISA, being the newest federal cyber agency means needing modern tech to back it up

Bob Costello is hyper-aware that a big part of his role as CIO of CISA is providing the most modern technology possible to help attract high-quality cybersecurity professionals who are used to working with the latest and greatest tools in the private sector. “I need to have the best IT out there,” Costello said Thursday at the Swift Technologies GIST 2022 summit, produced by FedScoop. “Because no one wants to join CISA as a federal employee and [then after joining] I’m like, ‘Well, here’s your underpowered laptop with no analytic tools. And here’s a phone that’s a little more than a phone.’ That’s not a place where people are going to want to work.” FedScoop's Billy Mitchell has the rest.

House sends state and local cyber coordination bill to Biden

The U.S. House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly last week to clear legislation encouraging closer coordination between the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and state, local, tribal and territorial governments. The cyber coordination bill passed the Senate in January and now heads to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature. The State and Local Cybersecurity Act codifies a number of efforts CISA is already making with regard to state and local governments, putting into writing that the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, DHS’ main threat-analysis facility, share more of its security tools, policies, training procedures and relevant intelligence products. Read more from Benjamin Freed at StateScoop.

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