On Thursday, The New York Times reported that experts are fearful that a group of Russian cybercriminals could launch an attack on the U.S. elections system.
“A Russian ransomware group whose leaders were indicted by the Justice Department in December is retaliating against the U.S. government, many of America’s largest companies and a major news organization, identifying employees working from home during the pandemic and attempting to get inside their networks with malware intended to cripple their operations,” reported David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth. “Sophisticated new attacks by the hacking group — which the Treasury Department claims has at times worked for Russian intelligence — were identified in recent days by Symantec Corporation, a division of Broadcom, one of the many firms that monitors corporate and government networks.”
The group calls itself “Evil Corp.” in an apparent reference to the multinational corporation from “Mr. Robot,” and they have launched a ransomware campaign called “WastedLocker.” In a ransomware attack, a user or organization’s own files are encrypted, and the author demands payment to unlock them.
“While ransomware has long been a concern for American officials, after devastating attacks on the cities of Atlanta and Baltimore and towns across Texas and Florida, it has taken on new dimensions in an election year,’ said the report. “The Department of Homeland Security has been racing to harden the voter registration systems run by cities and states, fearing that they, too, could be frozen, and voter rolls made inaccessible, in an effort to throw the Nov. 3 election into chaos.”
According to the report, the indictment was not successful in shutting down the group. “In the month after the indictment, Evil Corp.’s hackers dropped off the map, but they picked up again in May, according to security researchers at Symantec and Fox-IT, another security company that is a division of the NCC Group. For the past month, they have been successfully breaking into organizations using custom ransomware tools.”
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Trump campaign asks Giuliani to argue Pennsylvania appeal despite rebuke by federal judge
Rudy Giuliani is expected to take the lead when President Donald Trump's campaign appeals a federal judge's decision to dismiss challenges to the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.
Bloomberg reported that Giuliani has been asked to argue the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Last week, federal Judge Matthew Brann rebuked Giuliani after he made oral arguments calling for 680,000 ballots to be invalidated. It was Giuliani's first appearance in federal court in decades.
Biden team to face immediate decisions on global hotspots
US President-elect Joe Biden's foreign policy team has entered the stage with calls to return to international cooperation and democratic values after Donald Trump's chaotic four years.
The incoming administration has made clear that its top priority will be fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, but it will also face immediate decisions on several global hotspots:
- Facing China and Russia -
The Trump administration by its final year had taken a hawkish turn on China, declaring that years of US engagement had failed and speaking of a vast global confrontation with the world's most populous nation, which it blamed for the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Do you feel embarrassed?’ Newsmax CEO grilled on why he airs shows claiming COVID pandemic is a ‘scam’
Chris Ruddy, the Trump-loving CEO of Newsmax, made a damning admission this week about the accuracy of shows on his network.
During an interview with journalist Mehdi Hasan, Ruddy was shown a clip of Newsmax hosts Diamond and Silk making egregiously false claims that China deliberately released the novel coronavirus to thwart President Donald Trump's bid to win a second term.
"This whole fiasco was planned, including the China virus!" they claimed.
Hasan proceeded to grill Ruddy on the low-quality nature of his network's shows.
"Given that you have been a journalist for more than 30 years, do you feel embarrassed to be running nonsense like that on your network?" he asked.