Daily Digest (10/26)

La. National Guard Called to Stop Cyberattacks Before the Election; Ransomware Attack in Ga.  County Hits Election Database; US, UK Sanction Iran and Russia; Google Must Respond to Antitrust Lawsuit by Dec. 19. Click “Continue reading” below.

La. National Guard Called to Stop Cyberattacks Before the Election

The Louisiana National Guard has been called in to stop cyberattacks aimed at small government offices across the state, Reuters reports, citing two people with knowledge of the events.

Since last year, senior U.S. security officials have warned that ransomware poses a risk to the U.S. election.

It is unclear if the hackers sought to target systems in the state tied to the election, but Reuters disclosed that evidence suggested that a sophisticated hacking group was involved.

Experts investigating incidents that have already occurred in Louisiana have found a tool used by hackers that has been previously linked to a group associated with the North Korean government, one person familiar with the investigation told Reuters.

Sources (all external links): 

Ransomware Attack in Ga.  County Hits Election Database

A recent ransomware attack against Hall County, Georgia, in the north-central part of the state, disrupted several of its systems — including one related to election administration.

The attack, first reported Oct. 7, disrupted telephone and email services at the county courthouse, the sheriff’s offices and other public buildings, StateScoop reports.

The Gainesville Times, which reports on the county, disclosed Thursday that a database used by the county to verify voter signatures on absentee ballots was also disabled in the attack.

County officials claimed the cyberattack had not impeded the ability of voters to cast ballots, StateScoop reports.

The hack could slow the signature-matching process when absentee ballots are returned and processed.

But the county still has access to a statewide signature database, though some signatures may have to be matched manually by election clerks, according to the report.


US, UK Sanction Iran and Russia

The U.S. and U.K. have sanctioned Iran and Russia in response to recent cyberattacks.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Thursday that it “designated” five Iranian entities for attempting to influence elections in the United States, Infosecurity reports.

In a news release, the agency said Tehran had “targeted the United States’ electoral process with brazen attempts to sow discord among the voting populace by spreading disinformation online and executing malign influence operations aimed at misleading US voters.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the release that “the Iranian regime uses false narratives and other misleading content to attempt to influence U.S. elections.”

In its release, the U.K. said it would enforce new sanctions against Moscow in response to a cyberattack that hit the German parliament in 2015.

The U.K. said it would enforce asset freezes and travel bans against two officers of the Russian GRU military intelligence, as well as the espionage unit itself — 26165, codenamed APT28 and Fancy Bear — which it said were responsible for the attacks.

“The U.K. stands shoulder to shoulder with Germany and our European partners to hold Russia to account for cyberattacks designed to undermine Western democracies,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in the release.

“This criminal behavior brings the Russian government into further disrepute.”


Google Must Respond to Antitrust Lawsuit by Dec. 19

Google must respond to the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit by Dec. 19, according to a Friday filing in U.S. District Court.

The Justice Department and 11 Republican attorneys general sued the company on Tuesday, accusing Google of illegally using its market dominance to crush competitors, Reuters reports.

Google called the lawsuit “deeply flawed” in a recent tweet.


By DPN Staff