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The Cybersecurity 202

A newsletter briefing on cybersecurity news and policy.

Some sigh-ber jokes for April Fool's Day

The Cybersecurity 202

A newsletter briefing on cybersecurity news and policy.

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Happy April Fools’ Day! We highly recommend doing this cybersecurity-themed crossword crafted by Highwire PR’s May Huang.

Below: U.S. officials warned firms about Kaspersky risks, and the U.S. government sanctions an alleged Russian malware developer.

Cyber nerds can be funny, too

This morning, we have a special edition of The Cybersecurity 202: a jam-packed, curated selection of cyber jokes. Cybersecurity news has been pretty heavy in recent months (years?), so we hope they offer you some respite and make you smile or even groan. Here we go.

SCYTHE founder Bryson Bort:

Here are a couple from Darknet Diaries host Jack Rhysider:

Armis's Dillon Townsel:

Another one, from Shan Walsh: Why didn’t the IT team set up their remote office from the beach? It was too cloudy.

Matt Kimball:

Here's one from 1Password chief experience officer Matt Davey: “Don’t use fortnight as your password. It’s Two Week.”

Breaking Defense's Justin Katz:

Here's one from a Twitter user who goes by the name “Jolly Walrus,” referring to accused killer Lizzie Borden:

Ian Campbell:

Max Cizauskas:

And if you get these jokes, you're very deep in cybersecurity (no, my editor doesn't understand these):

  • Why did the hacker send back their breakfast? Because the restaurant didn't salt their hashes. (Jack Cable, security researcher)
  • Covid in the Cybersecurity field: Wear a, stay at (Daniel Wheeler)

The keys

In early days of Ukraine war, Biden administration warned companies about Kaspersky

Administration officials warned U.S. companies a day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Russian authorities could “manipulate software designed by Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky to cause harm,” Reuters’s Christopher Bing writes. It’s not clear if new intelligence or an incident prompted the briefings.

Kaspersky calls itself the world’s largest privately owned cybersecurity firm. The U.S. intelligence community has for years argued that Moscow could use the software as a spying tool. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.

“U.S. security agencies conducted a series of similar cybersecurity briefings” surrounding the Trump administration’s ban of Kaspersky software from civilian agency networks in 2017, Bing writes. “The content of those meetings four years ago was comparable to the new briefings, said one of the people familiar with the matter.”

In recent weeks:

  • The U.S. government has considered sanctioning Kaspersky Labs, though the idea has apparently been put on hold, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The Federal Communications Commission deemed the company a national security threat, meaning that federal subsidies can’t be used to buy its services.

A Kaspersky spokeswoman told Reuters that the briefings would be “further damaging” to Kaspersky’s reputation “without giving the company the opportunity to respond directly to such concerns” and that it “is not appropriate or just.”

The U.S. government sanctions an alleged Russian malware developer

The sanctions came a week after the Justice Department unsealed an indictment accusing researcher Evgeny Viktorovich Gladkikh of developing malware that targeted a Saudi petrochemical plant in 2017, CyberScoop’s Joe Warminsky reports. The Treasury Department sanctioned Gladkikh along with the Russian research institute where he worked.

“Gladkikh, along with other … employees, played a crucial role in the August 2017 Triton malware cyberattack, specifically targeting the petrochemical facility’s safety instrumented systems, seeking to disrupt the facility’s cybersecurity systems, as well as the facility’s distributed controls systems,” the Treasury Department said. “Gladkikh’s malicious cyber actions resulted in the facility undergoing an emergency shutdown on at least two occasions.”

The U.S. government is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information about Gladkikh.

A judge ordered a Wisconsin lawmaker to be held in contempt for not providing election records

Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn found the Wisconsin State Assembly and its speaker, Rep. Robin Vos (R), in contempt of court after Vos failed to provide records about the investigation he launched into the 2020 election despite a November court order, Amy B Wang reports

Vos and the assembly have two weeks to submit proof that they have complied with Wisconsin’s public records law and searched for “deleted, lost, missing or otherwise unavailable” records or give an explanation of why a search would be unreasonable. After 14 days, they will be fined $1,000 per day until they comply.

Vos and his attorney didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“Trump and his allies have baselessly alleged for more than a year that the 2020 election was stolen from him, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the outcome,” Amy writes. “In the weeks after the election, dozens of state and federal judges rejected Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the election results. Several Republican-led state legislatures — including in Wisconsin, where a recount showed Joe Biden had defeated Trump by about 20,600 votes — then launched partisan investigations into the 2020 election directly tied to Trump’s grievances.”

Government scan

Post Office cops used social media surveillance program illegally (Motherboard)

Hill happenings

Senate’s Wyden probes use of forged legal requests by hackers (Bloomberg)

Senate confirms new Army Cyber Command chief (The Record)

Senate AI data bill gets House counterpart (FCW)

Industry report

Attacking rival, Google says Microsoft’s hold on government security is a problem (NBC News)

Jury clears Warden Grier over data breach response (Law360)

National security watch

Intelligence community gears up for surveillance powers renewal (The Record)

Global cyberspace

The last days of Mariupol’s Internet (Forbes)

How cybercrime remixed the Nigerian Music scene (The Record)

Report reveals surveillance abuses in educational technology (NextGov)

On the move

  • Cryptocurrency investigation software firm TRM Labs has hired former IRS-Criminal Investigations special agent Chris Janczewski as its head of global investigations. Janczewski was the lead agent in the investigation of a 2016 hack of Bitfinex that led to the arrest of a married couple in February. The U.S. government seized $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency as a result of its investigation.


  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Australian Minister of Home Affairs Karen Andrews and Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the Netherlands’s Minister of Justice and Security, speak at an Atlantic Council event on securing marine transportation systems today at 10:30 a.m.
  • Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, speaks at a Washington Post Live event on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
  • Gen. Paul Nakasone, who leads U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
  • U.S. Naval Seafloor Cable Protection Office Director Catherine Creese and NTIA senior policy adviser Maureen Russell discuss securing Asia’s subsea cables at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
  • The U.S. Election Assistance Commission holds a meeting and vote on Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Lifecycle Policy 1.0 on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
  • Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), who co-chairs the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, discusses blockchain security at a Washington Post Live event on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
  • Eric Goldstein, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, and deputy national cyber director Rob Knake testify before a House Homeland Security Committee panel on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Director Stefanie Tompkins, Defense Innovation Unit Director Michael Brown and Undersecretary of Defense Heidi Shyu testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee panel on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

Secure log off

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.