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01/12/2021
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The SolarWinds story will expand, CISA's chief says. Researchers have more findings about the big hack. And the Jan. 6 fallout continues on social media. This is CyberScoop for Jan. 12, 2020.

CISA boss: More SolarWinds victims likely coming

As the investigation into a suspected Russian hacking scheme grinds on, expect more federal agencies to come forward confirming they were compromised, acting CISA Director Brandon Wales told CyberScoop. In some of his most extensive media remarks since taking CISA’s reins, Wales reflected on the “blind spots” in federal defenses exploited by the SolarWinds hackers and what his agency needs to improve to prevent the next big hack. Sean Lyngaas interviewed Wales.


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Was it Turla, not Cozy Bear?

The overlap isn't definitive, but Kaspersky discovered similarities in the source code between the Sunburst malware used in the SolarWinds hack and the Kazuar backdoor that Turla has used in the past. While some anonymous sources have linked Sunburst to the SVR-linked Cozy Bear a.k.a. APT29, Turla has usually been connected to another Russian intelligence service, the FSB. Kaspersky said it's too soon to draw firm conclusions about the links between Sunburst and Kazuar, though. Tim Starks covers the research.


CrowdStrike digs up code used to deliver SolarWinds malware

The forensics behind a sweeping spying operation got clearer on Monday with new details about the code used to tamper with SolarWinds software. The malicious code monitored SolarWinds’ software build process for the right time to inject the tampered software, according to CrowdStrike. That handiwork made the intrusion particularly difficult to detect, and gave spies persistence access to victim networks. Sean has more.


The latest Twitter and Facebook takedowns

Twitter said Tuesday it removed more than 70,000 accounts for “sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale,” one day after Facebook said it is targeting the phrase “stop the steal” — a favorite hashtag of President Donald Trump’s supporters — in the interest of stopping “misinformation and content that could incite further violence.” The announcements are a direct response to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, but they are also an extension of efforts to contain misinformation that began well in advance of the 2020 presidential campaign. Joe Warminsky has the story.


Sanctions for Derkach's crew

The Treasury Department sanctioned seven more Ukrainians and four "media front companies" associated with Andrii Derkach, the Ukrainian parliament member and suspected Russian agent who has sought to smear the Biden family. One of the men is also a Ukrainian parliament member, and three more are former government officials. Treasury previously sanctioned Derkach, who had met with President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — and now the department has gone after what it called "his inner circle." Tim has this one, too.


The IC grows by one

The U.S. "intelligence community" is an unofficial phrase that describes a very real thing — it's the list of government agencies that perform surveillance or espionage tasks and fall under the purview of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That IC added a member last week with the addition of the military's Space Force. It joins big names such as the CIA and lesser-known organizations such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The last time the IC grew was in 2006, with the addition of the the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of National Security Intelligence. FedScoop's Sara Wilson explains.


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