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02/03/2021
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WorkScoop
Trustwave finds new SolarWinds bugs, and patches are issued. Congress is writing more cyber bills, but what does it mean? And Alejandro Mayorkas is officially in at DHS. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

Now the good guys are finding SolarWinds bugs

The historic breach of SolarWinds software (and other tech providers) has opened up the Texas firm to outside scrutiny. But that can be good for security. On Wednesday, researchers from Trustwave revealed two critical bugs in SolarWinds’ Orion software, one of which could give an attacker a similar level of access enjoyed by the (alleged) Russians. Patches are available. The more you know... Sean Lyngaas has the details.


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Cyber bill count is rising, but actual new laws — not so much

Congress boosted the number of cybersecurity bills it introduced in the most recent two-year session of Congress by 40% compared to the prior session, according to a Third Way analysis first reported by CyberScoop. It didn't translate into many more becoming law, however: Just 14 did, up from last session's 11. The legislation was bipartisan more often than not, with election security offering the biggest divergence from the trend. The analysis suggests that Capitol Hill is becoming more interested in the topic, but there's not a single explanation for the phenomenon. Tim Starks has the scoop.


Mayorkas confirmed at DHS

The Department of Homeland Security has its first Senate-confirmed leader in nearly two years. The Senate on Tuesday installed Alejandro Mayorkas as DHS secretary in a largely party-line vote that reflected a contentious nomination process. Mayorkas has his work cut out for him. Step One: get to the bottom of the SolarWinds hack. Sean reports.


House Democrats prod social media titans on vaccine fake news

Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sought answers from Facebook, Google and Twitter about what they're doing in response to a reported surge of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disinformation on their platforms. Not only did they ask the tech giants about how they're fighting it off, they also want to know things like what kind of targeted advertisements most frequently appear alongside it. The push comes after a study found that election conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have shifted their attention to COVID-19. Tim has this one, too.


TikTok expands efforts to label potential misinfo

What should a social media company do with content that definitely feels wrong, but can't quite be fact-checked yet? TikTok's answer is to make it harder to share those kinds of videos, even if it's not ready to remove them outright. The company says it will put banners over content that “has been reviewed but cannot be conclusively validated.” The clip’s creator will be notified, and then users will get an “Are you sure you want to share this video?” message before being able to amplify it to their followers. TikTok says it already removes, outright, videos that fact-checkers have shown to be demonstrably false. Joe Warminsky explains.


South Sudan is tapped in

The South Sudanese government obtained surveillance capabilities from an Israeli company in order to wiretap citizens’ phones, according to an Amnesty International investigation. Verint Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of U.S.-based Verint Systems Inc., worked with the government of South Sudan to provide “communications interception equipment and annual support services” at least between 2015 and 2017. The operation is a stark reminder of the government market for spyware technology and the chilling effect surveillance can have on speech, Amnesty said. Shannon Vavra has more.


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