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02/10/2021
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A critical infrastructure sector gets a jarring wake-up call. Police say SIM-swapping scammers took $100 million in cryptocurrency from famous people. And Estonia embraces the conversation about international cyber norms. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

Water sector under the microscope after Florida hack

Water facilities are some of the most critical infrastructure imaginable, yet the sector suffers from a lack of money and personnel to defend against hackers. Friday’s breach of a Florida water treatment facility magnified the issue and prompted calls from experts to tighten security. They may “only have one or two, maybe three, IT folks who manage the network,” notes Chris Sistrunk, a technical manager at Mandiant. Sean Lyngaas breaks it down.


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Police bust SIM-swapping gang that targeted celebrities

Europol and the U.K.'s National Crime Agency (NCA) said Wednesday that they had arrested 10 people in connection with an international scam that targeted celebrities for their cryptocurrency and personal information. The gang used SIM swapping, a fraud technique that involves switching a phone number from one device to another, allowing criminals to take over sensitive accounts. The suspects are charged with stealing about $100 million in cryptocurrency from “well-known influencers, sports stars, musicians, and their families," the NCA said. Joe Warminsky has the details.


Talkin’ cyber diplomacy with Tallinn

Diplomats from around the world are convening this week to share ideas about what type of behavior should be allowed in cyberspace and what happens when those rules are broken. The virtual confab is organized by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and designed for seasoned and green diplomats alike. While it touches on technical details of attacks, the event is focused on international law, norms and frameworks — including how to negotiate and shape behavior of other governments in cases of cyber-incidents, Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Estonia's cyber ambassador, told CyberScoop in an interview. More from Shannon Vavra.


Google/Stanford study yields info on high-risk Gmail users

A Stanford University-Google study of 1.2 billion email-based phishing and malware attacks found that 42 percent of them were aimed at the U.S. The examination's goal was to figure out which Gmail users were at the highest risk of attack. Besides where someone lives, other major risk factors included age, past breach experience and avid Gmail usage. The study also revealed patterns in attackers' methods. Tim Starks has the numbers.


FS-ISAC says industry encountered wave of DDoS extortion attacks

The same group of cybercriminals targeted more than 100 financial services firms with distributed denial of service extortion attacks over the span of a few weeks last year, according to the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an industry threat-sharing hub. DDoS extortion involves hackers threatening a crippling attack unless would-be victims pay up. The attackers "methodically" swept across Europe, North America, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, FS-ISAC said. And they went after every kind of industry subcategory, from banks to money transfer companies. Read more about the targets.


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