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02/21/2020
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U.S. intelligence officials have told Congress what we have long suspected: Russia will be active with disinfo during the election. MITRE updates its plans to fend off FIN7. And the ripple effects at Click2Gov. This is CyberScoop for Friday, February 21.

Russia will be back for 2020

Russia is working to interfere in the 2020 presidential election and has a preference for getting President Donald Trump re-elected, according to a briefing delivered to the House Intelligence Committee last week. According to a New York Times report, officials described how Moscow is trying to duplicate its efforts from the 2016 presidential elections. A person familiar with the briefing told CyberScoop would continue to use messaging aimed at sowing discord among supporters of Democratic presidential candidates with the ultimate aim of helping the president. It was not immediately clear what specific examples, in terms of Russian interference activity, were covered in the briefing. Shannon Vavra and Sean Lyngaas have more details.


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RSA, we're comin' for ya

Team CyberScoop is headed west next week to attend RSA, the annual cybersecurity conference in San Francisco. If you're in town Monday join us at SF Cyber Talks, where top officials from the Department of Justice and DHS' Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency will speak onstage alongside executives from Google, Recorded Future and Duo Security. Then, be sure to say hello to Greg Otto, Jeff Stone, Sean Lyngaas and Shannon Vavra as they're covering all the big news through the week. Find event details here.


MITRE takes aim at FIN7

The Eastern European hacking group FIN7 has stolen an estimated $1 billion in recent years by sweeping up payment card data processed by hotels and other organizations. MITRE, a U.S.-government-funded research and development center, wants to put a dent in the group’s success by evaluating whether popular software can block known FIN7 attacks. The decision to focus on FIN7 (previous assessments were of Cozy Bear and APT3 tactics) speaks to the threat the group poses to institutions around the world. Sean has the full story.


Things are still shaky for Click2Gov

The app Click2Gov is popular with local governments because it allows residents an easy way to pay for things like parking tickets and small fees for services. The software also has been repeatedly subject to data breaches around the country, as recently as last summer. That particular set of incidents — which appear to be rooted in a flaw that is tougher to fix than in previous breaches — has caused some municipalities to move on from their relationships with CentralSquare, the app’s parent company. The threat actors behind the breaches haven’t been identified, but research has shown that they have turned to the dark web to sell personally identifiable information captured in the incidents. Benjamin Freed has the latest at StateScoop.


Another Play Store bust

More than 50,000 Android users downloaded eight apps promising new features for their camera, or new games for their kids. In fact the apps either enrolled victims in expensive premium services without their consent, or installed the “Haken” malware, which siphons user data, researchers from Check Point Software Technologies said. It’s the latest in a long game of Whac-A-Mole between the security team overseeing the Play Store, and the scammers trying to exploit the app marketplace’s credibility to reach as many victims as possible. The announcement came one day after BuzzFeed News reported that Google had scrubbed another 600 apps that had pushed out “disruptive” advertisements. Jeff Stone has the latest.


Hack the Pentagon, but not in a good way

The Defense Information Systems Agency, which secures U.S. military communications around the globe, has told an undisclosed number of people that their Social Security numbers and other personal data may have been exposed in a breach last year. There is no evidence that compromised PII has been used maliciously, according to DISA, but that will be cold comfort for potential victims. Personal data about U.S. government personnel and contractors could be valuable to foreign intelligence agencies and financially-motivated criminals alike. It is the latest of multiple breaches of Pentagon systems, or the contractors that maintain them, in the last year. Sean has the announcement.


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What's "blockchain" worth, then?


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