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02/28/2020
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WorkScoop
A buttoned-down aviation company is asking hackers to probe some of its technology, and that's a big deal. An online impersonator is posing as a Sanders staffer in contacting other campaigns. And scammers combine personal data with IP addresses for fraud. This is CyberScoop for Friday, February 28.

Hey hackers, Boeing wants to hear from you

One of the world’s biggest aircraft makers will participate in one of the world’s biggest hacking hacking conferences. Organizers of DEF CON’s Aviation Village, where hackers can tinker with airplane parts and flight simulators, announced Thursday that Boeing would take part in the conference in August. Whether the airplane giant lends its own gear or participates in DEF CON some other way remains to be seen. But the Aviation Village organizers hailed it as progress in collaboration between the airline industry and hackers on an extremely delicate subject. Airplane equipment is very expensive and difficult to acquire, and researchers will take any help they can get. “If you do do research [on airplane parts], please disclose responsibly,” Ken Munro, a white hat hacker, urged attendees at RSA on Thursday. Here's why it matters.


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Someone impersonating a Bernie Sanders staffer is contacting other Dems

The Democratic National Committee is warning presidential campaigns that an outsider has been impersonating a Bernie Sanders staffer through a domain registered in a foreign country, with the aim of contacting at least two other campaigns. The chief security officer for the DNC, Bob Lord, said in an email obtained by CyberScoop that adversaries could use the fake personas to set up phone calls or meetings with presidential campaign staffers. “They may impersonate people in the hopes that you will download suspicious files, or click on a link to a phishing site. Sometimes they seek to set up a call or an in-person meeting with the intent to record and publish the interaction,” he said. Shannon Vavra has the story.


One USB, two years in prison and $1 billion in lost IP

A U.S. court sentenced Hongjin Tan, a 36-year-old Chinese scientist, to 24 months in federal prison on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1 billion worth of proprietary information from the petroleum company Philips 66. During his employment there, Tan worked on developing next-generation battery technologies. But on Dec. 11, 2018, he copied "hundred of files" onto a thumb drive, according to a plea deal. Then he resigned and was escorted from the building, before returning with the USB stick saying he forgot to give it back. Investigators later found files from that thumb drive on a separate device at Tan's home, though they didn't offer any evidence that he transmitted the data to China. Here's what DOJ said.


Malicious scanning propels fraud

It looks like a scammer is advertising stolen personal information — including names, birth dates and Social Security numbers — that has been combined with IP addresses to conduct fraud. By packaging stolen data with legitimate IP addresses, the goal is to help buyers subvert anti-fraud controls at financial institutions, according to findings published Friday by WhiteOps. One database contains information on 500,000 U.S. citizens. It's all possible because someone (it's not clear who) is exploiting a vulnerability in Asus routers which makes it possible to infiltrate the devices. The company patched the flaw in 2018. Here's what to do about it.


We Heart Hackers initiative expands to industrial systems

More news from the RSA conference: We Heart Hackers, a volunteer group to get vendors to provide equipment to ethical hackers, is expanding to industrial control systems. Until now the initiative has focused on medical devices. But I Am the Cavalry, the volunteer organization behind the initiative, said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security and private sector organizations would help expand it to ICS and other sectors. “Overall the goal is to build collaboration between manufacturers and security researchers,” I am the Cavalry’s Beau Woods told CyberScoop, adding that he hopes to convince ICS manufacturers to submit equipment that researchers can examine at DEF CON in August. Find out more.


Pelosi to Trump: Where’s the report?

The big fiscal 2020 defense bill enacted in December included a mandate for the Trump administration to report on cyberattacks by foreign governments against U.S. election infrastructure. There was a 60-day window for the administration to deliver a document to House and Senate committees, and the top Democrat in Congress says the deadline has passed. “America’s intelligence and law enforcement officials have made absolutely clear that the Russian government is attacking our elections right now in a ‘365-days-a-year threat.’ Yet, again and again, the President has rejected the conclusions of the intelligence community and completely refused to take meaningful action to hold the Russians accountable or to strengthen our defenses of our electoral system,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a news release. “His failure to meet Congress’s deadline to provide a report on foreign cyberattacks showcases his brazen indifference to the Russian threat.” Read more from Pelosi.


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