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04/05/2022
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WorkScoop
Our reporting on NSPM-13 stirs up debate about authorities over offensive cyber-ops. FIN7 embraces a new skill set. And a large cybercrime marketplace is raided. This is CyberScoop for April 5.

White House plans to scale back DOD cyber-ops authorities spark debate

Washington insiders are continuing to analyze the Biden White House's plans to <a href="https://www.cyberscoop.com/biden-trump-nspm-13-presidential-memo-cyber-command-white-house/">scale back</a> broad authorities for the Department of Defense to conduct offensive cyber-operations. Mark Montgomery, who helped draft the language spurring the creation of NSPM-13, the Trump-era policy memorandum that gave DOD the authorities, said it was necessary because White House approval for cyber-ops came at a glacial pace during the Obama administration. He argued that it would be dangerous to return to that operating mode. But Jim Lewis, a cyber expert at CSIS, said the slow pace was an Obama era quirk attributable to the State Department’s refusal to budge and the White House’s refusal to take on State. Like other experts, Lewis said it is imperative for the White House to wrest back control so that DOD isn't making decisions in a vacuum. Suzanne Smalley has the story.


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FIN7 has a new angle

Mandiant researchers say the FIN7 cybercrime group — known for breaking into corporate networks — is now making a strong pivot to ransomware. Undeterred by the arrests of several key leaders, the group is increasingly associated with ransomware strains including Maze, Ryuk and ALPHV — also known as BlackCat. Mandiant’s research also connects FIN7 to DarkSide. (Other researchers believe FIN7 built the software for DarkSide's attack on Colonial Pipeline.) Tonya Riley explains.


A dark web market sting

German authorities said Tuesday they had shuttered a dark web marketplace that trafficked in narcotics and helped obfuscate the source of millions of dollars in ill-gotten cryptocurrency. The Hydra market’s servers were seized along with about $25 million in bitcoin, according to Germany’s BKA police agency. The crypto seizure represents only a fraction of the money handled through Hydra, which experts say was the largest in the world. U.S. agencies helped in the case, the BKA said. Joe Warminsky has more.


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