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04/22/2022
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Russia's war is undermining its cybercriminals. Mandiant is the latest to examine 2021 zero-day tallies. And more on how a ransomware attack helped bring down a college. This is CyberScoop for April 22.

Ukraine war complicates Russian cybercriminals' lives

International sanctions levied against the Russian financial system, the Russian government's response to them and the Russian government's tightening grip on internet infrastructure within its borders are making life tough for Russian cybercriminals who need to move money around and cash out, according to an analysis from cybersecurity threat intelligence firm Flashpoint published Thursday. These factors — along with a string of law enforcement actions against dark web cybercrime forums — are pushing those who need to find ways to get ill-gotten profits laundered and cashed out to refine and re-calibrate their methods, the analysis concludes, and time will tell where they'll end up. AJ Vicens has more.


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Zero-day exploit measurements for 2021

Mandiant Intelligence reports that 2021 now accounts for a staggering 40% of zero-day vulnerabilities found "in the wild" in the last decade. Mandiant said Thursday that it had identified 80 zero-day exploits in active use in 2021. This total is more than twice as much as the previous record volume set in 2019. Earlier, Google's Project Zero said it documented 58 zero-day exploits in the last year, the highest number found in a single year since the project launched in mid-2014. Suzanne Smalley writes.


North Koreans can't quit phishing journalists

Research out Thursday unpacked a novel form of malware used to target journalists in South Korea who cover North Korean issues. Silas Cutler, principle reverse engineer with with cybersecurity firm Stairwell, published an analysis of the malware it's calling "GOLDBACKDOOR," which sought to steal passwords and files in a target computer. The malware shares similarities to a malware variant known as "BLUELIGHT," which was tied to a North Korean hacking group in August 2021. The updated malware targeted journalists at South Korean news site NK News in March using the spoofed email address made to look as if it were sent by a former director of South Korea's National Intelligence Service. Read the research.


School president relays how ransomware helped fell his college

Lincoln College — a predominantly Black school of 630 students — is set to close on May 13, with its president, David Gerlach, telling EdScoop how a ransomware attack deepened the woes of its already-hard economic times. The attack seized up its network just as it came time to process applications and figure out enrollment for the next academic year. “You can’t get your admissions applications into the system, you can’t recruit students,” Gerlach said. “We had the Common App available to us, so we were able to receive applications that way, but with internal systems being down, you’re out of operation for a month and a half.” Emily Bamforth has the full story.


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