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04/08/2020
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WorkScoop
Investigating the murky origins of a company which seems connected to a well-known RAT. Suspected Russian operatives impersonated Mike Pompeo. And the latest Zoom drama. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, April 8.

Are hackers using a Chinese shell company to source malware?

A company advertising a remote access tool frequently used by hackers may be serving as a front for Winnti group, according to new research from BlackBerry Cylance. Researchers started piecing it together when they uncovered a new Android malware variant remarkably similar to a tool advertised by a company, World Wired Labs, called NetWire. They suspected that Winnti found the tool on the internet, but further research showed Winnti's tool was remarkably similar to the one advertised by World Wired Labs. CyberScoop tried to verify the existence of the company, only to find murky origins. Dive in with Shannon Vavra.


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A Russian plot based on forged letters

A Russian information operation relied on forged diplomatic emails and planted articles on a number of social media sites in an attempt to undermine multiple governments and impersonate U.S. lawmakers, according to a new analysis of recent social media activity. The effort appears to be a continuation of a prior Russian campaign, dubbed Operation Secondary Infektion, that utilized Facebook and dozens of online platforms to sow division in the West and discredit political efforts. In this case, it looks like the same operatives tried similar techniques against Estonia and the Republic of Georgia. Jeff Stone has more context.


Another headache for Zoom

A Zoom shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the video-conferencing company for allegedly covering up security vulnerabilities in its app. The suit, filed April 7 in a San Francisco federal court, accuses top Zoom executives of failing to disclose flaws in the company’s software, now used by some 200 million people daily. Zoom misrepresented problems with the software’s encryption protocol, failed to disclose that it was sharing user data with Facebook and concealed the extent to which user data was vulnerable to hackers, according to the suit. Jeff explains.


Schiff warns against politicizing intel

Rep. Adam Schiff wrote to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Monday asking him to share communications about an election security briefing provided to lawmakers last month. In the letter, Schiff advised Grenell against politicizing any intelligence conveyed to Congress, especially as it relates to protecting the integrity of the U.S. voting process. During the briefing in question, intelligence officials told lawmakers Russia was not directly supporting any presidential candidates in the buildup to the 2020 election, according to The New York Times. Days earlier, U.S. intelligence officials told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia had a preference for President Donald Trump. Shannon has more.


Your fingerprint isn't a special snowflake

You probably do it thoughtlessly dozens of times a day: use your thumb to unlock your smartphone. That’s fine for most people, but if you work for an intelligence agency you should consider another method of accessing your device. Researchers from Cisco Talos revealed Wednesday that, on a modest budget, they were able to use 3D printing to spoof fingerprints and unlock iPhones, laptops, and padlocks. The research was inspired by real-world breaches of fingerprint data, like the 2015 hack on the Office of Personnel Management. Sean Lyngaas has the research.


A closer look at the election supply chain

Researchers with Virginia-based security firm Expel are advising election administrators to think creatively about how each step in the voting experience might be targeted by an adversary. Expel CISO Bruce Potter advised every player in the election ecosystem to “create an incident response plan—better yet, create a plan, emulate an incident and practice what you might do if that bad thing happened in real life.” Potter’s paper on the issue, released this week, also examines how pollster ratings and campaign websites fit into the overall election security picture. Read it here.


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