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06/05/2020
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Chinese hackers aim at Biden campaign, while Iranians seek details on Trump. Facebook will be clearer about what's state media. And Signal is pushing out a face-blurring feature. This is CyberScoop for Friday, June 5.

Election season hacks get underway

Hackers linked with China and Iran have been sending malicious spearphishing emails to staff on Joe Biden and President Donald Trump’s campaigns respectively, according to a researcher with Google’s Threat Analysis Group. Chinese government-linked hackers have been targeting Biden’s staffers, whereas Iranian government-linked hackers have been targeting Trump’s campaign, according to Shane Huntley, the Director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group. There is no evidence that the hacking attempts have resulted in compromises, Huntley said. Shannon Vavra has the story.


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Facebook will flag state media posts, decline ad dollars

Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced Thursday that the company will include notes on pages of media organizations that are “wholly or partially under the editorial control” of a government, as well as the outlets’ Ad Library Page and the Page Transparency section. Facebook also will apply labels to advertisements from state-controlled media outlets, a process that will not begin until U.S. election season accelerates. The update, praised by some disinformation researchers, comes after other social media firms have taken more aggressive steps to root out incendiary activity. Jeff Stone offers more context.


How Signal is adapting to the mass demonstrations

As U.S. authorities expand surveillance amid nationwide unrest, the encrypted messaging app Signal says it will introduce a feature that allows users to blur their faces before sharing photos. “Many of the people and groups who are organizing for…change are using Signal to communicate, and we’re working hard to keep up with the increased traffic,” says Signal Foundation co-founder Moxie Marlinspike. Signal usage has skyrocketed since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, on May 25. Marlinspike also said his organization is working to deliver face coverings to protesters. Sean Lyngaas has the details.


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Expanding cybersecurity capabilities with AI tools

Public and private sector enterprises need to consider expanding their use of AI-augmented cybersecurity tools to better defend their networks and assets. As the range of cyberthreats continues to expand – and organizations remain hard-pressed to hire enough talent to keep up – cyber leaders from Deloitte recommend that executives explore AI tools to help assess and automate their security posture. Listen to the conversation.


A new Java ransomware family arrives

BlackBerry and KPMG’s UK Cyber Response Services uncovered a new ransomware strain that uses an obscure file format to avoid detection. After researchers conducted forensic investigations at a European educational institution, they uncovered that attackers had gained access to the unnamed institution through an internet-connected remote desktop server, according to the Blackberry Research and Intelligence Team. The malware, known as Tycoon, is highly targeted and has affected only approximately a dozen victims. Shannon explains.


Small Business Administration caught foreign adversaries

Amid the Small Business Administration’s early struggles with its system for coronavirus relief loans, the agency was able to quickly identify and block North Korean, Chinese and Russian accounts making bogus applications for coronavirus relief loans, officials say. The agency moved to the cloud three years ago but didn’t realize just how powerful its cloud cybersecurity tools were until it deployed them against foreign adversaries, according to Guy Cavallo, deputy chief information officer. “We’ll make an exception if there’s an American businessperson traveling abroad,” he said. “But our overseas warning, when we turned it on, went off like a Christmas tree.” Dave Nyczepir has more at FedScoop.


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Just one more link before we move the mattress.


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