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08/12/2020
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Security researchers uncover a content farm hawking fake coronavirus cures. A Citrix vulnerability could let hackers steal sensitive corporate data. And more questions about Tor security. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, August 12.

Partisan headlines help scammers spread COVID-19 ripoffs

A network of content farm websites — the kind of sites that typically publish false hyperpartisan articles — are masquerading as legitimate news sites as part of an attempt to scam Americans, according to research published by RiskIQ. By posting what appeared to be inflammatory news articles with headlines like “One Mom Has Found a Solution to Fight Back Coronavirus,” fraudsters aim to bring a would-be victim to their website, then inundate them with ads for expensive, and fake virus cures. Jeff Stone has the report.


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Citrix grapples with another critical bug

Citrix, the corporate software vendor with clients in the Fortune 500, has urged customers to patch a new set of vulnerabilities its mobile-networking product. The Florida-based company has endured a bruising 2020 in terms of exploits for its software. It took a month to patch a serious bug revealed in December. But Citrix says it gave customers an early warning this time, and that many have patched. Sean Lyngaas has more details.


Facebook's hate speech removals more than doubled

Facebook scrubbed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech — defined as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, slurs or calls for exclusion or segregation — from its platform, up from 9.6 million pieces of content in the first three months of the year. The uptick coincided with the removal of 14 networks that Facebook associated with “hate and/or white supremacist groups” such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Proud Boys and avowed neo-Nazi groups Atomwaffen and Blood & Honour. Jeff has more context.


Someone duped Twitter to spread racist disinfo

A verified Twitter account impersonating a top World Health Organization official recently alleged that the Trump administration was going to test a coronavirus vaccine on Black Americans without their knowledge or informed consent. The disinformation scheme originated in May with an account masquerading as Dr. Jaouad Mahjour, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), in the latest example of attackers trying to inflame existing tension in the U.S. over issues like vaccines and racism. Tweets included racist tropes against Black Americans, and implied that the U.S. had lobbied WHO to test its vaccines on prisoners, immigrants, and Black Americans. Shannon Vavra looks closer.


Cyber teachers learn a hard lesson

The SANS Institute, which trains cybersecurity professionals around the world, was hacked, resulting in the compromise of 28,000 records of personally identifiable information. The Maryland-based research and educational outfit said the breach was the result of a single phishing email sent to a SANS employee, which led to more than 500 of the organization’s emails being forwarded. The breached data included names, email addresses, and physical addresses — information submitted by attendees of a recent SANS virtual training event. Sean explains.


Hackers take over swath of Tor exit relays

At one point this spring, nearly a quarter of Tor exit relays were under the control of a single attacker, according to new research that underscores the challenges of securing the anonymizing software. “So far, 2020 is probably the worst year in terms of malicious Tor exit relay activity since I started monitoring it about five years ago,” the researcher, known as nusenu, wrote. A more concerted effort needs to be made to beat back the manipulation of Tor exit relays, the researcher argued. Sean has more.


Air Force re-considers bug bounty plan

The Air Force has long said that it wants to enlist more ethical hackers to help harden the security of its space assets, and now it’s turning that into a reality. To work more closely with white hat hackers, the Air Force is rethinking how it classifies systems and if there is a way to open up some of their basic code to the inspection of the greater cybersecurity community, said Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. The move comes after researchers probed military and satellite systems at the annual DEF CON security conference. Jackson Barnett digs in at FedScoop.


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