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09/16/2022
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Sen. Ron Wyden reveals Customs officials are hoarding Americans' phone records. Uber hack exposes corporate security weaknesses. And a notorious Anonymous hacker says Canadian police took his stuff. This is CyberScoop for Sept. 16.

What Customs officials want with your phone data

Customs and Border Protection is conducting warrantless searches of the phones and other electronic devices of up to 10,000 Americans each year and uploading information from those devices to a massive government database, according to information shared by the agency with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The database, which retains records for up to 15 years, includes text messages, call logs, contact lists, photos and other sensitive records, according to a letter from Wyden’s office to the agency Tuesday. “Innocent Americans should not be tricked into unlocking their phones and laptops,” Wyden said in a press release accompanying the letter. Tonya Riley reports.


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Pointing fingers after the Uber hack

In the wake of the Uber hack, allegedly by an 18-year-old who claimed he pwned the company because it had weak security, the conversation in infosec circles quickly centered on how it could possibly have been so easy to compromise one of the world’s most valuable tech companies.The attacker told Corben Leo, a researcher and developer, that they gained access to a privileged access management tool which, when queried, revealed the credentials for the range of services. That relative ease, according to a range of experts sharing initial opinions online, shows that this is a structural systems problem, not a problem at the individual employee level. AJ Vicens reports.


Boasting about hacks on TikTok may have consequences

Over the past year, Aubrey Cottle developed a sizable TikTok following for his flashy hacking videos and clips promoting operations by the hacktivist collective Anonymous against the Ukraine war. Cottle, a Canadian who goes by the online handle “Kirtaner,” helped popularize Anonymous more than a decade ago when the loosely affiliated group gained notoriety for its Guy Fawkes masks, online antics and hacks. Now, he’s something of a new face of a resurgent Anonymous via his TikTok channel where he has nearly 40,000 followers. But his brash claims of hacking may have caught up to Cottle, who said this week that he was homeless and needs money to pay his attorney after being raided by Canadian police. AJ has this one, too.


Cyber grant program kicks off

Ten months after the passage of its $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending law, the Biden administration on Friday launched a $1 billion grant program for state and local cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security published its notice of funding opportunity for the grants, announcing a 60-day application window for states and territories to submit their plans for the four-year program. Administration officials said the grants will be overseen by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in tandem with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has long distributed DHS funds to states and localities. Benjamin Freed has the story in FedScoop.


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