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09/21/2020
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The FBI talks about "maximum impact on the adversary," beyond just arresting cybercrime suspects. TikTok and WeChat are still here. And CISA issues a rare alert to federal agencies. This is CyberScoop for Monday, September 21.

FBI: Here’s how we’re trying to expose more foreign hackers

The Department of Justice has been indicting foreign hackers for years, but that has arguably done little to deter them. Now, the FBI is making clear that it wants to see more results from its pursuit of computer operatives. “Whatever it is that’s going to cause maximum impact on the adversary, that’s what the goal is,” the FBI’s Tonya Ugoretz told CyberScoop. That could mean handing off investigative data to Cyber Command for offensive operations, or working more closely with an ally to make an arrest. Success will mean changing foreign spies’ behavior, which is a tall task. Sean Lyngaas spoke with Ugoretz.


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Indictments flow freely

Speaking of federal indictments, last week was full of them, with an emphasis on activity allegedly backed by Iran: Two Iranian men were charged with hacks that U.S. prosecutors said were part of the country's retaliation for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. An Iranian trio was accused of trying to steal critical data from U.S. aerospace and satellite companies. And two other men allegedly ran an espionage operation against U.S. institutions while separately making money from hacking on the side. Of course, China and Russia appeared on the Department of Justice's blotter, too. Seven suspected hackers, including two Chinese nationals, were indicted in connection with a global hacking campaign. And two Russians were charged with scamming people out of cryptocurrency. Catch up here.


TikTok and WeChat are still in your app store

As of Friday night, the conventional wisdom was that TikTok and WeChat were lame ducks in the U.S., as the Commerce Department was set to enforce a ban on both products in app stores, in the name of national security. After a flurry of activity over the weekend, both China-based apps were still available on Monday morning. TikTok's reprieve came through a last-minute deal that will transfer some of the social media platform's U.S. ownership to Oracle and Walmart. WeChat, meanwhile, won an injunction from a federal judge who said the Trump administration's moves against the messaging app probably went too far. Joe Warminsky has more.


CISA makes it a long weekend for federal CIOs

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Friday issued its fourth-ever emergency order requiring agencies across the federal government to address a severe security issue. This time it’s a flaw in the Netlogon protocol that Microsoft employs to authenticate users on a domain. The availability of exploits and the broad use of the affected software in the government gave CISA officials no other choice but to issue the order, they said. CISA gave agencies until Monday to patch the bug. Sean has more.


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