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11/01/2019
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FOIA documents show how a Utah-based renewable energy firm responded to a cyberattack. An accused Russian cybercriminal is poised to face charges in the U.S. And Chrome users should update their browsers when the next software comes out. This is CyberScoop for Friday, November 1.

More on a first-of-its-kind cyberattack in the U.S. energy sector

Eight months after the fact, the victim of a new kind of cyberattack in the U.S. power industry has been revealed. Public documents show that sPower, a Utah renewable energy firm that operates in multiple states, suffered a denial-of-service attack in March. The attack kept sPower’s operators from communicating with dozens of generation sites for five minutes at different times throughout the day of March 5. While the attack didn’t affect sPower’s power generation, it shows how generic software flaws that affect multiple industries can impact utilities. Documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and shared with CyberScoop reveal how Department of Energy officials and sPower executives responded to the incident. Sean Lyngaas has the story.


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Russian at center of geopolitical scandal to be extradited

An accused Russian cybercriminal arrested in Israel four years ago is scheduled to be extradited to the U.S. despite ongoing efforts by the Kremlin to bring him home. Israeli Justice Minister Amir Ohana signed an order on Wednesday to send Aleksey Burkov, 29, to the U.S. to face hacking-related charges in a Virginia court, Haaretz first reported. As the extradition request moved forward, Russian authorities arrested an Israeli woman, Naama Issachar, for allegedly carrying marijuana in a Moscow airport earlier this year. Russian state media suggested in October the Kremlin would swap Issachar in exchange for Burkov. A Russian court ultimately sentenced the 26-year-old woman to more than seven years in prison, a punishment her family described as “inhumane” and as retribution for Burkov’s detention. Jeff Stone has the context.


Keep an eye out for a big Chrome update, coming soon

Google will release an updated version of the Chrome browser that fixes a vulnerability which hackers were using to target unwitting users. Engineers said in a blog post Thursday that the "stable channel" desktop Chrome browser would be updated in "the coming days/weeks" to account for a flaw reported on Oct. 29 by two Kaspersky researchers. This Chrome update "addresses vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit to take control of an affected system," the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency said in an advisory. Few other details were immediately available. The update also adjusts the popular Chrome browser to fend off a "use-after-free" bug that exploits memory corruption to escalate privileges on an infected system. Here's the blog post.


Happy Halloween, from Russian crooks

A Russian-speaking hacking group known as TA505, best known for distributing the Locky ransomware, was up to new tricks on Halloween. Researchers from cybersecurity company ZeroFOX found a malware-laced Microsoft Xcel file a few days ago hosted on a website that referenced the holiday. The hackers were spoofing Sync, a file-hosting website, to trick users into downloading the malware, which posed as a Halloween invitation. Some people just celebrate Halloween differently. Read the findings.


Marriott warns about exposed data

Marriott is mailing out data breach notifications to alert its "associates" about an incident involving data on at least 1,552 people. The hotel chain said it learned on Sept. 4 that "an unknown person" accessed data about "certain Marriott associates" by accessing the network of an outside vendor used in the past by Marriott. The hotel didn't identify the vendor. This disclosure comes after Marriott last year announced a data breach at Starwood hotel properties included some 383 million customer records. The latest letter is online.


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