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11/09/2020
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Although advanced foreign hacking groups showed an interest in the U.S. elections, their agendas are much broader than American politics. We've got news about operations tied to Vietnam, North Korea and Russia. This is CyberScoop for Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

Vietnamese hackers get in on fake news

Suspected Vietnamese government-linked hackers are behind a series of fake news websites and Facebook pages meant to gather intelligence on victims and target them with malicious software, according to Volexity research published Friday. The operation, attributed to a group known as OceanLotus or APT32, appeared to be aimed at targets in Vietnam and across Southeast Asia, and sought to trick victims by blending legitimate news stories with ones that wold prompt targets to click through fake and malicious software updates. The campaign adds to a growing body of research that shows OceanLotus is steadily working on its targeting approach, researchers say. Shannon Vavra has the outlook.


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'Operation North Star' went after more targets, relied on new malware

An apparent North Korean government-linked cyber-espionage campaign targeting the defense industry proved more ambitious than previously believed when researchers uncovered it this summer, McAfee said. Operation North Star, alternately known as Operation Dream Job and the subject of a related warning from the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, went beyond South Korean targets and into Australia, India, Israel and Russia. The attackers also used a previously undiscovered kind of spyware dubbed Torisma. Tim Starks reviews the findings.


GCHQ reportedly goes after COVID-19 disinformation

Here's a sign that as U.S. agencies wind down their efforts to combat election-related disinformation, they already have a good idea what's next on the agenda: A top British spy agency is now actively trying to disrupt Russian disinformation about Western efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Times of London. The newspaper cites unnamed government sources who describe the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) effort as similar to its campaign against the digital operations of the Islamic State. U.S. agencies have made it clear that they are trying to protect vaccine research. Will they be targeting disinformation about it, too? Joe Warminsky has more.


Apple plugs zero-days found by Google

After Project Zero, Google’s elite team of security researchers, found three previously undisclosed vulnerabilities in iOS software, Apple urged its customers to apply patches. Two of the bugs affect the kernel, the core of the device’s operating system which handles interactions between hardware and software. It’s not the first time that Project Zero has unearthed critical iOS bugs that attackers were exploiting in the wild. Sean Lyngaas has more.


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Agencies learn that authenticators are key to modernization

As federal telework inspires movement to zero-trust models, agencies are figuring out what methods work best for them. In particular, government has greatly embraced the use of different kinds of authenticators to help identify users and control their network access, said Duo Security’s Bryan Rosensteel in a recent panel discussion hosted by Scoop News Group. He shares lessons learned from agency leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear more from Rosensteel.


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