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12/17/2019
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Hackers have spent a year trying to access a Cambodian government network. Will Silicon Valley listen to disinformation warnings in time to protect the integrity of 2020 election? And a Russian hacker prepares to plead guilty. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, December 17.

These Chinese spies are determined to hack the Cambodian government

The Chinese government has long flexed its military and economic power in Southeast Asia. New data from Palo Alto Networks is a reminder of the role that hacking plays in China’s power projection in the region. A China-linked espionage group known as Rancor has been trying to hack an unnamed Cambodian government organization over the last year, apparently without success. While the target has blocked the malware at every turn, Palo Alto Networks researchers say they expect Rancor to continue trying to infiltrate the network because the information inside is just so valuable. Sean Lyngaas had the news first.


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DNC wants a word or two with Silicon Valley

The Democratic National Committee is calling on Facebook, Twitter, and Google to step up efforts to stifle disinformation on their platforms before the 2020 presidential elections. DNC recommendations range from the platforms promoting credible news outlets to preventing the automated spread of disinformation. The DNC is also calling on firms to take a harder line against state-backed media, and to enhance the research community’s ability to understand political disinformation. Shannon Vavra has more context.


Russian hacker to plead guilty in tax scam

U.S. prosecutors charged Anton Bogdanov, known online as “Kusok,” with computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft and related charges for alleged activity between June 2014 and November 2016. Bogdanov and a team of associates used information purloined from hacked computers at American tax firms to change clients’ personal information, according to an indictment made public in April. Now, he's preparing to plead guilty, and likely will avoid the 27-year sentence he would face if convicted on all counts. Jeff Stone has the court documents.


Venmo not working? This might be why.

Customers from Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank have complained in recent months that they no longer can transfer funds to their Venmo accounts. The change disrupted financial transfers, and has resulted in a public back-and-forth between Venmo and the bank. Venmo has told users to tweet complaints at PNC. In turn, PNC has encouraged frustrated customers to move to Zelle, a Venmo competitor operated by a network of banks. PNC customers still can use Venmo by manually entering their account information. But the dustup demonstrates the power major firms like PNC Bank have to influence other, smaller firms throughout their supply chain to harden defenses, or even just change their behavior, in the name of stronger security. Jeff rounds up the news.


Tenable hires former ICS security chief at DHS

Tenable, a Maryland-based cybersecurity company, has hired Marty Edwards, an industrial control system (ICS) security expert, as vice president of OT security. The hiring of Edwards, who spent years as the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS security unit, is part of a Tenable’s push in the industrial cybersecurity space. Before his post at DHS, Edwards was part of a team at the Idaho National Laboratory that designed the seminal 2007 “Aurora” experiment, which showed how 21 lines of computer code could cripple a power generator. That demonstration raised more awareness in the industry of the risk of destructive cyberattacks on control systems. More details.


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