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01/15/2021
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WorkScoop
The Department of Homeland Security is sick of online advertising, though not just because it's annoying. Law enforcement warns that Capitol rioters are safeguarding their plans from snooping. And Amazon's Ring adds data protection as other questions mount. This is CyberScoop for Friday, January 15.

CISA endorses ad blockers for federal agencies

CISA offered a guide to federal agencies for combatting "malvertising," whereby hackers implant malware into otherwise innocuous advertisements. Top on the list: ad blockers, even if they're not a silver bullet. The NSA recommended ad blockers for agencies previously, too. CISA said agencies should also consider standardizing web browser usage and isolating browsers from operating systems. Tim Starks has a guide to the guide.


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Feds track rioters’ move to encrypted apps

Law enforcement officials say a crackdown on the Capitol Hill rioters will leave extremists searching for more secure ways of communicating. And investigators worry that the Jan. 6 insurrection could serve as “a significant driver of violence” in the coming months. A Jan. 13 intelligence bulletin obtained by CyberScoop lays out a cat-and-mouse game between authorities and extremists, and tech could play a big part in the chase. Sean Lyngaas has the low-down.


More security drama at Ring

Ring announced earlier this week it will begin protecting the data that travels through its cameras with end-to-end encryption, which will keep videos from being seen by unwanted third parties while streaming to customers’ devices. Meanwhile, TechCrunch on Thursday reported that the company’s companion application, Neighbors, has been exposing some users’ location and home addresses. It’s the latest signal that while Ring markets its devices as a way to boost neighborhoods’ and customers’ safety, researchers have routinely accused the company of degrading customers’ security and privacy for years. Read more, via Shannon Vavra.


An ISIS hacker heads back to the slammer

Since 2016, Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovan national, has been serving a 20-year prison sentence for providing details about 1,300 U.S. military and government personnel to the Islamic State terrorist group. A judge in December awarded Ferizi, who is overweight and has asthma, compassionate release, citing his vulnerability to COVID-19. That was until the U.S. Department of Justice on Jan. 12 unsealed a federal complaint against Ferizi alleging that he had committed multiple new federal crimes while he had been in prison. Jeff Stone has an update.


Scammers exploited unemployment for fraud

Hackers have feasted on a widely used unemployment insurance program designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it one of the single biggest targets for cybercrime in 2020, according to Recorded Future. Researchers say the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — implemented to support freelance and gig workers — quickly became one of the most frequently mentioned targets on dark web forums shortly after it was created last March. “To be able to conduct this fraud, you don’t need to have a high skill set,” said Recorded Future’s Parker Crucq, who conducted the research. Benjamin Freed covered the news at StateScoop.


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