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03/25/2021
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Facebook says China-based hackers are going after Uighurs abroad. States say social media firms need to improve on coronavirus misinformation. And insurer CNA was breached. This is CyberScoop for March 25, 2021.

Suspected Chinese hacking of Uighurs continues

Facebook just outlined a multiyear hacking campaign in which China-based hackers posed as activists and journalists to breach mobile phones belonging to Uighur Muslims, a population that Beijing has subjected to intense monitoring. Facebook didn’t point the finger at the Chinese government, but the documentation builds on years of evidence that Chinese state actors are aggressively surveilling one of the country’s Muslim minorities. Two Chinese technology firms allegedly served as front companies in the operation. Sean Lyngaas reports.


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State AGs drill Facebook, Twitter

A group of 12 state attorneys general urged Facebook and Twitter to do more to curtail vaccine misinformation. “Misinformation disseminated via your platforms has increased vaccine hesitancy, which will slow economic recovery and, more importantly, ultimately cause even more unnecessary deaths,” the group of attorneys general wrote. While Facebook and Twitter have been making step-by-step efforts to limit fabricated narratives, such efforts are not enough, the attorneys general say, citing the figure that just 12 accounts and their associated groups are responsible for 65% of the misinformation on vaccines on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Shannon Vavra breaks it down.


CNA cyberattack knocks website, email offline

Insurance giant CNA was hit by a cyberattack that forced it to disconnect its systems from its networks, the company said. CNA is one of the nation's top providers of cybersecurity insurance. The company said it would let policyholders know if the hackers got ahold of their data. That would be the "nightmare scenario," said Coalition CEO Joshua Motta, as it would give the culprits insight that they could use as leverage for ransomware attacks. As of Thursday morning, CNA's website still only displayed a message about the incident. Tim Starks has the news.


Myanmar citizens navigate government web restrictions post-coup

Myanmar citizens and pro-democracy groups have migrated to the dark web and "fringe communications platforms" in a bid to subvert government restrictions and censorship during the military coup there, according to Recorded Future's Insikt Group. In a report out Thursday, the cyber firm also said hactivist groups are trying to inform the populace about alternative technologies circumvent government controls. The government has cracked down on social media usage since the Feb. 1 government takeover. Read the full analysis.


Why foreign hackers pose as boring tech firms

That apparent Chinese spies used front companies to target people around the world isn’t particularly new. But professional hackers who already try to hide their activity through an array of technical means now seem to be trying on more corporate disguises, by creating fictional firms or working as government contractors to boost their legitimacy. Hackers in China and Iran are using that kind of camouflage to increase their reach, the Justice Department said in a flurry of indictments last year. It’s an old tactic pioneered by FIN7, a hacking crew previously blamed for more $1 billion in theft. Jeff Stone broke it all down.


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