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04/27/2021
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The feds are outing yet more Russian intel hacking methods. Apple is grappling with hackers' security workaround. And average ransomware payout demands are up. This is CyberScoop for April 27, 2021.

The SVR is really on U.S. officials’ minds

We’re starting to see a pattern. Days after blaming Russia’s SVR intelligence agency for the so-called SolarWinds campaign, the Biden administration has dropped yet another detailed report on hacking tools allegedly used by the Russian spies. The latest report accuses Russian agents of using fake identities and cryptocurrency to cover their tracks. Most notably, the FBI says it saw the SVR shift to targeting cloud services in 2018, well before the first signs of SolarWinds exploitation emerged. Sean Lyngaas has the details.


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Hackers exploit ‘dangerous’ MacOS bug

Apple has been working for years to protect users from bad applications and developers seeking to exploit unsuspecting users and target them with malware. But hackers recently found a workaround that circumvents even the latest MacOS protections and have been exploiting the flaw, according to researchers. Apple pushed an update Monday to address the issue, which allowed hackers to get past Apple’s various methods of keeping bad code from users, such as Gatekeeper, File Quarantine or its application notarization review process. Shannon Vavra has the skinny.


Ransomware gangs’ greed on display

The average demand for a digital extortion payment increased in the first quarter of this year to $220,298, up 43% from the previous quarter, according to a quarterly report from Coveware. The majority of ransomware attacks in the first quarter also involved theft of corporate data, a continuation of a trend of ransomware actors increasingly relying on exfiltration and extortion demands, the report says. But in what is likely to be welcome news for law enforcement officials, some ransomware groups appeared to encounter problems in their attack campaigns and running “criminal enterprise at scale” in the first quarter, according to Coveware. Shannon has the breakdown.


Capital's cops compromised

Files belonging to the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department appeared Monday on a leak site affiliated with the recently discovered Babuk ransomware. According to screenshots, the files appear to include incident reports, arrest records, internal memos and other documents shared with other agencies. The FBI is investigating the incident, though the department has not said if any internal IT systems were affected. Babuk, which was first detected in January, has "improved a lot" in its ability to target organizations in just a few months, said Recorded Future intelligence analyst Allan Liska. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed scooped this one.


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