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10/05/2021
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WorkScoop
The downtime on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp wasn't as nefarious at it seemed. Rep. Katko proposes a plan to identify especially important critical infrastructure. And it looks like Chinese hackers are posing as Indian government entities. This is CyberScoop for October 5, 2021.

Facebook blames networking issues, not a cyberattack for long downtime

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp largely returned to the internet late Monday following a six hour-long outage that outsiders suggested, without evidence, was the result of a cyberattack. In an Oct. 4 statement, the company apologized for the long downtime, blaming the matter on networking issues. Configuration changes “on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers” interrupted communication, Facebook said, causing a “cascading effect” that disrupted the flow of communication. Still, observers falsely suggested the outage was somehow related to a series of revelations about the company's dishonesty, or the evidence of a large hack. Jeff Stone has the latest.


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House 'SICI' bill debuts

The top GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee, New York's John Katko, released his legislative spin on identifying and protecting the nation's most vital digital critical infrastructure. Katko, along with Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., introduced a bill directing CISA to designate what should be labeled "systemically important critical infrastructure" and prioritize the agency's protective services for those owners and operators. The "SICI" idea was a Cyberspace Solarium Commission recommendation, but unlike that proposal, Katko's bill imposes no "burdens" on companies like potential cybersecurity standards. Tim Starks has been tracking the issue.


Suspected Chinese hackers masqueraded as Indian government

An increasingly active Chinese government-linked hacking group impersonated Indian government agencies with phishing lures related to COVID-19 statistics and tax legislation, researchers say. It was the continuation of a campaign that dates to the earliest days of the pandemic, Blackberry said in a blog post Tuesday. The company tied together several threads of operations by APT41, a joint cyber-espionage and cybercrime organization that investigators have repeatedly tied to Beijing and that Blackberry said was responsible for the India-themed phishing bait. The permutation targeting India preyed on the same fears that hacking groups began seizing on  after the coronavirus outbreak. Tim has more.


FISMA bill would require agencies to notify Congress of breaches within 5 days

A bill to overhaul the Federal Information Security Modernization Act would require leaders of U.S. government agencies to notify Congress of cyber breaches within five days of an incident occurring. The proposal is part of wide-ranging proposed legislation issued Monday by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Other notable measures in the draft bill include the requirement that agency leaders carry out an initial analysis of an incident — and where necessary inform citizens that their data has been compromised — within 30 days. It also mandates that federal IT leaders provide a briefing on the threat within seven days. John Hewitt Jones looks closer at FedScoop.


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