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05/17/2022
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Lawmakers are pressing privacy legislation in response to an expected Supreme Court ruling. The FBI says it nabbed a ransomware designer. And Ukraine makes accusations about Russian forces storming an internet service provider. This is CyberScoop for May 17.

Potential Roe reversal sparks privacy debate

Concerns about how women’s personal data will be weaponized to criminalize abortion have spurred Democrats in the House and Senate to renew a push for federal privacy legislation. “I think it's critically important that we get legislation finalized,” Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., told CyberScoop. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the situation of data brokers handing over information such as location data for visits to Planned Parenthood a “five-alarm crisis.” Privacy experts say that a federal privacy law won’t reduce all the potential risks of digital abortion surveillance, but that the law would be a step in the right direction. Tonya Riley reports.


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U.S. winning the race to quantum supremacy, White House official says

National Security Council cyber director Jonah Force Hill said Monday that the U.S. is beating China in the race to be first with a quantum computer. That achievement matters because quantum computers are likely to be able to break encryption, giving a big strategic edge to the winner, especially in defense and cybersecurity. The U.S. has a "huge competitive advantage" thanks to a culture of collaboration between industry and government, Hill said. He added that China lacks the "broad coalition working together that we do.” However, Gilman Louie, who co-founded and ran the CIA venture capital fund In-Q-Tel, said he considers the race to be a toss up between the U.S. and China, pointing out that little is known about where exactly the Chinese stand since it is a state secret. Suzanne Smalley writes.


FBI nabs Doctor Doom behind Thanos malware

The FBI announced charges Monday against a Venezuelan cardiologist whom the bureau said was moonlighting as a cybercriminal mastermind, both designing and using ransomware that he bragged was deployed by Iranian state-sponsored hackers. Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez sold and rented out his ransomware software, providing cybercriminals with extensive training on how to use his product and even set up their own ransomware gangs. One of his tools, titled “Thanos,” allowed users to create their own custom ransomware for a licensing fee of up to $800 a month. Another product, called “Jigsaw v. 2” had a built-in “Doomsday” counter feature that erased a victim’s hard drive after multiple attempts to remove the ransomware. Zagala faces up to ten years in prison. Another one from Tonya.


Russians allegedly storm Ukrainian ISP office demanding a switch to Russian networks

Russian forces burst into a Kherson, Ukraine Internet company, took its equipment offline and threatened to steal it if the company did not connect to Russian networks, the Ukrainian state communications agency said Friday. The incident comes on the heels of last week's announcement by Western countries that Russia is responsible for a major satellite broadband services hack in February. The Ukrainian State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection said the Kherson attack is a reminder that, "free access to information is a major threat to the enemy in the occupied territories of our country.” Suzanne has this one, too.


Tweet Of The Day

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It's all very unfortunate.


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