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Ahoy, says the National Security Council. What is Singapore doing with COVID-19 contact tracing apps? And there's a new kind of general in the Army Reserve. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2020.

Maritime cyber is on the White House's mind

The National Security Council was preparing to issue a cybersecurity update to the U.S. government’s national maritime security strategy Tuesday, multiple senior administration officials told CyberScoop. The update will prompt federal agencies to develop more streamlined cybersecurity standards for organizations in the maritime transportation system (MTS), promote more information-sharing and prompt the U.S. government to establish maritime cybersecurity-focused workforce programs. The plan represents a recognition that there are gaps in maritime security with potentially great consequences for the economy and the military's force projection, officials said. Shannon Vavra had the news first.

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Singapore police try to trace crooks with COVID apps

Contact-tracing apps have been a privacy and security concern for some researchers since the onset of COVID-19. Monday brought one of the more dramatic examples of those tensions when a Singaporean government official said the island country’s COVID-19-tracking app was fair game for police to use in criminal investigations. Will other governments follow suit? Sean Lyngaas has the story.

Army Reserve now has a cyber general

Newly promoted Brig. Gen. Robert Powell will serve as a deputy commanding general of cyber for the 335th Signal Command, specializing in overseeing the unit’s cyber activities, according to the Army. The assignment makes him the first "cyber general" for the reserves. Army officials say the promotion sends a clear message to the troops that there are paths to advancement beyond taking combat commands. Powell has a long history in the Army Signal Corps and cyber-related units. Jackson Barnett has more at FedScoop.

North Korea’s latest intrusions

Hackers linked to North Korea's government are continuing their effort to break into entities working on coronavirus-related research, according to Kaspersky. In the latest incident, the hackers have zeroed in on a pharmaceutical company and a government health-focused entity, according to research published last month. They're suspected to be part of the government-backed hacking team known as Lazarus Group. In recent months, North Korean hackers have reportedly gone after Johnson & Johnson and Novavax; three South Korean-based firms; and U.K.-based AstraZeneca. Shannon has the details.

DHS to industry: Watch your data in China

With all eyes on the suspected Russian hacking operation involving SolarWinds, the Department of Homeland Security is telling U.S. companies not to sleep on the threat from China. A 15-page DHS advisory to industry, issued Dec. 22, cautions that Chinese intelligence services could collect and exploit data held by U.S. firms doing business in China, highlighting longstanding concerns from U.S. officials. Sean has more.

Finnish lawmakers get hit

Hackers gained access to the Finnish Parliament’s IT system in recent months in an incident that allowed them to access to some emails belonging to members of Parliament, Finnish police announced last month. The perpetrators “have been able to obtain information either to benefit a foreign state or to harm Finland” investigators said. National legislatures are perennial targets of nation-state hackers — just a few months ago, Norwegian officials blamed Russian military hackers for a similar incident. Shannon was on the case.

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