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Under President Biden, the FBI and other agencies are still spending on facial recognition tech, despite various warnings. Florida has a new CISO with Fort Meade experience. And researchers connect a botnet with a cryptojacker. This is CyberScoop for January 10.

Federal spending on facial recognition isn’t slowing down under Biden

Federal law enforcement spending on facial recognition technology has surpassed $7 million since June of 2021, according to procurement records. That includes the FBI's recent, first public contract with controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI. The spending comes after a government watchdog warned agencies about unchecked use of the technologies. Privacy advocates and members of Congress have also expressed concerns, given the technology's known inaccuracies. Tonya Riley has the news.

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Cyber Command veteran takes Florida state CISO job

Jeremy Rodgers, a longtime tech industry professional and veteran of U.S. Cyber Command, is the Florida state government’s new chief information security officer. Rodgers joins the Florida Digital Service at a time when it has struggled to hold onto key personnel, including many cybersecurity staff who’ve quit six-figure salaries in recent months. Rodgers spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including a stint at Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Maryland, where he served as an operations mission lead, according to a press release from Florida Chief Information Officer James Grant. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

New details about the Abcbot botnet

U.K.-based cyber-incident response company Cado Security says there’s a link between an emerging botnet called Abcbot and cryptojacking malware known as Xanthe. “Once we began comparing analysis of malware samples from both campaigns, similarities within the code and feature-sets of both malware families became apparent too,” writes Cado researcher Matt Muir. Abcbot typically spreads through vulnerabilities at cloud service providers such as Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba Cloud, while Xanthe is known for surreptitiously mining Monero cryptocurrency. It appears that the threat actor behind both pieces of malware might be shifting its objective, however, “from mining cryptocurrency on compromised hosts to activities more traditionally associated with botnets, such as DDoS attacks,” Muir writes. Read the research.

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