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Read our exclusive report about identity verification company ID.me. Researchers pin down some of the unique features of BlackCat ransomware. And the Biden administration has its eye on the ICS of water utilities. This is CyberScoop for January 27.

ID.me or ID.many?

Identity verification company ID.me uses a type of powerful facial recognition that searches for individuals within mass databases of photos, CEO Blake Hall admitted in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday. The post is a backtrack on the company’s previously adamant claims it used a simpler version called 1:1 face match, similar to what your iPhone uses. Privacy advocates say that both versions of facial recognition pose a threat to consumers. The IRS recently announced ID.me would be taking over verification for its online credentials. Tonya Riley has the scoop.

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Unpacking the rise of BlackCat ransomware

BlackCat, a new ransomware family, popped up in mid-November 2021 and in just about a month became among the most prolific ransomware threats around. That's according to new analysis from Palo Alto Network's Unit 42 threat intelligence group, which looked at the particulars of BlackCat's proliferation, such as a high rate of return for affiliates (80% to 90%) and highly customizable and efficient code written in Rust (a first for ransomware in the wild). The group is typical of ransomware groups in other ways, though, such as employing double extortions (stealing data and holding it ransom while also posting data to pressure targets), and targets that span industries and multiple countries, suggesting an opportunistic approach. AJ Vicens reports.

Biden administration presses water sector to improve ICS security

A voluntary Biden administration initiative to improve industrial control system security is coming to the water sector, where such systems automate treatment, storage and distribution of the household necessity. The electricity sector and pipelines previously participated in the initiative, wherein the administration presses participants to adopt ICS security tech. In the case of the water sector, the lead agency on cybersecurity risk is the Environmental Protection Agency and it lacks the authority some other agencies do to compel action via regulation. But there's little doubt of the need for the water sector to shape up. “There is absolutely inadequate cyber resilience across the water sector,” a senior administration official said. Tim Starks dives in.

DOJ locks up two in DeepDotWeb, Dark Overlord cases

Two foreigners accused of cybercrime are headed to prison after pleading guilty to federal charges. The Department of Justice made two separate announcements Wednesday: Israeli citizen Tal Prihar got more than eight years on accusations of money laundering related to DeepDotWeb, a website that took kickbacks from dark web marketplaces. And Canadian citizen Slava Dmitriev will spend three years behind bars on charges of trafficking in stolen identities and collaborating with the Dark Overlord, a high-profile cyber-extortion group. Joe Warminsky has more on the DeepDotWeb case and the Dark Overlord prosecution.


How state and local agencies benefit from working with MSPs

State and local IT agencies have been prime targets for cyberthreat actors over the last year. Finding the right cyber skills to help combat emerging threats is still a mission-critical challenge for most organizations. John Zanni, CEO at Acronis SCS, spoke with CyberScoop recently to discuss the benefits of working with IT managed service providers to meet those challenges. Hear more from Zanni. 

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