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No more facial recognition tech for the nation's tax collector. A Palestinian hacking group has upped its game, researchers say. And ODNI wants to be on the phones of first responders (for good reasons). This is CyberScoop for February 8.

IRS halts ID.me contract

The IRS is stopping its use of facial recognition technology to identify taxpayers' online accounts, Commissioner Charles Rettig announced Monday. The announcement comes after significant concerns from privacy and civil liberties advocates as well as more than a dozen lawmakers that handing over the biometric data of millions of Americans to a third-party company could pose serious privacy and security concerns. Neither the IRS or the vendor ID.me would comment on what happens to the data of the individuals who have already signed up, but ID.me previously said it keeps user data for 7.5 years after an account is closed. Privacy advocates tell CyberScoop they're now setting their sights on ending other federal contracts with ID.me. Tonya Riley has more.

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The MoleRATs have updated a primary tool

A Palestinian hacker group well known within information security circles is showing signs of upping its game, according to new research from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. The group — known variously as MoleRATs or TA402 — wages intelligence gathering and intrusion campaigns against targets around the world, but the latest research focuses on a series of operations in November and December 2021, and into January 2022. The group has developed a new piece of malware Proofpoint calls "NimbleMamba," which is a retooling of previous malware that the firm had researched and published in June 2021. The new malware was part of campaigns against an unnamed Middle East government, foreign policy think tanks and a state-affiliated airline. AJ Vicens has the latest.

ODNI gets in the app game

The National Counterterrorism Center has a new mobile application intended to give first responders and security professionals access to accurate information about ongoing incidents. The new application, called aCTknowledge, will be available on commercial app stores but will require users to login with their government email addresses. NCTC, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will deliver unclassified terrorism reports and alerts to responders’ phones, along with other vetted information. NCTC officials said it might also be used to gather reports from first responders in the field, too. John Hewitt Jones explains at FedScoop.

NOAA left ‘prime targets’ vulnerable, IG report says

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opened itself to cyberattacks by “inadequately” managing three active directories and failing to secure “prime targets” like user credentials, according to an audit from the Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General. The office found that the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, the National Weather Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service all had accounts with “excessive” privileges that were improperly managed, as well as “vulnerable” end-of-life systems running. FedScoop’s Dave Nyczepir has the story.

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