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What happened after a hacker accessed systems at a water treatment facility. A large video game developer says it was breached. And a tool that targeted Android users in Bangladesh raises some questions. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.

About that water treatment hack

Keep calm and read on as we track the news that an unidentified hacker broke into the computer system of a Florida town’s water treatment plant and temporarily changed the sodium hydroxide setting to a potentially dangerous level. The incident didn’t cause any harm to public health, but it raises big questions about remote networking practices at industrial facilities. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

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A breach of 'Cyberpunk 2077' game developer

The bad news for Polish video game company CD Projekt has been mostly self-inflicted over the past couple of months, as it faced widespread criticism for its buggy rollout of "Cyberpunk 2077," a much-hyped title. On Tuesday the company said it took a hit from the outside. A hack exposed data and encrypted some devices, CD Projekt said, and the intruders were holding the data for ransom. The company assured customers that their personal information was not part of the breach, and it said it would not give in to the attackers' demands. Joe Warminsky has the details.

When spying and stealing are hard to distinguish

The cybersecurity industry likes to think of hackers as either spies or financially motivated criminals, but there’s plenty of activity in between. A new Android spying tool discovered by Talos is the latest example. The researchers are entertaining theories on whether it’s a hack-for-hire operation, or something less bespoke. The research hints at a bustling underground market for spying kits that are difficult to trace. Sean has more.

A view into the motivations of ransomware hackers

While ransomware is fundamentally a financial crime, an interview published by Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group shows that ransomware actors are also motivated by resentment, a desire to be noticed and an appetite for new vulnerabilities. The subject of the interview, known only as “Aleks,” is believed to be a user of the LockBit malware, which emerged last year. Aleks appears to be a university-educated Russian man who taught himself cybersecurity skills, and he told Talos he turned to ransomware because his attempts to warn companies that their websites were unsecured were ignored. Still, Talos found that for all of Aleks' claims of resentment, illicit financial gain was a big motivator. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed dives in.

IBM wants to help schools tackle ransomware

IBM plans to distribute $3 million worth of in-kind grants to public school districts around the country in an effort to help the education sector defend itself from ransomware attacks. The announcement of the new program, which will be parceled out among six school systems that the company will choose later this spring, comes as the ransomware threat against schools only worsens. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security estimate that 57% of all ransomware attacks reported last August and September targeted K-12 organizations. Ben has this one at EdScoop.

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