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A self-styled hacktivist group says it's back. What can we take away from Russia's "IPB" in Ukraine? And the tech giants make moves to counter disinformation and propaganda. This is CyberScoop for March 1.

More claims from the Cyber Partisans

The Belarusian Cyber Partisans — a hacktivist group that has been targeting that country's autocratic regime since September 2020 — announced it had attacked the Belarusian Railways for the second time in a month, again with the hope of slowing down the movement of Russian military assets. It was unclear how successful the attack was, but one thing was clear: It was just the latest in what has become a chaotic scene with respect to hacktivists and ambiguous hacking efforts complicating an already intense and deadly situation. AJ Vicens reports.

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Russia's insights into Ukraine's critical infrastructure offer lessons elsewhere

“Intelligence preparation of the battlefield,” or IPB, is what military professionals do to scope the lay of the land — both physical and virtual — before taking on their target full bore. It’s what Russia had been doing in and to Ukraine with special knowledge of its critical infrastructure before launching fuller-scale operations, and it has ramifications for other parts of the world, write Frank Cilluffo and Sharon Cardash of the McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure at Auburn University. "America and its allies must double down on efforts to deepen resilience both within and without," the pair write. Read the op-ed.

Social media giants get a bit more active on Russian trickery

Under pressure from policymakers, online platforms are taking more steps in recent days to battle Russian propaganda, hacking attempts and disinformation related to the Ukraine war. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, took down approximately 40 fake accounts, and both Facebook and Google said they were countering phishing from the hacking organization known as Ghostwriter that has connections to Russia and Belarus. Those two entities as well as Twitter and Microsoft also have been taking steps to demonetize Russian state-run media. Tim Starks runs it down.

Daxin is definitely not relaxin'

Cybersecurity researchers said Monday that a previously unidentified backdoor is part of “a long-running espionage campaign against select governments and other critical infrastructure targets,” most of them being of strategic interest to China. The malicious program, dubbed Daxin, "isn’t really comparable to any other strains of China-linked malware in our opinion. It’s on another level,” according to Dick O’Brien, principal editor for the Symantec Threat Intelligence Team. Joe Warminsky reports.

A potentially ‘incomplete experiment’ on zero trust

Federal zero-trust policy so far is “a collection of disjointed technical security projects” but should be a “national imperative,” according to a report from the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. So far the move to zero trust architecture in federal networks is an “incomplete experiment,” the panel said. President Biden tasked NSTAC with conducting a three-part study into enhancing internet resilience at the same time he issued the Cybersecurity Executive Order in May 2021. Dave Nyczepir has more at FedScoop.

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