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More hardware is targeted by a Sandworm-backed botnet. Emotet's operators have spiffed up their IRS-themed phishing. And an auto parts supplier confirms that it suffered a cyberattack. This is CyberScoop for March 17.

When you see that CyclopsBlink / That can only mean one thing

Botnet activity linked last month to Russian nation-state hackers has expanded to a second type of hardware, according to researchers at Trend Micro. The CyclopsBlink malware is now targeting routers from hardware maker ASUS, the researchers said Thursday, after first being discovered on Firebox devices from WatchGuard. Both manufacturers have issued security bulletins to customers. U.S. and U.K. cybersecurity agencies said in a major alert in February that CyclopsBlink was the Sandworm hacking group’s new tool for compromising internet-connected hardware. Joe Warminsky has the research.

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A hardy perennial

What would U.S. tax-preparation season be without alerts for IRS-themed scams? There are many types, but we’re mostly interested in the ones by notorious hacking groups. One of this year’s first warnings comes from cybersecurity company Cofense, which says the operators of the Emotet botnet are back with phishing emails that improve upon last year’s tactics. Joe Warminsky explains.

Automotive parts maker Denso hit with cyberattack

The automotive parts manufacturer Denso confirmed this week that a cyberattack had targeted company operations in Germany. The ransomware group Pandora took responsibility for the incident, posting Denso information on its leak site. Denso said production was uninterrupted and that it is working with local authorities and private cyber specialists to investigate the attack. The Denso breach is just the latest targeting of the auto parts industry. In late February, 14 of Toyota’s Japanese plants were forced to pause production after another parts supplier was the victim of a suspected cyberattack. Suzanne Smalley has the story.

House GOP: Why was Burkov set free?

Four leading House Republicans sent a letter to the White House this week asking why the Biden administration deported convicted cybercriminal Aleksei Burkov last year. "The decision to prematurely release Burkov is curious given the lengths to which the U.S. government went to secure Burkov’s arrest," the lawmakers wrote. "U.S. authorities pursued Burkov for years on hacking-related charges, including identity theft, wire fraud, computer intrusion, and money laundering." The Justice Department told CyberScoop: "Per [the Bureau of Prison's] calculation of Burkov’s sentence, as publicly reflected on its inmate locator database, Burkov’s term of imprisonment ended on Aug. 25, 2021. The Judge issued the sentence... and BOP calculated the release date, as they always do. He was transferred into ICE custody following his release from prison." Read the letter.

German agency 'forced to drop its principles,' Kaspersky says

Eugene Kaspersky has posted an "open letter" to the BSI, German's federal cybersecurity agency, criticizing it for advising German industry to drop Kaspersky cybersecurity products because of the potential for compromise by the Russian government. "It is sadly ironic that the organization advocating for objectivity, transparency, and technical competence — the very same values Kaspersky supported for years together with BSI and other European regulators and industry bodies — decided or was forced to drop its principles literally overnight," Kaspersky wrote. More from Kaspersky.

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