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The latest on U.S. efforts to block sanctions evasion via crypto transactions. An update from the feds on satellite cybersecurity. And a warning from Google researchers about a financially motivated hacking group. This is CyberScoop for March 18.

Ukraine brings cryptocurrency scrutiny back into the spotlight

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and nine other Banking Committee members are moving ahead with draft legislation that would punish any cryptocurrency firms doing business with sanctioned Russians. Warren made the announcement at a Senate Banking hearing on virtual currencies where several senators expressed concerns that the technology could be used by Russians to avoid sanctions. But three of the witnesses testifying to the committee said those fears were overblown and pointed instead to the good cryptocurrency has done in getting donations to Ukraine. Tonya Riley has more.

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With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Feds say to look out for SATCOM hacks

CISA and the FBI warned Thursday about cyber threats to satellite communications networks. A Ukrainian official earlier this week said a cyberattack on modems used to communicate with Viasat Inc.'s KAT-SAT satellite led to a disruption of communications just before the Russian invasion. "Successful intrusions into SATCOM networks could create risk in SATCOM network providers’ customer environments," the CISA and FBI alert said. Tim Starks beams down the info.

‘Exotic Lily’ has tight Conti links, Google says

Researchers at Google’s Threat Analysis Group are tracking a financially motivated hacking group that appears to be closely affiliated with the Conti cybercrime organization. Dubbed “Exotic Lily,” the group is what’s known as an initial access broker — a crew specializing in gaining entry to high-value networks and selling that access to other cybercriminals. Up through November 2021 the group seemed focused on IT, cybersecurity and health care organizations, but more recently Exotic Lily has been targeting a wide variety of industries, the analysts say. AJ Vicens has the research.

A breach at TransUnion’s South Africa division

A “criminal third party” obtained access to servers belonging to TransUnion’s South Africa branch, the company says, and is holding the stolen data for ransom. The extortion demand, reportedly about $15 million in bitcoin, “will not be paid,” the credit bureau says. South African news site ITWeb reported that a group calling itself N4aughtysecTU, which claims to be be based in Brazil, is taking responsibility. Joe Warminsky explains.

Assistance for stalkerware victims

The Australian government says it can help as many as 30,000 survivors of domestic abuse sweep their phones for stalkerware and other forms of electronic monitoring. It’s part of a funding boost worth about $77 million U.S. to use technology to combat domestic and sexual violence. The initiative will also provide experts to survivors of technology-facilitated abuse. Tonya has the details.

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