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New findings from ESET demonstrate how scammers are trying to exploit high death counts in Italy and Spain. Google caught fewer government phishing attempts last year, but that's not good news. And Cofense drops coronavirus tests. This is CyberScoop for Friday, March 27.

Italy and Spain don't need this right now

Attackers laced mobile apps with malware to try to steal data from, or otherwise compromise, Italian and Spanish residents looking for updates on the pandemic, according to Slovakian antivirus firm ESET. The malicious apps posed as legitimate ones offering updates on the spread of the novel coronavirus and how to assess your risk of infection. The apps were available for download for a couple days, Stefanko said. It is unclear how many people downloaded them. The malicious app targeting Spanish users is no longer available; it is unclear whether the Italian app is still online. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

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Google catches North Korean, Iranian hackers posing as media

Google’s Threat Analysis Group, which tries to stop state-sponsored hacking, sent nearly 40,000 warnings in 2019 to users alerting them that they were the target of a government-backed phishing attempt. That figure is down by nearly 25% from 2018, the company said in a blog post Thursday. One-in-five of the accounts targeted in 2019 was targeted multiple times. The hackers behind the most recent wave of attacks were often from Iran or North Korea, masquerading as reporters to build trust with a target, then try to break into their accounts or fabricate an idea for an article. Jeff Stone has more on the trend.

'Pass' on the COVID-19 phishing exercises

Cofense says it has removed all COVID-19-themed spearphishing templates from its repository of attacks, and the Virginia-based company is recommending other organizations join it in a pledge to avoid using the global health crisis as fodder. Like other anti-phishing companies, Cofense sends fake emails to its customers to see if employees click on corrupted links or file attachments. “During a time when fears are justifiably running high, we believe it is wrong to confuse employees and exacerbate concerns further. We call upon the industry and organizations to join us in practicing socially responsible awareness training through thoughtful communication and education – not phish ‘testing,’” the company pledged. Shannon Vavra covered the news.

How enterprises are cleaning up their cyber tools

Tanium’s CISO of the Americas Chris Hallenbeck talks with CyberScoop Editor-in-Chief Greg Otto about enterprises that are working to clean up their cybersecurity portfolio. Hallenbeck says companies are getting rid of the tools they may have, but never use. By doing that, CISOs help not only save money, but create better cybersecurity architectures for their company. Watch here.

How do you find a ransomware gang on the dark web?

In this episode of Securiosity, Greg Otto talks with Adam Darrah, director of intelligence at Vigilante, about hacker gangs on the dark web, how they run their ransomware operations, and if the cybersecurity community get ever get past the mindset of shaming victims when they are hit with a breach. Listen here.

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