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The DHS chief is pledging to modernize U.S. cyber-defenses. North Korean hackers set up a fake company. And a DeepDotWeb administrator cops to money laundering charges. This is CyberScoop for April 1, 2021.

Mayorkas’ straight talk on cybersecurity

In some of his most detailed remarks on cybersecurity yet, Homeland Security boss Alejandro Mayorkas was blunt about the U.S. failure to catch suspected Russian hackers on government networks and vowed to improve defenses. He pledged greater support for state and local governments reeling from ransomware attacks, and talked about how human rights are central to cybersecurity. Sean Lyngaas has more.

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North Korean hackers have a new front company

North Korean-linked hackers set up a fake security company and social media accounts as part of a broad campaign targeting cybersecurity researchers with malware, according to Google research published Wednesday. Google previously exposed an earlier iteration of the campaign, which included a seemingly legitimate security blog that actually targeted visitors with malware. In the latest effort, hackers leveraged at least two fake accounts on LinkedIn that impersonate recruiters appearing to be from antivirus software and security companies, as well as a smattering of Twitter accounts. Shannon Vavra breaks it down.

Dark web marketplace gateway administrator pleads guilty

Tal Prihar, the administrator of DeepDotWeb, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering on Wednesday. His website received kickbacks from dark web marketplaces for providing direct links to prospective customers, helping Prihar walk away with some $8.4 million, according to the DOJ. A second, alleged co-conspirator arrested by Israeli police maintained day-to-day operations. Prihar faces up to 20 years in prison. Tim Starks reports.

An FBI alert on Egregor was a stark warning

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in January warned that the gang behind the Egregor ransomware, first detected in September 2020, would compromise a victim’s network, then order a victim to print a physical copy of a ransom note spelling out a demand to pay a specific fee, otherwise risk their stolen data being made public. French and Ukrainian police took action against hackers who used the Egregor malware in February, reportedly arresting “several” suspects. The FBI warning, though, was only a hint of what was to come. Jeff Stone has more.

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