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A huge advertising and marketing player endures a "suspicious" IT incident. A new malware toolset threatens the energy sector. And a DHS agency shares very few details on an undersea cable cyberattack. This is CyberScoop for April 14.

'Suspicious activity' at major advertising agency

Omnicom, one of the world’s largest marketing and advertising agencies, took some of its IT systems offline over the “past week” due to “suspicious activity,” the company confirmed to CyberScoop Wednesday. Omnicom declined to say how many individuals were affected by the outage but said it has brought most systems back online and is working to restore all of them securely. “Omnicom is in the process of reviewing our VPN systems that were taken offline as a precaution after detecting suspicious activity that we quickly isolated and responded to,” Joanne Trout, chief communications officer at Omnicom, wrote in an email to CyberScoop. Tonya Riley has the scoop.

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DOE, CISA, others warn about ICS-targeting malware

A joint federal advisory warned Wednesday that an APT group was targeting industrial control systems with a new malware toolset, with particular worry for the energy sector. Mandiant said the group's activity aligns with Russia's historical interest, and nations aligned with Ukraine and NATO and others responding to the Russian invasion are most at risk. Dragos said one hypothetical use of the malware could be to disable an emergency shutdown system, and added that the attackers had a "breadth of knowledge" about ICS beyond anything previously seen. Tim Starks has the news.

'Cyberattack' on Hawaiian undersea cable foiled, feds say

Federal officials from Homeland Security Investigations say the agency thwarted a cyberattack on a telecommunications provider in Hawaii that operated one of the undersea cables that connects the state and region to the internet. The Hawaii-based investigators say they were acting on a tip from their stateside counterparts and found that a cybercriminal had gained access to credentials that allowed access to the company's servers. An unnamed international hacking group was behind the incident, and HSI agents and other law enforcement agencies were able to make an arrest, according to a statement issued by the agency. AJ Vicens has more.

Crypto for sanctions evasion? The numbers are tough.

According to crypto-tracking company Chainalysis, cryptocurrency markets couldn’t handle the kind of volume necessary for Russia’s oligarchs to use the system for large-scale evasion of sanctions put in place after the invasion of Ukraine. Starting with a very general assumption that the oligarchs hold about $800 billion in wealth, the company looks at various ways even a fraction of that money might cause serious dips in coin prices — or simply just get sniffed out by law enforcement and blockchain trackers — if it were dumped into crypto markets. Joe Warminsky breaks it down.

Ransomware intensifies small college’s budget woes

Lincoln College, a small, historically black college in rural Illinois, is set to shut down amid a string of financial difficulties that were compounded last December by a ransomware attack. The incident seized up numerous administrative systems, including the admissions department. Lincoln College did not recover from the ransomware until last month, at which point, the school says, “the projections displayed significant enrollment shortfalls.” The college says it needs a “a transformational donation or partnership” to sustain operations. Benjamin Freed has more at EdScoop.

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