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Foreign propaganda on COVID-19 is creating additional headaches for the military. The U.S. Air Force veteran who leaked details about Russian hacking wants to spend the rest of her sentence in home confinement. Tax scammers are back, right on schedule. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, April 14.

The propaganda war continues

In the latest example of the Pentagon trying to mitigate foreign propaganda, U.S. officials admonished the governments of Russia, China and Iran for leveraging the international COVID-19 outbreak to summon anti-American sentiment. U.S. officials, in a statement Monday on a government website, accused state-funded media agencies, like Russia’s Sputnik News, of creating mistrust in credible information in order to create confusion. It’s the latest example of U.S. officials responding to foreign propaganda since the State Department began tracking foreign coronavirus-related propaganda efforts in January. Jeff Stone has more.

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IRS scammers to COVID crooks: Hold my beer

It may be open season for coronavirus scammers, but tax frauds aren’t letting up, either. Attackers tried obtaining large tax refunds by posing as clients of Weber and Company, the California-based accounting firm revealed last week. Social Security numbers and bank account numbers were among the data potentially compromised. The number of attempted IRS scams tends to increase every year in March and April in the U.S., as legions of crooks try to steal Americans’ refunds. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

Are hackers holding back on health care? No way.

Ransomware gangs’ claim that they wouldn’t target health organizations during the pandemic was never credible. The hackers broke their pledge almost immediately, and Tuesday brings more evidence of their duplicity. Attackers tried to infect a Canadian government health organization responding to COVID-19 and a university researching the illness, according to new Palo Alto Networks research. The attack was sloppy, tried to exploit an 8-year-old vulnerability, and didn’t work. But it’s a reminder never to take thieves at their word. Here are the details.

Dutch cops cut DDoS-for-hire service short

Law enforcement in the Netherlands have closed 15 services that were used to run cyberattacks meant to knock websites offline. Police said they arrested a 19-year-old Dutch man accused of attacking two websites which provide information on the coronavirus. Dutch citizens may have found the interruptions to one of the websites, Overhead.nl, particularly exasperating because the site is used as a “digital letterbox” to receive communications, including information about the pandemic, from the government. Shannon Vavra has more context.

Reality Winner wants to go home

Reality Leigh Winner told a Georgia court April 10 she suffers from a respiratory illness and bulimia nervosa, sicknesses that she said could make her especially vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus behind bars. In August 2018, a court sentenced Winner to five years and three months in prison, at the time the largest sentence ever for disclosing national security secrets to the media. Now, her attorney argues that COVID-19, which is spreading through U.S. prisons, presents an “extraordinary and compelling” reason to release Winner to home confinement. Winner, an Air Force veteran, was accused of leaking a top-secret U.S. intelligence report detailing a Russian cyberattack on voting infrastructure days before the 2016 election. Jeff has the court documents.

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