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Anonymous made up a theory about technical outages, and then spread it to 6.5 million Twitter followers. An Indian spyware operation targeted activists. And researchers uncover bugs in crucial technologies. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, June 16.

That wasn't a DDoS attack, just a cellular outage

A Twitter account claiming to be attached to Anonymous stated, without evidence, that the U.S. was enduring a distributed denial-of-service attack, perhaps from China. The tweets, sent by the @YourAnonCentral account to its 6.5 million followers, coincided with outages for T-Mobile customers in multiple cities. Security experts quickly pinned the issue on T-Mobile network configuration issues which resulted in the hours of downtime for customers, rather than a malicious DDoS meant to knock services offline by flooding them with internet traffic. Jeff Stone looks closer.

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Hackers masquerade as health officials

A nebulous set of hackers known as Vendetta has a knack for impersonating government officials in their native languages. They’ve posed as Romanian cops, Austrian security officials and, now, Taiwan’s top infection-disease official. The latter ruse was exposed by the security research arm of Spanish telecom Telefonica. The hackers have been carefully selecting their targets and attempting to install a remote-hacking tool on victim machines capable of hijacking a webcam. The emails purport to come from Taiwanese CDC chief Jih-Haw Chou urging recipients to take coronavirus tests. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

Details about an espionage effort in India

Human rights activists in India were targeted in a coordinated spyware campaign from January to October of 2019, according to Amnesty International and Citizen Lab. Eight of the nine targeted with malicious phishing emails had advocated for the release of 11 people jailed during protests related to a violent uprising in Bhima Koregaon, India in 2018. Some said they were targeted with spyware before, raising alarm that among researchers that there is “a disturbing pattern of spyware attacks against [human rights defenders] involved in the Bhima Koregaon case.” Shannon Vavra breaks it down.

19 bugs lurking in crucial technologies

You’ve probably never heard of Treck, Inc., but the company’s impact on the software supply chain is everywhere. Its code is used in medical devices made by Fortune 500 companies and electric gear from energy software giants. When researchers from security company JSOF combed through Treck’s code, they found no less than 19 vulnerabilities, at least two of which could let a hacker remotely commandeer a device running the code. JSOF’s findings, just published, show how painstaking the act of locating and patching vulnerable devices can be. Sean has more details.

Huawei ban could be delayed by a year

The Pentagon is considering giving defense contractors another year to fully prove they don't have any technology from Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, as required by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The law bans the whole government from doing business with any company that “uses” several types of Chinese technology deemed to be a national security risk. The deadline is August, but the Department of Defense worries its contractors won't meet it, especially with the recent disruptions of COVID-19. Though the deadline would technically still be in effect, under an extension the department would change the requirements in contracting language allowing vendors more time to reach full compliance. Jackson Barnett has the story.

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