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We examine how stalkerware is being used during the pandemic. More evidence that China is constantly watching over Uighurs. And the U.S. government strikes another blow against Huawei. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, July 1.

Stalkerware rises during the pandemic

When public health experts started recommending social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the goal was to place people out of harm’s way. But the policy has forced many domestic violence victims to possibly face a far more insidious danger: isolating with an abuser. In recent months, stalkerware detections have been spiking, security researchers tell Shannon Vavra, making it more difficult for victims to seek help during the pandemic. Read our story here.

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This should surprise no one

American phone companies are prohibited from using government subsidies to purchase equipment or services from Huawei or ZTE now that the Federal Communications Commission has designated the Chinese companies national security risks. The FCC said it considered advice from U.S. intelligence agencies, which have warned that Chinese companies are beholden to Beijing, before finalizing the decision. The change could result in higher equipment prices for smaller U.S. telecoms. Jeff Stone has more.

We were warned

Two years ago, researchers warned that FakeSpy could expand. That’s exactly what happened. Research published Wednesday by Cybereason offers a telling example of that. The operators of FakeSpy, an Android-focused malware, have gone from trying to steal financial data in East Asia to doing so in Europe and the U.S., by posing as various postal services. “We see new developments and features added to the code all the time, so my guess is that business is good for them,” Cybereason’s Assaf Dahan told CyberScoop. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

Chinese hacking of Uighurs continues

Mobile surveillance has gone hand-in-hand with the Uighur minority in China. But despite plenty of previous evidence of that, researchers are still digging up ways in which the surveillance has expanded. Mobile security firm Lookout on Wednesday documented a set of Android hacking tools targeting Uighurs along with people in over a dozen countries where the Chinese government closely monitors the Uighur diaspora. “There may yet be additional campaigns targeting this particular group…it is just a matter of continuing to investigate,” Lookout’s Kristin Del Rosso said. Sean has more.

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