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(Editor's note: There will be no newsletter on Friday in observance of Independence Day. Enjoy your long weekend!) Ransomware gangs are doing their homework before encrypting data. Microsoft rolls out an update. And Zero Trust isn't a security bandage. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, July 2.

Corporate balance sheets in the crosshairs

There’s a clear pattern to the way advanced ransomware groups like Maze operate: plenty of reconnaissance of the corporate network, theft of data for added leverage, and then the shake down begins. Two cybersecurity officials — one from the private sector and the other from government — made that point in a panel discussion Wednesday. “They’re not just going into networks and seizing data,” DHS’s Matt Travis said. “They’re snooping around” for balance sheets and other financial data to “gain intelligence on how much of a ransom they think they can get.” Sean Lyngaas has more.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Emergency update!

Microsoft on Tuesday issued emergency security updates for two vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to run remote code execution against victims. One of the two flaws, rated as "critical," would also allow attackers to gather information from victims about further compromising their targets. Microsoft has addressed the vulnerabilities by correcting how objects in memory are handled by Microsoft Windows Codecs Library. The researcher who found the flaws, a vulnerability analysis manager for Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, told Shannon Vavra he found more than 15 other flaws, some of which Microsoft is still examining. Read more here.

No 'easy button'

Agencies eager to build zero-trust security architectures that support increased telework are finding microsegmentation isn’t a quick fix. Coronavirus-related telework has seen agencies more quickly adopting use cases under the Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 — updated guidance for securing networks that adjusts to advancements in cybersecurity since TIC 2.0 came out in 2007. Most agencies should prepare for zero trust to coexist with their traditional network security strategies for some time because they’re still dealing with on-premise data centers, hybrid networks or multi-cloud networks, Sean Connelly, TIC program manager at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Wednesday during IBM‘s Think Gov digital event, produced by FedScoop. Read more here.

Facebook lets up on NSO employees

After a months-long court battle, Facebook has reinstated accounts of NSO Group employees it had previously blocked on the platform, according to Israeli news outlet CTech. Several NSO Group employees had alleged that Facebook had unfairly blocked them from their accounts after the social media behemoth sued the Israeli software surveillance firm over alleged WhatsApp exploits. Lawyers representing WhatsApp also alleged this week that NSO Group has “marketed their products to California residents” and “specifically touted their ability to circumvent [WhatsApp] security features to investors and clients,” according to court documents Shannon Vavra obtained. It’s the latest legal scuffle between the social media giant and NSO, which is being sued in California over allegations its software was used to spy on thousands of WhatsApp users. Read more here.

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