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The U.S., U.K. and Canada blame the Russian government for targeting vaccine research. The latest on that big Twitter hack. And an influence operation that interfered in the U.K. election. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, July 16.

The race for a vaccine is a race for influence

The Russian government hacking group known as Cozy Bear has been targeting coronavirus vaccine research, U.K., U.S., and Canadian government officials say. Attackers have been trying to breach programs in all three countries, primarily aiming their efforts at government, diplomatic, think-tank, healthcare, and energy targets, the U.K.’s NCSC said. The Russian intelligence-affiliated group has been exploiting vulnerabilities in Citrix, Pulse Secure, FortiGate, and Zimbra technologies to run their campaign, which is ongoing, and have used malware called WellMail and WellMess, the NCSC said. Shannon Vavra has the latest.

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A Twitter hack for the ages

Just when 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, hackers breached a range of high-profile Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Joe Biden and Bill Gates, to promote bitcoin scams. Attackers made over $100,000 within hours, while Twitter's security team scrambled to keep up. After locking the affected accounts, and briefly preventing unaffected verified accounts from tweeting at all, Twitter said the incident appeared to be “a coordinated social engineering attack” against some Twitter employees “with access to internal systems and tools.” Sean Lyngaas has more details.

You need to know about this Russian disinformation tactic

British officials expressed confidence that Russian operatives tried to interfere in the U.K.’s most recent general election by using social media to promote documents that were stolen and leaked from the government. The U.K.’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said in a statement it's “almost certain that Russian actors” aimed to intervene in the 2019 election in which Boris Johnson defeated Jeremy Corbyn in the race for prime minister. The campaign utilized “illicitly acquired” government documents about the U.K.-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which were posted on Reddit and promoted elsewhere in an apparent attempt to influence potential voters’ opinions. Jeff Stone covered the news.

Leaked video shows Iranian hackers in action

Five hours of video footage shows Iranian hackers exfiltrating sensitive data from the personal accounts of members of the U.S. and Greek navies, according to IBM research. The hackers also tried, and apparently failed, to break into personal email accounts of State Department employees. It’s a vivid illustration of the digital espionage that is an undercurrent of U.S-Iranian tensions in the Persian Gulf, and of how Iranian hackers have haunted the U.S. Navy for years. Sean has the goods.

Credit union's suit against a fintech giant moves forward

It’s been over a year since Pennsylvania’s Bessemer System Federal Credit Union sued Fiserv, a Fortune 500 financial technology firm, for allegedly shoddy cybersecurity practices. After legal wrangling and bureaucratic delays, a federal judge gave the case the go-ahead this week by rejecting some of Fiserv’s motions to dismiss the allegations. The case is a big test of the legal obligations big financial firms have to protect client data. Sean has the court documents.

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