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Recent documents in the BlueLeaks data dump demonstrate how California investigators identified an alleged hacker. NSA researchers think they found a new way to scour for software bugs. And the FBI is watching a suspicious campaign out of China. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, August 25.

Security research helps police ID virus scammer

An Algerian web developer has launched coronavirus-themed email scams and helped build other hacking tools, cops say. Samir Djelal, who allegedly used the internet alias Cazanova Haxor, developed malicious software that was used in a phishing attack aimed at California city accounts in March 2020, states an internal report from the California Cyber Security Integration Center, a state organization meant to facilitate information sharing about digital threats. The threat profile, dated April 6, 2020, was made public as part of BlueLeaks, the 269 GB database containing data on police bulletins, training materials and other law resources taken from law enforcement fusion centers. Jeff Stone has some context.

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A better way to squash software bugs?

A team of U.S. military researchers thinks they found a more efficient way for hackers to find software bugs. And it’s all about automation. Security researchers are more inclined to zero-in on a given piece of software to try to find flaws, but this approach makes it so “more novice people are going to quickly fall behind and fail to contribute, while your more advanced people are becoming overwhelmed,” says NSA software developer Jared Ziegler. The new approach, which uses an automated testing technique to find bugs, can alleviate those pressures and help teams find more software vulnerabilities. Shannon Vavra has the story.

Cyber Command is going on tour again

The Department of Defense has sent personnel abroad to hunt for malicious software that adversaries may be using against U.S. voting infrastructure or networks prior to Election Day. Gen. Paul Nakasone said that Cyber Command personnel would be deployed as part of a plan to allow defensive cyber-operators from the Pentagon to identify malware targeting other countries’ networks and systems. Similar attacks could later be used for attempted intrusions aimed at disrupting American technologies. Shannon has the latest.

More on Chinese backdoor tax software

Since the FBI flagged a suspicious tax software tied to the Chinese government, attackers behind the technology started deploying different obfuscation mechanisms to evade detection. “This reveals the actors’ high level of sophistication and operational awareness,” the FBI said in a FLASH alert, which CyberScoop obtained. “The FBI assesses that the cyber actors’ persistent attempts to silently remove the malware is not a sign of resignation. Rather, it is an effort to hide their capabilities.” The FBI alert overlapped with similar warnings published last week by Trustwave, the company which originally alerted the FBI to the tax software scheme. Shannon covered it last month.

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