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The Internet Research Agency is just one entity leveraging social media to back a Russian government-approved version of events. That camera issue was a bug, Facebook says. And welcome to America, Aleksei Burkov. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, November 13.

How Russian propaganda evolved

Russian military hackers who stole emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 were only acting as one part of a larger, coordinated effort to spread Kremlin-approved messaging before and after the 2016 election, according to new findings from Stanford University. Hackers first linked to the stolen emails in a June 14, 2016 set of Facebook posts, pointing to a set of messages supposedly leaked from the campaign. Facebook engagement to the DC Leaks Page, later attributed to Russia, totaled a mere 834 engagements over 22 posts published over four months. International attention only began when WikiLeaks tweeted a link to a database containing thousands of documents revealing internal strife in the party as the race for the presidency was accelerating. Jeff Stone has more context.

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A Facebook bug activated cameras

Social media users have complained in recent days that Facebook apparently has been activating iPhone owners’ cameras while they were scrolling through their news feeds. Word of the issue resulted in a handful of news articles suggesting Facebook again was abusing customer trust to collect data in a way it has never made public. Actually, the bug was born when the company tried fixing an issue with the way Facebook’s iOS app launched. In doing so, a company spokesperson said, the team “inadvertently introduced a bug that caused the app to partially navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News Feed when users tapped on photos. We have seen no evidence of photos or videos being uploaded due to this bug.” Jeff has a short story.

Accused scammer arrives in Virginia amid geopolitical scandal

Aleksei Burkov, 29, was in the Eastern District Court of Virginia to face allegations including the sale of stolen credit card information, identity theft and money laundering. His presence in court represented a victory for U.S. officials who convinced Israeli judges to send Burkov to the U.S. rather than to Russia. Burkov allegedly operated a website called “Cardplanet” where scammers could buy and sell information on more than 150,000 credit cards. The Kremlin filed its own extradition request for Burkov and then, while courts there debated whether to send the young man home or to the U.S., detained an Israeli woman on drug charges. Jeff is following the case.

NSA does more open-source work than you think

The NSA is pushing to make some of its software tools public, the most prominent example being the release of the malware-reversing engine Ghidra. Jacob DePriest, a senior technical lead at the NSA, said the agency is also trying to apply the collaborative, open-source spirit to code it can’t release. It’s about “taking a group of people who traditionally are not used to sharing and figuring out how to make that turn to get that value,” DePriest said Tuesday at the Red Hat Government Symposium. Emily Fox, NSA’s DevOps security lead, offered this advice to executives in the room: “There are security unicorns out there that understand developers and what it is that they’re doing. Find them and encourage them to collaborate with you.” Officials outlined their approach at a FedScoop event.

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