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Who is Sean Plankey? Apple confirms a security featuring is coming, but not without throwing shade at Facebook. An there's a Europol arrest for "crypting." This is CyberScoop for Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.

Is Sean Plankey the next Chris Krebs?

Sean Plankey, a Department of Energy official with an extensive cybersecurity background, has been reaching out to current and former DHS officials in recent days as he prepares to join CISA, an agency whose leadership the White House recently fired. But at least one key question hangs in the balance: the status of Plankey’s security clearance. Three former U.S. officials told CyberScoop that an issue with Plankey’s clearance came up in the last year, prompting a review of his status as a clearance holder. Sean Lyngaas had the scoop.

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Apple: Anti-tracking tech is still on the way

Apple says its mobile operating system will soon get a new privacy feature opposed by the advertising industry. The privacy technology — App Tracking Transparency — essentially will block iOS apps from tracking the use of other apps on a device. The goal is to limit the information that advertising networks collect about Apple device users. Jane Horvath, Apple’s senior director for global privacy, confirmed the move in a letter to a privacy and security nonprofit, Ranking Digital Rights, while also calling out Facebook for showing a “disregard for user privacy.” Joe Warminsky explains the tensions.

Two Romanians nabbed for malware encryption scheme

An international crackdown on a popular service used by cybercriminals to infect computers has resulted in two arrests and the seizure of IT infrastructure in Romania, Norway and the U.S. The so-called "crypting" services were allegedly used by more than 1,560 accused cybercriminals, Europol said. It’s the latest effort by law enforcement agencies in various countries to strike at the heart of infrastructure used in costly hacking schemes. Sean has the latest.

Android's E2EE announcement

Android users will soon be able to take advantage of end-to-end encrypted messaging, Google said in an announcement Thursday. The updated data protection protocol, which will render Android users’ messages only readable by the sender and recipient, will initially be available in beta this month, and those interested in participating in testing will have to sign up, Google said. The announcement of the forthcoming feature coincides with Google’s announcement that Android users are now able to use RCS, or Rich Communications Services, messaging globally, a move aimed at catapulting users from relying on SMS text messaging to more modern messaging features. Shannon Vavra breaks it down.

A new cyber checkup for nonprofits

The Ford Foundation has developed a new online tool aimed at helping "nontechnical grant makers, grantee partners, civil society organizations, and nonprofits" to improve their security. The idea is that those kinds of organizations face the same cyberthreats as big corporations and government agencies, but might not devote the same resources to digital security. Creators of the Cybersecurity Assessment Tool — which is a survey intended to take about 30 minutes — include researchers Martijn Grooten and Runa Sandvik. Check out the tool.

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