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Another week, another colossal breach. What was that Google outage all about? And there are more details about the MountLocker ransomware campaign. This is CyberScoop for Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

The SolarWinds fallout is only getting started

The aftermath of breaches at U.S. agencies — and the apparent links to vulnerabilities inserted into updates of SolarWinds software used widely in government and industry — spilled over into late Sunday and Monday morning. CISA issued an <a href="https://www.cisa.gov/news/2020/12/13/cisa-issues-emergency-directive-mitigate-compromise-solarwinds-orion-network">emergency directive</a> for federal agencies to review networks for possible compromise and "power down SolarWinds Orion products immediately." SolarWinds released a <a href="https://www.solarwinds.com/securityadvisory">security advisory</a>, and Microsoft <a href="https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2020/12/13/customers-protect-nation-state-cyberattacks/">produced guidance</a> on dealing with the cyberattacks linked to groups backed by nation-states. Those were just a handful of indicators for what looks like it could be one of the more momentous cyber-espionage campaigns in recent memory. Tim Starks surveyed the scene.

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The day almost got even wilder

If you use Gmail, and you're reading this newsletter, then Monday morning's big Google outage is firmly in the rearview mirror for you. But for early risers, it was a bit of shock to discover that many of the company's services were down for awhile. The outage began shortly before 7 a.m. Eastern, and products began coming back online after 7:30, according to the Wall Street Journal. Google hasn't posted any information about what caused the problem. The disruption affected Gmail, YouTube and more than a dozen other services, including Calendar and Sheets. More coverage.

MountLocker’s latest antics

BlackBerry cybersecurity researchers have revealed new details about a ransomware service for hire that emerged this summer. Within the last month the scammers behind the ransomware, MountLocker, have updated it several times in an effort to bypass detection, according to the researchers. Affiliates are also partaking in a broader trend among ransomware actors — they’re reportedly using MountLocker to run extortion and blackmail schemes in an effort to compel larger payouts from victims. Shannon Vavra has details.

How secure is your city's IoT gear?

A leading nonprofit cybersecurity organization wants to give municipalities an easier way to scrutinize the internet-of-things (IoT) devices they buy as part of any "smarty city" initiative. The Colorado-based National Cybersecurity Center wants to create a certification system for the tech, which includes everything from traffic cameras to environmental sensors. “What we’re realizing is that when the mayor declares a smart-city initiative, they’re often just thinking of the benefits they can get economically or regarding increased citizen access,” says Forrest Senti, the center’s director of business and government initiatives. “Oftentimes they’re not thinking about security.” Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

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