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A sobering assessment of NSO Group spyware. Insights on how to better protect U.S. digital infrastructure. And a warning shot for online advertising companies. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, December 16.

NSO Group spyware ranks with the best, report says

When Apple filed its lawsuit against embattled Israeli spyware firm NSO Group on Nov. 23, the tech giant claimed that the Israeli company's malware was at the level of nation-states, which typically have sky-high budgets and resources to achieve their goals. New research from Google's Project Zero researchers back that claim up. In a detailed analysis of FORCEDENTRY, the NSO Group zero-click exploit at the heart of the Apple lawsuit, the researchers unwrap a highly novel and complex approach to breaking through Apple's iMessage security protocols, calling it "one of the most technically sophisticated exploits" they had ever seen. AJ Vicens has the details.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Coming together to boost U.S. cyber resilience

Government agencies and the private sector have made progress on cooperating to boost cybersecurity for U.S. infrastructure, but the relationship is still not truly collaborative, according to two insiders who explain the path forward in an exclusive op-ed for CyberScoop. "We must achieve a tighter and stronger unity of effort, or otherwise risk watching our divided defenses crumble against the new technologies and threats," write Dave DeWalt, the founder and managing director at NightDragon, and Adm. Mike Rogers, the former director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command. Read their recommendations.


Advertising platform OpenX Technologies will pay the Federal Trade Commission $2 million over allegations that it failed to comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The settlement effectively serves as a warning to digital advertising platforms, which funnel massive amounts of data through real-time advertising bids, often with little transparency. “OpenX secretly collected location data and opened the door to privacy violations on a massive scale, including against children,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Digital advertising gatekeepers may operate behind the scenes, but they are not above the law.” Tonya Riley has more.

FedRAMP legislation revs up in Senate

FedRAMP, the program that assesses the security of cloud computing services for federal agencies, has never officially been written into law, despite persistent efforts by a few key lawmakers. The legislation has passed in the House several times, but languished in the Senate. That changed this week with Senate Homeland Security Committee action on a bipartisan bill. The Federal Secure Cloud Improvement and Jobs Act would codify FedRAMP and dedicate funding of $20 million annually to it. The legislation generally tracks with a House version sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. Dave Nyczepir has more at FedScoop.

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