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The Supreme Court thinks about hackers. Messaging apps endure an outage in Cuba. And an APT group used cryptocurrency miners to try to hide its other activities. This is CyberScoop for Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

SCOTUS questions suggest possible ruling to narrow CFAA

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday skeptically questioned the idea of a broad interpretation of the nation's chief federal anti-hacking law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Nathan van Buren v. The United States is the biggest challenge of the CFAA to come before the highest court in the land. Several justices, including some conservatives, voiced concerns about expanding federal criminal jurisdiction. The skeptical questioning doesn't guarantee a ruling against the federal government's position, however. A ruling would have to come before next summer. Tim Starks recaps the oral hearing.

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Twitter, WhatsApp short-circuited in Havana

When protests kick up in authoritarian countries, Western tech companies are often part of the story. Take Cuba, where over the weekend, Twitter and WhatsApp users reported service failures as people took the streets to demand greater freedom of expression. The outgoing Trump administration and the incoming Biden team expressed concern over the Cuban regime’s handling of the protests. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

Sometimes a coin miner points to a bigger problem

A Vietnam-linked cyber-espionage group deployed cryptocurrency mining software on victims’ networks this summer to help draw attention away from its efforts to spy on people, Microsoft's threat intelligence unit says in a new report. The researchers pinned the activity on an advanced persistent threat (APT) group it calls Bismuth, more commonly known as APT32 or OceanLotus. The hackers "take advantage of the low-priority alerts coin miners cause to try and fly under the radar and establish persistence,” the researchers say in a report released Monday. Joe Warminsky explains the research.

Check those RDP servers

Organizations should double-check their implementation of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol, according to a new report by the Center for Internet Security aimed at state and local governments. RDP servers remain a favorite target of ransomware actors and other cybercriminals, especially as the work-from-home era continues, the report says. While there are several steps that can be implemented to use RDP securely, there are millions of devices that leave their RDP connections exposed on the open internet, according to CIS, which runs the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center and its sibling ISAC for elections. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

Grid regulator expands cybersecurity program to cover OT

NERC, the North American electric-grid regulator, said Monday that it was expanding a cybersecurity program with the Department of Energy to cover the sensitive operational technology that underpins equipment at electric utilities. The goal of the two new pilot projects is to pick out potential hacking threats to industrial control systems by using raw or curated data at the utilities and comparing it to known threat intelligence. More from NERC.

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