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A big indictment was just issued against Russian hackers. A just-revealed hack against a Chinese VC firm and Israeli startup shows how BEC attacks are evolving. And The Department of Homeland Security's cyber boss explained to senators just how bad ransomware has become. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, December 5.

Another Russian hacker indictment

U.S. prosecutors have charged two Russian nationals, including one member of the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list, in connection with two years-long hacking and fraud campaigns that resulted in the theft of millions of dollars from American organizations. Maksim Yakubets and Igor Turashev are charged with involvement in the distribution of the malware Bugat. Bugat is a predecessor to Dridex, a banking malware strain that has haunted international victims for more than eight years. Prosecutors unsealed the indictment against Yakubets and Turashev in conjunction with U.S. sanctions against Evil Corp, which the Treasury Department says is the criminal organization behind the Dridex malware. Jeff Stone has the latest.

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Scammers fleece Chinese VC out of $1 million

By using email addresses that appeared remarkably similar to those from an actual startup, thieves posed as real Israeli employees in communications with an account manager at a Chinese investment firm and took a $1 million payment, according to Check Point. It was only after the $1 million payment went through that the actual startup realized it hadn’t received its payment, and the Chinese VC firm began to understand its money was gone. Business email compromise is getting craftier! Jeff has more on Check Point's research.

DHS briefs senators on local ransomware threats

Chris Krebs, head of DHS’s cybersecurity division, held a classified briefing Wednesday for members of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus. Among the topics on the agenda was a ransomware attack in August that hit nearly two-dozen government organizations in Texas, according to one person familiar with the briefing. The briefing comes as U.S. lawmakers try to better equip states to defend against ransomware, which has been a relatively unchecked scourge across the country. Sean Lyngaas and Benjamin Freed have more context.

Yet another school district hit with ransomware

Adding to a mounting tally of schools that have fallen victim to ransomware this year, a school district in northern Illinois announced this week that some of its systems too have been infected. Sycamore Community School District 427, a K-12 district with seven schools that lies 60 miles west of Chicago, noted on its website on Tuesday that some of its “internal technology servers” have been infected by ransomware, though the note’s author, Superintendent Kathy Countryman, did not supply the type of ransomware used, the ransom amount or whether the district intends to pay. EdScoop's Colin Wood is on it.


How agencies can leverage ‘data-to-everything’ and improve operational awareness with CDM data

When the Office of Management and Budget mandated agencies utilize the Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program, the initial objective was to provide tools for knowing who and what are on federal networks. With all the CDM data that agencies have collected, they now have the opportunity to gain a wider view of their IT operations by using, say security experts. Listen to the podcast.

Breach investigation yields bigger numbers

A brute-force hack in October in which a student gained access to the personal data of other students attending a public school district in Maryland was more extensive than originally thought, the district has announced. Montgomery County Public Schools, a K-12 district with 208 schools, announced last October that a Naviance system, an online platform for college and career readiness, was hacked by a student who gained access to the data of 1,344 students attending Wheaton High School. The district and the Montgomery County Police Department identified the student, who now faces possible criminal charges. But on Nov. 25, the district released a second notice, explaining that police discovered the data breach actually extended to 5,962 user accounts across six schools. Colin has more at EdScoop.

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