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The Biden administration is trying to get its arms around exploitation of Microsoft Exchange Server flaws. The White House is exploring another executive order over SolarWinds breaches. And a text hacking scheme led to arrests. This is CyberScoop for March 8, 2021.

Biden administration faces second big cyber crisis

Federal officials scrambled over the weekend to respond to the widespread exploitation of Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities. Incident responders estimated that tens of thousands of U.S. organizations could be exposed to the hacking, which started with suspected Chinese spies but suddenly has become a free-for-all. “This is a big F’ing deal,” as one U.S. state official put it. Sean Lyngaas reports.

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Another executive order on tap

After studying the SolarWinds breaches for several weeks, the White House is preparing an executive order encouraging more secure software practices, a top official said Friday. “The level of trust we have in our systems has to be directly proportional to the visibility we have,” said Deputy National Security Adviser Anne Neuberger. It would be Joe Biden’s second big supply chain action since becoming president. Sean has more.

Doin’ time for the crime

Police in Barcelona have arrested four hackers allegedly behind a scheme which has targeted tens of thousands of victims with malicious links impersonating banks in order to steal money. The police conducted the raid against the hacking group last week, collecting laptops, cash, documents and other high-end mobile devices. The plot, for which two are now serving prison time, included sending bad links through text messages to victims, which, if clicked, would direct targets to fake pages imitating banking pages or mobile operators, where the hackers would then steal credentials and duplicate SIM cards to take control of the victims’ phones. Track it with Shannon Vavra.

MuddyWater back at it in the Middle East

A hacking group with suspected ties to the Iranian government is actively targeting five Middle Eastern countries in a cyber espionage campaign, Trend Micro found. The company said it had moderate confidence that MuddyWater was behind the phishing effort aimed at government agencies, academia and the tourism industry in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Trend Micro report confirms and expands upon earlier Anomali reporting. Interestingly, though, Trend Micro observed that this espionage campaign doesn't demonstrate MuddyWater's usual acumen. Tim Starks covers the news.

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