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Positive Technologies surprisingly made this week's sanctions list. Mandiant reveals how it hacked a North American utility's smart meter. And there's a push for cybersecurity philanthropy. This is CyberScoop for April 16, 2021.

A double take for the Russian tech sector

The Biden administration took a sideswipe Thursday at the Russian government’s network of companies it allegedly relies on to conduct intelligence and military hacking. The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned six Russian tech sector entities in all. In one of the most striking actions the administration took Thursday, the Treasury sanctioned Positive Technologies, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Moscow. According to the U.S. government, though, it supports Russian government clients, including the Federal Security Service. Positive Technologies has denied the allegation. Shannon Vavra has the breakdown.

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That’s some L33T red teaming

Some of the most epic hacks of industrial organizations in recent years have involved clever pivots from IT to OT networks. Red teams testing client networks emulate those attacks all the time, but detailed public discussions of them are rarer. Mandiant this week outlined how it broke into a North American utility’s industrial control systems and shut off a smart meter. Sean Lyngaas breaks it down.

Charity and cybersecurity

There isn't much philanthropic giving related to cybersecurity, according to one estimate. But a group of trade associations, non-profits, charitable foundations, think tanks and well-known cybersecurity professionals are pushing to change that. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies and Gula Tech Foundation led an open letter to make the case for more such giving, especially from those who enriched themselves by founding tech companies. Tim Starks has the story.

Where states can make a difference on utility cybersecurity

The National Governors Association argued in a policy paper this week that state governments can play a role in protecting utilities against cyberattacks. They can do so via policy committees and advisory boards that unite policymakers, industry representatives and technology and emergency management officials. The paper highlights the work of eight states. Benjamin Freed has the latest at StateScoop.

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