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Insights emerge about an apparent cyber-espionage effort that leveraged America's global aid organization. Cozy Bear seems to be up to its old ways. And Japan's government is a target, too. This is CyberScoop for May 28, 2021.

SolarWinds hackers are up to new tricks

If U.S. organizations thought they’d have any respite from the SVR, they better think again. Microsoft said Thursday that a phishing campaign aimed at 150 organizations in 24 countries is the handiwork of the SolarWinds hackers. The spies are posing as USAID, the big U.S. government development agency. One message tries to dupe victims by claiming Donald Trump has "published new documents on election fraud." Sean Lyngaas puts it into context.

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The earlier word on Cozy Bear

Volexity was first up to bat Thursday on the latest Cozy Bear activity; the company attributed the emails to the group with "moderate" confidence. The phony USAID solicitations where a return to election trickery for the hacking group that made one of its biggest splashes with 2016 election-related hacking, given the newer emails' hyping of an election fraud document. It also was the first spearphishing campaign from Cozy Bear for a while, Volexity noted, and pointed out some Korean language in the malware's fingerprint that appeared to be a false flag to disguise the true culprits. Tim Starks unpacks the news.

Hackers target Japanese government, transportation entities

Attackers have targeted Japanese government departments and transportation entities in recent days, according to local reporting. The hackers reportedly infiltrated Fujitsu’s software-as-a-service platform, ProjectWEB. Approximately 76,000 email addresses from the land, infrastructure and transport ministry have leaked, according to the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation. The hackers also reportedly obtained data on the ministry’s internal mail and internet settings. They also hit software at the Narita Airport to steal air traffic control data. Shannon Vavra looks closer.

Impact of apparent of Chinese espionage grows

A sprawling Chinese espionage operation against U.S. and European government organizations extends to additional commercial sectors than previously known and involves four new hacking tools, security firm FireEye said. All told, two China-linked groups — and other hackers that investigators did not name — are exploiting virtual private network software in breaches that have touched the transportation and telecommunication sectors. The attackers are exploiting popular VPN software known as Pulse Connect Secure to burrow into networks and steal sensitive data. Sean explains.

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