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Regulators are scrambling to keep up with billions in cryptocurrency theft. Treasury takes punitive aim at its first virtual currency mixer. And federal agencies get supply chain security guidance. This is CyberScoop for May 9.

Cryptocurrency has a cybersecurity issue

Policymakers and regulators are struggling to keep up with hackers targeting the cryptocurrency industry. Rapid growth of the industry has made it difficult to standardize security across the industry, experts say. “It’s a much newer and complex problem, coupled with firms that are not used to being regulated and haven’t had the time or the exposure that traditional financial firms have had,” said Ben Richmond, CEO of Cube. The SEC is trying to tackle the scenario by doubling its enforcement staff focused on cybersecurity and cryptocurrency issues. But some critics say the agency's enforcement is outpacing actual regulation. Tonya Riley explores.

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Treasury sanctions virtual currency mixer

The Treasury Department announced sanctions against the virtual currency mixing company Blender.io on Friday. Treasury asserts that the North Korean government uses Blender to pay for its hacking program and to launder stolen virtual currency. On March 23, Treasury said North Korean state-sponsored cyber hackers stole $620 million from a blockchain entity connected to the Pokemon-inspired blockchain game Axie Infinity.  More than $20.5 million of the $620 million was laundered using Blender, Treasury said in a press release. The money is also used to finance North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, the release said. Suzanne Smalley reports.

BlackBerry offers new analysis of an old RAT

A few major Russian cybercrime groups, with their custom malware and high-profile ransomware activities, tend to dominate aspects of the cybercrime conversation. But a Monday analysis from researchers with BlackBerry's Research and Intelligence Team reminds us that the small, independent actors can be just as troublesome. Research from the BlackBerry group takes a look at DCRat (sometimes called DarkCrystal RAT), which is a remote access trojan first released in 2018. What makes it interesting is both that its operator and developer seems to be unaffiliated while offering a "sutprisingly effected homemade tool for opening backdoors on a budget," the researchers wrote, noting that it costs as little as $6 for a two-month subscription. Read the research here.

NIST gives agencies new guidance to prepare for next SolarWinds-like hack

The National Institute of Standards and Technology last week published updated guidance meant to help agencies and organizations protect against cyberthreats in the supply chain, a major focus of the Biden administration’s cybersecurity executive order last year. The revised publication on cybersecurity supply chain risk management gives acquirers and users of software and other technologies key practices, processes and controls to consider as they look to protect against such threats that can emerge from that tangled web of global suppliers and manufacturers from which companies develop technology products. “Managing the cybersecurity of the supply chain is a need that is here to stay,” NIST’s Jon Boyens, one of the publication’s authors, said in a statement. “If your agency or organization hasn’t started on it, this is a comprehensive tool that can take you from crawl to walk to run, and it can help you do so immediately.” Billy Mitchell has the story for FedScoop.

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