Great win, U.S. soccer team! Now, hackers

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Welcome to The Cybersecurity 202! Dear football fans, don’t be mad at me for calling it “soccer”.

Below: US governor bans TikTok on government devices and Twitter stops enforcing its covid misinformation policy. First:

Cyber ​​attacks fall on the splendor of the World Cup

The World Cup is one of the most-watched events on the planet, and this year also saw record-breaking viewing in the United States. With the US men’s national team advancing to the next round, even more Americans are watching a sport that isn’t as popular in the United States as it is in many other countries.

So, naturally, you can expect hackers to try to screw everything up.

Two reports this week shed light on the extent to which cyberattacks are affecting the event.

  • Security researchers have identified 16,000 fraudulent domains using FIFA World Cup 2022 branding, cyber firm Group-IB said in a report on Tuesday.
  • Cybercriminals are turning to a range of scams, from fake ticket sales to fake crypto tokens, linked to the World Cup, cyber security firm CloudSEK said in a report published on Tuesday.

“The hype and popularity of the FIFA World Cup has attracted audiences from all over the world. And this in turn attracts a variety of cybercriminals, who want to take advantage of the diverse fans and participating organizations to make a quick buck,” the CloudSEK report said. “Cybercriminals are motivated by financial gain, ideology or geopolitical connections.”

Those two pieces of research capture just a fraction of the cybersecurity fears surrounding the World Cup. Some of the concerns are specific to this year’s host, Qatar, a country that has drawn increasing concern from U.S. officials over its surveillance efforts in recent years. European security regulators recently warned against downloading Qatari apps for the World Cup, saying they pose a significant privacy risk.

The research by Group-IB and CloudSEK follows other warnings from the cybersecurity industry.

  • State-sponsored hackers focused on intelligence gathering are “likely to see the 2022 FIFA World Cup as a target-rich environment for cyberespionage and surveillance of foreign dignitaries and businessmen,” Recorded Future warned this month. The company, however, said it does not expect destructive attacks on the event by hackers backed by foreign countries.
  • Also this month, Digital Shadows brought attention to some of the same scams perpetrated by Group-IB and CloudSEK. Kaspersky, meanwhile, has drawn attention to fake match streaming services, among other threats.
  • The volume of malicious emails in Arab countries increased 100 percent in October, according to Trellix’s observations. “It is common practice for attackers to use important/popular events as part of social engineering tactics and specifically target organizations associated with [the] event and a more prospective victim[s] to attack,” Daksh Kapur and Sparsh Jain wrote for the company.
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Almost 3.6 billion people watched the 2018 World Cup, FIFA announced. This amounted to more than half of the world’s population aged 4 and over.

Group-IB tallied the other numbers. In addition to 16,000 fraudulent domains, the company says it has detected about 40 fake apps on the Google Play Store, more than 90 potentially compromised accounts on the Qatari fan ID app Hayya, as well as dozens of fake social media accounts, mobile apps and advertisements.

One example: Scammers set up a fake merchandise website purporting to sell national team jerseys, advertising it with 130 ads on social media marketplaces. When a visitor enters their bank card details, the fraudsters make off with their victims’ money and possibly even their card details.

CloudSEK also had math. The 2018 FIFA World Cup was exposed to 25 million cyberattacks per day, the company announced.

Financially motivated hackers do things like sell fake Hayya cards needed to enter the stadium on match day, or offer fake “World Cup Tokens” and “World Cup Coins” and promote them as limited edition cryptocurrencies.

  • The latter idea seems to take advantage of the fact that Crypto.com is an official sponsor of the event. Likewise, Binance has partnered with a soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo to promote football themed irreplaceable tokens.

Hacktivists have also been active this yearthe company said.

“The World Cup has attracted the attention of hacktivist groups, who have taken to social media to rally their followers and allies to boycott the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” according to CloudSEK. “Messages from groups such as Anonymous have also been posted on cybercrime forums to invite other threat actors to support them.”

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Some of the hacktivists are focused on distributed denial-of-service attacks that flood the website with fraudulent traffic, according to the company’s report. These attacks are not as destructive as other types of cyberattacks, but they can be frustrating for people trying to access websites. Hacktivists say they are concerned about human rights abuses in Qatar.

China is using surveillance as part of its crackdown on anti-covid protests

As it tries to quell covid-related protests, the Chinese government is using its “pervasive surveillance system,” The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Liang and Brian Spegele reported. Officials appear to be using cellphone data and other tools to track down protesters and organizers.

Police in Shanghai and Beijing have been checking the phones of people near protest sites to see if they have the Telegram app or virtual private networks on their phones, according to a WeChat post by Qu Weiguo, an English professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, our colleague Lyric Li reported is today. Protesters used such services to avoid censors.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there was no new information on whether the administration plans to help Chinese Internet users bypass China’s “Great Firewall.” In September, the Biden administration offered to help Iranian protesters who wanted to avoid censorship and surveillance.

Government contractors and employees in South Dakota are banned from using TikTok on government devices

The ban came in an executive order from the governor of South Dakota. Kristi L. Noem (R) signed on Tuesday, Associated PressStephen Groves reports. It comes amid renewed Washington scrutiny of the short-form video app over concerns about surveillance and propaganda.

“The Chinese Communist Party is using the information it collects on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they are collecting data from devices accessing the platform,” Noem said in a statement. TikTok owner ByteDance did not respond to an AP request for comment on Noem’s statement and the ban, but TikTok’s chief operating officer did Vanessa Pappas has previously said that the company protects the data of its US users and that Chinese government officials do not have access to the data.

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The ban in South Dakota comes as TikTok and a U.S. government board with international business blocking powers work on a possible deal. The US military has similarly banned TikTok from soldiers’ government devices.

Twitter no longer implements a misinformation policy about covid-19, the company says

Since the introduction of its policy against misinformation about covid 2020. Twitter suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed more than 100,000 pieces of content for policy violations. Now the company is lifting the ban, in its latest twist after Elon Musk acquisition of Twitter.

The change has worried some public health experts, who say it could discourage some people from getting vaccinated. Taylor Lorenz reports. At the same time, patrolling which content violates the rules has been a challenge for Twitter, which has been criticized for censoring some content that has been shown to be true.

“However, Twitter has also struggled to accurately monitor misinformation and recently began flagging some factual information about covid as misinformation and banning scientists and researchers who tried to warn the public about the long-term damage covid can do to the body,” Taylor writes. “As of last weekend, many tweets promoting anti-vaccine content and covid misinformation remained on the platform.”

No answers to Pegasus hacking scandal as Spanish spy chief remains silent (Euronews)

NHS Palantir deal sparks legal threat from patient groups (Bloomberg News)

UK parliament launches inquiry into national security strategy over ransomware (The Record)

TSA Considers Use of Third-Party Assessors in Upcoming Pipeline Regulations (NextGov)

DOD Wants Cyber ​​Apprenticeships for Contractors, But Procurement Regulations May Remain an Obstacle (FCW)

  • Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neubergergovernor of Maryland Larry Hogan (R), Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology Laurie Locascio and other officials are speaking at the Quantum World Congress in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • National Cyber ​​Director Chris Inglisexecutive director of CISA Brandon Wales and Neuberger are speaking at a National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee meeting Thursday at 3:30 p.m

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

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