Russian disinformation campaigns. Beijing’s espionage targets Vatican. Cost of a data breach. Big Tech in DC. VPN bugs. – The CyberWire


Several interrelated Russian disinformation operations are apparently in progress. Declassified US intelligence describes the GRU’s and SVR’s campaigns to spread disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Times reports. Separately, FireEye’s Mandiant unit outlines what it calls the “Ghostwriter” campaign intended to influence audiences in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland against NATO.

Chinese intelligence services are said to have penetrated Vatican networks in advance of diplomatic talks with the Holy See. Recorded Future provides details of Beijing’s “RedDelta” threat group and its operations against the diocese of Hong Kong and the Vatican itself. RedDelta’s goals are thought to be extension of Communist Party influence over the persecuted “underground Church” and collection against the Church’s potential connection with pro-democracy movements in formerly autonomous Hong Kong.

IBM looks at the cost of a data breach and finds that, on the average, breaches cost organizations $3.86 million. Compromised employee accounts are the most common cause.

Big Tech testifies before the US House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee today. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai appear today via socially distanced teleconference. The hearings are focused on alleged anti-competitive practices, but other matters are widely expected to come up, and the Wall Street Journal has a summary of what to expect.

Vulnerabilities in industrial virtual private networks (VPNs) are believed to be placing critical infrastructure at risk. Claroty yesterday published an assessment in which it associated the pandemic-driven increase in remote work with a heightened risk of VPN exploitation.



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