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Cybersecurity News Bytes for Early June 2018

Primary Elections Stir Fears of More Hacking

Tuesday, 5 June, is primary election day in eight states. Voters have expressed concern that election systems have been hacked and that their votes may not count. Federal and state officials have downplayed the possibilities of election interference by Russia or other countries, but acknowledge that the perception that voting systems may be hacked is affecting voter confidence. The Washington Post addresses three common myths about election system hacking, and notes that communications between states and the Department of Homeland Security has improved on the topic of cybersecurity of voting systems. (The Washington Post, Cybersecurity 202, 5 June 2018)

North Korean Hacking Group Abandons U.S. Targets

Covellite is a suspected North Korean APT that focuses on critical infrastructure targets, according to researchers at Dragos. Covellite was first identified in 2017 and associated with North Korean based on similarities in its code with Lazarus, a known North Korean hacking group allegedly responsible for the WannaCry malware last year. While Covellite has targeted the electric sector to perform target reconnaissance, it apparently can’t damage or disrupt industrial control systems, at least not yet. Recently, according to Dragos, Covellite has stopped targeting the U.S., although it is still seen in other countries. Speculation is that North Korea has reduced its cyber targeting of U.S. entities in the run-up to the Trump-Kim summit scheduled for June 12. ZDNet, 4 June 2018

Kaspersky Warns World Cup Attendees About Russian Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities

In an interesting twist, Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs issued a warning to attendees at the FIFA World Cup soccer matches beginning in Russia this month about vulnerabilities in Russian Wi-Fi networks. While FIFA World Cup 2018 has declared its networks to be secure, the problem is in the public Wi-Fi networks in key venue cities, specifically St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Rostov. Kaspersky notes that the lack of traffic encryption over these public networks makes users of public Wi-Fi subject to cybercrime. TechRadar.com, 4 June 2018

Apple Enhances Security with New OS

Apple announced on 4 June that its new operating systems IoS 12 and Mohave will include the capability to block cookies from social media “likes” that currently allow people to be tracked from one website to another. Apple is also building in a feature that allows users to quickly understand how much time they are spending on line as a response to concerns about cell phone addiction. Security Week, 4 June 2018

More Russian Information Operations Against the U.S.

Cybersecurity firm FireEye has identified a potential new Russian attempt to influence American opinion. The website “usareally dot com” //URL deliberately omitted// is a Russia-based site that provides comments on topics such as gun control, racial division, immigration, and others and is designed to exacerbate social divisions in the U.S. USA Really has had a presence on Facebook and Twitter since mid-May. It may be associated with the Internet Research Agency, the organization indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interference in the 2016 presidential election. McClatchy Bureau, 1 June 2018

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