Weekly News Roundup October 11-15, 2021

Posted on by Kacy Zurkus

For those who live in or near Boston and Chicago, the week started off with exciting marathons. Let’s celebrate not only the achievement of these runners (Congratulations if you are one!) but also the sheer joy of having two in-person, spectator-filled events honoring strength, speed, endurance and passion—what a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Runners weren’t the only ones coming out of the gate this week, though. According to the Boston Business Journal, Boston-based startup Cytrio Inc launched this week. And Amazon became the first company to offer financial support for a quantum innovation movement afoot in Chicago.

But something more sinister also came to light this week. Ars Technica reported that an American man who had been known to some as “Hacker X” revealed his true identity, Robert Willis, while also taking credit for being the “mastermind” behind a massive fake news campaign that fed propaganda and conspiracy theories in order to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election.

Undoubtedly, combating fake news and disinformation campaigns is a formidable challenge. But as countries like China look to implement legislation as a means of controlling these threats, the South China Morning Post warned, “Instead the government must do more to safeguard press freedom. The public interest would be poorer without professional journalists who verify facts and seek truth.”

To learn more about the dark side of influence and disinformation campaigns, explore our library of content.

Now let’s take a look at what other news made cybersecurity headlines this week.

Oct. 15: Google said it continues to release warnings about phishing and malware attacks to those targeted by state-sponsored hackers because its Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has seen “an unusually large campaign from a Russian actor known as APT28 or Fancy Bear,” ZDNet reported.

Oct. 15: The Hack the Sea hacking challenge demonstrated that “hacking skills from land-based systems and environments are easily transposable to a maritime environment,” War on the Rocks reported.

Oct. 14: The New York Times reported, “More than a dozen prominent cybersecurity experts on Thursday criticized plans by Apple and the European Union to monitor people’s phones for illicit material, calling the efforts ineffective and dangerous strategies that would embolden government surveillance.”

Oct. 14: An alert issued by joint federal agencies warned of “cyber threats to U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems (WWS) Sector. This activity—which includes cyber intrusions leading to ransomware attacks—threatens the ability of WWS facilities to provide clean, potable water to, and effectively manage the wastewater of, their communities.”

Oct. 13: Reuters reported, “Russia was not invited to attend a 30-country virtual meeting led by the United States that is aimed at combating the growing threat of ransomware and other cyber crime.”

Oct. 13: In commenting on the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice stated whistleblowers will “play a significant role in bringing to light knowing failures and misconduct in the cyber arena.”

Oct. 12: New Scientist reported that a UK security researcher has warned, “Intelligence agencies may be intercepting encrypted messages and storing them in the hope that they can eventually develop a practical quantum computer to crack them.”

Oct. 11: The Hill reported that Microsoft “released evidence showing Iranian-linked hackers targeting and at times compromising systems of U.S. and Israeli defense technology companies.”

Oct. 11: Europol successfully took down an organized crime group that was allegedly using more than 250 domains to create a bogus online financial services platform.

Kacy Zurkus

Senior Content Manager, RSA Conference

Innovation & Startups Policy & Government Hackers & Threats

anti-malware privacy critical infrastructure cyber espionage disinformation campaigns/fake news fraud quantum computing ransomware

Blogs posted to the RSAConference.com website are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the blog author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of RSA Conference™, or any other co-sponsors. RSA Conference does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this blog.

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