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InfoSec News Nuggets 11/10/2023

NIST releases revised cyber requirements for controlled unclassified information 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology on Thursday released draft guidance for protecting sensitive unclassified information, outlining revised cybersecurity requirements for federal agencies and government contractors to take when it comes to safeguarding government data. The proposed guidelines are the third iteration of NIST’s standards and practices for protecting controlled unclassified information — or CUI — which refers to government-owned or created data that is not classified but still requires security controls.  


Signal tests usernames that keep your phone number private 

Signal is now testing public usernames that allow users to conceal the phone numbers linked to their accounts while communicating with others. As Signal’s VP of Engineering, Jim O’Leary, shared earlier today, this long-expected new feature is now being tested in a staging environment separate from the stable Signal encrypted messaging service following multiple rounds of internal testing. “Think of The Staging Environment as a parallel Signal universe: you’ll need to install and run a new build, and register for a new account with a phone number (you can use the same one you’re using in Production),” O’Leary said. 


Maine government says data breach affects 1.3 million residents 

The government of Maine has confirmed over a million state residents had personal information stolen in a data breach earlier this year by a Russia-linked ransomware gang. In a statement published Thursday, the Maine government said hackers exploited a vulnerability in its MOVEit file-transfer system, which stored sensitive data on state residents. The hackers used the vulnerability to access and download files belonging to certain state agencies between May 28 and May 29, the statement read. The Maine government said it was disclosing the incident and notifying affected residents as its assessment of the impacted files “was recently completed.” 


Dutch Hacker Goes to Jail for Stealing Data, Deploying Ransomware, and So Much More 

A court in the Netherlands has sentenced Pepijn Van der Stap to prison after being found guilty of extortion, hacking, theft and money laundering. Van der Stap rose to fame after Dutch authorities arrested him in 2023. What makes his case different is that he was also a cybersecurity professional, meaning he sometimes acted as a whitehat hacker. In the space of three years, from 2021 to 2023, Van der Stap and other people compromised multiple companies’ networks, stole information, locked computer systems with ransomware, used blackmail to extort funds, and sold information on the black market and various hacker forums. 


Russian Hackers Sandworm Cause Power Outage in Ukraine Amidst Missile Strikes 

The notorious Russian hackers known as Sandworm targeted an electrical substation in Ukraine last year, causing a brief power outage in October 2022. The findings come from Google’s Mandiant, which described the hack as a “multi-event cyber attack” leveraging a novel technique for impacting industrial control systems (ICS). “The actor first used OT-level living-off-the-land (LotL) techniques to likely trip the victim’s substation circuit breakers, causing an unplanned power outage that coincided with mass missile strikes on critical infrastructure across Ukraine,” the company said. 


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