'REvil' Ransomware Group Taken Down Through Multi-Country Effort

· Andrew Orr · Link


The FBI, working with Cyber Command, the Secret Service, and other countries, took down REvil.

According to three people familiar with the matter, law enforcement and intelligence cyber specialists were able to hack REvil’s computer network infrastructure, obtaining control of at least some of their servers. After websites that the hacker group used to conduct business went offline in July, the main spokesman for the group, who calls himself “Unknown,” vanished from the internet.

Coinbase Calls on Government to Create Separate Crypto Regulator

· Andrew Orr · Link

coinbase digital asset policy proposal

Coinbase wants the U.S. government to create a cryptocurrency regulation agency separate from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Laws drafted in the 1930s to facilitate effective oversight of our financial system could not contemplate this technological revolution. Elements of those laws do not have room for the transformational potential that digital assets and crypto innovation make possible. They do not accommodate the efficiency, seamlessness, and transparency of digital asset markets, and thus risk serving as an unintended barrier to current innovations in the digital asset economy.

U.S. Justice Department Forms Crypto Enforcement Team

· Andrew Orr · Link

Justice is blind, even if she's teetering on the brink of an apocalyptic wasteland

The U.S. Justice Department is forming a crypto enforcement team to “root out abuse” such as money laundering.

“We want to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial ecosystem that enables these criminal actors to flourish and — quite frankly — to profit from what they’re doing,” said Monaco. “We’re going to do that by drawing on our cyber experts and cyber prosecutors and money laundering experts.”

US Army Funds Wearable That Could Treat Sleep Disorders in Real Time

· Andrew Orr · Link

US Army brain wearable

The U.S. Army is funding a special skullcap that aims to analyze how the brain disposes of waste during sleep. Eventually, the goal is for the device to treat sleep disorders for soldiers in real time.

The $2.8 million award issued through the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium is for the first year of what the research team anticipates will be a multiyear grant from the U.S. Army. The primary goal is to noninvasively measure and modulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid as it circulates through the brain and clears waste.

I can’t resist linking to Galactic Cowboys.

Biden Admin Wants to Regulate Stablecoin Issuers as Banks

· Andrew Orr · Link

USD coin

This article is from The Wall Street Journal and may be behind a paywall. The report says that the Biden administration is looking to impose regulations on cryptocurrency entities that issue stablecoins. Also called fiatcoins, the price of these coins are pegged to fiat currency, such as the US dollar.

While the report is likely to focus primarily on the risks posed by stablecoins and how to impose a bank-like framework around the firms that issue them, other key issues will likely remain unresolved, such as investor protections around the trading of stablecoins, distinct from the regulation of the companies that issue them.

C-SPAN Launches New Video-Based Mobile App

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

C-SPAN Now is a free mobile app featuring video of the day’s biggest political events. From your mobile device, on C-SPAN Now you can: Watch live or on demand  C-SPAN’s complete coverage of the U.S. House and Senate, congressional hearings, White House events, the courts, campaigns and more from the world of politics.  Catch up on what’s happening in politics with featured highlight clips. Listen to C-SPAN Radio and discover a variety of compelling podcasts. Watch the three C-SPAN TV networks and the latest episodes of “Washington Journal” and “Q&A.” Find current schedule information for C-SPAN’s TV networks and C-SPAN Radio.

C-SPAN Launches New Video-Based Mobile App

Brazil Fines Apple For Not Including a Charger in iPhone 13 Boxes

· Andrew Orr · Link

Brazil is issuing a fine against Apple for not including a charger inside the iPhone 13 packages. They also fined the company for the same thing with iPhone 12.

Following Brazil’s fining Apple $1.9 million for not including a charger with the iPhone 12, the company was forced to offer chargers to anyone requesting it. Now, the Procon-SP regulator plans to do the same over the iPhone 13.

According to local publication TechTudo, the $1.9 million fine that was issued in March 2021, was the maximum allowable under Brazilian law. The fine is also limited in how it cannot be applied again fewer than six months after issuing.

Chargers, and also cases. By slightly repositioning the buttons on the iPhone 13 so iPhone 12 cases don’t work anymore, Apple flips off the environment and uses its corpse for Tim Cook’s footstool.

GridRaster Using XR to Improve USAF Aircraft Maintenance

· Jeff Butts · News

GridRaster Using XR to Improve USAF Aircraft Maintenance

GridRaster’s contract with the US Air Force will streamline many aircraft maintenance tasks. The tools can be also used for other missions, such as flight training and simulations.

Claris Brings 'ECF Records Manager' to K-12 Schools

· Andrew Orr · Link

Claris ECF Records Manager

On Tuesday, Claris International announced the general availability of ECF Records Manager. It’s an app created to help K-12 schools and libraries meet the requirements of a new US$7 billion federal program to support remote learning.

The FCC’s ECF Program provides more than $7 billion in funding to help K-12 schools and libraries address the homework gap by purchasing tools and services that support remote learning. This program also requires schools and libraries to keep specific device or equipment data as well as user, usage and service information and “any and all” records related to applications for funding and reimbursement payments. Required data and documents must be kept for at least 10 years.

Inside Project Raven, a Team of Former NSA Analysts Who Worked for the UAE Government

· Andrew Orr · Link

red-lit keyboard

Project Raven was a team that included more than a dozen former U.S. intelligence operatives recruited to help the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights activists critical of the monarchy. Reuters tells the story.

The operatives utilized an arsenal of cyber tools, including a cutting-edge espionage platform known as Karma, in which Raven operatives say they hacked into the iPhones of hundreds of activists, political leaders and suspected terrorists. Details of the Karma hack were described in a separate Reuters article today.

An interesting story. We know that iOS 14.8 patched a vulnerability used by the Pegasus spyware, but I haven’t heard much about Karma.

Microsoft President Brad Smith Says Government Agencies Need to Share Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

microsoft president brad smith

Microsoft President Brad Smith says intelligence agencies need to share information to better protect the nation against cyberattacks.

Repeatedly in late 2020 we found people in federal agencies asking us about information in other parts of the government, because it was easier to get it from us than directly from other federal employees. A culture of holding information tightly is so ingrained in the government that even its contracts with us forbid us from letting one part of the government know that another part has been attacked.

President Biden has taken a couple of steps so far.

SEC Threatens to Sue Coinbase Over its USDC Lending Feature

· Andrew Orr · Link

coinbase SEC logos

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that the SEC is threatening to sue if it launches Lend. Lend is the platform’s feature that would give users 4% APY for USD Coin.

We shared this view and the details of Lend with the SEC. After our initial meeting, we answered all of the SEC’s questions in writing and then again in person. But we didn’t get much of a response. The SEC told us they consider Lend to involve a security, but wouldn’t say why or how they’d reached that conclusion.

They also asked for the name and contact information of every single person on our Lend waitlist.

That second part is particularly gross. Update: I think this is a nice write-up from Bloomberg on the matter.