Happy Thursday everyone! Today we celebrate the 41st anniversary of the first space shuttle, Columbia, returning to Earth.
Our first story in today’s newsletter is all about how the FBI is proactively going after Russian malware. The second, while not strictly a national security issue, does tie into these concerns. You see, the idea that conservatives are being abused by “Big Tech” is a fundamental tenet for many saying these companies should be broken up. I’ve said very clearly on multiple occasions (see here, here, and here) that I think this is a bad idea and that it could hurt American national security. So, in light of the recent news about President Trump’s social media platform, I thought I’d lay out what I think we can learn from these developments. I hope you find it helpful.
FBI Hacks U.S. Networks (Again)
The FBI says it has removed Russian malware from networks around the world to prevent a large-scale botnet attack. The bureau says the Sandworm hacking group, associated with Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), was exploiting previously unknown vulnerabilities in routers and firewalls made by WatchGuard Technologies and ASUS.
The so-called “Cyclops Blink”’ operation would have allowed Sandworm to use thousands of compromised devices and networks as “zombie” devices (i.e., a “botnet”) to steal data, compromise information, send spam, perpetrate ad fraud, or launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The G-men (G-People? G-Persons?) were likely motivated to act after seeing bad guys scan infected networks—using code to look for IP addresses, vulnerabilities, or other information they could use for an attack.