The January 6 text scandal becomes criminal | MarketingwithAnoy

Like United As states’ midterm elections approach, lawmakers and law enforcement officials are on high alert about violent threats directed at election officials across the country — domestic threats that have taken first place over foreign influence and interference as the primary concern for the 2022 election. In another arena however, Congress is making progress in building bipartisan support for much-needed and overdue privacy legislation in the form of the US Data Protection Act.

Iranian women’s rights activists raised the alarm this week that Meta has not been responsive to their concerns about targeted bot campaigns flooding their Instagram accounts at a defining moment for the country’s feminist movement. And investigators looking into attacks on Internet cables in Paris still haven’t determined who was behind the vandalism or what their motive was, but new details have emerged about the scale of the sabotage, making the situation even more worrying and intriguing.

The ACLU released documents this week detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s contracts with phone-tracking data brokers that sell location information. And if you’re worried about Big Brother snooping on your reproductive data, we’ve ranked the most popular period tracking apps by their privacy.

And there is more. Each week we pick up the news that we didn’t break or cover in depth. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And be safe out there!

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General told the Secret Service on Thursday stop its investigation to the deletion of riot-related text messages on January 6 due to an “ongoing criminal investigation” into the situation. Secret Service spokespeople have said conflicting things: that data on the phones was wiped during a planned phone migration or factory reset, and that the deleted messages were not relevant to the Jan. 6 investigation. The Secret Service said it provided agents with a guide for backing up their data before beginning the vetting process, but noted that it was up to the individuals to complete that backup.

Zero day spoke to Robert Osgood, director of the forensics and telecommunications program at George Mason University and a former FBI digital forensics examiner, about the situation. “Osgood said asking agents to back up their own phones ‘makes absolutely no sense’ — especially for a government agency engaged in the kind of work the Secret Service does and required to keep records. The agency is not only charged with protecting the president, vice president and others, it also investigates financial and cybercrime,” reports Zero Day author Kim Zetter. “I’m pro-government, and [telling agents to back up their own phones] sounds weird,” Osgood told Zetter. “If that happened, the IT manager responsible for it would have to be censured. Something should happen to that person because that’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard in my life.’”

The Federal Communications Commission’s Robocall Response Team said Thursday it is ordering phone companies to block robocalls that warn of expiring car warranties and offer contract renewals. The FCC said the calls, which are familiar to people around the United States, came from “Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, their Sumco Panama companies and international associates.” Since 2018 or possibly earlier, their operations have resulted in more than 8 billion pre-recorded message calls to Americans, the FCC said. “We will not tolerate robocall scammers or those who help make their scams possible,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Consumers are running out of patience, and I’m right there with them.”

After Apple warned a number of Thai activists and their staff in November that their devices might have been targeted by NSO Group’s notorious Pegasus spyware, a number of them reached out to human rights groups and researchers, establishing a broader picture of a campaign in Thailand. In total, more than 30 Thai victims have been identified. The targets worked with local human rights group iLaw, which found that two of its own members had been victims of the campaign, as well as the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and Amnesty International. The researchers did not say who was behind the Pegasus campaigns, but found that much of the targeting took place during the same general time when the targets were participating in protests against government policies.

Google’s Threat Analysis Group reported this week that it has seen Russia’s digital meddling continue apace, both in Ukraine as the Kremlin’s invasion rages on and in Eastern Europe more broadly. TAG discovered the Russian-affiliated hacker group Turla was trying to spread two different malicious Android apps through websites pretending to be Ukrainian. The group tried to market the apps by claiming that downloading them would play a role in launching denial-of-service attacks on Russian websites, an interesting twist given the civilian efforts in Ukraine to launch cyberattacks against Russia. TAG also detected activity from other known Russian hacker groups that exploited vulnerabilities to target Ukrainian systems and launched disinformation campaigns in the region.

Ukrainian officials also said this week that Russia had carried out an attack on Ukraine’s TAVR Media, hacking nine popular radio stations to spread false information that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in intensive care due to a critical illness. The broadcast further claimed that Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, was in command in Zelensky’s place. TAVR issued a statement on Facebook saying the broadcasts “did not correspond to reality.” And Zelensky posted a video on his Instagram in which he attributed the attack to Russia and said he is in good health.

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