Daily Digest (11/16)

Microsoft: Russian, North Korean Hackers Target Vaccine Work; ByteDance Granted 15-Day Extension on Order to Divest TikTok; CEO of Google Apologizes for Leaked Documents; 46M Records Exposed in Animal Jam Game Hack.

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Microsoft: Russian, North Korean Hackers Target Vaccine Work

Microsoft said Friday that it had detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers.

The company said in a blog post that most of the attacks were unsuccessful but provided no information on how many succeeded or how serious those breaches were, The Associated Press reports.

The U.S government announced in July that Chinese state-backed hackers have also been targeting vaccine-makers.

Microsoft said most of the targets — located in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States — were “directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for COVID-19,” according to AP. 

ByteDance Granted 15-Day Extension on Order to Divest TikTok

The Trump administration has allowed a 15- day extension of a divestiture order that directed the Chinese company to sell its TikTok short video-sharing app by Thursday.

In an earlier court filing, TikTok disclosed the extension saying it now has until Nov. 27 to reach an agreement, Reuters reports.

ByteDance has been in talks for a deal with Walmart and Oracle after pressure from the U.S. government.

The Treasury Department said on Friday that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) granted the 15-day extension to “provide the parties and the committee additional time to resolve this case in a manner that complies with the Order.”

ByteDance filed a petition on Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the divestiture order.

CEO of Google Apologizes for Leaked Documents

Sundar Pichai has apologized to Europe’s industry chief Thierry Breton over leaked internal documents.

The document outlined a 60-day strategy to counter the EU’s new rules on internet companies and to lobby against the EU commissioner, Reuters reports.

Pichai and Breton spoke in a video-conference call late on Thursday, according to a statement from the European Commission.

The call was initiated by Google before the document was leaked but Breton brought up the leaked document, showing it to Pichai during the call.

“I was not surprised. I’m not naive. I thought it was a bit old fashioned…,” Breton told the Anglo-American Press Association in an online meeting Friday.

“The Internet cannot remain a ‘Wild West’: We need clear and transparent rules, a predictable environment and balanced rights and obligations,” he said he told Pichai.

Pichai apologized for the way the document came out, which he said he had not seen or sanctioned, another person familiar with the call said.

46M Records Exposed in Animal Jam Game Hack

WildWorks, the company behind the kids’ game Animal Jam announced that hackers stole more than 46 million account records during a breach of a third-party vendor’s server in October.

The company said that it was unaware that the data had been compromised until 7 million records turned up on an underground forum used by malicious actors on Nov. 11, ThreatPost reports.

Hackers obtained a key to a server database maintained by a third-party vendor that WildWorks uses for intra-company communication, according to the company.

It did not name the vendor.

“We believe our vendor’s server was compromised sometime between Oct. 10 and 12,” the company said in a statement announcing the breach.

“WildWorks learned of the database theft…Nov. 11, when security researchers monitoring a public hacker forum saw the data posted there and alerted us.”

— By DPN Staff