Ransomware hackers have found new ways to evade U.S. sanctions, with some groups changing the types of programs they use to target their victims. 

In other news, we’ll highlight five things to know about the Texas social media law and this week’s Supreme Court ruling that blocked it — for now.   

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Hackers evade sanctions with tactic switch  

Ransomware groups that have been sanctioned by the U.S. government are switching their tactics to evade sanctions and continue to receive ransom payments, according to a report released Thursday by cybersecurity firm Mandiant. 

Hackers affiliated with a group known as Evil Corp, which was sanctioned in 2019, have since changed the types of programs they use to target their victims. For instance, the hackers seemed to have stopped using a ransomware program known as WastedLocker and instead adopted similar variants in a “relatively quick succession,” the report said.  

“These developments suggested that the actors faced challenges in receiving ransom payments following their ransomware’s public association with Evil Corp,” according to the report. 

Read more here

What’s going on with the Texas social media law? 

Texas’s law that restricts social media platforms’ ability to remove users or violative content was temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, but it’s not the end of the road for the case that may wind up back before the justices.  

The ongoing challenge to the Texas law, and to a similar measure in Florida, is providing a test for how First Amendment protections should be applied in the internet age.

Here are five things to know about the Texas social media law:

  1. How could the law keep companies from moderating content?
  2. How did the case reach the Supreme Court, and how did the justices vote?
  3. What happens next in the legal challenge?
  4. What does the ruling signal for the future of the law?
  5. What is happening in other states?

Read more here.


Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee said Amazon is obstructing their investigation into a deadly warehouse collapse by failing to send requested documents.  

Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to Amazon Thursday demanding the company comply with the committee’s request for documents about labor practices in place during a tornado that hit the company’s Edwardsville, Ill., facility in December.  

The e-commerce giant has yet to turn over “any of the key categories documents identified by committee staff” or the full set of materials the committee requested in March, including internal communications related to the tornado. 

Read more here.  


A coalition of more than 20 advocacy groups is urging Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to call a vote on a bipartisan antitrust bill that aims to limit tech giants from preferencing their own products and services over rivals.  

“This is an opportunity to pass legislation that will immediately result in a concrete increase in competition in an industry that touches the lives of every American, and we must not pass it up. We are pleased that you intend to bring [the American Innovation and Choice Online Act] to the floor, and urge you to act as quickly as is practical,” the groups wrote in a Thursday letter, according to a copy first provided to The Hill.   

The letter is signed by groups including Demand Progress, Center for Digital Democracy, Athena and Public Citizen. 

Read more about the letter.  


A group of online marketplaces has written a letter to several lawmakers in hopes of urging them to tweak the language of new China competition bills.  

The Coalition to Protect America’s Small Sellers (PASS) in its letter sent Thursday expressed its concern over a set of bills that it said will “harm consumers, disadvantage medium and smaller-sized businesses, and disrupt thousands of legitimate websites.”  

The set of bills includes the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act and the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). 

PASS is a coalition made up of online marketplaces including eBay, Etsy, Poshmark, Redbubble and Pinterest. 

Read more here


An op-ed to chew on: Reflagging ships could be the answer to Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports  

Lighter click: connecting with the youth 

Notable links from around the web

U.S. Technology, a Longtime Tool for Russia, Becomes a Vulnerability (The New York Times / Ana Swanson, John Ismay and Edward Wong) 

The CFPB doesn’t want to play in the fintech sandbox anymore (Protocol / Ryan Deffenbaugh) 

Internal Documents Show Amazon’s Dystopian System for Tracking Workers Every Minute of Their Shifts (Motherboard / Lauren Kaori Gurley) 

One more thing: Sandberg’s next steps 

Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who announced on Wednesday that she was stepping down from the company, indicated in an interview that her departure was partly influenced by the leaked Supreme Court opinion on Roe v. Wade. 

“It’s just not a job that leaves room for a lot of other stuff in your life. This is a really important moment for women. This is a really important moment for me to be able to do more with my philanthropy, with my foundation,” Sandberg told Fortune of her desire to focus on advocacy following the leaked draft majority opinion last month showed that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that established the federal right to abortion. 

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.


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