Hillicon Valley: Malicious emails spike amid coronavirus | Real ID deadline delayed one year | Trump officials to limit Huawei's chip access

Hillicon Valley: Malicious emails spike amid coronavirus | Real ID deadline delayed one year | Trump officials to limit Huawei's chip access
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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.



MALICIOUS EMAILS SPIKING: Malicious emails that used coronavirus information to target individuals spiked over the past month as the crisis ramped up, according to a report from cyber threat researchers at Barracuda Networks released Thursday.

The researchers saw a 667 percent increase in malicious phishing emails that were citing the coronavirus. These types of emails try to lure individuals to click on dangerous links or download attachments that typically include computer viruses.

Barracuda Networks tracked almost 10,0000 attempted phishing email cyberattacks linked to the coronavirus crisis since the beginning of March, while by comparison the researchers only saw about 1,800 in February and even fewer in January. 

"Although the overall number of these attacks is still low compared to other threats, the threat is growing quickly," the researchers wrote. 

They cautioned that hackers were "taking advantage of the heightened focus on COVID-19 to distribute malware, steal credentials, and scam users out of money. The attacks use common phishing tactics that are seen regularly, however a growing number of campaigns are using the coronavirus as a lure to try to trick distracted users [and] capitalize on the fear and uncertainty of their intended victims."

The majority of the emails studied by the researchers were classified as scams, while about a third were brand impersonation emails, and 11 percent were blackmail attacks. 

The researchers warned that as the coronavirus crisis continues, they expect hackers to grow increasingly "sophisticated" at using coronavirus to lure individuals. 


The findings by the researchers were released a week after the FBI put out an alert warning Americans to be wary of suspicious emails, such as those claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or those asking for sensitive information in exchange for coronavirus stimulus checks from the government. 

Read more here.


REAL ID DEADLINE DELAYED: The requirement for Americans to obtain a Real ID for travel will be delayed one year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday.

Americans will now have until Oct. 1, 2021, to get Real ID Act compliant identification needed to board commercial flights, enter federal buildings or gain access to American nuclear plants.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE recommended the delay earlier this week to ease crowding at Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

"The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline," acting DHS Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfHundreds of migrant children, teens deported under pandemic border policy: report Trump administration finalizes indefinite extension of coronavirus border restrictions   US-Mexico border restrictions extended to June 22 MORE said in a statement Thursday. "Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts."

Three Democratic chairmen of relevant House committees had sent a letter to the DHS last week asking for the implementation of the Real ID Act to be delayed, citing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Read more here.


TRAVEL INDUSTRY APPLAUDS: The U.S. Travel Association applauded the administration for delaying the enforcement date of REAL ID requirements, which the group said would have likely caused greater economic uncertainty, but cautioned the extension may need to be longer.

Americans will now have until Oct. 1, 2021, to get Real ID Act compliant identification, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Thursday, which will be needed to board commercial flights, enter federal buildings or gain access to American nuclear plants.

"We applaud the administration for recognizing the challenges enforcing REAL ID requirements on travelers would present to what we hope will be a full and speedy economic recovery. We believe implementing REAL ID enforcement prior to full recovery would severely delay or reverse the travel industry's ability to recover quickly from the coronavirus crisis," U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow wrote in a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Wolf. 

If REAL ID were implemented today, an estimated 67,400 travelers would be turned away at airport security checkpoints on the first day, and more than 471,800 within the first week, according to a new analysis compiled in part by U.S. Travel. 

Read more on the delay here.


AGREEMENT TO LIMIT HUAWEI CHIPS: Senior Trump administration officials have come to an agreement to limit the access of embattled Chinese telecommunications group Huawei to the global chip supply chain, Reuters reported Thursday. 

The new rule would require foreign companies that use American chip-making equipment to obtain a license from the U.S. before being allowed to sell this equipment to Huawei, which is the largest 5G equipment manufacturer in the world. 

According to Reuters, the decision was made to alter the Foreign Direct Product Rule to reflect the change around Huawei following a meeting on Wednesday between officials from various federal agencies. 

Both the White House and the Commerce Department declined to comment to The Hill, while a spokesperson for Huawei did not immediately have a comment. 

The move against Huawei follows months of pushback against the company from both the Trump administration and bipartisan members of Congress. 


Concerns have largely stemmed from a Chinese intelligence law that requires Chinese companies and citizens to participate in state intelligence work and share data if requested. 

Read more.


DYSON PRODUCING VENTILATORS: Dyson, the company behind high-tech vacuums and hand dryers, says it has received an emergency order from the United Kingdom for 10,000 ventilators, and it has already designed a new machine.

James Dyson, the billionaire founder, wrote in a letter to employees later obtained by CNN that he received a call from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding the short supply of ventilators.

Just 10 days later, Dyson wrote that the company has designed and built a new ventilator called the "CoVent."

"This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume," according to Dyson. It has been designed to "address the specific needs" of coronavirus patients.


In addition to the 10,000 ordered by the U.K.'s National Health Service, Dyson will be donating an additional 5,000 units.

A spokesperson for the company told CNN the CoVents will be ready by early April.

Read more.


A Lighter click: Make it home safe :)


An op-ed to chew on: From clipboards to keyboards: what's at stake with the upcoming online census



Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don't Have a Facebook Account (Motherboard / Joseph Cox)

GoFundMe Confronts Coronavirus Demand (New York Times / Nathaniel Popper and Taylor Lorenz)

'It's just Armageddon': Can coworking survive COVID-19? (Protocol / Lauren Helper)

Android Apps May Be Snooping on You More Than You Realize (Gizmodo / Shoshana Wodinsky)