Russian state-sponsored hackers trick US contractors in effort to steal military secrets

Russian cyberspies have tricked employees at US defence companies into exposing their emails.

The security companies targeted were working on sensitive defence contracts, including weaponised drones, missiles and stealth fighter jets.

It is unclear what has been stolen but both large and small companies including Boeing Co, Airbus Group, Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Co and General Atomics, were targetted.

The hackers are associated with the cyberespionage group known as Fancy Bears.

The group also carried out phishing attacks on email addresses associated with the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 US Presidential election, which is thought to have badly damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The Associated Press (AP) scoured 19,000 lines of email data collected by cybersecurity company Secureworks and found 87 people who were targeted by the phishing attack.

They mostly affected Gmail accounts, although some corporate email addresses were also sent the malicious emails.

Although most of the victims, who included scientists and engineers, were working on classified projects, as many as 40 per cent of them clicked on the hackers’ phishing links.

World news in pictures

World news in pictures

  • 1/45 6 February 2018

    Anti-North Korean protesters push against police as a ferry carrying a North Korean art troupe for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games approaches the port of Mukho in Donghae. Around 120 North Korean art performers in matching red coats and fur hats left for the South, its state media said on February 6, the latest in the flurry of cross-border exchanges in the run-up to the Pyeongchang Olympics.


  • 2/45 5 February 2018

    Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LII


  • 3/45 4 February 2018

    Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal Amtrak train crash in Cayce, South Carolina. At least two were killed and dozens injured.

    The State via AP

  • 4/45 3 February 2018

    Members of security services react as a man in the crowd tries to shake hands with French President Emmanuel Macron, who walks next to Senegalese President Macky Sall in a street of Saint-Louis, Senegal.


  • 5/45 2 February 2018

    County Sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves, the father of three daughters who were abused by Larry Nassar, after he tried to attack the former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Michigan.


  • 6/45 1 February 2018

    Abu Rabih, 65, walks through the rubble with his eight-year-old grandson Yahya following air strikes by regime forces which hit the building where they live in Arbin, in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus. Arbin is in the Eastern Ghouta region which has been under government siege since 2013.

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 7/45 31 January 2018

    A ‘Supermoon’ shines its blood red colors during a full eclipse above the Big A Sign of Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. A ‘Supermoon’ commonly is described as a full moon at its closest distance to the earth with the moon appearing larger and brighter than usual.


  • 8/45 30 January 2018

    A man wears a mask among fellow supporters as Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga (not pictured) takes a symbolic presidential oath of office in Nairobi.


  • 9/45 29 January 2018

    Tractors are parked outside a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers during a protest by Belgian farmers in Brussels.


  • 10/45 28 January 2018

    Bruno Mars accepts Record of the Year for ’24K Magic’ with his production team onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    Getty Images for NARAS

  • 11/45 27 January 2018

    Students with torches gather prior to a march in celebration of the 165th birth anniversary of Cuba’s independence hero Jose Marti, in Havana.


  • 12/45 26 January 2018

    A firefighter inspects a burnt hospital after a fire in Miryang, South Korea. 37 people were killed in the fire, with the number of casualties likely to rise further.

    Kyungnam Shinmun via Getty

  • 13/45 25 January 2018

    Rescue workers and police officers stand near derailed trains in Pioltello, on the outskirts of Milan.


  • 14/45 24 January 2018

    Afghan police officers take position during a blast and gun fire in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.


  • 15/45 23 January 2018

    Workers clean the beach of the coastal town of Zouk Mosbeh, north of Beirut, as garbage washed up and piled along the shore after stormy weather.


  • 16/45 22 January 2018

    A Free Syrian Army soldier takes a selfie as fighters join up with Turkish troops near the Syrian border at Hassa, Hatay province. Turkey shelled Kurdish militia targets in Syria and claimed progress in a cross-border offensive that has stoked concern among its allies and neighbours

  • 17/45 21 January 2018

    Palestinians take part in a protest against aid cut, outside the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) office, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.


  • 18/45 20 January 2018

    Oscar Janicki, 6, participates in the Second Annual Women’s March in Philadelphia.


  • 19/45 19 January 2018

    Russian President Vladimir Putin bathes in an ice-cold water on Epiphany near St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery on Lake Seliger in Svetlitsa village, Russia. Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers will plunge into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day.

    Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

  • 20/45 18 January 2018

    People protest to call for a new DREAM Act to replace DACA in Los Angeles, California.


  • 21/45 17 January 2018

    Pro-democracy activists Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong arrive at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre after they were jailed on protest related charges following their sentencing at the High Court in Hong Kong.


  • 22/45 16 January 2018

    Skyscrapers Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower (L) are seen from the Shanghai World Financial Center on a hazy day in the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China.


  • 23/45 15 January 2018

    Martin Luther King III, US Secretary of the Interior and others wait to place a wreath during an event at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall.


  • 24/45 14 January 2018

    A boy stands with women loyal to the Houthi movement during a gathering held to show their support to the movement in Sanaa, Yemen.


  • 25/45 13 January 2018

    Diego Martin Duplessis of Argentina drives his Honda during the 2018 Peru-Bolivia-Argentina Dakar rally, 40th edition stage seven, La Paz to Uyuni.


  • 26/45 12 January 2018

    Angela Merkel speaks during a joint press conference after exploratory talks in Berlin. According to reports, the leaders of CDU, CSU and SPD parties after night-long talks agreed on a plan for formal coalition negotiations.


  • 27/45 11 January 2018

    A Pakistani girl holds a picture of Zainab Ansari, an 8-year-old girl who was raped and kidnapped in Kasur, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan. Anees Ansari, Zainab’s father, accused the police of being slow to respond when his daughter went missing in the eastern Punjab province. Two people were killed and three others were wounded in clashes between angry Kasur residents and police after protesters enraged over her death attacked a police station in the city.


  • 28/45 10 January 2018

    India’s Border Security Force (BSF) ‘Daredevils’ women motorcycle riders perform during a rehearsal for the Republic Day parade on a cold winter morning in New Delhi.


  • 29/45 9 January 2018

    Members of the South Korea delegation (R) shake hands with members of the North Korean delegation (L) during their meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas. North and South Korea began their first official talks in more than two years, focusing on the forthcoming Winter Olympics after months of tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.


  • 30/45 8 January 2018

    Migrants in a dinghy are rescued by Libyan coast guards off the coast of Garabulli, east of Tripoli.


  • 31/45 7 January 2018

    French President Emmanuel Macron observes a minute of silence in front of the plaque commemorating late police officer Ahmed Merabet to mark the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, in Paris.


  • 32/45 6 January 2018

    Nicolaos Solis from Greece kisses the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul.


  • 33/45 5 January 2018

    Women mourn the death of a family member following a landslide in Kinshasa. Thirty-seven people died overnight when torrential rain and mudslides swept though shanty homes.


  • 34/45 4 January 2018

    Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Mosab al-Tamimi, 17, who was shot and killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral near the West Bank city of Ramallah .


  • 35/45 3 January 2018

    People take part in pro-government rallies, Iran.

    Tasnim News Agency via Reuters

  • 36/45 2 January 2018

    Indonesian bus passengers watch as Mount Sinabung spews thick smoke in Karo, North Sumatra.


  • 37/45 1 January 2018

    People take part in the traditional New Year’s Day swim in Scheveningen, Netherlands.


  • 38/45 31 December 2017

    Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve celebrations.


  • 39/45 30 December 2017

    An Indian muslim lifts a stool with a metal rod pierced through his cheeks to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Rafai Papa Miyan Sai at the Shah-E-Alam Dargah shrine in Ahmedabad.


  • 40/45 29 December 2017

    A New York apartment fire killed at least 12 people, including a baby, with four more critically injured. Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference from the scene that ‘it is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century.’


  • 41/45 28 December 2017

    Afghan women mourn inside a hospital compound after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.


  • 42/45 27 December 2017

    Pope Francis greets newlyweds during his weekly general audience at Aula Paolo VI in The Vatican.


  • 43/45 26 December 2017

    Rohingya refugees walk next to a pond in the early morning at the Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.


  • 44/45 25 December 2017

    Members of ice swimming club “Berliner Seehunde” (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake in Berlin as part of their traditional Christmas ice swimming session, in Berlin, Germany.


  • 45/45 24 December 2017

    Mourners carry the body of 19-year-old Mohamed Sami al-Dahdouh, a Palestinian youth from Jabalia who was killed in clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City.


Opening those links sent to email accounts or computer files can lead to data being exposed to digital spies.

The programmes that they appear to target and the people who work on those programmes are some of the most forward-leaning, advanced technologies,” said Charles Sowell, a former senior adviser to the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, when he saw the list of names that had been targetted.

If those schemes were compromised “in any way” it would also compromise the US’ defences, he said. “That’s what’s really scary.”

Among the 87 people targeted, 15 worked on drones. A number of countries including Russia are pursuing more advanced drone technology as the unmanned aircraft are playing an increasing role in modern warfare.


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Boris Johnson claims Russia’s hostility to UK and West is as bad as end of Cold War

Russia’s hostility towards the UK and the West has not been as bad since the Cold War, Boris Johnson has claimed.

The Foreign Secretary accused Moscow of trying to destabilise the West with a campaign of invasions, killings and attempts to undermine democratic elections.

Mr Johnson described the current situation of hostility as a “tragedy”.

This comes ahead of his planned visit to Russia this week, and talks with his counterpart, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow.

He said at the end of the Cold War he had hopes that relations would improve, but that this now seemed like a “total illusion”.

“Russia has not been so hostile to the UK or to western interests since the end of the Cold War,” he told The Sunday Times.

“In the Crimea, capturing a part of sovereign European territory from someone else’s country and holding it for the first time since 1945. Add their destabilising activities in the western Balkans.

“We literally have Russian fingerprints on an assassination attempt in Montenegro. Look at what they’re doing with cyber-warfare, with attempted disruption of democratic processes in the UK.”

He said that although he had seen “no evidence” Russian influence affected the outcome of the EU referendum, he had seen evidence of Russian “trolling on Facebook”.

World news in pictures

World news in pictures

  • 1/35 16 December 2017

    The former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela (R), and the candidate for the African National Congress presidency and ex-wife of the incumbent South African president, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma greet each other as they attend the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 16, 2017. Thousands of delegates from South Africa’s ANC party gathered on December 16, 2017 for a five-day meeting to elect their new leader in a divisive race seen as a pivotal moment in the country’s post-apartheid history. he winner will be well placed to be the next president, but the ANC has lost much popularity since Nelson Mandela led it to power in the euphoric 1994 election that marked the end of white-minority rule.

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 2/35 15 December 2017

    Palestinian protesters wave the national flag during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City as demonstrations continue over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital


  • 3/35 14 December 2017

    Hamas supporters take part in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement, in Gaza City

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 4/35 13 December 2017

    Democratic candidate for US Senate Doug Jones thanks supporters as he holds his wife Louise’s hand


  • 5/35 12 December 2017

    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather during the funeral ceremony of prominent spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, who died on Tuesday at the age of 104, in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Israel.


  • 6/35 11 December 2017

    A Palestinian protester kicks a flaming tire during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Ramallah


  • 7/35 10 December 2017

    Demonstrators set US and Israeli flags on fire during a protest against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Istanbul


  • 8/35 9 December 2017

    People gather to watch the bikers’ procession during the funeral ceremony in tribute to late French singer Johnny Hallyday in Paris


  • 9/35 8 December 2017

    A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops


  • 10/35 7 December 2017

    Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway, north of Ventura, California.

    Getty Images

  • 11/35 6 December 2017

    Palestinians burn an Israeli and a U.S. flag during a protest against the U.S. intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City


  • 12/35 5 December 2017

    Former Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, flashes a victory sign after he was freed by his supporters in Kiev


  • 13/35 4 December 2017

    A man exercises in a park on a winter morning in Kolkata, India


  • 14/35 3 December 2017

    A supporter of Salvador Nasralla, presidential candidate for the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, puts a balloon on the shield of a soldier in a protest while the country is still mired in chaos over a contested presidential election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras


  • 15/35 2 December 2017

    A man dressed as Santa Claus skiis down a mountain during the Saint Nicholas Day at the Alpine ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland


  • 16/35 1 December 2017

    A nurse takes blood for a HIV test for French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits the Delafontaine Hospital on World Aids Day


  • 17/35 30 November 2017

    An activist pours gasoline as an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump burns during a protest action against Duterte’s plan to set up a Revolutionary Government, along a street in metro Manila, Philippines


  • 18/35 29 November 2017

    South Korea’s Hyunmoo II missile is fired during an exercise at an undefined location in the east coast of South Korea

    The Defence Ministry/Yonhap via REUTERS

  • 19/35 28 November 2017

    People fall as police fire tear gas to try control the crowd trying to force their way into Kasarani Stadium to attend the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi


  • 20/35 27 November 2017

    Rohingya refugee Amina Khatun, 55, rests at the bank of the Naf river after crossing it on an improvised raft to reach Bangladesh, in Teknaf. Two of her sons were killed by gun fire when her village was attacked by Myanmar military, she says


  • 21/35 26 November 2017

    Mount Agung volcano is seen spewing smoke and ash in Bali


  • 22/35 25 November 2017

    A Pakistani protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 23/35 24 November 2017

    Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives ahead of his inauguration ceremony to be sworn in as president in Harare


  • 24/35 23 November 2017

    Comrades of missing crew members express their grief after the Argentine Navy announced that the sound detected in the missing submarine search is consistent with an explosion


  • 25/35 22 November 2017

    Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic shouts at the presiding judge during the verdict hearing in his genocide trial, in The Hague, Netherlands


  • 26/35 21 November 2017

    People and soldiers celebrate after the resignation of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe


  • 27/35 20 November 2017

    Israeli security forces carry away an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrator as they disperse a protest against Israeli army conscription in Bnei Brak, a city near Tel Aviv


  • 28/35 19 November 2017

    Participants crossing the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge as they compete in the 2017 Qingdao International Marathon on the Sea in Qingdao, in China’s eastern Shandong province


  • 29/35 18 November 2017

    Women shout pro-freedom slogans as people carry the remains of Mugees Mir, a suspected militant who according to local media was killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces in Zakura, during his funeral in Srinagar

    Reuters/Danish Ismail

  • 30/35 17 November 2017

    Riot police use stones to disperse the convoy of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga as they attempt to access the Uhuru Park grounds upon his return


  • 31/35 16 November 2017

    Donald Trump has awkward water bottle moment at the White House while talking about his latest overseas trip in Asia


  • 32/35 15 November 2017

    Military vehicles and soldiers patrol the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe

    Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

  • 33/35 14 November 2017

    An Iranian boy rides a bicycle through the rubble from damaged buildings in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake left hundreds killed and thousands homeless two days before.

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 34/35 13 November 2017

    Gianluigi Buffon reacts during Italy’s World Cup qualification match against Sweden. He retired from international duty after the Azzurri failed to go through.


  • 35/35 12 November 2017

    Pepole hold placards demanding the return of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia during the annual Beirut International Marathon


It is not the first time Mr Johnson has criticised Russia. During a speech in the House of Commons, he accused the country of behaving “as though there is indeed a new Cold War”.

But despite his criticism of the post-Soviet state, the Foreign Secretary has vowed to find a way to work with them, adding that Britain needed to “collaborate” with Russia to find a way of defeating Islamist terrorism.

He said he would be “pushing very hard to understand” the Russians’ view of “the endgame” in Syria.


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Canada worried about infrastructure hacks: intelligence official

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian government is “really worried” about cyber attacks that have targeted critical infrastructure and has helped companies improve their defenses without disclosing hacks to the public, a senior intelligence official said on Monday.

Scott Jones, assistant deputy minister at Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) intelligence agency, speaks to reporters during an interview In Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The comment by Scott Jones, an assistant deputy minister at Canada’s Communications Security Establishment intelligence agency, follows a warning on Friday from the United States that sophisticated hackers are targeting U.S. infrastructure, including nuclear, energy, aviation, water and manufacturing industries.

“Targeted attacks on Canadian infrastructure is something we are really worried about,” Jones said in an interview at the Reuters Cyber Security Summit in Toronto.

“Do we think something’s going to happen tomorrow? No,” Jones said. “Is it technically possible? Yes, and that’s what we’re worried about.”

Jones said Canada had seen a level of hacking activity that was “comparable” to what had been reported in the United States.

Jones said the government rarely goes public when it uncovers hacking activity because that would let attackers know they had been caught. Instead, it quietly reaches out to targeted firms.

“We try to do it very quietly to help the company become more resilient,” he said. “We’d like to try to give the defenders as much advantage as we can.”

Ray Boisvert, a former senior official at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency, and advisor to the Ontario provincial government, speaks to reporters during an interview in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Ray Boisvert, a former senior official with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency, also told the Reuters Cyber Security Summit that defenses against such attacks need to be improved.

Boisvert, who this year began advising the Ontario provincial government on security issues, said that infrastructure firms are not doing enough to thwart cyber attacks.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“We’ve yet to suffer a massive critical infrastructure attack and we’ve yet to suffer a massive loss of capability,” he said, explaining why many firms have not invested in boosting cyber defenses.

He warned that some 60 nations currently have the ability to conduct offensive cyber warfare operations, including ones that could harm the grid and other infrastructure.

Five years ago, only about five nations had that capability, he added.

CSE’s Jones said the potential for cyber attacks to harm critical infrastructure has diminished over the past two years because private companies now take the threat much more seriously.

For more cyber stories, please go to

Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Jim Finkle in Toronto, additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by Grant McCool and Susan Thomas


The Morning Download: EU Defense Ministers Stage Massive Cyber War Game


Steve Rosenbush

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Estonian Defence Minister Juri Luik and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini sit at the beginning of the informal meeting of EU Defence and Foreign affairs ministers in Tallinn, Estonia, Sept. 7, 2017.Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

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Good morning. European Union defense ministers staged a massive cyber war game on Thursday, simulating an attack on the bloc’s naval mission in the Mediterranean, Reuters reports. The scenario also included a social media element, in which defense ministers had to contend with a campaign to discredit their operations and provoke protest, according to Reuters.

EU Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the number of cyber attacks against NATO networks rose 60 percent over the last year, and that timely information exchange is key to an effective response. In the last year, NATO has recognized cyberspace “as a domain of warfare,” Reuters said.

The exercise was conducted in the Estonian capital of Talinn, which makes sense given that Estonia has poured resources into cyber defense since it was hit by massive cyber strikes in 2007. Estonia proposed the drill, again no surprise, given its heightened concerns following Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea. One goal: “We needed to raise awareness at the political level,” EU Defence Agency CEO Jorge Domecq told Reuters.

United Technologies hires IBM vet Steve Abrams to lead data science efforts. United Technologies hired Steve Abrams as its chief data scientist, bringing on an IBM veteran of more than 20 years as the industrial conglomerate works to expand its Internet of Things efforts. “Data science can’t be an island,” Dr. Abrams tells CIO Journal. “It has to be deeply connected to the business objectives.” At United Technologies, Dr. Abrams will be involved in projects such as embedding artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics tools across the company’s business units, which include jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney, elevator manufacturer Otis, and air conditioner and furnace maker Carrier.

Dana looks to new CIO to expand Internet of Things services. Matthew Fahnestock will help guide product development as sensors are built into Dana’s vehicle parts to collect and analyze data about the machinery’s performance. “My role as CIO is to make sure our partners in business are designing, architecting, integrating and making secure those systems that share data,” he tells CIO Journal.


Tractor maker to acquire machine-learning company.Deere & Co. will pay $305 million for Blue River Technology. The Silicon Valley-based company makes products using computer vision that enable farmers to direct herbicides only where weeds are present, Fortune reports.

How it works. Wired writes that Blue River robots outfitted with cameras are towed across fields by “conventional spraying equipment.” When machine-learning software detects weeds, the automated sprayers give them a squirt. Recently Blue River tested a system for cotton farmers that targets weeds with squirts “no larger than a postage stamp.”

It’s not your granddaddy’s farm anymore. Farming has come a long way from days of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Today, drones, data science and driverless are as valuable as dirt.

Facebook’s claimed reach in the U.S larger than census figures. Facebook Inc.’s measurement metrics face scrutiny again after a research analyst found the social network’s advertising platform claims to reach millions more users among specific age groups in the U.S. than official census data show reside in the country, the WSJ’s Lara O’Reilly reports. The company has acknowledged on several occasions in the past 12 months that it had made errors that caused it to either understate or overstate the metrics it provides to advertisers and publishers.

Russian advertisers. Facebook executives told congressional investigators that a Russian “troll farm” seeking to target U.S. voters bought $100,000 worth of ads during the U.S. presidential election, the Washington Post reports. The company claimed the campaign involved 470 accounts and 3,000 ads targeting polarizing issues such as immigration and gay rights. Another $50,000 was spent on 2,200 “potentially politically related” ads, Reuters quotes Facebook.

What’s a troll farm? Check out this chilling story from the New York Times Magazine.

Amazon searches for second city. Inc. said it plans to open a second headquarters somewhere in North America that will house up to 50,000 employees and cost $5 billion to build and operate. The company is soliciting bids for the project, dubbed Amazon’s “HQ2,” and said it would prioritize metropolitan areas with more than one million people. The Journal’s Cara Lombardo has the story.

Wal-Mart takes online grocery to Seattle. Oh, it’s on. The city happens to be the hometown of rival, which has expanded rapidly into the grocery biz, most notably with the August acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Bloomberg reports.

Did someone say avocados? Amazon’s bid to revive sales at Whole Foods is showing some signs of success. A J.P. Morgan & Chase Co. analysis of four days of car traffic found visits were up compared with averages before the merger and during comparable periods over the previous three years.

Ukraine tests blockchain. The government is starting to use blockchain to underpin online auctions of seized assets. Reuters reports that the effort is part of Ukraine’s drive to eliminate corruption and modernize state institutions.

Law enforcement concerns slow commercial drone regulations. Federal Aviation Administration draft rules intended to permit small unmanned aircraft to routinely fly over crowds were close to being published late last year, according to industry officials, but they were effectively vetoed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with other agencies, for failing to adequately address how to remotely identify such airborne vehicles. Some industry officials tell the Journal’s Andy Pasztor that they fear the fallout threatens to complicate and further postpone the already delayed initiatives.

Jack Dorsey’s Square makes a move into banking. The San Francisco-based finance firm led by Twitter Inc.‘s CEO plans to submit an application on Thursday to form a wholly owned bank based in Utah, the company said. The planned unit would offer loans and deposit accounts to small businesses and be capitalized with $56 million in cash. Square is the third financial-technology company that is opting to pursue a banking license in recent months, says the WSJ’s Peter Rudegeair.

Some Toshiba board members push Foxconn deal. Some Toshiba Corp. board members are making a last-minute push to accept Foxconn Technology Group’s bid for Toshiba’s flash memory-chip unit. They face an uphill battle. The WSJ notes that the Japanese government favors a bidder with fewer Chinese ties. Foxconn, the Taiwan-based iPhone assembler formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is offering more than $18.4 billion, and its package could include support from major business partners from the U.S. and Japan, including Apple Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.

Prosecutors eye ex-banker in massive cyber heist. Philippine prosecutors are looking to file charges against the ex-manager of Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. for her part in laundering money collected in one of the world’s biggest cyber heists, Reuters reports. In February 2016, hackers accessed Bangladesh Bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve. About $81 million made its way to fake accounts at the RCBC.

Apple under pressure in India. The company is coming under pressure from India’s telecom regulator to add a government anti-spam mobile application to its App Store, the Financial Times reports.


President Trump is unlikely to nominate Gary Cohn as the next Federal Reserve chairman, adding to uncertainty over the central bank’s leadership. (WSJ)

Hurricane Irma walloped several islands in the northeast Caribbean, while officials in Florida pressed thousands of residents to evacuate ahead of a possible landfall. (WSJ)

Trucking costs are surging in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as big rigs get diverted to the Texas recovery effort and another storm approaches the Florida coast. (WSJ)

Western multinationals are fighting harder to hold on to their margins in China due to overcapacity and an improvement in the quality of Chinese-made products. (WSJ)

The Morning Download is edited by Tom Loftus and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. Send us your tips, compliments and complaints. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking