US accuses China-linked hackers of stealing coronavirus research – Security – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

China-linked hackers are breaking into American organizations carrying out research into COVID-19, US officials said on Wednesday, warning both scientists and public health officials to be on the lookout for cyber theft.
In a joint statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security said the FBI was investigating digital break-ins at US organizations by China-linked “cyber actors” that it had monitored “attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research.”
The statement offered no further details on the identities of the targets or the hackers.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China routinely denies longstanding American allegations of cyberespionage.
Coronavirus-related research and data have emerged as a key intelligence priority for hackers of all stripes. Last week Reuters reported that Iran-linked cyberspies had targeted staff at US drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc., whose antiviral drug remdesivir is the only treatment so far proven to help COVID-19 patients.
In March and April, Reuters reported on advanced hackers’ attempts to break into the World Health Organization as the pandemic spread across the globe.

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New Bug Leaves iPhone Users Vulnerable to Hackers Stealing Emails | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

There is a newly unearthed bug in the built-in Mail app for iPhones that could allow an attacker to read, modify and delete emails, say researchers.
According to The Guardian, Apple says it will patch this vulnerability in the next version of iOS – 13.4.5 – and that users of the beta software are already protected. But until that update is made available to the general public or every other iPhone that uses the app is vulnerable to attack. The contents of their emails can be stolen.
This is a particularly severe bug for a number of reasons, according to security company ZecOps which published the details of its findings this week: there is no available public fix for this flaw. Furthermore, the exploit affects every version of iPhone from 6 upwards. Users need not use the Mail app to have their emails hacked. The flaw was discovered in use by real-world attackers dating back to January 2018.
Until the vulnerability is patched, ZecOps recommends that users “consider disabling the Mail application and use Outlook or Gmail” instead.
The attack works by sending specially crafted emails that flood the memory of a device, allowing the attacker to break out of the protections that Apple normally puts in place to prevent Mail accidentally running malicious code.
Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at internet security firm Eset, says that the flaw contains enough limitations as to not be so widely exploited. Each email would need to be specifically crafted for a single target, rather than a “mass hack” affecting thousands of people, he says.
“It is somewhat disconcerting at how easy it seems to have been to remotely exfiltrate private data from Apple devices,” he says.
By examining its logs of email traffic, the security researchers say they have found at least six instances when they believe the bug was actively exploited, with targets including a European journalist, a German “VIP” and individuals from a “Fortune 500 organisation in North America”.
Since the attacker in question gains the ability to delete emails, they can delete the email sent to trigger the exploit, effectively covering their tracks.
Interestingly, ZecOps also says it believed the attacks were carried out by “at least one nation-state threat operator”, but declined to identify any country.
Apple has since declined to comment.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Bug leaves iPhones vulnerable to hackers stealing email contents | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

A newly discovered bug in the built-in Mail app for iPhones could allow an attacker to read, modify and delete emails, researchers say.
Apple says it will patch the vulnerability in the next version of iOS, 13.4.5, and that users of the beta software are already protected. But until that update is made available to the general public, every other iPhone user is vulnerable to the attack, which can be used to steal the contents of emails.
The bug is particularly severe for a number of reasons, according to the security company ZecOps, which published details of its findings this week: there is no public fix for the flaw, which affects every version of iOS from 6 upwards; it can be exploited on the latest version of iOS without any user interaction; and it has already been discovered in use by real-world attackers, dating back to January 2018.

Until the vulnerabilility is patched, ZecOps recommends that users “consider disabling the Mail application and use Outlook or Gmail” instead.
The attack works by sending specially crafted emails that flood the memory of a device, allowing the attacker to break out of the protections that Apple normally puts in place to prevent Mail accidentally running malicious code.
It contains enough limitations to prevent it being widely exploited, according to Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at the internet security firm Eset. Each email would need to be specifically crafted for a single target, rather than a “mass hack” affecting thousands of people, he said.
“It is somewhat disconcerting at how easy it seems to have been to remotely exfiltrate private data from Apple devices,” he said.
For those who might be deliberately targeted by hackers, however, the risk is not merely theoretical. By examining its logs of email traffic, the security researchers say they have found at least six instances when they believe the bug was actively exploited, with targets including a European journalist, a German “VIP” and individuals from a “Fortune 500 organisation in North America”.
Because the attacker gains the ability to delete emails, they can also delete the email they sent to trigger the exploit in the first place, effectively covering their tracks.
ZecOps said it believed the attacks were carried out by “at least one nation-state threat operator”, but declined to identify any country.
Satnam Narang, principal research engineer at the cybersecurity firm Tenable, said the flaws were “significant and noteworthy”. “While Apple has issued fixes for these flaws in the beta version of iOS 13.4.5, devices are still vulnerable until the final version of iOS 13.4.5 is readily available to all iOS device owners,” he said. “In the interim, the only mitigation for these flaws is to disable any email accounts that are connected to the iOS Mail application, and use an alternative application, such as Microsoft Outlook or Google’s Gmail.”
Apple declined to comment.

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COVID-Themed Lures Target SCADA Sectors With Data Stealing Malware – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A new malware campaign has been found using coronavirus-themed lures to strike government and energy sectors in Azerbaijan with remote access trojans (RAT) capable of exfiltrating sensitive documents, keystrokes, passwords, and even images from the webcam.
The targeted attacks employ Microsoft Word documents as droppers to deploy a previously unknown Python-based RAT dubbed “PoetRAT” due to various references to sonnets by English playwright William Shakespeare.
“The RAT has all the standard features of this kind of malware, providing full control of the compromised system to the operation,” said Cisco Talos in an analysis published last week.
According to the researchers, the malware specifically targets supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in the energy industry, such as wind turbine systems, whose identities are currently not known.

The development is the latest in a surge in cyberattacks exploiting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic fears as bait to install malware, steal information, and make a profit.

Using COVID-19 Themed Lures as Decoy

The campaign works by appending PoetRAT to a Word document, which, when opened, executes a macro that extracts the malware and runs it.
The exact distribution mechanism of the Word document remains unclear, but given that the documents are available for download from a simple URL, the researchers suspect that victims are being tricked into downloading the RAT via malicious URLs or phishing emails.
Talos said it discovered that attack in three waves starting in February, some of which used decoy documents claiming to be from Azerbaijan government agencies and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), or alluding to COVID-19 in their file names (“C19.docx”) without any actual content.

Regardless of the attack vector, the Visual Basic Script macro in the document writes the malware to the disk as an archive file named “smile.zip,” which consists of a Python interpreter and the RAT itself.
The Python script also checks the environment where the document is being opened to make sure it’s not in a sandbox — based on the assumption that sandboxes have hard drives smaller than 62GB. If it detects a sandboxed environment, it deletes itself from the system.

Making Registry Modifications to Gain Persistence

As for the RAT, it comes with two scripts: a “frown.py” that’s responsible for communicating with a remote command-and-control (C2) server with a unique device identifier, and a “smile.py” that handles the execution of C2 commands on the compromised machine.
The commands make it possible for an attacker to upload sensitive files, capture screenshots, terminate system processes, log keystrokes (“Klog.exe”), and steal passwords stored in browsers (“Browdec.exe”).
Besides this, the adversary behind the campaign also deployed additional exploitation tools, including “dog.exe,” a .NET-based malware that monitors hard drive paths, and automatically transmits the information via an email account or an FTP. Another tool called “Bewmac” enables the attacker to seize control of the victim’s webcam.
The malware gains persistence by creating registry keys to execute the Python script and can even make registry modifications to bypass the aforementioned sandbox evasion check, possibly to avoid re-checking the same environment again.
“The actor monitored specific directories, signaling they wanted to exfiltrate certain information on the victims,” Talos researchers concluded.
“The attacker wanted not only specific information obtained from the victims but also a full cache of information relating to their victim. By using Python and other Python-based tools during their campaign, the actor may have avoided detection by traditional tools that have whitelisted Python and Python execution techniques.”

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Former Uber engineer pleads guilty to stealing trade secrets from Google – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: A month after filing for bankruptcy due to being ordered to pay Google $179 million in a legal battle over his departure from subsidiary Waymo, Levandowski has chosen to plead guilty to one of several charges of stealing sensitive information from the company before leaving. The agreement may help him get a softer penalty, but he still owes up to $250,000 and will definitely serve at least two years of prison time.
Back in August 2019, the US Attorney for the Northern District of California charged one of Silicon Valley’s high profile self-driving car engineers with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets that happened before he joined Uber as part of the acquisition of Otto, his autonomous truck company.
According to a new report from Reuters, Anthony Levandowski has agreed to plead guilty to stealing trade secrets from Google-owned Waymo where he was lead engineer until he left to go on his own venture. The 40-year-old engineer has been embroiled in the legal battle for three years, and would have normally faced up to 10 years of prison for each of the 33 charges.

The agreement will see Levandowski being absolved of all other charges in exchange for admitting that he took 14,000 files from Google including a sensitive document that outlined Waymo’s plans, metrics, and technological solutions for its autonomous car project. The engineer declared bankruptcy earlier this month after a court ordered him to pay $179 million to end a legal dispute over his departure from the Alphabet subsidiary.
He’s still facing a potential 24 to 30 months in prison for the remaining charge and a fine of up to $250,000, not to mention $750,000 to cover Waymo’s costs in assisting the investigation. His attorney, Miles Ehrlich, explained that “Mr. Levandowski is a young man with enormous talents and much to contribute to the fast-moving world of AI and AV and we hope that this plea will allow him to move on with his life and focus his energies where they matter most.”
A Waymo spokesperson said that “Mr. Levandowski’s guilty plea in a criminal hearing today brings to an end a seminal case for our company and the self-driving industry, and underscores the value of Waymo’s intellectual property.”
As for Uber, the company agreed to pay a financial settlement of over $245 million in Uber equity to Waymo, effectively giving the latter a 0.34 percent stake. Furthermore, Uber will have to either license Waymo’s tech or develop its own, but the company is doing well overall, with a continued expansion in the Middle East and supposedly plenty of cash on hand to ride out the coronavirus crisis.

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Europol Arrests 26 SIM Swapping Fraudsters For Stealing Over $3 Million – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Europol, along with the Spanish and the Romanian national police, has arrested 26 individuals in connection with the theft of over €3.5 million ($3.9 million) by hijacking people’s phone numbers via SIM swapping attacks.
The law enforcement agencies arrested 12 and 14 people in Spain and Romania, respectively, as part of a joint operation against two different groups of SIM swappers, Europol said.
The development comes as SIM swapping attacks are emerging as one of the biggest threats to telecom operators and mobile users alike. The increasingly popular and damaging hack is a clever social engineering trick used by cybercriminals to persuade phone carriers into transferring their victims’ cell services to a SIM card under their control.

The SIM swap then grants attackers access to incoming phone calls, text messages, and one-time verification codes (or one-time passwords) that various websites send via SMS messages as part of the two-factor authentication (2FA) process.
As a result, a fraudster can impersonate a victim with an online account provider and request that the service sends account password-reset links or authentication code to the SIM-swapped device controlled by the cybercriminals, using which the bad actor can reset the victim account’s log-in credentials and access the account without authorization.

Attacks of this kind are successful even if the accounts are secured by SMS-based 2FA, thereby allowing the hackers to carry out data and financial theft by merely stealing the OTP codes sent by the website to the individual’s phone number.
The criminal gang in Spain, believed to be part of a hacking ring, is said to have orchestrated more than 100 such attacks, stealing between €6,000 ($6,700) and €137,000 ($153,518) from bank accounts of unsuspecting victims per attack.
In addition to leveraging malicious Trojans to steal victims’ banking credentials, the SIM swappers went on to apply for a duplicate SIM card by contacting their mobile service providers and providing fake documents. Upon activation of the duplicate SIMs, the criminals allegedly made fraudulent transfers from the victims’ accounts using the authentication codes the banks sent to the phones for confirmation.
The apprehended crime gang in Romania, which managed to steal over €500,000 ($560,285) from unsuspecting victims in Austria, employed similar tactics to take over their phones and withdraw money at cardless ATMs.

This is not the first time law enforcement has tackled the threat. Last November, two Massachusetts men were arrested for employing SIM swapping attacks to hijack victims’ social media accounts and steal more than $550,000 in cryptocurrency.
Although these kinds of attacks are unlikely to go away any time soon, there are plenty of things consumers can do to keep themselves safe: set up a PIN to limit access to the SIM card, delink phone numbers from online accounts, and use an authenticator app or a security key to secure accounts.
And, if you suspect you’re a victim of SIM swapping, it’s recommended that you contact your service provider, monitor your bank accounts for any suspicious transaction, and immediately change your passwords.

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500 Chrome Extensions Caught Stealing Private Data of 1.7 Million Users – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Google removed 500 malicious Chrome extensions from its Web Store after they found to inject malicious ads and siphon off user browsing data to servers under the control of attackers.
These extensions were part of a malvertising and ad-fraud campaign that’s been operating at least since January 2019, although evidence points out the possibility that the actor behind the scheme may have been active since 2017.
The findings come as part of a joint investigation by security researcher Jamila Kaya and Cisco-owned Duo Security, which unearthed 70 Chrome Extensions with over 1.7 million installations.

Upon sharing the discovery privately with Google, the company went on to identify 430 more problematic browser extensions, all of which have since been deactivated.
“The prominence of malvertising as an attack vector will continue to rise as long as tracking-based advertising remains ubiquitous, and particularly if users remain underserved by protection mechanisms,” said Kaya and Duo Security’s Jacob Rickerd in the report.

A Well-Concealed Malvertising Campaign

Using Duo Security’s Chrome extension security assessment tool — called CRXcavator — the researchers were able to ascertain that the browser plugins operated by surreptitiously connecting the browser clients to an attacker-controlled command-and-control (C2) server that made it possible to exfiltrate private browsing data without the users’ knowledge.
The extensions, which functioned under the guise of promotions and advertising services, had near-identical source code but differed in the names of the functions, thereby evading Chrome Web Store detection mechanisms.

In addition to requesting extensive permissions that granted the plugins access to clipboard and all the cookies stored locally in the browser, they periodically connected to a domain that shared the same name as the plugin (e.g., Mapstrekcom, ArcadeYumcom) to check for instructions on getting themselves uninstalled from the browser.
Upon making initial contact with the site, the plugins subsequently established contact with a hard-coded C2 domain — e.g., DTSINCEcom — to await further commands, the locations to upload user data, and receive updated lists of malicious ads and redirect domains, which subsequently redirected users’ browsing sessions to a mix of legitimate and phishing sites.
“A large portion of these are benign ad streams, leading to ads such as Macy’s, Dell, or Best Buy,” the report found. “Some of these ads could be considered legitimate; however, 60 to 70 percent of the time a redirect occurs, the ad streams reference a malicious site.”

Beware of Data-Stealing Browser Extensions
This is not the first time data-stealing extensions have been discovered on the Chrome browser. Last July, security researcher Sam Jadali and The Washington Post uncovered a massive data leak called DataSpii (pronounced data-spy) perpetrated by shady Chrome and Firefox extensions installed on as many four million users’ browsers.
These add-ons collected browsing activity — including personally identifiable information — and shared it with an unnamed third-party data broker that passed it on to an analytics firm called Nacho Analytics (now shut down), which then sold the collected data to its subscription members in near real-time.
In response, Google began requiring extensions to only request access to the “least amount of data” starting October 15, 2019, banning any extensions that don’t have a privacy policy and gather data on users’ browsing habits.
For now, the same rule of caution applies: review your extension permissions, consider uninstalling extensions you rarely use or switch to other software alternatives that don’t require invasive access to your browser activity.

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US accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets, assisting Iran – Networking – Security – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

US prosecutors on Thursday accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran track protesters in its latest indictment against the Chinese company, escalating the US battle with the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.
In the indictment, which supersedes one unsealed last year in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, Huawei Technologies Co was charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from six US technology companies and to violate a racketeering law typically used to combat organised crime.
It also contains new allegations about the company’s involvement in countries subject to sanctions. Among other accusations, it says Huawei installed surveillance equipment in Iran that was used to monitor, identify, and detain protesters during the 2009 anti-government demonstrations in Tehran.
The United States has been waging a campaign against Huawei, which it has warned could spy on customers for Beijing. Washington placed the company on a trade blacklist last year, citing national security concerns.
The indictment is “part of an attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement,” Huawei said in a statement.
It called the racketeering accusation “a contrived repackaging of a handful of civil allegations that are almost 20 years old.”
Huawei pleaded not guilty to the earlier indictment unsealed against the company in January 2019, which charged it with bank and wire fraud, violating sanctions against Iran, and obstructing justice.
Its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in that indictment, causing an uproar in China and a chill in Canadian-Chinese relations. She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.
There are no new charges against Meng in the superseding indictment.
New charges
The new trade secret theft charges relate to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology, and robotics.
For example, beginning in 2000, Huawei and its subsidiary Futurewei Technologies Inc are accused of misappropriating operating system source code for internet routers, commands used to communicate with the routers, and operating system manuals, from a company in Northern California. Futurewei was added as a defendant in the latest indictment.
Huawei then sold their routers in the United States as lower cost versions of the US company’s products, the indictment says.
Although the US company is not identified, Cisco Systems sued Huawei in Texas in 2003 over copyright infringement related to its routers.
Huawei is also accused of recruiting employees from other companies, making efforts to get intellectual property from those companies, and using professors at research institutions to obtain technology.
“The indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate organization that lacks any regard for the law,” US Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Mark Warner said in a joint statement.
The Republican and Democratic Senators called it “an important step in combating Huawei’s state-directed and criminal enterprise.”
The indictment also accuses Meng and Huawei of conspiring to defraud HSBC and other banks by misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with a company that operated in Iran.
It references reporting by Reuters from seven years ago about Huawei’s ties to Skycom Tech Co Ltd, whichoffered to sell US origin goods to Iran, in violation of US law. It also mentions news reports in Reuters and the Wall Street Journal that claimed Huawei assisted the government of Iran in domestic surveillance. 
In addition to accusing Huawei of lying about its operations in Iran, the latest indictment says Huawei falsely represented to banks that it had no business in North Korea.
The US Commerce Department in May put Huawei on a trade blacklist that restricted US suppliers from selling parts and components to the company.
On Thursday, in some positive news for the company, the Commerce Department announced it was extending a temporary general licence for 45 days allowing US companies to continue doing some business with Huawei. The move is intended to maintain existing equipment and allow providers in rural communities more time to find alternatives to the company’s networks.
At the same time, the United States is weighing new regulations to stop more foreign shipments of products with US technology to Huawei.
And Washington has continued to pressure other countries to drop Huawei from their cellular networks over its claim the equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.

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Masimo sues Apple for stealing patents to develop Apple Watch health features – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: While Apple is busy suing Nuvia for stealing its trade secrets, a medical company focusing on noninvasive monitoring tech is accusing Apple of poaching employees and implementing patented features in the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is surprisingly good at detecting heart conditions, at least according to a Standford study conducted with 400,000 people with Series 3 or newer versions. And while they’re not advertised as professional medical devices, a lot of people rely on them to track their health and fitness, and some can even thank their wrist angel for saving their lives when they pass out.
However, Apple is now in the crosshairs of Masimo, a medical company that alleges (per Bloomberg) the impressive capabilities of the Apple Watch stem from stolen trade secrets and infringing on no less than 10 patents.
Masimo and its spinoff company Cercacor Laboratories recently filed a lawsuit in federal court in Santa Ana, California, where they explain that Apple got a hold of sensitive information through a clever dance of partnership. According to the filing, the Cupertino giant reached out to Masimo in 2013 to ask for a meeting to talk about a potential collaboration.

At the time, Apple told the company that it wanted to get a better sense of its technology to see if it can be integrated into its products. And while nothing was set in stone, Masimo executives were under the impression the meetings were productive and conducive to healthy business growth.
However, Apple reportedly took another route and proceeded to poach several key executives with “unfettered” access to Masimo’s trade secrets. Among the new hires was chief medical officer O’Reilly and chief technology officer Marcelo Lamego.
Masimo and Cercacor describe it as a “targeted effort to obtain information,” and are seeking damages in addition to blocking Apple from using the patented technologies. Ironically, Apple last month sued its former chip design chief for using trade secrets to boost a new venture called Nuvia.

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Anthony Levandowski, former Google engineer at center of Waymo-Uber case charged with stealing trade secrets – gpgmail


Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer and serial entrepreneur who was at the center of a trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on theft of trade secrets.

The indictment, which is posted below, charges Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets while working at Google, where he was an engineer and one of the founding members of the group that worked on Google’s self-driving car project. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on August 27 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins.

If convicted, Levandowski faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for each violation.

gpgmail has reached out to Pronto AI, Levandowksi’s new startup, for comment. We will update the story once the company, Levandowksi or his attorneys respond.

The charges stem from Levandowski’s time at Google’s self-driving project, where he led its light detecting and ranging (lidar) engineering team, according to the indictment. The indictment alleges that in the months before his departure, Levandowski downloaded from secure Google repositories numerous engineering, manufacturing, and business files related to Google’s custom lidar and self-driving car technology. Levandowski worked on the project from 2009 until he resigned from Google without notice on January 27, 2016.

Levandowski left Google and started Otto, a self-driving trucking company that was then bought by Uber. Waymo later sued Uber for trade secret theft.

Waymo alleged in the suit, which went to trial, that Levandowski stole trade secrets, which were then used by Uber.  The case went to trial, but was settled in February 2018. Under the settlement, Uber has agreed to not incorporate Waymo’s confidential information into their hardware and software. Uber also agreed to pay a financial settlement which included 0.34% of Uber equity, per its Series G-1 round $72 billion valuation. That calculated at the time to about  $244.8 million in Uber equity.

“We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation, and we appreciate the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI on this case,” a A Waymo spokesperson said in a statement provided to gpgmail.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office of the U.S. Attorney, Northern District of California’s new Corporate Fraud Strike Force and is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

“All of us have the right to change jobs,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson, “none of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door.  Theft is not innovation.”

This is a developing story.

Levandowski Indictment by gpgmail on Scribd


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