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Suspected Russian hack fuels new US cybersecurity intervention

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Suspected Russian hack fuels new US cybersecurity intervention

 

Jolted by a sweeping hack that may have revealed Russia’s government and corporate secrets, U.S. officials struggle to strengthen the cyber defences of the nation and acknowledge that an agency created two years ago to protect the networks and infrastructure of America lacks the money, resources and authority to counter such sophisticated threats.

The violation, which hijacked widely used software from SolarWinds Inc., based in Texas, has exposed the deep vulnerability of civil government networks and the limitations of threat detection efforts.

A wave of spending on technology modernization and cybersecurity is also likely to be unleashed.

“The investments we need to make in cybersecurity are really highlighted in order to have the visibility to block these attacks in the future,” Anne Neuberger, the newly appointed Deputy National Cyber and Emergency Technology Security Advisor, said at a White House briefing on Wednesday.

The response represents the severity of a hack that was only revealed in December. The hackers, previously unidentified but described as “likely Russian” by officials, had unrestricted access to the information and emails of at least nine U.S. government agencies and about 100 private companies, with the full extent of the agreement still unknown. And while this incident seemed to be aimed at stealing information, fears were heightened that future hackers, such as electricity grids or water systems, could damage critical infrastructure.

President Joe Biden plans to release an executive order soon that Neuberger said will include about eight measures to address the hack’s exposed security gaps. The administration has also proposed expanding the U.S. budget by 30 percent. Due to the SolarWinds breach, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, or CISA, is a little-known entity now under intense scrutiny.

On Friday at the Munich Security Conference, Biden made his first major international speech, saying that dealing with “Russian recklessness and hacking into computer networks in the United States and across Europe and the world has become critical to protecting our collective security.”

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for the agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, to expand its size and role. It was established in November 2018 in the midst of a feeling that U.S. opponents were increasingly targeting civilian government and corporate networks as well as “critical” infrastructure, such as the increasingly vulnerable energy grid in a wired world.

Speaking at a recent cybersecurity hearing, Rep. John Katko, a New York Republican, urged his peers to quickly “find a legislative vehicle to provide CISA with the resources it needs to respond fully and protect us.”

In collaboration with the General Services Administration, Biden’s COVID-19 relief package demanded $690 million more for CISA, as well as providing the agency with $9 billion to modernise IT across the state.

That was pulled from the current version of the bill because a connection to the pandemic was not seen by some lawmakers. But Rep. Jim Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, said that with bipartisan support in pending legislation, perhaps an infrastructure bill, new funding for CISA is likely to reemerge.

“Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, said in an interview, “Our cyber infrastructure is every bit as critical as our roads and bridges. For our economy, that’s critical. Protecting human lives is critical, and we need to make sure that we have a modern and robust cyber infrastructure.

CISA runs a method of threat detection known as “Einstein” that could not detect the violation of SolarWinds. Brandon Wales, the acting director of CISA, said it was because the violation was hidden from its customers in a legal SolarWinds software update. The machine was able to search federal networks and identify several government victims after it could identify the malicious activity. “It was designed to work within the agencies in concert with other security programmes,” he said.

This month, former CISA chief Christopher Krebs told the House Homeland Security Committee that the U.S. should raise funding for the agency, in part so that it can issue grants to state and local governments to strengthen their cybersecurity and speed up federal government IT modernization, which is part of the Biden proposal.

Can we stop any attack? Oh, no. But we can take care of the most common risks and make it much harder for the bad guys to work and limit their success,” said Krebs, who was ousted after the election by then-President Donald Trump and now co-owns a consulting firm whose customers include SolarWinds.

In early December, the violation was discovered by the private security company FireEye, a cause of concern for some officials.

“It was quite alarming that, as opposed to being able to detect it ourselves to begin with, we found out about it through a private company,” Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, said at her January confirmation hearing.

The Treasury Department bypassed its usual competitive bidding procedure to employ the private security company CrowdStrike, U.S. contract documents show, right after the hack was revealed. The office declined to comment. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has said that hundreds of top agency officials’ email accounts were compromised.

In order to conduct an independent forensic review of its network logs, the Social Security Administration hired FireEye. Like other SolarWinds customers, the agency had a “backdoor code” installed, but “there were no indicators suggesting we were targeted or that a future attack occurred beyond the initial installation of software,” said spokesperson Mark Hinkle.

A Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner, said the hack exposed many federal-level deficiencies, though not generally a lack of public-sector employee skills. Still, “I doubt we’ll ever have all the in-house capacity we’d need,” he said.

In recent months, several new cybersecurity steps have been taken. Legislators established a national cybersecurity director in the defence policy bill passed in January, replacing a role at the White House that had been eliminated under Trump, and gave CISA the power to issue administrative subpoenas as part of its efforts to recognise compromised systems and alert operators.

The law also provided CISA with increased authority to hunt for threats through civilian government agency networks, something Langevin said they were only able to do before when invited.

“In practical terms, what that meant is that because no department or agency wants to look bad, they were not invited in,” he said. You remember what was going on, then? They were all sticking their heads in the sand, hoping that the cyber attacks would go away.

My self Eswar, I am Creative Head at RecentlyHeard. I Will cover informative content related to political and local news from the United Nations and Canada.

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Truck driver shortage existed before COVID, says Trucking Association of New York

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Truck driver shortage existed before COVID, says Trucking Association of New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Come Monday, it’s either vaccination or termination for those who work in state run hospitals and nursing homes. Security officers are among those who work at state hospitals who are being forced to make that decision. The lawsuit claims that the vaccine mandate goes against their constitutional rights.

In a newly filled lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul, Heath Commissioner Howard Zucker, and the New York State Health Department, 10 individual state hospital security officers are fighting for the option to have regular COVID tests instead of being mandated to get the vaccine. They say it’s unfair that teachers would have the option for regular testing, but they won’t.

“Students who are 12 years or younger can’t be vaccinated,” said Dennis Vacco. “Inherently, the population in schools is less vaccinated than the population in hospitals or in health care facilities. To say nothing of the fact that health care facilities are constructed to prevent the spread of illness within the facility.”

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Colorado high school football scoreboard: Week 5

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Colorado high school football scoreboard: Week 4


Jeff Bailey

| Digital Sports Producer — The Denver Post

Jeff Bailey joined The Denver Post in 2013. Prior to his time at The Post he spent a year and a half with MediaNews Group. Before MNG, he spent time working as a clubhouse assistant for the Colorado Rockies. He graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a degree in journalism.

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Inflation adjustments will mean higher deductions for 2021 tax year: What to know

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Inflation adjustments will mean higher deductions for 2021 tax year: What to know

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Changes in tax deductions due to inflation adjustments are coming to 2021 taxpayers, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

“They are not major changes, but taxpayers will notice them,” said Linda Troyer, Tax Pro from Jackson Hewitt. “Mostly it’s just updated limitations.”

The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly for the tax year 2021 rises to $25,100, up $300 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $12,550 for 2021, up $150. For heads of households, the standard deduction will be $18,800 for the tax year 2021, up $150.

Other changes include an increase in limitations and in the contribution you can make to your retirement accounts.

Even though the filing season for your 2021 taxes is still months away, Troyer said it is smart to start tracking down your documents now. She recommends you start collecting your documents throughout the year, and begin placing items like check stubs and receipts in a folder.

“Don’t wait until next year when you go to file and you’re asked where is this,” Troyer said. “That’s why some people had to have extensions filed because they waited for the very end of the tax season and then realized they didn’t have the documents.”

While people should be preparing for the upcoming 2021 tax season, there are still some people who have yet to file their taxes for 2020.

The IRS is reminding taxpayers that the deadline for 2020 tax returns is less than a month away on Oct. 15. This particular deadline is for those who asked for an extension to file, and it is not an extension to pay your 2020 taxes.

While the IRS has not yet released the number of taxpayers who took advantage of the extension, Troyer said she and other tax professionals have seen an increase.

If you still have not received your refund for 2020 or 2019, you are not alone. Troyer said she had a client who filed their 2020 taxes in March and has yet to receive a refund because of processing delays caused by the pandemic. For example, when an IRS office has an outbreak of COVID, employees can’t work from home due to the sensitivity of the documents.

If you have any questions about your 2019 or 2020 tax return, go to the IRS website.

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The Festival Latino of the Berkshires will celebrate its 25 anniversary

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The Festival Latino of the Berkshires will celebrate its 25 anniversary

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA (NEWS10) – The Festival Latino of the Berkshires will celebrate its 25th Anniversary on Saturday, September 25, from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., rain or shine, at the Town Hall Green Park and Saint James Place on Main Street.

The Berkshires Hispanic community continues to grow and thrive in the area, making invaluable contributions. The event takes place during Hispanic Heritage Month, which is one of Berkshire’s most eagerly anticipated cultural events of the year.

The festival provides a sense of pride, inspiration, and education to immigrants and their children, which engages the joy of the Latin arts to students and adults alike.

Kicking off at 12:00 p.m. will be a variety of Latin American cuisine vendors with local Mexican singer Laura Cabrera, and D.J. Bernardino will provide the best Latin music hits for exploring the foods, social services, artists, artisans, and activities present at the festival.

The Latino Festival is free of charge, open to the public, and alcohol-free, committed to maintaining public health by following all Covid-19 safety guidelines as recommended by the CDC.

For further information, visit the festival Latino website or Facebook page.

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Aides of former Gov. Cuomo on hook for new legal bills

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Aides of former Gov. Cuomo on hook for new legal bills

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state has stopped paying legal bills for state employees who worked for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he faced ongoing investigations on the state and federal level. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s spokesperson Haley Viccaro said Wednesday that the state stopped paying for those aides’ legal bills after September 2.

Cuomo and his former aides face an ongoing probe by the state attorney general into Cuomo’s use of state employees to help with a book he wrote about his leadership during the pandemic and scrutiny from federal prosecutors who are investigating his administration’s handling of nursing home death data. Cuomo himself is also facing a state ethics commission inquiry.

The Hochul administration is now deciding whether there is a legal basis for the state to pay bills for legal services on or before September 2. Viccaro did not specify how many staffers had legal bills paid for by the state. She also didn’t say whether the state is considering requiring Cuomo aides to reimburse the state for past legal fees.

The state has agreed to pay a maximum of $9.5 million in bills for lawyers representing Cuomo and his administration over sexual harassment allegations and other matters as well as for lawyers investigating the former governor and his administration, according to the Associated Press review of available contracts.

That figure includes up to $5 million for lawyers who have represented Cuomo’s office. It doesn’t include the legal fees of Cuomo’s private attorney, Rita Glavin, whose bills are being paid by his campaign committee. It’s also unknown how much money has been paid to Paul Fishman, whose Washington, D.C.-based firm Arnold & Porter said it was representing Cuomo aides.

Cuomo resigned from office following an investigation overseen by Attorney General Letitia James that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo—who denies touching anyone inappropriately or intending to make suggestive comments—accused the women of exaggerating or misinterpreting his behavior.

A former aide of Cuomo alleged he groped her, according to a criminal complaint that the Albany County district attorney and sheriff are investigating. At least one woman, Lindsey Boylan, has said she intends to sue the ex-governor “and his co-conspirators” over their conduct. The investigation found Cuomo aides retaliated against Boylan.

Meanwhile, Cuomo and aides face the results of an impeachment investigation by the Assembly’s judiciary committee, though Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has argued the body doesn’t have clear legal authority for impeaching Cuomo to prevent him from running for office again.

Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Lavine has said the committee will release findings from their months-long investigation, but it’s unclear when it will do so or how comprehensive they will be. The committee has looked at whether Cuomo’s book deal violated ethics laws, sexual misconduct allegations, his administration’s handling of COVID-19 data, and whether members of Cuomo’s family were unlawfully prioritized for COVID-19 testing when tests were scarce.

Lavine, a Democrat, didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

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DOH: State’s school COVID tracker will be back up before October

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DOH: State’s school COVID tracker will be back up before October

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Since the beginning of the school year, the state’s COVID tracking website for school districts has been unavailable while undergoing maintenance. At the latest, it will be back online by September 27, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Beginning September 13 New York schools were required to report COVID cases to the DOH on a daily basis, as they were during the 2020-2021 school year.

“All the information will be available when the website update is complete and updated daily during the week.  Local school districts outside of New York City should also have this information readily available on their website,” said DOH Spokesperson, Abigail Barker.

Between a shortage of bus drivers and an increase in COVID cases, the Galway School District had been back from summer vacation a little less than a week when they went to virtual learning. After a week of remote, the school welcomed students back.

“We are looking forward to our student’s in-person learning every day for the rest of the year,” said Superintendent Brita Donovan.

The Albany City School District posts COVID updates on its website and also sends them to NEWS10. On Wednesday the school reported eight new cases of COVID. There have been 54 cases since September 1, according to the district’s website.

Barker said opening schools has not impacted the community transmission rate, based on preliminary data. However, the Albany City School District isn’t taking any chances. They’ve cancelled all homecoming events because of COVID.

“We are disappointed to have to take this step. However, COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise in our school district and our region, and we believe cancelling this event is the best decision in our efforts to protect the health and safety of our students, their families, our employees, and the entire community,” the district said Wednesday.

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Gabby Petito investigation: Arrest warrant issued for missing Brian Laundrie

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Gabby Petito investigation: Arrest warrant issued for missing Brian Laundrie

Law enforcement officials issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie, days after he went missing and the body of Gabby Petitio was found, FBI officials said Thursday.

The FBI urged people with information to come forward. Laundrie, without authorization, allegedly used a debit card and PIN to buy more than $1,000 worth of items between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, according to the indictment.

“While this arrest warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” the FBI said.

The attorney for Laundrie’s family quickly noted the arrest warrant is not for Petito’s death.

“It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise,” the attorney said. “The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum.”

Search teams found nothing of note Wednesday at a Florida wilderness park where they have spent days looking for Laundrie.

The search resumed Wednesday morning at the 24,000-acre (9,700-hectare) Carlton Reserve park and ended just before dark, North Port police spokesperson Joshua Taylor said. Investigators say Laundrie’s parents told them he had gone there after returning home without Petito on Sept. 1.

Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West. Her body was discovered Sunday at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Teton County Coroner Brent Blue classified Petito’s death as a homicide — meaning her death was caused by another person — but did not disclose how she was killed pending further autopsy results. Laundrie, 23, is not charged with any crime but is considered a person of interest in the case.

With online sleuths and theories multiplying by the day, the FBI and police have been deluged with tips about possible Laundrie sightings. Taylor, the North Port spokesperson, said none have so far panned out. He also batted down rumors that Laundrie had been captured Tuesday.

“These reports are unfortunately false. Please rest assured that when Brian is found, we will be more than happy to let everyone know,” Taylor said in an email.

Petito and Laundrie grew up together in Long Island, New York, but moved in recent years to North Port, where his parents live. Their home, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota, was searched by investigators earlier this week and a Ford Mustang driven by Laundrie’s mother was towed from the driveway. Authorities believe Laundrie drove that car to the Carlton Reserve before disappearing.

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Goldschmidt homers twice, Cards beat Brewers for 12th in a row

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Goldschmidt homers twice, Cards beat Brewers for 12th in a row

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt homered twice, and the St. Louis Cardinals overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 and extend their longest winning streak in 39 years to 12 games.

On a day Adam Wainwright faltered early, St. Louis trailed 5-0 before rallying with one run in the fifth, four in the seventh, two in the eighth, and one in the ninth.

The Cardinals moved five games ahead of Cincinnati and Philadelphia, who both played later Thursday, for the second NL wild card.

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Should I get a flu shot if I’m getting a COVID vaccine booster?

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Should I get a flu shot if I’m getting a COVID vaccine booster?

ST. LOUIS – COVID-19 booster shots could become more widely available right as doctors recommend that people get their flu shots. But is it okay to get both vaccines at the same time?

The flu season is upon us at a time when the country already is battling a resurgence of the coronavirus. Doctors are urging Americans to avail themselves of any and all vaccines they are eligible for.

An FDA advisory panel is endorsing the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines for people 65 and older and those with certain health conditions that compromise their immune systems. The CDC says, yes, you can get the COVID vaccine and the flu shot at the same time and one won’t interfere with the other.

“Flu vaccine influenza vaccine has been co-administered with other vaccines for decades people needed their tetanus or some other vaccine at the same time we always did that we do them in separate arms because if you have redness or a reaction you want to know which one it was,” said Dr. Peter Montgomery, a physician with SSM Health Family Medicine.

Montgomery says the flu shots are available now.

“We want to get people vaccinated hopefully by Thanksgiving and it will take a while to get everybody in to get that done, ideally for the whole population around Halloween, so I would say if you can get it now, get it now,” he said.

The flu season can run from now until spring. SSM Health is reporting zero flu cases throughout its system so far this flu season. Last year, there were few flu cases reported. That is attributed to widespread mask use and social distancing.

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Two suspects arrested for shooting death of Denver man in Adams County

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Two suspects arrested for shooting death of Denver man in Adams County

Two suspects have been arrested in the shooting death of a Denver man in an Adams County apartment complex parking lot.

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