(CNN) A winter storm and lengthy cold snap have crippled power facilities in Texas and caused about 2.3 million outages as of Wednesday evening, leaving residents in the cold and dark for several days.
An unidentified hacker has accessed the computer systems for the water treatment facility in the city of Oldsmar, Florida, and has modified chemical levels to dangerous parameters.
News of the attack was disclosed today in a press conference by city officials.
The intrusion took place on Friday, February 5, when the hacker accessed a computer system that was set up to allow for the remote control of water treatment operations.
The hacker first accessed this system at 8 am, in the morning, and then again for a second and more prolonged intrusion at 1:30 pm, in the afternoon.
This second intrusion lasted for about five minutes and was detected right away by an operator who was monitoring the system and saw the hacker move the mouse cursor on the screen and access software responsible for water treatment.
HACKER MODIFIED LYE LEVELS
“Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in liquid drain cleaners. It’s also used to control water acidity and remove metals from drinking water in the water treatment plant,” said Oldsmar Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
“The hacker changed the sodium hydroxide from about 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. This is obviously a significant and potentially dangerous increase.”
Oldsmar city staff said that no tainted water was delivered to local residents as the attack was caught in time before any lye levels could be deployed.
According to Sheriff Gualtieri, the hacker disconnected as soon as they modified the lye levels, and a human operator set the chemical level back to normal right away.
Officials didn’t attribute the attack to any specific hacker group or entity. The timing of the attack is also of note as the city of Oldsmar is located near the Tampa urban center, which hosted the Super Bowl LV game on Sunday.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
This is the second incident of its kind where a hacker has accessed a water treatment facility and modified chemical levels.
A similar incident was reported back in 2015-2016 at an unnamed water treatment facility, but investigators said the intruders didn’t seem to know what they were doing, making random changes, and investigators classified the intrusion as an accident rather than an intentional attack.
Another set of attacks took place earlier this year, but without as dire consequences. In the spring and summer of 2020, Israeli officials reported attacks against local water treatment facilities, water pumps, and agricultural irrigation systems.
Tel Aviv officials, which blamed the attacks on the Iranian government, said hackers tried to access the management panels of several types of smart water management systems and asked local organizations to change their passwords.
None of the attacks were successful, officials and local media reported at the time.
Have you ever googled yourself? A crush? Your neighbors? 57% of Americans admit to keeping an eye on their online reputation, and 46% admit to using the internet to look up someone from their past.
But Google is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding personal information. There’s a new website going around that users are calling “creepy,” “scary,” and “awesome.”
Have you ever been issued a speeding ticket? Failed to stop at a stop sign? Do you know someone who’s had a run-in with the law? If you’re like most of us, the answer to at least one of those questions is “yes.” Most of us have slipped up at least once or twice. In fact, one in four Americans has an arrest or a criminal record.
An innovative new website called Truthfinder is now revealing the full “scoop” on millions of Americans.
TruthFinder can search through hundreds of millions of public records in a matter of minutes. TruthFinder members can literally begin searching in seconds for sensitive data like criminal, traffic, and arrest records. Plus, they are able to check as many records as they want (think: friends, family, neighbors, enemies, etc. etc.).
Previously, if you needed to research somebody’s arrest records, it involved a lot of work. First, you’d need to know where the arrest records were located. Then you’d have to travel to the appropriate county court office — in person! After filling out long and boring paperwork, you’d have to wait for the results.
Searching arrest records could take days, weeks, or even months. And what if somebody was hiding an arrest in an unknown county? You might never find it.
But with websites like TruthFinder, a background check is simple and easy. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can find detailed and explicit information not readily available through a standard search engine.
I decided to test it out for myself and discover what information TruthFinder might expose about me. The search was easy, and after a few minutes, I found myself staring at my background report — and it wasn’t pretty!
There was that mortifying blog that I’d started in high school, still up for all the world to see! My report even included embarrassing photographs of myself that I’d totally forgotten about. I couldn’t believe that TruthFinder even found my secret social media profiles that I’d created under an alias. The sheer volume of data about me was definitely scary. I feel like a perfect stranger could look me up on TruthFinder and find out my entire life story.
After conducting just one search, I was totally hooked. I just couldn’t believe that it was legal to have this many personal details online! One of my friends from back home has pretty much dropped off the map entirely for the past three years. I’ve been kind of worried about him, and nobody seemed to know where he had gone. So, I typed his name into TruthFinder and was absolutely devastated by the search results.
My “friend” had gone to jail. TruthFinder had every single detail on the case, from the date he was arrested to which prison he was currently in. But the gruesome description of his offence made me realize that I probably needed to reevaluate who my friends were. This guy’s records listed charge after charge for battery, assault, and child abuse. His criminal record read like an infinite scroll of total depravity. I just couldn’t believe it.
From now on, I’m looking up everybody — no matter how normal they seem. Luckily for me, TruthFinder offers unlimited searches, so I’ll never be fooled again.
Although TruthFinder can show deeply shocking criminal records, I’ve really been surprised by just how practical it is as an everyday tool. I’ve used it to look up addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, estimated income levels, assets — heck, I’ve even found Amazon wishlists on TruthFinder. One time I looked up Todd Kohlhepp, the scary serial killer from South Carolina who confessed to seven murders. Well, guess what? His Amazon profile came up in his background report, and let me tell you, it was downright chilling. He literally left reviews on knives and shovels, discussing how he used them in the murders. It was one of the creepiest things I’ve ever found online.
My own report came back with an interactive map of local sex offenders in my neighborhood, complete with mugshots and explicit details of their crimes. I was seriously grossed out to learn that my last apartment building was absolutely infested with perverts, rapists, and total scumbags.
It isn’t all scary — After reading more about TruthFinder, I’ve heard lots of positive stories, too. Apparently, people have reunited because of this website. Estranged families have used public records to contact long-lost family members to get back in touch. Military friends have reunited after years of lost contact because they found the right phone number or email address on their report.
All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend TruthFinder to my friends and family. In today’s world, you need to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. But if you’re going to look up someone that you know using TruthFinder, I have to warn you: the information you might find could forever change how you feel about someone. Make sure that you’re emotionally prepared for the consequences if you find something you don’t want to see. To get started with your search, click here.
Apple is urging iPhone and iPad users to promptly update their operating systems to fix security bugs that may have already been exploited by hackers.
Don’t laugh, this could save your life one day!
While most of us are lamenting what are, if any, limitations of free speech in our democracy, one thing is certain – it does not come without consequences! While the first amendment states that our democracy gives its citizens the freedom of speech and to peaceful protest. There are in fact limitations to the first amendment in our country. Nothing online is protected for “free speech”, all platforms, hosts, apps, and Internet companies are exactly that – companies who have the ability to limit, as they see fit, speech from any American. Just like the company you work for has rules and limitations of your work environment, companies like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Google, Apple, and more are within their rights to limit anything on their platforms or devices they feel or see as unfit for publication.
In fact there are limitations in this country for Free Speech. They are as follows:
Inciting imminent lawless action
Speech that incites imminent lawless action was originally banned under the weaker clear and present danger test established by Schenck v. United States, but this test has since been overturned by the imminent lawless action test established in Brandenburg v. Ohio.
Inflammatory words that are either injurious by themselves or might cause the hearer to immediately retaliate or breach the peace. Use of such words is not necessarily protected “free speech” under the First Amendment.
Obscenity, defined by the Miller test by applying contemporary community standards, is a type of speech which is not legally protected. It is speech to which all the following apply: appeals to the prurient interest, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. (This is usually applied to more hard-core forms of pornography.)
See New York v. Ferber.
Limits placed on libel and slander attach civil liability and have been upheld by the Supreme Court. The Court narrowed the definition of libel with the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell made famous in the movie The People vs. Larry Flynt. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan established the actual malice standard, a high bar for public figure plaintiffs. Making false statements in “matters within the jurisdiction” of the federal government is also a crime.
Invasion of privacy
See Time, Inc. v. Hill.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Independent political expenditures
The government speech doctrine establishes that the government may censor speech when the speech is its own, leading to a number of contentious decisions on its breadth.
Public employee speech
Statements made by public employees pursuant to their official duties are not protected by the First Amendment from employer discipline as per the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos. This applies also to private contractors that have the government as a client. The First Amendment only protects employees from government employers albeit only when speaking publicly outside their official duties in the public interest Pickering v. Board of Ed. of Township High School Dist., updated and clarified by Lane v. Franks. Speech is not protected from private sector disciplinary action.
A number of cases consider speech related to or required by an employer, or speech retaliated against by a third party such as an employer. The case Lane vs. Burrows (previously Lane vs. Franks) considers a number of these matters and summarizes the outcome. A person who testifies in a court, and where that testimony is not part of their employment duties, testifies as a citizen and has First Amendment protection, whereas a person whose speech is an actual part of their duties and is not merely related to their duties may have no such protection.
The issues raised in such cases include the overriding need for persons in court to feel safe to speak the truth, and to in fact speak the truth; the requirement of employers to be able to act in the event that an employee speaks in a manner damaging to the employer; the rights of whistleblowers; the benefit to society if people who know the reality of a matter and are well informed of it, are able to speak of it.
In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), the Supreme Court extended broad First Amendment protection to children attending public schools, prohibiting censorship unless there is “substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others”. Several subsequent rulings have affirmed or narrowed this protection. Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986) supported disciplinary action against a student whose campaign speech was filled with sexual innuendo, and determined to be “indecent” but not “obscene”. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988) allowed censorship in school newspapers which had not been established as forums for free student expression. Guiles v. Marineau (2006) affirmed the right of a student to wear a T-shirt mocking President George W. Bush, including allegations of alcohol and drug use. Morse v. Frederick (2007) supported the suspension of a student holding a banner reading “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” at a school-supervised event which was not on school grounds. In Lowry v. Watson Chapel School District, an appeals court struck down a school dress code and literature distribution policy for being vague and unnecessarily prohibitive of criticism against the school district.
Such protections also apply to public colleges and universities; for example, student newspapers which have been established as forums for free expression have been granted broad protection by appeals courts.
Publishing, gathering, or collecting national security information is not protected speech in the United States. Information related to “the national defense” is protected even though no harm to the national security is intended or is likely to be caused through its disclosure. Non-military information with the potential to cause serious damage to the national security is only protected from willful disclosure with the requisite intent or knowledge regarding the potential harm. The unauthorized creation, publication, sale, or transfer of photographs or sketches of vital defense installations or equipment as designated by the President is prohibited. The knowing and willful disclosure of certain classified information is prohibited. The unauthorized communication by anyone of “Restricted Data”, or an attempt or conspiracy to communicate such data, is prohibited. It is prohibited for a person who learns of the identity of a covert agent through a “pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents” to disclose the identity to any individual not authorized access to classified information, with reason to believe that such activities would impair U.S. foreign intelligence efforts.
In addition to the criminal penalties, the use of employment contracts, loss of government employment, monetary penalties, non-disclosure agreements, forfeiture of property, injunctions, revocation of passports, and prior restraint are used to deter such speech.
The Voluntary Tender Act of 1917 gave the Commissioner of Patents the authority to withhold certification from inventions that might harm U.S. national security, and to turn the invention over to the United States government for its own use. It was replaced in 1951 with the Invention Secrecy Act which prevented inventors from publishing inventions or sharing the information. Both attached criminal penalties to subjected inventors. The United States was under a declared state of emergency from 1950–1974, after which peacetime secrecy orders were available.
The government issued between approximately 4,100 to 5,000 orders per year from 1959 to 1974, a peak of 6,193 orders in 1991, and approximately 5,200 per year between from 1991 to 2003. Certain areas of research such as atomic energy and cryptography consistently fall within their gamut. The government has placed secrecy orders on cold fusion, space technology, radar missile systems, and Citizens Band radio voice scramblers, and attempts have been made to extend them to optical-engineering research and vacuum technology.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 automatically classifies “all data concerning (1) design, manufacture, or utilization of atomic weapons; (2) the production of special nuclear material; or (3) the use of special nuclear material in the production of energy”. The government has attempted and failed to prohibit publication of nuclear information, including bomb design, in Scientific American in 1950 and The Progressive in 1979.[circular reference]
Pub.L. 106–54 (text) (pdf) of 1999, a bill focused on phosphate prospecting and compensation owed to the Menominee tribe, added 18 U.S.C. § 842(p) making it an offence “to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction” either intending or knowing that the learner/viewer intends “that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence”. This is in addition to other federal laws preventing the use and dissemination of bombmaking information for criminal purposes. The law was first successfully used against an 18-year-old anarchist in 2003, for distribution of information which has since been republished freely.
Private actors, private property, private companies
Despite the common misconception that the First Amendment prohibits anyone from limiting free speech, the text of the amendment only prohibits the US Congress (and, by extension, those that derive their powers from Congress) from doing so. A major issue in freedom of speech jurisprudence has been whether the First Amendment should be interpreted to merely run against state actors, or whether it can run against private actors as well. Specifically, the issue is whether private landowners should be permitted to use the machinery of government to exclude others from engaging in free speech on their property (which means balancing the speakers’ First Amendment rights against the Takings Clause). The right of freedom of speech within private shopping centers owned by others has been vigorously litigated under both the federal and state Constitutions, most notably in the cases Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner (1972) and Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins (1980).
Some observers have decried an erosion of free speech due to widespread use of the Internet and social media, which has allowed large groups of people who disapprove of particular speech have been able to swarm upon certain speakers and harass them with death and rape threats, send SWAT teams by making false reports to police, trigger boycotts of businesses, and in at least one case motivate a shooting. Targets have included a Massachusetts businessman who was seen in a photo apparently supporting Donald Trump, female video game designers and commentators, a diner where an anti-Trump employee made a negative comment to a pro-Trump customer, a public relations executive who tweeted an offensive joke before boarding a plane, and even victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting accused by anti-gun-control activists of faking the event.
While personal freedom of speech is usually respected, freedom of press, and mass publishing meet with some restrictions. Some of the recent issues include:
- United States military censoring blogs written by military personnel
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) censoring television and radio, citing obscenity, e.g., Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony (though the FCC only has the power to regulate over the air broadcasts and not cable or satellite television or satellite radio)
See also Roth v. United States
- Scientology suppressing criticism, citing freedom of religion, e.g., Keith Henson
- Censoring of WikiLeaks at the Library of Congress
In 2002, the United States was ranked 17th of 167 countries in the annual worldwide Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders. “The poor ranking of the United States (17th) is mainly because of the number of journalists arrested or imprisoned there. Arrests are often because they refuse to reveal their sources in court. Also, since the September 11 attacks, several journalists have been arrested for crossing security lines at some official buildings.” In the 2006 index the United States fell further to 53rd of 168 countries; indeed, “relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated” as it became suspicious of journalists who questioned the “War on Terrorism“. The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 U.S. states, refuse to recognize the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatened journalists whose investigations did not pertain to terrorism. The United States improved, moving up to 48th place in 2007, however, and to 20th in 2010. In the following years, the rank again declined, placing the United States 45th in 2020.
Internet speech, online forums
Internet access has changed the game in communication across the world and has opened new opportunities for Americans to express their First Amendment Rights. Internet speech takes place in a digital environment where both speakers and listeners can participate via computers, smart phones, and other electronic devices, being able to network and communicate with anyone at anytime.
Governments have offered many proposals to privately controlled online platforms for regulatory rules that can be enacted to ensure users First Amendment rights are upheld on the internet. If these regulations are infringed upon, the platform has the right to remove content that is copyright material or is offensive. Laws that regulate online harassment, defamation and so on face a delicate balancing act. Most online content, as such, limits risk by suppressing adult speech as well. They must be written narrowly to avoid encroaching on speech protected by the First Amendment while still restricting the undesirable conduct in practice.
The ICCPR which inhibits international laws for human rights enforces a strict clause that ‘[a] ny advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.’ Discrimination and hate speech of any kind is not tolerated according to this clause and accounts for online forums. Even with laws in place monitoring online harassment, defamation and so on face a delicate balancing act. They must be written narrowly to avoid encroaching on speech protected by the First Amendment while still restricting the undesirable conduct in practice.
In a 9–0 decision, the Supreme Court extended the full protection of the First Amendment to the Internet in Reno v. ACLU, a decision that struck down portions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a law that prohibited “indecent” online communication (that is, non-obscene material protected by the First Amendment). The court’s decision extended the same Constitutional protections given to books, magazines, films, and spoken expression to materials published on the Internet. Congress tried a second time to regulate the content of the Internet with the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). In 2002, the Court again ruled that any limitations on the internet were unconstitutional in American Civil Liberties Union v. Ashcroft.
In United States v. American Library Association (2003), the Supreme Court ruled that Congress has the authority to require public schools and libraries receiving e-rate discounts to install content-control software as a condition of receiving federal funding. The justices said that any First Amendment concerns were addressed by the provisions in the Children’s Internet Protection Act that permit adults to ask librarians to disable the filters or unblock individual sites.
In Facebook v. Sullivan, a neo-Nazi turned a Charlottesville, V.A. rally deadly when running over an innocent bystander in the crowd of people, later taking to Facebook about his actions with pride. The social media platform took down his profile and any posts related to this incident that portrayed it in any other way besides tragic. Even though this platform is not bound by the First Amendment, the platform has regulations based on preserving free expression but also omitting harmful speech.
Most online forums are censored by the governments as a means of media regulation in the U.S. Because internet networks are unfathomably large and accessible at one’s fingertips, not every piece of online content can be watched and regulated. If governments suddenly impose censorship on previously uncensored information, people become accustomed to acquiring this information through methods of censorship evasion which is deemed unconstitutional and illegal. The more online censorship being enforced, more effort is being made by citizens at bypassing the firewalls, and in China round 18 million Internet users are using online tools to bypass the Great Firewall and access unblocked online content.
4 dead after US Capitol breached by pro-Trump mob during ‘failed insurrection’
One woman and two men suffered “medical emergencies” during the anarchy and have subsequently died, according to Robert Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.
Another woman was shot and killed during a standoff inside the Capitol between law enforcement and protesters, Conte said. An angry mob of Trump supporters had breached the building, forcing a lockdown with members of Congress holed up inside the chambers.
The woman was shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer in plainclothes, after “multiple individuals forced entry into the Capitol building” and “attempted to gain access to the House room, which was still in session,” according to Conte. She was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead, Conte said.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., told ABC News he saw the shooting happen, saying he “never thought” he would witness such a scene unfold in the United States.
“I get people being passionate and being frustrated, but there’s a right way and and wrong way to do things and yesterday was wrong. There was absolutely no excuse for it,” Mullin said in an interview Thursday on “Good Morning America.”
“We’re very fortunate a lot more people didn’t actually lost their life,” he added. “One is way too many.”
The rioting began Wednesday afternoon after Trump and his allies held a rally earlier in the day, urging Congress to not certify the results of the November presidential election. Trump vowed to “never concede” and urged his supporters “to fight,” as he continued to push baseless claims of election fraud.
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Democrats,” Trump told the crowd on the Ellipse park, just south of the White House. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”
Protesters — some of who were seen wearing body armor — made their way up the Capitol steps around 2:15 p.m. ET, pushing their way through barricades, officers in riot gear and other security measures that were put in place in anticipation of the protest. Once inside the Capitol building, the pro-Trump mob moved freely and shouted chants while holding “Trump 2020” flags. One person was also seen waving a Confederate flag inside the building.
Law enforcement officers inside the building instructed elected officials, staff and journalists to shelter in place as the protesters broke in. In a bulletin sent to Capitol building staff, the U.S. Capitol Police ordered people to lock their doors, remain quiet and silence their electronics.
“If you are in a public space, find a place to hide or seek cover,” the bulletin said.
As the mob breached the Capitol building, Trump took to Twitter, saying Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” and that the “USA demands the truth!” He also tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Meanwhile, Pence, who was escorted out of the Capitol building, pleaded for the “violence and destruction” to stop and for anyone involved to “immediately leave the building.”
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., tweeted that he and his colleagues inside the House chamber were told by police “to be prepared to get under our chairs” and to put on gas masks because “there has been tear gas used in the rotunda.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., tweeted that the “Electoral College ballots were rescued from the Senate floor.”
“If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob,” he added.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters who were with him in a secure position that “this is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released a joint statement around 3:50 p.m., calling on Trump “to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
“He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home,” Mulvaney tweeted.
Following repeated calls from leaders on both sides of the aisle, Trump finally released a video message via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, telling his supporters to go home. But he also continued to push baseless, false claims about the election.
“I know you’re in pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” the president said in the one-minute, prerecorded video. “But you have to go home now.”
Twitter removed Trump’s tweet with the video, along with two other tweets. At 7 p.m., Twitter announced that it has locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and will continue to keep it locked until the tweets are deleted.
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” the social network company tweeted.
Later in the night, Facebook announced that it would not allow Trump’s official page to post for 24 hours.
The move came just as Trump’s successor, President-elect Joe Biden, held a news conference to address the situation. He called on the outgoing president to tell his supporters to stop.
“This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now,” Biden said. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.”
The entire District of Columbia National Guard was activated and the Metropolitan Police Department was deployed to assist the U.S. Capitol Police in dispersing the protesters and restoring order. Several other law enforcement agencies in the region were also deployed to help.
A source told ABC News that Pelosi requested the National Guard’s help to secure the Capitol building.
Police declared the scene a riot “due to the violent behavior towards the police officers there and their intent on gaining access to the Capitol,” Conte, the D.C. Police chief, said at a press conference Wednesday night.
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a citywide curfew that began at 6 p.m. and ended Thursday at 6 a.m. She called the violence “shameful, unpatriotic” and “unlawful.” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also declared a 6 p.m. curfew in the nearby cities of Alexandria and Arlington.
It took hours for law enforcement to clear the Capitol building and establish a perimeter around the area. Later in the evening, authorities fired tear gas to disperse the rioters.
As of 9:30 p.m., police had made “in excess of 52 arrests” related to the protests, 26 of which were made on Capitol grounds, according to Conte.
Conte said two pipe bombs were recovered, one at Republican National Committee headquarters and the other at Democratic National Committee headquarters, both of which are located near the Capitol building. A cooler was also recovered from a van on Capitol grounds containing a long gun as well as Molotov cocktails, according to Conte.
Meanwhile, Conte said more than a dozen D.C. Police officers were injured while responding to the protests.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a bulletin on Wednesday night, calling for witnesses to submit information to assist in identifying individuals who were involved with the “rioting and violence” at the Capitol building and in the surrounding area.
Almost exactly 12 hours after the protests began, the U.S. Capitol Police sent a notice to all staffers on Capitol Hill, stating that the threat was cleared and operations could return to normal while police “continue to maintain a security perimeter.”
The Senate resumed its session at around 8 p.m., where both Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the violence.
“We will not be kept out of this chamber by mobs or thugs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation,” McConnell said. “We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation — and we’re going to do it tonight.”
McConnell went on to describe Wednesday’s event as a “failed insurrection.”
Both the Senate and the House ultimately went on to vote against Republican objections to certify Electoral College votes in the presidential election, with Pence declaring Biden the winner early Thursday morning.
In a statement tweeted by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino following the news, Trump said: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
It was the first time Trump has publicly accepted Biden’s victory and agreed to a peaceful transfer of power.
ABC News’ Luke Barr, Jack Date, John Parkinson, Allie Pecorin, Ben Siegel and Trish Turner contributed to this report
Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state
— Follow a plan that your employer filed with the state if you come for work.
— Buy a $250 Covid-19 test when you arrive and self-quarantine at your own expense until you get the results.
— Self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of the trip if shorter.
UPDATE: Current guidelines allow travelers to New York to “test out” of the mandatory 10-day quarantine. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York will continue to be exempt from the travel advisory. Covered travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Check for important details on how to test out here along with other updates.
As of January 4, there were no statewide travel restrictions in Wyoming. Check here for updates.
The year 2020 has become remarkable in many ways, especially when it comes to the surge in cyber attacks. The Covid-19 pandemic has given an unprecedented opportunity to cyber attackers to hack and break down the organizations’ IT infrastructure. The work-from-home working module adopted by such organizations has been attributed to the rise of cyber attacks.
The security gap between the home and office network has played a key role to make way for the data breaches in 2020. This issue has resulted in the theft of confidential information, leading to the loss of millions of dollars for breached organizations.
Today, cyber attackers have come up with more innovative ideas to set a new trend in phishing, cryptojacking, ransomware attack, IoT attack, etc. According to a security research firm, 81 global firms from 81 countries reported data breaches in the first half of 2020 alone.
In fact, 80% of firms have seen an increase in cyber attacks this year. Coronavirus is alone blamed for a 238% rise in cyber attacks on banks. Phishing attacks have seen a dramatic increase of 600% since the end of February.
Whereas due to pandemic, ransomware attacks rose 148% in March and the average ransomware payment rose by 33% to $111,605 as compared to Q4 2019. (Source: Fintech News)
We discussed how cyber attacks have dramatically increased today. Let us walk you through the five major cyber attacks that have happened in 2020 till now. These staggering cyber attacks have crippled some famous organizations across the world.
Software AG Ransomware Attack
The second-largest software vendor in Germany and the seventh-largest in Europe, Software AG has been reportedly hit by a ransomware attack in October 2020. ZDNet reported that the German tech firm has been attacked by the Clop ransomware and the cyber-criminal gang has demanded more than $20 million ransom.
The report also says that the company has still not recovered from the attack completely. The company disclosed that the ransomware attack disrupted a part of its internal network. But services to its customers, including cloud-based services, remained unaffected. The company also tried to negotiate with the attackers but it all went in vain.
As per the statement released by Software AG, the company is in the process of restoring its system and database for resuming orderly operation.
Sopra Steria Ransomware Attack
French IT service giant Sopra Steria was attacked by ransomware on the evening of 20th October, as confirmed by the company. Its fintech business, Sopra Banking Software, identified the virus which is a new version of the Ryuk ransomware and previously unknown to cyber security providers.
Sopra Steria claimed that it was able to confine the attack to a limited part of its IT framework, even though it caught the attack after a few days. However, following an in-depth investigation, the company did not identify any leaked data or damage caused to its customers.
Ryuk is one of the most inventive ransomware which has already targeted organizations like EWA, a US defense contractor, and Prosegur, a Spanish logistics firm.
In September 2020, hackers gained access to Telegram messenger and email data of some big names in the cryptocurrency business. Hackers used Signaling System 7 (SS7), which is used for connecting mobile networks across the world, to hack the data.
According to cyber security experts, the hackers were most probably after two-factor authentication (2FA) login codes. They spoofed the short message service center (SMSC) of mobile network operators to send a request on location updates to at least 20 targeted high-profile victims.
This attack is believed to have occurred to obtain cryptocurrency. This type of cyber attack is well known in the cryptocurrency community but the users are generally aware of such requests.
Therefore, there are better authentication methods than just SMS or call-based 2FA in the cryptocurrency community. Cyber security experts think telecom standards must move away from using protocols like SS7, which cannot resolve modern issues.
Seyfarth Shaw Malware Attack
Chicago based leading global legal firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP became a victim of an “aggressive malware” attack. This attack was later confirmed by the firm as a ransomware attack. The cyber attack reportedly took place on October 10, 2020, and downed the firm’s email system completely, as per a statement published by the company.
The firm claimed in its statement that there was no evidence of client data or firm data unauthorized access or removal. However, many of its systems were found encrypted, following which the firm shut down all of those as a precautionary measure.
The global legal firm notified law enforcement and the FBI has already started investigation. Apart from this, no further information was revealed on how the attack occurred and what family of ransomware hit the firm.
Carnival Corporation Data Breach:
The world’s largest cruise line operator, Carnival Corporation reported a data breach due to a ransomware attack that took place in the month of August 2020. Hackers stole confidential information of customers, employees, and crew members at the time of the attack.
On August 15, 2020, the company detected the ransomware attack that breached and encrypted one of its brand’s IT infrastructure. Following the attack, the cruise line operator notified law enforcement and hired legal counsel and cyber security experts and launched an investigation.
Though the company claimed that no misuse of exposed personal data has come to light, the type of ransomware and how the attack happened have remained unrevealed.
How to Secure Your Organization Against Cyber Attacks?
The global transition to the work-from-home culture has made a way for cyber-criminals to execute incredibly advanced cyber attacks. Moreover, ransomware, phishing, DDoS, malware, etc., are amongst the most prominent forms of cyber attacks that we have experienced this year, till now.
Here are some of the “must follow” measures to secure your organization against emerging cyber attacks:
- Conduct VAPT periodically to check for exploitable security vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure of your organization.
- Back up all the sensitive or confidential data and store it separately from time to time.
- Keep all the systems, software, and applications up to date with the latest security patches.
- Restrict employees from sharing passwords at work openly and encourage them to use unique and strong passwords.
- Block email spoofing, spam, and BEC attack by securing your email domain with email authentication protocols like DMARC, SPF and DKIM.
- Run a cyber attack simulation campaign to assess the level of cyber awareness among employees. Then train them accordingly with the best in class security awareness training tool.
- Make sure to implement the practice of using multi-factor authentication to maintain security and privacy.
- Restrict IT admin and access rights to limited employees. Ensure that they are adequately trained on the safe usage and encrypted storage of sensitive data.
“I’m quitting social media,” you declare. Suddenly a feeling of freedom washes over you as you’re no longer concerned with likes, views and who’s doing what. You stop hunching over your phone and your posture straightens, elongating your spine and immediately you’re an inch taller than just before. You weightlessly drift away from the endless scroll to a trailhead in the mountains. Your free time is filled by strolling through meadows, journaling, meditation, long conversations and lots and lots of “being present.”
Or at least that’s what some of the “I quit social media and it changed my life” blog posts would have you believe. Unfortunately, dropping social media alone will not lead you to full self-actualization. But that doesn’t mean the idea is entirely without merit, either.
In improving your health and wellness, no one change is going to drastically alter your entire life (We know. We’re sorry. We were really hoping it would be green smoothies.). A series of small behavioral changes that lead to positive habits make a lasting impact. Can quitting social media be one of those changes? Absolutely. Some research suggests that social media is harming us in several ways. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad and cutting it off entirely could have both positive and negative effects on your life.
We weigh the pros and cons.
To Quit Social Media …
Quitting social media is not just a trend or something to make you seem ultra-enlightened. Research has revealed some valid reasons why you might want to toss aside your virtual networks.
Happiness and Mood
Our happiness is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Still, we check on the very thing that might be chipping away at our happiness dozens – or hundreds! – of times a day.. Studies have shown that social media can have a negative effect on your life satisfaction and subjective well-being. Evidence also suggests that social media is linked to depressive symptoms.
We know more about the end result, that those who use social media more tend to be less satisfied, than we do about what causes this result. Social comparison is often cited, because your friends are likely posting about the new job they got and not the 14 jobs they applied for and didn’t get before that. Looking at others’ perpetual highlight reel, versus your own behind-the-scenes life, can make you feel inadequate if you don’t feel like you have anything “post-worthy” at the moment. The Happiness Research Institute also found that people on Facebook had trouble concentrating, felt less present and thought they were wasting their time at a higher rate than peers not using Facebook.
If you’re on social media a lot, enough research suggests that you might want to run your own little experiment to see if a social media break or decrease can boost your mood.
What if you can’t hit those selfie angles quite like a Kardashian? (P.s. They hired a photographer for that “selfie.”) Or your entire Facebook community seems to be getting promotions while you can’t seem to impress your boss or get ahead at work?
Social media makes you a lot more aware of what is happening in your world and if you feel like you don’t stack up to those around you it can have a negative effect on your self-esteem. The era of filters, Instagram models and influencers, online fitness celebrities and readily available photo-editing tools can be particularly burdensome on our self-esteem. Two studies looked particularly at the effect of selfies and determined that looking at others’ selfies harmed self-esteem and caused women to compare themselves negatively to others. Another study found that social media use correlated with feeling unattractive.
Going back to social comparisons, Facebook might also be making you feel less successful in your career and relationships.
In just minutes, you can easily be inundated with images of people who seemingly have it better than you in one way or another. Just remember that social media is not real life and every post is made by a person (Well, except for the bots. Actually, there are a lot of bots posting.) and that person has ups and downs, too.
So many of us are not getting enough sleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 35 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep a night. But when it comes time to actually go to sleep so many of us get in our comfortable pajamas and cuddle up cozilly with a … cold chunk of glass, metal and plastic that emits a hue of light and messages that inhibit our sleep.
Yes, the light from our devices, particularly the blue hue that is common, is disruptive to sleep in itself. And one study found that young adults who check social media more frequently and for more time, have greater sleep disturbances.
And given the impact sleep has on the rest of our health, it’s wise to find a way to detach your phone from your bedtime routine.
To Not Quit Social Media …
Frankly, this argument is not as common. And you’re not going to shake up your social networks when you post, “I’ve decided to continue using social media at my current pace!” But particularly in our current reality there are advantages to using social media, provided you do it judiciously.
No Mo’ FOMO
We may not love it, but much of the news about our friends and family is communicated via social media. Particularly as we age, spread out geographically from old friends and family and start families, we have less time to check in via the old-fashioned methods. And the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a well-known feeling to certain generations raised with social media as the norm.
So if you disconnect from social networks you’re simply going to miss pregnancy and engagement announcements, baby pictures, birthday invites, good news and the latest and greatest in memes, goofy kids and cat videos. The thing about quitting social media is all the people you care about don’t magically also quit at the same time and spend their newly-found free time texting and calling you with updates.
Yes, you can make other efforts to stay in touch and up-to-date with what is happening with your friends and family. Certainly, previous generations manage this feat. But sometimes social media simply makes keeping up easier and without it your could feel out of touch and isolated.
The Internet is Good, Actually (Sometimes)
We’ll level with you, a lot of content on social media is probably mean, not particularly useful, unwanted ads, false or somehow otherwise bad. But it also doesn’t take that much digging to find some really positive, uplifting content online.
Body positivity is represented, heard and seen on social media in a way it simply wasn’t in previous generations. Writers with relatively modest Twitter followings can cultivate a loyal community that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, including $132,000 to Hurricane Harvey victims. Social media aids in many natural disasters, human rights revolutions and other worthy endeavors. Not to mention crowdsourcing local recommendations for everything from finding a handyman to planning a vacation.
These are just a few ways social media can and has been used for good. You can find your own way. Just remember that you’re in control of your feeds. Bring in the positive and block out the rest. That’s what the mute and block functions are for, or at least that’s how we choose to employ them.
Expand Your Networks
Social media has helped us break down our geographical and ideological barriers and connect with people we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Sure, that means some overly intense political and sports opinions find their way into your feed, but it also allows you to learn about groups and opinions you don’t see in your everyday life.
Particularly if you live in a remote or non-diverse area, social media can expose you to people and viewpoints you simply wouldn’t encounter where you live. Ideas about new books, movies, activities and interests all help to create a more well-rounded view of the world. If you’ve recently moved, social media can help you build a network around common interests or causes.
And while LinkedIn can be kind of a punchline online, if you sift through the spam and use it to your advantage, it can be a worthwhile networking tool and resource for professional development. And depending on your industry, Twitter, Instagram or lesser-known platforms can be just what your business needs to reach that next rung of success.
This is far from a comprehensive list. Do your own research if you’re considering deleting social media.
Yes, social media is bad. It’s also good. Like most things on the internet, it depends on how you use them. Filter out the negativity, limit your social media exposure, use it for the right reasons and bring your own positivity to your online world.
If you feel like social media is making you less happy, then maybe it needs to go. Just make a plan to replace the positive you do find in social media.
As federal, state and local governments increasingly contemplate big tech and mass surveillance as a tool to combat the spread of the deadly virus, we must guard against surveillance opportunists who will endanger public health and the health of our democracy. For some Americans, the consequences of expanded data collection could be as deadly as the disease itself.
As we’ve seen in China, Taiwan and South Korea, every facet of modern life can become a tool for tracking the virus’s spread. Whether it’s the government using cellphone tower data to track the movement of travelers from Wuhan to other parts of China, or pushing for using new apps that predict if users have been exposed to the disease, or gathering information from social media to map where users are posting from, our digital lives are becoming medical diagnostic tools.
As much as this surveillance might seem like a smart way to fight the pandemic, these programs can get it wrong. There is a profound risk that these types of artificial intelligence systems will mirror the prejudices of their human designers, falsely targeting Asian Americans and other marginalized groups. There is also the risk that they drive many of those who have been infected into the shadows, worsening the spread. And once the period of contagion is over, these emergency surveillance tools may easily be co-opted for other purposes — everything from tracking graffitiing to tax evasion — making Orwellian surveillance a permanent part of American life.
Perhaps the most high-profile public health tech tool that’s actually been put in place to deal with the coronavirus, rather than merely discussed, is the partnership (albeit fraught) between the Trump administration and Google to create a screening triage website to determine whose symptoms, travel history, and other risk factors mean that they should be prioritized for treatment. Users seeking tests at participating facilities log in with their google account, enter their health data, then get a referral to COVID-19 testing if they are deemed a priority.
Making Google part of the national emergency response (long before it was agreed to by Google), caused privacy advocates to ask what would happen with the data. The law is completely unclear on whether this data can also be used by government agencies ranging from public health authorities to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Furthermore, if potential patients have to register with a Google account using their real name, it could dissuade certain groups of individuals from getting screened. Take a moment to imagine what it is like for undocumented immigrants living through the coronavirus crisis. For those who have the symptoms of COVID-19, a trip to the emergency room could bring a death sentence: deportation to a far-off country even less equipped to handle the threat of the pandemic. If even a small fraction of undocumented immigrants feel unsafe getting medical treatment, the virus could expand.
Similarly, those Americans who have outstanding police warrants may also be dissuaded from handing their information to public-private partnerships. And some Americans will avoid registration on ideological grounds to avoid giving corporate entities or the government their intimate health details.
The potential for far-reaching consequences from faulty technology is also greatly enhanced by using surveillance widely to cope with this pandemic. For instance, it’s not that far out to imagine government officials using current tracking software such as HealthMap (which scours social media sites for flu-related words to identify incipient flu outbreaks) or Flu Near You (which asks its users to self-identify their flulike symptoms) to impose quarantines or otherwise restrict people’s movements; local governments in Chicago and New York have relied on similar programs that scraped people’s social media for terms related to foodborne illnesses in order to identify and shut down restaurants prone to food poisoning.
But despite successes using these apps for food poisoning and the flu, the effectiveness of this sort of mass surveillance system is decidedly unclear, especially if expanded more broadly by relying on cellphone locations and internet history. Previously, systems might have been able to guess who had seasonal flu based on their Google queries, for example, but in the midst of this pandemic nearly every American is running these same searches. Other attempts to develop this technology, such as Google Flu Trends, were abandoned as failures.
Moreover, using artificial intelligence to determine who can leave their home or take transit raises the risk of AI bias. In the U.S. (and particularly New York City), where housing is appallingly segregated, it’s easy to imagine how AI could lead to a form of COVID-19 redlining or otherwise replicate the worst shortcomings of “predictive policing,” which often draws on racially biased crime data to recommend even more racially biased policing.
Ultimately, there’s the threat this technology poses to our civil rights and the rule of law. Government access to this type of tracking and personal data means officials will have the power to exclude people from society, effectively subjecting them to home confinement without trial, appeal or any semblance of due process. It’s an appealing response when the government gets that decision right, but a chilling power if abused.
In China, residents have been forced to install phone apps that track their movements and assign them a red, green or yellow coronavirus score. Get a bad score and suddenly public transportation, work and school are out of bounds. And, as people in China are learning, when a computer program quarantines you, that automated judgment can be impossible to challenge and reverse. Disturbingly, there’s growing evidence that the expanded behavioral tracking will stick around long after the crisis is over, giving Beijing a new way to track religious minorities and political dissidents.
In the weeks ahead, we must be vigilant. Whether it was the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the profiling of Muslim Americans following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or the mass incarceration for petty and nonviolent crimes when crime rates spiked in the ’80s and ’90s, our rights are most at risk when we feel scared. And the changes we accept in times of crisis can last far longer than the immediate crisis.
In the weeks following 9/11, Congress hastily expanded surveillance powers through the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of those emergency provisions were originally supposed to expire more than a decade ago. This week, Congress voted to renew them yet again. Taking evidence-based steps to protect public health will save lives in the coming days, but any damage we do to our Constitution may not heal for decades.