The US justice department said it has recovered cryptocurrency worth $2.3 mn which was paid by the Colonial pipeline to the ransomware attackers. 63.7 bitcoins worth $2.3 mn have been seized were part of the $5 mn ransomware Colonial paid to the hackers to gain access to IT infrastructure. The White House has urged companies to improve cybersecurity. The cyberattack will also be discussed this month in the meeting between the presidents of the US and Russia.
The White House said it was informed by Brazil’s JBS SA that the disruption in meat production in North America and Australia was likely caused by a ransomware attack by an organization from Russia. On Tuesday, JSB said it had made quite some progress in resolving the cyberattack while the White House has directly addressed the issue to the Russian govt. The cyberattack caused prices to jump by $1 and reduced the rate of slaughtering by 18% compared to 2020.
To keep up the vaccination rate in the country, the US govt has decided to have an unofficial partnership with dating apps. In this collaboration, if a user gets vaccinated, they will get additional perks i.e free boost, super likes, etc. Apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, and Badoo all have participated to reach their total 50mn userbase to get vaccinated. The Biden administration hopes to reach the goal of vaccinating 70% of US adults by July 2021.
The White House, in a statement, said that Russia’s foreign intelligence service, SVR, was behind the SolarWinds hack, which stole data from nine federal agencies and 100s of private firms. Russian govt was always believed to behind the cyber attack, but the statement is the first formal acquisition. The White House also announced a series of sanctions against five Russian cybersecurity firms said to be involved in supporting hack.
About Nine federal agencies and 100 private sector companies were targeted by the SolarWinds hackers which is being assumed to be of “Russian Origin” as said by Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology. Hackers installed malware in the Orion software sold by the IT management company SolarWinds. Tech giants like Intel, Cisco, VMware and Nvidia, have suffered part of the SolarWinds hack.
The Trump administration on Friday opted not to grant ByteDance a new extension of an order requiring it to divest TikTok’s U.S. assets. However, the talks will continue over TikTok’s fate. Last week, the administration granted ByteDance a one-week extension until Friday over the order to shed TikTok’s U.S. assets. President Trump in August gave orders to enforce the divestiture order once the deadline expired, but it is unclear when or how the govt may seek to compel divestiture.
The US Justice Department said it will announce “charges and arrests related to computer intrusion campaign tied to the Chinese government”. The White House national security advisor Robert O’Brien said last month that Chinese govt-linked hackers have been targeting US election infra ahead of the upcoming presidential election. China has consistently denied US govt claims that it hacks US firms, politicians, govt agencies.
White House is rolling out $1 bn investment into Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing to make “world-class hubs for accelerating American innovation and building the 21st-century American workforce”. The Trump administration, last year, issued an executive order to bolster U.S. dominance in AI. The fund will be used in R&D hubs linked to federal agencies to “pursue transformational advances” in quantum computing, ML and computer vision.
The deal between ByteDance and Microsoft, for the sale of former’s TikTok business in the USA, has been put on hold after the USA president said that he would not allow the deal to go through and being intent on a ban. Microsoft, under the deal, was to take control of the data of US-based users and allowed another company to operate TikTok in the US. ByteDance bid to retain a minority stake was abandoned after the White House rejected the proposal.