Is the internet safe? | Harvard Kennedy School

And the attacks can come from all directions. “When you think about a critical infrastructure that connects people, then you have to worry about power,” he noted, recalling the hours-long blackout that Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms suffered this month. “So, I’m Instagram,” he continued, “a massive, massive commerce tool. That’s where a lot of small businesses market their goods and how they conduct daily business operations. That was a significant outage for a lot of infrastructure, and we don’t always see those connective tissues. We just think about goofy dog tapes and beach pictures, but there’s a lot of commerce that rides behind that.”

Krebs also highlighted something he has viewed for some time: a foreign adversary getting on a platform and amplifying or manipulating information, disrupting the intelligence community. “I honestly don’t think we know enough about how the platforms operate right now to make meaningful regulation, meaningful legislation, to then inform regulation,” he said.  Donovan agreed. “We have to have more required disclosures from the platforms, much more research on the harms caused by these platforms, like financial fraud or personal injury. And then of course there are collective social injuries, like the January 6th insurgency,” she said.

Trying to explain how misinformation leads to divisiveness, the CISA team launched the “war on pineapple campaign,” an internet test to increase awareness on how disinformation campaigns influence operations work. Why pineapple? “It was in the wake of 2016, looking at the techniques that the Russians used to amplify a kind of social discord. We needed an issue to test where people were clearly on one side it of or the other. It couldn’t be political—that turns off 50% of people. As we discussed what that issue could be over a pizza lunch, there it was: whether you liked pineapple on your pizza or not. It actually was a coordinated behavior campaign to drive home the idea that Americans will argue over simple things, like a pizza topping.”

Despite all the work Krebs and his team at CISA did to authenticate the 2020 elections and disprove the…


Ransomware attack may have obtained data on Corry school staff, students


Teen Girl, Security Guard Shot Outside of Bronzeville High School, Chicago Fire Officials Say – NBC Chicago

A student and a security guard were seriously wounded in a shooting Tuesday afternoon outside a high school in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

The 14-year-old girl and the 46-year-old guard were shot around 3:20 p.m. outside Wendell Phillips Academy High School, 244 E. Pershing Road, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

The child was shot three times in the abdomen and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, according to Chicago police spokesman Michelle Tannehill. She was listed in good condition.

The guard, shot in the arm, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, she said. Langford said he was listed in serious condition.

In September, two 15-year-old students from Simeon Career Academy were shot and killed on the same day in separate attacks.

“It’s ridiculous, you know the kids have to go to school, it’s just very unsafe now because we don’t know if the kids are gonna be safe going to school or picking up after school,” said an employee of Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles restaurant, around the corner from Phillips.

The employee, who did not want to be named, said they heard about four or five shots, then saw police cars flood the area.

“I just wish our city would be safer, I just wish it was more safety,” she said. “Our kids have to grow up here, our kids have to go to school here, we have a restaurant to run here. I just pray for our safety.”


Bill gives school districts resources to guard against cyberattacks

Cybersecurity Act


President Joe Biden signs S. 1917 The K-12 Cybersecurity Act of 2021, Friday. Oct. 8, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Updated Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 | 3:36 p.m.

A hacker published Clark County School District records, including employee Social Security numbers and student names, addresses and grades, after a ransomware attack on the school system in August 2020.

The bipartisan K–12 Cybersecurity Act of 2021, signed into law today by President Joe Biden, will give resources to school districts to help them protect themselves against cyberattacks.

“This is what we do best when we come together,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who co-sponsored the bill following the attack on Clark County School District, the fifth largest school district in the United States. “It’s going to direct the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to do a deep dive to report on vulnerabilities in school districts across the country.”

The agency will study challenges schools face in keeping their information systems and sensitive student and employee records safe, the bill states.

“Cyber Security issues have affected public schools throughout the nation and CCSD works to make sure our students, their families, and district employees’ information is secure from cyber criminals,” the district said in a statement.

The criminal data breach against CCSD was “unacceptable,” Rosen said. After the district refused to pay a ransom, the hacker published the sensitive documents online.

Other vulnerable entities across the country also have become victims of ransomware attacks, which are happening more frequently, Rosen said. In such attacks, hackers lock up computer data and demand a ransom to release it.

In 2020, 1,681 schools, colleges and universities in the U.S. and 560 health care facilities were victims of ransomware attacks, according to the Emsisoft Malware Lab.

University Medical Center reported a hacking incident this summer that impacted about 1.3 million people. The victims’ driver’s license, Social…