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Will DHS & CISA’s New Programs Be Enough to Keep Americans Safe Online? (Opinion)

Good question!

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In late February, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and new Director, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced a number of new initiatives intended to improve American cybersecurity, in hopes that they will help address the glowing global threats facing Americans online.

DHS, which is still somewhat in the process of transitioning to a new administration, inherits the evolving threats brought about because of the practical changes to business and education that have come as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold on the globe. Our new telecommuting and online education culture have led to a major surge in hacking attacks internationally.

Among the new strategies that Mayorkas has talked up in the past 2 weeks is a plan to increase cybersecurity spending through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants. This strategy calls for state and local governments that receive FEMA grants to spend at a minimum 7.5% of the money on improving cybersecurity. In the past, grant recipients would only be required to spend a 5% minimum of the money against cyber threats.

When considering the gravity of the current situation, with major attacks like the SolarWinds breach being reported in the past several months, this initiative seems to fall somewhat flat. A skinny 2.5 percent increase in the use of FEMA grants isn’t really much, especially for a country that has already seen foreign powers successfully hack into its power grid and other critical segments of its healthcare and industrial sector.

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A large-scale hack against the US power grid would create a nightmare scenario on many levels. Look no further than the chaos created in the five-day period in 2019 when socialist Venezuela faced such a situation.

Dozens of hospitalized Venezuelans died as a result of the outage, as many hospital power generators, which can’t be counted on to be 100% reliable, would fail. The majority of the dead were kidney failure patients who failed to receive dialysis treatments and shooting victims that could not be saved by surgery in the dark conditions.

In addition, pregnant Venezuelan women were forced to give birth in the dark, while many prematurely born babies fought to live in failing incubators.

While the constant threat of massive devastation hangs over America, the US is also facing a rise in hacking activity, specifically ransomware, so DHS has also announced an initiative they call “The Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Campaign,” which will be handled by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency or CISA, which is a sub-division of DHS.

According to a CISA press release announcing the program, it is “a focused, coordinated and sustained effort to encourage public and private sector organizations to implement best practices, tools and resources that can help them mitigate this cybersecurity risk and threat,”

Ransomware attacks are used by hackers looking for a fast profit and were the most commonly seen online threat of 2020, according to risk consulting firm Kroll‘s cyber incident response data, which indicated that ransomware was responsible for more than one-third of cyber-attacks through September 1, 2020.

Another change in the cybersphere for 2021 has been a rise in hacks targeting Mac computers. Macs, which were mistakenly thought to be virus and malware-proof, are now being targeted heavily by hackers.

In fact, reports surfaced in late February that over 30,000 Mac computers were attacked by new strains of malware, including Silver Sparrow and another strain that works by tricking victims with a phony pop-up message that states that many of the well-known utilities and apps found on the computer are actually malware and will cause damage on the Mac. This message offers to move the app or utility to the trash bin but doing that will not solve the problem.

Americans rely on DHS, CISA and other associated agencies and sub-divisions to keep them safe in a world that is increasingly dependent on computing and online communication. While the average Joe may not be the high leverage target that a state-sponsored online terror cell may target, there is certainly no shortage of smaller hacking syndicates that turn a considerable amount of profit by hacking average citizens.

Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by websites including The Hill, Newsmax, The Washington Times, Real Clear Politics, Townhall, American Thinker and many others.

Opinion

POTUS Finally Recognizes That Border Crisis Isn’t ‘Under Control’

Took him long enough!

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From the very moment that Joe Biden was elected President, it was rather apparent that there would be ruble eon the southern border.  The already-unsustainable migrant surges were sure to increase in both size and frequency as those looking to enter the country illegally believed that a Democratic President would surely be more lenient than his predecessor when it comes to enforcement.

Spoiler alert:  They weren’t wrong.

Now, as many in this nation are hoping and praying that the Biden administration would get their head out of the sand and actually address the issue, there appears to be at least some understanding among the Biden-ites as to the severity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Texas and beyond.

President Joe Biden admitted on September 21 that the U.S. border with Mexico has slipped out of control under the watch of pro-migration zealot Alejandro Mayorkas.

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The admission came when he answered a reporters’ shouted question: “Mr. President, what is your reaction to the images coming from the southern border? ”

“We will get it under control,” Biden replied testily.

The admission comes as Senator Ted Cruz lashed out at New York City Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over her hypocritical approach to border advocacy, and just days after a disturbing images went viral, depicting Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing migrants, and threatening them with the reins of their steeds.

From the very moment that Joe Biden was elected President, it was rather apparent that there would be ruble eon the southern border.  The already-unsustainable migrant surges were sure to increase in both size and frequency as those looking to enter the country illegally believed that a Democratic President would surely be more lenient than his predecessor when it comes to enforcement. Spoiler alert:  They weren’t wrong. Now, as many in this nation are hoping and praying that the Biden administration would get their head out of the sand and actually address the issue, there appears to be at least some understanding among the Biden-ites as to the severity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Texas and beyond. President Joe Biden admitted on September 21 that the U.S. border with Mexico has slipped out of control under the watch of pro-migration zealot Alejandro Mayorkas. The admission came when he answered a reporters’ shouted question: “Mr. President, what is your reaction to the images coming from the southern border? ” “We will get it under control,” Biden replied testily. The admission comes as Senator Ted Cruz lashed out at New York City Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over her hypocritical approach to border advocacy, and just days after a disturbing images went viral, depicting Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing migrants, and threatening them with the reins of their steeds.

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NYC Restauranteurs Blast De Blasio’s Vax Mandates: ‘We’re Being Assaulted’

The trouble continues for Big Apple eateries.

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Just days ago, a wild and unruly bit of viral video made headlines, and reignited a national debate about the possibility of vaccine mandates throughout our great nation.

So far, the only real federal vaccine mandate has come in the form of an order from the Biden administration, declaring that all federal employees would be required to receive an inoculation against COVID-19, as well as employees of any private company with more than 100 workers.

But there are plenty of local and private ordinances that do require vaccination, including a controversial proclamation in New York City that requires vaccines for all restaurant customers.  The aforementioned viral video depicted a group of Texan tourists physically assaulting a restaurant hostess that asked for their proof of vaccination in order to dine in their establishment.

This shocking incident has New York City’s restauranteurs crying foul.

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“It’s gonna hurt my business for me to lose customers, to lose relationships with customers. We’re a neighborhood restaurant,” restaurant owner Massimo Felici said, according to NY1. According to the outlet, Felici said the mandate, barring unvaccinated people from dining indoors, has had a negative impact on his business.

“They’re making us police this. We are getting the ripple effect. We’re getting assaulted for it, accused for it whatever you wanna call it. That’s it. Period. It shouldn’t be us,” he added, noting the rules remain unclear to most, as unvaccinated individuals can still dine outdoors.

“You’d be surprised how many people are confused about what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. If you read that, it makes it sound like you cannot come into my restaurant for dinner if you do not have the vaccination,” he said of the city’s signs.

Other establishment owners lamented the reality of the mandates being bad for business, especially as restaurants continue to struggle to reach pre-pandemic prosperity.

Just days ago, a wild and unruly bit of viral video made headlines, and reignited a national debate about the possibility of vaccine mandates throughout our great nation. So far, the only real federal vaccine mandate has come in the form of an order from the Biden administration, declaring that all federal employees would be required to receive an inoculation against COVID-19, as well as employees of any private company with more than 100 workers. But there are plenty of local and private ordinances that do require vaccination, including a controversial proclamation in New York City that requires vaccines for all restaurant customers.  The aforementioned viral video depicted a group of Texan tourists physically assaulting a restaurant hostess that asked for their proof of vaccination in order to dine in their establishment. This shocking incident has New York City’s restauranteurs crying foul. “It’s gonna hurt my business for me to lose customers, to lose relationships with customers. We’re a neighborhood restaurant,” restaurant owner Massimo Felici said, according to NY1. According to the outlet, Felici said the mandate, barring unvaccinated people from dining indoors, has had a negative impact on his business. “They’re making us police this. We are getting the ripple effect. We’re getting assaulted for it, accused for it whatever you wanna call it. That’s it. Period. It shouldn’t be us,” he added, noting the rules remain unclear to most, as unvaccinated individuals can still dine outdoors. “You’d be surprised how many people are confused about what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. If you read that, it makes it sound like you cannot come into my restaurant for dinner if you do not have the vaccination,” he said of the city’s signs. Other establishment owners lamented the reality of the mandates being bad for business, especially as restaurants continue…

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