AM Prep-Cyber Corner

December 15, 2020 GMT

IN THE NEWS: EXPERTS TRY TO SECURE COMPUTER NETWORKS AFTER INTRUSION

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. government agencies and private companies have been scrambling to secure their computer networks after the disclosure of a sophisticated and long-running cyber-espionage intrusion — one that experts say was almost certainly done by a foreign state. It’s unclear who’s responsible for the electronic break-in. However reports say it was done by Russia. As for the extent of the damage, that isn’t yet known, either. However, the potential threat is considered significant enough that the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity unit has ordered all federal agencies to remove compromised network management software. Thousands of private firms are expected to do the same.

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IN THE NEWS: CALIFORNIA A.G. ASKS JUDGE TO ORDER AMAZON TO COMPLY WITH SUBPOENAS ON WORKPLACE ISSUES

UNDATED (AP) — California’s Attorney General has asked a judge to order Amazon to comply with subpoenas that his office has issued to look into how Amazon is protecting workers at its facilities from the coronavirus. Xavier Becerra says the online retailer hasn’t been forthcoming enough with information about efforts being made to shield workers from COVID-19. He says he’d like to see what safety precautions Amazon has taken — as well as information about rates of infections and deaths among Amazon workers — at shipping facilities in California. Becerra says his office has received complaints about conditions and incidents at Amazon. And he says that those reports are worth looking into.

ON THE WEB: BEWARE OF PANDEMIC-RELATED SCHEMES

CYBERSPACE (AP) — Many people have lost their jobs and income since the pandemic hit. And now federal and state authorities are trying to make sure those affected by the coronavirus don’t lose money to scammers. The Federal Trade Commission has launched an effort to get people to avoid pyramid schemes, fraudulent investment plans and scams that play on cultural norms in immigrant communities. The FTC says during the first nine months of 2020, losses reported through such schemes totaled $150 million, the highest level ever.

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Online:

Federal Trade Commission site: https://www.ftc.gov

IN STORES: GREAT USEFUL STUFF LAPTOP STAND AND ORGANIZER WITH BUILT-IN POWER HUB AND DRY ERASE BOARD

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — It’s a time for warm feelings — but if those feelings are being caused by the heat of your laptop roasting the top of your thighs, you’ll want to take a holiday from that. Great Useful Stuff is out with a new laptop stand which it boasts is its most powerful ever. That’s because it comes with a power hub. It lets you charge up to five devices using a single wall outlet. The hub handles a pair of two- or three-pronged cords; the others are for USB hookups. When you open the stand, the organizer has space to store your smartphone and small accessories like a headset. The stand flips to reveal a dry-erase board, perfect for when you need to jot down a note or reminder. It comes in bamboo or walnut, which should make it look at home with any decor. It retails for $65, plus shipping.

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Online:

Great Useful Stuff website: https://greatusefulstuff.com

OWC USB-C TRAVEL DOCK

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) — They say you can’t take it with you. And when it comes to your computer gear, they often say that because it’s tough to haul around all those cables and connectors. Other World Computing has a new device that makes it easier than ever to take your stuff with you — and keep it powered up. OWC’s USB-C Travel Dock is small but powerful. It lets you link its integrated USB-C cable to a Mac or PC computer or laptop. Doing that activates five ports of mobile connectivity: a pair of standard USB ports, an SD card, an HDMI cable and USB-C slot. All this comes in a device small enough to slip into your pocket. The dock is $49.99, comes in four colors: gold, silver, space gray and rose gold — and carries a two-year warranty from OWC.

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Online:

OWC site for USB-C travel dock: https://www.owcdigital.com/products/usb-c-travel-dock