CISA, FBI issues cybersecurity alert ahead of Thanksgiving

Two federal authorities warned Americans to “remain vigilant” about their online safety during the long Thanksgiving weekend after a year full of high-profile hacks.



On Monday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued guidance on best practices for individuals and organizations to avoid being exposed to cyberattacks.

The two authorities did not identify any specific threats.



The recommendations included that companies identify IT security employees for the holidays, implement multi-factor authentication while employees work remotely, use strong one-time passwords, ensure that the remote desktop protocol is secure and monitored, and remind employees not to click on suspicious links.

The CISA and the FBI also advised users to look closely at “phishing” scammers who dress up as fake charities, as well as fraudulent websites that mimic reputable companies and hope to catch Americans doing their holiday shopping online.



White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki highlighted the warning during Tuesday’s press conference and urged companies and other organizations to read through the advice and implement the recommended methods.

“We have seen in the past that sometimes these threats – there is an increase around holidays, so we are aware of that,” said Psaki. “Their – and their advice is based on that.”



An FBI agent uses a gun in action
The CISA and the FBI also advised users to look closely for “phishing” scams.
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The agencies referred to the latest trends with “malicious cyber actors” launching major ransomware attacks on holidays such as the Fourth of July and Mother’s Day.

During Independence Day weekend, a cyber attack by the Russian-based hacker group REvil affected as many as 1,500 companies in at least 14 countries.

The intrusion did not appear to affect vital infrastructure in the United States and caused only “minimal damage,” according to the White House.

Days later, President Biden called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on cyberattacks originating from his country. However, Biden ended up holding the Kremlin responsible for the attacks on the fourth of July.

“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects that when ransomware operation comes from his land – even if it is not, not sponsored by the state – we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on. who is, “Biden told reporters, adding that the conversation” went well, and I’m optimistic.

Asked if there would be “consequences” to the attacks, the president answered “yes” before leaving the room.

At the time, Biden said he believed “we will cooperate” when asked what consequences Putin could face.

In recent years, the United States has faced several cyber attacks from Russia, including one last year when hackers gained access about 27 U.S. law firms across the country.

Digital security padlock with encrypted binary code on abstract circuit board.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki highlighted the cyber alert during Tuesday’s press conference.
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Russian-linked hackers behind last year SolarWinds cyberattack has been accused of targets hundreds of companies and organizations in ongoing attacks since May.

During his meeting with Putin, Biden stressed the need for Russia to take action to disrupt ransomware groups operating in Russia, according to the White House. The administration added that the United States “will take all necessary measures to defend its people and its critical infrastructure.”

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