Hillicon Valley: US intel agencies blame Russia for massive SolarWinds hack | Website crashes mar early coronavirus vaccine rollouts | Google workers make waves with new union

Hillicon Valley: US intel agencies blame Russia for massive SolarWinds hack | Website crashes mar early coronavirus vaccine rollouts | Google workers make waves with new union
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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

A RUSSIAN WHO-DONE-IT: A coalition of top intelligence agencies on Tuesday formally announced that Russia was behind the recently discovered hack of IT company SolarWinds that compromised much of the federal government and thousands of other groups.


The FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a joint statement that based on their initial investigation “an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actor, likely Russian in origin, is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered, ongoing cyber compromises of both government and non-governmental networks.”

The statement was the first time the federal government has officially pinned the blame for the incident on Russia, though officials including President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Should deficits matter any more? Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden (mostly) builds on Trump's foreign policy China: US military presence in South China Sea a threat to peace, stability White House installs new leadership at federally-funded international broadcasters MORE, and former Attorney General William BarrBill BarrPoll finds 1 in 3 believe false claims voter fraud led to Biden win Trump pressed DOJ to go to Supreme Court in bid to overturn election: report Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated MORE have said publicly they believe Moscow was responsible. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE, by contrast, has suggested China may have been involved. 

Read more about the ongoing cyber incident here.

CRASHING COVID SITES: Websites that counties are using to offer coronavirus vaccine appointments are crashing, causing further issues in the nation’s rocky rollout. 

Several counties in Florida reported delays and website crashes Monday, pushing them to offer solely phone bookings. And the largest county in Texas had to temporarily take down a website after ineligible residents tried to book slots.

The tech issues may be amplified as states ramp up rollouts and increase the number of groups eligible for vaccinations.  


Read more about the glitches here

GOOGLE UNION OFFERS NEW MODEL: The decision by the Alphabet Workers Union to launch this week as a minority union could present an alternative framework for organizing at other Silicon Valley giants.

Minority unions — most commonly organized in states that prohibit collective bargaining by government employees — do not seek recognition from the National Labor Relations Board and do not have formalized bargaining power.

Alphabet Workers Union and Communications Workers of America representatives who spoke to The Hill gave two main reasons for choosing to pursue this model: growth opportunities and inclusivity.

The union at Alphabet and its subsidiary Google started with a little over 220 members, but they are hopeful that the attention being paid to the group as well as the ability to speak about it in public will increase those numbers.

The massive size of Alphabet, which employs upward of 120,000 workers worldwide, is considered another reason to go with the nontraditional unionization route.

Read more.

GEORGIA ON EVERYONE’S MIND: As voters flocked to the polls in Georgia on Tuesday to cast their ballots in two heated Senate races, officials saw few election security-related hiccups.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said in a statement that the wait times were low at voting sites, and that “everyone should be confident in the reliability of the votes.”

There were a few polling pad malfunctions at at least one polling station, but state and federal officials stressed that intensely watched elections were overall secure on Tuesday.

Read more about the Senate race here.

CYBER THREATS ON LAND AND SEA: The White House on Tuesday rolled out a new plan to secure the maritime sector against cybersecurity threats that may hurt national security.

The plan lists a set of priorities for the government to pursue in ensuring the maritime sector is secure against vulnerabilities from new information technologies. President Trump described it as a “a call to action for all nations to join us in protecting the vital maritime sector that interconnects us.”

Read more about the plan here.


AMAZON EXPANDS AIR FLEET: Amazon will purchase 11 jets to add to its delivery fleet.

This is the first time that the retail giant has purchased rather than leased an airplane, a signal of its intentions to continue growing its independent air cargo operations.

Four of the used Boeing 767-300 jets will be purchased from WestJet planes and seven will be acquired from Delta.

Read more.

Lighter click: The election night thirst trap returns

An op-ed to chew on: Russia hack requires new cybersecurity paradigm



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In Georgia, Facebook’s Changes Brought Back a Partisan News Feed (The Markup / Corin Faife)