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SolarWinds Concern, a Cyberattack on a Peaceful Service and President Biden’s Peloton [Cybersecurity Brief]

What do Joe Biden’s Peloton and an Atlanta synagogue have in common? They were both subjects of some of the latest cybersecurity coverage. But what still remains as a dominating force in ongoing cybersecurity news are the continuing developments and impacts of the SolarWinds cyberattack.

Exercise Caution

While there has been much discussion over President Biden’s focus on cybersecurity, it was his Peloton routine that managed to get a headline within this news cycle. According to The New York Times, a question that arose as the Bidens prepared to transition into the White House was does their Peloton pose a cybersecurity risk? Because distinguishing characteristics of the exercise machine are its tablet installed with a camera and microphone and offering of livestream classes in which participants can communicate, some posed worries over the risks that this sort of connection could cause. Does this open up a unique opportunity for hackers or foreign agents to listen in? For now, though, cybersecurity experts seem to agree that this may be a bit of a stretch.

Cyber Attack Targets Atlanta Synagogue

On a more serious note, a renowned synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia was the target of a possible cyberattack. The president of the synagogue said that its website was compromised during its service dedicated to honoring the life of Martin Luther King Jr. featuring recently elected Senator Raphael Warnock. When the website displaying the service was interrupted, its service provider informed the synagogue director that the issue likely came from “malicious” agents. The outage lasted for over an hour and may have been caused with prejudice intent toward the synagogue and its key guest. An investigation of the incident is underway.

SolarWinds & Cyber in 2021

Lastly, FireEye, the cybersecurity firm that was responsible for uncovering what is known as the SolarWinds attack, says that the evaluation and response to the widespread attack is still just at the beginning. While they know that the attack was carried out over about a seven-month period reportedly by Russian actors, the process of helping victims handle the situation is still in process. FireEye sent out a white paper to instruct those impacted on how to review cloud-based installations of Microsoft 365 for anything suspicious. The purpose of this is to rid systems of remaining activity and to begin setting up a barrier from re-entry. The list of sectors affected continues to expand from government to private although there is still much to understand as the nature of the hacking is “like a ghost hijacking,” according to an Associated Press and NBC News report.

Key Takeaways:

“Biden’s Peloton bike could present cybersecurity risks at the White House.” – Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times

  • Questions began to appear over whether it poses a cybersecurity risk for President Biden to bring his Peloton to the White House.
  • What caused this concern are features of the exercise machine such as its ability to livestream and inclusion of equipment such as a mic and camera.
  • Cybersecurity experts agree that Biden’s use of the bike does not cause a major cybersecurity threat.

“Atlanta synagogue says it was the target of a cyber-attack before MLK Shabbat service with Raphael Warnock” – Dakin Andone, CNN

  • The website of a renowned synagogue in Atlanta hosting an annual Martin Luther King Jr. service featuring Senator Raphael Warnock was the target of a recent cyberattack.
  • The website of the synagogue was disrupted for over an hour during the timing of the service. The service provider informed the synagogue director that the outage stemmed from “malicious” activity.
  • An investigation of the incident is occurring.

“Russia’s SolarWinds hack has no easy fix, cybersecurity company says” – The Associated Press, NBC News

  • Efforts responding to the months long Russian SolarWinds cyberattack are still in the early stages.
  • Firms such as FireEye are working to share information on how to find suspicious activity and block hackers from re-entering systems.
  • While not all victims of the attack are known especially because it can be difficult to detect, the impact has spread across sectors.


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