Wolf Administration Expands Testing Sites Across the Commonwealth

Source: US State of Pennsylvania

December 01, 2020

Press Release,  Public Health
Governor Tom Wolf and Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff today announced the extension of the Department of Health’s contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) to provide COVID-19 testing in five regions across Pennsylvania to help contain local spread of COVID-19.
“Every day COVID continues to spread in the commonwealth, every day our numbers continue to rise, and that puts our health care system and our health care workers at greater risk,” Gov. Wolf said. “To help stop the spread, we are announcing a new testing strategy in the commonwealth, one that will help improve access to testing for Pennsylvanians in every region of the state.”
Over the next 12 weeks, five strike teams will provide regional testing for 61 counties. The six counties not receiving testing from AMI have county health departments providing other means of COVID-19 testing.
“We have seen a rapid increase of positive case counts reaching record-high levels, which gives us significant cause for concern,” Michael Huff said. “AMI has been a significant partner to the Department of Health by providing pop-up testing in counties with a high positivity-rate and other factors contributing to outbreaks of COVID-19 across the commonwealth.
“These testing sites are open to anyone who feels they need a test. It is important that even people with no symptoms who test positive isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The initial contract with AMI had two strike teams to provide testing in two different counties simultaneously. AMI deployed to:
Centre county, testing 2,492 patients total;
Columbia county, testing 1,068 patients total;
Indiana county, testing 566 patients total;
Berks county, testing 3,354 patients total;
Northumberland county, testing 639 patients total;
Lebanon county, testing 908 patients total;
Huntingdon county, testing 1,396 patients total;
Westmoreland county, testing 916 patients total;
Blair county, testing 3,820 patients total;
Bradford county, testing 1,513 patients total; and
Lackawanna county, testing 1,856 patients total.
The department decided to deploy testing based on the total number of confirmed cases per 100,000 people in a county in the past 14 days as well as where outbreaks were happening, county population, and other metrics. The initial AMI testing contract and the extension were funded by the ELC Enhancing Detection grant.
The Department of Health believes that increased testing will assist in determining the prevalence of the virus and assist the counties in moving forward. Counties of concern, identified as those with percent positives above 5 percent, can be found on the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard. Each county is being monitored as the state continues to examine all available data.
Beginning Wednesday, December 2, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held to contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the following five counties:
Bedford;
Mifflin;
Tioga; and
Northampton.
Testing will be available daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM starting Wednesday, December 2 through Sunday, December 6.
Beginning Friday, December 4, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held in Butler county. Testing will be available daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM through Tuesday, December 8.
The testing site addresses are:
Butler County: Michelle Krill Field, 100 Pullman Park Pl., Butler, PA, 16001;
Bedford County: Bedford High School parking lot, 330 West John St., Bedford, PA, 15522;
Mifflin County: Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, 1150 Riverside Drive, Lewistown, PA, 17044;
Tioga County: North Penn Mansfield High School, 73 W. Wellsboro St., Mansfield, PA, 16933; and
Northampton County: William Penn Highway Park & Ride, Emrick Blvd., Easton, PA, 18045.
Up to 450 patients can be tested per day at each location. Mid-nasal passage swab PCR tests will be performed. Testing is on a first-come, first-serve basis and is completely free to all patients. Patients must be ages three and older and are not required to show symptoms of COVID-19 in order to be tested. No appointment is necessary. Patients are encouraged to bring a photo-ID or insurance card. Registration will also be completed on-site. The turnaround time for testing results is two to seven days after testing.Individuals who are tested should self-quarantine while they await test results. Individuals who live with other people should self-quarantine in a private room and use a private bathroom if possible. Others living in the home with the individual awaiting test results should also stay at home. The department has additional instructions for individuals waiting for a COVID-19 test result. Individuals who test positive will receive a phone call from AMI while individuals who test negative will receive a secured-PDF emailed to them from AMI.
For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
Clean surfaces frequently.
Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.
Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

Killens Pond State Park to Close to Public Saturday for Cross Country State Meet

Source: US State of Delaware

NEWS FEED
Killens Pond State Park to Close to Public Saturday for Cross Country State MeetDate Posted: December 1, 2020
FY2022 Grant Applications for Arts & Community-Based Organizations and Schools Now OpenDate Posted: December 1, 2020
December 1, 2020: COVID-19 BriefingDate Posted: December 1, 2020
Plastic Carryout Bag Ban Effective on Jan. 1, 2021Date Posted: December 1, 2020
State Auditor Kathy McGuiness Unveils Delaware CARES Act Fund TrackerDate Posted: November 30, 2020
Delaware students thrive during in-person learningDate Posted: November 30, 2020
Numerous Delaware Hunting and Trapping Seasons Open in DecemberDate Posted: November 30, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH, DEMA Announce Community COVID-19 Testing SitesDate Posted: November 29, 2020
Director Schall Tests Positive for COVID-19Date Posted: November 28, 2020
Statement from Governor Carney on DEMA Director’s Positive COVID-19 TestDate Posted: November 28, 2020
Weekly COVID-19 Update – Nov. 27, 2020: New Daily Cases Remain High; Hospitalizations, Deaths Continue to IncreaseDate Posted: November 27, 2020
Delaware Families, Stakeholders Celebrate Adoption with Virtual EventDate Posted: November 25, 2020
Governor Carney Formally Extends State of EmergencyDate Posted: November 25, 2020
DNREC’s Low-Digit Surf-Fishing Tag Auction Starts Black FridayDate Posted: November 25, 2020
DPH, DEMA Provide COVID-19 Testing UpdateDate Posted: November 24, 2020
AG Jennings Announces Multistate Data Breach Settlement With The Home DepotDate Posted: November 24, 2020
Governor Carney Announces $45 Million Higher Education Relief FundDate Posted: November 24, 2020
November 24, 2020: COVID-19 BriefingDate Posted: November 23, 2020
Poinsettia Sale to Run Nov. 23-Dec. 22 at Greenhouse on DHSS’ Herman Holloway CampusDate Posted: November 23, 2020
Two Additional Youth at Stevenson House Test Positive for COVID-19Date Posted: November 23, 2020
Delaware Farmers Encouraged To Participate In Environmental Deeds QuestionnaireDate Posted: November 23, 2020
DNREC’s State Parks, Zoo Waive Entry Fees on Black FridayDate Posted: November 23, 2020
Delaware Emitira Beneficios de Emergencia para Novembre a los Hogares Elegibles de SNAP, TANF, y Asistencia GeneralDate Posted: November 23, 2020
Delaware Will Issue Emergency Benefits for November to Eligible SNAP, TANF, and General Assistance HouseholdsDate Posted: November 23, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH, DEMA Announce Community COVID-19 Testing SitesDate Posted: November 20, 2020
YRS Gives COVID Update, Temporarily Suspends VisitationDate Posted: November 20, 2020
Governor Carney Issues Third Revision to Omnibus COVID-19 Emergency Order Date Posted: November 20, 2020
Weekly COVID-19 Update: November 20, 2020: Highest Single-Day Total of New Cases Reported, Hospitalizations IncreaseDate Posted: November 20, 2020
Christina senior secretary named Delaware’s first Educational Support Professional of the YearDate Posted: November 20, 2020
State Auditor Kathy McGuiness Releases Delaware Volunteer Fire Service Special ReportDate Posted: November 19, 2020
DSHA’s Eviction Defense, COVID-19 Rental Assistance, and Homes for Grads Programs Win National AwardsDate Posted: November 19, 2020
DNREC Opens Brandywine Zoo Madagascar ExhibitDate Posted: November 19, 2020
Delaware’s First Mental Health Parity Examinations CompleteDate Posted: November 19, 2020
Regional Coalition of Northeast Governors: Colleges Will Be Encouraged to Provide Testing for StudentsDate Posted: November 18, 2020
Electronic Tax Filing Requirements for BusinessesDate Posted: November 18, 2020
Additional Direct Support Now Available to Small Businesses Applying for DE Relief GrantsDate Posted: November 18, 2020
Second Suspect Charged For Murder Of Madison SparrowDate Posted: November 17, 2020
Governor Carney Announces Additional COVID-19 RestrictionsDate Posted: November 17, 2020
November 17, 2020: COVID-19 BriefingDate Posted: November 17, 2020
Delaware Launches Free CyberStart America ChallengeDate Posted: November 17, 2020
20 District/Charter Educational Support Professionals of the Year honored, one to be named state winnerDate Posted: November 16, 2020
Delaware Finalist for International Insurance Domicile of the YearDate Posted: November 16, 2020
Delaware Division of Public Health Announces Data Breach IncidentDate Posted: November 15, 2020
Relief Fund’s Community Resiliency Fund Applications Due Nov. 15Date Posted: November 14, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH, DEMA Announce Community COVID-19 Testing SitesDate Posted: November 13, 2020
Weekly COVID-19 Update-Nov. 13, 2020: New Daily Cases Continue to Spike; Hospitalizations, Deaths Continue to IncreaseDate Posted: November 13, 2020
Unified Command For Oil Incident Along Delaware, Maryland Beaches Suspends Cleanup OperationsDate Posted: November 13, 2020
AG Jennings calls on Barr to reverse new policy that “will erode the public’s confidence in the 2020 election”Date Posted: November 13, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH Announce Testing Partnership with Nemours, Pediatric Care Providers across DelawareDate Posted: November 13, 2020
Secretary of State Bullock Sends Diwali Greetings and Well WishesDate Posted: November 13, 2020
Deadline Set For Applying To DE Relief Grant ProgramDate Posted: November 12, 2020
DNREC Issues Croda NOV for Air Quality Permit ViolationsDate Posted: November 12, 2020
Delaware Joins the ALL-IN Foster Adoption ChallengeDate Posted: November 12, 2020
Delaware Public Health Officials Confirm First Flu Case of the 2020-2021 SeasonDate Posted: November 12, 2020
DNREC to Break Ground on Killens Pond Elevated WalkwayDate Posted: November 12, 2020
Delaware Veterans Day 2020Date Posted: November 10, 2020
More Delaware Beaches are Cleared of Oily DebrisDate Posted: November 10, 2020
November 10, 2020: COVID-19 BriefingDate Posted: November 10, 2020
DNREC Natural Resources Police Collect Toys as Holiday Gifts for Delaware ChildrenDate Posted: November 10, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH, DEMA Announce Community COVID-19 Testing SitesDate Posted: November 9, 2020
Weekly COVID-19 Update – Nov. 6, 2020: Delaware Sees Highest Single-Day Total of New Cases Since Height of PandemicDate Posted: November 6, 2020
Attorney General Jennings Secures Relief for Investors in Real Estate Joint VentureDate Posted: November 6, 2020
Reminder: FY 2022 Budget Hearings To Be Held Virtually Nov 9 – 20Date Posted: November 6, 2020
The Mezzanine Gallery to Exhibit Works on Paper by Kim KlabeDate Posted: November 6, 2020
Governor Carney Issues Second Revision to Omnibus COVID-19 OrderDate Posted: November 5, 2020
Governor Carney Announces Nominations to Key Administration PostsDate Posted: November 5, 2020
Some Southern Delaware, Maryland Beaches Cleared of Oily Debris, Tar BallsDate Posted: November 5, 2020
Del. Museums Sponsor Three Virtual-Programs During NovemberDate Posted: November 4, 2020
Delaware Emitirá Beneficios de Emergencia Para Octubre a los Hogares Elegibles de SNAP, TANF, y Asistencia GeneralDate Posted: November 4, 2020
Statement from Attorney General Jennings on passing of Elaine and Wayne ManloveDate Posted: November 3, 2020
November 03, 2020: COVID-19 BriefingDate Posted: November 2, 2020
Child and Adult Care Food Program offers meal reimbursementDate Posted: November 2, 2020
Unified Command for Delaware Coastal Oil Spill Assesses Cleanup Effort and Smaller Remaining Tar Balls on BeachesDate Posted: November 2, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH, DEMA Announce Community COVID-19 Testing Sites Date Posted: November 1, 2020
Enrollment Open For Delaware’s Health Insurance MarketplaceDate Posted: November 1, 2020
URGENT: Get Your Ballot In!Date Posted: October 31, 2020
Weekly COVID-19 Update – Oct. 30, 2020: New Daily Cases, Hospitalizations Remain Elevated; Deaths IncreaseDate Posted: October 30, 2020
DNREC Extends Public Comment Period 30 Days for Diamond State Port Corp.’s Proposed Container PortDate Posted: October 30, 2020
Governor Carney Formally Extends State of EmergencyDate Posted: October 30, 2020
Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island Announce Coordination on COVID-19 Testing GuidanceDate Posted: October 30, 2020
Delaware to Issue Emergency Benefits for October to Eligible SNAP, TANF, and General Assistance HouseholdsDate Posted: October 30, 2020
Additional Delaware Hunting Seasons Open in NovemberDate Posted: October 30, 2020
Kent County added to Delaware’s spotted lanternfly quarantineDate Posted: October 29, 2020
Virtual Halloween Costume ContestDate Posted: October 29, 2020
Cleanup Operation Extends from Upper Delaware Bay to Ocean City, Md.Date Posted: October 28, 2020
OMB to Hold FY 2022 Online Budget Hearings November 9 -20Date Posted: October 28, 2020
Expanded eligibility and increased funding for hardest-hit industries now part of DE Relief GrantsDate Posted: October 28, 2020
Motorists Urged to Watch Out for Deer Crossing RoadwaysDate Posted: October 28, 2020
Antes de las elecciones, la Fiscal General Jennings les recuerda a los votantes de sus derechos y responsabilidades.Date Posted: October 27, 2020
Ahead of Election Day, Attorney General Jennings reminds voters of rights and responsibilitiesDate Posted: October 27, 2020
Workers’ Comp. Insurance Rates Drop for Fourth Consecutive YearDate Posted: October 27, 2020
October 27, 2020: COVID-19 BriefingDate Posted: October 26, 2020
State of Delaware Announces Early Childhood Education UpdatesDate Posted: October 26, 2020
DOJ secures Manafort and Gates-connected entity dissolutionsDate Posted: October 26, 2020
Governor Carney, DPH, DEMA Announce Community COVID-19 Testing SitesDate Posted: October 26, 2020
U.S. Coast Guard, DNREC Recover 55 Tons of Oiled DebrisDate Posted: October 26, 2020
Governor Carney Announces Compassionate Champion Award RecipientsDate Posted: October 23, 2020
Attorney General Jennings’ statement on Purdue Pharma plea agreementDate Posted: October 23, 2020
Revenue Announces Decrease in HSCA RateDate Posted: October 23, 2020
Weekly COVID-19 Update – October 23, 2020: New Daily Cases, Hospitalizations Remain Elevated; Deaths IncreaseDate Posted: October 23, 2020

Staying Healthy for the Holidays

Source: US State of Nebraska

Staying Healthy for the Holidays

By Governor Pete Ricketts

December 1, 2020

 

Governor’s official photo here

There is an old saying, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”  It has two meanings.  The first is that, despite difficulties, there is hope on the horizon.  The second meaning is that circumstances can be at their very worst right before things get better.  As we enter December, there are reasons to hope an effective vaccine will become available soon—on a limited basis even this month.  At the same time, we may be entering the toughest stretch of the pandemic this winter as people head indoors.  It’s time for all of us to put our trademark Nebraska grit and determination to work as we buckle up for the coming months of the pandemic.

On May 15, 2020 the Trump Administration announced Operation Warp Speed to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine.  The program appears to be making remarkable progress.  Two vaccines, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, have proven to be highly effective in clinical trials.  Both of the vaccines are being reviewed by regulatory agencies.  It’s likely each of them will be authorized for emergency use by mid-December.  Manufacturers have already produced millions of doses.  Perhaps as many as 40 million doses will be available this month. 

Initially, vaccinations will be limited to priority groups, such as healthcare workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities.  As manufacturing ramps up in 2021, availability will expand to more groups.  Vaccines are expected to be widely available to the public by late spring.  The State of Nebraska has posted its vaccination plan on the Department of Health and Human services website at dhhs.ne.gov/Documents/COVID-19-Vaccination-Plan.pdf.

While the vaccine development offers hope, it’s not time to relax our guard.  The coronavirus is still spreading throughout our communities.  In fact, December could be a very challenging month.  As the weather gets colder, Nebraskans will be spending more time indoors.  Typically, viruses spread more easily this time of year as people stay inside.  Over the next several weeks, it will be extremely important to avoid the “Three Cs”.  This means avoiding crowded places, close contacts, and confined spaces.

Christmas season is usually a time to shop for gifts, host parties, and travel to be with family.  Churches and synagogues have special services.  Friends go ice skating or caroling together.  Folks go to the movies to see newly released blockbusters. 

We’ll need to adjust our holiday traditions in 2020 in light of the pandemic.  Consider postponing holiday parties at work or inviting over fewer friends.  Be thoughtful about family get-togethers to protect at-risk family members.

As Nebraskans shop Main Street to support local retailers during the holiday season, it will be especially important to use tools to slow the spread of the virus.  When you go out, wear a mask.  Shop alone instead of taking the kids with you.  Follow the six-foot rule when shopping.  When possible, shop online.   

This isn’t the year to fight through a cold or cough while keeping with your usual routine.  Stay home when sick.  Quarantine immediately if you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive or shown symptoms of the coronavirus.  Take advantage of the opportunity for free testing.  Test Nebraska will be in operation during the holiday season.  Go to TestNebraska.com to fill out a short health assessment and schedule a time to get tested.  In November, Test Nebraska delivered results 24-48 hours after the initial swab.

Nebraska’s coronavirus hospitalizations have stabilized over the past week, but our hospitals continue to care for high numbers of patients.  It’s important that we all take responsibility for slowing the spread of the virus to protect our healthcare system and support our healthcare workers.  As I’ve announced, if Nebraska reaches 25% of staffed hospital beds with coronavirus patients in them, we’ll move into the “red” phase of our pandemic response plan.  If this happens, additional restrictions will take effect to help protect our hospital capacity.  These restrictions include, but are not limited to…

  • Returning to the 10-person rule for indoor gatherings and wedding/funeral receptions.
  • Limiting outdoor gatherings to 25 people.
  • Bars moving to carry-out, delivery, and drive-thru only.
  • Only licensed restaurants offering dine-in services with restricted hours.

Nebraskans should prepare for the possibility of these restrictions taking effect before the end of the year if hospitalizations grow.

If you have questions about Nebraska’s coronavirus phases or vaccination plan, please email pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or call 402-471-2244.  Progress on the vaccines is reason to hope, but I want to remind everyone that it will still be several months before widespread vaccination can take place.  Until then, it’s critically important for all of us to stay focused on doing what’s right to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. 

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Route N in Scott County Closed for Culvert Replacement

Source: US State of Missouri

SIKESTON – Route N in Scott County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under the roadway.

This section of roadway is located between County Road 344 and County Road 349.

Weather permitting, work will begin Monday, Dec. 7, with completion anticipated Wednesday, Dec. 9.

The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.

For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.

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twitter.com/MoDOTSoutheast

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Southbound Interstate 55 Ramp to Close at MM 99

Source: US State of Missouri

SIKESTON-Construction of the diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 55 and U.S. Route 61 (mile marker 99) between Cape Girardeau and Jackson, Missouri, continues with closure of the southbound I-55 onramp beginning Monday, Dec. 7.

The southbound onramp from Route 61/Kingshighway to I-55 will be closed as contractor crews construct a new ramp and tie it into the new Route 61 pavement. Work will take place Monday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 12, weather permitting. The ramp is expected to reopen Dec. 12.

The work zones will be marked with signs.  Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.

For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.

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www.modot.org/southeast

facebook.com/MoDOTSoutheast

twitter.com/MoDOTSoutheast

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Minutes of the Board’s discount rate meeting from October 5 through November 5, 2020

Source: US State of New York Federal Reserve

.

December 01, 2020
Minutes of the Board’s discount rate meeting from October 5 through November 5, 2020
For release at 2:00 p.m. EST

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday released the minutes of its interest rate meetings from October 5 through November 5, 2020.
The minutes are attached.
For media inquiries, call 202-452-2955.

Last Update: December 01, 2020

On Giving Tuesday, Attorney General Becerra Provides Donation Tips and Resources to Avoid Scams During the Holiday Season

Source: US State of California

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, in recognition of Giving Tuesday, provided tips and released a video on how Californians can avoid deceptive or misleading solicitations while making charitable donations this holiday season. As charitable giving increases during the month of December, so do the chances of being scammed. In providing today’s tips, Attorney General Becerra encourages donors to do their research to ensure that their donations go towards their intended purpose.

“As Californians come together for the greater good, scammers are ready to capitalize on the charitable intent of donors during the holiday season. It is important that we each do our homework and only donate to legitimate and trustworthy organizations,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The California Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting charitable assets and donors from deceptive or misleading solicitations. Help us do that by taking the necessary steps to ensure that your donations get into the right hands.” 

Donation Tips

  • Check Registration Status: Charities operating in California and telemarketers soliciting donations in California are required to register with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. They are also required to file annual financial reports. Before you donate, make sure to confirm that the charity is registered and up-to-date with its financial reporting. The Charitable Trusts database is currently undergoing maintenance. During this time, you can still check the registration status of a charitable organization by downloading and reviewing Charity Registration Reports. These reports are updated monthly on the Registry Reports web page at https://www.oag.ca.gov/charities/reports.
  • Give to Organizations You Trust: Do your research before giving. Review the charity’s purpose and find out how the charity spends donations. How much is spent directly on the charitable cause? How much goes to overhead and employee compensation? Research charities in your community and support those charities that make a positive impact.
  • Don’t Be Pressured by Telemarketers – Ask Questions Before Donating: If you receive a call from a telemarketer, ask for the name of the fundraising organization, whether it is registered with the Attorney General’s Office, the name of the charity benefitting from the solicitation, how much of your donation will go to charity and how much to the telemarketer, and the direct telephone number of the charity. If the telemarketer tells you the donation is for your local animal shelter, hospital, school, police, firefighting or other public safety agency, check directly with the benefitting organization to confirm that it authorized the solicitation and will actually benefit from your donation. Don’t fall for pressure tactics or threats. Remember you have the right to reject the donation appeal and if you feel pressured or threatened, just hang up.
  • Be Cautious of “Look-Alike” Websites: These fraudulent websites may have a slightly different web address (URL). Similar looking URLs are sometimes purchased to lure in would-be donors. These sites may ask for personal information or install harmful material onto your device.
  • Watch Out for Similar-Sounding Names and Other Deceptive Tactics: Some organizations use names that closely resemble those of well-established charitable organizations to mislead donors. Be skeptical if someone thanks you for a pledge you never made. Check your records.
  • Be Wary of Social Network Fundraising: If you are planning to donate through a social network solicitation, find out what percentage is going to the charity, whether you will be charged a fee, or if a percentage of your donation will be paid to the platform website.
  • Protect Your Identity: Never give your Social Security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information to an organization unfamiliar to you. Some organizations sell or rent their donor lists to other organizations, including organizations that are not charities. Review the charity’s privacy policy to find out if your information will be shared with outside companies.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your donations, check out our donation tips webpage at https://oag.ca.gov/donations. Complaints against charities can be filed using our charity complaint form, which you can find on our website at https://oag.ca.gov/charities/complaints.

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U.S. Attorney Wrigley Announces a Fort Totten Man was sentenced for Sexual Abuse of an Incapacitated Person

Source: US State of North Dakota

Fargo – United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte sentenced Paul Henry Cavanaugh, age 55, from Fort Totten, ND, to serve 21 years and 8 months in federal prison, followed by supervised release for life and ordered to pay $100 special assessment to the Crime Victims’ Fund for the offense of Sexual Abuse of an Incapacitated Victim.  On August 14, 2020, a jury found Cavanaugh guilty after a four-day trial in Fargo, the first federal criminal jury trial in North Dakota during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This case came to the attention of law enforcement in March 2018, when the victim, an 18-year-old adult female, reported that while at Cavanaugh’s residence on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation, he gave her alcohol and she consumed it and eventually feel asleep.  The victim later woke up and discovered Cavanaugh was physically forcing her to engage in a sexual act while she was incapacitated.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the North Dakota Crime Laboratory and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jacob T. Rodenbiker and Lori H. Conroy.

 

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AA20-336A: Advanced Persistent Threat Actors Targeting U.S. Think Tanks

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

Headline: AA20-336A: Advanced Persistent Threat Actors Targeting U.S. Think Tanks

Original release date: December 1, 2020

Summary

This Advisory uses the MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®) framework. See the ATT&CK for Enterprise for all referenced threat actor tactics and techniques.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have observed persistent continued cyber intrusions by advanced persistent threat (APT) actors targeting U.S. think tanks. This malicious activity is often, but not exclusively, directed at individuals and organizations that focus on international affairs or national security policy.[1] The following guidance may assist U.S. think tanks in developing network defense procedures to prevent or rapidly detect these attacks.

APT actors have relied on multiple avenues for initial access. These have included low-effort capabilities such as spearphishing emails and third-party message services directed at both corporate and personal accounts, as well as exploiting vulnerable web-facing devices and remote connection capabilities. Increased telework during the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded workforce reliance on remote connectivity, affording malicious actors more opportunities to exploit those connections and to blend in with increased traffic. Attackers may leverage virtual private networks (VPNs) and other remote work tools to gain initial access or persistence on a victim’s network. When successful, these low-effort, high-reward approaches allow threat actors to steal sensitive information, acquire user credentials, and gain persistent access to victim networks.

Given the importance that think tanks can have in shaping U.S. policy, CISA and FBI urge individuals and organizations in the international affairs and national security sectors to immediately adopt a heightened state of awareness and implement the critical steps listed in the Mitigations section of this Advisory.

Click here for a PDF version of this report.

Technical Details

ATT&CK Profile

CISA created the following MITRE ATT&CK profile to provide a non-exhaustive list of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) employed by APT actors to break through think tanks’ defenses, conduct reconnaissance in their environments, exfiltrate proprietary or confidential information, and execute effects on targets. These TTPs were included based upon closed reporting on APT actors that are known to target think tanks or based upon CISA incident response data.

  • Initial Access [TA0001]
    • Valid Accounts [T1078]
    • Valid Accounts: Cloud Accounts [T1078.004]
    • External Remote Services [T1133]
    • Drive-by Compromise [T1189]
    • Exploit Public-Facing Application [T1190]
      • Supply Chain Compromise: Compromise Software Supply Chain [T1195.002]
      • Trusted Relationship [T1199]
      • Phishing: Spearphishing Attachment [T1566.001]
      • Phishing: Spearphishing Link [T1566.002]
      • Phishing: Spearphishing via Service [T1566.003]
  • Execution [TA0002]
    • Windows Management Instrumentation [T1047]
    • Scheduled Task/Job: Scheduled Task [T1053.005]
    • Command and Scripting Interpreter: PowerShell [T1059.001]
    • Command and Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell [T1059.003]
    • Command and Scripting Interpreter: Unix Shell [T1059.004]
    • Command and Scripting Interpreter: Visual Basic [T1059.005]
    • Command and Scripting Interpreter: Python [T1059.006]
    • Native API [T1106]
    • Exploitation for Client Execution [T1203]
    • User Execution: Malicious Link [T1204.001]
    • User Execution: Malicious File [T1204.002]
    • Inter-Process Communication: Dynamic Data Exchange [T1559.002]
    • System Services: Service Execution [T1569.002]
  • Persistence [TA0003]
    • Boot or Logon Initialization Scripts: Logon Script (Windows) [T1037.001]
    • Scheduled Task/Job: Scheduled Task [T1053.005]
    • Account Manipulation: Exchange Email Delegate Permissions [T1098.002]
    • Create Account: Local Account [T1136.001]
    • Office Application Startup: Office Test [T1137.002]
    • Office Application Startup: Outlook Home Page [T1137.004]
    • Browser Extensions [T1176]
    • BITS Jobs [T1197]
    • Server Software Component: Web Shell [T1505.003]
    • Pre-OS Boot: Bootkit [T1542.003]
    • Create or Modify System Process: Windows Service [T1543.003]
    • Event Triggered Execution: Change Default File Association [T1546.001]
    • Event Triggered Execution: Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription [T1546.003]
    • Event Triggered Execution: Accessibility Features [T1546.008]
    • Event Triggered Execution: Component Object Model Hijacking [T1546.015]
    • Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder [T1547.001]
    • Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Shortcut Modification [T1547.009]
  • Privilege Escalation [TA0004]
    • Process Injection [T1055]
    • Process Injection: Process Hollowing [T1055.012]
    • Exploitation for Privilege Escalation [T1068]
    • Access Token Manipulation: Token Impersonation/Theft [T1134.001]
    • Event Triggered Execution: Accessibility Features [T1546.008]
    • Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Shortcut Modification [T1547.009]
    • Abuse Elevation Control Mechanism: Bypass User Access Control [T1548.002]
    • Hijack Execution Flow: DLL Side-Loading [T1574.002]
  • Defense Evasion [TA0005]
    • Rootkit [T1014]
    • Obfuscated Files or Information: Binary Padding [T1027.001]
    • Obfuscated Files or Information: Software Packing [T1027.002]
    • Obfuscated Files or Information: Steganography [T1027.003]
    • Obfuscated Files or Information: Indicator Removal from Tools [T1027.005]
    • Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location [T1036.005]
    • Indicator Removal on Host: Clear Windows Event Logs [T1070.001]
    • Indicator Removal on Host: Clear Command History [1070.003]
    • Indicator Removal on Host: File Deletion [T1070.004]
    • Indicator Removal on Host: Timestomp [T1070.006]
    • Modify Registry [T1112]
    • Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information [T1140]
    • Exploitation for Defense Evasion [T1211]
    • Signed Binary Proxy Execution: Compiled HTML File [T1218.001]
    • Signed Binary Proxy Execution: Mshta [T1218.005]
    • Signed Binary Proxy Execution: Rundll32 [T1218.011]
    • Template Injection [T1221]
    • Execution Guardrails: Environmental Keying [T1480.001]
    • Abuse Elevation Control Mechanism: Bypass User Access Control [T1548.002]
    • Use Alternate Authentication Material: Application Access Token [T1550.001]
    • Subvert Trust Controls: Code Signing [T1553.002]
    • Impair Defenses: Disable or Modify Tools [T1562.001]
    • Impair Defenses: Disable or Modify System Firewall [T1562.004]
    • Hide Artifacts: Hidden Files and Directories [T1564.001]
    • Hide Artifacts: Hidden Window [T1564.003]
  • Credential Access [TA0006]
    • OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory [T1003.001]
    • OS Credential Dumping: Security Account Manager [T1003.002]
    • OS Credential Dumping: NTDS [T1003.003]
    • OS Credential Dumping: LSA Secrets [T1003.004]
    • OS Credential Dumping: Cached Domain Credentials [T1003.005]
    • Network Sniffing [T1040]
    • Input Capture: Keylogging [T1056.001]
    • Brute Force: Password Cracking [T1110.002]Brute Force: Password Spraying [T1110.003]
    • Forced Authentication [T1187]
    • Steal Application Access Token [T1528]
    • Unsecured Credentials: Credentials in Files [T1552.001]
    • Unsecured Credentials: Group Policy Preferences [T1552.006]
    • Credentials from Password Stores: Credentials from Web Browsers [T1555.003]
  • Discovery [TA0007]
    • System Service Discovery [T1007]
    • Query Registry [T1012]
    • System Network Configuration Discovery [T1016]
    • Remote System Discovery [T1018]
    • System Owner/User Discovery [T1033]
    • Network Sniffing [T1040]
    • Network Service Scanning [T1046]
    • System Network Connections Discovery [T1049]
    • Process Discovery [T1057]
    • Permission Groups Discovery: Local Groups [T1069.001]
    • Permission Groups Discovery: Domain Groups [T1069.002]
    • System Information Discovery [T1082]
    • File and Directory Discovery [T1083]
    • Account Discovery: Local Account [T1087.001]
    • Account Discovery: Domain Account [T1087.002]
    • Peripheral Device Discovery [T1120]
    • Network Share Discovery [T1135]
    • Password Policy Discovery [T1201]
    • Software Discovery: Security Software Discovery [T1518.001]
  • Lateral Movement [TA0008]
    • Remote Services: Remote Desktop Protocol [T1021.001]
    • Remote Services: SSH [T1021.004]
    • Taint Shared Content [T1080]
    • Replication Through Removable Media [T1091]
    • Exploitation of Remote Services [T1210]
    • Use Alternate Authentication Material: Pass the Hash [T1550.002]
    • Use Alternate Authentication Material: Pass the Ticket [T1550.003]
  • Collection [TA0009]
    • Data from Local System [T1005]
    • Data from Removable Media [T1025]
    • Data Staged: Local Data Staging [T1074.001]
    • Screen Capture [T1113]
    • Email Collection: Local Email Collection [T1114.001]
    • Email Collection: Remote Email Collection [T1114.002]
    • Automated Collection [T1119]
    • Audio Capture [T1123]
    • Data from Information Repositories: SharePoint [T1213.002]
    • Archive Collected Data: Archive via Utility [T1560.001]
    • Archive Collected Data: Archive via Custom Method [T1560.003]
  • Command and Control [TA0011]
    • Data Obfuscation: Junk Data [T1001.001]
    • Fallback Channels [T1008]
    • Application Layer Protocol: Web Protocols [T1071.001]
    • Application Layer Protocol: File Transfer Protocols [T1071.002]
    • Application Layer Protocol: Mail Protocols [T1071.003]
    • Application Layer Protocol: DNS [T1071.004]
    • Proxy: External Proxy [T1090.002]
    • Proxy: Multi-hop Proxy [T1090.003]
    • Proxy: Domain Fronting [T1090.004]
    • Communication Through Removable Media [T1092]
    • Non-Application Layer Protocol [T1095]
    • Web Service: Dead Drop Resolver [T1102.001]
    • Web Service: Bidirectional Communication [T1102.002]
    • Multi-Stage Channels [T1104]
    • Ingress Tool Transfer [T1105]
    • Data Encoding: Standard Encoding [T1132.001]
    • Remote Access Software [T1219]
    • Dynamic Resolution: Domain Generation Algorithms [T1568.002]
    • Non-Standard Port [T1571]
    • Protocol Tunneling [T1572]
    • Encrypted Channel: Symmetric Cryptography [T1573.001]
    • Encrypted Channel: Asymmetric Cryptography [T1573.002]
  •  Exfiltration [TA0010]
    • Exfiltration Over C2 Channel [T1041]
    • Exfiltration Over Alternative Protocol: Exfiltration Over Unencrypted/Obfuscated Non-C2 Protocol [T1048.003]
  • Impact [TA0040]
    • Data Encrypted for Impact [T1486]
    • Resource Hijacking [T1496]
    • System Shutdown/Reboot [T1529]
    • Disk Wipe: Disk Structure Wipe [T1561.002]

Mitigations

CISA and FBI recommend think tank organizations apply the following critical practices to strengthen their security posture.

Leaders

  • Implement a training program to familiarize users with identifying social engineering techniques and phishing emails.

Users/Staff

  • Log off remote connections when not in use.
  • Be vigilant against tailored spearphishing attacks targeting corporate and personal accounts (including both email and social media accounts).
  • Use different passwords for corporate and personal accounts.
  • Install antivirus software on personal devices to automatically scan and quarantine suspicious files.
  • Employ strong multi-factor authentication for personal accounts, if available.
  • Exercise caution when:
    • Opening email attachments, even if the attachment is expected and the sender appears to be known. See Using Caution with Email Attachments.
    • Using removable media (e.g., USB thumb drives, external drives, CDs).

IT Staff/Cybersecurity Personnel

  • Segment and segregate networks and functions.
  • Change the default username and password of applications and appliances.
  • Employ strong multi-factor authentication for corporate accounts.
  • Deploy antivirus software on organizational devices to automatically scan and quarantine suspicious files.
  • Apply encryption to data at rest and data in transit.
  • Use email security appliances to scan and remove malicious email attachments or links.
  • Monitor key internal security tools and identify anomalous behavior. Flag any known indicators of compromise or threat actor behaviors for immediate response.
  • Organizations can implement mitigations of varying complexity and restrictiveness to reduce the risk posed by threat actors who use Tor (The Onion Router) to carry out malicious activities. See the CISA-FBI Joint Cybersecurity Advisory on Defending Against Malicious Cyber Activity Originating from Tor for mitigation options and additional information.
  • Prevent exploitation of known software vulnerabilities by routinely applying software patches and upgrades. Foreign cyber threat actors continue to exploit publicly known—and often dated—software vulnerabilities against broad target sets, including public and private sector organizations. If these vulnerabilities are left unpatched, exploitation often requires few resources and provides threat actors with easy access to victim networks. Review CISA and FBI’s Top 10 Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities and other CISA alerts that identify vulnerabilities exploited by foreign attackers.
  • Implement an antivirus program and a formalized patch management process.
  • Block certain websites and email attachments commonly associated with malware (e.g., .scr, .pif, .cpl, .dll, .exe).
  • Block email attachments that cannot be scanned by antivirus software (e.g., .zip files).
  • Implement Group Policy Object and firewall rules.
  • Implement filters at the email gateway and block suspicious IP addresses at the firewall.
  • Routinely audit domain and local accounts as well as their permission levels to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account.
  • Follow best practices for design and administration of the network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.
  • Implement a Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) validation system.
  • Disable or block unnecessary remote services.
  • Limit access to remote services through centrally managed concentrators.
  • Deny direct remote access to internal systems or resources by using network proxies, gateways, and firewalls.
  • Limit unnecessary lateral communications.
  • Disable file and printer sharing services. If these services are required, use strong passwords or Active Directory authentication.
  • Ensure applications do not store sensitive data or credentials insecurely.
  • Enable a firewall on agency workstations, configured to deny unsolicited connection requests.
  • Disable unnecessary services on agency workstations and servers.
  • Scan for and remove suspicious email attachments; ensure any scanned attachment is its “true file type” (i.e., the extension matches the file header).
  • Monitor users’ web browsing habits; restrict access to suspicious or risky sites. Contact law enforcement or CISA immediately regarding any unauthorized network access identified.
  • Visit the MITRE ATT&CK techniques and tactics pages linked in the ATT&CK Profile section above for additional mitigation and detection strategies for this malicious activity targeting think tanks.

Contact Information

Recipients of this report are encouraged to contribute any additional information that they may have related to this threat. To report suspicious or criminal activity related to information found in this Joint Cybersecurity Advisory, contact your local FBI field office at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field, or the FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch (CyWatch) at (855) 292-3937 or by email at CyWatch@fbi.gov. When available, please include the following information regarding the incident: date, time, and location of the incident; type of activity; number of people affected; type of equipment used for the activity; the name of the submitting company or organization; and a designated point of contact. To request incident response resources or technical assistance related to these threats, contact CISA at Central@cisa.gov.

References

References

Revisions

  • Initial Version: December 1, 2020

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U.S. Department of Education Unveils FSA Partner Connect Portal at Annual Training Conference

Source: US Department of Education

Headline: U.S. Department of Education Unveils FSA Partner Connect Portal at Annual Training Conference

WASHINGTON — Today, during its virtual 2020 training conference for financial aid professionals, the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) unveiled its latest update to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ Next Gen FSA initiative: the FSA Partner Connect portal. The site, announced by FSA Chief Operating Officer Mark A. Brown, will consolidate the tools that institutions and other partners use onto a single digital platform.