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NASA, FBI Warn Of Increase Cyber Threats; Quick Reaction Tests To Be Administered Across 7 U.S.

Submitted by: Daryl Haegley, Director, Mission Assurance & Cyber Deterrence at Dod

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has experienced an exponential increase in malware attacks and a doubling of agency devices trying to access malicious sites in the past few days as personnel work from home, the space agency's Office of the Chief Information Officer said on Monday.

"A new wave of cyber-attacks is targeting Federal Agency Personnel, required to telework from home, during the [COVID-19] outbreak," officials wrote in a memo. The wave includes the doubling of email phishing attempts, an exponential increase in malware attacks on NASA systems, and double the number of mitigation-blocking of NASA systems trying to access malicious sites (often unknowingly) due to users accessing the Internet.

The FBI has issued an alert over a persistent Kwampirs malware attack targeting the healthcare sector Tuesday. The healthcare sector supply chain attacks deploy Kwampirs Remote Access Trojan that exploits network vulnerabilities of the targeted organization. Attacks involving the Kwampirs malware have intensified during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The healthcare sector has become an easy target of the Kwampirs malware attacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, Illinois is one of seven states that will offer Abbott Laboratories' new rapid response COVID-19 tests at Walgreens. Deerfield-based Walgreens announced Tuesday that drive-thru testing will be available at 15 locations across Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Illinois -- which are expected to be activated beginning later this week. Federal officials will choose the locations based on areas identified as outbreak "hot spots." Once they're ready, they'll test up to 3,000 people a day, and get positive or negative results within five minutes.

U.S. Army researchers at Fort Detrick in Maryland have begun testing potential vaccines for the novel coronavirus on animals, officials said. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick is testing on "non-human primates," said a U.S. Department of Defense official. According to the official, human trials on a small group of people would begin if the animal trials were successful.

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