Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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March is Red Cross Month, a time when we honor our nation’s heroes who help people in need in their community, across the country and around the world. For more than 135 years, American Red Cross workers have been an essential part of our nation’s response to war, natural disaster and other human suffering. Since 1906, the office of president has been part of the structure of the American Red Cross. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated March as Red Cross Month.

The Red Cross provides help and support in many ways to people in this country and around the world by:

  • Responding to as many as 64,000 disasters big and small in this country every year.
  • Providing 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world.
  • Collecting and distributing about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
  • Training millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.
  • Helping millions of people around the world through disaster management and disease prevention activities.

During Red Cross Month, become a hero too. Join the Red Cross!

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or find them on Twitter @RedCross.

March 27, 2017 (Illinois)
Andy Manar Files New School Funding Reform Bill
A new school funding reform plan has been introduced in the Illinois Senate and could get a hearing as early as this week. Sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, the latest version ensures that no school district will get less state money while also ensuring that additional state financial resources in the future are directed at districts that need the most help. We would freeze school districts where they are today. Turn off an old system," Manar said. "We would devote (new) money first and foremost to school districts that are spending well below their adequacy targets. We would focus new money on districts that are the least adequately funded." Manar and other critics of the existing funding formula say that it is not set up to direct the most money toward districts with the greatest financial need. They've called Illinois' school funding system the most inequitable in the country. 

March 27, 2017 (National)
Hackers Access Job Seeker SSNs, DOBs
Hackers have accessed job-seeker information from America’s JobLink (AJL), a multi-state web-based system that links job seekers with employers. AJL works with various state governments and the US Department of Labor to act as a national resource for employment opportunities. The organization said that an outside source exploited a vulnerability in the AJL application code to view the names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of job seekers in the AJL systems of up to 10 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oklahoma and Vermont. The timeline is fairly concise: On February 20, the intruder created a job seeker account in an AJL system. The hacker then was able to leverage a misconfiguration in the application code to gain unauthorized access. After noticing unusual activity, American’s Job Link Alliance–Technical Support (AJLA–TS) uncovered the incursion and disabled the hacker’ access to the AJL systems on March 14. It’s now working with law enforcement officials and the FBI to identify and apprehend the perpetrator. There’s no word on how many users were affected, but AJLA-TS said that it’s working with an independent forensic firm to find that out, including where those individuals are located. It also indicated that it has been working on notifications, with most victims receiving an email by the first week in April.

March 28, 2017 (National)
Apple Dials Up Encryption as Mobile Threats Soar
The monthly smartphone infection rate in the second half of 2016 jumped 83% from the first six months, with overall infections in mobile networks reaching an all-time high in October, according to new data from Nokia. The infection rate in mobile networks – which includes Windows/PC systems connected by dongle and mobile IoT devices – rose “steadily” during the year to hit a new high of 1.35% in October. The vast majority of infections (85%) discovered in mobile networks belonged to smartphones, with Android (81%) the main culprit, followed by Windows/PCs (15%) and 4% linked to iPhones and other mobile devices. 

March 27, 2017 (International)
FBI Warns On FTP Attacks to Access Medical, Dental Info
The FBI is warning of an concerted effort on the part of cyber-criminals to target medical and dental facilities via their File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers. Criminals are accessing protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) in order to intimidate, harass and blackmail business owners. The Feds said that the Bureau is aware of criminal actors who are actively targeting such facilities via insecure FTPs that are operating in “anonymous” mode 

American Red Cross Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Save Your Vision Month
Women's History Month