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Technology 16 March 2020

The Week in Internet News: Coronavirus Shutdowns Expose Digital Divide

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

No Internet, no school: School closings in the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic are exposing the continuing digital divide in the country, U.S. News and World Report says. The Federal Communications Commission should step in to help poor students get access, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel told a Senate committee recently.

Testing the Internet’s capacity: Meanwhile, there are some worries that millions of people potentially working from home in the coming weeks could literally “break the Internet,” Slate reports. Corporate VPNs, stock trading sites, and video gaming services could be among the services impacted by people working from home.

The downside of working from home: One Washington Post writer worked from home for eight days and ran into several difficulties, including Internet outages. “Video conferencing fails 50 percent of the time. The online tools I’m using — Slack, Microsoft Office, Dropbox — treat work as paramount, so it never really goes away.”

Hackers take advantage: Cybercriminals are distributing a coronavirus map app that provides no useful information to victims but may steal user names, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information, Dark Reading reports. The malware also acts as a downloader, bringing additional malware onto an infected system. It is commonly sold in online malware markets in Russia.

IoT insecurity: The security of the Internet of Things doesn’t seem to be getting any better, with 98 percent of traffic unencrypted, The Register reports. A recent study from Palo Alto Networks also found that 83 percent of medical imaging devices run on unsupported operating systems, due largely to the end of support for Windows 7.

Is the Internet resilient enough to withstand coronavirus? Read our take.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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