COVID-19 Federal IT Diary for March 18

AG Barr Orders Crackdown on Coronavirus Fraud, Phishing, Malware

Attorney General William Barr on March 16 ordered U.S. Attorney’s Offices to prioritize detection and prosecution of coronavirus-related fraud.  Instances of such fraud, he wrote, include people trying to sell fake cures to the disease, and those sending phishing emails posing as communications from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to conduct malware injections. “The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated,” Barr said.

FTC Says Most Employees Working Remotely

The Federal Trade Commission said March 17 that most of its employees are working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, “with limited exceptions for emergency personnel and staff who must be in the office to perform mission-essential work.” The agency, which employs about 1,100 people, has also halted travel to high-risk countries, and made other travel subject to permission of top management.

DoD Providing Medical Gear to HHS

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon will provide a range of medical gear to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including 2,000 ventilators and millions of respirator masks.  DoD will obtain that equipment from its strategic reserve.

ITIC Releases Directory of COVID-19 Resources

As the government, academia, and the private sector move to remote working, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) released a directory of technological tools to help in the transition to remote communications. The directory, released March 17, was developed in conjunction with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and will be regularly updated as new information and resources become available.

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.

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