news·3 min read

Daily Skimm: Equifax Hack, Trump's Budget, and Greta Thunberg on the Small Screen

Barr at Equifax Hack charges
Getty Images
Feb 11, 2020


The Story

Four members of China's military have been charged for the historic 2017 Equifax hack.

I'm going to need more context.

A few years ago, a data breach of the credit reporting agency compromised the personal info of 145 million people in the US, Canada, and Europe. That includes their Social Security and driver's license numbers, addresses, birthdays, and more. You know, the type of information needed to access things like a person's bank account. It was one of the largest data hacks in history. And yesterday, the Justice Department announced charges against four people with hacking Equifax, as well as stealing trade secrets.

Sounds terrifying.

It does. The DOJ said China has a "voracious appetite" for Americans' personal info. It also pointed to recent breaches US officials believe China is behind, including at a US federal gov office, the hotel chain Marriott, and the health insurer Anthem. Officials say that China may use this personal info to better target US intelligence officials.

How are people reacting to this?

Attorney General William Barr called the alleged breach a "deliberate and sweeping intrusion." And puts the blame on hackers within China's People's Liberation Army. China's foreign ministry denied involvement in any hacking and said it doesn't engage in cybertheft. Meanwhile, Equifax's CEO said he was grateful the DOJ treated this situation "with the seriousness it deserves."


This is the latest accusation against China's surveillance and data breaching in the US – an issue both President Trump and former President Obama have dealt with. And an issue the admin is still fighting against.

Psst…hackers usually play the long game. Here's how to protect your money if you think your info's been compromised.


Who wants to open the government's checkbook…

President Trump. Yesterday, he unveiled his nearly $5 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021. Under his plan, he'd put more money toward building the US-Mexico border wall, the military's budget (hi, Space Force), and NASA to help send astronauts to the moon and Mars. He'd also cut funding for food stamps, Medicaid, student loan assistance, and the EPA. All this, while aiming to cut the federal deficit (what the gov spends versus what it makes in a given year) in 15 years.

  • 2020 vision: Trump's budget proposal highlights his priorities and the issues he's likely to campaign on ahead of November's presidential election.

  • The green crystal ball says: Trump's proposal isn't likely to get Congress's approval, since Republicans and Dems both take issue with it.

Why people are concerned…

Coronavirus. More than 1,000 people have died from the pneumonia-like virus. That includes 108 people who died in China yesterday, marking a new daily record there. More than 42,000 people have also been infected. And at least three cruise ships have been either docked or quarantined, including the Diamond Princess which now has 135 confirmed cases. A team from the World Health Organization has touched down in China to "lay the groundwork" for a larger team of experts.

Who we're learning more about…

These US troops. Last month, in response to the US killing top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, Iranian missile attacks targeted Iraqi military bases housing US troops. No Americans were killed in the attacks, but now we're learning that more than 100 soldiers have suffered traumatic brain injuries – up from 34 cases initially reported last month. President Trump had previously said that troops "had headaches." One lawmaker is now calling for answers, and for the Pentagon to "ensure the safety and care of our deployed forces."

When you hear Greta's hitting the small screen

So is Black News Channel. BNC, the country's first African American-led 24-hour news channel, premiered this week to coincide with Black History Month. The goal: to fill what some see as a void in representation. And to provide news most relevant to black communities.

Will the real gravity-defying broom…

Please stand up.

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