The Cyber Attack That Was Heard Around the World Has Issuing a Stark Advisory to Global Internet Users

Michael Gargiulo
4 min readDec 31, 2020

Atlanta, Georgia — Cyber attacks are nothing new, but they have become more daring, wider spread and devastating in recent years as hackers up the ante to gain access to protected systems and data networks. It has been predicted for a while that the years of 2020 and 2021 would increase the value of a VPN. But few could have predicted that foreign actors would become emboldened with new waves of cyberattacks that target critical elections in key states by using exploits that can sidestep government network security, including some VPNs.

According to’s CEO, Michael Gargiulo, cyberattacks are on the rise: “With the political climate that we are currently in, forensic computer scientists along with many networks have shown cyber compromises all around the 2020 presidential election. No matter what party you are in — we all can agree that we want our government information to be protected. That’s why went to speak in front of the Georgia State Senators and Representatives as a caucus speaker back in February. We’re sharing the importance to every single elected official in protecting their computers during a peak election year.”

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency issued a notice on October 9th of this year — a few weeks before the 2020 election took place — sending out an alert (AA20–283A) which is still documented on their website now. Some may know this alert as the: “APT Actors Chaining Vulnerabilities Against SLTT, Critical Infrastructure, and Election Organization.” According to a joint cybersecurity advisory that was written by CISA, with contributions from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), new cyberattacks exploit a known “vulnerability chaining which exploits multiple vulnerabilities in the course of a single intrusion to compromise a network or application.”

“This threat has been directed at all our federal and state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) government networks throughout the United States of America,” Gargiulo says. “At the time that this alert came out, however, there was no proof that the malicious activity was aimed at the SLTT government networks. However, CISA is aware of some cases where this activity resulted in unauthorized access to election support systems. This tactic was used by APT actors, which includes leveraging legacy network access and virtual private network’s unsafe/unknown vulnerabilities.”

A related article from MCP magazine reports that: “These government agency attacks are leveraging unpatched software vulnerabilities, including the Windows Server Netlogon flaw (CVE-2020–1472) that was addressed by Microsoft’s August security patch release. It is vital now more than ever that all organizations should keep up to date with software patches, including VPNs and domain controllers, according to the CISA-FBI announcement. They should implement multi-factor authentication on all VPN connections.”

The cyberattacks don’t stop there, though, and are intended to compromise the very foundation of Democracy: Our election system.

“Since the election, many have discussed this virtual pandemic. Bill Bar and others have announced that Russia is involved with the massive cyber-attack. Gordon Chang also believes that China is a part of this attack,” Gargiulo adds. “In other words, nefarious actors have been observed using legitimate, remote-access tools such as a VPN or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to access the environment with the compromised credentials.”

According to Sydney Powell, a former federal prosecutor: “Any number of VPN lines are open to the internet for foreign actors to be meddling in it.” This means that without the right security and infrastructure in place, election systems, networks, software and computers could all be at risk to foreign interference.

“New studies have found that by 2021, cybercrime will have cost the world more than $6 trillion. If the government is struggling to keep up with cybersecurity, just think about all the American citizens who are being unknowingly hacked each year. Don’t leave your cyber devices unlocked and become another statistic,” warns Gargiulo. “The fact of the matter is that there’s a cyberattack every 39 seconds in the U.S. In 2019, there were 164.68 million data breaches. Protect yourself. Protect your data. Protect your network. Protect your business. And protect your family,” advises Gargiulo.

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Michael Gargiulo

CEO at | Internet & Domain Name Expert | Forbes Council | CliffCo Leader & Host | Atlanta’s Top Tech Entrepreneur