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An Austin-based IT software company is at the center of U.S., Russia hacking scandal this week
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Austin-based SolarWinds is at the center of an alleged Russian hacking scandal.

An alleged Russian hack against the U.S. government has been making international headlines this week, with multiple federal agencies potentially vulnerable in the digital attack.

But the hack itself didn't directly target government technology; rather, it was an Austin-based software vendor called SolarWinds that was compromised.


What was actually hacked

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Orion, a popular network management software from SolarWinds, was infiltrated by hackers, who many suspect to be associated with the Russian government. The company self-reported the potential breach Monday to federal regulators, one day after alerting 33,000 customers of the hack. In total, the actual number of customers affected may be closer to 18,000.

In the filing, SolarWinds said the "cyberattack" was likely the work "of a highly sophisticated, targeted … attack by an outside nation state," although that hasn't been confirmed yet.

It also isn't clear yet to SolarWinds or its customers what data was actually accessed in the hack, only that a "vulnerability" in the software was created to help gain access without being detected between March and June. The FBI and other federal intelligence agencies are involved in the investigation, according to the company's filing.

What is SolarWinds?

SolarWinds makes "IT look easy," or at least that's how the company describes itself online. The business provides IT infrastructure management software and IT operational support.

The international company is headquartered in Southwest Austin, but its 3,200 employees and 300,000 customers span the globe. So SolarWinds may not be a household name, but its reach and reputation make it well-known in information technology circles.

According to Fortune, SolarWinds serves the U.S. military as well as the majority of all Fortune 500 companies. That means the hack itself could have wider-ranging implications beyond the federal security concerns.

Unsurprisingly, the publicly-traded company has seen its stock value plummet to the lowest of levels since SolarWinds went public in late 2018. SolarWinds is urging its customers of the popular software to follow through measures outlined in a security advisory.

Reactions so far this week

Cybersecurity experts are sounding the warning alarms. CNN Business talked to one expert who said the unknowns surrounding this hack has them particularly concerned. A former NSA hacker even called out SolarWinds on Twitter, disputing information contained in the company's public filing.

The Commerce, Homeland Security and Agriculture departments were all targeted, but military and national security operations might have been accessed, too. And that access might've been unfiltered if hackers were able to indeed open the so-called "God door," one former White House official warned about Wednesday.

Data was stolen from at least one company, cybersecurity firm FireEye, which had security assessment tools stolen as part of a hack that prompted this entire discovery. And the attack is daunting enough that one of the senior-most members of Congress, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, called the attack "virtually a declaration of war" by Russia.

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway