COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Facebook says it will remove coronavirus vaccine misinformation.
The step goes beyond what the social network previously did on vaccine falsehoods by taking down the false claims entirely. The move goes a step beyond how Facebook had handled misinformation about other kinds of vaccines. The company had previously made it more difficult to find vaccine misinformation that was not related to the coronavirus by “downranking” it, essentially making it less visible in people’s news feeds.

But Facebook said it planned to take down Covid-19 vaccine falsehoods entirely if the claims had been discredited or contradicted by health groups including the World Health Organization, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

... Facebook added that it would also take down “false claims that Covid-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list.”

Cyberattacks Discovered on Vaccine Distribution Operations
IBM has found that companies and governments have been targeted by unknown attackers, prompting a warning from the Homeland Security Department. A series of cyberattacks is underway aimed at the companies and government organizations that will be distributing coronavirus vaccines around the world, IBM’s cybersecurity division has found, though it is unclear whether the goal is to steal the technology for keeping the vaccines refrigerated in transit or to sabotage the movements.

The findings were alarming enough that the Department of Homeland Security issued its own warning on Thursday about the threat.

Both the IBM researchers and the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said the attacks appear intended to steal the network log-in credentials of corporate executives and officials at global organizations involved in the refrigeration process necessary to protect vaccine doses.

... No matter who conducted the attacks, they underscore how everything about coronavirus vaccines — how to make them, test them and move them — has become vital information around the globe. A year ago, nations including Russia and China were focusing their covert efforts on stealing secrets about hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence advances; six months ago, intelligence agencies shifted their focus to obtaining, or defending, proprietary vaccine research.

With several vaccines on the verge of moving from clinical trials into wider use, the IBM discovery suggests that the main target of state-employed hackers is now the infrastructure of delivering the vaccines to billions of people around the globe.

The cyberattackers “were working to get access to how the vaccine is shipped, stored, kept cold and delivered,” said Nick Rossmann, who leads IBM’s global threat intelligence team. “We think whoever is behind this wanted to be able to understand the entire cold chain process.”

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton volunteer to get coronavirus vaccine publicly to prove it's safe
The three most recent former presidents hope an awareness campaign to promote confidence in its safety and effectiveness would be a powerful message as American public health officials try to convince the public to take the vaccine.

Germany extends coronavirus restrictions until Jan. 10
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced late Wednesday that all states across the country would extend their Covid-19 restrictions until January 10, as the country joined the US in reporting a record number of daily deaths. A total of 487 people died and more than 20,000 infections were recorded, according to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health agency.

Restrictions — including the closure of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities — had been due to end on December 20, ahead of the Christmas period. Germany’s coronavirus response was seen as a model for the world in the pandemic’s early months, but the country is now battling a spike in infections and its world-renowned hospital system is under strain.