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Telecom Alert: FBI, CISA Warn about Ransomware Attacks; Form 477 Deadline Extended; Court Rules Against Locast Broadcast Streaming Service; EBB Imposter Website [Vol. XVIII, Issue 36]

FBI and CISA Warn Businesses to be Vigilant about Ransomware Attacks

On August 31, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a joint cybersecurity advisory cautioning U.S. entities to remain alert and protect against the rising incidence of ransomware attacks over holidays and weekends. The advisory summarizes recent ransomware attacks, describes some of the tactics, techniques, and procedures commonly used by attackers, and offers best practices and mitigation strategies for ransomware attacks and other types of security incidents. Click here to read a detailed summary of the joint cybersecurity advisory and best practices on Keller and Heckman’s Consumer Protection Connection blog.  For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (; 202.434.4234).

Form 477 Deadline Extended

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice extending the September 1 deadline for the submission of Form 477 data due to the effects of Hurricane Ida. Facilities-based broadband providers are required to file Form 477 twice a year with information such as service speed and subscriber information.  The new filing deadline for providers affected by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and Mississippi is October 1, 2021, and the new deadline for all other filers is September 15, 2021.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (; 202.434.4239).

Court Rules Against Locast Broadcast Streaming Service

Last week, the major television broadcast networks won a closely watched court challenge against Locast, a non-profit streaming service that carries local TV stations without a retransmission consent agreement from the broadcasters.  The decision by the federal District Court for the Southern District of New York held that Locast did not qualify for a narrow copyright-law exemption available to non-profit entities.  In response to the ruling, Locast, which claims three million subscribers, has announced that it is suspending operations indefinitely.  For more information, please contact Sean Stokes (; 202.434.4193), Jim Baller (; 202.434.4175), or Casey Lide (; 202.434.4186).

Emergency Broadband Program Imposter Website

The FCC issued an advisory on August 27 warning consumers of a fake website designed to look like the Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program enrollment website. The website is run by WiFi Freedom USA and claims to provide free devices and broadband service through the EBB Program.  The Commission has taken steps to have the website and related social media pages taken down.  Those who provided personal information on the website are urged to report the incident and get help with a recovery plan.  For more information, please contact Casey Lide (; 202.434.4186).