Town Square

Understanding The New COVID Relief Package And Digging Deeper Into The SolarWinds Cybersecurity Attack

It’s all about cybersecurity and nature of misinformation on the first half of the show. Then we switch gears to another topic that’s been on a lot of people’s minds: stimulus checks and relief packages.


FILE – In this April 23, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump’s name is seen on a stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, in San Antonio. A number of taxpayers who use tax preparation services, such as H&R Block and TurboTax, say their second relief payments were sent to the incorrect bank account. The IRS and the Treasury Department began issuing the Economic Impact Payments last week of Jan. 1, 2021.


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Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, or @townsquaretalk.

Social media, Google docs, Zoom meetings, online shopping.

Our lives revolve around connecting through a computer – now more than ever.

But that means the stakes of cybersecurity have never been higher.

Recently, the SolarWinds hacking incident effected hundreds of federal agencies and businesses, and it could have monumental impacts.

Today, experts discuss cybersecurity, plus another big headline: economic relief packages and stimulus checks. We open up the phone lines for listeners' questions and concerns.

Guests are:

Chris Bronk:

  • Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Information System Security
  • Associate Director of the Center for Information Security Research and Education at the University of Houston

Dietrich von Biedenfeld:

  • Assistant Professor in the Marilyn Davies College of Business, at the University of Houston – Downtown

Houston Public Media reporter Matt Harab also joins Ernie with headlines from Houston and beyond, including:

  • Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says she expects certain indoor businesses will have to go back to 50% occupancy in the county "unless things change in the next couple of hours." UPDATE: Harris County Passes Threshold for Tougher COVID-19 Restrictions
  • This would be a State order, not Judge Hidalgo's order.
  • Harris County is part of a "Trauma Service Area" (as defined by Governor Greg Abbott) that includes Fort Bend, Montgomery and other counties farther away from the city of Houston.
  • These counties collectively have had six consecutive days during which COVID-19 hospitalizations have accounted for above 15% of the total hospital capacity.
  • Fort Bend County has begun rolling out the Pfizer vaccine to healthcare workers, and others most at risk for developing COVID–19 (65 years and older and people 16 years or older with a chronic medical condition).
  • For now, if you're a Fort Bend County resident, you can't register online, because they've reached the 5000 person limit.
  • Everyone who's currently registered in Fort Bend County will be contacted, and they will be informed when and where they need to go to get vaccinated.

How To Get A COVID Vaccine In The Houston Area

Town Square with Ernie Manouse is a gathering space for the community to come together and discuss the day's most important and pressing issues.

Audio from today’s show will be available after 5 p.m. CT. We also offer a free podcast here, on iTunes, and other apps.

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This article is part of the Town Square with Ernie Manouse podcast

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Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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