Unlicensed “health coach” claims health advice is free speech—court disagrees

Unlicensed “health coach” claims health advice is free speech—court disagrees

Enlarge / Unlicensed “health coach” Heather Del Castillo (credit: Institute for Justice)

A federal court on Wednesday rejected claims by an unlicensed “health coach” that the unqualified health advice she provided to paying clients was protected speech under the First Amendment.

In rejecting her claim, the court affirmed that states do indeed have the right to require that anyone charging for health and medical services—in this case, dietetics and nutrition advice—be qualified and licensed. (State laws governing who can offer personalized nutrition services vary considerably, however.)

Heather Del Castillo, a “holistic health coach” based in Florida, brought the case in October of 2017 shortly after she was busted in an undercover investigation by the state health department. At the time, Del Castillo was running a health-coaching business called Constitution Nutrition, which offered a personalized, six-month health and dietary program. The program involved 13 in-home consulting sessions, 12 of which

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Ryuk, Ryuk, Ryuk: Georgia’s courts hit by ransomware

Ryuk, Ryuk, Ryuk: Georgia’s courts hit by ransomware

Enlarge / Court systems in Georgia are down due to a ransomware attack. Surprise. (credit: Rivers Langley / SaveRivers / Wikimedia)

Georgia’s Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts is the victim of the latest ransomware attack against state and local agencies. And this looks like the same type of attack that took down the systems of at least two Florida municipal governments in June.

Administrative Office of the Courts spokesman Bruce Shaw confirmed the ransomware attack to Atlanta’s Channel 11 News. The Administrative Office of the Courts’ website is currently offline.

Shaw told 11 News that some systems had not been affected by the ransomware but that all systems connected to the network had been taken offline to prevent the ransomware from spreading. The Courts’ IT department was in contact with “external agencies” to coordinate a response to the attack, Shaw said.

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Florida LAN: Someone clicks link, again, giving Key Biscayne ransomware

Florida LAN: Someone clicks link, again, giving Key Biscayne ransomware

Enlarge / Key Biscayne, Florida, is the third Florida local government to get hit by ransomware within a month. (credit: Alicia Vera/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A third Florida local government has reported that it has been struck by ransomware. Key Biscayne joins Lake City as a victim of Ryuk, a form of ransomware first spotted in August of 2018. Ryuk was the final piece of what has been labeled the “Triple Threat’ attack, the other two threats being Emotet and Trickbot malware.

While the attack on Riviera Beach, Florida, revealed last week was similar—all three cases start with a city employee clicking on an attachment in email and unleashing malware—it’s not certain if that attack was also based on Ryuk.

Ryuk is targeted ransomware, originally linked to the North Korean “Lazarus” threat group, but now it appears to have been adopted by non-state criminal ransomware operators as well.

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A tale of two cities: Why ransomware will just get worse

A tale of two cities: Why ransomware will just get worse

Enlarge / Baltimore, Maryland; Riviera Beach, Florida. Both got ransomware, and the outcomes were… the worst of times, and the worst of times.

Earlier this week, the city of Riviera Beach, Florida, faced a $600,000 demand from ransomware operators in order to regain access to the city’s data. The ransom was an order of magnitude larger than the ransom demanded by the attackers that struck Baltimore’s city government in May. Against the advice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, the Riviera Beach city council voted to pay the ransom—more than $300,000 of it covered by the city’s insurance policy.

Baltimore had refused to pay $76,000 worth of Bitcoin despite facing an estimated ransomware cost of more than $18 million, of which $8 million was from lost or deferred revenue. Baltimore lacked cyber insurance to cover those costs.

Riviera Beach is much smaller than Baltimore—with an IT department of

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