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04/03/2020
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WorkScoop

So, how's your virtual city council meeting going?

Just as schools and workplaces have had to adjust to working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, local elected officials, too, are figuring out how to hold meetings — and even votes — in virtual settings. For many city councils, it’s a learning opportunity and a chance to increase civic engagement, but some have struggled with the transition. Officials in cities including Arlington, Texas; Aurora, Illinois; and Philadelphia have agreed to meet virtually over the last week as a precaution to avoid spreading the virus, which has killed more than 6,000 people nationwide. To follow federal guidelines, officials have met using video-conferencing software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts. And some cities have also taken measures to ensure the public can still participate in open meetings, such as toll-free hotlines through which residents can call in to offer live testimony and comments. But remote legislation isn't without hazards: Members of the Laguna Beach, California, City Council saw their Zoom session Tuesday hacked and replaced by pornography, <a href="https://www.cyberscoop.com/zoom-security-privacy-founder-eric-s-yuan-apology/?__hstc=188609527.edf60806de912648048c8d8f17a8c0a9.1574262735334.1585919620927.1585921909235.384&__hssc=188609527.4.1585921909235&__hsfp=460571030">another instance of "Zoombombing."</a> Ryan Johnston has more.


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Microsoft expands security offerings to election officials

Microsoft announced Thursday it is expanding its cybersecurity offerings to state and local election officials, including access to a free service that offers threat detection on email or other accounts, and specialized services from the company’s incident-response group. The company said it is giving state and local officials — as well as members of Congress and their staffs — access to AccountGuard, a free service that alerts users of Microsoft’s Outlook and Hotmail email platforms or its Office 365 suite of productivity applications if their accounts are threatened or compromised by hackers known to be associated with a foreign government. Microsoft is offering state and local election officials discounts on services provided by its in-house incident-response team, as well. It also published a series of recommendations that election officials should adopt as they adjust their procedures to the coronavirus pandemic, such as making it easier for voters to request absentee ballots online. Benjamin Freed reports.


Planning software used by cities is full of bugs

When a major city's government asked security researcher Quentin Rhoads-Herrera to inspect the source code for CIPAce, software that city uses to manage contracts and track infrastructure projects, he came back more than a dozen previously undisclosed vulnerabilities, or zero-days, that a hacker could exploit to manipulate data or dump user passwords. But then Rhoads-Herrera found more, Sean Lyngaas reports for CyberScoop. Sifting through the code, Rhoads-Herrera found the names of two other city governments that have used the software. “If one attacker happens to exploit this city, then they can look and see, easily, every other city that’s using this … and attack them using the same methods,” Rhoads-Herrera said. So far, Rhoads-Herrera said he hasn't seen any hackers exploit any of the bugs he found. The software's publisher, CIPPlanner Corp., said there was an "ongoing battle" to safeguard any software from hackers. Read it on CyberScoop.


StateScoop 50 voting extended through June

Voting for the 2020 StateScoop 50 Awards has been extended through June 30. Cast your vote today to recognize and celebrate the top 50 leaders in the state government community. The annual StateScoop 50 Awards honor the best and the brightest who make state government more efficient and effective, including people and organizations making strides in innovation, cybersecurity and service delivery. The awards will be presented during NASCIO's year-end conference in Minneapolis this October. Vote here!


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