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04/23/2020
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Hackers posted city's data online after it denied data breach

Officials in Torrance, California, last month said none of their roughly 145,000 residents’ personal data was compromised last month when the city was hit by a cyberattack that disabled municipal websites and online payment services. But that was revealed as incorrect this week following the publication and sale of as much as 200 gigabytes of city data by a ransomware actor. Hackers behind a ransomware variant known as DoppelPaymer have started leaking documents stolen from Torrance on both a publicly accessible website and dark web forums, in hopes of collecting a $700,000 bounty from the Los Angeles suburb. And threatening to leak stolen files is an increasingly popular ransomware tactic, said Brett Callow of the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. "“These incidents now have to be regarded as data breaches, especially when it’s a group that’s known to steal data,” he said. Benjamin Freed reports.


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Could USDS help states' pandemic IT woes?

A group of 16 Democratic senators asked congressional leadership yesterday to approve actions that would make some of the federal government’s digital resources available to state and local governments to assist their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter, the senators asked that the United States Digital Service and the Technology Transformation Service be made available to the “beleaguered” states, which have collectively received more than 26 million new unemployment claims over the past five weeks. Efforts by those agencies to help state and local governments can often be delayed by as long as four months under normal circumstances. "During this national emergency, when speed is vital for millions of Americans, this red tape is preventing the federal government’s skilled technologist from helping the state and local agencies that need them most,” the letter read. Colin Wood has more.


Jackson, Miss., tries out COVID-19 maps and cough bots

A suite of digital tools developed earlier this month to track the spread of COVID-19 in Jackson, Mississippi, is producing infection data that’s enabling the city to distribute resources to its most vulnerable neighborhoods. Through a digital form, Jackson is asking residents that are experiencing symptoms to share their underlying conditions, location, age, race and phone number or email address so that the city can use the data to let them know if they should be tested for the virus. The city is also adding the information to an infection map that details which neighborhoods are at the highest risk of outbreak. The city is also rolling out a digital tool that asks potential patients to record audio clips of their coughing fits. Ryan Johnston reports.


North Dakota organizes 3D printer owners to make face shields

As hobbyists and universities dust off their 3D printers to produce additional personal protective equipment and medial gear for hospital personnel and other essential workers, the North Dakota state government and a local science museum are launching a new program to match volunteers with organizations seeking supplies. The Personal Protective Equipment Portal got approval from the North Dakota Department of Health to have its 3D printer-owning hobbyists start cranking out face shields for health organizations across the state. Colin has more.


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Steps to fast-track modern security for the remote workforce

It’s a particularly difficult time for government agencies, some of which have moved to almost 100% remote work over the course of days. But CIOs have an opportunity to deploy future-ready security solutions. Technologies that can be quickly implemented and managed from the cloud, are a “connective tissue” to next-generation security, say IT leaders in a new podcast. Hear more from the experts.


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