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10/07/2021
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Keep on consolidating

Two months into his new role as Washington’s statewide CIO, Bill Kehoe said he’s wrapping his head around the most important projects he’ll face in the coming months, particularly an ongoing consolidation of cybersecurity management across state government. ”My past experience is that when you’re federated around security services, each agency has its own culture and its own sense of urgency around security and how they view security,” said Kehoe, who started in the role Aug. 1, after four years as the top IT official in Los Angeles County. Colin Wood reports.


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Ransomware to school parents: 'Howdy'

The malicious actors behind a ransomware attack against a school district in Texas attempted to extract payment this week with what one analyst said appears to be an entirely new tactic: emailing parents of students with a threat that if school officials do not pay up, their kids’ personal information may be published online. Staff and parents in the Allen Independent School District, about 30 miles outside Dallas, got an email — opening with "Howdy" — Monday from ransomware actors responsible for a recent attack on the district. “The notion that a threat actor is contacting parents is definitely a shift in tactics and escalation in how ransomware actors are trying to extort school districts in particular,” said Doug Levin of the K12 Cybersecurity Exchange. Benjamin Freed has details.


Scan more, please

A significant number of school districts in Kansas are not secure from cyber threats, according to a report published Tuesday by the state auditor’s office. Out of 147 school districts — just over half of Kansas’ 286 districts — that responded to a voluntary survey about cybersecurity practices, 35% reported that they never scan their computer systems for vulnerabilities, and 58% have never required their staff to undergo cybersecurity training. The report concluded that 69% of districts have no incident response plan in the event that a cybersecurity attack is successful. Ryan Johnston has more.


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