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MIT pokes holes in mobile voting app

New research published Thursday morning by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claims to have found multiple vulnerabilities in Voatz, the mobile-voting app that's been used to collect ballots from deployed military and overseas voters in a handful of states where officials have participated in pilot projects. According to a new technical paper, the researchers found bugs that could be exploited to ‘alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted.” But Voatz fired back with a blog post, saying that the MIT researchers used a very outmoded version of its app, and that the researchers' attempts to build a mock version of the company's server led to them making recommendations in "bad faith." But the MIT team wrote that its work is in keeping with analyses from other scientific groups that online voting is fundamentally insecure. "Our findings serve as a concrete illustration of the common wisdom against internet voting, and of the importance of transparency to the legitimacy of elections," the paper's authors wrote. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Reading, writing and ransomware?

Loyola University New Orleans on Wednesday announced the launch of a new cybersecurity undergraduate degree program. The new offering is a specialization option in the university’s computer science department, to become available in the fall semester, as a response to an onslaught of cyberattacks against businesses and government agencies, including ransomware incidents that have hobbled the public sector in Loyola's home city and state. “As recent events locally have demonstrated, there is a pressing need for more cybersecurity professionals,” University President Tania Tetlow said in a press release. Colin Wood has more at EdScoop.

CISA and states tell Senate more cybersecurity resources needed

There are several bills before the U.S. Senate that could increase the federal government's support for state and local cybersecurity efforts, state IT officials and CISA Director Chris Krebs reminded lawmakers earlier this week. In a two-hour hearing, members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee were told that while collaboration on cybersecurity between states and the federal government has improved in recent years, funding and resources for those activities are still in short supply. Among the bills mentioned by Michigan Chief Security Officer Chris DeRusha, Texas Department of Information Resources Executive Director Amanda Crawford and Krebs were one that would help more local governments move their websites to the .gov domain, and another that would create a new Department of Homeland Security grant program. Ben has more.

States are concerned about fairness of FCC's rural broadband fund

Amid widely conflicting reports of how many Americans truly lack access to high-speed internet, state broadband officials said this week that there’s too much funding at stake to rely on the Federal Communications Commission's unreliable census-block data. In some cases, officials speaking at an event hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, said they have even taken the mapping effort into their own hands. These efforts come as the FCC plans to distribute nearly 75 percent of its new $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund using its admittedly flawed maps. But Jeff Sural, director of the North Carolina Department of Technology’s broadband infrastructure office, said he would rather see the FCC wait to develop its new, more granular mapping system, which will rely on ISPs submitting polygonal maps of their coverage areas. Ryan Johnston reports.

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