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Virginia fighting coronavirus cybercrime

The U.S. Justice Department and the Commonwealth of Virginia on Friday announced the creation of a special task force dedicated to stamping out fraudulent activities that seek to profit off the growing pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, including online scams that steal money from victims or install malware. The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force, as the group is called, includes the FBI, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s offices for the eastern and western districts of the state and the Virginia State Police. Malicious activity from criminals and state-backed hackers invoking the coronavirus has already surged in recent weeks as the spread of the COVID-19 illness worsens. "As this outbreak event continues, criminal operations leveraging the COVID-19 outbreak are likely to increase and remain prevalent," the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said in an advisory.   Benjamin Freed reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Data chiefs step up amid pandemic

Big cities like Seattle and New York are at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak because of their high population densities, which help the virus spread faster. But lots of people also means lots of data, and government’s chief data officers have important roles to play in making government more efficient during emergencies, said Kate Garman, the former director of Seattle's smart-city program. As of Thursday, the United States had more than 13,000 confirmed cases, including 3,000 in New York City, but figuring out which neighborhoods are hotspots and tracing the steps of people who test positive is a job that the city’s roster of open data coordinators could help with, Garman said. “[Large cities] often have a data network, usually across most departments,” she said. “So it would be really easy for them to lead — drawing information from city departments or to send it out and ask for requests for data in real time.” Ryan Johnston reports.

Los Angeles launches coronavirus test website

Los Angeles officials on Sunday night launched a web portal through which residents can learn if they are eligible to be tested for the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus that’s caused a global pandemic. The portal, which is part of the city’s broader efforts to provide information about the coronavirus outbreak, is aimed at individuals considered to be most at-risk for the disease, and for whom the limited amount of tests have been prioritized. The new portal appears to do for Los Angeles what Google-affiliated site touted by the White House is attempting to do for a handful of communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ben has more.

StateScoop 50 Awards open for voting

Voting is now open for the 2020 StateScoop 50 Awards! 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 now.


Improve security practices with better data insights

As state and local agencies look to improve cyberdefense plans, the data they choose to collect and analyze can play a pivotal role in determining the ultimate impact of an attack. That’s why agency leaders should consider investing in a platform that’s able collect, leverage and understand enterprise data, according to a new Splunk report. The report details how modern platform solutions, capable of operating as a “security nerve center,” are better suited than many specialized tools at identifying gaps in network defenses. Read more here.

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