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Ransomware comes to parking meters

CivicSmart, a leading vendor of “smart” parking meters and technology used by parking-enforcement agencies in cities around the world was recently the victim of a ransomware attack that also exposed some of its internal files on a website maintained by the hackers responsible. The company was hit last month with a form of ransomware known alternatively as Sodinokibi or REvil. And messages posted the hackers' "Happy Blog" — on which they name their victims and leak stolen files in an attempt to elicit ransom payments — suggest that CivicSmart paid an unspecified amount to have its files decrypted and taken out of public view. But there's still a risk to the cities that buy CivicSmart's meters and the drivers who use mobile apps to feed them, said cybersecurity researcher Brett Callow. “They may claim it will be deleted upon payment, but why would criminals ever delete information they may be able to further monetize?” 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.

State unemployment systems are still struggling

As state unemployment systems fail in new ways, governors are continuing to apologize for the outdated technology that is preventing financial relief to millions of Americans. In a briefing Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is continuing to layer in new functionality to its system, including answering residents' questions through text messages and further staffing up call centers. Meanwhile, some New York residents who applied for benefits are reporting receiving paperwork with the personal information of other applicants, including addresses and Social Security numbers, while New Jersey and and Florida are trying to relaunch their unemployment application programs after weekend-long shutdowns for maintenance. Colin Wood has more.

St. Louis launches portal to track coronavirus expenses

In an effort to publicize the city’s decision-making process amid the coronavirus pandemic, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson last week directed the creation of a new financial transparency portal to show how the city is spending money to improve public health. The portal, which Krewson’s office says is the first of its kind for the city, offers residents a summary of how much the city has spent on personal protective equipment for medical professionals, and vendors from which it is purchasing other equipment, like office supplies and locks to gate off public parks. The data, which currently runs through April 12, shows the city has spent at least $2.2 million so far, with roughly half of which went to purchase 22,000 KN95 masks.   Ryan Johnston reports.

A special report on digital transformation

Digital transformation, the never-ending process of upgrading old computer systems and business processes with more modern and efficient ones, is an esoteric subject that the public usually only hears about when something goes wrong or a long-gestating project blows past its deadline and budget. In a new package, StateScoop and EdScoop reporters dive into digital transformation, looking at why motor-vehicles departments always seem to struggle with big tech projects, the disappearance of traditional IT from college campuses, how the COVID-19 pandemic will set back governments' transformation plans for years to come and a guide to the foundational steps of modernization. See the full report.

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