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The only ransomware story featuring Queen?

The company that operates a fiber optic network that supports statewide and local government entities across North Dakota was a victim of a recent ransomware attack that included some of the firm’s files being published on a website that attempts to shame victims into paying. Dakota Carrier Network owns more than 40,000 miles of fiber and counts among its customers STAGEnet, a network shared by the state government and about 400 other public-sector entities. But last week, its internal operations were briefly interrupted by a ransomware attack. The hackers behind the Maze ransomware claimed credit, posting some of DCN's files on its website, including personnel records, vendor and client lists and at least one photo of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. All we hear is ransomware gaga.

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Code for America picks new chief

Code for America's board of directors announced on Friday that it will be led by Amanda Renteria, a former Hillary Clinton aide who was hired as the civic-tech organization's chief executive officer. Renteria replaces Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka, who stepped down earlier this year a decade after the group's creation. “I don’t think people today need to be convinced that you need to have the kind of delivery service, the kind of technology that is set for a new world," Renteria told StateScoop. "Now the question is, how do we help them change their processes in a way that can reach more people." Ryan Johnston reports.

NGA picks next seven states for cybersecurity program

The National Governors Association on Thursday announced the latest group of states it plans to work with to develop cybersecurity policies. Beginning in August, the seven governments will work with the NGA to implement best practices on IT security governance, critical infrastructure cybersecurity and state-local partnerships. The participating states, which were selected through a competitive process, include Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Benjamin Freed has more.

With this Zoom ID, I thee wed

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Thursday temporarily allowing adults to obtain marriage licenses through video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. But couples rushing to get married, such as those wishing to share health benefits, may have to wait a few days while county clerks’ offices set up the required technology. Charles Lomeli, county clerk for Solano County, said that while it took a few days to figure out how officiate weddings via video chat, his office is eager to get started. “When the couples come in physically to get their license a lot of times we’re doing the wedding ceremonies at the same time, so there is that level of excitement, with family and unity and all that," he said. “But we’re going to embrace this technology and I’m hoping that it remains an option for us even after the crisis.” Colin Wood reports.

For emergency food assistance during pandemic, GIS plays star role

To help hungry residents find food and other resources amid the coronavirus pandemic, city and county governments — like Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — are using GIS-powered maps to advertise locations of local food banks and distribution centers. Since launching an interactive food bank map using software from Esri in March, the human services department in Allegheny County has amassed a list of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens and other resource distribution centers across Western Pennsylvania. The interactive maps replace static PDFs that listed the locations of food banks, but didn't show where food, diapers or other essential resources were becoming newly available. Ryan has more.

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