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GAO agrees with states on cybersecurity rules

A report published yesterday by the General Accountability Office, the investigative and auditing arm of Congress, calls on federal agencies to align the cybersecurity standards they impose on states using federal data. The GAO report confirms state IT officials' long-held argument that the rules that different agencies, like the FBI or Internal Revenue Service, set for accessing their data are incongruous and confusing, forcing CISOs to spend more time thinking about federal regulations than protecting the state networks they’re charged with defending. The report recommended that the FBI, IRS, Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service work with the White House to collaborate on their cybersecurity rules for states. Benjamin Freed reports.

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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.

Sidewalk Labs will take privacy concerns to next venture

While Sidewalk Labs, the urban design company spun off from Google, cited the pandemic-induced downturn when it dropped out of its role as lead developer of a 12-acre lot in Toronto, the project had long been nagged by concerns about how much data it would collect on residents. But even if Sidewalk tries to build what it calls the world's "most innovative district" somewhere else, privacy concerns will abound, said Ann Cavoukian, a former Toronto privacy commissioner who advised Sidewalk Labs before quitting over how the company planned to use its network of environmental sensors. "They probably will [find a new space]," she said. "People are going to demand privacy and not just let companies or governments get away with doing whatever they’re doing." Ryan Johnston explains.

North Texas communities launch innovation consortium

A group of 21 local governments around Northern Texas announced the formation of a civic technology-based nonprofit on Tuesday to share best practices and strategies for improving economic resiliency, transportation, infrastructure and emerging public health concerns. The North Texas Innovation Alliance includes representatives from the City of Dallas, Dallas County, Arlington, Plano and several other local government agencies to regularly to share how technology and data can be used to address various regional issues, including “immediate challenges related to COVID-19,” according to a press release. Ryan has more.

Big ransomware in the Big Ten

Michigan State University is being targeted by a ransomware attack carried out by a hacker claiming to have stolen files, including students’ personal information, with the threat of publishing them online if a bounty is not paid, EdScoop reports. A blog affiliated with NetWalker, a relatively newer form of ransomware, claimed credit for the incident, sharing a post yesterday that includes screenshots of file directories, university financial documents and what appears to be an international student's passport. The images were posted alongside a countdown clock threatening publication of the stolen data if an unspecified bounty was not paid. Ben has more on EdScoop.


Duo Security’s Dug Song on securing the surge in remote work

Duo Security’s co-founder and cybersecurity trailblazer shares his insights for how state and local government leaders can keep ahead of security challenges stemming from a working-from-home world. Amidst all these changes though, there is a silver lining. What is the upside to the surge in telework?   Read more from Dug Song.

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