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An 'Armageddon-like' election security drill

Federal, state and local officials convened — virtually, natch — last week for the Department of Homeland Security's third annual tabletop exercise simulating a host of potential disruptions to the Nov. 3 presidential election. Over three days, participants were put through drills attempting to find how potential cyberattacks, physical attempts to disrupt the voting process and civil unrest fueled by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would play out. The point of the exercise, said one state official, is to be an  “Armageddon-like” situation in which every potential meltdown can happen. But participants also came out of the exercise sounding a confident note. “Fortunately, election officials have been managing risk to their systems and preparing for the un­expected for as long as we’ve had elections," a joint statement read. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Modernization could save Chicago millions

As it faces a budget shortfall of more than $700 million, Chicago could recoup much of that gap by making upgrades to its enterprise technology, according to Alderman Gilbert Villegas, the chair of a public-private technology working group formed last year with big tech firms like Google, Microsoft, AT&T and Cisco. Villegas told StateScoop his Innovation and Capital Transformation Working Group found that Chicago could save $225 million just by transitioning its legacy IT systems to cloud-based storage and management platforms. Ryan Johnston reports.

Philadelphia open-data portal popular in academia and nonprofits

Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology said last week it has a better understanding of how its open-data portal is being used by city workers and residents after studying the results of an open data survey it conducted earlier this year. According to results published this week, at least 92% of respondents to the January survey said that the portal’s visualizations, including dashboards, interactive maps and charts, were helpful to their projects, many of which were related to academic or nonprofit work. Ryan has more.

Tennessee to test cybersecurity of its next-generation 911 systems

Tennessee, one of the states furthest along in adopting next-generation 911 technology, hired a consulting firm to review cybersecurity preparedness of its emergency call centers. The company, Mission Critical Partners, plans to conduct assessments of Tennessee’s public safety answering points, in search of vulnerabilities on an increasingly digital network. While NG911 is frequently described as an inevitable evolution in how first responders are dispatched, it will necessarily expose the call centers, most of which don't have dedicated cybersecurity staff on-site, to new threats. Colin Wood has details.

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