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Pandemic gives ransomware a boost

A former FBI cybercrime investigator told StateScoop this week that the coronavirus pandemic’s effect of forcing entire organizations to work remotely has given ransomware actors a bigger canvas than before, while hackers’ tactics continue to mature into new threats. New devices on home networks coupled with surges in demand for digital services are spreading the public sector's resources thinner than ever, said Austin Berglas, a former assistant special agent in charge of cyber investigations for the FBI’s New York Field Office. “Covid allowed all cybercriminals to have a greater attack surface. You’ve got everyone 100% remote. Think about all the additional machines on the network," he said. Benjamin Freed has more.

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Mississippi's auditor and ed department duke it out

The Mississippi Department of Education is pushing back against a series of audits and investigations from State Auditor Shad White, who this week claimed that the state education agency is preventing schools from purchasing remote learning technology. Earlier this year, he also found several flaws in the education agency’s data-collection method. Beyond three audits, White is also writing opinion pieces for newspapers and letters to the governor as part of a campaign to convince the department to change policy White said "contradicts state law." Ryan Johnston has the full story.

Take your data to the 'next level'

A group of telecommunications companies and the nonprofit Ignite Cities on Wednesday announced a new set of specification for city governments interested in improving their data-sharing capabilities. Organizers told StateScoop they hope the new framework will provide a faster and more direct way to share data between local government agencies and their vendors. They described it as the next generation of data sharing beyond open data portals. "Many cities have open data sets for their citizens, businesses, app developers and so on," said Mike Nawrocki, who's involved with the project. "But what we see as the next frontier in data-sharing is more about integrating that data together." Ryan has the details.

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