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Emotet is back, and it has some new tricks

The recent resurgence of Emotet, a credential-stealing malware that’s often been seen as a precursor to ransomware attacks, includes a significant increase in the number of phishing emails targeting state and local governments, according to an alert published Tuesday by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. After disappearing for four months beginning in February — Emotet  is once again “one of the most prevalent ongoing threats” against state and local governments, read the advisory, published in conjunction with the MS-ISAC. Researchers have found that the uptick coincided with a shift in tactics — the malware is being uncovered in zip files, which can get around email servers' security gateways. 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.

California has a new data plan

The new statewide data strategy published last week by California Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro is designed much like a highway system, she told StateScoop. The strategy aims to create a thorough “data landscape” in which all its data streams and data sets are interconnected, well-maintained and lead users to their destinations. Bonaguro made sure that it was written in plain language, easy enough for a non-technical public official to understand why it matters that data collected from one agency should be interoperable with data from another. “Can you imagine a US Highway system where the highways ended at each border? Of course not," she wrote in the strategy. Ryan Johnston breaks it down.

Florida's voter registration system crashed

Florida granted a brief extension of its voter registration deadline following several outages of an online registration system Monday, which left numerous users unable to file before the original deadline. Secretary of State Laurel Lee said that outages and delays reported by people attempting to access the site Monday were the result of high demand ahead of the Nov. 3 election. After calls from legal groups and Democratic officials, Lee and Gov. Ron DeSantis gave Floridians until 7 p.m. to register to vote. While there’s been no evidence of malicious activity related to Monday’s outages, Florida has has seen its share of election-security incidents in the past. Ben has more.

Why local government needs more technologists

Seattle's former open data manager, David Doyle, thinks more technologists should join local government. Or at the very least, he writes in a commentary for StateScoop, they should consider a "tour of duty" and take their learnings back to the private sector. "The pandemic has provided local governments with an unprecedented opportunity to innovate and experiment," he writes. "This current window of opportunity will start to close within the next 12 to 24 months as our new post-pandemic normal emerges." Read David Doyle's full commentary.


Virtual workspaces boost hiring capabilities says government CIO

Guy Cavallo shares that during the pandemic, the Small Business Administration's staff was able to complete about 95% of its work remotely with the help of virtual work capabilities. If HR practices and management styles can adapt to a new working culture, Cavallo predicts that agencies won't be limited by geographic bounds in the future to meet their IT hiring needs. “That's a tremendous benefit to everybody involved, including the citizens,” he says. Hear more from Cavallo.

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