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It's alive!

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency announced a milestone in its IT modernization efforts this month as it switched on a new cloud-enabled data center. Officials told StateScoop that a project involving the migration of data for 32 state agencies and hundreds of data centers has been “well ahead of schedule” since the new system went live in August. In just the past few weeks, VITA has completed 225 server migrations. “The nice thing about this is you get a chance to clear away a little bit of the cobwebs,” Virginia CISO Mike Watson said. Colin Wood reports.

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The Russians, again

Suspected Russian hackers were behind multiple recent intrusions of U.S. state and local computer networks, according to an industry analysis obtained by CyberScoop. The hacking group is known as TEMP.Isotope, according a private advisory issued by Mandiant, and sometimes goes by the name Energetic Bear, which has been linked to Russia before. The Mandiant memo comes a week after federal authorities warned state and local governments of a hacking campaign in which attackers breached some “elections support systems," such as email servers used for a range of business functions not involved in the counting of votes. Sean Lyngaas has more on CyberScoop.

Be careful with the CARES Act money

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand said yesterday that Gov. Kim Reynolds' administration's recent use of $21 million in federal pandemic relief funding to purchase accounting software was inappropriate. The state’s Department of Human Services used CARES Act funding to pay for a new contract with Workday, a company that sells cloud-based financial-management software. Sand said the use of pandemic relief funds was inappropriate, but Reynolds said the project allowed the state to “act quickly to assist essential government employees.” Colin has more.

Michigan to clear the records

Michigan will begin automating the clearance of criminal records for some residents within the next six months, and make it easier for others to apply for expungement over the next two years, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signing of a series of bills last week endorsed by criminal justice advocacy groups and the civic-tech group Code for America’s “Clear My Record” program, which has been used to clear criminal records following similar reforms in California and Illinois. “This is a milestone in state criminal record-sealing policy that will help hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan and help drive the national conversation on reform forward," John S. Cooper, the executive director of Safe and Just Michigan, said in a press release. Ryan Johnston has details.

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