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$150 million

The criminals behind Ryuk, a form of ransomware that’s tormented state and local governments, among many other victims, may have earned more than $150 million since they first appeared in 2018, according to a new report published by threat intelligence firm Advanced Intel and Canadian security vendor HYAS. Researchers made their estimate by tracking payments made to Bitcoin wallet addresses known to be associated with Ryuk attacks. Ryuk has been one of the most aggressive forms of ransomware to strike at state and local government across the United States, and has claimed several six-digit payments from its victims. More recently, it's been used in attacks directed against the health sector. Benjamin Freed has details.

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California claims big contact tracing numbers

California officials said Thursday that at least one-quarter of all adults in California have activated the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing application on their mobile phone, the highest rate in the country, to enable “rapid communication” of potential outbreaks as they happen. The CA Notify app, which is based on the Exposure Notifications platform developed by Apple and Google, has been downloaded or activated about 8 million times since it launched Dec. 10, officials said. Ryan Johnston reports.

San Diego appoints its first chief innovation officer

San Diego has promoted its director of performance and analytics, Kirby Brady, to become the city’s first chief innovation officer, Mayor Todd Gloria announced on Twitter last week. Brady will also maintain her position as analytics director, which she assumed in January 2020 after a four-year stint as the director of research at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. With her promotion, Brady will be one of the few Black women to hold a chief innovation officer position in government. Ryan has more.

North Dakota urges residents to take free cyber risk assessments

The North Dakota Information Technology Department last month started nudging visitors to its website toward a free online service that provides cybersecurity assessments. The new site, defend.nd.gov, encourages users to follow a link to a cybersecurity assessment. Users who respond to questions with answers indicating they are not practicing safe cybersecurity are presented with information about why their behavior is risky. Completing the full assessment presents the user with a report and a numerical score, not unlike a credit report. Colin Wood has the story.

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