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Cybercriminals feasted on pandemic unemployment fraud

Online actors specializing in financial fraud feasted on a widely used unemployment insurance program designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it one of the single biggest targets for cybercrime in 2020, according to a report published today by the threat intelligence firm Recorded Future. According to the research, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — implemented to support freelance and gig workers — quickly became one of the most widely mentioned targets on dark-web forums where criminals gather shortly after it was created last March. “To be able to conduct this fraud, you don’t need to have a high skill set," said Recorded Future's Parker Crucq, who conducted the research. Benjamin Freed reports.

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NYC analytics boss moving on

Kelly Jin, New York City’s chief analytics officer and chief open platform officer, announced Tuesday that she’ll depart city government next month to take an executive role with the Knight Foundation, as the nonprofit launches civic tech initiatives to help communities as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic. In an email to StateScoop, Jin wrote one of the projects she’s most proud of from her time in New York was her team’s response to the pandemic. Ryan Johnston has more.

Arkansas launches statewide broadband availability map

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday announced the launch of a new online map that provides residents with a detailed look at the availability of high-speed internet in their state. The Arkansas State Broadband Map is designed to help residents pinpoint broadband providers throughout the state and aid state agencies in developing broadband programs. Users can toggle through several filters that change the map’s appearance, including layers for internet speed, number of providers and service availability. Colin Wood has details.

Facial recognition use surges after Capitol riot

The use of facial recognition technology by local and state law enforcement agencies has risen significantly in the week since the Jan. 6 pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol, as officials attempt to identify the rioters who entered and vandalized the building. During a press conference this week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said police across the commonwealth — which recently tightened regulations around the use of facial recognition — defended its use in identifying people who participated in the deadly riot. Ben has more.

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