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What motivates ransomware actors

While ransomware is fundamentally a financial crime, an interview with a ransomware purveyor published last week by Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group shows that malicious actors are also motivated by resentment, a desire to be noticed and an appetite for new vulnerabilities. Talos interviewed a hacker, known only as “Aleks,” who is believed to be a user of the LockBit malware, which emerged last year. Though Aleks appears to be a university-educated Russian man who taught himself cybersecurity skills, he told Talos he turned to ransomware because his attempts to warn companies that their websites were unsecured were ignored. Still, Talos found that for all of his claims of resentment, Aleks still appeared motivated chiefly by the opportunity for illicit financial gain. Benjamin Freed has more.

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.

SimCity, but for real

Technology companies could form their own local governmental jurisdictions in Nevada if planned legislation reaches Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk this year. State lawmakers will soon be voting on whether or not to approve the creation of “Innovation Zones” — large swathes of land owned by companies specializing in emerging technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence — that carry virtually the same authority as a county government to impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts, among other traditional services that government provides. The idea dates back to at least 2018, when a blockchain technology company bought a plot east of Reno with plans to build its own high-desert city. Ryan Johnston has more.

As pandemic unfolded, local governments turned to projects new and old

When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded last March, local governments turned to technology solutions to help them manage and execute their responses. On a new episode of the LocalSmart podcast, winners in the Local IT Innovation of the Year recount how the health crisis realigned their priorities to respond to the moment. Jake Williams hosts.

U. South Carolina to play key role in 'statewide cyber ecosystem'

The University of South Carolina has partnered with the state government to create a “statewide cyber ecosystem” designed to bolster the workforce and protect the region’s digital infrastructure, university President Bob Caslen and Gov. Henry McMaster announced at a press conference last Thursday. The effort, which is set to include work in education, defense and private industry, McMaster said, could make South Carolina “one of the nation’s premier cyber hubs.” Colin Wood reports.

Six steps to a more innovative government

In a new commentary, former Colorado CIO Theresa Szczurek writes making government more innovative begins with defining innovation as a core value. She offers six practical pointers, including establishing a clear-cut mission, attracting talent and defining a passionate purpose. Read the commentary.

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