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What's in the water?

An unidentified hacker on Feb. 5 broke into the computer system of a water treatment plant serving the town of Oldsmar, Florida, and temporarily changed the plant’s sodium hydroxide setting to a potentially dangerous level, local authorities said Monday. CyberScoop's Sean Lyngaas reports that while the breach did not cause any harm to public health, it is a stark reminder of the risks that come with increasingly digitized critical infrastructure. Read more on CyberScoop.

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.

Colorado Digital Service, one year in

The Colorado Digital Service’s first year in existence did not go as originally planned. But the new small agency, a self-described “SWAT team of nerds,” would up playing a vital role in designing and managing the technology behind the state’s COVID-19 response. “Bummer is that COVID has taken away from some of the projects that we’d hoped to work on,” Kelly Taylor, the director of the seven-person shop, told StateScoop in a phone interview. Still, Taylor said the young agency was able to complete many projects related to the health crisis. Ryan Johnston reports.

New York funds Wi-Fi, mobile devices for domestic violence groups

Domestic violence shelters and other advocacy organizations across New York State will receive $1.5 million for Wi-Fi, mobile devices and digital advocacy programs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week. The initiative is the state’s latest move to support organizations focused on domestic violence, reports of which have risen in New York under the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders and other public health restrictions. Colin Wood has more.

Pandemic fuels greater adoption of contactless payments on public transit

With public transit ridership plunging 62% nationwide last year, more and more transit agencies are adopting contactless payment systems as a way to lure nervous riders back to trains and buses. An authority that operates bus lines in central Pennsylvania recently became the latest to implement such a fare option, with one official saying that 99% percent of its riders are already using it. Ryan has more.

Angry young hacker

An interview with a ransomware purveyor published last week by Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group shows while hackers are out to make money, some are also motivated by personal grievance. Talos interviewed a hacker, known only as “Aleks,” a self-taught cyber professional who said he turned to ransomware because he was ignored by companies that he tried to warn about operating unsecured websites. 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 details.


State leaders on building resilience in government with cloud

Agency leaders from Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and more share how states’ investments in cloud technology are keeping services running throughout the pandemic. They share their successes to keep employees connected, citizen services operational and government data secure in a series of interviews called “Resilience in Government.” Read highlights from the series.

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