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'If anyone breaks...you're vulnerable'

As city governments continue to grow more technology-centric, they need to embrace universal cybersecurity education to reduce the risk of breaches and attacks, a group of technology leaders said yesterday. “If anyone breaks on the security chain, you’re vulnerable,” Jeanne Holm, Los Angeles’ deputy mayor for budget and innovation, said during an online conference hosted by Bloomberg CityLab. “We should have cybersecurity education for everyone.” Former CISA Director Chris Krebs agreed, saying cities face three primary online threats: criminal activity like ransomware, the digital divide and disinformation. Benjamin Freed reports.

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A vaccine passport in New York

New York State is testing out an IBM-developed digital vaccine passport that users can install on their phones to prove they've been vaccinated against COVID-19, which they can then show before entry to public events, like NBA and NHL games. The “Excelsior Pass" was first tested last weekend at the Barclays Center before the Brooklyn Nets' loss to the Dallas Mavericks, and it's now being used at Madison Square Garden, home to the New York Rangers and the best New York Knicks squad in nearly a decade. Ryan Johnston has details.

Get those patches

A Chinese government-backed hacking group has been using previously unknown software exploits in “limited and targeted” data-stealing attacks on organizations that use a popular email software program, Microsoft warned yesterday. The culprit, which Microsoft dubs Hafnium, has previously tried to hack U.S.-based infectious disease researchers, defense contractors and educational institutions. Microsoft said the group’s latest campaign has gone after similar targets. The attackers have exploited multiple so-called “zero day” bugs in the Microsoft Exchange Server software in an apparent espionage campaign, Microsoft said. Sean Lyngaas reports for CyberScoop.

Bloomberg to spend $150 million on smart-city think tank at Harvard

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Tuesday it will spend $150 million to create a new civic-tech research institute at Harvard University that will train mayors and other city officials looking to advance their technology and data-driven systems. The Bloomberg Center for Cities will produce new guidelines and strategies for mayors and city halls to use over the next several years, and offer custom programming, research initiatives and fellowships for postgraduate students, building on the City Leadership Initiative that Harvard and Bloomberg launched in 2017. Ryan has more.

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