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State and local cyber grants: take two

Leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity subcommittee said yesterday they will attempt to once again pass legislation that creates a robust federal grant program supporting state and local governments. Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., said that in the “coming days,” she’ll introduce a new version of the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which passed the House last year with broad bipartisan support but didn’t advance in the Senate. The hearing came about a week after a tech industry task force’s <a href="https://preprod.statescoop.com/citing-national-security-threat-task-force-urges-broad-action-on-ransomware/">sprawling report</a> on how to combat ransomware, which is now considered a national-security threat. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Report: Most websites stink

Despite more attention being paid to digital services than ever before over the past year, cities are still lacking in the accessibility, convenience and reliability of their websites, according to a new survey from a pair of government software manufacturers. In a study of more than 700 websites operated by U.S. cities, conducted by OpenCities and Monsido — which count Austin, Denver and Miami among their customers — only 3% met industry standards on both a desktop computer and mobile device. “The web accessibility and performance of the websites examined are lagging behind the industry average, leaving plenty of room for improvement,” the report read. Ryan Johnston has details.

Cyberattack knocks Alaska courts offline

The Alaska Court System has taken nearly all its IT systems offline following a cybersecurity incident last week. The deactivated systems include the state’s electronic filing system, court calendars, online payments of bail and court fees, virtual hearings and external emails for court employees. A statement on the Alaska courts’ main website attributes explains the outages were necessary “to remove malware from its servers.” While officials have not specified the source of the malware, other states' court systems, including Texas' and Georgia's, have been disabled by ransomware in the past. Ben has more.

I'm on the nightrain, open an app

Night-shift workers who rely on public transportation in the Philadelphia region will soon have free on-demand access to public transit through a mobile app designed by Via, the transportation software company announced yesterday. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority plans to push the service live as a pilot project on May 10 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where residents can use their phones to request pickup along several bus routes. The region is home to many manufacturing businesses and is not very accessible by public transit. Ryan has the story.

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