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Vax hacks

What do Facebook livestreams, door-to-door volunteers with laptops and data-analysis companies have in common? They’re part of a growing toolkit that mayors across the country are using to reduce community hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine and other government services.  To energize and educate their residents about getting their jabs, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka said during an online event last week that they've taken advantage of the expanded audience, as well as the targeted messaging, of social media platforms. “The ‘meet people where they are’ concept is something that we’ve embraced 100%,” Cantrell said.   Ryan Johnston reports.

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Paying's bad so ban paying

The North Carolina House of Representatives last week unanimously passed legislation that would prohibit state and local agencies from paying ransomware demands or communicating with criminal actors who attempt to encrypt government networks or steal data. “Part of the problem is you’re essentially negotiating with terrorists anyway,” said state Rep. Jason Saine, who introduced the bill. The Ransomware Task Force that issued a sweeping framework last month stopped short of calling for payment bans, but said they could be phased in gradually to give sectors like government time to set up victim-protection and recovery services. Benjamin Freed has more.

California CIO joins rally against anti-Asian hate

California Chief Information Officer Amy Tong addressed a rally Saturday sparked by the rise in violent crimes and acts of harassment against people of Asian origin and descent during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are here to celebrate all the diversity, celebrate the strength of our diversity, and only by being one we are stronger," Tong said at the Sacramento event, one of 15 held around the country last weekend. See Tong's remarks.

Yeah, this'll stop them

In the wake of the disruption to Colonial Pipeline, a popular Russian-language criminal forum has claimed it will ban the sale of ransomware tools, according to multiple researchers who monitor the site. CyberScoop's Sean Lyngaas reports that XSS, a prominent underground forum for hacking tools and other scams, on May 13 said the platform would forbid “ransomware sales, ransomware rental and ransomware affiliate programs." The forum post claimed it was because ransomware was attracting too much “hype” and attention from outsiders, but ransomware operators frequently engage in self-serving public relations stunts. Read more on CyberScoop.

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