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Something cyber-y happened in New York

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials said yesterday that a cybersecurity incident at the city’s Law Department did not contain a ransom demand, but that an investigation is ongoing. The Law Department, a 1,000-lawyer agency that represents local officials and agencies in court, reported Monday having "connectivity" problems, including loss of access to its email services, after it had to shut down its internal networks on Sunday. "To this hour we have not seen information compromised or a ransom demand," de Blasio said at a City Hall press briefing, though he acknowledged the situation is "evolving." Benjamin Freed reports.

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When a contract thwarts progress

A 2019 Illinois law that allows residents to designate their gender as nonbinary on state-issued IDs may not be implemented until 2024, because an existing contract for identity-management software didn't include a nonbinary option. There's not a way to implement the option “without totally revamping the driver’s license system,” which would require a significant investment of funding and time, an official said. But the holdup is causing problems for people whom the 2019 law was meant to serve. “This seems to stem from how the state buys software, which is endemic to lots of other levels of government: the requirements have to be set up front and then the state is locked into a term,” said Anne Petersen, a federal employee in Chicago who identifies as nonbinary. Ryan Johnston has details.

'Sucker-punched in cyberspace'

State and local governments, corporations and the nation as a whole are getting walloped in cyberspace and will continue to do so without real changes to their defenses, Kevin Mandia, chief executive of the security company FireEye, said yesterday during a cybersecurity conference hosted by New York State. “We are getting sucker-punched in cyberspace as a nation,” he said, rattling off a series of high-profile breaches, including SolarWinds, Accellion and an open-ended spate of ransomware. Ben has more.

California's toxic substances department has a new CIO

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has a new chief information officer, Don Foley, who started with the agency this month after leaving the state’s social services agency. The agency, which is responsible for enforcing action against people and businesses that violate environmental laws and overseeing the cleanup of hazardous waste throughout the state, will rely on Foley to modernize “antiquated internal business processes,” like using paper forms, and to improve software and hardware acquisition processes, according to a long-term strategy report. Ryan has the story.

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