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Senate decides cyber is infrastructure

The $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package negotiated between the White House and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators includes $1 billion for a four-year cybersecurity grant program aimed at state and local governments. While that's less than the $500 million annual program outlined by recent House legislation, it would still represent the biggest federal investment to date in state and local cybersecurity. Says NASCIO: “We are pleased with where things stand now but know there’s still a lot of work yet to do.” Benjamin Freed reports.

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All the best apps are local and artisanal

Residents of Fort Bend County, Texas, can now file taxes, message county officials and receive emergency updates through a new mobile app that was built entirely by the county’s IT staff. The new app, called MyFBC, launched this week as the Houston-area county’s latest initiative to meet an increased demand from the public for information that arose during the pandemic, county CIO Robyn Doughtie said. “That’s something we’re really proud of, that we own it," she said. "A lot of times you’ll see an app and a company name associated with it, but for this one, it was developed by Fort Bend County." Ryan Johnston has the story.

How state and local governments can prepare for ransomware

While ransomware attacks against major infrastructure like the Colonial Pipeline have abounded, and the federal government continues to deal with the fallout of incidents like the SolarWinds espionage campaign, state and local officials are oftentimes forced to defend their systems on their own when a ransomware attack occurs on their own shores, writes Franklin Lee, a special projects assistant at the R Street Institute. In a new column, Lee offers several recommendations to improve state and local cybersecurity, including recruiting volunteer incident responders and sharing more information with each other. Read the rest of Lee's column.

California cuts cyber bills

The California Department of Technology said Thursday it’s no longer requiring fellow agencies to bear the costs of some of its cybersecurity services thanks to changes that went into effect this month under the state’s new budget. The budget Gov. Gavin Newsom signed earlier this year included a $21 million boost to CDT's cybersecurity office, making it possible to service other agencies without requiring them to reimburse the costs. “It is a significant step that will improve our cybersecurity maturity and preparedness, protect residents’ sensitive information, and continue the safe and secure delivery of essential services to Californians," state CISO Vitaliy Panych wrote. Ben has more.

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