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Data flap leads to data spat

Indiana officials said this week that they're in the process of notifying about 750,000 residents that a COVID-19 contact-tracing database containing their personal information was accessed earlier this year by an "unauthorized" third party. But that third party turned out to be the cybersecurity firm UpGuard, which is disputing the state's description of the incident. The company argues that Indiana's database was exposed to the open internet, and that its researchers discovered the leak in the course of researching software vulnerabilities. “We were trying to help them," an UpGuard spokeswoman said. Benjamin Freed reports.

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The next worthwhile Canadian initiative?

Michigan and the province of Ontario, Canada, will work together to find more energy-efficient and multimodal methods of shipping goods across their shared border, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday. The two governments signed an agreement to turn their shared bridge and tunnel crossings — including a bridge that accounts for 25% of all U.S.-Canadian trade — into a testbed for new mobility technologies. Officials said the goal is to create a roadmap for easily implementing automated- and connected-vehicle pilot programs, which starts with analyzing data on traffic safety and congestion at the border. Ryan Johnston has details.

New tech schemes for Los Angeles teens

As cities and counties begin to spend American Rescue Plan funding, most are placing an emphasis within their technology portfolios on core technology infrastructure and broadband expansion. But there are also projects outside that scope that stand out for their unique character or unusual approach to the difficult challenges now faced by city and county governments. Among the endeavors: “cutting-edge technology” for Los Angeles teens and police cars in Illinois supposedly capable of eliminating the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Emily Bamforth has more.

Researchers nab ransomware scammer

Ransomware operators have taken their profession’s profitability to new heights in the last couple years by outsourcing their work with the “ransomware-as-a-service” model, in which hackers lease out their malware  in exchange for shares of the resulting extortion payments. Now, cyber firm Abnormal Security has found a ransomware operator going one step further: asking prospective victim companies’ personnel to deploy ransomware on their behalf, then take a cut of the proceeds. Researchers set up a fake identity to communicate with the would-be ransomware/insider scheme mastermind — who went by the screen name “Pablo” — under the ruse that the persona would do Pablo’s criminal bidding. CyberScoop's Tim Starks has the story.

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