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Ransomware shuts down Virginia legislature systems

A ransomware attack involving “extremely sophisticated malware” crippled the IT agency that serves the Virginia state legislature as it was preparing for January session, officials told the Associated Press on Monday. An internal email showed that the Division of Legislative Automated Systems, which provides IT services for the General Assembly, detected the attack late Friday, the AP reported. All of the agency’s servers were affected, including those used to draft legislation. While a separate agency, the executive-branch-focused Virginia Information Technologies Agency said it was assisting with the response. Colin Wood has the details.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Former Los Angeles utilities cybersecurity chief to plead guilty to lying to FBI

Former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Chief Cyber Risk Officer David Alexander lied to the FBI about conversations and agreements with a New York City-based attorney hired by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said. Prosecutors said Alexander faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for his charges, including leveraging his power as an executive to grant contracts to Paradis in exchange for a promised chief administrative officer role and “lucrative” financial compensation at Paradis’ firm. Ryan Johnston has more.

Looking back at 2021 — and ahead to the next one

As the editorial teams at StateScoop and EdScoop look back on 2021, the biggest stories of the year are obvious: $65 billion in new broadband funding to close the nation’s digital divide, the continued grappling match between chief information officers and their legacy IT systems, and a still-tense operating environment, but one officials are increasingly less likely to describe as a “crisis.” There was no bright line separating 2020 and 2021, and many of the same trends should continue into 2022, but gradually, public-sector leaders have shown they’re becoming acclimated to new (and often remote) working environments, as well as the increased pace of work in a world after the coronavirus. See the report here.

The year 2021 in IT metaphors

Metaphors and analogies work because they convey a complex topic using familiar ideas. And in 2021, state and local IT officials offered up those lines well beyond the familiar scope of cybersecurity and sports. Unemployment insurance and other benefits systems were likened to pizza-delivery apps. Modernization efforts were compared to home improvement and laboratory monsters. And security wasn’t always a team sport — sometimes it was a bottomless feast, other times, something much more dangerous. Benjamin Freed has the rundown.


Cloud threat report shows that supply chain threats are taking on greater importance

Supply chain attacks in the cloud continue to grow; however, much remains misunderstood about both the nature of these attacks and how to defend against them. New research from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 threat intelligence team indicates that IT leaders have a false sense of security around their supply chain and need to update key security practices. Read more in the report.

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