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Russian hacking group Killnet launches DDoS attack against state websites

A group of Russian-speaking hackers took responsibility yesterday for a denial-of-service attack targeting state government websites, with several states experiencing brief or lengthy outages. The group, which calls itself Killnet, appears to have temporarily disabled websites run by the governments of Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri. Most sites were stable as of this morning, though Colorado is still diverting users to a temporary page. Killnet emerged shortly after Russia’s late-February invasion of Ukraine, and set about targeting websites operated out of countries that have been supporting the Ukrainian defense. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Feds could be more communicative in ransomware assistance, GAO says

State and local governments give federal agencies like the FBI, CISA and the U.S. Secret Service solid marks on the assistance they provide after ransomware attacks. But states and localities also feel broadly that those agencies could improve their outreach and communications, according to a report made public Tuesday by the U.S. General Accountability Office. While CISA's advisory products and incident-response teams were called "outstanding" by some, the FBI was singled out for sometimes being slow or unresponsive when local governments called seeking help after a ransomware attack, the GAO found. Ben has more.

Many states still lack plans for app modernization, NASCIO says

Despite state governments continuing to use a great number of outdated applications, many still lack documented plans to modernize them, according a new survey of state and territorial chief information officers. In the survey published yesterday by NASCIO and VMware, nearly half of 42 state executives said the majority of their applications need modernizing. Yet nearly one-third of respondents said their state doesn’t have a documented strategy for application modernization, compared with 45% that have a strategy and 24% that are currently considering a strategy. Colin Wood has more.

Annapolis adds two more cyber posts

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday made appointments for two new positions developing cybersecurity policy across state and local governments. Hogan named Howard County CISO John A. Bruns as director of state cybersecurity, in which he'll work alongside state CISO Chip Stewart to “solidify and secure” state IT. And the governor named Netta Squires, an emergency management specialist, as the director of local cybersecurity. She's tasked wtih assisting county and municipal governments with their cybersecurity incident planning, and playing a key role in overseeing the funds Maryland receives from the new federal cyber grant program. Ben has the story.

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