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We're out of Bosco!

“I’m pretty sure I have a lot of elected officials using the George Costanza model where ‘Bosco’ is their password for everything,” said Riverside County, California, CTO Daryl Polk, referencing a 1995 episode of “Seinfeld” in which George reveals his ATM code is the name of a chocolate-syrup brand. Polk, speaking yesterday at a conference in Washington, said lax password management is just one of many hurdles to cybersecurity modernization, alongside an accelerated migration toward cloud platforms and an IT governance environment that remains fluid and chaotic after the pandemic. Polk also said not to expect any serenity now.

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Banned Chinese devices still in states and locals, report finds

Nearly 1,700 state and local government agencies and education institutions have since 2015 purchased telecommunications products manufactured by Chinese firms banned from doing business with the federal government, according to research published Wednesday by a Georgetown University think tank. According to the report, from Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emergency Technology, 1,681 state and local governments nationwide spent about $45 million on equipment made by five firms — including Huawei and ZTE — even as the U.S. has since 2018 banned federal agencies from doing so, citing those companies’ potential as conduits for espionage. Benjamin Freed has more.

CISA issues performance goals for critical infrastructure

CISA today released long-awaited performance goals aimed at setting baseline vital practices for critical infrastructure. The agency created the voluntary goals to broadly apply across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors with a particular focus on the smaller organizations that lack the resources for a robust cybersecurity plan. “The [cybersecurity performance goals] can be thought of as a bit of a quick-start guide,” CISA Director Jen Easterly told reporters. Christian Vasquez reports for CyberScoop.

Feds still behind on K-12 cybersecurity, audit finds

The Education and Homeland Security departments still have much catching up to do against the continued ransomware threat against K-12 schools, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday. The GAO found that as ransomware attacks against school districts continue to stack up, the federal government is still not providing sufficient resources to help educators combat the threat, nor have officials updated decade-old guidance on school cybersecurity. “It’s hard to say any other way, but the Department of Education has been asleep at the wheel," said Doug Levin, executive director of the K12 Security Information Exchange. Ben has the story.

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