Tech News for January 20

TaxAct Detects Data Breach and Suspends Customer Accounts

Tax preparation software developer TaxAct disclosed a data breach, leading the company to suspend the accounts of more than 9,000 customers. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company, part of Blucora Inc., said the data breach affected a small percentage of its customers. “TaxAct recently suspended a small number of accounts—less than 0.25 percent (less than ¼ of 1 percent)—after identifying instances of suspicious activity,” said a company spokesperson contacted by Accounting Today. “The attacker did not gain access to income tax returns for the vast majority of the suspended accounts. Of those accounts suspended, a very small number, less than 5 percent of the ¼ of 1 percent, involved returns being accessed.”

[] 01/19

Measure to curb California public pensions is pulled – for now

Beleaguered by fundraising doubts and attacks from organized labor, two former California officials said Monday they are backing off plans to place a measure on the November ballot intended to curb public pension benefits. Instead, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio said in a joint announcement, “We have decided to re-file at least one of our pension reform measures later this year for the November 2018 ballot.” Reed said in a telephone interview that he is disappointed but undeterred. Professional fundraisers and potential donors, he said, believed that economics, politics and a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision would strengthen the likelihood of passing a pension measure in two years.

[] 01/18


A major political movement wrapped up today after an important weekend at the YMCA Youth and Government convention here in Fresno. They do know how to party, but these teenagers also know how to build a government from the ground up. This is the last day of a political convention and the culmination of a campaign. You have 3500 students from all over California at the Fresno Convention Center for a very raucous caucus. They’re going to elect a student governor for the next year, picking 5 nominees her in Fresno before another convention in Sacramento. They have candidates all over the place, including Blake Sloan, who are all now running for the 69th youth governor.

[] 01/19

4.7M Calif. Medical Records Affected by Data Breaches Last Year

Last year, more than 4.7 million medical records were affected by data breaches in California, according to federal data, the Orange County Register reports. That number is up significantly from 2014, when just 400,000 medical records were reported compromised (Leung, Orange County Register, 1/18). Several large-scale health care industry data breaches occurred in California last year.

[] 01/19

California fines Uber $7.6M over slow response to data request

Unlike a taxicab, its rates fluctuate based on demand. The $13 fee was eventually refunded. But on Jan 13, state lawyers recommended a ruling that gave Uber 30 days to pay the fine or else lose the ability to operate in California. When contacted byFortune, Uber did admit that what happened to the Lees shouldn’t have happened, calling the driver’s actions “unacceptable”.

[] 01/19

As Video Surveillance Grows, Police Departments Hunt for Storage Options

When the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office first considered deploying video cameras in patrol cars, some veterans of the Louisiana force resisted the idea. But after the cameras were installed last May, virtually the entire department embraced the change, says Deputy Sheriff Michael Rainwater. “We have obtained evidence that we normally would not have gotten. People have incriminated themselves sitting in the backseat of the car,” Rainwater says, adding that people sometimes mutter to themselves on camera about their crimes even while officers are searching their trunks. “Some of it is comical.”

[] 01/19

How manufacturing leaders are falling for the public cloud

85% of line of business (LOB) decision makers in the manufacturing industry are using at least one form of public cloud service, according to a new research study. The report, released jointly by EMC, VCE, and VMware – all now part of Dell in some capacity after the whopping $67 billion deal for the former in October – polled more than 600 decision makers overall across six industries, with one sixth each on telecoms, finance, retail, public sector, oil and gas, and manufacturing. Yet it was the latter which provided the most interesting results.


IBM, CSC Team for Hybrid Cloud Expansion

IBM has expanded its partnership with CSC, a Virginia-based IT services provider, with the goal of developing joint applications to support mobile, analytics and cognitive intelligence across hybrid cloud platforms. The partnership centers around the integration of the IBM Cloud, which includes services such as analytics, mobile, networking and storage, with the CSC Agility Platform, which allows customers to use hybrid clouds across multiple cloud providers as well as their traditional IT environments.

[] 01/19

Gartner’s 2016 CIO Priorities Are Right on the Money

Gartner’s top CIO priorities were just released, and BI and analytics is at the top followed by cloud, mobile and digitization. To us, this comes as no surprise. We have been advocating pervasive BI and analytics for revenue generation and customer facing applications for many years. We believe that BI and analytics have to be built into the business model (as opposed to in the cost centers). But let me explain why this is important. Take a deeper look at the Gartner 2016 CIO Agenda Survey. The key conclusion from this survey is: “The 2016 CIO Agenda Survey data shows that digitalization is intensifying. In the next five years, CIOs expect digital revenues to grow from 16% to 37%. Similarly, public-sector CIOs predict a rise from 42% to 77% in digital processes.”

[] 01/19

This Explains Why America’s Cybersecurity Efforts Continue to Fail

Experts have been ringing alarm bells for years and issuing explicit warnings about the long-lasting damage that cyber breaches can inflict on business assets, customer trust, and brand reputation. When the coverage of the Sony SNE -8.78% hack erupted at the end of 2014, it became clear that no business, no matter which industry or how sophisticated, is safe from cyber intrusions. And, just before we rang in 2016, adversaries reminded us of the kinetic effects of cyber attacks when we saw the hack of the Ukrainian power grid causing a blackout for thousands of households.

[] 01/19

Cybersecurity is job #1 for NASCIO

It should come as no surprise that cybersecurity is the top concern for state IT executives. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers, in its recently released federal advocacy priorities, called cybersecurity its top issue and also highlighted the importance of flexibility in federal regulations, the nationwide public safety broadband network (FirstNet) and information sharing. “Cybersecurity is a top concern for state CIOs, and with the tremendous growth in data that we anticipate, securing our public networks and the state’s digital assets are and will remain a top priority for NASCIO,” said NASCIO President Darryl Ackley, who is New Mexico’s secretary of information technology.

[] 01/19

FairWarning Becomes First-Ever Corporate Sponsor of the HIMSS Cybersecurity Command Center at HIMSS16

As the first-ever corporate sponsor of the HIMSS Cybersecurity Command Center,FairWarning will bring its patient privacy and information security solutions and expertise to the exhibit floor at the 2016 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. from Feb. 29 – March 4, 2016. The HIMSS Cybersecurity Command Center presented by FairWarningwill educate attendees about the latest information security threats, cutting-edge information security technologies and best practices, to arm organizations with information so they can better defend against cyber adversaries. It will also feature educational sessions on the cyber issues of the day, as well as challenges to determine an organizations’ cyber-preparedness.

[] 01/20

Assessing the State of Cybersecurity in Government

n November 2015, Tenable released the inaugural Global Cybersecurity Assurance Report Card, with research conducted by the CyberEdge Group. The report asked over five hundred security professionals from around the world to grade their organizations’ ability to assess cybersecurity risks and to mitigate exploitative threats. The results of the survey were reported on our blog in summary and by industry. Today, we take a closer look at the results for governments and provide recommendations for improving the state of cybersecurity in government agencies around the globe. First, a clarification. When the Global Cybersecurity Assurance Report Card report refers to “government,” it includes much more than the US federal government. This global report covers responses from governments worldwide, in any country, state, or local jurisdiction.

[] 01/20

California Starts Planning for Rebid of $864M Health Benefit Exchange System

California is beginning to plan for the re-procurement of CalHEERS as day-to-day management of the system moves the Office of Systems Integration (OSI), state officials told TechWire. The multifaceted California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment and Retention System (CalHEERS) project includes the public-facing Covered California Web portal that allows Californians to shop for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, as well as the back-end rules engine that determines eligibility and enrollment processes for the California Health Benefit Exchange, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs.

[] 01/20

Department of Insurance Looks to Modernize Network, Legacy Systems

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) plans to replace 95 IT network switches that will reach end of life in summer 2016 and is continuing work on its Menu Modernization Project. “CDI’s existing network infrastructure has not been significantly upgraded for over a decade and only incremental upgrades have been performed since initial setup,” the department reports in a proposal to spend nearly $1.7 million in fiscal year 2016-17 to support the replacement. The Department of Insurance’s IT network connects the department’s 1,400 employees at 12 different office locations to applications such as the CDI, Menu, Integrated Data and Fraud Integrated Database, as well as provides access to email, video conferencing, a VoIP telephone system, two call centers and supports the department’s public-facing applications.

[] 01/20

Sacramento City Websites Suffer Brief Outage

Sacramento city websites were down for approximately an hour on Tuesday morning. The city’s main page, as well as the websites for the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento Fire Department, were affected. Mayor Kevin Johnson held a news conference Tuesday afternoon, where he confirmed the shutdown and that it had affected the city’s network and email system as well. However, emergency services were not impacted due to a backup server, he said. Maria Macgunigal, Sacramento city’s chief information officer, also confirmed to TechWire the loss of power, commenting only that “there was a power failure at the primary data center today that impacted the availability of the City’s website.”

[] 01/20


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