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cybersecurity

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By Adam Bakst

With recent cyber attacks on Riviera Beach and Lake City, security of computer systems and information seems to be a growing concern even for the smallest of cities.

This is leading local information technology departments throughout the state to try and control this problem before they fall victim to hackers.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Florida lawmakers were angry Thursday when they emerged from an FBI briefing that left them with unanswered questions about the two county election offices in their state that were breached by Russian cyberattacks in 2016.

Russian hackers breached the systems of two county elections systems in Florida in 2016, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at a news conference. DeSantis said no data were tampered with and vote tallies were not affected.

The intrusions, which had not ever been publicly confirmed, were first disclosed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report about Russian interference in the 2016 election last month.

iStockphoto/Vasyl Dolmatov

A team from the University of Central Florida has won a national cybersecurity competition.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida Muma College of Business is home to a new laboratory that doesn’t consist of beakers and microscopes. Instead, it’s a high-tech virtual lab where students are learning the latest techniques in the fast-evolving, fast-growing world of cybersecurity.

iStockphoto/Vasyl Dolmatov

While the growth of some industries is measured in years, the growth of cybersecurity can seemingly measured in days, if not minutes.  With that rapid growth comes the need for training professionals to fill the jobs of today and the future. 

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Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that federal funds will be used after all to beef up security for the state's voting systems in time for November's elections.

Supervisors of elections throughout Florida are preparing for the upcoming election season, with the secruity of the voting process being a top priority.

Mark Schreiner/ WUSF 89.7 NEWS

Hackers, beware - the Florida Center for Cybersecurity has unveiled a service to help state universities teach students how to prevent cyber-attacks.

The resource is called the Florida CyberHub and includes a “Cybertown,” in which users monitor a simulated city’s virtual ecosystem and defend the different facilities against cyber-attacks. The CyberHub is designed to mimic a realistic cybersecurity experience.

Florida Sheriff's Association

You never know who you're talking to on social media today. What may be surprising is who some of these online impersonators choose to be.

One internet scammer’s attempt to impersonate Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco was extinguished after a tip was sent to the Sheriff's office.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

With a seemingly endless number of recent computer data breaches, the need for improved cybersecurity continues to grow. A statewide initiative based out of the University of South Florida is stepping up its efforts to fill that need.

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Either a group or an individual claiming to be a part of the Islamic State, hacked the two social media accounts belonging to US Central Command, which oversees Department of Defense operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, according to Politico.

Aimee Blodgett / USF Communications and Marketing

When you ask former United States Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell what he thinks about the internet and information technology, he summons the words of Richard Danzig.

Danzig, who served as U.S. Secretary of the Navy from 1998 to 2001, once compared the internet to "a diet of poisoned fruit."

"This is delicious for us, it makes us more productive, more effective, improves our standard of living, we can communicate in our business," McConnell said. "But the downside of this wonderful, delicious product is it is poison, because the benefits exist, but it also introduces a level of vulnerability that someone can use that to your detriment."

McConnell shared his thoughts at a recent conference at the University of South Florida presented by the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, which is also known as FC2.

The state-funded center, which is based at USF, brings together experts from a dozen state schools to help Florida become a national leader in cybersecurity efforts.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

When it comes to the new Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF, managing director Sri Sridharan isn’t afraid to aim high.

“If someone has a question a couple of years from now in Billings, Montana, and says, ‘I have a question on cybersecurity,’ the answer should be, ‘Hey, go to those guys at University of South Florida, they’ll have the answer for you,’” Sridharan said.

Beginning this fall, the center will offer a master’s degree in cybersecurity through a program that goes well beyond typical information technology (IT) offerings.

USF Health is investigating a breach that exposed the personal information of about 140 patients treated by its doctors at Tampa General Hospital.

This afternoon, NPR Correspondent Tom Gjelten moderates a panel discussion on the topic of cybersecurity in the private and public sectors as part of The National Conversation series at the Wilson Center. Today's event will open with a keynote address from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano followed by panelists Francis Taylor, Michael Chertoff and Stephen Flynn in conversation. Gjelten will moderate.