This article originally appeared in the Rhode Map newsletter. If you would like to get the newsletter as a convenient e-mail Monday through Friday, just sign up here.
Happy Wednesday! I’m Dan McGowan and I really wish Senator Ted Cruz would do something productive and sponsor a bill to bring Whataburger to Rhode Island. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 165.1 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days
Fully vaccinated: 729,952 (of about 1.1 million residents)
New cases: 196
Test-positive rate: 2.1 percent
Currently hospitalized: 112
Total deaths: 2,867
Is your local library still using Windows 95? Does your mayor always fall for those “please enter all of your personal information here to see something cool” schemes?
From local governments to large businesses, ransomware attacks on computer systems appear to be on the rise. Just this week, Sinclair Broadcast Group – Channel 10′s parent company – disclosed that a cyberattack is disrupting significant parts of its business.
While it’s difficult to require private companies to improve their cyber infrastructure, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is set to announce Wednesday that her office is going to work with cities and towns on a cyber mapping project that could help the municipalities protect themselves against future attacks.
Gorbea has hired Protocol Networks to “perform the work needed to map the network infrastructure in your community,” she wrote in a recent letter that went to the mayor, town manager, or council president in each community.
Gorbea is scheduled to discuss the cyber mapping project at the state’s cybersummit that begins at 9 a.m. today. US Representative James Langevin and representatives from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are among the folks slated to present at the summit. The cyber mapping project is designed to help communities prepare for next year’s elections, Gorbea said.
When a city or town faces any kind of cyberattack – even if it has no connection to elections – the secretary of state’s office shuts off the community’s access to the state’s central voter registration system until the issue is resolved. That’s not a major problem during off years, but it can cause headaches for the local boards of canvassers leading up to an election.
Gorbea said she had to briefly shut off East Greenwich’s access to the registration station in 2019 when it faced a ransomeware attack.
”This is about minimizing risk across the board,” Gorbea said.
The mapping project is funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and with leftover Help America Vote Act dollars, so it comes at no cost for municipalities.
The Globe in Rhode Island
⚓ Supply chain problems are throwing deliveries into disarray and sending prices skyrocketing for some of your favorite restaurants. Read more.
⚓ US Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday touted his little-known “Stop the SURGE Act,” which calls for new ports of entry to be established in deeply Democratic parts of New England — like Block Island — and requires that people trying to enter the U.S. through the southern border be relocated from sectors in Texas to these newly created ports for “processing.” Read more.
⚓ The Rhode Island Foundation has offered its recommendations for how the state should spend $1.13 billion in American Rescue Plan funding. Read more.
Also in the Globe
⚓ The most competitive US House of Representatives’ race in the country might be happening in Maine. Read more.
⚓ Is the Boston mayoral race already over? Read more.
⚓ The Red Sox came back to earth on Tuesday night, and now this looks like a series that could go seven games. Read more.
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What’s on tap today
E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.
⚓ Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.
⚓ The House Finance Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. to begin discussing Governor Dan McKee’s proposal for spending American Rescue Plan funds.
⚓ The Providence School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Here’s the agenda.
⚓ The COVID-19 Equity Council meets at 4 p.m. Here’s the agenda.
My previous column
We hear a lot about how little is happening in Washington, D.C. But when Senator Sheldon Whitehouse started hearing complaints about the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, he led the push for changes. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.
Rhode Island Report podcast
Ed Fitzpatrick talks to Jennifer Rourke of the Rhode Island Political Cooperative about its slate of 50 progressive candidates. Listen to all of our podcasts here.
Boston Globe App
You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.
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