State lines

Top priority. Awareness is an integral part of security, said William Pelgrin, New York State's Director of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure, at last month's DHS Cyber Security Summit in Santa Clara, Calif.

'Cybersecurity needs to become as commonplace as the use of a seatbelt,' he said. 'All state and local employees should receive cyber awareness training, and such programs have to be pushed from the top.'

Pelgrin said state governments must work with municipal and county governments to improve security best practices. New York, for instance, has 1,600 municipalities, and many lack the resources to field effective cybersecurity programs. His agency, therefore, helps them via educational webcasts and monthly meetings to raise awareness and foster the adoption of security basics.

Software buy. The Virginia Department of Corrections has hired VFA Inc. of Boston to assess the department's buildings and provide facility management software under a $219,500 initial contract that runs for 10 months.

VFA will assess the conditions of buildings at five state prison facilities, then use VFA's Web software to access the assessment data. The agency can use the service, called VFA.facility, to estimate the costs of repairing and replacing buildings, and to make more-accurate budget estimates, the company said.

The software keeps track of building attributes such as gross square footage, code compliance and repair estimates.

Keeping tabs. Arizona's Public Safety Department is giving the state's residents ready access to the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders.

Deployed in January 2000, Arizona's sex offender Web site, at www.azsexoffender.org, receives 30,000 hits each month, said Val Biebrich, supervisor in the department's sex offender division.

The division used geographic information system tools from MapInfo Corp. of Troy, N.Y., to let citizens check the locations of sex offenders in their areas.

The site lets visitors enter an address'their home, or a school or day care center, for example'and in seconds the site will send back a hyperlinked list of convicted sex offenders and their addresses.

Click on a name, and the site serves up a page of information on the offender, including a color photo in JPEG format, the person's risk level, specific offenses and a map of the offender's neighborhood. Only sex offenders classified as Level 2, intermediate risk, or Level 3, high risk, are required to be posted on the site.

Updated daily, the site lets visitors bring up a more detailed map by clicking on one of the icons. Zoomable to a three-mile diameter, the site uses an IBM DB2 database, Netfinity Web server and a Websphere application server.

'People send us e-mail to try to help us locate absconders,' Biebrich said.

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