Cloud roundup

*** Amazon Web Services announced on Oct. 14 that 18 of its services have just achieved either high or moderate authorization from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, bringing the total to 48 AWS services authorized in the AWS US GovCloud East/West Regions under FedRAMP moderate and 43 authorized under FedRAMP High. 

The company also recently announced that Amazon Secrets -- the service for managing database credentials, passwords and API keys  -- is available in the AWS GovCloud (US-East) region; Amazon AppStream 2.0, the secure application streaming service,  is available in the AWS GovCloud (US-West) Region; and Amazon Route 53 Resolver, which enabling seamless DNS query resolution across hybrid cloud environments, is available in both GovCloud regions. AWS Resource Groups and Tag Editor are also now available in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

The City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge, AWS' annual competitive grant program for innovation in local and regional governments and schools, opens Sept. 9.  The program issues prizes of AWS promotional credits, financial support and training vouchers to winners in six categories including improving constituent services, addressing chronic problems like homelessness or opioid abuse and expanding data access.  More information here.

AWS has also expanded the number of open datasets available through its public dataset program, which covers the cost of storage for publicly available high-value cloud-optimized datasets. Eleven new or updated public datasets are now available including emergency response imagery from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and earthquake data from the Southern California Earthquake Data Center. The program already hosts a number of government datasets -- including  those featuring weather, climate and geospatial data, Earth observation and satellite imagery -- that users can access, analyze and use to build applications.

*** The Library of Congress has received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud project, which will explore interacting with digital collections as data, combining LOC's collection with cutting-edge technology to support digital research at scale.

The Library’s digital innovation team -- LC Labs -- will test a cloud-based approach for interacting with digital collections as data.  In collaboration with subject matter experts and IT specialists at the Library, LC Labs will invite research experts to experiment with solutions to problems that can only be explored at scale.  Their work will help produce models for supporting cloud-based research computing, and will make the costs and possibilities of this work more transparent to the broader cultural heritage community.

*** The Transportation Security Agency announced plans to look to the cloud for new IT services as well as a strategy to move to software-as-a-service as much as possible and retire legacy applications. TSA's cloud strategy, finalized in April, was posted on FedBizOpps to engage with industry on the direction of TSA's future cloud activities.

*** The Department of Justice unsealed a 14-count indictment against a citizen of Singapore who stole computing power and services to mine cryptocurrency. With phony identities and credit card information from a California video game developer, the indicted individual opened accounts at multiple U.S. cloud service providers, racking up more than $5 million in unpaid cloud computing services. For a brief period, the DOJ statement said, he was one of Amazon Web Services' largest consumers of data usage by volume.

Earlier this month, HPCwire reported that three scientists had been arrested for using government high-performance computers to mine bitcoins. 

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