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Entries in security (11)

Thursday
Feb142013

Home Security Considerations 

Home security is an oft overlooked preparedness measure and should be thought about and planned out well in advance. First, there are two ways we are going to look at security here; your everyday security and security for a bugging-in situation.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar012010

Hazmat Crew Responds to Utah IRS Office

A suspicious substance was found at an IRS office in Ogden, Utah prompting a response from local Hazmat teams.

Two people were taken to the hospital in allegedly unrelated medical emergencies.

At this time no word on what the substance is, no other details about the event are available.

UPDATE: Substance found at Utah site not Hazardous. No Word as to what the substance was.

 

Friday
Oct162009

Woman Announces Shopping Spree at Burlington Coat Factory and Causes Riot

Imagine if someone showed up to your business and announced they would purchase items for everyone there. In fact they would be willing to spend $500 for each of your customers.

Sounds like it would be good for you and your customers, doesn't it? Now imagine all of your customers at that location each called five or ten other people and soon your store was filled with 500 people and another 1000 outside waiting to get in. 

The truth is, this really did happen, but it is only the first part of the story and it actually happened. However, the real problem began when the woman left to go to the bank and returned with no money.

After the woman didn't have the money, angry customers began throwing merchandise onto the floor and leaving the store without paying for them. Some people still wanted their "free stuff" and a riot ensued.

The woman Linda Brown, who rented a strech limo and stated she just won the lottery was arrested.

Now I ask you, what is your plan to deal with something like this?

There are a number of other emerging threats out there that are causing problems and potential problems for many businesses. We will be writing about them here in our new "Emerging Threats" category to highlight them and bring attention to them.

Embedded video from CNN Video

 

Tuesday
Mar312009

James Snyder's Testimony On The Mumbai Attacks: "A Wake-up Call for America's Private Sector"

Release Date: March 11, 2009

Cannon House Office Building
(Remarks as Prepared)

Thank you, Chairwoman Jackson Lee, Ranking Member Dent, and Members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the hearing “The Mumbai Attacks: A Wake-Up Call for America’s Private Sector,” and to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Infrastructure Protection’s interaction with our government and private sector partners during and following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

As acknowledged with this hearing, the Mumbai attack on November 26-30, 2008, served as a strong reminder that the threat of terrorism remains very real, and that those who wish us harm remain dangerous and adapt quickly to changing circumstance. The terrorist attacks were well-planned, well-coordinated, and well-executed. The terrorists carried out a complex attack and struck multiple targets in the transportation and commercial facilities sectors, particularly hotels and religious locations. One example of their ability to adapt was their decision to shift tactics and conduct a water-borne entry rather than the normal overland entry to the target area, thus avoiding observance. Their attacks were also facilitated by the targets’ business requirements for open access, a reality that represents an inherent security challenge. This type of attack highlights the vulnerabilities of soft targets, and how difficult it is to prepare, prevent, and respond to such attacks.

Consequently, we too must adapt to this dynamic threat environment—as well as to the dangers posed by catastrophic natural events—by remaining both nimble and flexible in our approach to infrastructure protection, and by continuing to enhance our coordination efforts with government at all levels and with the private sector.

IP activities are based on the framework and approach outlined in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). Our mission is to work closely with our government and private sector partners across the 18 critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) sectors and to lead the effort to ensure that a comprehensive, multifaceted framework exists to secure and enhance the resiliency of the nation’s CIKR. Because the majority of the Nation’s CIKR are owned and operated by the private sector, the Department must leverage partnerships and relationships to achieve success. Using the NIPP framework, the Department has successfully established primarily voluntary partnerships among interested Federal, state, local, tribal and private sector entities. These partners work within the framework to set goals and priorities, identify key assets, assign roles and responsibilities, allocate resources, and measure progress against national priorities. DHS released the NIPP in 2006 and, following its first triennial review and update, recently re-released it as the 2009 NIPP. The subtitle of the 2009 NIPP is Partnering to Enhance Protection and Resiliency.”

The value of the relationships we have built through this partnership has been demonstrated in local and national response to hurricanes, fires, and other real world incidents. In the steady-state environment, we sustain these relationships through information sharing, exercise, and training so that when an incident occurs, whether manmade or natural, we can respond and recover effectively and efficiently. For example, on December 9, 2008, IP hosted a tabletop exercise based on a multiple improvised explosive device attack with representation from all 18 critical infrastructure sectors. Additionally, IP’s Commercial Facilities Sector Specific Agency Executive Management Office (SSA-EMO) participated in a January 29, 2009, Terrorism Simulation Exercise. The tabletop exercise, Threat & Response Options – Public Communications Challenges, was conducted with the Commercial Facilities Real Estate Roundtable subsector. The exercise was designed around a Mumbai-style attack and facilitated active discussion on preventive, response, and recovery activities. These are only two of many exercises we conduct annually with our CIKR partners that build the relationships and processes we use during response to all-hazards events.

In the case of Mumbai, IP worked directly with the Commercial Facilities Sector, Banking and Finance Sector, Transportation Sector, and leadership from religious organizations to share relevant information. To facilitate information collection, analysis, and distribution, IP leveraged the incident management capabilities built into its Incident Management Cell (IMC). The IMC is a cross-functional operations group that provides the core staff and facilities around which IP’s scalable incident management capability coalesces during a large-scale CIKR incident. Prior to the Mumbai incident, the IMC provided effective leadership and coordination in communicating with our partners during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. IP’s response is guided by the National Response Framework and National Incident Management System which enable a systematic approach to response operations.

IP’s initial actions on the first day of the Mumbai attacks, November 26, were to disseminate Common Vulnerabilities (CV), Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activity (PI), and Protective Measures (PM) Reports to public and private sector partners through the Homeland Security Information Network for Critical Sectors (HSIN-CS) portal and its 4,500 member user community. These reports provide security officials with specific information on potential vulnerabilities and recommendations on specific protective measures that they can implement to increase their security posture.

On November 27, IP released a TRIPwire Significant Incident Report (SIR) to provide information on the attacks to over 6,000 users in the TRIPwire community. TRIPwire is the Department’s online, collaborative, information-sharing network for bomb squads, law enforcement, and other emergency services personnel. It provides continuously updated information about current terrorist improvised explosive device (IED) tactics, techniques, and procedures, including design and emplacement techniques. IP issued three additional TRIPwire postings over the next 13 days. These updates provided detailed analysis of the terrorist tactics, techniques, and procedures, and recommended protective measures based on the employed strategies. These updates, along with a Mumbai TRITON Special Report, were also shared with members of the private sector through postings on the HSIN-CS portal. TRITON reports are monthly or incident reactive reports that assess terrorist tactics, techniques, operations, and strategies. TRITON reports are produced by a UK-based subject matter expert company, and are provided by IP to our State and local government TRIPwire users.

On December 1, IP e-mailed an updated TRIPwire SIR that contained additional information to all TRIPwire system users and the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC). IP also posted the SIR to the TRIPwire website “What’s New” Portal and to HSIN-CS. Of note, during the eight-day timeframe of November 27 to December 4, TRIPwire had over three times the average number of site visits, indicating intense user interest in the Mumbai attacks and the terrorist tactics, techniques, and procedures used in the attacks.

On December 2, IP’s Commercial Facilities SSA-EMO coordinated a conference call with over 200 leaders across all sectors. The Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC), IP, and Transportation Security Administration provided detailed information on the Mumbai attacks to call participants. Their briefings included analyses of the tactics, techniques, and procedures used in the Mumbai attack, and provided security recommendations to address these attack methods. Specific protective measures were proposed to address surveillance, target selection, infiltration, target access, and engagement with security forces. Based on positive feedback from that call, an additional conference call was held on December 10 specifically for 75 leaders of the Banking and Finance Sector.

On January 12, I&A and IP conducted a classified briefing for senior security directors representing major hotel chains and other commercial venues. The briefing provided a detailed analysis of the tactics, techniques and procedures used in the Mumbai attacks, including specific details of the IEDs; terrorist exploitation of technology; surveillance techniques; timeline of the attack including the targets and tactics; and recommended protective measures for surveillance, port security, access control, and coordination with security forces on specific actions to improve the security posture at their location.

In addition to the interactions with our NIPP partners in Washington, D.C., a significant portion of IP’s work is conducted in the field, across the United States, by the Protective Security Advisor (PSA) cadre. Eighty PSAs are in place in communities throughout the Nation to assist with State, local and private sector efforts to protect critical assets, providing a Federal resource to communities and businesses. During natural disasters and contingency events such as Mumbai, PSAs often work in State and local Emergency Operations Centers. PSAs also provide real-time information on facility significance and protective measures to facility owners and operators, as well as State and local representatives. For example, during the Mumbai event, the PSA for Las Vegas met with hotel, casino and resort security officials to answer questions and distribute our CV/PI/PM reports that provide details on enhanced security recommendations and best practices.

PSAs also conduct Enhanced Critical Infrastructure Protection (ECIP) assessment visits to assess overall site security, identify gaps, recommend protective measures, educate facility owners and operators on security, and promote communication and information sharing among facility owners and operators, DHS, and State governments. Information collected during ECIP visits will be used to develop ECIP metrics; conduct sector-by sector and cross-sector vulnerability comparisons; identify security gaps and trends across CIKR sectors and sub-sectors; establish sector baseline security survey scores; and track progress toward improving CIKR security through activities, programs, outreach, and training. This information is utilized during incidents to help focus national and local response efforts on identified areas of criticality within the impact area and assist in the prioritization of reconstitution efforts.

In addition to the PSA program, IP has provided support for reducing risk of a terrorist attack to the Nation’s CIKR by conducting vulnerability assessments for assets in the Commercial Facilities Sector. The Buffer Zone Protection Program (BZPP) is a DHS administered grant program designed to help local law enforcement and owners and operators of CIKR increase security in the “buffer zone”—the area outside a facility that can be used by an adversary to conduct surveillance or launch an attack. The BZPP focuses on identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities at the highest-risk critical infrastructure sites and is designed to increase local law enforcement capabilities and preparedness.

Additional support is provided through Site Assistance Visits (SAVs). These are “inside the fence” vulnerability assessments conducted jointly by IP in coordination and cooperation with Federal, State, local, and CIKR owners and operators that identify critical components, specific vulnerabilities, and security enhancements. During an SAV, consequence and vulnerability information is collected to inform risk data, which is then used as supporting information for risk-based decision making.

IP has also conducted training for more than 1,900 stakeholders in the Commercial Facilities Sector and law enforcement officials who protect assets in the Lodging and Resorts Subsectors. Relevant courses include Soft Target Awareness, Surveillance Detection, IED Awareness, and Protective Measures.

To provide additional assistance to the Commercial Facilities Sector, IP is currently deploying Risk – Self-Assessment Tool (R-SAT), an upgraded, re-engineered version of the Vulnerability Identification Self-Assessment Tool (ViSAT). ViSAT is a Web-based self-assessment tool developed by IP and provided free of charge to CIKR asset owners/operators, primarily in places of mass gatherings such as arenas and stadiums.

This tool assists owners/operators to raise the level of security at CIKR facilities and establish a common baseline of security from which all assets in certain sectors or subsectors can identify weaknesses and establish protection plans. Modules have currently been deployed for stadiums, arenas, convention centers, performing arts centers, and speedways. Commercial facilities members currently have access to ViSAT, and DHS has provided a grant to the International Association of Assembly Managers, a cochair of the Public Assembly Subcouncil, to promote and provide training for this tool.

IP also provides the Constellation/Automated Critical Asset Management System (C/ACAMS) to State and local communities at no cost. Currently, 30 States use C/ACAMS, a CIKR asset management system that focuses on the unique requirements and information needs of first responders. It provides vulnerability and consequence scoring tools that aid the user’s subjective analysis of criticality; an integrated open source information portal, Constellation, which ties together critical asset data and reporting about the current threat environment; a tailored reporting capability to assist in data calls on critical assets; Buffer Zone Generation capability; capability to generate preincident operational plans; online resources for first responders; and an integrated geographic information system via the Department’s Integrated Common Analytical Viewer.

Additionally, the Regional Consortium Coordinating Council (RCCC) was established in Fall 2008 to bring the unique perspectives of geographically based public and private partnerships into the NIPP framework. The RCCC comprises existing functional and active regional entities that include both government and private sector members. The RCCC provides a critical link between CIKR owners/operators and key homeland security officials and activities at the regional, State, and local levels.

These Departmental efforts and resources are critically important. However, as we move forward and enhance our efforts, and recall the lessons learned from Mumbai, it is also important to acknowledge that individual facility owners and operators, and their State and local officials, know the unique circumstances facing a specific asset and are, therefore, best positioned to serve as primary lead in coordination of security and emergency response planning. DHS’s role is to facilitate and augment planning and support where necessary and appropriate.

I believe a key opportunity to prevent the next attack in this country will be by local law enforcement and the private sector seeing something suspicious and taking action or calling that information into the proper authorities. Time and again, we have witnessed this effective solution both here in the United States during the Fort Dix and South Carolina incidents and overseas. The Federal Government and the Department of Homeland Security can and do assist with these efforts by providing valuable information to our local government and private sector partners.

As I have described, IP is focused on continuing to improve our capability to provide timely and actionable information to our public and private sector partners. This, coupled with partnerships strengthened during recent hurricane experiences, has reinforced the operational linkages that will enable effective planning in advance of an incident, result in enhanced safety, security and resiliency of our nation’s CIKR, and produce an operational effect for expeditious, efficient, and effective response should an incident occur.

Thank you for your attention, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.

Tuesday
Mar312009

DHS Press Release: Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool

DHS Releases Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool

Release Date: March 30, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the release of a DHS-developed detection tool that can be used by the federal government, commercial vendors, state and local governments, and critical infrastructure owners and operators to scan their networks for the Conficker/Downadup computer worm.

The department's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) developed the tool that assists mission-critical partners in detecting if their networks are infected. The tool has been made available to federal and state partners via the Government Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (GFIRST) Portal, and to private sector partners through the IT and Communications sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs). Additional outreach to partners will continue in the coming days.

Department cyber experts briefed federal Chief Information Officers and Chief Information Security Officers today, as well as their equivalents in the private sector and state/local government via the ISACs and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan framework.

"While tools have existed for individual users, this is the only free tool – and the most comprehensive one – available for enterprises like federal and state government and private sector networks to determine the extent to which their systems are infected by this worm," said US-CERT Director Mischel Kwon."Our experts at US-CERT are working around the clock to increase our capabilities to address the cyber risk to our nation's critical networks and systems, both from this threat and all others."

In addition to the development of this tool, DHS is working closely with private sector and government partners to minimize any impact from the Conficker/Downadup computer worm. This worm can infect Microsoft Windows systems from thumb drives, network share drives, or directly across a corporate network if network servers are not protected by Microsoft’s MS08-067 patch.

US-CERT recommends that Windows Operating Systems users apply Microsoft security patch MS08-067 (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx) as quickly as possible to help protect themselves from the worm. This security patch, released in October 2008, is designed to protect against a vulnerability that, if exploited, could enable an attacker to remotely take control of an infected system and install additional malicious software.

Home users can apply a simple test for the presence of a Conficker/Downadup infection on their home computers. The presence of an infection may be detected if users are unable to connect to their security solution Web site or if they are unable to download free detection/removal tools.

If an infection is suspected, the system or computer should be removed from the network. In the case of home users, the computer should be unplugged from the Internet.

Instructions, support and more information on how to manually remove a Conficker/Downadup infection from a system have been published by major security vendors. Each of these vendors offers free tools that can verify the presence of a Conficker/Downadup infection and remove the worm:

Symantec:
http://www.symantec.com/business/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2009-011316-0247-99

Microsoft:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/962007
http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/viruses/worms/conficker.mspx

Home users may also call Microsoft PC Safety hotline at 1-866-PCSAFETY, for assistance.

McAfee:
http://www.mcafee.com/us/threat_center/default.asp

US-CERT encourages users to prevent a Conficker/Downadup infection by ensuring all systems have the MS08-067 patch, disabling AutoRun functionality (see http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/techalerts/TA09-020A.html), and maintaining up-to-date anti-virus software.

In addition, US-CERT recommends that computer users and administrators implement the following preparedness measures to protect themselves against this vulnerability, and also from future vulnerabilities:

  • Keep up-to-date on security patches and fixes for your operating system.The easiest way to do this is to set your system to receive automatic updates, which will ensure you automatically receive security updates issued by Microsoft.If your system does not allow automatic updates, we recommend that you manually install the Microsoft security patch today through Microsoft Update at http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them up-to-date
  • Enable a firewall which will help block attacks before they can get into your computer

To access the alerts for this vulnerability and for additional information on cyber security tips and practices, please visit www.us-cert.gov.

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