The Fourth Winter Institute at Disaster City in College Station, Texas, is scheduled Nov. 15 – 17. Concurrent to the Winter Institute is a workshop that helps public-safety professionals host an exercise in their home states. As a part of the workshop, attendees spend time in the field at the Disaster City exercise. “This workshop will not only show you the value of such an exercise but it will also describe to you how obtain access to the network, devices and applications making an exercise a possibility in your state,” said Walt Magnussen, director of Texas A&M University’s (TAMU) Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC). November Winter Institute, Workshop to Address NG 9-1-1, FirstNet Experiences
Automakers should make shielding the electronic and computer systems of vehicles from hackers a priority, developing layers of protection that can secure a vehicle throughout its life, U.S. regulators said on Monday. The cyber security guidelines issued by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are recommendations, not enforceable rules. However, they mark a step toward establishing a road map for industry behavior as lawmakers and consumers pressure automakers to show how they will protect increasingly connected and automated vehicles from cyber attacks. U.S. calls on automakers to make cyber security a priority
Like any other weekday, last Friday I grabbed a cup of coffee and activated my computer to see the latest world news cascade down my Twitter feed. But unlike an average day, Twitter was down. Mild discomfort settled in. Social media addiction aside, it turns out a huge swath of popular websites — from CNN to Github to Paypal to reddit — were down for users in the eastern part of the U.S. The culprit, as we probably should expect by now, was a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack, and it came in two waves. The second was even more powerful, affecting users on the West Coast as well. So what’s the lesson we should all learn from this attack? Why securing IoT is a national-security imperative
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes the series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that disrupted major websites across the US East Coast on Friday have been mitigated. The attacks targeted Dyn, a New Hampshire-based Internet performance management company. A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming the targeted system with data. Users reported on Friday they had trouble accessing a number of popular websites, such as Twitter, Reddit, and Spotify. Kyle York, chief strategy officer for Dyn, said the attacks came in three waves, first hitting the East Coast and later spreading westward. DHS Says Massive DDoS Attack Against Dyn Has Been Mitigated
Politics and FirstNet This past week the National Governor’s Association (NGA) sent the states a draft of a document addressed to FirstNet that will tell FirstNet and the selected partner vendor how they are to deal with the states. This includes keeping the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in the loop at all times to ensure the governor receives the best possible information to determine whether the state will opt in or out. When I looked at the distribution list the NGA used to send this to the various states, I noticed it included everyone in the chain except the SPOCs! Perhaps the NGA should follow its own advice!
Public Safety community members I am hearing from are becoming more and more concerned that politics will play an unfortunate role in the future of FirstNet. The first issue on the table is to make sure all states are treated fairly and receive the same considerations for the plans. If states think a neighboring state is being offered more it could create an issue that could make the opt-in/opt-out decision more complex than whether FirstNet is being responsive to their needs. Next is the disconnect between many states and local jurisdictions. Many locals feel they have been left out of the loop. In one state I attended a number of meetings where the state and FirstNet were presenting, but the state made no comments about receiving input from the various local agencies. There is also an interesting political twist to this. In a recent survey of states and cities, it was found that in many cases the state government is heavy with members of one political party and the city or county is heavy with the other party. This could easily cause further issues between states and jurisdictions and impact the process and progress of FirstNet.
Will states include local jurisdictions in the approval process when FirstNet and the partner provide each state with a “state plan?” One issue with the opt-in/opt-out timing is that states don’t have much time so perhaps the notion of consulting with locals won’t be pursued. However, at the end of the day, it is the locals who are the major system customers. Common sense says that in order to build a successful network your customers have to be happy with the results. The last thing the Public Safety community needs is a network that is built and not fully utilized by local jurisdictions because it does not provide coverage where it is needed. I, for one, do not expect every jurisdiction in every state to be happy with the coverage on day one, but I do expect that over time coverage will be expanded to meet their requirements. Continue reading
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) said it will not award a partner for its request for proposals (RFP) acquisition process by Nov. 1. “FirstNet will continue to execute the acquisition process outlined in the RFP beyond the Nov. 1 target date for the award,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth in a blog. “From the outset, FirstNet set an aggressive schedule for the procurement, knowing that the timing of the award would depend on many factors given its significance and complexity, some of which are outside our control,” Poth said. FirstNet Won’t Make Nov. 1 RFP Target Award Date
Michael Baker International and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation announced a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to develop national guidelines and a solution that provides first responders with real-time information prior to and during emergencies. DHS S&T Signs Contract for Flood Information, Response Tool