The past month has been a challenge for many of us as we faced down Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, and, yes, even snow in California! With this version of The Intel Brief we are informing you that challenges still lie ahead…but there is time to prepare! You will want to read through both, the Cyber Risk Management, and Systems Integration sections to learn what to expect, and how to safeguard against the threats.
Cyber Risk Management
So we have gotten through the ravages of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; the three Earthquakes in Mexico; flooding; tornadoes; hail; and snow in California…what a busy month we have had! And now here come the blood suckers trying to take advantage of our plight with phishing attacks, fraudulent donation phone calls, false collection websites, and other forms of thievery from the victims of these terrible acts of Mother Nature. To add insult to injury, Equifax, one the Nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, was breached and over 143 million Americans personal information were exposed to criminals intent on stealing identities.
The best advice that can be given is, take precautions:
First, make yourself aware of the cyber world that surrounds you. Listen on the news for discussions of emails circulating that are known to carry phishing attempts, or sites that have been cloned. Read blogs reporting on Cyber News. The account you save could be your own…
Second, do not assume that the person calling you and says they are from your bank, insurance carrier, or local charity organization really are your bank, insurance carrier, or local charity organization…assume they are trying to extract information from you over the phone in order to exploit that information for their gain. Politely tell them you will call them back before you confirm anything or provide any information with this stranger. Call the organization back using a preprinted number on the back of your credit or membership card. You can look up charity organizations on the internet, carefully making certain that the address in the browser is correct. Explain to the customer service representative that you received a call and you are calling back over a known phone number to be safe. They will understand and appreciate your effort, and will go out of their way to help you.
Third, ignore the text messages and emails you get from charity organizations. Well, don’t ignore them, just don’t use the link embedded in the message to go to their website. Instead, type in the web address to that organization from your browser. There is no need to type out the lengthy string that you see in the email or text, usually. Just go to the Home page, then navigate to the area that you wish to visit for offering a donating or other form of support.
Fourth, now is not the time to pinch a penny when it comes to securing your financial accounts. Assume your information is compromised and act now to purchase Identity Theft Protection from one of the known offerors. They work! Just search for “Identity Theft Protection” on the internet and select a known company. Be sure the address in your browser address bar clearly is the company that you were trying to reach before you start to fill out any forms with sensitive personal information.
Fifth, start to review your bank statements regularly. Any unclear transactions should be addressed immediately!
For more information visit our Cyber Risk Management page, Click Here.
Do Not Forget the Firmware! Firmware is everywhere; from the largest data center to the smallest networked LED light bulb. It is the most powerful code on any system because it controls how devices operate. Compromised firmware can be used to corrupt or steal data, spy on your environment or even destroy the system it is controlling. Firmware is powerful code that persists from device restart to restart, sitting below operating systems and driver layers where it can fool anything else on the system – including existing security tools – into thinking everything is working fine. Read the entire article by clicking here.
Heroes and Systems, what a fantastic combination! To say that the past six weeks have been difficult for many on this side of the globe is an understatement! Mother Nature certainly through everything she had at us…and then some!
While we were “battening down the hatches” and raiding the food markets with any available supply, they were out there working for us. The spotlight certainly shined on the heroes. There were The Cajun Navy, armed with boats and Zello, an online communications tool that operates like a radio through an app on your smart phone. It was real impressive how well they were organized to support the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey. Volunteers from the four corners of the country jumped in to help, working long, arduous shifts. I listened for hours, pride swelling inside, as I heard the volunteer dispatchers, or moderators as they call themselves, organize assets, reassuring stranded people and controlling the airwaves. They directed rescuers to locations where victims were waiting to be saved. Boat operators communicating with the moderators were as determined and disciplined as any soldier I have ever served with. Under the harshest of conditions, they were there, and for that, we all owe them a great debt of gratitude!
I listened as local Police and Fire Rescue authorities, also out there in the floods, rain and lightening, directed rescues, organized assets, safeguarded the volunteer civilian rescuers, and kept the airwaves clear of the occasional heckler. Teams of adhoc volunteers working seamlessly with First Responders was a beautiful site to bear witness to! Guts, the will to succeed, and a heightened sense of humanity were emanating from these heroes! Simple technology, a fabric of internet capabilities woven with radio etiquette, information exchanges and emergency communications infrastructure, won out the day in support of these heroes. Well done all!
For more information visit our website, Click Here.
Empowering Emergency Response with Technology: Emergency Response during a natural or man-made disaster could be rated as one of the most stressful and dangerous activities a professional could face in his or her lifetime. There are thousands of brave men and women that, besides their normal day to day jobs, offer their services as rescuer. Every emergency is unique and presents its own set of challenges, and the rescuers are faced with the daunting task of making decisions on the fly, decisions that if made wrong, could put their lives or the lives of others in danger. Providing and equipping the rescuer force with “best of breed” resources available could mean more lives spared and reduction of risk to the safety of the rescuers themselves.
During an emergency, many agencies are faced with an influx of personnel willing to lend a helping hand, however organizing and managing all of those volunteers and professional workers is not an easy task, unless an effective communication architecture is established allowing for many different types of communication devices to talk to each other, providing the much needed command and control of the efforts. Click here to read the complete article.