3 Ways to Protect Your Critical Infrastructure
By Jim Pruden, Senior Director Federal Civilian, Cloudera
An electrical fire at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in December 2017 left America’s busiest airport without power for nearly 11 hours, delaying thousands of passengers during the busy holiday travel season. While the outage was not linked to a malicious actor, the event demonstrates how devastating an attack can be, and the impact could be much worse than a slew of frustrated travelers if the scenario arose from a targeted attack on more critical infrastructure.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the United States, including energy, communications, financial services and food and agriculture. These 16 industries are “considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic stability, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”
Although it’s true that many critical infrastructure sectors are primarily owned and operated by the private sector, such as energy and commercial facilities, the role of government should not be neglected when evaluating how best to protect these industries from attack. It can seem like a daunting task to account for and defend against all threats, from a physical terrorist attack to a targeted cyber strike to a natural disaster. But given the rising prevalence of cybersecurity threats, there are some precautionary measures that government agencies should keep in mind.
- Stay current on federal recommendations -- Securing our critical infrastructure requires coordinated efforts from state, local, and federal governments as well as the private sector. But it is the federal government that is tasked with issuing standards and best practices on the most effective approach. Managed by DHS, the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) is an annual report that offers a recap of the health of the nation’s critical infrastructure to reduce risks. Private sector organizations operating within a designated critical infrastructure sector can request an assessment from DHS against a number of cybersecurity standards. Assessing the current state of readiness is the first step to implementing an effective cybersecurity plan.
- Be aware of the weaker lines between OT and IT--Operational Technology (OT) is a system that monitors and controls physical devices and processes, such as how much electricity is generated through transmission lines. Traditionally, these functions were run on manual equipment physically operated by a human, but as the Internet of Things (IoT) has grown and operations are streamlined, many OT devices are now equipped with IP addresses to enable remote access and control. This transition means that OT and IT networks are becoming more closely connected, and so security standards must catch up to ensure proper barriers between the networks. Such measures include improved access control and encryption, which help prevent hackers from gaining access to the IT network and quickly taking control of the OT, which could lead to the disruption or even ransom of essential services like electricity and water.
- Adapt security standards as IT landscape evolves--Private and public sector organizations alike are moving toward more digital business models that rely on the latest technological trends. From the growth of IoT to moving into public clouds and BYOD policies, IT operations and security must adapt to keep pace with the newest advancements. But this shift doesn’t mean that agencies and private sector organizations have to reinvent the wheel. Although attacks on critical infrastructure are highly targeted and can have dire consequences, they are nevertheless typically the same types of cyber attacks that have hit other industries already, from phishing and malware to ransomware, and can be mitigated with the same best practices already in place. And there are many new or improving technologies assisting organizations in the protection of critical infrastructure assets, like voice and video analytics that provide a number of capabilities, including crowd control, gauging expected motions, and identifying objects and individuals whether stationary or in motion.
Critical infrastructure protection is essential to the security of the United States. The 16 critical infrastructure sectors occupy a unique position of having such a designation via a federal agency, yet most of the operations are owned and operated by private businesses. Thus, information sharing and collaboration between the public and private sectors are vital to securing our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Tri-Tech Forensics Announces Acquisition of Rescue Essentials
Acquisition Expands Tri-Tech’s Product Offering to Include First Responder Kits and Emergency Supplies
Leland, NC and Salida, CO; - - Tri-Tech Forensics, Inc., a leader in the crime scene supplies, digital forensics, and evidence collection kit markets, announced today the acquisition of Rescue Essentials, a leading manufacturer and marketer of Individual First Aid Kits, tactical EMS supplies, and first responder trauma gear and equipment. Rescue Essentials’ products are sold to medical and law enforcement agencies throughout the world, including the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and U.S. Department of Defense.
Tri-Tech Forensics will leverage its core kitting and logistics management expertise to enable Rescue Essentials to focus on product development and market expansion. The teams at Tri-Tech Forensics and Rescue Essentials are looking forward to offering their products to a wider customer base.
“The first responder and tactical medical market has been an area of keen interest for us given the market dynamics we expect to see over time,” said Tri-Tech Forensics CEO Jim Seidel. “Rescue Essentials will give us exposure to that growing market, and we are excited to welcome the Rescue Essentials team into the Tri-Tech Forensics family. We believe the purchasing experience of our customers will be greatly enhanced by the increased product breadth this acquisition brings.”
Rescue Essentials Founder and CEO Phil Carey added, “Rescue Essentials has found a great strategic partner to expand our production capabilities and to achieve greater market penetration with a wider product offering into the markets we serve. We are excited to be teamed with Tri-Tech Forensics and to be serving the increasingly complex needs of the tactical medicine community through our combined service and expertise.”
About Rescue Essentials
Rescue Essentials' core capabilities include the design, assembly, and distribution of customized trauma and medical kits. Excelling at contract assembly of customer-specified components, they specialize in the sourcing and assembly of these kits for law enforcement and government agencies. Their willingness to address both small and large runs in a variety of delivery systems sets them apart from other manufacturers. The outcome is a product line and a set of capabilities that address budget requirements, ever changing protocols, and fit within the world of real-time, tactical professionals. For more information, visit www.rescue-essentials.com.
About Tri-Tech Forensics
Tri-Tech Forensics (TTF) is a leader in providing physical and digital evidence collection solutions and crime scene investigation products to law enforcement markets throughout the world. With over 30 years of experience, TTF is the nation’s most proficient developer and manufacturer of forensic evidence collection kits in the market today. TTF’s premiere DNA collection kits have become the benchmark solution for DNA collection for U.S. Federal operations and across law enforcement customers in all fifty U.S. states. TTF continues to develop superior products to aid in all aspects of forensic investigation, crime laboratory analysis, digital forensics, and evidence preservation. For more information, visit www.tritechforensics.com.
General Dynamics Conducts Successful Border Security Technology Pilot in Texas
FAIRFAX, Va. – General Dynamics Information Technology has conducted a successful pilot of its Relocatable-Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) solution for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The company has established a teaming agreement with Parsons Government Services Inc., to support CBP with the deployment of six relocatable systems in Laredo and McAllen, Texas. CBP plans to expand the deployment across the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas in 2018.
Adaptable to multiple environments, the Relocatable-RVSS is a multi-sensor surveillance system that allows for flexible and rapid deployments. This provides U.S. Border Patrol Agents with advanced real-time situational awareness and the ability to predict, detect, track, deter, respond and resolve threats in remote locations. Throughout the pilot’s testing, the Relocatable-RVSS proved effective in increasing officer safety, intelligence and mission effectiveness and was adaptive to wide-ranging operational needs.
“General Dynamics is committed to supporting CBP’s mission to help increase the security of the nation’s borders,” said Mike Cassidy, acting general manager and senior vice president for operations of General Dynamics IT’s Global Solutions division. “The successful pilot and deployment of the Relocatable-RVSS delivers advanced technologies and demonstrates its operational value in providing enhanced tactical and mobile surveillance.”
In July 2013, CBP awarded General Dynamics a contract to upgrade the RVSS capability along the southern U.S. border. CBP announced in April 2017 that the General Dynamics RVSS solution had achieved a ‘Full Operating Capability’ designation. To date, General Dynamics has tested, installed and deployed the RVSS system across 68 sites in Arizona.
General Dynamics has a diverse portfolio of physical and border security contracts with DHS, the U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers. The company has provided a wide range of integrated security systems leveraging next generation wireless network infrastructure, secure mobile communications, operational support systems and advanced surveillance systems such as electro-optical and infrared long-range cameras. Notable programs include: the Tactical Communications Modernization, Commercial Tier 1 Carrier Wireless Network Infrastructure and Rescue 21. Additionally, the company is supporting large technology integration programs, including the consolidation of DHS Headquarters at St. Elizabeths Campus.
Maryland-based and GSN-Award Winner, TCOM, to Showcase Effectiveness of Lighter-Than-Air Maritime ISR Solutions for Cost-Efficient Persistent Surveillance at The Singapore Airshow 2018
Singapore. TCOM, Columbia, Maryland-based, a global leader for innovative, cost-effective Airborne Persistent Surveillance Solutions is proud to announce its upcoming participation in the 2018 Singapore Airshow where it will showcase superior persistent surveillance solutions at booth R92 in the USA pavilion. The long-awaited 2018 Singapore Airshow will take place February 6-11 in the Changi Exhibition Centre; showcasing the world's finest and innovative in the avionics and defense industries.
TCOM is the global authority in airborne persistent surveillance solutions with operations in over 20 countries around the world. For over 40 years, TCOM innovations have defined the industry, and their pioneering achievements continue to revolutionize the design, manufacture, and deployment of Lighter Than Air (LTA) systems. TCOM platform solutions include numerous classes of aerostats that can each be equipped with a broad selection of proven payloads that are customizable for specific customer requirements. The TCOM 22M and 28M Operational Class Aerostats are versatile, battle-proven, rapid deployment, persistent surveillance solutions. They are equipped to detect and track targets in the most challenging terrain, including those at sea.
Recently, it has been widely reported that regional states such as the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Korea, and New Zealand, are actively increasing their ISR vigilance. Adding to that complexity is the presence of largely populated areas in multiple countries proximate to the conflict zone, making it difficult to select one tool or method to create an effective operational 'big picture' for decision makers. Wisely, countries are also considering an all-of-the-above approach for their defenses to ensure full situational awareness with optimized intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) for land, air, and sea domains.
This year, TCOM will showcase the unique value its maritime systems can provide. Unhindered by costly fuel or aeronautic maintenance the Aerostat systems provide unmatched ISR capabilities. Their true strengths are observed with their Maritime ISR showings as the Aerostat is not "just a balloon" but a persistent, unmanned, ISR platform. Specific to the maritime environment where ground surveillance is rendered ineffective by the scale of the maritime environment, tactical and strategic Aerostats outperform other solutions based on their ability to carry a wide variety of payload to altitudes in excess of 20,000 ft. above mean sea level (MSL) with station time measured in weeks not hours. Aerostat systems need little time to deploy and have lower maintenance requirements at a substantially lower hourly operational cost than conventional aircraft and drones. Moreover, aerostats offer a combination of wide viewing angles and high resolution for more precise identification of small objects as well as surveillance of larger areas. In short, aerostats enable true persistent, real-time tactical ISR at an affordable cost.
Aerostats can serve as a platform for an array of sensors to provide indications and warnings of aerial and maritime threats. The helium-filled Aerostat provides a clear line of sight over air and sea space to a range of up to 200km. The reinforced tether provides near real-time ISR to the ground station personnel who can make smarter decisions based on actionable assessments. This is especially useful when dealing with extremely busy ports, and the difficult task to observe highly a congested waterway. Threats to congested waterways are ever present and not hindered by time, a safe port is a productive port and is at risk of failure without superior surveillance systems such as the Aerostat.
To Learn More, visit TCOM's booth at R92 in the USA Pavilion at the Singapore Air Show.
About TCOM, LP:
TCOM, LP is a global leader of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions of Lighter-than-Air Persistent Surveillance Tethered Aerostat platforms for Air, Maritime, and Land. For over 40 years, the company's pioneering innovations have defined the persistent surveillance and Lighter-than-Air industries. By blending leading edge technology, manufacturing and field operation capabilities, TCOM has provided ISR systems for the United States and foreign governments with complete persistent surveillance capabilities. Our systems are in use around the globe including theaters of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. TCOM's delivered systems include fixed-site deployments, fully transportable systems and specialized sea-based deployments. TCOM's headquarters are based in Columbia, MD and the Manufacturing & Flight Test Facility is located near Elizabeth City, NC. TCOM is the only company in the world devoted to cost-effective LTA surveillance solutions with in-house aerostat and airship manufacture, assembly, flight test, and training capabilities. Learn more at http://www.tcomlp.com.
BOSTON, January 25, 2018 – Forum Systems Inc., a pioneer in API security technology, today announced industry-first capabilities in its award-winning Forum Sentry API Security Gateway that enable enterprises and government organizations to securely leverage the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for key business initiatives. Further advancing the state-of-the-art in API security gateway technology, Forum Sentry now features a REST API for rapid deployment in virtual, cloud and containerized environments.
Now, more than ever, organizations are adopting on-demand platforms to power their businesses. In fact, Forrester forecasts that in 2018 “more than 50% of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform to drive digital transformation and delight customers.”
Addressing these realities, while offering maximum deployment flexibility, Forum Systems is making Forum Sentry available in an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) form factor to ensure customers launch security-hardened Amazon EC2 instances. Additionally, the new REST API supports autonomous deployment and fully automated provisioning of Forum Sentry in elastic computing environments.
“Amazon and other major cloud providers require customers to allow root administrator access to their infrastructure. While a boon to the cloud companies – which benefit from a wealth of monitoring and metrics data – these pathways lay bare customers’ operating systems to potential attack and compromise,” said Forum Systems CEO Mamoon Yunus. “By routing their network traffic through Forum Sentry, organizations can securely harness the power of virtualization, cloud computing, and containers – and achieve peace of mind.”
The only API security gateway to achieve NIST FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and Common Criteria NIAP Network Device Protection Profile certification, Forum Sentry protects and accelerates data exchange and API service access across networks and business boundaries, significantly reducing the cost and complexity of centralizing security, identity, and governance. Serving as an information broker deployed as a logical API protecting applications and services, Forum Sentry precludes clients from directly accessing application and services tiers. This unmatched level of security prevents identity compromise and enables SSO authentication and session management achievement – without required code changes or manipulation to backend systems.
To continue to differentiate itself from the competition and deliver customer value, Forum Systems introduced several other key capabilities in this latest version of Forum Sentry, including:
- Richer Performance Metrics, Analytics and Reporting Capabilities – Forum Sentry now provides more granular visibility into individual transaction latencies (with seven-segment latency breakdown). Additionally, customers can seamlessly integrate with any Big Data analytics engine or monitoring infrastructure for real-time and historical traffic flow profiling, archiving, and heuristics learning of APIs, cloud services and on-premises application performance behavior.
- Support for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) System Wide Information Management (SWIM) Program – Forum Sentry now complies with the FAA SWIM information sharing platform for secure identity using SAML, Binary Security Tokens and Username token formats.
- Compliance Exacting Critical Infrastructure Security Mandates – Forum Sentry is now certified to comply with the strict cryptographic requirements of the U.S. Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre.
Notably, in the recent KuppingerCole Executive View: Forum Sentry API Security Gateway report, Senior Analyst Alexei Balaganski recognized Forum Sentry as an “integrated platform for API and service security, access management and legacy application modernization with a strong focus on ‘security by design.’” Emphasizing that Forum Sentry is “still the only product on the market where security forms the integral foundation of the architecture,” Balaganski deemed it “recommended for evaluation by any organization looking for the highest grade of security and reliability for their API infrastructure.”
About Forum Systems
Forum Systems Inc. is the leader in API Security Management. Providing centralized security, identity, and integration for API communications, the Forum Sentry API Security Gateway enables enterprises to manage complex API strategies in an efficient, agile, highly secure manner. Processing more than 10 billion transactions per day worldwide, and architected on “security-first” design principles, Forum Sentry delivers unparalleled protection against modern API vulnerabilities. Forum Sentry is the industry’s only API security gateway to achieve NIST FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and Common Criteria NIAP Network Device Protection Profile certification for enabling secure connectivity between users, applications and the cloud. For more information, please visit www.forumsys.com.
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Government Security News Judge Chuck Brooks appointed to Adjunct Faculty at Master's in Applied Intelligence Program at Georgetown University
Chuck Brooks, MA ’81 was recently appointed to be Adjunct Faculty at Master's in Applied Intelligence Program at Georgetown University. Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Applied Intelligence program focuses on three key sectors, namely homeland security, law enforcement, and competitive business intelligence.
Chuck will be teaching a graduate course in Risk Management in Homeland Security. His course will provide students with the skills needed to assess and respond to an organization's exposure to risk as related to homeland security. Students will learn how to model, measure, and assess undesirable risks and reduce risks relevant to large organizations with public obligations across criminal justice disciplines and in public-private security collaborations.
Chuck is currently President Brooks Consulting International, a firm specializing in cybersecurity and emerging technologies strategy, branding, thought leadership, and marketing. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn” out of their 500 million members. He is also an advisor to LinkedIn on cybersecurity and emerging technology issues. Chuck has published more than 150 articles and blogs on cybersecurity and technology issues and is a frequent featured speaker at conferences.
Chuck has also judged five Government Security News Homeland Security Awards. In both 2017 and 2016, he was named “Cybersecurity Marketer of the Year by the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards. Chuck’s professional industry affiliations include being the Chairman of CompTIA’s New and Emerging Technology Committee, and as a member, Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Working Group. He is on the Advisory Board, Center for Advancing Innovation, and has also served as a Technology Partner Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Chuck has served in government at The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the first Legislative Director of The Science & Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. He served as a top Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter on Capitol Hill covering security and technology issues on Capitol Hill. Earlier in his career he served a Special Assistant of the Director of Voice of America. He also was an Auxiliary Police Officer for Arlington County , Virginia.
Chuck was also an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught a course on Homeland Security and Congress. He has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, a BA in Political Science from DePauw University, and a Certificate in International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law.
You can follow Chuck on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chuckbrooks/
And on Twitter @ChuckDBrooks
Preston Abbey PA-CFT eliminates the need for government personnel to manually feed secure fax machines and is compatible with Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol
RESTON, VA, 06 FEBRUARY 2018 – Preston Abbey, a developer of solutions for the secure transmission of confidential and sensitive documents, today introduced the PA-CFT (Classified File Transfer), enabling government and defense agencies to transfer any classified files, including documents, photos, videos and maps, with the security of Secure Telephone Equipment (STE). When using Preston Abbey PA-CFT, transmitted files never leave a secure environment, thus providing a paperless solution that allows sensitive files to be sent electronically, dramatically reducing the risk of classified documents being compromised during the manual fax process.
“There is a pressing need for this type of solution due to the increasing number of attacks on Internet-based systems, such as email and databases, which represents a major threat to those in government who need to protect and secure classified information,” said David Shaw, President and co-founder of Preston Abbey.
Preston Abbey solutions accomplish the secure transmission of classified documents without the use of email, the Internet or any mechanism susceptible to eavesdropping or other interference by unauthorized parties, including foreign governments, terrorist groups, hackers and anyone who would leak sensitive material on public web sites.
Preston Abbey offers an effective migration path from obsolete or outdated secure fax equipment to a completely paperless operation, with little or no impact on the day-to-day operations of a government agency or its communications network. Preston Abbey solutions support the reliable connection of modern printer/scanner devices to replace legacy equipment and secure mission critical document exchange over existing communications channels, retaining the full advantages of STEs for confidentiality.
The full Preston Abbey product range meets the needs of civilian government and military agencies that rely on STEs and Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol (SCIP) to send and receive classified files and includes:
- PA-CFT (Classified File Transfer)
- The paperless solution
- PA-LFR (Legacy Fax Replacement)
- A cost-effective alternative to aging and often failing fax machines
- PA-SAA (Stand Alone Application)
- A software solution allowing connection of a STE to Windows or Mac
The Preston Abbey solutions allow the standard RS232 interface for STEs to seamlessly access the full features of the advanced software.
“It is abundantly clear that the emerging requirement for sensitive file transmission is to retain the faxing mechanism’s extraordinary security of a point-to-point, direct communication path, while avoiding the tedious need to handle physical documents,” said James Abbey, CEO and co-founder of Preston Abbey. “With PA-CFT, government users will become more efficient by being able to transfer documents to or from their computer directly without having to go through the time and trouble of manually operating a fax machine.”
The Preston Abbey PA-CFT will automatically determine the nature of the recipient device and make the appropriate technical arrangements. Designed with reliability in mind, the proprietary firmware is hardened against transmission errors or other communications problems and will optionally retry data that fails internal integrity checking. Preston Abbey solutions provide long-term dependability for secure document handling requirements, as well as an upgrade path for new features.
Preston Abbey solutions require minimum engineering changes or network alterations. They enable users of legacy equipment to migrate easily and effectively to modern, inexpensive paperless solutions. Speed is mandatory and is provided by mature platforms that Preston Abbey leverages to provide robust solutions for critical document handling. The Preston Abbey solutions are fully automated and feature a simple web interface, ensuring quick and easy configuration and set-up. Once installed, they will operate continuously without user intervention.
About Preston Abbey
Preston Abbey develops reliable, mission critical communications solutions that secure the connectivity and delivery of confidential and sensitive documents for government and DOD agencies. Headquartered in the heart of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area's technology corridor, Preston Abbey has unparalleled experience, expertise and knowledge of secure fax technology for government deployments. For more information visit the website at: www.prestonabbey.com.
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