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Today's News

Up to $3 million in grants for terrorism prevention training available

The Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance in the DoJ is seeking applications for the State and Local Terrorism Prevention Training and Technical Assistance National Initiative.

That initiative also includes tribal terrorism prevention training and assistance.

According to the grants notice, funding opportunity number BJA-2010-2496, this training and technical assistance program will “further the Department’s counter-terror efforts and assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to prevent acts of terror in their jurisdictions.”

In addition, the training will “emphasize that constitutional rights, civil liberties, civil rights, and privacy interests must be protected throughout the intelligence process.”

Up to $3 million in grants will be awarded under the program, though the number of grants available was not specified in the notice.

Eligible applicants, in addition to non-profits, faith-based organizations and institutions of higher learning, include “for profit organizations other than small businesses,” according to the notice.

The closing date for applications is March 18, 2010. Additional information is available from Al Roddy, at 202-353-1881.

Long Branch, NJ schools in adopt Avigilon HD surveillance system

Vancouver, Canada-based Avigilon, the specialist in high-definition (HD) and megapixel video surveillance systems, reports that the Long Branch, NJ, public schools have deployed the Avigilon HD surveillance system.

According to the company, the superintendent, school administrators, and IT team at the school system manage the Avigilon surveillance system using Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS).

Avigilon HD cameras, ranging from five to 16 megapixels, have been installed at five schools. The Avigilon 16 megapixel cameras have been installed on the exterior of the buildings to monitor the parking lots and the high school’s football field, while the remaining Avigilon HD cameras are installed throughout the interior of the schools.

The school system also installed 10 Avigilon HD network video recorders (NVR) to store up to two months of continuous surveillance video.

Long Branch Public Schools plans to install the Avigilon HD surveillance system at its remaining schools within the next year, according to the company.

Photron’s Fastcam Viewer software updated for camera control and slow motion video replay

San Diego, CA-based Photron, Inc., a global high speed imaging systems and image analysis software manufacturer, reports that it has updated the Photron Fastcam Viewer (PFV) software, offering new functionality in high-speed camera control and slow-motion video replay. 

The company describes the software as having a “new, intuitive user interface with easy access to creating and replaying image sequences from industry-standard file formats.”

Those formats include AVI (Windows video), MOV (Apple QuickTime video), TIFF ( 8-bit or 26-bit file formats), JPEG, BMP (Bitmap), PNG (Portable Network Graphics), RAW and RAWW (native camera file formats), Photron notes.
 
Videos saved using Photron’s PFV software will automatically replay at the user-selected replay speed from 1 to 1,000 frames per second, according to Photron, and when the video is opened with Windows Media Player or Apple QuickTime, it auto-plays at the desired slow motion rate.

Samsung Techwin and GVI Security form strategic partnership

Ridgefield Park, NJ-based Samsung Techwin America and Carrollton, TX-based GVI Security Solutions have announced that they will establish a “strategic partnership.”


That partnership, the companies note, is prompted by the merger of Samsung Techwin and Samsung Electronics Video Security Products businesses are being merged, following the acquisition of Samsung Electronics Company's Video Security Products business by Samsung Techwin.


Both the Techwin and Electronics names will be dropped for the surveillance product line and the company will go to market strictly as Samsung, according to a statement.


"This is very good news for our customers and the video surveillance market in the Americas." Steve Walin, CEO of GVI, said in a statement. "It is only natural, therefore, that we enter into a strategic partnership with Samsung Techwin America, replicating a similar symbiotic relationship we had with Samsung Electronics.”


The Samsung | GVI Security name will change to Samsung Security, Walin added.

Milestone Systems and Honeywell Security Group enter into strategic alliance

Copenhagen-based Milestone Systems, a developer of open platform XProtect IP video management software, reports that it has signed a Milestone Manufacturer Alliance Partner (MAP) agreement with Louisville, KY-based Honeywell Security Group.  

Under that agreement, Milestone will provide XProtect software support for Honeywell’s IP product offerings, the company says.

MIlestone characterizes the alliance as pointed toward the industry’s transition from analog- to IP-based video surveillance.

Honeywell’s “becoming a Manufacturer Alliance Partner with Milestone Systems will further support this industry transition,” according to a Milestone statement.

Milestone currently supports a number of Honeywell camera models (ACUIX IP, HCD554IP, HCS554IP, HD4DIP, HCX13M, HCX3D, and HCX5D), and the new agreement will extend coverage to more Honeywell offerings, according to the statement.

“The synergies between Honeywell products and the Milestone sales channels will give customers real added value from our combined solutions,” Henrik Friborg, VP strategic alliances and Milestone co-founder, said in the statement. “Customer projects have been implemented in various regions over the years incorporating both of our companies’ products, but now we will focus on this in a cohesive effort where we leverage our mutual strengths proactively.”

DHS offers free Webcast on borders and natural disasters on Feb. 9 and 10

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate and its Domestic Nuclear Detection Office will present a free two-day Webcast on February 9 and 10 which will focus on border security and natural disasters.

The sessions, which will be hosted by Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs, will features presentations by Tim Manning, FEMA Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness; Mark Borkowski, Executive Director of the Secure Border Initiative; plus key officials with S&T and DNDO as well as Los Alamos and Sandia.

The sessions will run on February 9 from 8:30 AM until 12 noon, and on February 10 from 9:00 AM until 1:15 PM.

Interested parties can register free of charge by clicking here.

Grants for law enforcement officer and vehicle safety

The National Institute of Justice is seeking applications for research funding that will enhance the safety of law enforcement officers and other criminal justice practitioners.

There are no restrictions on applicants for these grants. Although funding dollars were not specified in the funding opportunity notice, number NIJ-2010-2390, NIJ expects to award up to 100 individual grants.

According to NIJ, specific areas of interest include: 1. Study of the effectiveness of alternative lighting and paint schemes on patrol vehicles; 2. Study of the safety of mounted equipment inside a patrol vehicle during a vehicle accident; 3. Methods to carry personal equipment currently being used by officers; and 4. Assessment of exposure to hazardous materials in the line of duty.

Applications need to be submitted through Office of Justice Program’s Web-based Grants Management System (GMS). Instructions on how to register and submit an application in GMS are at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/gmscbt/.

Closing date for applications is March 12, 2010.

For additional information, contact Brian Montgomery, at 202–353–9786 or at [email protected]

U.S. Railroad Retirement Board picks Vanguard Integrity Professionals for mainframe security

Las Vegas, NV-based Vanguard Integrity Professionals, a provider of enterprise security software for mainframes, reports that the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), an executive branch federal agency, has selected it to provide migration services for its transition from the Computer Associates ACF2 security system to IBM z/OS Security Server (RACF).


RRB also is deploying Vanguard security software to protect data housed on its mainframe systems and to streamline security administration and management, according to Vanguard.


The company also notes that it was awarded the contract with RRB based on a competitively issued and negotiated solicitation, and all work was completed on schedule.


RRB administers comprehensive retirement survivor and unemployment sickness benefit programs for the nation's railroad workers and their families, and has administrative responsibilities under the Social Security Act for certain benefit payments and railroad workers' Medicare coverage. In fiscal year 2008, RRB paid approximately $10 billion in retirement survivor benefits to about 598,000 beneficiaries, and $80 million in unemployment sickness benefits to more than 28,000 claimants.

OPINION / Are we prepared for cyber war?

By Steve Shillingford
 

 

Those of us who work in cyber security arena understand what the future could hold for cyber warfare. We see how technology, like any asset, in the wrong hands can be used for inappropriate, even evil, purposes.

 

Cyber war is not far off and in fact is occurring even today. Recently, when Google announced they were the target of sophisticated attacks from China, we were notified that a war had begun.

 

China had a plan to attack and steal Google intellectual property and compromise Gmail. Google was not alone. Coordinated attacks were also organized targeting Adobe and nearly 20 other corporate and government sites.


The attacks, known now as “Operation Aurora,” took advantage of a Microsoft Internet Explorer vulnerability. But this is not the first time that war has broken out. Be assured, this is not the last.

In fact, Jim Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told 60 Minutes in a recent interview that in 2007 we probably had our electronic Pearl Harbor. It was an espionage Pearl Harbor.

 

Some unknown foreign power, and honestly, we don’t know who it is, broke into the Department of Defense, to the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, probably the Department of Energy, probably NASA. They broke into all of the high-tech agencies, all of the military agencies, and downloaded terabytes of information.
 
This is why President Obama has made cyber war defense a top national priority.

 

Cyber threats are one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. Every major defense agency, including the Departments of Defense, State, Commerce, Energy and NASA, has been infiltrated.

What happened to Google, Adobe and others can never be completely prevented, but the extent of the attack could have been minimized. What does this latest attack tell us?


Quite simply, you cannot fight a global cyber war without sufficient weaponry. Would we expect our military to enter into Iraq with just knives? Absolutely not. Similarly, we cannot expect our flagship brands in American enterprises and our government to face cyber war without the proper tools and ability to respond.


With active network forensics solutions in place at appropriate points in the network, these organizations impacted by Operation Aurora could have instantly investigated all the network traffic and swiftly identified suspicious activity at the first sign of an attack.


This recorded data could have been replayed to determine the exact scope and extent of the attack, including compromised systems and data. This record could have also proved what systems were not compromised, allowing these organizations to effectively remediate and protect against further exposure. With active network forensics, network traffic and information could have been retrieved in seconds, reducing the exposure window from weeks to hours.


Today, the update code for the patch is available, but what if something got in while the door was open? You may have closed it with a patch, but what about the time between exposure and patching?
It is unwise for organizations today to rely on prevention tools alone and assume they are prepared for an attack. Being able to record your traffic, review attack information and immediately respond to an enemy is an absolute must.

 

Today, every CSO and security administrator in both the public and private sector must realize that without measures to instantly remediate an attack, they are in jeopardy. Operation Aurora has taught us a very necessary lesson indeed. After all, who brings a knife to a gunfight?

 

Steve Shillingford is the CEO of Solera Networks. He can be reached at: [email protected]

Threat continues and NYC may be No. 1 target

Janet Napolitano

After a brief welcome from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which he said his city was the most likely terror target in the USA, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told a meeting of her Homeland Security Advisory Council on February 3 that, “We face an enemy whose desire to attack us at home has not diminished, nor do we expect it to diminish.”

To help confront that threat, Napolitano announced that she was asking the advisory panel to establish a new task force that would focus specifically on how community-based organizations – both religious and secular – could help identify homegrown terrorists and dampen domestic violence.

DHS wants to improve its outreach to such community-based groups, said Napolitano, and to receive greater input from them. “Security is a shared responsibility among many groups,” she added. The DHS Secretary specifically cited Muslims, Sikhs, South Asians and Arabs as among those groups to which her department is consciously reaching out.

Bloomberg ticked off the reasons why he felt NYC was an inviting terrorist target: the city serves as a “gateway” to the rest of the country, it is a financial capital, and it boasts such worldwide icons as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. “If anyone is going to attack,” said the mayor, “the probability is that we will be the target.”

He noted that the New York City government spends more money and takes more effort to protect its citizens than any other U.S. city, citing the police department’s huge $8 billion annual budget, and the total of $12 billion per year the city spends, when the fire department, emergency services and other services that protect citizens are included in the overall spending mix.

Bloomberg cited the Lower Manhattan initiative which the city has already launched to install video surveillance cameras, license plate readers and other security gear in the financial district to help thwart an attack in that neighborhood, and added, “We’ll create a similar initiative in midtown.”

During a brief one-hour public session, sandwiched between two sessions in which the advisory panel members met behind closed doors, the group heard a “sustainability and efficiency” task force report from its chairman, Dr. Lydia Thomas, a trustee and former President and CEO of Noblis, Inc. Thomas cited numerous ways in which DHS could husband its resources and save money, including an unusual suggestion that TSA should consider recycling the knives and other metal objects and the water bottles and other plastic items that its screeners confiscate from travelers who are prohibited from carrying such items aboard an aircraft.

Ruth David, President and Chief Executive Officer of ANSER (Analytic Services, Inc.), who served as vice chair of the quadrennial review advisory committee, noted that DHS had sent its top-to-bottom Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) report to Congress two days earlier.

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