Homeland Security

March 25, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Amid the COVAD-19 crisis, first responders are turning more and more to communications through FirstNet, officials say. Credit: Shutterstock/Zoff

The COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has sickened tens of thousands of Americans and killed hundreds, is testing the viability of the FirstNet network in ways never seen before. The exponential increase in the number of cases in the country is pulling in more and more emergency medical services personnel, police officers, firefighters and other public safety officials, often in more remote areas, who all need real-time data exchange, network connectivity and communication tools.

March 23, 2020
 
Sandia National Laboratories’ Saturn accelerator, viewed through an artistic lens, tests countermeasures used to protect electronics against X-ray radiation from nuclear weapons. Laboratory officials have announced two new initiatives, one to protect the electrical grid, and another to help maintain a nuclear edge. Photo by Randy Montoya

To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia National Laboratories has begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

March 17, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Essye Miller, principal deputy, DOD CIO, speaks at a town hall on the response to COVID-19. Credit: Screenshot of DVIDS video

During a town hall on the response to COVID-19, leaders at the Pentagon stressed the importance of cybersecurity as more employees shift to telework. Along with personal hygiene, Daniel Walsh, acting director, Pentagon Force Protection Agency, asked Pentagon personnel to practice good cyber hygiene.

Essye Miller, principal deputy, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, echoed similar sentiments. “With the increased telework capability comes an increased attack surface for our adversaries. They are already taking advantage,” she said.

February 24, 2020
By Tim Mullahy
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard drive down Telephone Road in Moore, Oklahoma, May 21, 2013, en route to the neighborhoods devastated by a tornado. Cybersecurity needs to be a priority in the aftermath of major disasters when people and their personal data can be most vulnerable. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hyber

It’s easy to forget that in the midst of a catastrophe, physical safety isn’t the only thing that’s important. As technology’s role in disaster response and relief becomes more and more prevalent, cybersecurity becomes an essential part of the process. Here’s why.

Few people are more vulnerable than those impacted by a crisis. Whether a man-made attack or a natural disaster, the widespread destruction created by a large-scale emergency can leave countless individuals both destitute and in need of medical attention. Protecting these men, women and children requires more than a coordinated emergency response.

February 21, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), is an operating executive for The Carlyle Group and former supreme allied commander of NATO.

The United States is woefully underprepared to protect cyberspace against the worst-case scenarios threatening the country, says the former supreme allied commander of NATO. Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), operating executive for the Carlyle Group, warns that long-term solutions must be paired with near-term actions to prevent a host of cyber threats from crippling the United States militarily and economically.

February 10, 2020
 
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology directorate is working with four companies to develop sensors to help thwart wildfires threatening urban areas. Credit: U.S. Bureau of Land Management photo

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) selected four new industry partners to participate in a new wildfire sensors project with Smart City Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs.

January 17, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security is rolling out A Smart City Technology Integration Pilot in St. Louis, aimed at increased interoperability for public safety officials and first responders. Credit: Shutterstock/Rudy Balasko

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported on January 17 that its Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate had completed the final integration of a smart city technology pilot in St. Louis as part of a program designed to enhance overall public safety and streamline operations across the city’s departments.

“This final rollout event, which included a series of tabletop exercises and operational scenarios, demonstrated how these technologies could be leveraged by first responders, emergency managers and other city officials in real-life events, such as floods, fires or earthquakes,” the DHS indicated.

December 1, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
A Customs and Border Protection officer takes biometrics from an arriving foreign visitor. Integrating biometrics into the pre-arrival vetting process is one of the National Vetting Center’s key tasks.  Customs and Border Protection

The Department of Homeland Security interagency National Vetting Center has created an information clearinghouse that automatically checks the names of foreigners applying to come to the United States against highly classified databases in various intelligence agencies. The clearinghouse relies on a cloud architecture that agencies are building to share information and lays the foundation for powerful new tools that could leverage artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help find foreign travelers who might be a threat to U.S. national security.

November 18, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The data captured from lightning strikes around the world may help to secure the U.S. electrical grid from cyber attacks. Credit: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock

Monitoring global lightning strikes could help detect cyber attacks on the U.S. electrical grid, according to Georgia Institute of Technology researchers who have a patent pending to do just that.

Lightning strikes roughly 3.5 million times per day on average. Each and every strike creates an electrical path miles tall that emits a very low frequency radio signal. Those signals bounce off the upper atmosphere and can be detected virtually anywhere in the world, explains Morris Cohen, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

October 18, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: LuckyStep

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is launching its latest S&T Impact Series case study, one that highlights many of the precautions and actions the department is taking to strengthen the nation’s cyber capabilities.

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco speaks at AFCEA International's Federal identity Forum and Expo September 24 in Tampa, Florida. Credit: Shaun Waterman

There’s a new federal player on the field in the identity security game—the U.S. Treasury’s anti-money laundering and financial intelligence office, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network known as FinCEN.

“Many of you may not know what we do,” FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco told AFCEA International’s Federal ID Forum and Expo Tuesday, explaining that FinCEN was the regulatory agency that administers the Bank Secrecy Act—the primary federal law against terror financing and money laundering—and at the same time the principal financial intelligence agency for the U.S. government, providing access to its database of 30 million financial records to law enforcement agencies, regulators and foreign allies.

August 27, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The one-year old Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security is coordinating the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Credit: Shutterstock/Imfoto

The Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, is charged with coordinating the protection of America’s critical infrastructure from cyber as well as physical attacks. Director Christopher Krebs recently released the agency’s top operational priorities. CISA, which was created in November 2018, will initially tackle supply chain risks, election security and industrial control system security, among other measures, according to the document, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: Strategic Intent.

August 27, 2019
Posted by Maryann Lawlor
Sensors like those the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and Intellisense Systems are developing can help give residents ample notice to evacuate before water levels such as those experienced on the Arkansas River in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, earlier this year. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Deployable flood inundation sensors based on the Internet of Things are being developed to monitor flood-prone areas in real time to rapidly detect them and alert officials, industry and citizens to potential threats. State and local government jurisdictions operationally field tested early versions of the technology over a nine-month period. During the next phase, the sensors will be enhanced for production and commercialization to both domestic and international partners to help densify their flood sensing networks for alerts, warnings and notifications.

August 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Officials with the Homeland Security Department are sorting through the hope and hype of blockchain solutions as they prepare to transition from paper-based processes to digital documentation. Credit: Pixabay/xresch

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate are exploring the potential for blockchain technology to prevent fraudulent government documents as agencies consider transitioning from paper-based processes to digital. And they’re not interested in cheap imitations.

July 15, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate is funding a $35 million, 10-year effort to create a research center of excellence focused on preventing and countering terrorist attacks. Credit: deepspace/Shutterstock

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.

July 11, 2019
 
 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security takes a closer look at how the government is using biometrics in protecting the nation. Credit: Shutterstock/Andrea Izzotti

The current climate surrounding the identification of citizens and deportation of noncitizens is fiery at best. And while facial recognition and other biometric technologies offer the government advanced tools to protect the homeland, some critics, including lawmakers, are sounding the alarm on how agencies are using identification data and whether citizens' privacy rights are being protected.

July 10, 2019
By Gopika Ramesh
According to a recent study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Russia has not ceased its disinformation efforts. Credit: Shutterstock/Viacheslav Lopatin

Russia continues its disinformation campaign in order to weaken democratic nations. The country's modus operandi is to intensify genuine grievances and manipulate the public’s lack of knowledge of the legal system. Through this effort, they pass along rumors, conspiracies and distort the truth, which is meant to permeate a target population, according to a recent study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

June 20, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security is reaching out to the private sector for ideas about advanced cloud-based biometric technology for immigration and border security.

The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, has made a steady march toward the use of digital biometric data for identity management. After the attacks of 9/11, Congress mandated that DHS identify foreign airline travelers coming into the United States through digital fingerprints, and after that, required a biometric identification program for foreign nationals leaving the country. Since then, the department has added biometric identity management for U.S. citizens.

June 6, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
Unlike standard GPS-enabled map apps, QuickRoute settings include options such as “Use Controlled Opposing Lanes” and “Show QuickRoute Alerts on Map.”

First responders can’t always use the same apps the general public depends on to get to their destination by the fastest route. Commercial apps may not factor in delays such as weather events, traffic accidents or the size and weight of their vehicles.

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