Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), released a road map to help organizations protect their data and systems and to reduce risks related to the advancement of quantum computing technology.
The best facial recognition systems work very well matching people of all races to their file photographs when tested in a real-world scenario, but when the volunteer subjects were wearing face masks, even the better performing systems showed increased racial disparities in performance, Department of Homeland Security officials told AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Tuesday.
In its effort to ensure there is no hiding place in the United States for war criminals, genocidaires and other human rights abusers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has sought to harness the power of innovation, employing automated facial recognition technology and clever software algorithms to identify perpetrators who might be in, or be traveling to, America, officials told AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Tuesday.
As the United States is more and more under siege against nefarious cyber attacks, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, has been working to educate, advise and partner to protect the nation. In its latest move, CISA has created the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative to bring defensive cyber capabilities together across the federal government, local and state entities and the private sector, according to an August 5 statement from CISA.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the European Union will create a joint working group to address the rise of ransomware attacks in the United States and Europe. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas made the announcement during a visit this week to Portugal for the biannual U.S.-EU Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs, according to a report from the DHS.
A new study from the Atlantic Council’s Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data warned that the technological revolution is continuing at such speed and enormity that it is reshaping societies and geopolitics across the globe, and “in novel and even unanticipated ways.” Researchers recommend that the United States take immediate steps to create specific strategies, governance and leadership roles; develop capabilities for a digital economy, quantum computing, supply chain resiliency, biomedical protections and space-related solutions; and strengthen partnerships with allies.
Engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a low-cost computer system that connects older public safety radios with the latest wireless communications networks, showing how first responders might easily take advantage of broadband technology offering voice, text, instant messages, video and data capabilities.
To develop capabilities to monitor the current COVID-19 pandemic and other future biological events, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc., for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has created a navigation app that addresses first responders’ vehicle requirements to help them find the best route to provide aid. The capability takes into consideration vehicle-specific factors such as size and turning radius, road hazards or special road rules applicable to law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services.
The seas of the Indo-Pacific region are an increasingly complex maritime environment. To combat an increase in nefarious activity, protect U.S. economic security and thwart brazen adversaries, the U.S. Coast Guard is adding resources to its operations there, says Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, USCG, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Defense Force West and commander, Pacific Area, presented a keynote address Thursday at AFCEA’s TechNet Indo-Pacific conference.
When they want to catch today’s outlaws, law enforcements officers must follow the money right into cyberspace. Like the rest of society, felons are using the latest technology not only to steal cash but also to launder it to finance other illegal activities, including human trafficking, drugs and terrorism.
The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation announced awards for two collaborative projects. Totaling $1.5 million, the projects will develop advanced homeland security technologies in the areas of threat detection and 3D mapping. The BIRD Homeland Security (HLS) program is a joint initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Israel Ministry of Public Security (MOPS).
The 2020 HLS awardees are:
A controlled scenario test by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) shows promising results for facial recognition technologies to accurately identify individuals wearing protective face masks, according to an S&T press release.
The tests were conducted as part of S&T’s 2020 Biometric Technology Rally, held this fall at the Maryland Test Facility, and could reduce the need for people to remove masks at airports or ports of entry.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will launch its first Homeland Security Startup Studio in January. The program is a partnership with FedTech and is aimed at commercializing federally funded breakthrough technologies to support homeland security missions, the directorate announced December 10.
The Transportation Security Administration is in the market for small businesses that offer security technology. Because large companies quickly buy out a great deal of startups, the organization’s Small Business Programs office is looking at new ways to diversify this marketplace by facilitating investments.
Adequate funding is one of the biggest roadblocks for entrepreneurs who want to sell to government agencies as well as the tallest hurdle for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) program to overcome. Many small businesses just don’t have sufficient capital to keep their doors open through the lengthy process between requests for information and contract awards.
Because of its overall mission and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers industry numerous new ways to provide both standard and innovative solutions. The organization has published several documents that outline immediate and long-term plans and provide insights into where it will invest its limited resources. The information gives companies a better idea of where to devote their research and marketing dollars so they can partner with the agency.
Ensuring the mobility of troops and support equipment in the European theater will depend on coordinated command and control. In anticipation of crises actions and needs, improvements are needed during the upfront coordination as well as to the last mile of transportation capabilities that are insufficient to meet the military’s equipment transportation needs.
The United States had many plans at hand to deal with a national emergency on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country failed to implement them properly. Part of the reason was institutional, but much was from a lack of coordination. And, the United States still is unprepared for the next disaster, whether natural or human-made.
When the mysterious and deadly coronavirus invaded America’s shores in January, scientists who study deadly pathogens scurried to gather as much information as possible about the virus to help end the outbreak as soon as possible. They’ve answered some of the critical questions, but some answers are yet to come.
Some of those researchers work with a program called PANTHR for the Probabilistic Analysis for National Threats, Hazards and Risks within the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate. The program officially kicked off in October 2019, but it was created through a consolidation of ongoing efforts.
Leaders need to be aware of how climate change is affecting the United States and other nations, how countries will handle the impacts, and how that might change the geopolitics and power balance across the world. Already, near-peer adversaries, including China and Russia, are capitalizing on climate change, experts say.
For example, because of climate change, the Arctic has melting and thinning ice. For the intelligence community, strategic analysis of shifting routes, travel and operations in the Arctic Sea region is necessary, said David Titley, professor, International Affairs and professor, Practice, Department of Meteorology, and director, Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, Pennsylvania State University.
COVID-19 has done more than increase hand-washing and mask-wearing. It has meant an entirely new way of communicating and collaborating. Those on the front lines say some of these changes are here to stay and will last much longer than the pandemic simply because they are more efficient ways to do business.
The future of digital identity looks bright. In the next few years we can expect state DMVs to start issuing mobile driver licenses; Apple, Google and Samsung to begin building identity capabilities; and more shared services amongst government agencies, said panelists during the Federal Identity Virtual Collaboration event, known as FedID.
Serving on the panel titled “How Can Government Deploy Citizen Identity at Scale?” the participants all agreed industry and government must work on the endeavor together.
States across the country are facing challenges around the ability to provide services and benefits during COVID-19. The underlying factor is how jurisdictions can verify and trust a citizen’s identity when the citizen cannot appear in person due to the pandemic, experts say.
“On the states’ side, if we think about how we as citizens establish our identity in our day-to-day lives, in most cases, we use our driver’s license,” said Tracy Hulver, senior director, Digital Identity, Idemia.
Hulver spoke about increasing trends in identity management during the Federal Identity Virtual Collaboration event on September 8.
The FBI’s pilot iris recognition program initiated in 2013 will likely be fully operational this fall, possibly by October 1. The agency also is developing tools to detect fingerprints that have been deliberately mutilated and a scanner large enough to get a print of the entire palm along with all five fingerprints.
Government and the private sector, particularly social media, are collaborating to forestall election manipulation by outside powers. These efforts aim at preventing disinformation campaigns from gaining a foothold in their steps to affect the upcoming November elections, but they also are maintaining vigilance against direct interference in the electoral process.
New York University researchers are studying people’s behavior as they leave healthcare facilities to see how they physically interact with their immediate surroundings. The research will help develop localized disease-transmission models that can be applied to larger areas, such as cities. Potential models could be critical for predicting the continued spread of COVID-19 as well as future pandemics. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding the Three-dimensions to Enhance Response (DETER) one-year project.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is seeking groundbreaking solutions to address current and future operational needs.
U.S. national security emergency plans are well documented with a disciplined approach, but their lack of coordination across agencies puts the United States in peril, say a group of government and industry experts. The country must begin to view national emergencies in a countrywide context instead of a narrow local or topical view, or else it will fall prey to whatever major crisis strikes next. The best way to do that is to build a comprehensive national security emergency preparedness (NSEP) capability that draws from lessons out of the Cold War and expertise from public/private partnerships. This also would be accompanied by a grading system that holds agencies accountable to Congress.
Officials from the city of San Antonio, Joint Base San Antonio, other stakeholders and the region’s municipal energy company are moving to protect critical infrastructure against potentially damaging electromagnetic pulse attacks. The efforts include a pilot program, related analysis and a plan that addresses long-term operations in case of an electromagnetic pulse attack.
The region is pursuing the comprehensive efforts based on a March 2019 Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13865, “Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses.” The EO set policy for electromagnetic pulse preparation, directed entities to examine how to protect, respond to and recover from such an attack.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate’s Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) is developing a modeling tool that estimates the hazard and related human health consequences from thousands of plausible threat scenarios.
The tool is called the Homeland Explosive Consequence and Threat (HExCAT), and it helps public officials to plan for attacks at special events, such as parades, elections, sporting events and inaugurations. After validation and further development, it will be integrated into national- and regional-level risk analysis.
Threats to global security now include the ongoing pandemic, its exploitation by international malefactors and climate change, according to an ad-hoc group of international defense and national security experts. These experts spent two days brainstorming the future online, and their findings were analyzed by the world’s most well-known artificial intelligence (AI) computer.
Titled “Securing the Post-COVID Future,” the event exchanged ideas among active duty military and civilian expertise with several international organizations. Findings during the 50-hour nonstop event were evaluated by tools from Watson, IBM’s question-answering computer that bested Jeopardy!’s top two champions in a competition a few years ago.
Under a joint pilot program, verifying the security of mobile application software for use within the federal government no longer needs to be time consuming or expensive. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with a partnership within the NSA, automated the process to determine if apps meet the agency’s National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) protection profile.
Ten states and Washington, D.C., held primaries on June 2 as part of this year’s presidential and local election cycle. Along with other federal stakeholders, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, has the role of helping to protect American’s confidence in the voting process by providing cybersecurity and a secure voting infrastructure.
On May 6, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing, “Department of Defense Spectrum Policy and the Impact of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) Ligado Decision on National Security,” to discuss the security risks of the FCC granting the company a license modification to commence terrestrial wireless operations. Taking that action presents a great risk to the military’s Global Positioning System (GPS) operations, now run by the U.S.
The success of the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will hinge largely on diverse types of contractors sharing information and following security standards, said a panel of experts exploring CMMC ramifications. Speaking at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium, the government officials emphasized that the CMMC will be both an opportunity and an obligation to the defense community
The coronavirus has justifiably prompted deep concerns over the security and stability of the U.S. supply chain and major portions of the critical infrastructure upon which our nation and our partner nations have become so dependent. Prompted by the shift to globalization, over time this has led to the outsourcing of many products, services and technologies that were once considered core national capabilities. Consequently, we have created dependencies and vulnerabilities that conflict with our national security. Some of these liabilities are evident in our efforts to bring the necessary resources to bear against the coronavirus.
Ensuring the sanctity of defense information goes beyond keeping secrets from the enemy: it also brings to light vulnerabilities in the supply chain. One of the key tenets of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is to guarantee the sanctity of the supply chain in a time when data is particularly in peril.
A keynote fireside discussion group at AFCEA’s Virtual CMMC Symposium looked at the threats posed to the supply chain in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Bob Kolasky, director, National Risk Management Center, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, provided a powerful presentation in which he pulled no punches about the threat.
The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has released a review of systems it has developed and fielded and their contributions to countering the COVID-19 pandemic.
The list includes:
SABER is a free, open-source software that enables businesses to report their operating status both during and after a disaster. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, users have leveraged SABER to:
U.S. Navy engineers, some working around the clock, updated the communications and networking capabilities of the two hospital ships dispatched to U.S. ports in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus. The USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy originally deployed to New York City and Los Angeles, respectively, to provide hospital services to non-coronavirus patients in an effort to relieve local hospitals burdened with COVID-19 patients. Engineers with the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) tapped expertise from throughout the command as well as from counterparts with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to improve satellite communications and increase bandwidth.
A joint advisory published today by the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shows that a growing number of cyber criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak for their own personal gain.
Daily cyber attacks and other threats naturally take up the short-term attention of many governmental agencies, but there is a need for a more strategic look at risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure. A center within the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, is charged with examining how to address concerns in the long-term.
A movement is underway to inspire 3D printing or other additive manufacturing experts and hobbyists to produce N95-style masks, visors and other critical medical supplies across the United States and the globe.
The so-called Maker’s Mask is a mask created by Rory Larsen at the request of Kaiser Permanente in Seattle. Larsen created the mask from commercially available hobbyist-grade 3D printers and other common household materials. He intends to share his design freely and widely.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.